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St John's 2021 Activities Remotely Newsletter St John's Foundation Est. 1174

Activities Remotely 2021 Newsletter #2

In our second newsletter of 2021, we speak to two recipients of the Pfizer COVID vaccine, Jean & Bethany, who share their experience with us. We also have the latest timetable for our online At Home activities, and lots of information about staying safe & well. Articles also include how to stay safe while online food shopping and ideas for keeping busy, plus plenty more.

You can also stay up to date with the latest news from St John’s by visiting our website and social media.

Here's what you can find in this week's newsletter:

Use this contents page to jump straight an article you want to read. Don't forget, we'd love to hear from you and how you've been managing.

COVID Vaccinations: We speak with Jean and Bethany

As the COVID vaccine is rolled out all over the country, we spoke with two recent recipients of the vaccine – Jean and Bethany. Luckily for us, Jean is my grandmother and Bethany is my sister, so they were more than willing to have a chat about the vaccinations, lockdown and how they been managing.

Jean, right, pictured here with her late husband Eric

Jean, 91, from Midsomer Norton, was on the priority list for the vaccine due to her age. She received a letter from the doctors surgery inviting her to have the jab and said afterwards “It was fine – no problem at all! It was a tiny little sting and then gone in no time”.

The vaccination took place in the Somer Centre in Midsomer Norton, to make to process easier, staff members were “outside directing us where to go. We went in and queued and were ready within a few minutes. There were a few people at different tables having their jabs, but everyone was quite far apart.”

Prior to receiving the vaccine Jean was feeling apprehensive “I had been quite worried about it, I’m not usually bothered by injections but there had been so much stuff on television all the time, I couldn’t help but be worried.”

Should everyone get the vaccine? “Oh yes, definitely, I would say everybody needs it. It was done in no time, I was amazed. If you know anybody who is sceptical tell them to go ahead and do it. [It’s] a tiny needle! – it’s nothing to worry about.”

I also spoke with Bethany, 27, an Accredited Pharmacy Checking Technician for a local pharmacy in Midsomer Norton. Bethany is due to return to work in the pharmacy in March 2021 after being on maternity leave for her first child, born in May 2020.

Bethany with her daughter born in May 2020

“[Beforehand] I wasn’t worried about the vaccine, although a bit concerned about side effects, but I have been fine so far. I’m glad I had the vaccine. I think they did a really good, efficient job, and made it safe and socially distanced.”

“I had the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine and I think the doctors were very helpful and informative. I’m glad I had it.” The doctors also advised Bethany that she would receive the second dose within 3-12 weeks, adding they would be in contact to confirm a date.

“My fiancé, Reece, and I found it difficult having our first child in lockdown. Ordinarily there would be lots of socialising with other parents in a same position as me, but due to COVID we’re all cut off from each other. I think being online and joining online meetings has really helped. I have been very fortunate to have had support from family and friends, who have been in touch through social media and left us lots of gifts too.”

Bethany has been in her role for two years, working in the pharmacy for over five years and will be returning in March this year. The vaccination was organised by her manager for herself and all of her colleagues. “When I went for my vaccination everyone in my time slot was all pharmacy or NHS staff – a lot of faces from local pharmacies.”

“I would recommend that if people feel comfortable getting it then they absolutely should, it is worthwhile to stay protected so we can resume normal life quicker.”

At Home with St John's

Our activities resume from Monday 18 January. Click the links below to book your place!

Mindfulness Meditation with Sandhya

From Monday 18 January 2021 @ 10am.

Take a moment to pause, slow down, and breathe. Learn how to bring mindfulness into our every day activities. No previous experience necessary.

Sandhya will share with you relaxation exercises and stress busting techniques. They will incorporate Mindfulness meditation, movement, deep relaxation, breathing techniques and lots more.

‘This meditation course fulfilled my expectations and more’

Please bring a bottle of water, a cushion and a blanket for deep relaxation. Teaching us how to bring mindfulness into our every day activities.

Click here to book your space.

