Activities Remotely #28 St John's Foundation Est. 1174

Welcome to our twenty-eighth newsletter

As the days get darker and nights draw in we bring you important and uplifting news, both locally and around the country. Have a look at the photos below of a socially distanced violinist concert by On Your Doorstep Concert, for our residents at St John's. If you're looking for something to do in Bath, why not have a look at the Christmas lights along the Christmas Light Trail? We've included a handy map too!

As usual we have positive news, including the UK's first COVID vaccination, make your own tree pom-poms, fun gardening ideas, plus free lantern making kits from Bath company 'ArtSeen', Jayne's own homemade exfoliator recipe, and plenty more!

If you're looking for more opportunities to keep busy, we have included news, info and resources to help you stay healthy in body and in mind, and guidance in reflection and stillness.

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:

Violinists Visit St John's

St John's Foundation residents were treated to a private, outdoor concert by professional classical musicians Lucy Hewson and Rebecca Prosser. Fifteen residents were able to attend the socially distanced outdoor concert where Lucy and Rebecca played a range of original compositions of classic Christmas songs on the violin and flute. Everyone attending was encouraged to dress in warm clothes, and some even brought their own mulled wine to keep warm!

During lockdown Lucy and Rebecca started performing these concerts for older residents of BANES who were forced to isolate due to COVID. They've got their own Concert On Your Doorstep website and Twitter with lots of updates.

A big thank you to Lucy, Rebecca, and all of the St John's residents who attended!

Photos by Sam Norris

Video by Jayne Howse

Bath Christmas Lights Trail

We are all in need of a bit of cheer this year. To brighten up the dark days, there are plenty of Christmas lights in Bath. Bath Business Improvement District (BID) has invested in spectacular monument lighting in some of Bath’s iconic streets. The lights are switched on at 3:30pm, and the city will be illuminated every day until the end of the year.

Browse the map below to find all of the places you’ll find Christmas lights in Bath. For more information about the Light Trail click here.

Positive & Uplifting News

UK's first COVID Vaccine

A UK grandmother has become the first person in the world to be given the Pfizer Covid-19 jab as part of a mass vaccination programme.

Margaret Keenan, who turns 91 next week, said the injection she received at 06:31 GMT was the "best early birthday present".

It was the first of 800,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine that will be dispensed in the coming weeks.

Up to four million more are expected by the end of the month. Read more about Margaret Keenan in the BBC's article.

Who will get the vaccine?

Broadly, the vaccines are being given to the most vulnerable first, as set out in a list of nine high-priority groups, covering about a quarter of the UK population.

People aged over 80 in hospital, frontline health staff and care home workers have been the first to get the jab at 70 designated hospitals hubs across the UK.

Find out when you'll get the vaccine here.

The NHS will let you know when it's your turn to have the vaccine. It's important not to contact the NHS for a vaccination before then.

Further information from the NHS can be found here.

Make your own Pom Pom Ornaments

Portraits of 'everyday heroes' in Coventry shop windows

Twenty-one "everyday heroes" have had their portraits displayed after being recognised for their community work.

More than 100 people were nominated by friends or neighbours for the #OurCovHeroes campaign, Coventry City of Culture Trust said.

Loraine Masiya Mponela, is recognised for her work as chairperson of Coventry Asylum and Refugee Action Group (CARAG).

She said: "Nobody sets off to be recognised especially if it's to do with undoing injustices."

Loraine Masiya Mponela said she is "proud" of her community, pictured right.

National Garden Scheme

How to create a Christmas centrepiece

For a unique festive decoration that showcases the very best of these winter blooms, National Garden Scheme volunteer and florist, Penny Snell, gives her step-by-step guide on how to create a Christmas centrepiece – perfect for a fireplace, shelf or bookcase.

How to make a home-grown Christmas wreath

Expert florist and National Garden Scheme volunteer, Penny Snell CBE, gives her step-by-step guide on how to make a home-grown and wonderfully wild Christmas wreath.

Winter activities for the family

Keep the family entertained this Christmas break with these winter activities for children. Provided by our friends at the Queen’s Nursing Institute, these scavenger hunts and craft activities are a great way to get into the festive spirit.

How to make bird seed cakes

Feed the birds in your garden this winter with these Christmas inspired birdseed cakes.

This simple ‘recipe’ is a great crafting activity for the Christmas holidays, and will have the whole family bird watching at the window once they’re served to the wildlife in the garden.

Feed the birds with nutty apple rings

Treat the wildlife in your garden this winter with these nutty apple rings. This quick winter craft is a great way to encourage children to get outdoors this December, and to learn about the wildlife living in the garden.

Visit the National Garden Scheme website 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

The project has 2 strands:

1. Lantern Making - we have Lantern Kits - suitable for anyone over 5years - with everything you need to make one of our lovely paper and bamboo lanterns. There are 3 designs - Pyramid, Heart and Star. Pyramids are the easiest. There are simple written instructions in the kits and video instructions online for you to watch.

2. Celebrating - as part of the project we have commissioned 3 artists to construct very big lanterns that fix to cycle rickshaws. These will be cycling the city centre streets on 19th & 20th December as part of ‘The Magic of Bath at Christmas’ being coordinated by B&NES Council. We’re hoping if people come into town on those days, they might bring their lanterns with them and acknowledge others doing the same!

ArtSeen have free Lantern kits for anyone associated with St John’s Foundation who would like to make one. Kits will be delivered to the Bubble for collection in person.

To claim your kit(s) please email artseen2000@gmail.com or call 07985 170676. Please let us know your preferred design and how many you’d like.

