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Stay up to date with the latest Coronavirus (COVID-19) information and advice – subscribe to our e-connect newsletter, read the latest edition or browse past editions of our e-newsletter.

Food Bank donations wanted

In B&NES we have 3 food banks supporting those in greatest need in our community – covering Bath, Keynsham and Somer Valley. All three food banks would welcome more donations of food so we are encouraging people to remember to put donations into your local supermarket drop boxes if you can. Please do not make a special trip out to make your donation, we do not want to encourage an increase in movement, donate as part of your existing shopping trips please.

Food items they particularly need are; pasta, pasta sauce, long life milk, tinned meat and tinned vegetables, tinned tomatoes, tinned vegetarian – vegetable curry/chilli/bolognaise etc, tinned fruit, chocolate, long life juice, instant mash, sponge pudding.

If you are unable to leave home and would like to support your local food bank they are also happy to receive financial donations to enable them to buy additional food and pay their storage/transport costs. To find out more about opening times, locations and how to donate food or money visit https://www.trusselltrust.org/get-help/find-a-foodbank/ and search Bath, Keynsham or Somer Valley

Keynsham Food Bank are also looking for a Warehouse/Unit to rent in Keynsham for storage (600 ft sq). If you know of somewhere please contact them on keynshamfoodbank@gmail.com or call 07776 493221

Stop Smoking - #QuitforCovid

Getting support to quit smoking face to face is not currently possible due to Coronavirus – but there is still support available!

See: https://www.todayistheday.co.uk/

Follow: @QuitforCovid
Join: the twitter Quit Clinic every day 7.30pm-8.30pm. 
Tweet using: #QuitforCovid with your questions about quitting smoking for our expert Louise

We are also providing local support and have a new digital stop smoking App that is available through the Specialist Stop Smoking Service – call 0300 247 0050 and ask to speak to a stop smoking advisor.

Sources of Support and Information around Mental Wellbeing

Mental wellbeing support for adults

During the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak many of us will experience times when our mental wellbeing suffers. Everyone reacts differently to difficult events but for everyone feelings of anxiety, low mood, loneliness, frustration and boredom are quite normal and to be expected from time to time. For those who already have a mental health problem, or who have particular challenging circumstances the outbreak may be especially difficult. This guidance provides information that can help us take care of our mind as well as our body and to get further support if neededGuidance for the public on the mental health and wellbeing aspects of coronavirus (COVID-19)

Public Health England – Every Mind Matters
10 tips to help if you are worried about coronavirus
Public Health England’s Every Mind Matters (EMM) website has launched a new campaign 10 tips to help if you are worried about coronavirus. This includes resources, designed specifically to help manage our mental health during coronavirus, include a tailored COVID-19 Mind Plan, COVID-19 specific content for individuals and their loved ones, and support for specific mental wellbeing issues such as anxiety, stress, low mood and trouble sleeping. 

Mental wellbeing support for adults, parents, carers and young people and children
Mental wellbeing support for adults, parents, carers and young people and children is available on the 1BigDatabase website It includes links to local and national sources of help and support.

Support available from Bath and NE Somerset School Nursing Service

We are aware that it is a very anxious time for children and young people and there may be concerns about where to access support in coming weeks with school closures or young people needing to self-isolate. The School Nursing Service is able to offer the following wellbeing support for children and young people during this time.

For SECONDARY School age Young People:

There is a confidential telephone drop-in service Monday to Friday from 12-2 pm. Young people can call and talk to a school nurse on any issue relating to their health and wellbeing that is concerning them on the numbers below:

01225 831666 - Bath Area

01761 408111 - Norton/Radstock area

They also have a texting service called CHAT health. Young people can a School Nurse for advice or support for any health issues or worries, again this is confidential and do not need to give their name if they don’t want to. The number is: 07480635513

For PARENTS and CARERS of ANY School age Child:

Duty school nurses are available for telephone support and advice for parents and carers Monday to Friday 9 -5 pm should they require any support with their school aged child. If at all possible, please avoid 12 – 2 (as the service would like to keep this for Young People, see above). 

If you would like this support please call:

01225 831666 - Bath Area

01761 408111 - Norton/Radstock area.

Increase take-up of Free School Meals

As schools have closed except to vulnerable children and children of key workers, alternative provision for those entitled to free school meals is being rolled out. A government-funded supermarket voucher system of £15 per child per week is being widely promoted but many schools are continuing to offer meals, packed lunches or food parcel delivery. Each school can decide its own offer and more information can be found on the Bathnes.gov website here. Currently, take-up is lower than expected. Please encourage any eligible families to contact their schools and take-up the offer of food support at this time. It will make an important contribution to the family food budget and help protect against food insecurity

Increase take-up of Healthy Start vouchers for pregnant women and under-4s

Healthy Start vouchers are available for pregnant women and children under 4 to specifically support the purchase of milk and fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables to improve nutritional intake for families on low incomes and claiming benefits. Pregnant young women under 18 automatically qualify regardless of their benefit status. There are £1000s worth of vouchers which go unclaimed every year so the application process is being simplified to encourage take-up. Ask your Midwife or Health Visitor for more information about how to apply.