Drawing & Painting in Watercolours with Sarah

From Tuesday 19 January 2021 @ 10am.

Enjoy learning and developing different watercolour techniques in Sarah's step-by-step sessions. With your fellow painters, you will create a watercolour sketch and come away with ideas to develop further. Suitable for beginners through to the more creatively experienced.

Click here to book your space.

Gentle Yoga with Jules

From Tuesday 19 January @ 2pm.

Great for beginners or people returning to exercise, recovering from injury, illness, living with fibromyalgia, a disability, arthritis, health issues, long term illness, chronic pain or chronic fatigue, an elder, or in need of stress relief! Classes are fun, informal and everyone is made to feel welcome.

You will be practice Breath exercises, Meditation, Mindfulness, Gentle Yoga Postures and Relaxation (Yoga Nidra) Exercises will be mainly be chair based, but you can also practice on a mat, in a bed, standing, whatever works best for you

Click here to book your space.

Chair Yoga with Liz

From Wednesday 20 January 2021 @ 10am.

This class is for anyone who would like to improve their mobility, balance and co-ordination. The exercises are a mix of gentle yoga-based stretching, strengthening and breathing - all done either sitting or standing (no lying down on mats).

Click here to book your space.

Tai Chi Movements for Wellbeing with Betsan

From Thursday 21 January 2021 @ 10am

During this gentle and relaxing class, you will learn 'Tai Chi Movements for Wellbeing' (TMW) - an easy-to-learn sequence of twelve movements designed to promote physical and emotional wellbeing.

Click here to book your space.

Free Fun Monthly Quiz with Ricky

On Friday 22 January, Friday 26 February and Friday 26 March @ 10am.

Taking place on the 4th Friday of each month at 10am, join Ricky for a free, fun, online quiz.

Lots of fun prizes to be won!

We look forward to seeing you there.

Click here to book your space.

The Silver Line

Help for older people

Talking Therapies

The Cloud of Unknowing

Weekly meditation and mindfulness from Stephen

'The Cloud of Unknowing' is a 14th century practical manual and theological treatise composed by a priest for a young man.

God like a cloud is unknowable by the intellect but we can enter into God and become one with him through love.

This love is experienced in contemplative prayer.

‘So, when you feel that by the grace of God, he is calling you to this work, and you intend to respond, lift your heart to God with humble love. And really mean God himself who created you, and bought you, and graciously called you to this state of life. And think no other thought of him. It all depends on your desire. A naked intention to God, and himself alone, is wholly sufficient. If you want this intention summed up in a word, preferably of one syllable, to do so. The shorter the word the better, being more like the working of the Spirit. A word like “God” or “Love”. Choose which you like, or perhaps some other, so long as it is of one syllable. And fix this word fast to your heart, so that it is always there come what may. It will be your shield and spear in peace and war alike. With this word you will hammer the cloud and darkness above you. With this word you will suppress all thought under the cloud of forgetting. And you are to step over it resolutely and eagerly, with a devout and kindling love, and try to penetrate that darkness above you. Strike that thick cloud of unknowing with the sharp dart of longing love, and on no account whatever think of giving up.’

Thanks to Alex for sharing this piece and translation from the Middle English by Prof. Gavin Flood (University of Oxford) from his recent online course 'The Truth Within: A History of Meditation across Traditions'.

Like the author priest I find the perseverance with a prayer word or phrase really helpful in avoiding the 'cloud of forgetting' i.e. distraction!

Stephen

Breathe and Begin with Jacky Wise

A unique time of deep breathing and mindfulness, with a motivational thought and prayer to help you through the day.

Led by Rev Jacky Wise.

Monday to Thursday morning, 8.30am - 8.50am

Join the Facebook group here.

B&NES Community Wellbeing Hub can help you

From B&NES website: As the country enters a second national lockdown the Community Wellbeing Hub, previously known as the Compassionate Community Hub, stands ready to support vulnerable people across Bath and North East Somerset.

