Latest news from North Yorkshire on Coronavirus (Covid-19)

See our latest news round-up (bulletin).

Covid-19 National lockdown: Stay at Home

North Yorkshire is in national lockdown. We must now stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives. See the restrictions in place.


January 13 update

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

Today I ask everyone to remember one number – 841.

841 is the number of people we have lost In North Yorkshire to Covid-19 since the pandemic began. That’s 841 families who have lost a person they loved. A mum or dad, brother or sister, a son or daughter, a grandparent, a best friend. More than 30 people have died here in the last week alone. In a personal and professional capacity I share the sense of grief and determination to drive this virus out of our county and today I am asking you to show that team spirit and resolve like never before to help that happen.

North Yorkshire’s frontline NHS staff are now treating 85 more patients in the hospitals which serve our residents than in the first wave. 30 more people who need hospital care have been admitted over the last 48 hours alone. Our NHS colleagues are using words we hoped not to hear. They are facing ‘unprecedented demand’; they are in ‘a dangerous place’. 

I have been extremely moved by the experience of a former nurse from Harrogate, April Martin. Despite having no underlying medical conditions, just months ago her life hung in the balance in Harrogate Hospital. She was told that covid had affected her lungs so badly that she would not be resuscitated. Just days earlier she had felt a picture of health and there she found herself, fighting for her life and despite believing she was taking all precautions not to catch it.

Speaking to the media today, she talked of her worst moments on a Covid ward:

“It was more my family that was finding it very, very difficult. They could not be with me in what could have been my last moments, and I know there are many, many families who have been in that situation.

“People were dying around me of Covid and I would lie there at night thinking I wonder if it is my time tonight.”

Thankfully, April pulled through and we share her admiration for the hard working frontline and back office staff delivering outstanding care and undertaking daily selfless acts to save others.

We are extremely grateful to April for sharing her experience in the hope it encourages everyone to adhere really strictly to the spirit and letter of the current lockdown. I hope her story inspires everyone to show the commitment needed and to make the sacrifices we know are hard. You can watch April talk about her experience here.

The new variant, which we know is much easier to catch than the original strain, is widespread across North Yorkshire and York and doing its best to drive infection still further here. And even though we are seeing the first small reductions in the rates of infections across the county there is a delay of around 10 to 14 days between someone testing positive for covid and developing the more serious symptoms, which may require hospital treatment. Therefore, a reduction in rates now will not translate into any relief for NHS staff for some time to come.

Only by acting collectively and consistently and making the right decision every day can we make the difference that will turn the tide on this and see us edge towards a better place.

This is even more important when we are considering the frailest residents of the county – those in care homes. Whilst there is positive news around the plans to roll out mass vaccination in care settings, we must be particularly rigorous in planning any visits to these settings. There is some good advice and guidance on that here.

On behalf of the local resilience forum and the county council I would like express my heartfelt gratitude to each and every one of you who continue to do the right thing and who are staying at home.

For the tiny minority who think it’s OK to have a birthday party at home with friends or drive unreasonable distances to take their daily exercise I would warn that they should expect a word from our colleagues at North Yorkshire Police. Because whilst officers have been incredibly patient in explaining the rules to people, they are equally clear that those choosing to flout them deliberately can expect a fine.

Double the number of fines were issued in the first week of this full national lockdown than the last one and I am sure many of you will have seen the stories in the media over the weekend of some of the lengthy distances travelled by some people who felt it was reasonable. Here is just one example that I am sure you will agree is completely unacceptable.

Before I finish today I would like to thank our schools for the outstanding work they have, and continue to do, to adapt teaching, learning and child care to the lockdown restrictions in a very short period of time. The vast majority of our schools remain open and are looking after the children of critical workers who have to go to work and cannot stay at home. They are also providing continued learning for more vulnerable young people. Many of you will find yourselves supporting your children at homes with remote learning while you are also trying to work in many instances. This won’t go on forever and by staying at home you are supporting the road out of lockdown, protecting the NHS and without doubt, saving lives.

Thank you. 

Keeping in touch

Our website has a dedicated area for all the latest news, see links below:

Follow us on social media: @northyorkscc on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

At 9 January, there have been 21,225 positive tests since 3 March, with 4,597 new cases reported in the past two weeks. The weekly rolling average of new cases is 396 cases per day, allowing for incomplete data in the most recent days. The seven-day rate for North Yorkshire is 435.7 per 100,000 people, which remains below the England seven-day rate of 610.7 cases per 100,000. Work continues to ensure effective monitoring of all areas, with support for incidents being provided across a range of settings, which are reviewed daily.

Further information on North Yorkshire data provided at county, district and local area level can be found here.

People most at risk from the complications of COVID-19 are being offered the vaccine first.

In the UK, there are two approved COVID-19 vaccines. They both require two doses to provide longer-lasting protection. Both have been shown to be effective in clinical trials and have a good safety record. An independent group of experts has recommended that the NHS first offers these vaccines to those at highest risk of catching the disease and of suffering serious complications or dying from COVID-19. This includes older adults in care homes and frontline health and social care workers. When more vaccine becomes available, the vaccines will be offered to other people at risk as soon as possible.

Eligible groups - You should have the vaccine when it is offered if you are:

  • living in a care home for older adults
  • a frontline health care worker
  • a frontline social care worker
  • a carer working in a care home for older residents

Then the vaccine will also be offered in age order to:

  • those aged over 80 years
  • those aged over 75 years
  • those aged over 70 years
  • adults on the NHS shielded patient list
  • those aged over 65 years
  • adults under 65 years with long-term conditions (see conditions below)

Those aged 50 to 64 will be offered it later.

Clinical conditions list:

  • a blood cancer (such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma)
  • diabetes
  • dementia
  • a heart problem
  • a chest complaint or breathing difficulties, including bronchitis, emphysema or severe asthma
  • a kidney disease
  • a liver disease
  • lowered immunity due to disease or treatment (such as HIV infection, steroid medication, chemotherapy or radiotherapy)
  • rheumatoid arthritis, lupus or psoriasis
  • have had an organ transplant
  • had a stroke or a transient ischaemic attack (TIA)
  • a neurological or muscle wasting condition
  • a severe or profound learning disability
  • a problem with your spleen, example sickle cell disease, or you have had your spleen removed
  • are seriously overweight (BMI of 40 and above)
  • are severely mentally ill

At the same time as the adults under 65 years with long-term conditions the vaccine will also be offered to:

  • adults who provide regular care for an elderly or disabled person
  • younger adults in long stay nursing and residential settings

Please wait your turn. If you are not in the groups above, you will have to wait for a COVID-19 vaccination until more supplies are available. When more vaccine becomes available we will be offering it to more groups of the population.

Approximately one in three people who have coronavirus have no symptoms and could be spreading it without realising it. Remember - ‘Hands. Face. Space.’

Hands – wash your hands regularly and for at least 20 seconds

Face – wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet

Space – stay two metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or one metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings)

Working together towards recovery

Testing

Testing sites in North Yorkshire, as elsewhere in England, are operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care and private contractors employed by them. We try to help the department by promoting the Mobile Testing Site locations and hosting information on how people with symptoms can book a test via the national government portal. 

We do not manage the national booking system or laboratory testing process.

Indications are that lab testing capacity is improving but, if you are unable to book a test at a local site straight away, please keep checking as availability varies during the day.

We are also supporting the Department in asking the public only to get a test if they are directed to do so by NHS Test and Trace or other NHS services – OR – if they have symptoms, to ensure that those people who need tests the most can be prioritised.

Before you attend you must book a test. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. 

Testing sites operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care will be running at the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • Every day - Harrogate - Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Every day - Scarborough - William Street Car Park, Scarborough. YO12 7PL
  • Every day - Northallerton – The Forum, Bullamore Road, Northallerton, DL6 1LP
  • Every day - Selby – Portholme Crescent Car Park, Selby, YO8 4YR
  • Every day - Skipton - Cavendish Street Car Park, Skipton, BD23 1RP
  • Thursday 14 January - Whitby - Whitby Marina Car Park, Langbourne Road, Whitby, YO21 1YW
  • Thursday 14 January - Malton - Wentworth Street Car Park, Smithson Ct, Malton, YO17 7BQ
  • Thursday 14 January - Leyburn - Harmby Road Parking, Harmby road, Leyburn, DL8 5EE
  • Friday 15 January - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Friday 15 January - Sherburn in Elmet -  Pasture Way Car Park, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6LY
  • Friday 15 January - Stokesley - Stokesley Sports Club, Broughton Road, Stokesley, Middlesbrough, TS9 5JG
  • Saturday 16 January - Selby - South Entrance, DRAX Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Saturday 16 January - Settle - Greenfoot Car Park, Settle, BD24 9RW
  • Saturday 16 January - Filey - Filey Country Park, Church Cliff Drive, Filey, YO14 9ET
  • Saturday 16 January - Thornton Le Dale - National Trust Car Park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Thornton Le Dale, Pickering, YO18 7RR
  • Sunday 17 January - Scarborough - Scarborough Park and Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough, YO12 4LW
  • Sunday 17 January - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Sunday 17 January - Thirsk - Millgate Car Park, Marage Road, Thirsk, YO7 1PE

Watch this video to find out what to expect and how to prepare for the test.

See the latest dates and locations, find out more and how to book.

Supporting our schools and childcare

Stuart Carlton, Director of Children and Young People’s Services, said we owe a huge debt to all our schools and everyone involved with them, from leaders to teachers, teaching assistants; support staff, catering staff, cleaners and everyone else who has contributed to the tremendous effort this week to take on board the requirements of lockdown and roll them out in schools.

Schools remain open for children of critical workers and vulnerable students, but I would ask that if people can make other arrangements then please do, as one of the reasons for switching to remote learning for the majority of children is to reduce transmission rates. Currently, overall attendance rates at schools in North Yorkshire on average is about 16 per cent, which is roughly in line with attendance towards the end of the last lockdown.

Schools have now been invited to order more laptops and other devices directly from the Department for Education if they need them. All secondary schools across the county have now been notified that they can place an order and by the end of this week all primary schools will also have been invited to purchase additional devices.

Teamwork to support our residents

For people without family, friends or neighbours to lean on during the Covid pandemic, community support organisations and the voluntary sector partners they are working alongside continue to provide a lifeline during these challenging times.

In Scarborough, Jo Ellis has been volunteering with Age UK Scarborough and District since the early days of the outbreak.

Jo said: “I’d been wanting to do some form of volunteering for a long time, and at the end of last year I approached St Catherine's Hospice. I’d only been volunteering for six weeks when they had to stop volunteers entering the premises.”

Jo quickly looked around to find something else she could do.

She said: “It came up on my Facebook news feed that there was a need for volunteers. I put out a message to say that I was interested in helping and now I have my own people who I ring every week. They’ve become friends and are very interested in what I’ve been up to, especially as they can't go anywhere or do anything themselves.

“I ring them all on a Monday and ask what shopping they would like. I try to do it in as few journeys as possible. I usually plan a route via Sainsbury's and Morrisons and then get milk and prescriptions. It's like a treasure hunt sometimes.

“At the end of the day, it's something you can do if you're shopping for yourself. I've never been so busy, but honestly l love it.”

Age UK Scarborough and District CEO Julie Macey-Hewitt added that more volunteers are needed. She said: “Shopping is the biggest thing we need people for, but we also require telephone befrienders. The covid hub is still providing support to the people of Scarborough and the surrounding area and we are not here to just help those who are elderly, or clinically vulnerable.

“We’ve also been helping people like single parents who find themselves suddenly housebound when one of their children is asked to self-isolate by their school. It’s important that we’re getting to people who don’t normally ask for help and letting them know we’re here.”

People who need support with shopping and other essentials are encouraged to contact family, friends, neighbours or groups they belong to. North Yorkshire residents without those local networks can contact the County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780 seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm. People can also complete an online form to let us know what help they need.

We know that many people will want to get involved in their communities and help where they can. If you have the time and want to volunteer, we can introduce you to local organisations in your own community. Get more information, including advice on how you can help safely.

Get information about the support available, including a link to the latest Government advice for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable.

Growing our local economy

LEP News: York & North Yorkshire LEP Plan for Skills 2021-2026 (20 January, 10am)

Our team will introduce our five-year plan to address local skills challenges and raise productivity, earnings and performance in a greener, fairer, stronger economy.

You will hear from our keynote speakers who will talk with authority and passion about why ‘greener, fairer, stronger’ is so important and how we can work together to achieve this:

  • Sam Alexander - Chair of YNY LEP Skills & Employability Board
  • Emily Moncuit - Associate Regional Director, Yorkshire and the Humber, CBI
  • Vicky Bullivant - Head of Sustainable Business, Drax Group

We will also have a panel of experts, including social change and policy experts, data and research specialists and skills providers, ready to answer your live questions. Register for York and North Yorkshire LEP Plan for Skills 2021-2026 here.

‘How businesses can leverage apprenticeships to build their future beyond COVID’

9 February, 12:30pm

To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week 2021, we invite you to attend a free webinar event to learn how businesses, both small and large, can benefit from apprenticeships.

