These are worrying times for everyone.
They are particularly difficult for residents and families who have already run out of money, some of whom also have children at home needing to be fed.
If you, your family or your friends are still at home and struggling for ways to keep busy we hope these suggestions will give you lots of ideas of things to try.
We hope you find something of interest.
The material contained in this article is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice. While we endeavour to check content and keep information up to date we cannot guarantee content, we have no control over external links and use is at your own risk. If you come across any inappropriate content please inform us.
Wiltshire Council have compiled a useful list of resources across a wide range of subjects.
This is a great place to start your search for activities to do at home.
There are lots of ideas of things to do, stay active or just keep your mental health in a positive place, with sections on:
For Wiltshire Councils Active Communities resources: Take a look here
The NHS has a virtual fitness studio with free instructor-led videos covering aerobics exercise, strength and resistance, pilates and yoga, there is even a couch to 5K 10 week fitness plan.. The videos range from beginners to intermediate level, there is something suitable for all ages , last from 10 to 45 minutes long, and are available here The NHS Virtual Fitness Studio
Wiltshire Council offer support with weight management programmes for all ages . If you would like to find out more Click here
Joe Wicks - Fitness guru Joe Wicks has become the “the nations P.E. teacher” with his daily You Tube workout. Wicks says they are suitable for all ages, and even adults can get involved. Tune in at 9am each morning for a 30-minute workout or go to You Tube and type Joe Wicks into Search .
Wiltshire Council have created a healthy lifestyle guide that is aimed at older people during COVID-19 whilst social distancing measures are in place and more time is being spent in their own homes.
The guide can help with healthy eating, as well as the importance of hydration and physical exercise, and how this will all contribute to preventing the risk of falls during this time of social distancing, and also in the future.
Libraries - Libraries are closed at the moment, but Wiltshire library members can download eBooks and eAudiobooks and read eMagazines by registering on the Wiltshire RB digital website or the RB digital app with a valid library card number and email address.
You can join the library here online.
Audible - You can download free audio books for all ages on Audible
Digital and numeracy courses - Go to The Skills Toolkit for free HM government digital and numeracy courses to build your skills. From courses on how to use social media to coding.
The Open University - The Open University Open Learn offers many free courses. Click here for the list of free Open University courses
Future Learn - Explore online courses to continue studying, build professional skills, and connect with experts. Click here
Rosetta Stone - Rosetta Stone is giving free access for schoolchildren to use its language courses for the next three months, saving parents the usual £50 fee. Go to .rosettastone.
Duolingo - For a free trial for all ages of Duolingo language courses click here
The BBC offers free language courses, for all that's on offer click here
Try out Origami – There are many resources online including:
Play chess with a family member a friend online or against a computer:
There are also lots of downloadable sudoku puzzles online.
Challenge yourself with a crossword puzzle.
Many of the daily newspapers have online crossword puzzles, go online and make your choice.
Enjoy the great weekly schedules put together by our very own Malmesbury Community Radio
If you're stuck at home – you're not alone
To listen click here or go to flyingmonkcommunityprojects.weebly.com
You will be able to catch up on programmes you have missed or find lots of box sets of different genres to watch on BBC iPlayer. Go to https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer
To watch ITV programmes on demand , live or select a box set of ITV series go to https://www.itv.com/
The Royal Opera House is closed – but in the meantime it is offering free online broadcasts that you can access anywhere, at any time across the globe. A range of ROH productions can be accessed for free via its Facebook and YouTube channels.
