COVID-19 Community Groups Newsletter

17 April 2020

This newsletter is for community groups that are coordinating efforts to support those in self isolation and people in need, with tailored information, advice, hints and tips.

Wiltshire Council support

The Wiltshire Wellbeing Hub

We have set up a dedicated hub to support the most vulnerable residents during the ongoing COVID-19 situation. The hub is available to anyone who is struggling during this difficult time, such as people who are shielding or self-isolating and don’t have a support network around them or know where to get help.

People can get in touch with the hub via email at or by calling 0300 003 4576. It’s available from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 4pm Saturday and Sunday.

Community Group Directory and Volunteer Group Information Pack

We have created a communities group directory and an information pack for volunteer groups to help them support their communities during the ongoing COVID-19 situation. The information pack includes top tips on setting up a volunteer group, advice on supporting those in self-isolation, a range of template forms and useful signposting to other resources. Both are available on the Wiltshire Council website.

Please email with any amendments, deletions or additions to the community directory.

Online active communities resources

With people stuck at home for the foreseeable future, we’ve compiled a list of resources across a wide range of subjects to try and provide something of interest for everyone.The resources have been broken down into categories: Keep active; Mental Health; Read and rhyme!; Creativity, culture and heritage; Digital learning; Home schooling. View the online resources.

Safeguarding, DBS, and Data Protection advice

We have produced a guide for community groups in Wiltshire who are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, regarding safeguarding, DBS checks and data protection.

This is to support groups in their work to protect vulnerable people from potentially unscrupulous people and to support volunteers to feel confident the work they are doing is safe and appropriate for all.View the Safeguarding guidance for volunteer groups

Wessex Community Action list of VCSE organisations and Befriending Guidance

Wessex Community Action logo. Supporting Community and Voluntary Activity

Wessex Community Action’s dedicated Covid-19 page for the VCSE organisations in Wiltshire. They will aim to make it as practical and as comprehensive as possible so you have a one stop shop for resources and information. They are working with the councils for voluntary services across the country and sharing resources. They are very grateful to be working with these partners and being able to sharing our resources collectively. At the bottom of their page make sure you are signed up to receive the Wessex Community Action newsletters to keep automatically updated with local and national news.

Befriending Guidance for Covid-19 Groups Supporting Isolated Residents

Many volunteers in your community maybe offering to call isolated residents to reduce their sense of isolation and loneliness. This Befriending Guidance can be used as a template to share with your volunteers.

More on Wessex Community Action

Mental health support and advice

Here are a few local and national initiatives and organisations that can help:Every Mind Matters.The Every Mind Matters website has been updated to reflect how to look after your health and wellbeing during COVID-19 including how to look after your body.NHS mental health and wellbeing advice website. For self-assessment, audio guides and practical tools, if you are experiencing stress, feelings of anxiety or low mood.Mental Health Foundation. Looking after your mental health during the Coronavirus outbreak.MIND. Have an excellent resource for managing your wellbeing at this time.Domestic Abuse supportTurn2me. A lifeline online. There is free access to online support groups, great resources including podcasts on a wide range of subjects.Young Minds. Tips on how to cope with mental health challenges during the current crisis.The Help Hub. Supporting those in isolation.Avon & Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership. Telephone 24/7 response line 0300 3031320.Teen Talk Young Melksham. A hotline for 11 to 25 year olds for the whole of Wiltshire.Re-engage. Charity offering befriending and a listening ear for older people.Wiltshire Treehouse. Are using phone and online support to help those in need, at a time when face to face help is not possible. Kath Brownlee, Bereavement Service Lead says “We anticipate that deaths from the coronavirus will present some unique challenges for families and their children. Social distancing means that saying goodbye to loved ones can be difficult, and some deaths will be sudden and unexpected. We can provide young people with an outlet for their feelings, whilst assisting parents to better understand how to help their grieving child.” 

Richmond Fellowship telephone service for wellbeing support

Richmond Fellowship logo of three figures blue, red and yellow

Richmond Fellowship are now offering telephone advice and support across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire to help people struggling with anxiety or other mental health concerns in the current situation.

Please contact them if you want to find out more about the resources available to you on-line or in the community to help you cope during these challenging times.

