News from our Ashley, Bishopston & Redland CouncillorsApril 30th, 2020
Ashley Ward news
I am working from home; I can still be contacted by phone (07584370413) and email ([email protected]). The council is now conducting official meetings via videoconferencing. I will be taking part in planning committees and Full Councils in this way. Meetings will be live-streamed on YouTube; members of the public will still be able to submit statements to meetings, but will not be able to read them out during proceedings.
I will stay on as councillor until at least September, now that the election has been postponed.
In another part of Ashley ward, there has been an arson attack on St Paul’s Adventure Playground, which is a very valued resource for the local community. A crowdfunder has been set up to pay fr the rebuild: https://bit.ly/2XMk12N – please contribute if you can.
Cllr Mike Davies, Labour Party
[email protected] / 07584 370413
Bishopston Ward news
Coronavirus advice – First, we’d like to reiterate the government’s advice on Coronavirus:
Stay at home; only go outside for food, health reasons or work (where this absolutely cannot be done from home); stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people; wash your hands as soon as you get home. Do not meet others, even friends or family. You can spread the virus even if you don’t have symptoms.
Visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus for more information about what you need to do.
If you need help or advice then contact the council’s team on [email protected] or 0800 694 0184. Deaf BSL users can contact the phoneline through a BSL Interpreter using SignVideo.
Changes to services – In accordance with the national response to the outbreak, many council services such as leisure centres, museums, libraries, cemeteries (excepting funerals), are closed.
Other council services, such as waste collections and the Citizen Service Point, have had their service scaled back to concentrate on core provision.
Information on specific service changes is available on the council website: https://www.bristol.gov.uk/crime-emergencies/coronavirus-covid-19-what-you-need-to-know.
Election postponement – The local elections scheduled for May have been cancelled, meaning we will be serving as your councillors for an extra year. So please continue to get in touch if there’s anything we can assist with!
Volunteering – We’ve seen a brilliant outpouring of citizens helping each other during this crisis.
The council and Voscur are coordinating a central volunteering scheme for Bristol; sign up here: https://candobristol.co.uk/activity/coronavirus–covid-19-[official-volunteering—register-interest-w-bristol-city-council
There is also a local Facebook group for BS7 where individuals are coordinating local volunteering on a street/neighbourhood level: https://www.facebook.com/groups/220811902446205/(or search BS7 Covid-19 help and response).
The council is also calling out for emergency foster carers. Find out more: https://www.bristol.gov.uk/web/foster-with-bristol-city-council/emergency-foster-carers
Stay safe! And of course, please let us know if you have any comments or questions.
Tom Brook, Labour Party
[email protected] / 07584 370 425
Eleanor Combley, Green Party
07584 370 427
Redland Ward news
We’re working hard to support the immense council and voluntary efforts to support our area during this crisis. We are especially grateful for the time and energy being put into offering help and support to those who are unable to get out and help themselves. Many council activities such as planning and licensing applications are continuing via virtual meetings so as ever if you have any council related queries let us know. We hope this information is useful at this time. We’re aware these meetings are not including opportunities for Public Forum statements to be made and are seeking ways residents can again take part.
BCC survey – The BCC business/organisation Covid-19 survey is still open and we welcome as many responses as possible to ensure robust data across sectors and across the city.
This will help us build a comprehensive response and look ahead to how we rebuild after the pandemic. If you haven’t already, please do share your insight and the survey with your networks.
So far, 357 organisations have responded. The more organisations respond, the more robust the data we have to refer to.
Food parcels and medical help for the most vulnerable – The Government is working with supermarkets to help deliver food parcels to the most vulnerable who are unable to leave their homes. Those in need should register for support on https://www.gov.uk/ or call 0800 028 8327. This includes help with food, shopping deliveries and additional care that may be needed.
Mutual aid groups on Facebook and WhatsApp – Across Bristol people are helping each other by delivering shopping to those stuck indoors, helping with dog-walking or just offering support and companionship remotely. There is a mutual aid Facebook group for Bristol – https://www.facebook.com/groups/1032597030460220/. Once you have joined this, the top post has links to each postcode group (e.g. BS6 group, BS7 group etc), for more local support. Many streets have also set up WhatsApp groups – information on these is available through the Facebook postcode groups.