Wolverhampton bin men release charity Christmas single

A trio of refuse collectors, whose dancing videos went viral, have released a charity Christmas single.

Boogie Round the Bins at Christmas Time by Wolverhampton's Jack Johnson, Henry Wright and Adrian Breakwell was released on Friday.

They have gained a huge following, after sharing videos of their dances, which included Grease and Baywatch themed routines.

Half of all money raised from the single will go to a local charity.

The Over 90s Short Story Prize is now open for entries.

Following the success of the Over 90s Art Prize, Grow Old Disgracefully are now launching the Over 90s Short Story Prize with the theme of “Childhood Memories”.

Jackie Flaherty, Grow Old Disgracefully Founder comments:

“We chose childhood memories as the theme because anyone over 90 will have been brought up before or during the war. They must have some amazing tales to tell, so we are asking them please to write them down for us all.”

Find out how to enter the competition here.

Advent Hope & Light: Wednesday Mornings 10.30 – 11.30am

Wednesdays December 2nd, 9th, 16th and 23rd

A weekly discussion over Zoom. Each week our Chaplain Rev Jacky Wise will open a conversation that will help us to think about the joy, light and hope of Christmas.

Use these links to join the discussion: Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 992 2445 6918 Passcode: 784821

Celebrations & Christmas

Jayne's Recipe for Homemade Body Scrub - an easy way to exfoliate your skin


  • 1 cup of coconut oil (can be slightly melted to mix)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • Optional extra - a few drops of essential oils (I used star anise)

Mix together and store in a jar until needed. A perfect and easily made body exfoliator. You can always make extra and give away as lovely homemade gifts.

Send special seasons greetings

Cancer Research have designed and made their own beautiful collection of Christmas cards and gifts to help you share special moments this season, whilst helping fund life-saving cancer research.

Visit their online shop here.

Barnardo's Online Shop

Barnardo's online charity shop has a greatvalue range of charity cards, homeware, toys, gifts and so much more!

All profits from your purchase will help the UK's most vulnerable and disadvantaged children

Visit the shop here.

At Home with St John’s is now live!

We have now launched At Home with St John’s – our brand new programme of zoom classes, with activities at 10am and 2pm, Monday to Thursday.

Book your classes

Classes cost £3.50 each and booking is now open for each activity. You can find out more in this issue of Activities Remotely (see below) and book your class(es) online. If you have any trouble with the booking process, please do not hesitate to email us at community.outreach@stjohnsbath.org.uk

Thank you and we hope to see you (virtually) very soon.

Watercolours with Sarah

From Tuesday 17 November, 2020 @ 2pm

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.

Register in advance for this webinar here.

Chair Yoga with Liz Lee

From Wednesday 18 November, 2020 @ 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).

Register in advance for this webinar here.

Tai Chi Movements for Wellbeing

From Thursday 19 November, 2020 @ 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.

Register in advance for this webinar here.

Mat Yoga with Liz Coleman

From Thursday 19 November, 2020 @ 2pm

A new class for students who are comfortable working from a mat base.

Gentle yoga, breathing and deep relaxation.

Register in advance for this webinar 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

From BusinessInsider

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.

The areas in which we can offer support via our Community Wellbeing Hub are:

  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.

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.

Mindfulness from Mind

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.

Mindful.org - Getting Started with Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.

While mindfulness is something we all naturally possess, it’s more readily available to us when we practice on a daily basis.

Whenever you bring awareness to what you’re directly experiencing via your senses, or to your state of mind via your thoughts and emotions, you’re being mindful. And there’s growing research showing that when you train your brain to be mindful, you’re actually remodeling the physical structure of your brain.

The goal of mindfulness is to wake up to the inner workings of our mental, emotional, and physical processes.

Find out more here.

Compassionate Community

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 from receiving it (though, please confirm with the individual before requesting).

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

Each pack is delivered by a volunteer from our Emergency Volunteer Response team, however we are only able to deliver within Bath & North East Somerset.

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

Somerset Skills & Learning

SS&L is running a FREE 60-minute workshop on How to Use Zoom. It’s the perfect short session for anyone who wants to use the video calling software, Zoom, with more confidence.

Using Zoom can open up a world of new experiences – from video calling family to joining in with online groups and learning opportunities. As so much of today’s socialising is happening in digital format, there are many people being left behind due to lack of experience with this technology – and SS&L wants to help bridge this gap and prevent further isolation.

This course is being held at the Percy Community Centre on the 6th of November in a COVID-secure setting, and more information can be found on the website.

The best of the best

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


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.


Leo very kindly filmed herself making these delicious crunchy oat biscuits from a previous newsletters recipe. They look fantastic! Thank you so much for getting involved and sending us this video, Leo.

Jamie Oliver: Keep Cooking & Carry On

Jamie Oliver shows us some recipes, tips and hacks tailored for the unique times we're living in, including pork stir-fry, steamed dumplings, and the ultimate roast beef sarnie. Watch Jamie here.

23 Delicious & Healthy Meals

Here are 23 delicious & healthy meals you can make at home, brought to you by Tasty.co. Whether it's pancakes for breakfast (recipe #1), salted honey, apple and gouda toast (#6), spicy chicken stir fry with peanuts (#15) or mac and cheese (#23), there is plenty for everyone. Have a look at the full list of recipes here.

Banana Bread Recipe

Here at St John's, we've been having a big baking debate and all anyone is talking about is Banana Bread! So, we thought we'd share with your our favourite banana bread recipe. Have a go and let us know how you get on. You can find it here.

NHS Health at Home

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


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.

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.


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
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  27. Activities Remotely 27

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


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