Please leave a voice message or email using the contact details – clearly stating your full name, your telephone number and a brief summary of your inquiry – and they will get back to you within 24hrs Monday to Friday during office hours. 

Telephone: 01380 724833 


Age UK telephone calls for older people

Age UK Wiltshire logo

Are you or someone you know self-isolating and not having regular social contact?   

Age UK are offering ‘reassurance’ social telephone calls to older people from one of their friendly volunteers for a temporary period. If you would like to receive a call or you know someone who would benefit, please get in touch with them.

 Telephone: 0808 196 2424


RSPCA help during COVID-19

Photo of man walking dog on a lead, along a track through woodlands.
The RSPCA has produced guidance to make sure people with animals are prepared.

Ensuring pet owners are prepared: 

The RSPCA has produced a poster that can be downloaded and filled in by members of the public who have pets/animals. The aim being they will approach family/friends/neighbours who can care for their pets if they are hospitalised. This poster should be displayed in a visible place, for example on the fridge, etc so that the emergency services can see plans have already been made for the animals. Please do share this with the public in your community to try and help ease the pressure on the Adult Social Care teams in finding boarding spaces for animals. 

Dog walking:

Guidance has been produced on dog walking and we would strongly urge you to share this widely so that dog owners and all dog walkers are aware of it. It sets out sensible measures to ensure dogs can still be exercised with precautions taken for them and people. For example, all walkers should keep dogs on leads at this time – to help ensure social distancing, and avoid owners coming into contact with one another should they have to go and retrieve their dog or in the event of an incident as well as potential veterinary visit. Importantly it outlines information for those wishing to support key workers or those who are self-isolating or shielding by taking their pets out for a walk.More about RSPCA advice for pet owners

Wiltshire Community Foundation lists funding opportunities

Wiltshire Community Foundation has compiled a list of funding opportunities as well as organisations offering support and advice at this challenging time. This list is regularly updated and do let the community fund know if you are aware of any other opportunities.

The Wiltshire Community Foundation have also launched their own Coronavirus Response Grants programme to distribute funds raised through their own appeal and Wiltshire and Swindon’s share of the National Emergencies Trust Coronavirus Appeal fund.Find out more about funding opportunities

Persimmon’s Charitable Foundation funding

Building Futures scheme

Persimmon’s Charitable Foundation has committed to relaunching its Building Futures scheme for 2020. As part of its sponsorship of Team GB, Persimmon will donate more than £1 million to support children in sport, health and education.

They are calling on local groups which support children to apply.

Community Champions Initiative

Persimmon’s Community Champions initiative has run since 2015 and gives away £64,000 every month in single donations up to the value of £1,000. So far over £3.5million has been donated in the UK.

Persimmon has decided that from April 2020 all Community Champions funding will go directly to groups supporting the over 70s.How to apply for Persimmon’s Charitable Foundation funding

Warm and Safe Wiltshire advice service

The Warm and Safe Wiltshire advice service is still busy helping people who are struggling to keep warm and to manage their fuel bills. We know that the current situation is particularly challenging for vulnerable people and that domestic energy costs have risen as households are obliged to stay at home.

A reminder of the work they do:

They help people access fuel vouchers through their energy supplier, various schemes or our project resources. They also act as an advocate in helping people seek postponement of payments and discretionary fuel credit through their suppliers.They help people connect with Foodbanks and food parcel services in their area and sign up for extra support from the government.They support households in a no heat situation by providing new oil filled radiators to eligible households in the short term, and referrals to installers and schemes for heating repair or upgrades in the long term.

 Through close working relationships with organisations in the area, they can refer onto numerous helpful third parties.

 They offer in-depth caseworker support to make homes warmer, save money on fuel bills, seek out grants and discounts and make energy saving improvements to homes.If you have a patient or service user that you feel could do with their support please refer to them.Find out more about Warm and Safe Wiltshire advice

Keeping safe when helping others

The government has published guidance that focuses on how people can help friends, family and neighbours in isolation safely.

This guide is to inform those who are well and not at risk, of the things that they can do to help support their friends and neighbours who need to stay at home because of Coronavirus.More on how to help others safely

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *