Keeping communities connected
Twelve months ago, the pandemic brought an abrupt and unexpected halt to St John’s over 55s activities programme. Turning what could have been a negative situation, into a golden opportunity, our team thought creatively about how they could continue offering those community outreach services that have the greatest impact on users. We spoke to the team 12 months on to find out how they’ve adapted and furthered their reach:
How has the pandemic affected the work you do for the community and how have you modified your way of working to meet the needs of your audience?
One of the primary aims of our service is to reduce levels of isolation and loneliness in over 55s – something the pandemic has inevitably caused an increase in. With the onset of lockdown and no immediate end in sight, we made the decision to offer online classes. While it took some time for the infrastructure to be implemented, as we were new to it too, in June 2020, we were in a position to offer a variety of online classes. These ranged from exercises like yoga, tai chi, dance; to watercolour art classes, stitch, and even a cook-along.
While we expected some of our regular participants to join, we hadn’t foreseen how popular the classes would be with the wider community. Demand meant we had to add additional classes and our reach spread throughout BaNES into the surrounding areas, and even as far as Yorkshire!
World Autism Awareness Week: 5 things everyone should know
This year’s World Autism Awareness Week (29 March – 4 April) feels more important than ever. It’s an opportunity to think about the society we want to live in when we leave lockdown – and the small things we can all do to make it work better for autistic children, adults and their families.
We want everyone to understand five things about autism that autistic people and families say are most important to them. These are that autistic people can:
- feel anxiety about changes or unexpected events
- be under or over sensitive to sound, smells, light, taste and touch (this is called sensory sensitivity)
- need time to process information, like questions or instructions
- face high levels of anxiety in social situations
- have difficulties communicating and interacting with others.
Almost everyone has heard of autism. But far too few people know what it’s actually like to be autistic - both the strengths and how hard life can be at times. And, at the National Autistic Society, we continue to hear from autistic people who routinely feel misunderstood, are struggling without the right support or even feel judged and mocked.
The past year has brought particular challenges for autistic people and their families, and a few positives for some. Nine in ten autistic people told us they worried about their mental health during the first lockdown, and 85% said their anxiety levels got worse.
We Hear You (WHY) Outdoors
2021 course dates at Chesterblade Hills (nr. Shepton Mallet)
Thursdays from 22nd April to 22nd May
Autumn course - venue tbc
Thursdays from 23rd September to 27th October
2021 course dates at Combe Grove, Bath
Wednesdays from 21st April to 26th May - FULLY BOOKED
Wednesdays from 16th June to 21st July
Wednesdays from 15th September to 20th October
2021 taster days at Combe Grove (book via Eventbrite, link to follow)
Saturday 15th May
Wednesday 18th August
WHYoutdoors is a course exploring the benefits of nature connection for wellbeing, designed for those living with and beyond cancer. Participants meet in a beautiful natural setting and undertake a mixture of solo and group activities. The approach helps people coping with the challenges of a life-threatening diagnosis to increase their emotional and physical wellbeing through time spent in nature, guided by specialist group leaders, who are also professional counsellors. There is shelter at both sites so sessions will go ahead in most weather. Participants need to have a reasonable level of mobility as the woodland site is uneven.
To book a place, please call 01373 455255 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
April Fools' Day: 10 stories that look like pranks but aren't
Here are some of our favourites:
Mary Poppins star Dick Van Dyke has been seen handing out handfuls of cash in the street. The actor, 95, was seen withdrawing money at a bank and then giving it out in Malibu, California, to people queuing at an organisation that helps those out of work find jobs.
Plane food may not be everyone's idea of a fancy meal out, but a service offering just that on a parked airliner is selling like hotcakes. Japan's biggest carrier, All Nippon Airways, started selling tickets for dinner on the runway - at $540 (£392) a meal - on Wednesday and has already added more slots for April after the first batch sold out.
A robot lizard has been built that can climb up walls just like the real thing. A team at the University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia, created the robot to study lizards' movements and what makes them so efficient. They found that, for lizards and robots alike, a "Goldilocks" approach of going not too fast and not too slow is best.
A mystery virus is affecting black bears in the US, making them friendlier than usual towards humans. It's been spreading in the states of Nevada and California, where in one case a young bear seemed totally comfortable around a group of people, picking up an apple and eating it on their back patio.
The Heritage Collection
Join the National Garden Scheme for talks in April and May which focus on a group of gardens with illustrious heritages of their own, which have also played an important part in the National Garden Scheme’s history. The series opens with a talk on the story of the National Garden Scheme.