UK workers needed for crucial seasonal farm work

There is a drive now to encourage UK workers into seasonal farm work to ensure that British crops will be safely grown and harvested this season. The effects of Covid19 illness, isolation and travel restrictions are having a profound impact on the available workforce and could put British produce and food producers’ businesses at risk. This can be largely prevented by recruitment into farm labour positions now. Find out more at these links:

https://www.britishsummerfruits.co.uk/jobs

https://www.concordia.org.uk/feed-the-nation/

https://hopslaboursolutions.com/seasonal-work/

Alcohol Awareness

With reports of alcohol stockpiling and increased consumption at home due to social distancing measures, now is a good time to remind ourselves, friends, family, patients and clients to keep track of our drinking and be aware of the UK Chief Medical Officers’ guideline that you are safest not to drink regularly more than 14 units per week in order to keep alcohol-related health risks to a low level. Further information and particular Covid-19-related advice on alcohol is available from Alcohol Change

UK: https://alcoholchange.org.uk/help-and-support/get-help-now/coronavirus-information-and-advice-hub

Domestic Abuse

There is also anticipated to be an increase of domestic abuse, which makes it a good time to familiarise ourselves with the help and support available for those affected. More info: https://www.julianhouse.org.uk/projects-and-services/domestic-abuse/freedom-programme.htm and  https://www.bathnes.gov.uk/services/neighbourhoods-and-community-safety/crime-prevention-and-community-safety/domestic-violence

If you are a victim of domestic abuse or are concerned that somebody may need help please be aware there is still support for you during Covid-19

Southside 01225 331243

Enquiries@south-side.org.uk

National Domestic abuse helpline 0808 2000 247

In an emergency 999

Sexual Health

SAFE BANES

In response to COVID-19, most healthcare services are experiencing limitations. It might be harder than normal to access sexual health services, but there is still advice and support available.  Check out the new COVID-19 sexual health page https://www.safebanes.com/covid-19. The COVID-19 page has all the latest information on how to access sexual health services in BANES. It also has tips on looking after your sexual health when services are limited.

COVID-19 Looking after your sexual health

Condoms - Condoms can protect you from STIs and pregnancy! Use a condom! If you are under 25 and have a C-card you can access FREE condoms from local services. You can also buy condoms from supermarkets, pharmacies and online. Just make sure it is a brand you recognise.

Contraception- Check how many pills, patches or rings you have left in your packet. If you are running low contact your GP, The Riverside Clinic or School Nurse to let them know. Plan ahead to make sure you don’t run out. If you have run out, make sure you use condoms!

Emergency contraception - Don’t wait to access emergency contraception! Phone your local pharmacy, GP or School Nurse and they can help, even if you’re self-isolating or have COVID-19 symptoms. Emergency contraception is FREE for everyone from your GP, and free for under 25s from community pharmacies in BANES.


The walk in service and Saturday service at the Riverside Clinic have been suspended for the time being. The outreach clinic at Keynsham Health Centre on Wednesday evenings has also been suspended at this time. If you have any symptoms or need to see someone about a sexual health issue, please call 01225 826855 from 9 am to 1 pm Monday to Friday and a member of the team will help you. For more information please visit https://www.ruh.nhs.uk/sexualhealth/

Clinic in a Box/School Nurses

Ran out of pills? Need emergency contraception? Or just looking for some advice? School Nurses are still available as always for sexual health advice. If you have your school nurse’s phone number give them a ring, if not phone the school nurse office on 01225 831666 between 9am–4pm. It is important to get help especially if emergency contraception is needed.

Sexual Assault

If you have experienced rape or sexual assault/ sexual abuse recently or some time ago, you can contact The Bridge to talk about the options of support available to you. Even during these uncertain times, they are here no matter what. You can call them confidentially on 0117 342 6999. Visit  https://www.thebridgecanhelp.org.uk/ for more information.

Better Health Campaign

Public Health England has launched the Better Health campaign to support people to live healthier lives and reduce their risk of serious illness, including COVID-19.

The campaign encourages people to embrace a healthier lifestyle, supported by a range of evidence-based tools and apps providing advice on how to eat well, be more active and start losing weight.

For more information and to download the free NHS weight loss plan app visit: https://www.nhs.uk/better-health/

You can also check if you are at risk from developing type 2 diabetes by visiting: https://riskscore.diabetes.org.uk/start 

 #StayInWorkOut – ways to keep or get active in and around your home!