The hub, which is a collaboration between Bath & North East Somerset Council, Virgin Care and 3SG, was formed in March to provide a range of support to residents during the coronavirus pandemic. Over the past seven months the hub has received 8,700 calls, delivered 394 emergency food parcels and supported hundreds of people with help from a volunteer for shopping and medication pick-ups.

Residents across Bath and North East Somerset can contact the Hub or organisations can refer someone who is in need of help by:

Shopping & Paying Online Safely

With more of us shopping online than ever before, MoneyAdviceService has put together an essential list on to how stay safe online. Whether you're doing grocery shopping, online banking, buying a book or DVD there's advice for everyone here.

BBC to put lessons on TV during lockdown

BBC TV is to help children keep up with their studies during the latest lockdown by broadcasting lessons on BBC Two and CBBC, as well as online.

Schools have been closed to most children across the UK as part of tougher measures to control Covid-19.

The BBC will show curriculum-based programmes on TV from Monday.

They will include three hours of primary school programming every weekday on CBBC, and at least two hours for secondary pupils on BBC Two.

Find out more here.

Volunteering with B&NES Community Volunteering

Lots of people are getting in touch who want to support others in their community which is great. If you’re healthy and at low-risk, you can become a Compassionate Community Connector and help others across Bath and North East Somerset by signing up here, please spread the word on!

Virtual Tour of Iceland

Wednesday, 3 March 2021 £FREE

On this virtual tour presentation, tour Director Dustin Yuill will take you to all the wonders the bottom left corner of Iceland has to offer, from the Capital Region of Reykjavik, via the Golden Circle and round to the Blue Lagoon at the very end of the Island. On the way you'll take in glaciers, geysers, volcanoes, shifting tectonic plates, black sand beaches, and a whole lot more.

Escape to the land of the midnight sun and let your mind go where your heart wants to be. Come along on this journey!

Click here to view the Facebook page.

The Big Garden Birdwatch

Sign up for all you need to take part, including your free guide, help with identifying what you see and expert advice on feeding the birds. Taking place 29-31 January, you can do it entirely from the comfort of your own home.

Spend an hour counting the birds you see in your garden, from your balcony or in your local park, then tell the RSPB what you saw. It really is that simple!

Send in your photos of birds you've seen during the birdwatch and we'll include them in the newsletter!

Gardening - What to do in January 2021

Gardening advice from the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS): Top tips: now's a great time to prune currants and gooseberries - especially new bushes or cordons. For more top tips and advice visit the RHS website here.

St John's Tutor's Artwork Displayed in City Centre

Art work by Sarah Prentice, Stephen Magrath and Mina Magrath (l-r)

Stephen Magrath, tutor of Mindful Art in Weston Hub, and Sarah Prentice who teaches Get Creative in The Bubble have both had artwork chosen to be displayed in Bath City Centre.

"In October, the Bath BID invited the public to enter their Bath at Christmas Art Competition, with the aim of inviting locals and visitors to rediscover the magic of Bath at Christmas. Dozens of entries were submitted and 31 were picked by [the] judges to be displayed in November and December in Southgate Street, Brunel Square and Churchill Bridge as giant two-metre-long giant bunting. All entries will also be available to view in a colourful window display in Abbey Churchyard."

To see all of the artwork visit the Bath at Christmas website.

Video by Jayne Howse

How to use Zoom

Use the following videos and links to get started on Zoom. There are lots of useful tips and information about making an account, joining a class, and setting up your own meetings with friends/ famil

Use this link to find out how to get started on Windows and Mac.

From Zoom.us how to join a meeting

From BusinessInsider

The best of the best (updated weekly)

We're taking the opportunity to showcase the best of the last twenty newsletters, whether it's helpful info on buying food or making it, keeping yourself entertained, or staying safe - it's all here.

Food Shopping Online

Morrisons Food Boxes

Essentials Boxes We've made stocking up the cupboard easier with our range of Essentials Food Boxes. You can choose from mixed essentials, meat, fish, vegetarian and gluten free boxes – with more being added every week.