We will introduce an expert range of speakers and host a Q and A session to answer all your questions. All attendees will be signposted to an up to date, practical Apprenticeships Toolkit developed by the LEP to support SMEs with apprenticeships. Register for this event.

Business Basics Series: Know Your Numbers (14 January, 12pm)

Delivered by Managing Director of Business Works Ltd Joanne Tomlinson in partnership with CDI Alliance, this free webinar will act as a helpful refresh for existing small business owners and guide new businesses through the terminology and usefulness of different kinds of financial information.

During this webinar, you will learn:

  • What information is key to your business
  • The difference between profit and cash
  • An understanding of the terminology that stakeholders may use in relation to your business
  • What management information you should be reviewing and when

Book Business Basics Series: Know Your Numbers.

Wellbeing Series: None of us is superhuman – maintaining positive mental health and wellbeing in difficult times (18 January, 1pm)

This webinar delivered in partnership with the University of York and speaker Caroline Forman, Leadership Development Specialist, will explore the definition of mental health and wellbeing, what happens in our brain when we experience significant change and some of the common signs of low mental wellbeing.

Attendees will be taught:

  • How to identify your current level of mental wellbeing
  • Some practical tools to help build positive habits and behaviours that will improve wellbeing and resilience
  • How to use a self-care assessment

Book Wellbeing Series: None of us is superhuman.

Start-Up Business Basics Series: Cash is King – How to Forecast Cash flow. (19 January, 12 noon)

The next instalment in our Start-Up Business Basics series with business coach Gareth Allen will provide attendees with a better understanding of the importance of cash within a business.

In this one-hour webinar, you will gain:

  • The ability to forecast revenue with intelligence
  • An understanding of different costs
  • An understanding of cash flow vs profit
  • An introduction to Start Up Loan Scheme

Book Start-Up Business Basics Series: Cash is King

Previous bulletins

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

I had hoped to start with ‘Happy New Year’, but that feels a bit inappropriate as we start the third national covid-enforced lockdown.  Instead, I will start on a different positive note. In North Yorkshire, neighbourliness and little acts of kindness just come naturally to people. Our county is recognised the world over as somewhere that feels like home, where nothing is too much trouble and the people are salt of the earth. A place where natural resilience and spirit mean we just get on with things without making a fuss. I have every faith that this is what is already happening right across communities from coast to dale and moor to market town. With that in mind, I want to say thank you. Thanks for being who you are, for taking whatever comes our way on the chin and for buckling down to get through it. Thanks for picking up that prescription for a neighbour, dropping off essentials, bothering to take a few minutes to chat on the phone to someone who might feel lonely or isolated. Thanks for walking their dog, in a covid-secure way, of course, so that they have the company of their pet without the risks of having to go outdoors if they are particularly vulnerable. Thank you for shopping local, for lifting spirits and for playing your part in Team North Yorkshire – however you are doing that. We are living in unprecedented times and there has never been a more important time to look around us and see who needs some help, do what we can and spread a little happiness in a dark world.

Another important thing to say clearly is that no-one should ever be alone in North Yorkshire. Many people will be shielding again as part of the national lockdown and we are working with 23 voluntary sector organisations across the county to make sure everyone gets the support they need. So, if you don’t have anyone you can turn to around you, come to us and we will get you the support you need.  

You can contact us online.

Or, if you don’t have internet access, you can call our customer service staff. Call 01609 780780 between 8am and 5.30. We operate seven days a week and are here for you. If lines are busy, be patient and we will speak to you and help arrange the support you need. Equally, if you have time to offer to help others in need, please take a look at some of the options here.

It all feels a bit like groundhog day – except without the lovely long days of sun we were able to enjoy in the first full lockdown last spring. Schools are closed, except for the children of key workers and for vulnerable children, we cannot visit our favourite cafes and restaurants and we have lost many of the freedoms we love. The big differences that we can hold onto, though, are that we know we can get through this together, because we have now done it twice. We are seasoned and experienced at doing what needs to be done! We also have that light to focus on. The huge NHS mass vaccination programme that is well under way here. Many thousands of you will already have had your first vaccination and over the coming weeks that programme will expand significantly, as more doses become available and more vaccination sites are set up. I am sure you will want to help this huge logistical task to run as smoothly as possible, so please wait to be contacted when it’s your turn and let your GP practice know if you can’t attend. That means your appointment can be rescheduled and someone else can be vaccinated. By waiting for our turn and sticking to the lockdown rules we will most certainly help everyone get through this in the best possible position.

Although our hospitality industry has been particularly hard hit in this pandemic, lots of our locals and favourite cafes and restaurants are offering takeaway meals and some are doing home delivery. If we support them now, they will still be here for us when this is all over. There has never been a more important time to buy local and there are almost 850 local businesses now registered on our free online directory. There is a broad range of covid-secure services and shops offering delivery and click and collect. By buying local, we are supporting the economy at a critical time and doing our bit to help protect jobs, so please take a look here and see if it offers what you need.

Equally, if you are a business and able to operate in a covid-secure way during the pandemic, please register. It’s absolutely free and you can read about the success of just some of those who have already taken advantage of it here: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local

While we are in lockdown, however, and understandably being asked to stay at home to protect our NHS services and save lives, we must not forget that for some people that isn’t an option and they must leave home to go to work and to provide essential services. That includes our highways team, out battling the freezing conditions we are seeing currently. Snow clearing, gritting, dealing with floods – whatever the weather they are out and about right across the county. As such, they are often faced with situations not necessarily part of their ‘day jobs’. Such was the case when our highways manager for Richmondshire spotted someone who needed help. He undertook a covid secure roadside rescue, which I hope provides a heart-warming message for our bulletin today.

Please stay safe and keep well.

Keeping in touch

Our website has a dedicated area for all the latest news, see links below:

Follow us on social media: @northyorkscc on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

At 2 January, there have been 19,014 positive tests since 3 March, with 3,448 new cases reported in the past two weeks. The locality with the highest seven-day rate is currently Richmondshire, where the rate is currently 465.3 cases per 100,000 people. This remains below the England seven-day rate of 559.5 cases per 100,000. Work continues to ensure effective monitoring of all areas, with support for incidents being provided across a range of settings, which are reviewed daily.

 

Get further information on North Yorkshire data provided at county, district and local area level.

National Lockdown

Following the Prime Minister’s statement on 4 January, we are now in a national lockdown. This means that you must stay at home. The single most important action we can all take is to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.

You must not leave, or be outside of your home except where necessary. You may leave the home to:

  • Shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person
  • Go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home
  • Exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person, this should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area
  • Meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one
  • Seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse)
  • Attend education or childcare - for those eligible

Colleges, primary and secondary schools will remain open only for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. All other children will learn remotely until February half term. Early years settings remain open.

Higher Education provision will remain online until mid-February for all except future critical worker courses.

If you do leave home for a permitted reason, you should always stay local - unless it is necessary to go further, for example to go to work. Stay local means stay in the village, town, or part of the city where you live.

Those who are clinically extremely vulnerable should follow resumed shielding guidance and should not attend work, school, college or university. You should limit the time you spend outside the home. You should only go out for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential. Further guidance is available here.

You cannot leave your home to meet socially with anyone you do not live with or are not in a support bubble with (if you are legally permitted to form one).

You may exercise on your own, with one other person, or with your household or support bubble. This should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.

You cannot meet other people you do not live with, or have not formed a support bubble with, unless for a permitted reason. Stay two metres apart from anyone not in your household.

Approximately one in three people who have coronavirus have no symptoms and could be spreading it without realising it. Remember - ‘Hands. Face. Space.’

  • hands – wash your hands regularly and for at least 20 seconds
  • face – wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet
  • space – stay two metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or one metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings)

Working together towards recovery

Testing

Testing sites in North Yorkshire, as elsewhere in England, are operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care and private contractors employed by them. We try to help the department by promoting the Mobile Testing Site locations and hosting information on how people with symptoms can book a test via the national government portal. 

We do not manage the national booking system or laboratory testing process.

Indications are that lab testing capacity is improving but, if you are unable to book a test at a local site straight away, please keep checking as availability varies during the day.

We are also supporting the Department in asking the public only to get a test if they are directed to do so by NHS Test and Trace or other NHS services – OR – if they have symptoms, to ensure that those people who need tests the most can be prioritised.

Before you attend you must book a test. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. 

Testing sites operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care will be running at the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • Every day - Harrogate - Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Every day - Scarborough - William Street Car Park, Scarborough. YO12 7PL
  • Every day - Northallerton – The Forum, Bullamore Road, Northallerton, DL6 1LP
  • Every day - Selby – Portholme Crescent Car Park, Selby, YO8 4YR
  • Every day - Skipton - Cavendish Street Car Park, Skipton, BD23 1RP
  • Thursday 7 January - Whitby - Whitby Marina Car Park, Langbourne Road, Whitby, YO21 1YW
  • Thursday 7 January - Malton - Wentworth Street Car Park, Smithson Ct, Malton, YO17 7BQ
  • Friday 8 January - Sherburn in Elmet -  Pasture Way Carpark, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6LY
  • Friday 8 January - Thornton Le Dale - National Trust Car Park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Thornton Le Dale, Pickering, YO18 7RR
  • Friday 8 January - Easingwold - Easingwold Town AFC, Stillington Rd, Easingwold, York, YO61 3DZ
  • Saturday 9 January - Selby - South Entrance, Drax Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Saturday 9 January - Settle - Greenfoot Car Park, Settle, BD24 9RW
  • Saturday 9 January - Filey - Filey Country Park, Church Cliff Drive, Filey, YO14 9ET
  • Sunday 10 January - Scarborough - Scarborough Park and Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough, YO12 4LW
  • Sunday 10 January - Richmond - Round Howe car park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Sunday 10 January - Thirsk - Millgate Car Park, Marage Road, Thirsk, YO7 1PE

Watch this video to find out what to expect and how to prepare for the test.

See the latest dates and locations, find out more and how to book.

Supporting our schools and childcare

We are currently in contact with schools to help ensure every child in North Yorkshire can access remote learning. Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on Monday night, we are working on the expectation that schools will be closed to all pupils except the children of critical workers and vulnerable students until the end of the February half-term, February 22.

As teachers in the county now switch to remote learning for the majority of pupils, we are in the process of contacting schools to see if there are gaps in the provision of equipment, including laptops and dongles to access the internet. A scheme which saw laptops distributed to schools took place during the first lockdown earlier this year, but the council is awaiting details from the Government to see if more devices will become available for children and young people who may have missed out on provision last year.

We are also aware of the potential impact on mental health the closure of schools may have. All mental health services will still be available and accessible throughout this lockdown. We have been putting extra training and support in schools to support mental health in recent months and all mental health services will still remain available to any young person who needs them.

Any young person or family can speak to their school if they are concerned about mental health issues, or access some of our online support we have available.

Schools will continue to provide free school meals or food parcels for pupils who are eligible for benefits-related free school meals who are not attending school.

Teamwork to support our residents

Supporting our residents

Following the Government announcement on Monday, people who are clinically extremely vulnerable and at higher risk of severe illness from Covid are being asked to shield again. People in this high-risk group will receive a letter from the Government outlining the latest shielding advice, but we are also reassuring all North Yorkshire residents that our support will continue for those who need it.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have been working alongside district councils with 23 community organisations across North Yorkshire to coordinate volunteer support in each area. These hubs are a single point of contact within the community, pulling together other organisations to provide a safety net of support which will be there for people during the latest lockdown and beyond. More than 1,500 volunteers have helped thousands of people each week with shopping, hot meals and prescriptions, as well as checking on people’s health and wellbeing.

Over the coming weeks, people who need support with shopping and other essentials are encouraged to contact family, friends, neighbours or groups they belong to. North Yorkshire residents without those local networks, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780. The centre is open seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm. People can also complete an online form to let us know what help you need.

To find local businesses offering food deliveries and takeaways in your area, go to the Buy Local directory.

People can also find details of other local voluntary and community groups offering support.

We’re also urging people to keep checking on neighbours and people in their communities who might need help and support during the lockdown. Find advice on how to help safely. We know that many people will want to get involved in their communities and help where they can. If people have the time and want to volunteer, we can introduce you to local organisations in your own community. Find more information about how to help.

Find information about the help available, including a link to the latest Government advice for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable.

Libraries maintain vital links during lockdown

North Yorkshire residents can continue to borrow library books during the current Covid-19 lockdown through a Select and Collect service.

In addition, the home library service, which sees volunteers deliver books, DVDs and CDs to customers who are unable to visit a library, will continue, and pre-booked library computer sessions will be available for essential use, such as accessing services and benefits and applying for jobs.

The Select and Collect service enables customers to phone or email their library to request the type of books they want, then collect a selection from the library’s entrance.

Computer sessions must be booked in advance by phone or email. Computers will be spaced to allow social distancing and will be cleaned after each use.

Select and Collect and computer access will be available at County Council-managed libraries in Filey, Harrogate, Knaresborough, Malton, Northallerton, Pickering, Ripon, Scarborough, Selby, Skipton and Whitby. Opening hours may vary, so contact your library or check our library page online.

