COVID-19: Creation of a Bear Flat help-line

This letter was hand-delivered to every home in the streets around Bear Flat on 21st March 2020. An update is being printed and will be delivered house-to-house early next week. 

The Bear Flat Association has set up a help-line for anyone self-isolating and who is having difficulty in shopping for food and other essentials, in getting medicines or maybe needing someone to talk to. To use the help-line, you can either email or telephone:

Telephone      07593 876127

The service is staffed by Bear Flat resident volunteers. Should you have to call, we will take dhere own details and ask a volunteer responder who lives close to you to get in touch, either by phone or a visit, as appropriate. To help us get back to you easily, please provide us with the following information:

  • Your name
  • Your address
  • Your reason for calling

Shopping/Prescriptions. If you need a volunteer to shop for you or go to the chemist and has to pay on your behalf, please be prepared to give the volunteer a cheque to cover the cost, a contactless payment card to make the payment or make a repayment via on-line bank transfer. The volunteer will provide you with a receipt for your purchase.

If a volunteer visits you, they will stay outside your house at a safe distance and may wear protective gloves. Please do not be offended by this – we live in extraordinary times!

Need to talk?  Self-isolation could be a lonely time. We would be happy to ask a volunteer to ring you if you feel you need to talk. Please understand that we cannot ask a volunteer enter your home.


Street-based support groups are being set up. If you are already part of a local support group, please contact them in the first instance.

If you are unwell such that you need to contact the NHS or emergency services, DO NOT USE THIS HELPLINE. RING 111 OR, IF AN EMERGENCY, 999. The help-line is not staffed by medical experts and has no access to medical facilities.


If you would like to be a volunteer responder, thank you. Please send your name, postal address and telephone number to


  • In line with the most recent advice, avoid non-essential social contact, including visiting crowded areas, and non-essential travel.
  • Regular, thorough hand-washing is the most effective preventative measure. Use soap, without rinsing, for 20 seconds minimum (sing ‘Happy Birthday to You‘ twice as a good timer) before rinsing off.
  • Avoid touching your face. Whilst air-born droplets are the main infection path, this can also happen through the skin and eyes.
  • Avoid shaking hands/social kissing. The yogic namaste seems to be a fashionable response to this, or elbow bumping
  • Practice social distancing. This is perhaps the most difficult to do – we are by nature social creatures. Keep some separation between you and others: no-one should be offended by this in the current climate.
  • Clean surfaces – germs dislike clean, shiny surfaces. This is of course good practice in the home but think about places outside the home that you touch – maybe the workplace or where you take recreation. Organisations ought to provide appropriate cleaning products – challenge them if they haven’t.


Government advice on self-isolation (as of mid March)

  • If you have symptoms of coronavirus infection, especially a high temperature or continuous cough, however mild, do not leave your home for 7 days from when your symptoms started. This action will help protect others in your community while you are infectious.
  • If you live in a household where someone has coronavirus symptoms, do not leave your home for 14 days. You may catch the virus yourself and this allows time for the infection to work itself out.
  • Plan ahead and ask others for help to ensure that you can successfully stay at home
  • Ask your employer, friends and family to help you get the things you need to stay at home
  • Stay at least 2 metres (about 3 steps) away from other people in your home if possible
  • Sleep alone, if possible
  • Wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, each time using soap and water, or use hand sanitiser
  • Stay away from vulnerable individuals, such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions, as much as possible
  • You do not need to call NHS 111 to go into self-isolation. If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days, contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, dial 111. For a medical emergency dial 999

Ending Self-Isolation

You should remain at home until 7 days after the onset of your symptoms, or 14 days if you live with someone who has the symptoms. After this, if you feel better and no longer have a high temperature, you can return to your normal routine. If you have not had any signs of improvement and have not already sought medical advice, contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, dial 111.Coughing may persist for several weeks in some people, despite the coronavirus infection having cleared. A persistent cough alone does not mean you must continue to self-isolate for more than 7 days

Click to read Widcombe Association‘s Talking Points for useful info from our neighbours.