In response to the coronavirus crisis a number of groups and individuals in Bath and surrounding areas have developed initiatives to provide community support and enable mutual aid, especially to address the needs of the most vulnerable in our communities. This is a round-up of these initiatives.

If you want to promote something you are doing please email info@bathcooperatives.org

Co-ordinating the local response

The Compassionate Community Covid-19 Hub set up by B&NES 3rd Sector Group (3SG) is co-ordinating the response, including:

Bath Mutual Aid is a Facebook group set up in December 2019 with the simple idea of being for people who want to help each other. A recent discussion on the group was the starting point for some of the initiatives that are happening and the group has greatly increased its membership since then.

Bath Coronavirus Help and Volunteers is another group covering the Bath area.

Some Mutual Aid groups for specific neighbourhoods have also been set up so it’s worth checking if there is one in your area.

Help During Coronavirus: shopping etc has been set up on the Next Door platform. You will need to be a member of Next Door to join (see more below)

Extinction Rebellion Bath are coordinating their local network to work alongside groups such as 3SG to offer community support.

Food support

3SG have compiled a list of local companies doing food delivery 

Bath Food Bank provides help for those who are struggling. You can help them by donating food or, if you are unable to leave the house, donating money

FareShare South West helps tackle food poverty in the South West by redistributing surplus food across the region. They are currently involved in an emergency operation to get food to the most vulnerable and you can help by making a donation.

Financial support

Corona-Finance includes a list of Frequently Asked Questions and an enquiry form targeted at people on a low income, compiled by staff at Quids In Centres (including Bath) and writers for Quids in! magazine.

Support for front line staff

Shopping, Cooking & Caring for our Bath NHS Team Facebook group has been set up.

Local networking tools

Here are some tools you can use for networking in your neighbourhood.

Next Door is a free social networking platform for local communities and neighborhoods, focusing on connections to your near neighbours. There are already over 3,000 members in the Bath area and a number of discussion threads on how to support each other in response to coronavirus. Here are instructions on how to join Next Door and link up with people in your community.

WhatsApp is a free mobile phone messaging service through which you can set up groups to enable up to 256 people to have collective discussions by text. You can also do video calls which could be very useful for people feeling isolated. You can download WhatsApp on your phone or computer by going to the app store or go here. Here are instructions to set up a group.

Community Facebook pages/groupsEven if there isn’t a specific COVID-19 support group in your area there are already in existence a number of Facebook pages/groups for local communities through which you could start the discussion. We’ve listed those we know of in Bath and the surrounding areas. If you know of others please let us know.

Crossing the digital divide

A number of people may not be online or as digitally literate as others. Word of mouth and door to door leafleting will be vital to bring people into the support network.

The Local Look, a local newsletter with 9000 circulation in the East of Bath, has offered to circulate information and others might come on board.

The National Picture

Community support groups are being set up across the country. We thought it would be useful to share the following information because:

  1. We may each have family members or friends living elsewhere who are not aware of support local to them.
  2. We could learn from the experiences of other groups and vice versa.

A national COVID-19 Mutual Aid UK group has been set up to coordinate community organising across the country. They have a website with lots of resources and a Facebook page.

If you want to find a group in another part of the country they have a list and a map at a find your local group page

Coronavirus Support Group for Workers has been set up to enable workers to support each other, share advice and combine voices to get a better deal from employers and government.