Some community-managed libraries will offer these services where capacity allows. However, some are closed and others may vary their opening hours, so customers should check our library page online or check their community library website or social media accounts for the latest information.

To find out how to join the home library service online, or contact your library.

Online digital services, including e-books, e-audio, digital magazines and newspapers and a wide range of reference material are available. Digital resources are also available through the North Yorkshire library app, which can be downloaded from the App Store for iOS and Google Play for Android devices.

Library membership is free. Join online or to join, renew membership or get a PIN number, call your library or the helpline number, 01609 533878.

Growing our local economy

LEP News: National Lockdown

National restrictions are now in place across England resulting in the closure of some businesses to reduce social contact and stop the virus spreading.

Check if your business or venue must close.

If your business is affected, there is support available, from furlough to cash grants.

£4.6 billion in new lockdown grants to support businesses and protect jobs

Businesses impacted by the new lockdown will be able to access additional grants of up to £9,000 per premises - with £4.6 billion available across the UK.

  • One-off top-up grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses worth up to £9,000 per property to help businesses through to the spring
  • £594 million discretionary fund also made available to support other impacted businesses
  • comes in addition to £1.1 billion further discretionary grant funding for Local Authorities, Local Restriction Support Grants worth up to £3,000 a month and extension of furlough scheme

Read more about lockdown grants.

The York & North Yorkshire LEP welcomes this funding to support businesses. David Kerfoot MBE DL and Chair of the LEP commented, “Whilst this continued situation with the pandemic is incredibly hard, it is vital that we adhere to the new rules and work together to get through this incredibly difficult time.

“However, everyone can help the businesses that are at the heart of our economy. We must all BE LOCAL, SHOP LOCAL, and BUY LOCAL. Our local supply chains are essential to support businesses in local communities and our high streets. Many businesses over the last year have got themselves online and our Growth Hub has provided free subscriptions to the online platform ShopAppy to help with this.

“We urge any business who needs support to get online to trade to visit our Growth Hub and take up the ShopAppy subscription. We have extra help in place right now to support businesses to get products online and promote the opportunity to local consumers.”

Read the full statement.

EU Transition

The transition period has ended and the UK has left the EU customs union and single market and now enjoys a zero tariffs, zero quotas relationship with the EU as an independent trading nation.

Following the signing of the UK – EU Free Trade Agreement, there are new rules for businesses which came into force on 1 January 2021 which require immediate action.

Actions for businesses

These documents cover actions that businesses must take to ensure they are compliant with the new rules which have come into force.  Part A provides an overview of key actions for businesses as well as supporting guidance, helpline numbers and FAQs. Part B lists the top five actions for businesses in each of the following sectors: Aerospace, automotive, chemicals, construction, consumer goods, electronics and machinery, life sciences, metals and materials, professional business services and retail.

Business checker tool

Businesses should visit gov.uk/transition where the checker tool can be used to quickly identify the actions that your business needs to take. The checker tool will ask questions about your business and provide all the information you need to be aware of such as new rules on:

Staying informed

As always, we are keen to promote the following as main sources of business support information:

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

2020 will be remembered for many reasons – a large number of which we would probably rather forget. It is certainly a year in which we have had to stay focussed on many critical, but changing, circumstances and messages. Often these messages could be quite literally a matter of life or death for some and the last 48 hours are no exception. Over the weekend, we saw the relaxation of the rules over Christmas tightened again, we learned a little more about the new strain of the Coronavirus and its rapid growth. Sadly, we also saw infection rates in some areas of North Yorkshire growing in a very worrying way once again. Many of us no doubt found ourselves trying to digest what it all means for us as individuals once more and I know lots of you will be wrestling with what to do for the best over the festive season. It’s true there are many rules, a lot of guidance and much advice – but the basics remain every bit as important today as they did in March  – hands, face, space and let fresh air in. They may be simple, but they are extremely effective in containing the virus and this Christmas it is more important than ever that we make the right choices about who we see and how close we get. Whatever the strain, we know covid thrives indoors and spreads between us most virulently when we let our guard down – when we get too close. So whatever your plans are for the Christmas Day window please, don’t accidently give the virus a free pass. Not having symptoms doesn’t mean you aren’t carrying it, or that you can’t spread it, or accidentally harm someone you love by passing it to them unknowingly. 

I appreciate this is not the Christmas message you hoped for, but we really are heading into a difficult place again if we don’t work together to get infection rates down here in North Yorkshire. Once again, the most rapid increase is taking place along the coast, with Filey, Whitby and Scarborough town all seeing more cases. A great deal of effort is under way across a number of partner agencies to help to support the fight here. Increased testing capacity, targeted messaging and staff out and about in communities talking to people and businesses about how they can continue to play their part. It is understandably frustrating for so many of you who are sticking to the rules, and our colleagues in the police continue to support your efforts by undertaking enforcement where that is necessary. Even this weekend dozens of fines were issued to people visiting York and North Yorkshire from tier three areas. To be clear, while the travel guidance between tiers is just that, people who live in Tier 3 take the Tier 3 restrictions with them wherever they go. This means they cannot come into North Yorkshire and dine in our cafés and restaurants. Famous for our fantastic hospitality sector and hearty welcome, I am afraid for now our county must protect its people and businesses by making sure we comply with these rules.

In better news, within just a few days now we will have 12 vaccine sites across the county. Some of you will already have been called for your first dose. Our health colleagues are doing a fantastic job and we can help them by being patient and waiting to be contacted when it’s our turn. By not contacting the surgery, we free up more time for the NHS to treat people and administer the vaccines as they get them. This is a huge and complex programme, which will take months, not weeks to complete, so patience and understanding will be really important and will make their jobs much easier.

Today is the shortest day of what no doubt feels like the longest year, but we have achieved a great deal to be proud of together. January and February delivered us four weeks of storms and floods, these in turn led to some significant infrastructure issues, most notably the collapse of a section of the A19 – a huge and complex repair job requiring expertise and massive resources from our highways team. We have battled two waves of pandemic, kept our schools open to support key workers, looked after our most frail residents, supported our neighbours with community and voluntary sector partners and kept our spirits up and heads held high – as we do in North Yorkshire. These huge and unrelenting challenges serve to drive home the importance of needing scale and strength to lead, coordinate and respond to multiple difficult challenges. As we head into 2021, we will not be leaving these demands behind us and we will need all our resolve, experience and resources about us.

All of this has brought home to us very vividly the importance of having a strong county council for everyone in North Yorkshire, of empowered partnership working and of preserving the integrity of our county and its brand and values. Next year will be a critical one for local government here as ministers consider how best to reorganise public service delivery here to pave the way for a devolution deal. We firmly believe that we have demonstrated this year, like no other, why scale and resilience are crucial in delivering outstanding services alongside dynamic partnership work and effective emergency response.

Thank you for playing your part in the most challenging of times. I wish you a peaceful and restful festive period and hope you stay safe and well. 

Keeping in touch

Our website has a dedicated area for all the latest news, see links below:

Follow us on social media: @northyorkscc on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

At 20 December, there have been 15,198 positive tests since 3 March, with 777 new cases reported in the past week. The locality with the highest 7-day rate is currently Scarborough district, where the rate is currently 253.8 cases per 100,000 people. This remains below the England 7-day rate of 282.2 cases per 100,000. Work continues to ensure effective monitoring of all areas, with support for incidents being provided across a range of settings, which are reviewed daily. We are working with our partners across North Yorkshire, and particularly in Scarborough, to implement interventions that will help to bring the number of cases down.

 

Get further information on North Yorkshire data provided at county, district and local area level.

Making a Christmas bubble with friends and family

Many of us will have tuned into the Prime Minister’s statement on Saturday afternoon to hear that London and the South East of England are now in Tier 4, and there has been a change to the Christmas bubble guidance. North Yorkshire remains in Tier 2, meaning that we can form Christmas bubbles on Christmas Day only.

If you have coronavirus symptoms or are currently self-isolating, you must not form a Christmas bubble. These rules are the law and you must follow them even if it means not meeting with friends or family for Christmas Day. If a member of your Christmas bubble tests positive for coronavirus or develops coronavirus symptoms on 25 December, or up to 48 hours after members of the bubble last met, all members of the bubble must self-isolate as if they were members of the same household.

In areas in Tiers 1 to 3, including North Yorkshire, you may see a maximum of two other households (your ‘Christmas bubble’) on Christmas Day (25 December). You cannot see anyone from a Tier 4 area. You should think very carefully about the risks and only form a Christmas bubble if you feel you absolutely need to. Wherever possible, discuss alternatives to meeting up in person.

You can only form a Christmas bubble if you do not live in a Tier 4 area. If you are permitted to form a Christmas bubble and choose to do so:

  • Keep your Christmas bubble as small as possible. Two other households is a maximum, not a target
  • Do not join a Christmas bubble with anyone from a Tier 4 area
  • Stop all unnecessary social contact outside your immediate household as soon as possible and for at least five days before you meet other households in your bubble
  • Only meet your Christmas bubble in private homes or in your garden, places of worship, or public outdoor spaces
  • Only see your bubble on Christmas Day. Do not stay overnight and keep your visits as short as possible
  • Stay local where possible. Avoid travelling from a high prevalence to a low prevalence area
  • Only meet people who are not in your Christmas bubble outside your home according to the rules in the tier you live in (unless coming from a lower to a higher tier) and do not meet socially with friends and family that you do not live with in your home or garden unless they are part of your Christmas bubble

When seeing your Christmas bubble, you should keep taking steps to reduce the spread of the virus. This includes meeting outdoors where possible, ensuring indoor spaces get as much fresh air as possible, making space between members of different households wherever you can, washing your hands regularly and for 20 seconds, and following rules on self-isolation if you develop symptoms or test positive for coronavirus.

You must not visit another household if you, or anyone in your household, is feeling unwell or self-isolating. You should get a free test if you have symptoms, have been asked to by your local council or your hospital, or are taking part in a government pilot project.

Meeting your Christmas bubble indoors

If someone is in your Christmas bubble, you can visit each other’s homes on 25 December, but must not stay overnight. You can also go to a place of worship together, or meet in public outdoor spaces. You cannot meet your Christmas bubble in any other indoor setting, such as a pub, hotel, shop, theatre, or restaurant. In these settings, rules on who you can and cannot meet depend on your tier.

Do not meet with friends and family that you do not live with in your home or garden unless they are part of your Christmas bubble. You can continue to meet people who are not in your Christmas bubble outside your home according to the rules in the tier you live in, but should aim to minimise all non-essential contact. If you travel to a tier with stricter rules than the one you have come from, you should follow the stricter rules that are in place.

There are specific guidelines for those who have chosen to form a different Christmas bubble from the people they normally live with, and for those who choose not to form a Christmas bubble.

We know that it’s easier to catch and spread the virus in an indoor space, especially if there is little flow of fresh air. Therefore, when meeting your Christmas bubble you should take these measures to prevent the spread of the virus:

  • keep your visits short because the risk of transmission increases the longer you stay
  • wash your hands frequently
  • clean touch points regularly, such as door handles and surfaces
  • keep socially distanced from anybody you do not live with as much as possible
  • make sure you let as much fresh air in as you can during a visit and after visitors have left, without getting cold, by opening windows and doors

People may continue to work in other people’s homes where necessary, such as for nannies, cleaners or tradespeople. To reduce risk, they should observe social distancing wherever possible, and where it can be avoided should not go into homes that are hosting Christmas bubbles.

It is vital that we each take personal responsibility this Christmas to limit the spread of the virus and protect our loved ones, particularly if they are vulnerable. One in three people with coronavirus (COVID-19) has no symptoms and will be spreading it without realising, so the safest way to celebrate Christmas this year is with your household or existing support bubble in your home. The more people you see, the more likely it is that you will catch or spread coronavirus.

Working together towards recovery

Children and Families service – Christmas packs

Our Children and Families staff have worked really hard getting Christmas packs out to families they are supporting. They have sent out 450 packs in just one week, which is a fantastic achievement. The packs were developed in partnership with Children and Families Early Help, the Library Service and the Grow and Learn project.

They include Christmas activities, games, information on food banks, community and voluntary support over the festive period and information from the Adult Learning and Skills Service.

Local businesses and Yorwaste donated toys to complement the packs. The Rotary Club also funded a card and stamp so children in the east of the county could send a Christmas message to someone special they may not have seen for a while. 

This has been a great team effort to spread some Christmas cheer to families who are struggling this year.

Testing

Testing sites in North Yorkshire, as elsewhere in England, are operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care and private contractors employed by them. We try to help the department by promoting the Mobile Testing Site locations and hosting information on how people with symptoms can book a test via the national government portal. We do not manage the national booking system or laboratory testing process.

Indications are that lab testing capacity is improving but, if you are unable to book a test at a local site straight away, please keep checking as availability varies during the day.

We are also supporting the Department in asking the public only to get a test if they are directed to do so by NHS Test and Trace or other NHS services – OR – if they have symptoms, to ensure that those people who need tests the most can be prioritised.

Testing sites will continue to be in operation every day across the Christmas and New Year period.

Before you attend you must book a test. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. 

Testing sites operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care will be running at the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • Every day - Harrogate - Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Every day - Scarborough - William Street Car Park, Scarborough. YO12 7PL
  • Every day - Northallerton – The Forum, Bullamore Road, Northallerton, DL6 1LP
  • Every day - Selby – Portholme Crescent Car Park, Selby, YO8 4YR
  • Every day - Skipton - Cavendish Street Car Park, Skipton, BD23 1RP
  • Tuesday 22 December - Sherburn in Elmet -  Pasture Way Carpark, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6LY
  • Tuesday 22 December - Filey - Filey Country Park, Church Cliff Drive, Filey, YO14 9ET
  • Tuesday 22 December - Catterick - Catterick Race Course, Catterick Bridge, Richmondshire, North Yorkshire, DL10 7PE
  • Tuesday 22 December - Thornton Le Dale - National Trust Car Park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Thornton Le Dale, Pickering, YO18 7RR
  • Wednesday 23 December - Scarborough - Scarborough Park and Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough, YO12 4LW
  • Wednesday 23 December - Ripon - Coach Park, 3 Moss Arcade, Ripon, HG4 1AG
  • Wednesday 23 December - Settle - Greenfoot Car Park, Settle, BD24 9RW
  • Thursday 24 December - Whitby - Whitby Marina Car Park, Langbourne Road, Whitby, YO21 1YW
  • Thursday 24 December - Malton - Wentworth Street Car Park, Smithson Ct, Malton, YO17 7BQ
  • Saturday 26 December - Selby - South Entrance, DRAX Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Saturday 26 December - Settle - Greenfoot Car Park, Settle, BD24 9RW
  • Saturday 26 December - Filey - Filey Country Park, Church Cliff Drive, Filey, YO14 9ET
  • Sunday 27 December - Scarborough - Scarborough Park and Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough, YO12 4LW
  • Sunday 27 December - Richmond - Round Howe car park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Sunday 27 December - Thirsk - Millgate Car Park, Marage Road, Thirsk, YO7 1PE
  • Sunday 27 December - Whitby - Whitby Marina Car Park, Langbourne Road, Whitby, YO21 1YW
  • Monday 28 December - Selby - South Entrance, DRAX Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Monday 28 December - Whitby - Whitby Marina Car Park, Langbourne Road, Whitby, YO21 1YW
  • Monday 28 December - Filey - Filey Country Park, Church Cliff Drive, Filey, YO14 9ET
  • Tuesday 29 December - Sherburn in Elmet -  Pasture Way Carpark, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6LY
  • Tuesday 29 December - Filey - Filey Country Park, Church Cliff Drive, Filey, YO14 9ET
  • Tuesday 29 December - Thornton Le Dale - National Trust Car Park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Thornton Le Dale, Pickering, YO18 7RR
  • Tuesday 29 December - Catterick - Catterick Race Course, Catterick Bridge, Richmondshire, North Yorkshire, DL10 7PE
  • Wednesday 30 December - Scarborough - Scarborough Park and Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough, YO12 4LW
  • Wednesday 30 December - Settle - Greenfoot Car Park, Settle, BD24 9RW
  • Thursday 31 December - Whitby - Whitby Marina Car Park, Langbourne Road, Whitby, YO21 1YW
  • Thursday 31 December - Filey - Filey Country Park, Church Cliff Drive, Filey, YO14 9ET
  • Thursday 31 December - Malton - Wentworth Street Car Park, Smithson Ct, Malton, YO17 7BQ
  • Saturday 2 January - Selby - South Entrance, DRAX Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Saturday 2 January - Settle - Greenfoot Car Park, Settle, BD24 9RW
  • Saturday 2 January - Filey - Filey Country Park, Church Cliff Drive, Filey, YO14 9ET
  • Sunday 3 January - Scarborough - Scarborough Park and Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough, YO12 4LW
  • Sunday 3 January - Richmond - Round Howe car park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Sunday 3 January - Thirsk - Millgate Car Park, Marage Road, Thirsk, YO7 1PE
  • Sunday 3 January - Whitby - Whitby Marina Car Park, Langbourne Road, Whitby, YO21 1YW

Watch this video to find out what to expect and how to prepare for the test.

See the latest dates and locations, find out more and how to book.

Supporting our schools and childcare

We have been in close contact with schools and other educational settings following the Government announcement that students’ return to secondary school and colleges in January will be staggered.

Full-time, remote education will be put in place during the first week of term, with face-to-face education beginning on January 11.

Students in exam year groups – Years 11 and 13 – as well as vulnerable children and children of critical workers will be attending school or college in person from the start of term, the week beginning January 4. Also returning the week beginning January 4 as usual, will be students attending special schools and pupil referral services.

Vocational exams scheduled for the week of January 4 will also go ahead as planned. Schools have informed parents of the local arrangements via their messaging services.

For several months now, North Yorkshire’s schools have had arrangements in place to allow teaching to take place online as part of their response to the pandemic and this will be used for those affected year groups during the first week of term. 

We are also preparing a webinar to take place with all our secondary and special schools on January 4, which will cover the latest Government announcements, including the proposal to allow schools and colleges to offer testing of students after Christmas.

Teamwork to support our residents

The County Council’s customer service centre will act as an emergency community support line every day from 9am to 5pm on 01609 780780 throughout the Christmas period. Team North Yorkshire volunteers will be on stand-by for anyone who needs help while many of the community support organisations take a much-needed and well-earned break.

For the last ten months, the County Council has been working with 23 community support organisations alongside partners and the voluntary sector to provide a safety net of support for people without family, friends or neighbours to lean on.

Calls to our customer service centre for help and support more than doubled during the November restrictions, and since March volunteers have given an incredible 81,878 hours to support people up and down the county with shopping, collecting medication and other essentials.

With the help of these amazing volunteers over 23,000 befriending calls have been made, more than 25,000 bags of shopping have been delivered and almost 15,000 prescriptions collected during the Covid pandemic.

Since March, over 1,030 Covid-19 support grant scheme awards have also been made through the community support organisations, providing financial assistance to pay for food and household essentials during isolation. The majority of applicants have long-term health conditions or weakened immune systems and 49% of applications are from residents in the Scarborough area. The help provided through the community support organisation network will continue into 2021.

People who need support with shopping, prescriptions and other essentials but don’t have anyone to call on over Christmas, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact the County Council’s emergency community support line on 01609 780780. The customer service centre will be closed to all routine queries between Christmas Day and 28 December, then again on New Year’s Day. Otherwise, normal opening times apply.

People can also contact us by email or live chat Residents are being urged to check on their friends, family and neighbours, particularly if they helped someone during the first or second lockdown.

To find local businesses offering food deliveries and takeaways, go to the Buy Local directory.

People can also Find details local voluntary and community groups offering support.

For more information about the help available, including a link to the latest Government advice for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable.

Growing our local economy

LEP News: Coronavirus Business Support Schemes Extended

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been further extended until the end of April 2021. This means that furloughed employees will continue to receive 80% of their usual salary for hours not worked until the end of April.

Additionally, the following schemes have been extended until March 30:

  • Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
  • Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme
  • Bounce Back Loan Scheme

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme will have a fourth grant made available from February to April 2021.

Read more about the Job Retention Scheme.

UK Trader Scheme launched to support businesses moving goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland

Traders who want to declare goods not ‘at risk’ from 1 January 2021 will need to apply for authorisation by 31 December 2020. Traders will be granted a provisional authorisation for a period of up to four months while HMRC processes their applications.

The government’s £200 million Trader Support Service (TSS) also provides education and guidance on ‘at risk’ goods for NI and GB businesses. Register for the TSS.

York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub Webinars

Start 2021 by supercharging your skills as our series of insightful webinars built to better your business continues:

Branding Master class: Making your business stand out - Creating a powerful brand 5 & 12 January, 12 noon

Delivered by Rachel Goddard, managing director of Intandem Communications, this two-part, creative and interactive master class will focus on the thinking behind creating a powerful brand so it generates impact for your business.

It will be an interactive session conducted on Zoom, with discussion and full participation encouraged. Delegates will be invited to submit their own ideas and thinking between sessions one and two for feedback.

In the first master class session you will learn:

  • What is a powerful brand?
  • Brand values and behaviour
  • Identifying the power behind your brand
  • Unlocking the brand personality and the spirit of your business

Book Branding Master class.

Leadership Series: Leading through Change and Adversity: 6 January, 12 noon

Our popular leadership series, delivered by employee engagement specialist Michelle Mook, is back in the New Year. The first webinar will provide support to leaders and managers who are leading through change and need to achieve buy-in and commitment.

In this one-hour workshop, you will learn:

  • Behaviours and emotional impact of change
  • A Strategy for change that helps lead others and get successful buy-in
  • Creating a compelling vision for change

Book Leadership Series

Staying informed

As always, we are keen to promote the following as main sources of business support information:

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

More than any other time, Christmas is when we make that extra special effort to look out for each other, to be with and remember family and friends, and make sure those who are lonely or isolated are given support. I am so proud that in North Yorkshire we have been making this extra special effort throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. We must now redouble these endeavours. Although infection rates have been coming down in North Yorkshire they are beginning to rise again, alarmingly so, in some parts of the UK, so we have to remain vigilant and act with safety in mind.

More than anything, after the hardships of the last few months, we are longing to be with family and friends to enjoy the celebration of Christmas together. But we also know that Covid-19 has no respect for Christmas and thrives best with household mixing. Although the four devolved governments of the UK have decided today to stick with the relaxation of lockdown regulations and allow mixing between three households over Christmas between 23 and 27 December, the best gift we can give our families and friends is to be cautious, kind and careful and to do everything we can to keep each other Covid-safe. Thanks to all our hard work, infections rates have been coming down consistently in North Yorkshire, but we must remember they are still four or five times higher than they were in August, that people are still dying from it in our hospitals and there is some evidence in some areas that the pace of the reduction is slowing. So just because we can mix with three households over Christmas, does not necessarily mean we should. Now more than ever the actions and efforts of every one of us to take responsibility to keep each other safe is critical if we are to avoid a third wave in January and many more deaths.

This week in North Yorkshire we have seen the first roll-out of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in four locations across the county led by our colleagues in the NHS, with those over 80 and in care homes and care home staff being prioritised. Another site has gone live today and six sites will come on stream next week. This is great news for all of us across the county, but this is a logistically complex operation to get up and running. People need two doses of the Pfizer vaccine, so all the people being vaccinated at the moment will be called back again in three weeks’ time for their second dose. So people must be patient and maintain their vigilance about being Covid-safe in the meantime. 

A big development will come when we manage to get the Oxford vaccine, which is much more useable, can be taken to more places and administered at greater speed and at that point the whole vaccination programme will really accelerate. Until then we must do everything we can to keep Covid infection rates down as our scientific experts warn us that another surge will only serve to hamper the vital vaccination programme.

There is light at the end of the tunnel, but with a difficult few months to come first, we must brace ourselves. We will get through it together. We have achieved so much to support our communities these last few months and we must hang on to that strong performance.

So this is my opportunity to say keep going with all your efforts and, above all, to say a big thank you for everything you have done so far. This week we launch our big Thank You message to Team North Yorkshire. As Christmas approaches, this is our chance to take some time to show our appreciation to all those right across the county who have gone the extra mile to support our communities through this historically challenging period. These heroes range from key workers in the care sector to our thousands of volunteers working through our Community Support Organisations to look out for neighbours, the vulnerable and isolated and collecting medication and shopping, to our partners in the NHS, police, fire and the military, to our teachers who have kept our children educated.

A few statistics illustrate the achievement. We have distributed four million pieces of PPE to 67 sites around the county; we have issued one million facemasks and 10,000 litres of hand sanitiser; We have given advice and guidance to 77,000 people, who have contacted the county council, and have helped to facilitate 80,000 hours of volunteer support with 22,000 shopping deliveries for those in need and 22,000 befriending calls. You have all been amazing and I am so proud of my county and what you have achieved. Thank you.

Finally, I want to wish you a peaceful and happy time over the coming Christmas period but, above all, a safe time.

Keeping in touch

Our website has a dedicated area for all the latest news, see links below:

Follow us on social media: @northyorkscc on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

At 13 December, there have been 14,562 positive tests since 3 March, with 1,203 new cases reported in the past two weeks. Over the past week, the average number of new cases is approximately 79 per day. Work continues to ensure effective monitoring of all areas, with support for incidents being provided across a range of settings, which are reviewed daily.

 

Get further information on North Yorkshire data provided at county, district and local area level.

Change in Self-Isolation Guidance

On 14 December, the isolation period for people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and their close contacts changed from 14 to 10 days. Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms or a positive test result must stay at home for the full isolation period. This is because they could pass it on to others, even if they don’t have symptoms.

Your isolation period includes the day your symptoms started (or the day your test was taken if you do not have symptoms), and the next 10 full days. This means that if, for example, your symptoms started at any time on the 15th of the month (or if you did not have symptoms but your first positive COVID-19 test was taken on the 15th), your isolation period ends at 23:59 hours on the 25th. You must complete your full isolation period. Your isolation period starts immediately from when your symptoms started, or, if you do not have any symptoms, from when your first test was taken.

You can return to your normal routine and stop self-isolating after 10 full days if your symptoms have gone, or if the only symptoms you have are a cough or anosmia, which can last for several weeks. If you still have a high temperature after 10 days or are otherwise unwell, stay at home and seek medical advice.

If you are isolating because of a positive test result, but did not have any symptoms, and you develop COVID-19 symptoms within your isolation period, start a new 10-day isolation period from the day your symptoms began. Most people with COVID-19 will experience a mild illness. Seek prompt medical attention if your illness or the illness of someone in your household is worsening.

While you are isolating, stay as far away from other members of your household as possible, especially if they are clinically extremely vulnerable. Wherever possible, avoid using shared spaces such as kitchens and other living areas while others are present and take your meals back to your room to eat. Wear a face covering or a surgical mask when spending time in shared areas inside your home.

As a reminder, the most important symptoms of COVID-19 are recent onset of any of the following:

  • a new continuous cough
  • a high temperature
  • a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)

Staff and exposed patients or residents in health and social care settings

Staff who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the community or at work should self-isolate for at least 10 days after illness onset. If, however, they have been admitted to hospital they should be isolated in hospital (or continue to self-isolate on discharge) for 14 days from their first positive test result. For the same reasons, the 14-day isolation rule also applies to other (non-staff) COVID-19 cases admitted to hospital.

Asymptomatic staff (i.e. usually not hospitalised) who have tested positive for COVID-19 should self-isolate for 10 days following their first positive test.

Residents who are known to have been exposed to a confirmed COVID-19 patient (an exposure similar to a household setting), should be isolated or cohorted only with residents who do not have COVID-19 symptoms but also have been exposed to COVID-19 residents, until 14 days after last exposure.

If you are a close contact of someone with COVID-19

A contact is a person who has been close to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 with a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. You can be a contact anytime from two days before the person who tested positive developed their symptoms, and up to 10 days after, as this is when they can pass the infection on to others. A contact can be:

  • anyone who lives in the same household as someone with COVID-19 symptoms or who has tested positive for COVID-19
  • anyone who has had any of the following types of contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 with a PCR test:
  • face-to-face contact, including being coughed on or having a face-to-face conversation within one metre
  • skin-to-skin physical contact for any length of time
  • been within one metre for one minute or longer without face-to-face contact
  • sexual contacts
  • been within two metres of someone for more than 15 minutes (either as a one-off contact, or added up together over one day)
  • travelled in the same vehicle or a plane

If you are a contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 you will be notified by the NHS Test and Trace service via text message, email or phone and should follow this guidance closely.

If you are a close contact, you must stay at home and self-isolate. Do not go to work, school, or public areas and do not use public transport or taxis. Your isolation period includes the day the first person in your household’s symptoms started (or the day their test was taken if they did not have symptoms) and the next 10 full days. This means that if, for example, your 10-day isolation period starts on the 15th of the month, your isolation period ends at 23:59 hours on the 25th and then you can return to your normal routine.

If you do not have symptoms of COVID-19 yourself, you do not need a test. Only arrange a test if you develop COVID-19 symptoms or if you are asked to do so as part of a wider testing scheme. If for any reason you have a negative test result during your 10-day isolation period, you must continue to self-isolate. Even if you don’t have symptoms, you could still pass the infection on to others. Stay at home for the full 10 days to avoid putting others at risk.

If you develop symptoms while you are isolating, arrange to have a COVID-19 PCR test. If your test result is positive, follow the advice for people with COVID-19 to stay at home and start a further full 10-day isolation period. This begins when your symptoms started, regardless of where you are in your original 10-day isolation period. This means that your total isolation period will be longer than 10 days.

If you are identified as a contact and asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, including by the NHS COVID-19 app, you may be entitled to a payment of £500 from your local authority under the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme.

Failure to comply with self-isolation may result in a fine, starting from £1,000. Parents or guardians are legally responsible for ensuring that anyone under 18 self-isolates if they test positive for COVID-19 and are contacted by NHS Test and Trace and told to self-isolate.

Working together towards recovery

Testing

Testing sites in North Yorkshire, as elsewhere in England, are operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care and private contractors employed by them. We try to help the department by promoting the Mobile Testing Site locations and hosting information on how people with symptoms can book a test via the national government portal. We do not manage the national booking system or laboratory testing process.

Indications are that lab testing capacity is improving but, if you are unable to book a test at a local site straight away, please keep checking as availability varies during the day.

We are also supporting the Department in asking the public only to get a test if they are directed to do so by NHS Test and Trace or other NHS services OR if they have symptoms, to ensure that those people who need tests the most can be prioritised.

Before you attend, you must book a test. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. 

Testing sites operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care will be running at the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • Every day - Harrogate - Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Every day - Scarborough - William Street Car Park, Scarborough. YO12 7PL
  • Every day - Northallerton – The Forum, Bullamore Road, Northallerton, DL6 1LP
  • Every day - Selby – Portholme car park, Crescent Carpark, Selby, YO8 4QH
  • Every day - Skipton - Cavendish Street Car Park, Skipton, BD23 1RP
  • Thursday 17 December - Whitby - Whitby Marina Car Park, Langbourne Road, Whitby, YO21 1YW
  • Thursday 17 December - Malton - Wentworth Street Car Park, Smithson Ct, Malton, YO17 7BQ
  • Thursday 17 December - Catterick - Catterick Race Course, Catterick Bridge, Richmondshire, North Yorkshire, DL10 7PE
  • Friday 18 December - Sherburn in Elmet -  Pasture Way Carpark, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6LY
  • Friday 18 December - Thornton Le Dale - National Trust Car Park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Thornton Le Dale, Pickering, YO18 7RR
  • Friday 18 December - Easingwold - Easingwold Town AFC, Stillington Rd, Easingwold, York, YO61 3DZ
  • Saturday 19 December - Selby - South Entrance, DRAX Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Saturday 19 December - Settle - Greenfoot Car Park, Settle, BD24 9RW
  • Saturday 19 December - Filey - Filey Country Park, Church Cliff Drive, Filey, YO14 9ET
  • Sunday 20 December - Scarborough - Scarborough Park and Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough, YO12 4LW
  • Sunday 20 December - Richmond - Round Howe car park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4T
  • Sunday 20 December - Thirsk - Millgate Car Park, Marage Road, Thirsk, YO7 1PE
  • Sunday 20 December - Thornton Le Dale - National Trust Car Park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Thornton Le Dale, Pickering, YO18 7RR

Watch this video to find out what to expect and how to prepare for the test.

See the latest dates and locations, find out more and how to book.

Supporting our schools and childcare

The vast majority of our schools will be closing for the Christmas break on Friday this week.

The Government recently announced that schools could add an inset day to the end of term, allowing some to close on the slightly earlier date of Thursday, December 17.

None of our schools in North Yorkshire have closed for the Christmas holiday prior to these dates, due to the importance of keeping children and young people in education. By doing so, we are avoiding any detrimental impact on pupils’ wellbeing and social development and making sure they don’t miss out on opportunities later in life. 

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our school staff who have worked so hard to get children back to school this September and the work they have done on risk assessments, putting covid-secure measures in place and ensuring schools are safe places to be.

It has been a difficult year with very few opportunities for rests or breaks for staff and we hope they all get the rest they deserve over Christmas.

Teamwork to support our residents

North Yorkshire residents are being reassured that help is available throughout the Christmas period for those who need it. The County Council’s customer service centre will act as an emergency community support line every day from 9am to 5pm on 01609 780780. People are being urged to plan ahead and keep checking on family, friends and neighbours, but council staff and Team North Yorkshire volunteers will be on standby for anyone who needs help while many of the community support organisations take a well-deserved break.

Almost everyone in North Yorkshire has adapted in one way or another this year. Community support organisations and voluntary groups across the county are no exception.

From befriending services to delivering shopping and prescriptions, people in North Yorkshire have pulled together to accommodate the needs of their neighbours.

The Bedale community minibus service has picked up delivering prescriptions to those in the community who have been limiting their outside contacts but need to get their medication. Under normal circumstances, the Bedale Community Minibus team organise trips out for those in the area.

Malcolm Bloor, a member of the organisation, said: “Our small organisation is really unique. We are independent and provide community transport. We were originally given a minibus for use in the Bedale area which was used to arrange day trips and take people out.”

He said one of the local pharmacies in Bedale has provided a home delivery service for a number of years, but became overwhelmed with requests during Covid. A local volunteer group helped at first, but Bedale Community Minibus were approached by North Yorkshire County Council to see if they could pick up the service.

Malcolm added: “We go to the chemist, the driver shows their ID and they get a box of medication and then drive round delivering it to people in the community. We make sure someone at the house, either the person themselves or a carer, take the medication from us so it’s delivered and we can report back any problems to the pharmacy.”

People who need support with shopping, prescriptions and other essentials but don’t have anyone to call on, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780. The centre is open seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm. People can also contact us by email or live chat.

To find local businesses offering food deliveries and takeaways, go to the Buy Local directory.

People can also Find details local voluntary and community groups offering support.

For more information about the help available, including a link to the latest Government advice for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable.

Growing our local economy

Buy Local: Shopping local isn’t just for Christmas

We are asking everyone to think long term about shopping local.

The run up to Christmas can be the most important trading period of the year for some businesses, but this year it has been curtailed by the pandemic, leaving some struggling to survive.

Buy Local provides more than 800 businesses and tradespeople, all in one place, so searching for what you need is easy. Whether you need a last-minute Christmas gift, or an emergency plumber!

Businesses and tradespeople can register free, to showcase their goods and services to new audiences.

Many of the retailers on Buy Local are offering Christmas gifts, food and drink deliveries and festive treats, but the Dale Christmas Market has gone one step further by creating a virtual Christmas market.

Organiser Sharon Davis wanted to recreate something as close as possible to a real-life Christmas market on screen, to try to make up for the lack of local markets this year due to Covid.

Sharon, founder of the Dales Business Women networking group and a business owner herself, is a passionate advocate of supporting the local economy. She added: “What I have been particularly impressed by every year is just the talent of local businesses, I mean people are producing quality goods that are on par, if not better than, things made by the big brands. It might be more expensive, but I think if we can just keep the micro, small business economy going, it’s better in the long run.

North Yorkshire County Council leader Cllr Carl Les, said: “I make no apology for continually urging everyone to shop locally now, and keep it up next year if you can.  We have some really fantastic businesses in North Yorkshire which contribute so much to our world famous identity – now is the time to use them or lose them.”

Sharon added: “I think it's important to think long term. Buying local isn’t just for Christmas, but it would be very easy to go back to buying products from the big guys in the New Year. My advice would be, try and build sustainable shopping habits, even if you start in a small and manageable way, that’s better than going back to old habits. Make sustainable, small changes, for the long term.”

The Dales Christmas Market will be live until 31 December 2020 and Buy Local will continue to support businesses and customers well into the future.

Register your business or search for goods and services on Buy Local

LEP News: York & North Yorkshire LEP ‘Plan for Skills 2021-2026’: Empowering people for a greener, fairer, stronger economy

The York & North Yorkshire LEP vision is ambitious: we want to become England’s first carbon negative, circular economy that increases productivity and provides higher paid jobs.

Please join us for our annual Skills Conference 2021 as we present our five-year skills strategy. Sign up to Skills Conference 2021.

Time is running out

The transition period will end in a few weeks: New rules for businesses and citizens will come into force on 1 January 2021, no matter the outcome of EU negotiations.

HMRC has published guidance on: 

DEFRA has updated guidance for UK businesses on:  

Loan Fee Fraud

The Financial Conduct Authority have launched their Loan Fee Fraud Campaign to raise awareness of the issue and encourage people to go through the three-step loan fraud checklist to protect themselves.

Loan-fee fraud is a type of scam which targets people who are looking for loans online. Scammers then contact the victims to offer them a loan but ask for an upfront fee.

Due to the COVID-19, household incomes are being squeezed, therefore this campaign is important. A campaign toolkit, which includes a staff briefing sheet, can be found here.

View the FCA’s Financial Services register.

Hundreds of small businesses to provide ‘Kickstart’ placements to young unemployed

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has backed a scheme that will enable small employers and sole traders to provide work placements to unemployed people aged 16 to 24 under the government’s Kickstart programme.

More than 700 small firms have so far come forward to offer placements through a gateway set up by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), alongside Adecco Working Ventures (AWV), which will be the intermediary employer.

View more details about Kickstart.

DfE's National Skills Fund Announcement

The Department for Education have announced the publication of free Level 3 qualifications available to eligible adult learners from April 2021 under the Lifetime Skills Guarantee.

Level 3 adult offer

From April 2021, any adult aged 24 and over who wants to achieve their first full level 3 qualification, the equivalent of a technical certificate or diploma, or 2 full A levels, will be able to access almost 400 fully funded courses.

Skills boot camps

Complementing the level 3 adult offer, skills boot camps offer free, flexible courses of just 12 to 16 weeks. They give people the opportunity to build up sector-specific skills and fast-track to an interview with a local employer.

