Hello everyone and welcome to another update. I trust you are all keeping safe and well during this difficult time. With lockdown arrangements continuing I hope you are managing to stay positive and find some engaging activities to keep you busy.We have made the decision that all classes currently running online and/or able to run online will continue to be delivered remotely until the Easter break.

We will be reviewing the arrangement for any ‘in person’ classes due to start after the February half term at the end of January and contact anyone enrolled.

We still have lots of interesting and engaging courses running online including…

If you plan to enrol on a course, do sign up in plenty of time to avoid disappointment as some of our courses are full or almost full.

We also sometimes have to cancel courses due to low enrolments, only to find we have people calling to enrol at the last minute! If you see something you fancy, don’t delay enrolling! Ultimately, if we did have to cancel the course, you would get a full refund.

You can enrol online anytime or by calling Stoke Lodge on 0117 903 8844. The office is staffed Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings and all-day Tuesday and Thursday.  Staffing is reduced so please bear with us.

Bristol City Council advice

Coronavirus scams

Horrible though it is there are a small number of people looking to exploit the current situation and so it is worth remembering to be aware of potential scams.  I know we are all feeling anxious enough already, but I encourage you just to be aware of potential scams and remind yourself to take a moment to double check emails or texts you receive before responding.

All the council information and advice on getting help, changes to services, vaccines and testing can be found on the council website here Coronavirus (COVID-19): what you need to know – bristol.gov.uk

Vaccine text eligibility scam

There are reports of people getting a text message that claims to be from the NHS.
It reads: “We have identified that you are eligible to apply for your vaccine. For more information and to apply, follow here.”
The text message includes links to a fake NHS website that asks visitors for their bank details, supposedly for verification purposes.
The NHS will never ask you for banking details, passwords, or PINs. Any message asking for these is an instant red flag.  If you get a text message like this, delete it straight away. Do not click on any links.

People knocking on your door

You or someone you know might have someone knock on the door and:

  • pretend they’re from the British Red Cross or another charity, and attempt to take money to do your shopping.
  • offer screening tests for coronavirus.
  • offer to do small jobs around the house.

To protect yourself from scammers you should:

  • always be careful about who you let into your home.
  • ask someone you know and trust to help you with shopping, if you’re self-isolating.

If you think you’ve been approached with a scam on your doorstep, contact the police on:
999 if you’re in immediate danger or 101 for non-emergencies

 Scam or phishing emails

Several coronavirus scam emails have been circulating.
Be careful about emails that claim to be:

  • from the government, offering a tax rebate and asking for your bank details.
  • investment scheme and trading advice, encouraging you to capitalise on the coronavirus downturn.
  • from the World Health Organisation (WHO), with crucial coronavirus safety advice.
  • from a research group that mimics the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and WHO.
  • from the council, offering a council tax refund.
  • from the council, asking for bank details in order to get free school meal vouchers.
  • able to offer a loan in return for a fee.

Opening attachments or links in these emails could let scammers access your device and personal details or follow your movements online.
To protect yourself from email scams you should:

  • be careful about opening emails from people you don’t know.
  • never give your bank details or send money to people you don’t know online.

and finally…

… if you need a little boost, why not have a listen to some of Radio Bristol’s Happiness Half Hour podcasts on the iPlayer.  BBC Radio Bristol – The Happiness Half Hour – Available now

Or listen to this Winterwatch video on what people love about winter.
BBC Two – Winterwatch, Series 9, Episode 1, What do you love about winter?

No matter how you feel about winter if you love the chilly air or hide inside in the warm, I hope you continue to stay safe and well and look forward to seeing you all again in the coming months.

Kindest regards

“Winter is a season of recovery and preparation.” – Paul Theroux
“If I had my way, I would remove January from the calendar altogether and have an extra July instead.” – Roald Dahl