Meditation from Stephen
"Silence is holy. It is healing. There is no fear in silence. Silence is autonomous like love and beauty. It is untouched by time. Silence is meditation, free from any intention, free from anyone who meditates. Silence is the absence of oneself. Or rather, silence is the absence of absence.
"Sound which comes from silence is music. All activity is creative when it comes from silence. It is constantly a new beginning. Silence precedes speech and poetry and music and all art. Silence is the home ground of all creative activity. What is truly creative is the word, is Truth. Silence is the word. Silence is Truth.
"The one established in silence lives in constant offering, in prayer without asking, in thankfulness, in continual love."
From 'On Silence' by Jean Klein .
Thank you, Franz for this profound offering on the fruits of silence.
Painting by Agnes Martin who lived a solitary life in the New Mexico desert for 25 years and whose work has been described as 'an essay in discretion on inwardness and silence.'
Please join us remotely for this beautiful silence Mondays 11am or in your own time.
Somerset Skills & Learning Courses
Pattern Making: Leaves in Nature
Starting 01/04/2021, Thursdays, 10:00 - 12:00
Patterns in nature are amazing! The infinite designs, shapes, colours and forms within leaves and plants provide the inspiration for this 4-week online art course.
Over four Zoom sessions, students will discover varying leaf forms, drawing different styles eventually creating their own repeat leaf pattern motif.
Working from collected (or imagined!) leaves, together we will look at the various leaf shapes, colours and details – and use this to inspire our own artwork through a simple grid system. You are encouraged to begin collecting leaves on your lockdown walks for inspiration!
Our talented tutor will also guide students through the use of a colour wheel, helping them to decide on their individual colour palette – from warm, lush green tones to the burnt oranges and browns of autumn.
Improve Your Memory
Starting 06/04/2021, Tuesdays 12:00 - 15:00
Are you worried that your memory is not very good and that you keep forgetting things? Do you go into a room and forget why?
Has lockdown made it worse or is it your age?
Don’t worry, you are not alone! This 3-hour workshop will explore different memory techniques and show you how to use them in your life or when studying.
Join our friendly tutor to find out more about keeping your brain and memory healthy with just a few key exercises.
Get Crafty: Greetings Cards Workshop
Starting 16/04/2021, Friday at 09:30 - 12:30
Fancy getting crafty at home? Want to put a smile on your loved ones’ faces? Join our online greetings card craft club and learn how to make three gorgeous gift cards to send to friends and family!
Our friendly tutor will show you how to make creative cards at home using different and fun techniques.
Bath named as one of the best places to live and do business in
Bath has been named as one of the top places in the country to live and do business in, according to a new study.
It follows two separate reports published last year which named Bath as the most progressive city in the UK and the second-best location in the country to work from home.
Councillor Dine Romero, Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council, said: “I’m proud that Bath has been recognised as one of the best places in the UK to live and do businesses in. As a council environmental and social issues are top of our agenda and we’ve shown commitment and leadership in tackling the threats to our planet by declaring both a Climate and Ecological Emergency, ensuring they are at the heart of our local decision-making process.
“Our communities have proved time and again that they are socially aware and forward thinking from recycling huge amounts during lockdown to embracing the need to transform the way we travel to cut carbon emissions.
Vehicle charging scheme to cut air pollution launches in Bath
From Monday 15 March the UK’s first charging clean air zone (CAZ) outside of London launches in Bath to drive down harmful pollution and protect public health.
From midnight, polluting vehicles will be charged £9 or £100 a day to drive in the centre of Bath. Private cars and motorbikes will not be charged.
The scheme is designed to tackle Bath’s air pollution problem which is chiefly caused by vehicle emissions. Several areas in the city regularly exceed the legal limits for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution – even during lockdown.
Daily charges will apply seven days a week, midnight to midnight, all year round for chargeable vehicles with a pre euro 6 diesel or pre euro 4 petrol engine.
Bath is the first of several charging clean air zones to be introduced across England over the next few years. Funding for the clean air zone has come from central government. A similar scheme already operates in London, known as the Low Emission Zone.
Businesses to receive £4m in grant support
More than 1500 businesses across Bath and North East Somerset financially affected by the latest national lockdown will receive more than £4m in grant support next week.
The latest payments which cover the period up to the 31 March will be transferred to businesses which submitted claims on Monday.