Occasions Boxes Food is often at the heart of a traditional get-together. Celebrating those special occasions with our friends and family has become more of a challenge under the current circumstances. Whether you order a themed box to enjoy with your household, team up with friends and family who've ordered a box too, or send a box as a surprise and share the celebration via social media our Occasions Food Boxes are a way of sharing a meal together – whilst apart.

View all of the boxes available here.

B&NES Community Wellbeing Hub

B&NES Hub have combined resources to ensure that, as a service, we are able to provide sustainable and appropriate responses to meet community needs. This includes access to over 2,500 volunteers recruited, checked and trained by Banes 3SG.

Here's how the community hub can help:

  1. Delivery of urgent supplies
  2. A friendly phone call
  3. Collection of medication
  4. Money matters and work
  5. Mental wellbeing (including loneliness, low mood, anxiety)
  6. Advice on keeping active
  7. Advice and support on achieving a healthy weight
  8. Housing issues
  9. Housing Advice
  10. Food and cooking
  11. Advice and support on stopping smoking
  12. Understanding public health advice

You can access support via the helpline on 0300 247 0050 or via email. This service will operate 5 days a week Monday – Friday 9:00am to 5:00pm. Click here to find out more.

B&NES 3SG

BaNES 3SG - Here, you can find a list of places across Bath and surrounding areas who are delivering groceries, food, takeaways and even medicines. Check out the full list with contact details for each place offering services.

Online Deliveries

Milk & More – basics including milk, cheeses, breads and more, all delivered to your door.

Hello Fresh – fresh food items delivered to your door.

Morrison's Doorstep Delivery - The Morrisons Doorstep delivery service is available to vulnerable and elderly members of the community, unable to go shopping in-store. Call 0345 611 6111 and select option 5 to place your order.

You Want 2 Cook

Our fantastic cooking teacher, Louise is offering a variety of recipes for you to do at home via her Facebook pages: Youwant2cook and What2eattoday

Meals on Wheels

If you're struggling to get the meals you need AgeUK, B&NES Council and Bath City Farm are all offering home deliveries for those in need. For more information from these providers follow the links below.

BaNES Council meals-on-wheels service, information can be found here.

AGEUK offer a range of meals delivered to your door, to view the meals available click here. To place an order with AgeUK please contact: communitymeals@ageukwiltshire.org.uk or phone 01793 687017 (Age UK Wiltshire covers the B&NES Meals on Wheels area) or use the online booking form.

To contact Bath City Farm - please email them at mealsonwheels@bathcityfarm.org.uk

Wiltshire Farm Foods – visit their website or phone 0800 077 3100. Ready-made meals which can be microwaved or oven cooked at home.

Health at Home

Mindfulness from Mind.org

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a technique you can learn which involves making a special effort to notice what's happening in the present moment (in your mind, body and surroundings) – without judging anything. It has roots in Buddhism and meditation, but you don't have to be spiritual, or have any particular beliefs, to try it.

It aims to help you:

  • become more self-aware
  • feel calmer and less stressed
  • feel more able to choose how to respond to your thoughts and feelings
  • cope with difficult or unhelpful thoughts
  • be kinder towards yourself.

Found out more from Mind here.

Wellbeing Packs Delivered to your door

Compassionate Community is offering to deliver a bi-monthly wellbeing pack, either for yourself or on behalf of someone who would benefit.

Click here to find out more about the wellbeing packs available, and follow this link to request your own wellbeing pack.

Anyone is welcome to download and print-off back-dated packs by clicking on the links below:

  1. Wellbeing Pack 1
  2. Wellbeing Pack 2
  3. Wellbeing Pack 3
  4. Wellbeing Pack 4
  5. Wellbeing Pack 5
  6. Wellbeing Pack 6

The Help Hub

The Help Hub are a "group of qualified therapists who are here to listen and support individuals who find themselves with limited contact due to the Covid-19 Coronavirus."

Available to anyone in the UK, the HelpHub is helping those suffering from anxiety, loneliness and isolation. Some are fearful, worried about their health or their loved ones.