Toolkit and assets are here ​​​​​and find more details bout the skills boot camps.

Staying informed

As always, we are keen to promote the following as main sources of business support information:

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

What an extraordinary year this is! Every week seems to bring a fresh announcement or challenge and this one has not disappointed. In the coming days and weeks, we will see our partners in the NHS start to roll out the vaccine right here in North Yorkshire. This is without doubt extremely welcome news for very many people here. This programme will be carefully managed and phased, to ensure that the people who need to start their vaccination programme first are at the front of the queue. Amongst those people will be those who are over 80.

It’s really important to understand how this will work so I hope this information is helpful. When it is your turn to get your first vaccination the NHS will contact you directly. That may be your GP or another NHS colleague. When you are contacted, you will be given an appointment. There will be a date and time and, of course, the venue. You are asked to help support the smooth running of the programme by NOT contacting your GP or going to a vaccination centre, unless you have been contacted and invited. If you cannot make your appointment, you are asked to let the NHS know so that someone else can get their first dose. You will then need a second dose and you will be given all those details proactively too. It will take months, not weeks, to vaccinate everyone who qualifies. We can help our NHS colleagues manage this process as easily as possible here in North Yorkshire if we follow these instructions.

Additional positive news is that rates of Covid infection in the county are continuing to stabilise on the whole. There are still fluctuations, but generally the number of cases continues to reduce and North Yorkshire remains below the England average. That said, we must not forget that today’s rates are still 4 or 5 times higher than they were late August and early September and our public health team is still managing 350 outbreaks across a variety of settings in the county. You have been brilliant. We have come such a long way and many of you will be looking forward to the relaxation of the rules over Christmas so you can be with your loved ones for a few days. In advance of that, and to help us avoid a third wave of this awful virus, we are asking that you help us get that rate down even further. Let’s give this one more push before Christmas and do it for North Yorkshire and everyone that matters to us. The lower the rates – the lesser the chance we may accidentally pass it on to someone we love.  I know our county will continue to rise to this challenge.

This week is also an important one for North Yorkshire’s economic recovery from the pandemic and its future prospects. Today we moved a step closer to understanding what local government will look like here in the future. Today has been the deadline to put forward final bids to reorganise public service delivery here and to pave the way for a devolution deal for the people and businesses or York and North Yorkshire. To be successful, bids need to demonstrate they meet the national criteria around improving local government in the area, representing a credible geography and having a good deal of local support. Our proposal would create a new single council here, delivering strengthened public services to every person and business in North Yorkshire. It would protect the county’s globally recognised brand and its nationally acclaimed services for children and adults. We also support the City of York’s position of remaining a separate authority serving its unique and urban population. By working more closely with York, our proposal also offers the potential to save around £67 million a year to plough back into supporting local services and empowered communities. The alternative would break our county in half and split up these services. Our bid has the backing of North Yorkshire’s health, police and fire services as well as many businesses, charities and the North Yorkshire branch of Unison. Many members of the public have also spared the time to support it and to help us shape it, for which we are very grateful. I invite you all to learn more about our bid.

You can hear from a few of the organisations and businesses that are backing it, so that you can make up your own mind. There is also an animation here if you would rather hear about the proposal in a different way.

Before I leave you, I just wanted to draw your attention to the latest great initiative from our libraries. There is an added incentive for youngsters to get reading this festive period with the promise of a free Christmas goody bag for children aged 4-11 who read 4 books or borrow a book bundle. We know how much you value your local library so I am delighted we have been able to reopen them safely following the end of the national lockdown.  Personally, I find these cold dark evenings are much more pleasurable with a good read, so I hope our budding bookworms will enjoy this offer.

Until next week please stay safe and keep up your great working in bringing the virus infection rate down and playing your part in Team North Yorkshire.

Keeping in touch

Our website has a dedicated area for all the latest news, see links below:

Follow us on social media: @northyorkscc on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire hands on the baton for public health leadership

North Yorkshire is thanking its Director of Public Health, Dr Lincoln Sargeant, who is moving to a new post in the south west of England after eight years in the county.

Dr Sargeant has been instrumental in establishing and leading the county’s Public Health service since the transfer of responsibilities from the NHS to local government in April 2013. He is moving to become the new Director of Public Health for Torbay, in a board-level post.

Louise Wallace will take up the post in North Yorkshire as interim Director of Public Health on 12 December. Louise was Director of Public Health for Hartlepool from 2012 to 2017 and is currently Assistant Director for Health and Integration in North Yorkshire. She will continue with her health and Integration responsibilities.

Dr Sargeant has played a key role in developing and improving North Yorkshire’s nationally mandated public health services, such as sexual health and substance misuse, and in creating, funding and supporting critical prevention programmes.

More recently he has provided public health leadership and expertise in the response to the pandemic.

Richard Webb, Corporate Director of Health and Adult Services, paid tribute to Dr Sargeant and his contribution to developing the role of public health in the county. He said: “I am sure everyone will join me in thanking Lincoln for his crucial work over the last few years and in wishing him well for his future in the south west. We are also pleased that Louise Wallace will be bringing her extensive experience to the Director of Public Health for our county.”

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

At 6th December, there have been 13,935 positive tests since 3rd March, with 1,222 new cases reported in the past two weeks.  Over the past week, the average number of new cases is approximately 82 cases per day, but may be as high as 93 per day, allowing for incomplete data in the most recent days. Work continues to ensure effective monitoring of all areas, with support for incidents being provided across a range of settings, which are reviewed daily.

 

Get further information on North Yorkshire data provided at county, district and local area level.

Guidance for the Festive Period

The festive period is an important time for many people of all faiths and none, with people coming together over the holidays. The UK Government and Devolved Administrations recognise that people will want to be with their friends and family over Christmas, particularly after an incredibly difficult year. For this reason, the government is changing some social contact restrictions for a short period of time. When following these new rules, we must each continue to take personal responsibility to limit the spread of the virus and protect our loved ones, particularly if they are vulnerable. For many, this will mean that it isn’t possible to celebrate Christmas in the way you normally would.

Between 23 and 27 December:

  • you can form an exclusive ‘Christmas bubble’ composed of people from no more than three households
  • you can only be in one Christmas bubble
  • you cannot change your Christmas bubble
  • you can travel between tiers and UK nations for the purposes of meeting your Christmas bubble
  • you can only meet your Christmas bubble in private homes or in your garden, places of worship, or public outdoor spaces
  • you can continue to meet people who are not in your Christmas bubble outside your home according to the rules in the tier you are meeting in
  • if you form a Christmas bubble, you should not meet socially with friends and family that you do not live with in your home or garden unless they are part of this bubble

In terms of celebrating the festive period, the following rules are also applicable.

Christmas markets and shopping (including Boxing Day sales)

Santa’s grottos are able to open in all tiers where they are located in venues otherwise permitted to open. Venues should put in place appropriate COVID-secure measures, including social distancing.

The rules on who you can meet with in shops will depend on your tier. The rules might be different for indoor shops and open air shops, such as Christmas markets or Christmas tree markets.

Between 23 and 27 December, the rules on who you can meet in shops will not change. This includes Boxing Day sales.

Attending events, including performances and Christmas lighting ceremonies

From 2 December, the rules on attending events, including performances and Christmas or other festive lighting ceremonies will depend on your tier. The rules might be different for indoor and outdoor events.

Between 23 and 27 December, the rules on indoor events will not change. You can attend outdoor events with your Christmas bubble.

Carol singing

Carol singing is allowed to take place.

Those performing or rehearsing in a professional capacity, or as part of a supervised activity for under 18s, are not limited in number and do not have to adhere to gathering limits but should still follow performing arts guidance.

This means that if more than one household is performing or rehearsing indoors, they must not interact, ‘mingle’ or otherwise socialise together. You should maintain social distancing between groups or households at all times, including when entering or leaving the building or in any breaks

Door to door performances

Door-to-door carol singing can take place in a group of no more than six participants.

If there are more than six people in total, each ‘group’ must not interact, mingle or otherwise socialise.

Participants should adhere to public health advice, including to ensure that you maintain at least 2m distance from anyone you do not live with and at the threshold of any dwellings.

In addition, we all need to continue to follow the ‘hands, face, space’ guidance as much as possible to keep down the levels of Covid in North Yorkshire:

  • Hands – wash your hands regularly and for 20 seconds
  • Face – wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.
  • Space – stay 2m apart from people you do not live with where possible, or 1m with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings)

Vaccinations and testing

This week’s news of the first people being vaccinated against Covid is a huge milestone. However, with 65 million people nationally requiring vaccination, the roll-out will take some time. Certain high-risk groups of the population will be prioritised and the NHS will oversee local implementation. The County Council will work to support the NHS, local people and the care sector as the vaccinations come onstream.

Meanwhile, we have continued to expand testing capacity at fixed sites across the county. At the same time, we are working with care providers to ensure the effective roll-out of lateral flow testing where it is appropriate to use it. Lateral flow tests can work well where they are undertaken by trained people, in controlled conditions, with back-up from more comprehensive swab and laboratory testing. The County Council, NHS and care providers will issue joint advice and guidance about lateral flow testing shortly and this advice will be published on the County Council’s website.

Be careful and be kind at Christmas

Director of Health and Adult Services Richard Webb has issued a call to everyone to be careful and to be kind to each other in the run-up to and over Christmas.

Richard said: “As we try to be more joyful and more hopeful as we go into Christmas, we also need to be careful, particularly around how we catch up with loved ones.

“If you are planning to spend Christmas Day with an elderly or disabled relative, please plan ahead. If at all possible, try to minimise your social interactions in the 14 days leading up to seeing a potentially vulnerable friend or relative and keep yourself as safe as possible up to that time, because in doing so you will protect your friend or loved one.

“And I know how difficult this will be, but I would ask you to avoid kissing and hugging. You need to try to keep that distance to protect people throughout the Christmas period. It’s about following the rules and keeping everyone safe.

“Be careful and be kind to each other. Let’s look after each other. We can get through this. We have seen a dramatic reduction in the infection rates, but we need to keep going with the aim of reducing the virus even further.”

Working together towards recovery

Skipton local testing site to open at weekend

A permanent Covid local testing site is set to open in Skipton on Saturday 12 December, to support the ongoing expansion of testing capacity.

The site will join those already operating in Harrogate, Northallerton, Scarborough and Selby.

The Skipton site will be in Cavendish Street car park. Craven District Council has written to car park permit holders advising them of the closure and asking them to use Coach Street car park instead. Nearby businesses and residents are also being contacted.

The site will be operated on behalf of the Department for Health and Social Care by G4S.

Local testing sites are indoors and allow walk-in appointments. People do not need to arrive in a vehicle, unlike drive-through mobile testing units. The sites offer Covid testing from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week. Appointments must be booked in advance.  Book a test online, or by calling 119.

Local testing sites take bookings from within a radius of 10 miles. Mobile testing units will continue to run alongside these with a range of 75 miles.

Testing

Testing sites in North Yorkshire, as elsewhere in England, are operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and private contractors employed by them. We try to help the department by promoting the Mobile Testing Site locations and hosting information on how people with symptoms can book a test via the national government portal. We do not manage the national booking system or laboratory testing process.

Indications are that lab testing capacity is improving but, if you are unable to book a test at a local site straight away, please keep checking as availability varies during the day.

We are also supporting the DHSC in asking the public only to get a test if they are directed to do so by NHS Test and Trace or other NHS services – OR – if they have symptoms, to ensure that those people who need tests the most can be prioritised.

Before you attend you must book a test. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. 

Testing sites operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care will be running at the following locations over the coming days, between 11am and 3pm:

  • Every day - Harrogate - Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Every day - Scarborough - William Street Car Park, Scarborough. YO12 7PL
  • Every day - Northallerton – The Forum, Bullamore Road, Northallerton, DL6 1LP
  • Every day - Selby – Portholme car park, Crescent Car Park, Selby, YO8 4QH
  • Thursday 10 December - Whitby - Whitby Marina Car Park, Langbourne Road, Whitby, YO21 1YW
  • Thursday 10 December - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4T
  • Thursday 10 December - Malton - Wentworth Street Car Park, Smithson Ct, Malton, YO17 7BQ
  • Friday 11 December - Sherburn in Elmet -  Pasture Way Car Park, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6LY
  • Friday 11 December - Thornton Le Dale - National Trust Car Park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Thornton Le Dale, Pickering, YO18 7RR
  • Friday 11 December - Easingwold - Easingwold Town AFC, Stillington Rd, Easingwold, York, YO61 3DZ
  • Saturday 12 December - Selby - South Entrance, DRAX Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Saturday 12 December - Settle - Greenfoot Car Park, Settle, BD24 9RW
  • Saturday 12 December - Filey - Filey Country Park, Church Cliff Drive, Filey, YO14 9ET
  • Sunday 13 December - Scarborough - Scarborough Park and Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough, YO12 4LW
  • Sunday 13 December - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4T
  • Sunday 13 December - Thirsk - Millgate Car Park, Marage Road, Thirsk, YO7 1PE
  • Sunday 13 December - Thornton Le Dale - National Trust Car Park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Thornton Le Dale, Pickering, YO18 7RR

Watch this video to find out what to expect and how to prepare for the test.

