In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, people across the city are pulling together to build safe systems to get help to those who need it. The Knowle West Alliance is working with its members, partners and local volunteers to link help and support in our area. There are different routes to getting help for yourself or someone else:
Shielding & Extremely Vulnerable People
People who are most likely to get very poorly from coronavirus need to do more than other people to try and prevent themselves from getting coronavirus. This is also known as ‘shielding’. The NHS is writing to people it is advising to shield with full advice. If you have a medical condition which makes you extremely vulnerable to coronavirus and you are unable to get food or medicine because you are shielding – e.g. you don’t have family or neighbours who can help – then you can contact this government service for emergency support: visit the GOV.UK website or call 0800 028 8327.
Link into our Local Support Hub
If you are feeling isolated or worried you can call the local We Are Bristol coronavirus hotline that has been set up by Bristol City Council: 0800 6940184 (freephone, Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5pm, Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 2pm). You can also email email@example.com and there is lots of information on the Council’s website. This service links up with our new Knowle West Support Hub and you can get help with a wide range of needs including general information, collecting essential items like food or medication, and social contact and befriending.
Connecting with Neighbours
If you are on Facebook, local groups have already been set up by local people where you can request or offer support. For example, the BS4 and BS3 CV-19 Mutual Aid Groups.
Please make sure you take sensible precautions when using these groups, such as not sharing any personal information publicly or giving out or requesting other people’s bank details. There is some advice about safety when being helped or helping others at the bottom of this page.
This is a model that could be recreated for your street – perhaps using Facebook or WhatsApp to stay in touch, to create a smaller and more manageable arrangement at a very local level. There is some information here from COVID-19 Mutual Aid about setting one up.
If you have lots of people on your street that don’t use WhatsApp or Facebook, a simple sharing of a few phone numbers will work just as well – here’s a template that Knowle West Alliance have made. It might be worth putting at a few names and numbers on there, so one person doesn’t become overwhelmed!
Other Advice & Support
Local Crisis Prevention Fund – vouchers for food, clothing, furniture and white goods: firstname.lastname@example.org, include your/resident’s full name and address or phone: 0117 922 4500 (Mon to Fri, 9am – 12 noon).
Mind (mental health support): 0808 8080330
Bristol Mental Health (emergency number): 0300 5550334
National Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0808 2000247
Age UK local support helpline: 0117 9297537
Crest Family GP Practice, William Budd Health Centre: 0117 9449700
Merrywood GP Practice, William Budd Health Centre: 0117 9449750
Filwood Hope (debt and housing advice): 07712661241
Citizen’s Advice Helpline can help those in financial crisis: 0808 2082138 (Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm).
Carers Support Centre Carers Line 0117 965 2200
WECIL – Weekly check in and chat service for disabled adults: 0797 368 6389.
Helping & Safety
If you are helping others, please take precautions to protect yourself from catching or spreading coronavirus:
- Follow the NHS ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’
- Wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds
- Practice ‘social distancing’ – such as maintaining a distance of around 2 metres from others
- Leave shopping or food packages on the doorstep – knock or notify the person who is self-isolating that you’ve brought them, but leave before they open the door
Bristol City Council has provided guidance on considering safeguarding risks when you’re helping others, which includes:
- show identification to prove who you are or where you live
- never ask for personal details or bank details
- encourage older relatives or neighbours not to give their personal details to anyone
Please make sure you respect and protect the privacy of anyone you help – especially people who might be vulnerable, such as those who live alone or older people. For example, please don’t share anyone’s personal details (such as their name, address or the things they need help with) with others or post it on social media. Even though many people may want to help, there may be others who could take advantage of knowing this information.
The Council website also includes a link to fill in an online safeguarding referral form if you’re worried about someone who might be vulnerable at this time.
If you give out the Knowle West Alliance neighbourhood letters, be mindful of the fact that you will be giving your phone number out to people you may not know.
The Council guidance also has recommendations for anyone receiving help:
- if someone offers to help you, make sure you know and trust them
- never give them money, your bank details or any other personal details