Bath & North East Somerset Council is now urging all businesses to review whether they are eligible for financial support as the deadline for applications to a number of the grant schemes is fast approaching.
Councillor Richard Samuel, deputy leader and cabinet member for Resources, said: “Since the start of the pandemic we have processed more than 9,000 applications and awarded around £50m in financial support to local businesses through the national schemes and local discretionary grants scheme. Without this support many businesses would have struggled to survive.
What the Roman's did for us - a free online talk
In partnership with the Roman Baths, St John's Foundation has organised four free online talks by Laura Nicholls, about the history of the Roman Baths and Romans.
Come along and find out about your local area.
Fridays, April 16, 23, 30, and May 7, 10-11am.
We will be creating booking links shortly, in the meantime if you would like to attend please email us at email@example.com
Find out more about the Baths at the Roman Baths Blog.
Bath World Heritage Art Club
Together the Roman Baths, Fashion Museum, Victoria Art Gallery and Bath Record Office have joined to bring you a range of themed activity videos so you can get creative at home. All of the instructions and a list of materials you will need are included in the short videos.
Celebrate the city's stunning Georgian architecture by making your own Bath Building Card.
Celebrate World Heritage in the UK by making a Stonehenge Solstice Silhouette.
Celebrate international World Heritage by making a Stained Glass Window.
Discover something that happened in one of Bath's Georgian Pleasure Gardens and make a Colourful Balloon.
See Roman and Georgian faces found in Bath and make a Stone Mask Sculpture.
Visit a natural World Heritage Site and make a Beautiful Belize Barrier Reef Fish.
To keep up to date with the ever-changing activities, sign up to the Learning e-newsletter here.
Arts, Craft, Hobbies
Get creative with activity ideas for cooking, craft, gifts, poetry, colouring, music, and more!
Whatever you're looking for, you'll find it here!
- Agricultural Festivals
- Artist Impressions
- Gift Ideas
- Hobby Clubs
- Short Stories
- Theme Days
The NAPA Wellbeing Walk 2021.
NAPA invites you to take part in the Wellbeing Walk 2021 on the 15th May (If this date doesn’t suit you then choose another!)
The NAPA Year of Moving and Grooving 2021 is a campaign to support the care sector to prioritise physical activity, with the aim of improving physical, psychological and social well-being. Physical activities are defined as those activities that increase your heart rate and cause you to breathe more deeply and can include walking, cycling, gardening or dancing, as well as other sport and exercise-based activities.
The NAPA Wellbeing Walk is a sponsored walk with a difference! And the difference is you! There are lots of ways you can make the walk fun and personal to you! You can…. walk round the garden, along the promenade, up a hill, down a valley, dress up, take the dog, dance and skip, hula hoop….. whatever you fancy! We hope the walk will encourage our members and supporters to bring people together, keep fit and raise funds to support NAPA’s work. Walking is good for you, it’s fun, free, boosts mood, exercises the heart, and provides the benefit of fresh air.
Online Writing Group from Dorothy House
During the pandemic when many of us are feeling isolated and missing connection with others, we are inviting you to discover this new online writing space, a place where you can ‘drop in’ with paper and pen, your thoughts and a cuppa. Whether you've always kept a journal, and writing is a part of your life, or writing for wellbeing is entirely new for you and you're a little hesitant, we're excited to share this with you.
Friday mornings at 10.30am on Zoom.
After the success of the Writing Through Grief workshops, Tessa and Mike from the Bereavement Team at Dorothy House are looking forward to offering this to all within the community, welcoming everyone arriving with their differing and varied experiences of the last year and lockdown.
A writing theme will be offered each week in a relaxed, group setting, with time to chat and reflect. Please be reassured this is about the process of writing, not a ‘polished end product’, freely using your own words to explore as you wish. There will be opportunities, but no obligation, to share and please be reassured no previous writing experience is necessary.
- Witness your own thoughts and feelings through a variety of writing activities.
- Uncover surprises and memories, give clarity to thoughts and bring reassurance.
- Step back from the present, then return to it after writing.
- Hear other people’s stories of finding peace through writing.
In a time where many of us are feeling a sense of isolation and distance from others, we encourage you to join us and write your way towards springtime....
For further information please contact us on 01225 721496 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Bereavement Support from Dorothy House
Bereavement Online Peer Support (BOPS)
We recognise that during these restricted times, without the usual rituals and presence of family and friends for support, the process of healing can feel delayed, as the isolation and loneliness inherent in grief feels all the more acute and intense. Therefore connection with others who understand through similar experience, can feel valuable and reassuring.
