Caring for the Community: How to Help in Bristol

Caring for the Community: How to Help in Bristol

At 91 Ways we are all about community and at this unsettling time, we need community more than ever before. It’s hard to know what is best to do and how is best to act, both in terms of looking after ourselves and our loved ones, but also knowing how we can help protect the most vulnerable in our community.

There are lots of amazing local organisations springing into action, so we have put together this list to help direct you to resources we think are useful. We will do our best to keep it updated. 

Ways you can help:

Volunteer for the NHS – You can sign up for the following roles: community response (shopping etc), patient transport (taking people home when they are well again), NHS transport (moving equipment and prescriptions between NHS locations) or check in and chat volunteer (phone support for the lonely or vulnerable). They are looking for 250,000 volunteers and within the first 24 hours of launching had already received 500,000 sign ups!
Update – on the 29th Mach, NHS volunteer sign ups were temporarily paused to process the initial 750,000 applications – an amazing number.

Join your local Mutual Aid group – Facebook groups have been set up across Bristol organised by postcode. You can find and join your local group, and request or offer assistance with errands and shopping etc. The group for the whole city is here.

Bristol City Council / CanDoBristol – This is the listings websites to show all volunteering opportunities in Bristol, and community groups are using it to promote their activities so it is a great place to start if you want to help.

Coronavirus 2020 Response Fund – We know a lot of people have been impacted financially by the virus, but if are in a position to donate, then this fund has been set up by the Quartet Community with Bristol City Council and donations will help communities across the South West region.

Acorn Bristol – Acorn is a member-led campaigning organisation, supporting and empowering low-income communities. They have set up a petition to help protect renters from eviction and a community support volunteering platform and are working with the facebook groups above to make sure all areas of the city are covered.

Volunteer for Fareshare – the food redistribution charity have launched an emergency operation to get food to the most vulnerable. They are looking for food donations and volunteers to help distribute them.

Caring in Bristol – Many homeless shelters have been forced to close as the virus spreads. CIB are doing everything they can to continue providing support to the homeless. While most of us adjust to living our lives inside our homes, they have nowhere to go. CIB are working with the council to get them housed and fed, but they need support and have launched their biggest ever campaign, which you can support here.

Bristol Homeless Connect – Updates of interruptions and changes to homelessness services as well as any pop-up provisions.

Bristol Food Union – an informal collective of restaurants, food businesses and community organisations that have come together across-sectors to ensure that the city of Bristol stays fed during the Covid-19 crisis. Through their website you can buy a meal for a frontline worker, buy directly from local businesses including farmers and pre-made meals, or donate directly to the Bristol Food Fund

Best of Bristol – A guide on how you can continue to support local independent businesses that are now at risk, while practicing social distancing or self isolation.

Bristol Independents Map – a volunteer run google map showing all local independent businesses continuing to offer deliveries – support them if you can.

Wriggle’s Indie Kitty – You can buy a voucher now for one of your favourite local independents. They get the money straight away, and you get something delicious to look forward to!

Bristol24/7 Live Updates – Each day the Bristol 24/7 team are running a live blog, with local developments being updated as they happen. 

Bristol Community Job Board – A facebook group to post work opportunities for those out of work/struggling financially due to the virus.

Business West – A guide to trading through Coronavirus, for businesses and employees across the South West

Nextdoor – An online platform for connecting neighbours, where many people are posting requests and offers of help.

North Bristol Foodbank – Foodbanks are having a tough time as demand has increased, while donations and volunteer numbers have dropped. They are in need of food donations, box packers, delivery drivers, and financial donations

Bristol City Council – The official council website contains lots of useful information on how to make sure you stay safe while helping offers, which is available in a variety of languages. They have also set up a We Are Bristol hotline, which is available 8.30am-5pm, Monday-Friday on freephone number 0800 694 0184 and is for those who need to request help, particularly with food and medicine collections.

Viral Kindness – Leaflets you can fill in and post through your neighbours doors to let them know if you can offer help – unfortunately the elderly and most vulnerable are also the most likely not to have access to the resources above, as they may not have/use computers or smartphones. If you are able to print and post these on your street (after washing your hands of course), this may be a more effective way to ensure help is available to those who really need it.

Every Mind Matters – Guidance and advice from the NHS Every Mind Matters programme to help you adjust to the ‘new normal’ while protecting your mental health.

Mind – A few more resources to help you take care of your mental health and wellbeing over the coming weeks.

Headspace – The meditation app are offering a set of  free meditation, sleep and movement exercises called ‘weathering the storm’. There are also many other free meditation and sleep stories that can help with general anxiety or trouble sleeping – try searching on youtube or spotify and make sure you bookmark any you find useful.

Food shopping information:

Unfortunately panic buying has left many supermarket shelves bare. Many people are using Nextdoor and local facebook groups above to locat products, or let other know when items are in stock, as well as which shops have raised their prices and which have stayed the same. Lots of big supermarket chains have changed their opening hours or made other temporary changes like limiting the amount of products customers can buy at one time, so it’s best to double check their websites before you head out.

Most main supermarket chains have put in place special opening hours for the elderly and most vulnerable, as well as NHS, emergency services and social care workers. 

Co-op – Priority shopping for all vulnerable customers and NHS staff is Monday to Saturday 8 – 9am and Sunday 10 – 11am.

Marks and SpencerFirst hour of trading on Mondays and Thursdays is only for older and vulnerable customers. First hour of trading on Tuesdays and Fridays is only for NHS and emergency workers. 

Sainsburys – From 8am – 9am on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays,  stores will only serve elderly, disabled and vulnerable customers, as well as NHS and Social Care workers. Most store opening times are now 8am – 8pm.

Tesco – Tesco will prioritise the elderly and most vulnerable customers from 9am – 10am on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Waitrose – First opening hour of all stores every day is dedicated to the elderly, the vulnerable, and those that look after them.

As you may expect, we have decided to postpone our upcoming events, and will keep you updated with any news. We hope you all stay safe and well. 

We will keep updating the list as we find more useful resources – please send any suggestions to