Today’s guest blog comes from Labour Councillor Don Alexander (Avonmouth and Lawrence Weston – Labour). To find your local city councillor, visit the Council’s website.
As community champions, we would normally be out-and-about, holding surgeries and community meetings in our wards, or in City Hall in face-to-face meetings. Some of these events have been cancelled to support physical distancing; many are now taking place over the phone or online instead, as we stay home to protect our NHS and save lives.
Meanwhile, our council, NHS, and other key workers remain on the frontline. I’m sure that councillors of all parties would want to join me in thanking them for working so hard to keep us all safe and to keep Bristol going.
On a recent Labour Group zoom call, we pulled together a few examples of what we’ve been doing to support our communities in these tough times – in addition to working constructively with the administration and council officers:
- Encouraging people to register to volunteer via Can Do Bristol;
- Linking up with grassroots groups supporting their neighbours through shopping and medicine deliveries;
- Nominating community food-growing groups to receive some 3,000 vegetable plants from Blaise Estate nursery, and joining up local volunteers with the Community Larder scheme;
- Working with officers to ensure that residents’ questions are answered and making referrals for emergency help;
- Developing public health messages in more of the 91 languages spoken in Bristol, and delivering leaflets outlining what help is available;
- Checking in with local residents who may be vulnerable, elderly, or isolated;
- Continuing to liaise with the police and other partners about local issues, including anti-social behaviour, fly-tipping, and speeding;
- Working with tenants and landlords to prevent evictions;
- Highlighting the amazing work of local volunteers and organisations through the Mayor’s #HiddenHeroes campaign on social media.
At a time where fake news can spread quickly, we have also been sure to share all of the latest information and measures with residents and community groups.
From encouraging businesses to register for council grants to promoting advice for victims of domestic abuse, to boosting awareness of the freephone helpline (0800 694 0184) and our 100% council tax reduction scheme, we will continue sharing everything that the council is doing to support Bristolians.