The British Museum
More than 8 million objects sit inside the British Museum. You can search through much of this online, exploring the artefacts individually or by geographical origin. Two of the galleries have digital versions online: Prints and Drawings, from artists including Degas and Henry Moore, and Oceania, which spotlights art and artefacts from Austria, New Guinea, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Make sure to also check out the History Connected channel, which gives an interactive timeline of objects across themes. Visit here
Natural History Museum
With more than 80 million specimens spanning billions of years, London’s Natural History Museum is home to one of the world’s largest collections of natural history. From dinosaur skeletons to furry frogs, from a meteorite to an earthquake simulator, there are amazing exhibits to see wherever you are in this museum. The NHM website includes fascinating stories from the natural world. Visit here
The Science Museum’s collection is a record of scientific, technological and medical achievements, and includes exhibits such as Amy Johnson’s Gipsy Moth plane, the Apollo 10 command module (which has been around the moon) and the first ever jet engine. The museum’s online collection includes more than 250,000 objects and archives. View the collection here
The beautiful Victoria and Albert Museum is home to one of the world’s greatest art and design collections. Highlights range from a Glastonbury Festival Archive to Leonardo Da Vinci’s notebooks, The Three Graces sculpture and a coronet designed by Prince Albert for Queen Victoria. You can go behind the scenes of the V&A by watching Secrets of the Museum on BBC iPlayer. You can explore the museum’s online collection here.
The National Gallery
The National Gallery is home to thousands of publicly owned artworks from the UK and Europe, which you can visit with the National Gallery’s 360 degree tool. The tour offers detailed information about each painting as you look at it, as well as floorplans to navigate around as though you are there.
The Titian exhibition opened just days before all the museums closed, but you can still watch a number of Facebook Live interviews about the show on the gallery’s YouTube channel
The Tate Modern
Take a tour of the Tate Modern here
Have your own private You Tube viewing of the Tate's Andy Warhol exhibition here
Musée d’Orsay, Paris
The museum by the Seine in central Paris houses the world’s largest collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist artworks. Tour around the gallery in 360 degrees (look out for the bronze model of Degas’ fascinating Dancer Aged 14, fitted with a real tutu).
The Courtauld Gallery has already been closed since 2018 for a major redevelopment, and created a virtual tour of the venue as it was before the doors shut. The photographic technique used to shoot the museum’s interior allows you zoom in close enough to see the brush strokes and texture of masterpieces such as Vincent van Gogh’s Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear or Édouard Manet’s A Bar at the Folies-Bergère.
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam has the largest collection of his work anywhere. From sunflowers to his starry night, explore these wonderful masterpieces appreciated by so many.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Among the online exhibit highlights are spotlights on Christian Dior and Coco Chanel, the art of music through time and a new look at Vermeer. The Met also has a timeline of art history on its site, where you can study the development of artistic practice from 8,000 BC to the present.
A newly created Frida Kahlo exhibition combines the forces of 33 museums and cultural collections around the world, including the V&A and English National Ballet. Take a virtual tour around the Mexican artist’s work, possessions and letters and the places she lived and worked.
Find out what is streaming by Clicking here for Time Out/In
The BBC has a variety of online music resources and courses - Click here
The Tate Gallery website has a Tate Kids section with lots of lovely ideas for a great range of inspiring creative activities for children of all ages.
AccessArt now have over 850 resources aimed at all ages and abilities and covering all areas of the visual arts.
There are free classes online for all dance styles from Hip Hop and Street Dance to classical ballet.
The Royal academy of Dance has a series of online dance classes for the over 55's Click on Silver Swans Classes to explore this resource
Ballroom lessons for all ages
For those living with Alzheimers
The Alzheimers Society has lots of ideas of activities to support those with dementia.
Barnardos have created an activity pack for children focusing on wellbeing. Please click here to view
Latest News from Wiltshire Council
Minor Injury Units in Chippenham and Trowbridge to temporarily close as part of COVID-19 response
The Minor Injury Units (MIUs) at Chippenham Community Hospital and Trowbridge Community Hospital will close temporarily from 5pm on Wednesday 8 April 2020 so that staff can be redeployed across the local health and care system to provide vital additional capacity.
Both MIUs have seen a significant drop in patient numbers since the start of the COVID-19 crisis as local people increasingly follow self-care advice and seek help from the online 111 service. The closures of these MIUs have been put in place as a temporary measure and will be reviewed on an ongoing basis with a view to reopening the units as soon as it is feasible and sustainable to do so.
The NHS and its partners across BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire continue to work together to ensure the services provided have the resources and resilience they need to deal with the problems posed by COVID-19.
Patients with minor injuries should visit the NHS 111 online service. This will provide advice on where to go for the best care for their symptoms. People should only phone 111 if they cannot access the 111 online service.
