Where to get help, advice and support during Covid-19

Where to get help 

The following is provided by the Council. 

You can find more information about Bristol-based and national organisations supporting women here. 

We Are Bristol Covid-19 hotline: 

  • A dedicated telephone hotline has been launched in Bristol to help the city’s most vulnerable citizens during the Covid-19 pandemic. 
  • The ‘We Are Bristol’ support phone number – 0117 352 3011 – went live today (Tuesday 31 March) and will offer a potential lifeline to isolated and worried residents across the city. 
  • Call handlers will be available initially during office hours (8.30am-5pm, Monday to Friday) to provide support for people with a wide range of needs, including obtaining food supplies, other essential items and medication. They can also help arrange follow-up support with different organisations.  
  • A campaign to promote the #WeAreBristol support hotline begins this week with a press release and social media posting. The campaign will broaden out through radio and partner channels next week. 

NHS A&E advice:  

·         Local health and care leaders are advising citizens to avoid A&E for all but serious or life-threatening emergencies, to allow hospitals to focus on the patients who need them most. 

·         Patients with minor injuries such as sprains, cuts or burns are being asked to go to their local minor injury unit for help, while those with minor illnesses are asked to contact their GP. 

·         Patients are also being reminded to contact NHS 111, at any time, for immediate help with urgent, but non-emergency conditions. 

·         Visits to A&E should be limited to serious and life-threatening emergencies such as: 

·         loss of consciousness 

·         acute confused state and fits that are not stopping 

·         persistent, severe chest pain 

·         breathing difficulties 

·         severe bleeding that cannot be stopped 

·         severe allergic reactions 

·         severe burns or scalds 

 Important hate crime information from SARI (Stand Against Racism and Inequality): 

  • There has been a slight spike in hate crimes towards Chinese and South East Asian communities, as well as targeting of and abuse towards police officers and health service practitioners trying to do their very tough jobs.  Hate Crime is a crime motivated by prejudice towards someone because of their identity. 
  • Whilst rare, such senseless attacks are traumatic and cause upset and damage to day-to-day lives that are already hard because of Covid-19. 
  • As a city, SARI want to encourage reporting of any form of hate crime and to make sure it is tackled robustly and swiftly.  If you need support to deal with hate crime, the local Bristol Hate Crime and Discrimination Services (led by SARI) is available for any victim of hate crime in our City or any agency that wants advice.  
  • There are clear risks associated with the impact of Covid-19 including a rise in frustration, ASB and Hate Crime as people are forced to stay home, may lose income and structure to their day and don’t have access to many leisure and public facilities. 
  • Please let SARI know if they can assist in any way and get in touch if victims need support.   
  • SARI’s advice to us all is: “Stay safe and let’s all do our bit to keep our communities calm, supported and looked after during this unprecedented crisis”. 
  • For more information about their services, please visit https://www.bhcds.org.uk/.  

Bristol cases 

You can find out about the number of cases in Bristol and Nationally on this government website  and updated each afternoon.  

Bristol education sector  

  • Free school meals – the voucher scheme is being launched today for those schools that are part of the Council’s catering contract (Chartwells). This replaces the distribution model that was in place last week in order to reduce contact and support new social distancing measures.  This scheme will provide weekly vouchers worth £15 to 7,000 children and young people. Those schools who are not in the Council’s contract will continue as previously. The majority of these are already running the voucher scheme.   

  • Special schools – 1:1 sessions with head teachers are taking place over Tuesday and Wednesday to review risk assessments and agree on models for partial opening.      

  • PPE in schools – new guidance regarding PPE was issued by central government at the weekend, but we are awaiting clarity on how this applies to schools and settings.  The current focus is therefore to agree local guidance based on best practice and try and source the appropriate equipment to implement in schools and education settings.  


Bristol Autism Team support for families

·         The Bristol Autism Team (BAT) Education Hub is contacting all special educational needs co-ordinators for settings where we have active cases, to find out which of our pupils are attending and to offer advice. 

·         The team have compiled some helpful resources and information for parents who are at home with their autistic children/young people here

·         If further help is required, we ask that families contact either their direct BAT Link or Bristol.autism.hotline@bristol.gov.uk.

Bristol adult social care sector  

  • Pressure on hospitals is likely to build up significantly over the next 2 weeks and to peak around Easter weekend.  Adult Social Care are working closely with health partners to implement national requirements for hospital discharge through a ‘discharge to assess’ model, ensuring that hospital beds are freed up to respond to additional demand.  We are setting up an Integrated Care Centre in Bristol for facilitated discharges, where social care, Sirona and the voluntary sector will work together to ensure patients are discharged safely to appropriate support and are prioritising Home First, Reablement and home care capacity to respond.  

  • PPE – most care providers currently have access to appropriate PPE and where they are short, we are sharing existing stocks. But there is concern about future availability, particularly masks and we are awaiting an NHS delivery for private care providers.   

  • Care services are currently operating with increasing staff absence due to self-isolation or sickness (25%). We are deploying care staff across all services to keep services running.  Our HR department is currently supporting with urgent redeployment of staff across the council and leading a recruitment drive through Proud to Care across BNSSG. More information is available here: https://www.proudtocarebristol.org.uk  – we would urge you to share this with networks.  

  • A letter is being sent out this week to all service users who receive Home care, Supported Living or live in Extra Care Housing offering reassurance and information.  

Bristol children’s social care sector 

·         A Bristol foster carer sadly lost their life to Covid-19 over the weekend. The children and family are being supported.   

·         Children and Families Services continue to deliver services on a risk assessed basis to the most vulnerable children in the city with moves to virtual and telephone contact where possible. 

·         PPE is in place for home visits and for care workers where Covid-19 symptoms are present. 

·         Changes to family time for parents of children in our care are being communicated to families from today with a letter from the Director that will be followed by a call from the Social Worker. The letter sets out planned moves to virtual family time arrangements to observe government guidelines but again, assessed on an individual basis. 

·         Regular (weekly) contact established with all children in our long term care, their carers and our care leavers. 

·         We are currently attending to those without Wi-Fi and those experiencing severe hardship through food parcel and additional assistance. 

·         Short break residential homes for disabled children (Bush and Belbrook) are not operating due to risk of infection resulting from high turnover of children and staff members/inability to maintain social distancing guidelines. Services to families continue where this is assessed to be essential support to the family.  

·         Increasing risk is evident in some areas of the city for young people vulnerable to exploitation, abuse, anti-social behaviour (ASB) and offending outside the family home. A multiagency response being coordinated with police and other partners. 

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