Activities Remotely #6 St John's Foundation Est. 1174

Welcome to our sixth Activities Remotely newsletter. This week you'll find an exciting range of garden tips and ideas, fun exercises to do at home, a delicious Chilli recipe, and plenty more!

We do hope these weekly bulletins are going some way to help replace the loss you will be probably feeling at not being able to attend your usual face-to face activities.

It is a difficult time for all of us and finding these activities for you to engage with has been great for us too!

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

Wildlife Trusts - Looking after yourself at home

Wildlife Trusts has some fantastic ideas for activities and projects that you can do from home:

  • Make a bird feeder
  • Build a hedgehog home
  • Make a mini nature reserve
  • Clean bird feeders
  • Make your own compost
  • Grow vegetables for wildlife
  • Make a butterfly feeder
  • Learn how to identify butterflies, bees, and moths
  • Make beeswax wraps
  • Make a nature mandala
  • Tune into their Wildlife Watch YouTube channel
  • Watch a webcam: peregrines, barn owls and kittiwakes are all putting on a show!

Click the link to see how to begin each project, or watch the webcams: https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/looking-after-yourself-and-nature

Wellbeing College B&NES

Wellbeing College B&NES is offering free, online sessions for individuals to take part in from the comfort of their own home. Using the free video chat application 'Zoom', you can get together and chat, stitch, paint, or just see a friendly face. Follow the links below to see what you can get involved in:

Knit and Natter

This is an opportunity to meet up on video link with your knitting or crochet and a cup of tea in a friendly, supportive group. An expert volunteer will be on hand to give advice and tips on knitting and crochet issues and they'll also try to find useful Youtube clips for people needing help. You are welcome to turn up for a chat even if they don't have knitting needles and wool to hand.


Exercise for Wellbeing

This friendly 6-week exercise class is for those looking to use physical activity to improve their mood. The programme is run by a friendly, welcoming tutor named Sam; he will take you through a routine each week to get your body moving.

There will be moves to suit all abilities and he will give you the option of easier or harder alternatives if you prefer. Exercises will be inclusive for all and vary in difficulty to suit everyones needs. You can expect HIIT (high intensity interval training) style workouts, body weight circuits and fun exercises to leave you feeling great!

All you'll just need is water and a mat, if you have one. There will be time at the end of the session to stay and ask questions and even share a cup of tea. Why not try something new and book your place now?


Wellbeing Support Group

Do you feel you need a little support during these uncertain times? Would you like to connect with others who may also be feeling isolated? The Wellbeing Support Group would be delighted to welcome you to this weekly online-based support group where you will have the opportunity to speak to others, express how you are feeling and receive support and connectedness from the group.


Mindfulness Meditation

In this class, you will learn relaxation exercises and stress-busting techniques. You will incorporate mindfulness, movement, laughter, deep relaxation, breathing techniques and lots more.

You will need to find a quiet, comfy space in your home, a yoga mat or blanket if possible, and there will be an opportunity at the end of the class for people to connect through conversation.


Creative Writing

Join this online group to get inspiration and share your writings with a small supportive group. All levels and abilities are welcome. Each week has a different theme, last week the theme was 'describe yourself as a holiday'! Come and join us - what have you got to lose?!


Gardening and Food Growing

Now is the perfect time to get out in the garden or on your allotment and start growing. Our gardening guru will be sharing her expertise and giving you tips and advice on gardening and food growing via an online video linked group. Starter kits with some veggie seeds may also be available.


Games Group

We will be playing simple word games like Boggle, doing crosswords together or having a go at some quiz games via an online video link.


Nature Connection

Connect with yourself, others, and the landscape around you through virtual walking, talking and guided meditation. Deepen your awareness of the living world and experience the power of connecting to nearby nature. You are invited to sit in a location where you can see an aspect of the living world; a tree, birds on a feeder, a potted plant or the wild sky through the window. Even an object made from a natural material can be used.


Gareth Malone's Great British Home Chorus

If you've been missing the opportunity to sing (with or without friends), then this is for you! Gareth Malone, the choirmaster who brought us The Choir and The Choir: Military Wives, has organised this fantastic initiative - singing together from home.

The Great British Home Chorus aims to give everyone the opportunity to contribute their voices and instruments to an ambitious digital music project.

To submit your video click here: https://www.greatbritishhomechorus.com/

Take a tour... of a 5,000-year-old Egyptian tomb!