Bristol needs to recruit more care workers to help with this crisis. If you would like to apply to be a care worker you can do so through Proud to Care Bristol. If you would like to give financial assistance to the many charities and organisations supporting people affected by coronavirus across Bristol you can donate to the coronavirus 2020 response fund. Or the ‘Arms Around Bristol’ Bristol Post Coronavirus Response Fund: www.justgiving.com/campaign/BristolCoronavirusFund.
Domestic violence – There are worrying reports of increased domestic abuse during the lockdown. Police advice is that if people need to leave their households to seek safety they should do so. Bristol City Council has more information on support for those suffering domestic advice and how to report it.
Council tax relief – If your financial circumstances have changed and you need help paying your council tax you may be able to apply for Bristol City Council’s Council Tax Reduction Scheme. Or you may be able to reschedule some of your payments to a plan that you can manage. There is information on the Bristol City Council website or you can call the customer services line on 0117 922 2900 for support and advice.
Supporting local businesses – For those who are able to, there are many local businesses who are offering deliveries and need as much support as possible. If you want to support them you can view a map of the independent businesses delivering during the lockdown. Other useful sites include Good Sixty (https://www.goodsixty.co.uk/)who deliver from dozens of independent businesses by bike, Indie Kitty (https://www.bestofbristol.co/indie-kitty-voucher-initiative-launched-to-help-independent-businesses-during-uncertain-times/) which enables you to purchase vouchers for future meals to help support your favourite independent food and drink outlets and Bristol Food Union (https://bristolfoodunion.org/) who help signpost to local businesses.
Welfare Rights and Money Advice Support Service (WRAMAS) – If you are having problems with benefits or need financial advice, help is at hand via WRAMAS – details below.
Helpline 0117 352 1888. Open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday mornings, 8.30am to 1pm.
Bills, expenditure and utilities advice – The specialist CSE advice team can help people who are struggling to afford extra utility costs while at home and to manage their fuel bills. In Bristol call 0800 082 2234.
Bristol Credit Union (the city’s community bank) is offering NHS staff interest-free loans in order to support those who have a financial need during the current crisis. This could include things like car repairs, a bike or scooter to get to work, urgent bills or support for a family where one wage earner has been laid off while the other is working extra hours in the NHS. They have already issued a couple of loans and want to make sure that their offer is as widely publicised as possible for those who may benefit from this support. https://www.bristolcreditunion.org/
Mental health in isolation – Public Health England has published guidance on practical steps people can take to look after their mental wellbeing and specific guidance for parents and carers on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 outbreak. They have also produced the Every Mind Matters platform which has specific advice on maintaining good mental wellbeing during the current situation. https://www.mentalhealthatwork.org.uk/toolkit/every-mind-matters/
Bristol transport – There are now reduced bus services running across Bristol so make sure that you check the timetable if you have to leave your home for an essential reason. There is also free parking for NHS and care workers across Bristol at many of the car parks that are open.
Safer streets – We’ve also pressed the council to recognise that when out walking and cycling or jogging people need more space. With emptier roads and narrow pavements and cycle tracks, more space is needed urgently to allow safe distancing. Traffic speeds have also risen which should be tackled by traffic calming. See https://bristolgreenparty.org.uk/news/coronavirus-bristol-greens-call-for-calmer-streets-and-more-space-for-social-distancing
Newsletter – Martin and Fi will continue to send residents our occasional email news but need your permission if you would like to be added to the list. We’re focusing on timely, essential news in these difficult times for everyone. To opt in just get in touch with us via email or phone.
Information and support in Bristol
Get help and information from Bristol City Council’s website. This includes information for vulnerable citizens, health advice, financial advice, information for businesses and information on changes to local services.
The We Are Bristol freephone number is 0800 694 0184. This number is to help the city’s most vulnerable citizens, including getting food and other essentials, delivering medical items and arranging follow up support with different organisations. The number is currently operating 8:30am – 5:00pm Monday–Friday and 10:00am – 2:00pm Saturday and Sunday. Deaf BSL users can contact the phoneline through a BSL Interpreter using SignVideo.
The Bristol City Council email addresses for any Covid-19 enquires that are not answered on the website is [email protected]
Sign up for Council’s Covid-19 newsletter: https://bit.ly/2K6JDzh
General information for individuals and businesses can be found here: https://bit.ly/3cp2UrO
Follow Bristol City Council’s Covid-19 updates on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BristolCouncil
If you would like to volunteer to help, please visit the Can Do website: https://candobristol.co.uk