Over the last ten days, the lives of so many of us here in Bath have become unrecognizable.
Most children are no longer going to school. Many of us are now working from home. And access to the world outside our homes has become limited for most of the community.
These are BIG changes and they have brought understandable anxiety.
And yet over the last ten days I have been blown away by the strength and resilience of our local community. People on every street, across this wonderful city, have been coming forward with offers of support.
This is an incredibly tough time in all our lives and yet the people of Bath are doing what they do best – reaching out with kindness to help those who need the most support.
Highlights of the Week: Community Action
1. RUH Chief Executive Puts Off Retirement to Serve the Community
James Scott, Chief Executive of the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust, was due to retire at the end of this month after nearly 13 years in his role.
He has announced that he will postpone his retirement and stay in post to support his fantastic staff during the coronavirus pandemic.
I am grateful to James for his leadership and service to everyone in Bath and have so much gratitude and respect for the dedicated RUH and NHS staff who are doing a tremendous job on the front line.
2. Independent Grocers Delivery Service Takes Off
The Sustainable Food Partnership has set up a website where you can see which local businesses are doing fresh food deliveries. This is a great way to get your basics without leaving your home and to also support our local food businesses. There are over 20 options to choose from in Bath alone!
The page is run by volunteers and updated daily. The page can be found here: https://www.3sg.org.uk/pages/sustainable-food-partnership.
3. Citizens Advice Continues to Offer Help to Claim:
The last ten days has brought with it considerable financial uncertainty for many people in the community, some of whom are having to apply for Universal Credit for the first time.
Our local Citizens Advice is here to help.
Their ‘Help to Claim’ programme is tailored to the individual and is designed to be delivered through a range of channels. The advisers have been trained to offer the same comprehensive support over phone and web chat as they do face-to-face, and they have adapted rapidly to continue delivering the service during these challenging times.
For more information about the service, please call Citizens Advice on 0344 848 7919, Monday to Friday 9:30am – 2:30pm. Please note that if you call outside open hours you will receive recorded advice.
4. Bath Residents Flock to Volunteer:
A local group of charities, residents, students and businesses have come together to create a Compassionate Community so they can support fellow residents during the difficult time ahead.
James Carlin, Director of BANES 3rd Sector Group (3SG) who has been leading on recruiting volunteers and coordinating local charities across our area.
From its first day, 13th March, when the initiative recruited 100 people, volunteer numbers have swelled to 1,900. A Helpline is about to go live next week and I will be sharing the number as soon as I can.
3SG is posting regular updates on its website: check here for the latest news: www.3sg.org.uk
5. Last Night the Streets Rang Loudly with our Appreciation for the NHS:
By far the most uplifting moment of my week was on Thursday night when I stepped out of my front door to clap for our amazing NHS. I shared this beautiful moment with people up and down the street – many leaning out of windows and from balconies. The noise was everywhere and could be heard echoing across Bath.
The staff who have been tirelessly working, in Bath and further afield, to keep us safe deserve all the appreciation that our locked down nation can offer. We are connected by our gratitude.