See the latest dates and locations, find out more and how to book.

Supporting our schools and childcare

Attendance at schools across the county remains strong at 89%. The number of schools closed or partially closed in North Yorkshire has reduced this week. We currently have two primary schools that are closed and no secondary schools closed.  A further 20 schools have a partial closure, either classes or year groups.

We are pleased that closures remain low and attendance remains strong across the county in the run up to the Christmas holiday.

Schools in North Yorkshire will close on 18 December, though many schools are expected to use Friday 18 December for staff training. Most children missed a significant proportion of schooling in spring and summer this year. We want to minimise any further disruption and it is important children continue to attend school for their academic progress, their mental health and their wellbeing.

We have acted quickly to distribute Covid Winter Grant Scheme funding to schools, academies and early years providers to help families hardest hit by the pandemic. This will ensure that children eligible for free school meals and others in need in North Yorkshire will continue to have access to meals over the Christmas holidays and into the next school year. Schools, colleges and early years settings will distribute supermarket vouchers to families identified as in need. These are equivalent to £20 per child per week.

The response to this issue, of all schools and education and childcare providers across the county has been tremendous. We could not do this without their co-operation and support, so we would like to give our thanks to each and every provider.

Parents who experience any difficulties with the voucher scheme during the school holidays are asked to contact the County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780. The centre is open seven days a week from 8am to 5.30pm.

Teamwork to support our residents

With Christmas just two weeks away, community support organisations are continuing to help people plan ahead. Volunteers have been helping to make sure North Yorkshire residents who have relied on support with shopping and other essentials have everything they need over the festive period.

Keith Davy has been volunteering through Hambleton Community Action since long before Covid-19 even reared its head, and was kept even busier once the first lockdown started.

With the second lockdown over, Keith reflects on the challenges now compared to the summer.

Keith said: “I must admit it was a lot easier in the summer, you could go out in your garden and things. It’s not so easy now with it being so wet and damp and cold – it’s always going to be more of a challenge in the winter to be honest. If it starts to get even colder, and snowy and wet and icy, it’s going to be a bit more difficult for people.”

Life would have been a lot more difficult for so many people this year without the volunteers who stepped up to and provide vital support, and have kept on giving through the second wave of the pandemic.

Keith added: “Strangely enough, I was saying to my wife Jane, I quite missed it and I’m quite happy to do it again. It gets me out of the house, gives me something to do, and keeps me motivated and stimulated, which is good. They do a sterling job in lots of different ways – they do befriending and what have you. Volunteering is just a way of giving back and it gives me an interest as well.  The more I do it the better for me to be honest.

“I’ve done it because I think it’s a nice thing to do, it is nice to chat to people when I drop their stuff off, just ask how they are doing and if there is anything else I can do for them. It’s a pleasure and I get a lot of joy out of doing it anyway to be honest – its stops me being too bored.”

Keith also told us how people in his own village have pulled together, “It was very evident in the first lockdown - there was a lot of goodwill in the village and lots of different things happening and people helping each other out.”

People who need support with shopping, prescriptions and other essentials but don’t have anyone to call on, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780. The centre is open seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm. People can also contact us by email or live chat.

To find local businesses offering food deliveries and takeaways, go to the Buy Local directory.

People can also Find details local voluntary and community groups offering support.

For more information about the help available, including a link to the latest Government advice for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable.

Growing our local economy

Buy Local: Christmas food shopping can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be!

Buy Local is our one stop shop for local businesses, including nearly 200 food retailers offering in store or online shopping, click and collect or local delivery.

From cheese to cakes, and hampers to beer, all can be found on Buy Local. 

Wensleydale Creamery joined Buy Local to promote their range of foods and Christmas gifts. Sandra Bell, Marketing Manager said “When you shop with us you are also supporting 40 local farmers who supply us with milk, as well as our Yorkshire cheese partners Shepherds Purse and Yorkshire Halloumi, plus fantastic local food producers and craftsmen who create our unique cheeseboards and gifts.”

Search Buy Local and make your Christmas shopping count.

Covid-safe businesses can register for free advertising on the site – sign up today!

LEP News: Major rail project completed

A £9.8million upgrade to the railway between Harrogate and York has been completed.

The project has been carried out by Network Rail and funded by North Yorkshire County Council and the York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership supported by Government funding from the Local Growth Fund.

Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said: “The completion of these vital upgrades at Cattal and along the Harrogate-York line is fantastic news for passengers across North Yorkshire, creating a more modern, reliable and resilient railway for years to come.

“By enabling improved connections between Harrogate and York, as well as stations along the route, it will help this region build back better, boosting the local economy and supporting tourism.”

Read the full story here.

York & North Yorkshire Intelligence Update

The latest intelligence update is now available with contributions by representatives from the county and district councils, businesses organisations (such as the Chamber, FSB & CBI), key high street organisations (i.e. local BIDs) and Department for International Trade (DIT).

The report shares business sentiments and the impact of Covid and the EU Exit on our region.

FSB issues ‘Small Business Christmas’ rallying cry

Shoppers in Yorkshire are being urged to buy from, and celebrate, their local and independent businesses in a pre-Christmas campaign led by Britain’s biggest business representation group.

The 'Love Your Small Independent Business' campaign is asking people to actively support their local independent businesses online by using the hashtag #ilovesmallbusiness, and also to share images of their purchases and recommendations of small shops and businesses by using the hashtag #ShopHereThisChristmas.

It also calls on people to place reviews of their favourite businesses online as well to persuade others to ‘shop small’ and think local first, in line with the current high-profile Google ‘Dear Local’ advertising push.

EU Transition: Employment law changes you need to be aware of – 14 December, 12pm

In partnership with employment law specialists, Thrive Law, this webinar will explore the employment law changes coming into force from 1 January 2021 and what you need to do to prepare.

In this free webinar, Thrive Law will cover:

  • the changes to employment law from January;
  • what employers need to do; and
  • other factors that employers should consider.

Book Employment law changes you need to be aware of.

Leadership Series: Communicating with Impact -15 December, 12pm

Led by leadership and employee engagement specialist, Michelle Mook, this free webinar will support leaders in identifying what is needed to be a strong communicator.

In this one-hour workshop, you will learn:

  • your preferred way of interacting/communicating;
  • how to adapt your style to have more impact; and
  • communication with different styles to build rapport.

Book Communicating with Impact.

Staying informed

As always, we are keen to promote the following as main sources of business support information:

Creative lockdown ideas

North Yorkshire libraries are inviting children aged 4-11 to read four books or borrow a ‘book bundle’ over the festive period from their local library. In turn, they can collect a free goody bag including stickers and activities, and there’s also a special treat for pre-schoolers in participating libraries.

The goody bag giveaway will end at lunchtime on Christmas Eve, or the final opening day of individual libraries. The scheme runs while stocks last and families are asked to check their local library is taking part.

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

Today we emerge from the second lockdown and the first thing to say is undoubtedly a big thank you to every single person right across our county for helping us use that opportunity to get on top of infection rates. You will probably be aware that we are the only area of Yorkshire, and one of a limited number in the north, not to be in the toughest tier, Tier 3. Thanks to your sacrifice and hard work we are, in fact, continuing to see our infection rates here reduce. Today all areas of the county, as well as our neighbours in the City of York, are sitting very comfortably below the England average.

We must not be complacent, particularly with the relaxation of the rules for that five-day window over Christmas, but this is positive news and I hope you will keep up your magnificent response. The lower we can get our rates before Christmas the better. We know that the mixing of households over the period of relaxation has the potential to see rates bounce back up in the New Year. Like you, we do not want to see a third wave here. Like you, we want to see our businesses well placed to plan for recovery in 2021 and so we all have a very important part to play in this. We must not drop our guard when we enjoy time with our loved ones and I ask you to take very particular care around older family members and people who may be more vulnerable due to medical conditions. We can be together but keep our distance and give the virus the least possible opportunity to use our families to get a grip on our communities again.

Alongside those declining rates is more good news today regarding the first vaccine to be approved for use in the UK. As Chair of North Yorkshire’s Local Resilience Forum, I can give you confidence that we have been supporting our NHS partners in anticipation of this announcement. Working together with all the partners, we will ensure that the facilities and resources, which are required to support the roll-out of vaccines, are in place here. We have a strong track record in North Yorkshire of responding well to emergencies and we are already driving forward these plans together at pace. A vaccine has been both long-awaited and anticipated, so whatever needs to be done will be done. This programme will be led by the NHS and we look forward to further information in the coming days.

For those who might be thinking about not sticking to the Tier 2 restrictions, it’s worth remembering that our colleagues in the police have handed out more than 230 fines since we went into the second lockdown. 178 of those were along the coast – where rates were soaring just a few weeks ago. That’s £35,000 worth of fines issued in a single month in one area, largely to people who were out and about in lockdown without a reasonable excuse. Despite the thoughtlessness of those few, the vast majority of the residents of Scarborough, Whitby and Filey still managed to pull together to turn the tide on the virus, which shows everywhere else what can be done when we stand together.

A couple more points I wanted to share. Today we have hosted a virtual staff awards. Every year we are impressed and humbled by the efforts to which so many of our 6,000 staff go to deliver the best possible public services to you. This year was no exception; in fact, it was in many ways better than ever. Because we have been able to thank the teams who have been leading the volunteer effort – serving isolated and vulnerable people right across the county and ensuring no-one was alone here during the pandemic. We have celebrated innovations in technology and new ways to design and deliver services to support the public. The vast majority of our staff are also residents, living with and alongside you, and I hope you will join me in applauding their terrific efforts.

And tomorrow (December 3) we are celebrating the International Day for People with Disabilities. This year, the theme is “Not all Disabilities are Visible” to raise awareness that not all disabilities are immediately apparent or physical. This could include mental illnesses, chronic pain or fatigue, sight or hearing loss, brain injuries, neurological disorders and learning disabilities. At the county council, we support a range of groups ensuring people of all abilities have a voice and I hope you will enjoy reading more about their excellent work.

It is really rewarding to be able to bring you these words of hope and positivity. This has been the most challenging year for you all. Your spirit and determination has been as resilient as ever and your efforts are so appreciated. Stay safe and please enjoy shopping locally and supporting local businesses at this important time. If you can’t get out and about, this directory offers lots of choice so you can still Buy Local.

Keeping in touch

Our website has a dedicated area for all the latest news, see links below:

Follow us on social media: @northyorkscc on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

At 29 November, there have been 13,271 positive tests since 3 March, with 1,730 new cases reported in the past two weeks. Over the past week, the average number of new cases is approximately 81 cases per day, but may be as high as 124 per day, allowing for incomplete data in the most recent days. Work continues to ensure effective monitoring of all areas, with support for incidents being provided across a range of settings, which are reviewed daily.

Get further information on North Yorkshire data provided at county, district and local area level.

North Yorkshire is now in Tier 2 (High alert)

From today (2 December), North Yorkshire will be in Tier 2 (High alert). View a list of what you can and cannot do in Tier 2 of local restrictions. With Christmas fast approaching, Government have also issued guidance for the Christmas period.

From 2nd December, non-essential shops, gyms, hairdressers, beauty parlours, and the wider leisure sector can reopen. Business owners across North Yorkshire have been working to make their businesses as COVID-secure as possible. From 2nd December:

  • Restaurants, pubs and bars can reopen, serving until 10pm and closing at 11pm. In Tier 2, patrons of pubs and restaurants can only drink alcohol with a substantial meal and may only sit indoors with their household or outdoors with up to six people from different households. Wet pubs and bars must close.
  • Hospitality businesses can continue to trade using delivery services, click-and-collect or drive-through after 10pm.
  • Non-essential retail, hairdressers and gyms can open, but nightclubs must be closed.
  • Entertainment venues must close at 11pm and attendance is limited to either 50 per cent capacity or 2,000 people outdoors and 1,000 people indoors – whichever is lower.
  • From 2 December, the rules on who you can meet in shops will depend on your tier. The rules might be different for indoor shops and open-air shops, such as Christmas markets or Christmas tree markets. Check the rules for your tier.
  • Santa’s grottos are able to open in all tiers where they are located in venues otherwise permitted to open. Venues should put in place appropriate COVID-secure measures, including social distancing.
  • There is further information in the guidance for people who work in or run shops, branches, stores or similar environments.

Whilst using these services or doing Christmas shopping, we all need to continue to follow the Hands. Face. Space guidance as much as possible to keep the levels of coronavirus down in North Yorkshire:

  • Hands – wash your hands regularly and for 20 seconds
  • Face – wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.
  • Space – stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings)

Working together towards recovery

Testing

Testing sites in North Yorkshire, as elsewhere in England, are operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care and private contractors employed by them. We try to help the department by promoting the Mobile Testing Site locations and hosting information on how people with symptoms can book a test via the national government portal. We do not manage the national booking system or laboratory testing process.

Indications are that lab testing capacity is improving, but if you are unable to book a test at a local site straight away, please keep checking as availability varies during the day.

