Let’s Connect

Regular updates from Health Connections Mendip during Covid-19

Health Connections Mendip is a social prescribing and community development service that acts as a bridge between primary care and local communities. In this issue of our newsletter, we’re providing latest Government guidance and information on Covid-19, and sharing details on the new community support networks across Mendip, which can help people with shopping and picking up medication.

For information on a wide range of local services and projects in the Mendip area visit our directory Please be aware that some of the services listed may be working in a different way to normal.

Please pass this newsletter on to any members of the public, local groups or health/community professionals who could find it helpful

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Guidance for the community during Covid-19

If you have symptoms of Covid-19, please stay at home. Do not visit a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Use the NHS 111 Covid-19 online service
https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19 to find out what to do, or if you do not have access to the internet telephone 111

The main symptoms of Covid-19 are:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual).

During the current situation with Coronavirus (COVID-19) people are being asked to stay at home and only go out for the following reasons:

  • to shop for basic essentials but only when you really need to
  • to do one form of exercise a day such as a run, walk or cycle – you can do this alone or with other people you live with
  • for any medical need – for example, to visit a pharmacy or deliver essential supplies to a vulnerable person
  • to travel to and from work but only where this is absolutely necessary

Some people are isolating at home (if they or members of their family show COVID-19 symptoms) or are being advised to stay at home (due to their age or their medical conditions).

If you are feeling isolated or you need help getting food or medication:

  1. Activate your support network – Contact your friends, family and neighbours (get to know your 5 neighbours either side if possible). Ask them to give you a regular telephone call or call them regularly; this may also be helpful for them as they could be feeling isolated too. You could also ask someone to shop for you when they are doing their regular shop. They can leave it at your door and tell you when to expect it.
  2. Local community support – If you don’t have support nearby, lots of towns and villages have set up volunteer networks to help anyone who needs assistance with things like shopping or picking up medication. If you have internet access, you can see the list of these networks on the page on the Covid-19 Community Support page on the Health Connections Mendip directory. The people who have volunteered with these groups want to help people in need in their local area.
  3. Vulnerable patient letters. If you have received a patient ‘most vulnerable’ letter because of a medical condition and do not have anyone to help you, you can use the following link to register your details and receive deliveries of food and medication: www.gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable

Mental health and emotional support

If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health, Mindline Somerset is providing an extended service. People can call them on

01823 276892, Monday to Friday from 9.00am – 11.00pm and on Saturdays and Sundays between 8.00pm – 11.00pm

Mental health charity Heads Up is also available to provide telephone support and reassurance, as well as food deliveries. People experiencing mental health issues or carers can call on 01749 670667, Monday – Friday from 9.00am – 4.00pm.

In Frome, the charity Active and In Touch is providing telephone befriending support to older people and those who feel isolated. You can contact them on 07539 795261

Health Connections Mendip is no longer offering face to face sessions, but you can speak to a Health Connector on the phone, to discuss a range of emotional and practical support. Health Connectors work closely with health and community services, supporting people to access equipment, adaptations, home help/social care and to develop their support network. To speak to a Health Connector call 01373 468368

You can also access online mental health support via the Every Mind Matters website – a new national campaign from Public Health England. The campaign aims to make it easier for everyone to look after their own wellbeing and improve their mental health, by providing a digital hub full of advice, tips and resources and an online tool to help people create their own action plan.

Healthy lifestyle advice

This is an important time to consider how we can make changes to our lifestyles that will support our health, as well as our general sense of wellbeing and purpose. The charity Mind has developed information and resources on a wide range of topics as well as a checklist for staying at home.

  • Eating well and staying hydrated (including a video on food and mood)
  • Managing your medications
  • Organising and taking care of your home environment
  • Working and studying at home
  • Support in relation to benefits, work and housing
  • The importance of routine, sleep and relaxation, connecting with others, entertainment, stimulating your mind, exercise and time in nature

You may also be interested in watching a TED Talk by Dr Dean Ornish, Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco and founder of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute. For over three decades, he has directed clinical research demonstrating the benefits of comprehensive lifestyle changes on health. He has been identified as one of the “TIME 100” in integrative medicine and by Forbes as “one of the seven most powerful teachers in the world”.

Community food projects

In Mendip, a number of projects and networks are providing free food parcels and hot food for the community. Existing foodbanks are also continuing to provide their service.

In Frome, food deliveries are being made by Frome Town Council to those most in need, who don’t have a support network. You can call the council on 01373 465757

In Wells, the Elim Connect Centre remains open to support vulnerable people in the community, between 10am – 3pm. Limited numbers of people will be allowed in the building at any one time as to ensure social distancing guidance. On Wednesdays between 12pm – 2pm they are providing a hot meal delivery or take away service for those in need, including families who receive free school meals, those who are elderly or frail who can’t get to the shops and those who are isolated for long periods of time. Call the office on 01749 677097 to register. A maximum of two hot meals can be taken away or delivered.

In Street, the Salvation Army is providing free food packages to those in need, and can deliver to people’s doorstep. Contact them on 07511 313339

In Glastonbury, the Lords of the Wildwood cafe plans to launch a community soup kitchen. Further information will be made available via the cafe’s Facebook page

Resources for people running mutual aid groups
and community volunteer networks

Any projects in Mendip that need guidance at this time can find information on the Spark Somerset website, for example how to work safely with volunteers and the public whilst following latest Government guidance.

Spark has also launched Corona Helpers, a free online platform on which COVID-19 support groups can recruit and manage volunteers, and individuals can pledge their support.

Local projects may be interested in accessing Rally Round, a free online tool to help you to support people in your community. Everyone in your network can use it to share and discuss tasks and volunteer to help out.

SAFE CIC is offering child and adult safeguarding courses at cost price – just £6 per person per course. This offer is open to organisations, groups and individuals whose purpose is specifically to help others in the COVID-19 crisis.

Any projects seeking funding, can access local grants via Somerset Community Foundation. There are also lots of national funding pots available; visit Grants Online and the Linked In Coronavirus Funder List for more information.

For further advice, you can contact Spark Somerset on 01460 202970 or send them an email