The HelpHub enables people to speak to someone who knows how to listen to their fears. Through the website, people book a twenty-minute appointment to speak to one of over 800 therapists, all of whom are volunteering their time and expertise to ensure the HelpHub can provide a free service.

Find out more information here.

NHS Guidance

The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has meant only leaving your home if it's essential, but it's still easy to get NHS help using your smartphone, tablet or computer.

This page contains information to help you:

  • contact your GP
  • order repeat prescriptions
  • manage long-term conditions
  • maintain your mental and physical wellbeing

If you need an NHS service, try to do it online first. If you cannot access what you need this way or do not have internet access, try asking a friend or family member to help you, or speak to your GP surgery on the phone.

Visit the Health at Home website by using this link: https://www.nhs.uk/health-at-home/

Creativity & Learning

Somerset Skills & Learning

Offeering a wide range of courses and a supportive learning environment, with friendly tutors to help you achieve your goals. SSL provides nationally recognised qualifications, traineeships, apprenticeships, training and career development courses, maths and English, digital skills and a range of distance learning courses.

To view all the courses available for free online click here.

ArtSeen is giving away free lantern kits to all St John's patrons

ArtSeen is a new organisation in Bath delivering community arts. We would have been coordinating a BIG community Bath Lantern Procession this year, if not for Covid-19.

Instead, we are coordinating the Light Fantastic Lantern Project https://www.artseen.info/lanterns-2020

Learning

The Open University offer a variety of free online courses covering everything from arts, sciences, health, wellbeing and much more.

Gardening Tips from the National Trust - lots of good advice from beginners to seasoned growers.

RSPB Bird Watching - an A to Z of birds.

RSPB Wildlife Guide - identify all wildlife around you.

Painting

Greyson Perry's Art Club - Greyson Perry, one of Britain's leading artists, brings the nation together through art, making new works and hosting masterclasses set to unleash our collective creativity during lockdown.

Learn to Draw - a free online tutorial covering sketching basics and materials.

Oil Painting for Beginners - basic techniques with a step by step demonstration for all abilities.

Introduction to Acrylic Painting - how to paint with acrylics, a paint along art class.

Easy Watercolour Painting - painting ideas for beginners step by step.

Stitching & Crafting

Hand Embroidery for Beginners - covering how to prepare for hand embroidery. Learn how to use embroidery hook, and how to start stitching.

Kirstie Allsopp Keep Crafting & Carry On - in this episode she makes a cool light box, a beautiful spring garland and a fun painted pebble game.

Books

Free Books Online – a resource of fifteen websites where you can read books for free.

Online Video

Netflix – an online video streaming platform to watch TV, films and documentaries. From £5.99 per month.

BBC's Silver Screen Classics - all your favourite films online for free.

YouTube – videos covering everything from arts to education and more.

Crosswords & Puzzles

Crosswords and puzzles – lots of options to choose from here.

Virtual Tours & Events

Stonehenge virtual tour - take an interactive tour of Stonehenge with our 360 degree view from inside the monument.

BBC Rewind & Reminiscence Archive - this platform provides access to a selection of footage from the BBC Archives, designed to support reminiscence therapy.

Virtual Events in Bath - lots for culture vultures. With over 120 events spread out over ten days, the multi-arts Bath Festival is the perfect excuse for a longer stay in the city. The line-up features rock, classical and world music from a host of global performers, and for bookworms, there’s an encyclopaedic literature programme of talks and question and answer sessions from top writers.

Frome Open Art Trail - The Frome Open Art Trail celebrates local artists and makers, normally taking place alongside the Frome Festival in July. Now it will be online as a Virtual Art Trail.

Staying in Touch

How can we stay in virtual touch with our relatives?

As the government encourages "social distancing" in the fight against coronavirus, older adults are facing the prospect of being told to stay at home and isolate.

But what if a parent or older person in your life, doesn't already have access to video calling tech?