Egypt’s classical wonders are off limits, but a royal tomb is one of four sites where 3D modelling gives us a fascinating glimpse of antiquity.

Use the links below to visit the Tomb of Queen Meresankh III, (G7530-7540), situated in Egypt.

For more information, follow this Guardian link: https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2020/apr/15/egyptian-tomb-ancient-wonders-open-for-virtual-tour-in-lockdown?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Outlook

And this link to view the tombs themselves: https://my.matterport.com/show/?m=d42fuVA21To

Get Twitching!

The RSPB have a great online resource of birds found in the UK, so why not make the most of this time at home and log the birds you see? You never know, you may see something rare or unusual in your own back garden!

Use this link for birds: https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/

And this one for all wildlife: https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/

Louise's Recipes

Tasty tinned bean chilli

Louise, The Supper Club tutor has sent through another delicious recipe for everyone to have a go at making from home.

Send us your photos of the chilli and we'll show them in the next newsletter!

Breathe & Begin with Jacky Wise

Make your own Accordion Paper Flowers

Fold a few paper squares like an accordion to turn them into easy paper flowers. Arrange them on a vase for a lovely table decoration or use them to make wreaths, mobiles, and other craft projects.

What you'll need:

  • Paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Wooden dowels or sticks
  • Buttons, plastic gems, brads, or other embellishments (optional)

Follow these instructions to make yours:


Zoom Tech Support

Shania Jones from Connecting Generations is pleased to announce that this Friday's call is featuring Surrinder Bains from Playlists For Life (https://www.playlistforlife.org.uk/).

Surrinder is going to be discussing and presenting how to create your own playlist and to reconnect with music. This is a brilliant way for people to get involved and have fun. The charity is all about helping individuals (especially with dementia) reconnect with family and friends.

To join this interactive session please follow the link to a scheduled Zoom meeting on Friday at 10am. Please also send the link to anyone you know who may find the session helpful.


Meeting ID: 181 481 673

Send in your videos to Gardeners' World

During these challenging times, The Gardeners’ World Team would love to know what you are doing to keep yourself and your family busy in the garden; what you are growing on your balcony or window sill? Something that will inspire the nation to also start gardening.

You might be proud as punch of your garden and would like to give us a virtual tour. Do you have a quirky way of growing veg or perhaps a greenhouse or cold frame that the curator of Kew Gardens would be envious of? We want you to share your top tips and fabulous borders and spaces with Gardeners’ World.


You can also catch up on the latest Gardener's World on Friday's on BBC, or through the iPlayer website and apps: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006mw1h

A message from Stephen Magrath, tutor of Mindful Art and Meditation Facilitator classes in Bath

Dear Friends,

The Queen recently recommended that those practicing social isolation use this time for rest, prayer and meditation. There is quite some prayer going on in these anxious times but what is meditation and how do we practice it?

Meditation is a practice of focussing or centering but the opposite of self-centerness it is making our hearts and minds available in solitude and silence to the healing presence of the Divine Spirit around and within us .

Please follow the guidance below if you do not have your own practice and read the words about the spiritual benefit of solitude:

  • Find a warm comfortable position,
  • Sit upright and alert with hands on lap , palms upright,
  • Be aware of your regular breathing until settled,
  • Close your eyes lightly,
  • Focus on your heart centre,
  • Silently repeat your prayer and return to it when distraction occurs (which it will!)

(A good one is 'Come Spirit Come' or just 'Spirit - Come' harmonised with the breath). Keep this going for up to half-an-hour or as long as you can manage .

Please join us at 11am every Monday for half-an-hour of shared silence and stillness in the comfort of your home.

'To live a spiritual life we must first find the courage to enter into the desert of our loneliness and to change it by gentle and persistent efforts into a garden of solitude. As hard as it is to believe that the dry desert can yield endless varieties of flowers, it is equally hard to imagine that loneliness is hiding unknown beauty . The movement from loneliness to solitude, however, is the beginning of any spiritual life because it is a movement from the restless senses to the restful spirit, from the outward-reaching cravings to the inward-reaching search , from the fearful clinging to the fearless play.' - HENRI NOUWEN.

If you would like to receive these weekly emails direct, please respond to stephenmagrath@hotmail.com. If the group meeting time is not suitable, practice when you can, ideally daily.

May the Peace be with you,

Stephen Magrath

Bath based Mindful Art and Meditation facilitator.