Our BOPS groups provide an opportunity for that connection by feeling both supported by and supportive of, others in the group. Each BOPS meets weekly for 6 sessions and is facilitated by members of the Bereavement Team
Every Monday, 2.30 – 4.00pm by Zoom.
Virtual Information on Bereavement Evening (VIBE)
If you are recently bereaved, come and join the Bereavement Team at one of our Virtual Information on Bereavement Evenings. The evening is an opportunity to explore and debunk some of the myths around grief, the team will provide information and resources, and there will be an opportunity to ask questions. Being reassured that what we are experiencing, whilst unbearable at times, is the natural ‘ebb and flow’ of grief, so that we may feel less overwhelmed by thoughts and feelings.
Monthly at 7.00pm on Zoom.
These events are free and are open to everyone. There is no need to have had a previous connection to our organisation.
For further information and to book your place call us on 01225 721496 or email: email@example.com
Footsteps Festival 2021
Footsteps Festival 2021 is a year-long celebration of living well with pain. Developed by people who live with pain and professionals in pain management, Footsteps Festival takes a creative approach to living well with persistent pain.
It’s been a tough year for everyone, especially people living with pain, so Footsteps Festival aims to bring people together, with a eclectic and fun mix of free online events on everything from understanding your pain, to finding new and creative ways of living well despite it. Events are happening right across our Footsteps Festival site.
Check out our festival zones:
- Main Stage
- Wellbeing Tent
- The People Place
- Pain and the Brain
- Active Zone
- Creative Corner
- Street Kitchen
- Into the Wild
The festival team is working with artists, health practitioners and well-known arts companies such as Opera North and Balbir Singh Dance Company to create a festival full of inspiring events. Many of these will also be published later on this website. But don’t worry if you miss something – you can catch up with past festival events as they build into an online archive of creative resources for living well with pain.
Classes from Creativity Works
Creativity Works provides creative courses and activities, which inspire and empower people to explore, develop and grow. Through our work we draw communities together and enable more people to access the arts, with a particular focus on those living with mental health challenges or facing difficulties in their lives.
We aim to help you stay creative, connected, learning new skills and be inspired by the world around you.
Peer led groups:
- Get Creative peer led art group - Tuesdays 1.30pm – 3pm - face to face sessions
- Writing Space peer led group - Tuesdays 2pm – 3.30pm - online / face to face
- Keynsham Snap & Stroll at home Facebook page for residents of Keynsham
New online Zoom projects:
- Journaling for Wellbeing, 6 week course - 27th January – 3rd March 10.30am – 12noon
- Writing for Wellbeing Taster session - 22nd Feb 2pm – 3.30pm
- Writing for Wellbeing, 5 week course - 1st – 29th March, Mondays 2pm – 3.30pm
Every Tuesday and Thursday at 11am Rachel and Cheryl are running fun, free, online singalongs. To join in all you need to do is visit the Golden-Oldies website www.goldieslive.com or YouTube and Facebook Page. The sessions are recorded and go 'live' on YouTube so you can watch as many times as you like - free of charge. The song words are on the screen so you can join in and Sing&Smile in your own homes.
You can also email Goldies with song requests for special occasions like birthdays or anniversaries, or just because you like it: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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
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.
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:
- Delivery of urgent supplies
- A friendly phone call
- Collection of medication
- Money matters and work
- Mental wellbeing (including loneliness, low mood, anxiety)
- Advice on keeping active
- Advice and support on achieving a healthy weight
- Housing issues
- Housing Advice
- Food and cooking
- Advice and support on stopping smoking
- Understanding public health advice
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.
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
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: email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Wiltshire Farm Foods – visit their website or phone 0800 077 3100. Ready-made meals which can be microwaved or oven cooked 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.
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.
Anyone is welcome to download and print-off back-dated packs by clicking on the links below:
- Wellbeing Pack 1
- Wellbeing Pack 2
- Wellbeing Pack 3
- Wellbeing Pack 4
- Wellbeing Pack 5
- 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.
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/
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.
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
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.
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.
Free Books Online – a resource of fifteen websites where you can read books for free.
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.
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.
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.
Genesis Trust, Creativity Works, Goodfood, BBC, Positive.News, Mindful.org, Mind.org, Google, National Garden Scheme (NGS), Sam Norris,