Integrated kit can be the easiest solution - and could be hundreds of pounds cheaper than buying a laptop, tablet, or a mid-range smartphone.

Amazon, Google, and Facebook all have smart devices with screens for video calls.

One problem with all these devices is their expense and another is their need to be on a stable, decent wi-fi connection at all times. Sometimes, a smartphone might be the better option.

Read the full BBC article here.

Exercise

BBC Exercising at Home – the BBC are offering tips on exercising at home, and The Green Goddess – “the original keep-fit queen of the 80s - is making a comeback on BBC Breakfast. Eighty-year-old Diana Moran will be doing exercises three times a week from self-isolation so viewers can follow along at home”.

Beginners Tai Chi – a good beginners Tai Chi class which can be done seated or standing.

Chair Yoga – for beginners and anyone wanting seated chair yoga.

General Work Out – aimed at older persons, can be done seated or standing.

Meditation – a 5 minute video on meditation that you can do anywhere.

Our fabulous tutor, Jules, has also put some of her courses online for free. The short mindfulness and yoga videos can be viewed here. Below is one of Jules' most popular videos: Chair Yoga.

Uplifting News Stories

Poetry in the pandemic - project aims to engage young people in creative writing

Man, 73, finishes 1,000-mile lockdown run - he completed his personal challenge of running 1,000 miles during the coronavirus lockdown.

Re-wilding Britain: the plan to restore an area the size of Manchester - a new nature network plans to re-wild 300,000 acres of land in the UK, in a bid to boost biodiversity and tackle climate change

Nurse hugs two-year-old son after 11 weeks apart - a self-isolating nurse has finally hugged her two-year-old son after 11 "heartbreaking" lockdown weeks apart.

Hundreds of socially-distanced hearts appear in Bristol parks - the 374 large white hearts are being applied to Queen’s Square, Castle Park and College Green in Bristol

Suffolk villagers club together to buy dog a wheelchair - a dog is a "happy chappy" again after villagers clubbed together to buy him a wheelchair so he can enjoy walks after losing the use of his back legs.

Free bike repair vouchers - there are an estimated 16.5m cycles gathering dust in England’s sheds and hallways, according to the charity Cycling UK. But that number could be about to fall with the introduction of the government’s ‘fix your bike’ scheme, which is giving away 50,000 bike repair vouchers worth £50 to people living in England.

Blue tit rescued from Ipswich garden may become 'a friend for life'- a blue tit found abandoned in a back garden seems to have adopted his human rescuer as his mother.

Medal for lockdown litter picking boy in Sleaford - a seven-year-old boy from Sleaford has been given an award for his tireless efforts to keep his local park tidy.

Rainbow of knitted flowers to mark the 72nd Birthday of the NHS - A rainbow made from more than 1,300 knitted or crocheted flowers has been put on display in tribute to the 72nd Birthday of the NHS.

St Mungo's Wellbeing Guide

In St Mungo's Wellbeing Guide, you'll find useful online resources and ideas to support positive mental health and wellbeing whilst at home during Covid-19. Each resource is based around one of the 5 Ways To Wellbeing, which may help to maintain your positivity, gain a fresh perspective and give you a different focus during this difficult time.

Find all of the information here.

Make Your Own Face Mask

Previous Newsletters

Click on the links below to access previous newsletters, each week full of different and fun things to do:

  1. Activities Remotely 1
  2. Activities Remotely 2
  3. Activities Remotely 3
  4. Activities Remotely 4
  5. Activities Remotely 5
  6. Activities Remotely 6
  7. Activities Remotely 7
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We hope you will find this useful while our activities are temporarily suspended. Please forward this information pack on to anyone who you feel would benefit.

We would also love to hear from you – how are you managing? Do you have useful tips to share? Get in touch at community.outreach@stjohnsbath.org.uk and we could feature you and your advice in the next newsletter!

Created By
Sam Norris
Appreciate

Credits:

BBC, Positive.News, Mindful.org, Mind.org, Google, National Garden Scheme (NGS), Sam Norris,