NHS Health at Home

The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak means you should only leave 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:

  1. contact your GP
  2. order repeat prescriptions
  3. manage long-term conditions
  4. 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/

Gardening Ideas

It can be difficult and frustrating finding something to do at home, especially due to the current government restrictions limiting exercises and shopping trips.

Gardening has many benefits - reducing stress, improving your dexterity, saving money on buying foods, helping you sleep - the list goes on! We've been searching far and wide and have found a number of websites that you can order gardening supplies from. Whether growing your own vegetables, tidying up your patio, or livening up your living room, there are plenty of gardening choices.

Gardening Express https://www.gardeningexpress.co.uk/

Webbs Direct https://www.webbsdirect.co.uk/garden-tools-garden-supplies/

B & M Gardening Supplies https://www.bmgardenbuildings.co.uk/

Aldi Special Buys https://www.aldi.co.uk/c/specialbuys/garden-shop/

Wickes https://www.wickes.co.uk/cart

Search Google for more ideas here.

Meals at Home

If you're struggling to get meals, both AgeUK and Bath City Farm are offering home deliveries for those in need.

BaNES Council is offering a meals-on-wheels service, information can be found here: https://www.bathnes.gov.uk/services/care-and-support-and-you/staying-your-own-home/help-meals

View AgeUK's menus here: https://www.ageuk.org.uk/bp-assets/globalassets/wiltshire/aukw-community-meals-menus-2020.pdf

To place an order with AgeUK please contact: communitymeals@ageukwiltshire.org.uk or phone 01793 687017 (Age UK Wiltshire)

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

Something a bit different...

Although you may be confined to your home at the moment, this doesn't mean you have to be stuck at home.

Random Street View is a fun website that will drop you in a random place, anywhere in the world. Using GoogleMaps, you can explore the area and then click 'Next' to visit somewhere completely different!

Our first attempt put us in Guernsey, and then Greece! You could find yourself anywhere in the world. Give it a go here: https://randomstreetview.com/ and let us know where you wind up!

Video Conferencing

Below, we have included a number of live videos that you can watch and engage with from home. You’ll see that they are all linked by the free video chat application 'Zoom', which can be downloaded here. You can also use Zoom to stay in contact with family and friends, with video chats online for free!

Exercise Classes with Liz Coleman

Join Liz every Monday from 12-1pm live on Zoom for her weekly session. Click here to take part in a fun, friendly exercise class that you can do straight from your own home.

Staying in touch

For more information on using social media and other forms of staying in touch with friends and family, visit this BBC article.

Stay Safe From Scams

Unfortunately, during this trying time, there are a number of scams circulating regarding the Coronavirus. Advice from Trading Standards can be found here.

Please stay safe online!

St Mungo's Wellbeing Guide

Online resources and ideas to support positive mental health and wellbeing during the Covid-19 outbreak.

In the Wellbeing Guide, you will 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 links here.

Free News Platforms

Somerset Live – stay up to date with local news and how it affects you.

Bath Chronicle – stay up to date with local news and how it affects you.

BBC – for national and local news.

Free access to exercise at home

In addition to the many online exercise videos on the internet right now (see below), we are also able to offer tailored exercises from 2 of our fantastic tutors:

Here is the brilliant Jules with some short mindfulness and yoga videos:

Visit Jules Yoga Wellbeing page on Facebook for online yoga tutorials.

Liz Lees Yoga programme is available upon request - please email community.outreach@stjohnsbath.org.uk.

By using YouTube (see Entertainment section below), you can stay healthy by following a number of online videos. We’ve got the following suggestions (just remember, they’re not for everyone, and only do what you can!):

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”.

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

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

The Open University (FREE) offer varying online courses covering everything from arts, sciences, health, wellbeing and much more.

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

Netflix – an online video streaming platform to watch TV, films and documentaries.

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

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

Please be aware and protect yourself from scams. People and organisations are being targeted with emails, texts and phone calls offering advice and treatment for the coronavirus, as well as setting up fake websites selling products and offering “cures”. You can find information on how to recognise and avoid these scams here: https://www.itv.com/news/wales/2020-03-23/how-to-protect-yourself-from-the-surge-of-coronavirus-scams/

wikiHow – online instructions you can trust. Want to learn a new skill or how to set up a new email address? wikiHow has it all covered.

Hobbycraft – for all of your creative and craft needs.

Great Art – offering delivery of all art supplies.

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 and we could feature you and your advice in the next newsletter!

Created By
Sam Norris