Those patients who feel that they need a GP appointment should call their local GP practice and are likely to be offered a phone or video consultation in the first instance, unless a face-to-face appointment is absolutely necessary. As per NHS guidance no-one with COVID-19 symptoms should attend any medical setting unless explicitly directed to do by the NHS 111 service or a 999 call operator.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) appeal
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is vital to help protect our frontline workers, allowing them to continue delivering critical services in the community, whilst also limiting the spread of COVID-19.
With high demand for PPE across the nation, Wiltshire Council and Wiltshire Police have launched a joint appeal for support from local PPE suppliers or any businesses that have stock which could be used.
We are asking local businesses for any support that they might be able to kindly provide with supplies of PPE as a short-term measure whilst national supply chains work hard to catch up with demand. This will help allow our staff and our colleagues in Wiltshire Police to continue to support our most vulnerable residents and ensure we can deliver critical services across the county at this challenging time.
The key items required are water repellent disposable surgical face masks, non-latex gloves, disposable plastic aprons and hand sanitizer (minimum 60% alcohol content).
Wiltshire wellbeing hub
Our Wiltshire Wellbeing Hub, which is available via email and phone, has been working hard to provide support for our county’s most vulnerable residents. Our teams continue to make daily calls to people identified by central government to see if these individuals require support and we have also received 781 calls to our designated hotline from other members of the community requiring assistance.
Hundreds of food parcels are being delivered across Wiltshire to help older people and families who need additional help at this time.
We’re asking Wiltshire children to make them additionally special by creating a lovely rainbow picture, with a personal message if they wish, which can be attached to the outside of the parcel as they are sent out.
Please encourage children to send pictures to: Five Rivers Health and Wellbeing Centre, Hulse Road, Salisbury SP1 3NR.
We are administering the £10,000 grant for businesses in receipt of Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) or rural rates relief. We are also administering the £10,000 grant for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a rateable value of under £15,000 and for those businesses with a rateable value of between £15,001 and £51,000 a grant of £25,000.
Over 4,400 applications have now been received and are currently being assessed. Of these applications, 50% contain all the necessary information for the grant to be processed fairly quickly. The remainder require further assessment or due diligence resulting in a delay in processing the claim. Further messaging will be issued through the communications channels to remind businesses to provide all the information in order that they receive this vital funding as soon as possible.
So far we have transferred £5m to local businesses with further grants being issued today.
Our Public Protection team have received 59 complaints from members of the public, mainly about social distancing measures in place in those businesses that remain open with a few relating to businesses operating when it’s perceived they should be closed.
The team have also received 23 enquiries from businesses direct seeking further advice.
Interactive map to help you find local COVID-19 support
The Council has created an online interactive map that allows people to see what COVID-19 community support is available in their neighbourhood and throughout the county.
The map, which will be regularly updated, can be found at www.wiltshire.gov.uk/public-health-coronavirus and people simply have to type in their town/village/city name or a postcode in a search box and the system will automatically take them to that location and highlight the support available in that area, which will be marked by red stars. Clicking on the red stars will bring up information about the groups, including their contact details and a summary of the type of support and services they are providing.
The information on the mapping system can also be found in the Council’s regularly updated Community Groups Directory.
This system complements our Community Groups Directory and allows people to find out about the local support available with just a few clicks.
Government WhatsApp service
The government has launched a GOV.UK Coronavirus Information service on WhatsApp. The new, free to use, service aims to provide official, trustworthy and timely information and advice about coronavirus (COVID-19), and will further reduce the burden on NHS services.
This will help combat the spread of coronavirus misinformation in the UK, as well as helping ensure people stay home, protect the NHS and save lives.
The GOV.UK Coronavirus Information Service is an automated ‘chatbot’ service which will allow members of the public to get answers to the most common questions about coronavirus direct from government. The service will provide information on topics such as coronavirus prevention and symptoms, the latest number of cases in the UK, advice on staying at home, travel advice and myth busting.
The service will also allow the government to send messages to all opted-in users if required.
To use the free GOV.UK Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp, simply add 07860 064422 in your phone contacts and then message the word ‘hi’ in a WhatsApp message to get started. Please share this information with your communities.
Cllr Philip Whitehead