Sport England have launched a new campaign called ‘StayInWorkOut’. The #StayInWorkOut campaign aspires to enthuse and update the public about the many imaginative, resourceful and most importantly fun ways we can all keep moving while indoors. The new campaign provides a hub with lots of fun and creative ideas on how to get active at home, with exclusive offers and workouts from content providers such as Les Mills on Demand, Joe Wicks (The Body Coach) and FiiT. It also encourages people to go outside to exercise once a day, in line with government advice and asks people to share their own hints, tips and home-based exercise inspiration! For more information and unique ideas follow their twitter channel here: https://twitter.com/stayinworkout

There is also a range of other support available on ways to get or remain active whilst at home:

  • The NHS One You website has lots of information on ways to get active at home, including a range of home workout videos. Why not download the Active 10 App? It shows how much brisk walking you're doing and how you can do more. It's easy to use and helps you set your goals for the day, to help keep you motivated on your daily walk.
  • There are a range of guided exercise and videos available from the NHS website including Fitness Studio exercise videos, a Strength and Flex exercise plan and  Flexibility exercises
  • Our local Active Partnership Wesport has a dedicated section on their website for support, advice and information during COVID-19, including a Keeping kids active at home page
  • The Change4Life website has a great section on Indoor activities for kids and lots of 10 Minute Shake Up games with a Disney and Pixar theme!
  • Alternatively… why not get the kids involved in your daily activities such as household tasks and gardening, all of which are great ways to reinforce the message that physical activity can be a part of everything we do every day.

Vitamin D Advice 

As part of the Government’s response to Covid-19, Public Health England has re-issued existing advice on vitamin D on NHS.UK, which can be found here: 

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-d/

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/advice-for-people-at-high-risk/

The advice is as follows:

The Government is currently advising people to stay at home. For most people this will mean being indoors for much of the day, which could result in not getting enough vitamin D from sunshine exposure. The body creates vitamin D from direct sunlight on the skin when outdoors during the spring and summer. 

  • Existing public health advice is that if you’re not going outdoors often, you should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D. We therefore recommend that whilst the stay at home measures are in place, everyone follows this advice (including children, pregnant and breastfeeding women and older people). 
  • This advice is not about preventing coronavirus (COVID-19) or mitigating its effects. Vitamin D is needed to keep bones and muscles healthy. 

You can buy vitamin D supplements at most pharmacies and supermarkets. Please don’t buy more than you need

Community Pharmacy Opening Times

Community pharmacy opening times are now updated every day on the BNSSG CCG website

Gardens and Health – inspiration to get out in the garden, get active and boost your mental health

Did you know that the number of calories burnt from 30 minutes of gardening is similar to that when playing badminton, volleyball or practising yoga?  Gardening can provide a pretty varied workout; from squatting to stretching, lifting pots, pushing wheelbarrows, digging and walking, your body can enjoy a range of movements. Spending time in the garden (or any green space) can also have a noticeable effect on mental health and wellbeing; it can help reduce stress and anxiety and help ease symptoms of depression.

With all of us spending more time at home currently, now is the perfect time to do more with your own garden or even to try gardening for the first time. But where do you start? There is a vast range of advice and support for you including:

  • The NGS has lots of hints and tips along with stories of how others got into gardening in their Get into gardening section
  • The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has a range of ‘How to’ guides on their website to provide you with the inspiration and knowledge to get started
  • The Garden Organic website has a great range of advice, including resources for schools, that can easily be adapted to do in your own gardens
  • The Wildlife Trusts website emphasises that maintaining a connection with the natural world is more important than ever during the coronavirus outbreak, to ensure we're taking good care of our health and wellbeing. They provide a range of fun activities and things to make for people of all ages!

Don’t have a garden? There are still lots of ideas on how to grow in plant pots, window boxes and also house plants! The RHS has some useful information on growing Vegetables in containers, Gardeners World recommend some of the best plants to grow in window boxes, including fruits and flowers and the BBC has a great Design a window box guide.

To support all of the budding gardeners, Avon Wildlife Trusts has just launched an online shop where you can purchase native wildflowers, organic veg plants and culinary herbs!

Would the children still coming into your school or setting like to put a smile of a lonely person’s face

Several charities across Bath and North East Somerset are working together to create some ‘positivity and wellbeing packs’ that can be delivered to vulnerable adults in our community.  To find out how you can help, click  here.

Council Officers - to find out how you can help, click here 

Guidance for care homes for dealings with media enquiries relating to coronavirus 

This guidance is designed to provide support for care home managers and employees in the event of a press enquiry about coronavirus. Click here for guidance details.

South West PPE Guidance

This SW PPE guidance has been developed using national guidance and is for B&NES council staff and other LAs in the south west. Click here for guidance details.

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