We are also supporting the Department in asking the public only to get a test if they are directed to do so by NHS Test and Trace or other NHS services – OR – if they have symptoms, to ensure that those people who need tests the most can be prioritised.

Before you attend you must book a test. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. 

Testing sites operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care will be running at the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • Every day - Harrogate - Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Every day - Scarborough - William Street Car Park, Scarborough. YO12 7PL
  • Every day - Northallerton – The Forum, Bullamore Road, Northallerton, DL6 1LP
  • Every day - Selby – Portholme car park, Crescent Carpark, Selby, YO8 4QH
  • Thursday 3 December - Whitby - Whitby Marina car park, Langbourne Road, Whitby, YO21 1YW
  • Thursday 3 December - Richmond - Round Howe car park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4T
  • Thursday 3 December - Malton - Wentworth Street car park, Smithson Ct, Malton, YO17 7BQ
  • Friday 4 December - Sherburn in Elmet -  Pasture Way car park, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6LY
  • Friday 4 December - Thornton Le Dale - National Trust car cark, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Thornton Le Dale, Pickering, YO18 7RR
  • Friday 4 December - Easingwold - Easingwold Town AFC, Stillington Rd, Easingwold, York, YO61 3DZ
  • Saturday 5 December - Selby - South Entrance, DRAX Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Saturday 5 December - Settle - Greenfoot car park, Settle, BD24 9RW
  • Saturday 5 December - Filey - Filey Country Park, Church Cliff Drive, Filey, YO14 9ET
  • Sunday 6 December - Scarborough - Scarborough Park and Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough, YO12 4LW
  • Sunday 6 December - Richmond - Round Howe car park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4T
  • Sunday 6 December - Thirsk - Millgate car park, Marage Road, Thirsk, YO7 1PE
  • Sunday 6 December - Thornton Le Dale - National Trust car park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Thornton Le Dale, Pickering, YO18 7RR

Watch this video to find out what to expect and how to prepare for the test.

See the latest dates and locations, find out more and how to book.

Skipton local testing sites opening date set

A permanent Covid-19 local testing site is scheduled to open in Skipton on Saturday, 12 December, to support the ongoing expansion of Covid-19 testing.

The site will join those already operating in Harrogate, Northallerton, Scarborough and Selby. These are in addition to the mobile testing units that are regularly deployed around the county.

The Skipton site will be in Cavendish Street car park. Building work is expected to start on 9 December, with the site operational on 12 December.

North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum has worked with the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) to secure these locations for walk-in testing sites. The Skipton site will be operated on behalf of the DHSC by G4S.

The sites greatly increase capacity for testing in North Yorkshire. They are indoors and allow walk-in appointments. People do not need to arrive in a vehicle, unlike drive-through mobile testing units where testing is inside a vehicle. Local testing sites offer Covid-19 testing from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week. Appointments must be booked in advance. Book a test on our website, or by calling 119.

Local testing sites take bookings from within a radius of 10 miles. Mobile testing units will continue to run alongside these with a range of 75 miles.

Supporting our schools and childcare

School attendance continues to remain above the national average, and has increased further as we see coronavirus rates drop across the county. It now stands at about 90 per cent.

We only have one school fully closed and we have fewer than 30 schools with a class or year group self-isolating.

There are no plans to close schools early for Christmas. Government guidance has made it clear they must remain open for pupils until the end of term, which is approximately December 18 for most schools in the county. We are working hard to minimise any further disruption to children’s education this year and it’s important they continue to attend school for their academic progress, their mental health and wellbeing.

We are currently in the process of distributing £1.4m to schools, academies and early years providers to help those families hardest hit by the pandemic. The funding will ensure that children eligible for free school meals in North Yorkshire will continue to have access to meals over the Christmas holidays and into the next school year.

All schools should have received the Covid Winter Grant Scheme funding by Monday, December 7. They will then be able to start distributing supermarket vouchers to families they have identified as in need, which are equivalent to £20 per child per week. Care leavers will also receive vouchers.

Schools are being given the discretion to extend the scheme to not just those in receipt of free school meals, but others they have identified, in recognition of the fact that some families may be newly struggling as a result of the pandemic.

North Yorkshire’s schools and early years providers will be distributing vouchers to supermarkets which are local to the school.

We would like to thank schools for their support in getting this money to children most in need. This voucher scheme should make a real difference to families who are struggling and we appreciate their collaboration with the County Council in this initiative.

Any parents who experience any difficulties with the voucher scheme during the school holidays are asked to contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780. The centre is open seven days a week from 8am to 5.30pm.

Teamwork to support our residents

With North Yorkshire now in Tier 2, Government advice for people who are at higher risk of being hospitalised as a result of Covid-19 is to continue to keep their number of social interactions low and take extra care to follow strict social distancing. Advice also includes getting help from family or friends with shopping and other essentials.

For people without those local networks, who have relied on the help of community support organisations and the voluntary sector partners they are working alongside, that safety net of support remains in place. CSOs are also helping to make sure people are planning ahead and prepared for the Christmas period when shops will be closed.

In Skipton, a pop-up community café run by volunteers has been supplying 40 meals every week to local people. Former chef Ray Marfell said: “The cafe is a fantastic place for people to meet up and I was worried that those who relied on that weekly contact were missing out.”

For many weeks now, however, Tuesday has been delivery day around the Greatwood and Horseclose estate and beyond.

In the five years the café has been running, it has become a hub for people to get to know one another and meet friends while enjoying home-cooked meals. Ray added: “It has been important to keep the contact with customers as much as possible, especially those who benefited most from the community spirit of the café.”

Karen McIntyre, Greatwood and Horse Close Community Centre manager, said: “Ray and his band of volunteers have done a fantastic job in turning Scoff Café into a takeaway service to deliver a fabulous two-course meal to the customers who missed the vibe and food the weekly café brought them before Covid struck.”

One such customer is Gerry Carroll. “When the restrictions were put on us I was worried I wouldn’t see anyone so I have found the takeaway service Ray has organised has been wonderful. I usually order two meals, have one on the day it is delivered and save another for the end of the week. What Ray and the volunteers have been doing is fantastic. They have really gone out of their way for people so they don’t feel forgotten,” said Gerry.

People who need support with shopping, prescriptions and other essentials but don’t have anyone to call on, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780. The centre is open seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm. People can also contact us by email or live chat.

To find local businesses offering food deliveries and takeaways, go to the Buy Local directory.

People can also Find details local voluntary and community groups offering support.

For more information about the help available, including a link to the latest Government advice for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable.

Growing our local economy

Small business Saturday

Saturday, 5 December, is Small business Saturday – give your community a gift this Christmas and do your seasonal shopping at Buy Local.

There are more than 800 businesses registered on the site, offering some unique products and services.

Here are a few ways you can help keep the heart of your local economy beating:

  • Encourage covid-safe business owners or tradespeople you know to register – it’s free, quick and easy
  • Shop online or in store with retailers near you
  • Encourage your friends and families to do the same
  • Follow @northyorkscc on social media and share our buy local messages.

LEP News: Additional Restrictions Grant

The Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) supports businesses that are not covered by other grant schemes or where additional funding is needed.

The grant is now available as of Tuesday, 1 December, from Scarborough Borough Council, Craven District Council, Ryedale District Council, Selby District Council, Hambleton District Council and City of York Council.

Follow the links as listed on the LEP website to find the relevant support.

EU Transition: What you need to know about tariffs and taxation in 2021 – 3 December, noon

In partnership with the Department for International Trade and Garbutt + Elliott, this free webinar will help businesses to prepare for the changes in tariffs and taxation from January 2021.

EU Transition booking link.

PopUp Business School: free online course: 7-12 December, 10am-3pm

York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub is offering entrepreneurs of the future free places on an acclaimed workshop to start a business.

Designed to inspire people and help them find the confidence to try their ideas, the PopUp Business School is aimed at everyone, from those with no cash and no business experience to fledgling start-ups that need guidance to keep on track. Sign up here.

Business Development Series: Find Your Path – Reshape your Business for a Recession.

8 December, noon

This free webinar from York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub will act as a business planning session helping attendees to re-evaluate and develop their businesses through this  difficult trading period.

Reshape your Business for a Recession booking link.

COVID-19 financial support highlights

  • The Job Retention Scheme (furlough) has been extended until 31 March 2021.
  • The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme has been extended until 30 April 2021.
  • The Bounce Back Loan, Business Interruption Loans and Future Fund have been extended until 31 January 2021. Last week’s Spending Review committed £519 million of funding in 2021-22 to support the continued delivery of these loans, including paying for the 12-month interest free period.

See detail on these schemes.

Government spending review

Read the full spending review.

Key highlights for businesses:

  • The National Living Wage will increase to £8.91 for those aged 23 and over from April 2021.
  • A further £100m allocation for the Bank’s Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF), bringing the total for investment to over £500m.
  • A new £2.9bn Restart Scheme to help more than one million unemployed people look for work.
  • The business rates multiplier has been frozen for 2021-22, saving businesses in England £575 million over the next five years.
  • There will be an additional £56.5 million provided in 2021-22 to support the vitality and entrepreneurship of the UK by expanding the British Business Bank’s Start-Up Loans to meet the increase in demand and support entrepreneurs to start and grow their business

Staying informed

As always, we are keen to promote the following as main sources of business support information:

Creative lockdown ideas

Christmas carol singing lessons for families

Families across North Yorkshire are invited to join online Christmas carol singing lessons to get into the Christmas spirit together.

The course is open to families with children of all ages. Participants will need a tablet or laptop with an internet connection and a camera to record themselves, so that their contribution can be captured for the wider public audience to appreciate.

The last session will be on Tuesday, 15 December. Find more information and book.

Or call the Adult Learning team on 01609 536066 or email adultlearningservice@northyorks.gov.uk

In January, the service will launch a virtual choir for adults. Details will be posted in the course finder.

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

We are seeing some better news this week in our fight against Coronavirus here. As a result of your concerted efforts and the impact of the lockdown, North Yorkshire’s rate of infection is now under 200 per 100,000. That puts us below the England average, which is positive. However, we must not forget that just a couple of months ago a rate of 20 per 100,000 was enough to put Scarborough and Selby on the watch list, so it is cause for hope rather than celebration! To each and every one of you who has played their part to get the rates down I am grateful, please keep going because there really is light at the end of the tunnel now. If we can keep that downward trend, we will all get back to as close to normality as possible sooner.

I will say more about Christmas much nearer the time, but imminent now is the announcement from Government about what tier or tiers we will be placed in tomorrow (Thursday, 26 November). I understand completely that this is a hot topic and we are as keen as you to learn whether our tier will be countywide or by area. It is possible that areas which still have higher infection rates, such as Scarborough and Selby, for example, could be in a different tier to Ryedale and Richmondshire. However, it is equally possible that Government will take a county approach and we will all need to abide by the same rules, wherever we live here.  What we do know, is that whatever tier we are in, the single most significant factor in the spread of covid here is too much household mixing. Basically, too many people getting too close to too many other people in enclosed spaces. This is where the virus can do its most damage and spread quickly between friends and family. We mustn’t forget that, sadly, we still have 54 care homes with cases and that people are still dying.

There are, of course, a few people who don’t seem to think the rules apply to them. Of the 72 fines issued by our police colleagues last week, more than two thirds were handed out along the coast – the area with the highest rates lately. Again, these were for a mix of indoor and outdoor gatherings! Such behaviour must not undermine the sterling efforts of the vast majority of Scarborough’s residents who have helped to drive the rate down. The police will be maintaining high visibility across Whitby, Filey and Scarborough town to help support the efforts being made by so many people to get infections down.

I am pleased to say that support is also available now to families struggling to cope in the current environment. This week we announced £1.4m scheme to provide food and other help to families as part of a range of funding to help those hardest hit by the pandemic. As we head into winter, we have put together an additional raft of measures to support families and vulnerable groups. This includes an extensive food voucher scheme to ensure that children eligible for free school meals will continue to have access to meals over the Christmas holidays and into the New Year. In addition, we chose to broaden the scheme to also include children in early years provision and post-16 education. So, North Yorkshire’s families who are most in need will receive £20 worth of supermarket vouchers per child, per week. There is more information on this scheme here.

We continue to learn much about ourselves in this pandemic and mostly how kind and giving our county is. Team North Yorkshire volunteers continue to play a vital role working with 23 Community Support Organisations. This includes telephone befriending services to tackle loneliness, something particularly important on these dark winter days. Since April, our community volunteers have made more than 30,000 befriending calls to residents who are self-isolating to check they are OK and also to have a friendly chat. Such acts of kindness are typical of people right across the county and testament to the resolve and resilience of our communities.

Finally, tomorrow is Carers Rights Day tomorrow and I would like to thank personally every single one of the 60,000 people who are caring for someone in North Yorkshire right now. Our county is the richer for you and we salute your sterling work! I know the pandemic will have added to the pressures you are under and it is really important that you also get the help and support you need. I am including this link for anyone who is looking after someone and who may not be aware of what is available to them.

Thank you and please stay safe everyone.

Keeping in touch

Our website has a dedicated area for all the latest news, see links below:

Follow us on social media: @northyorkscc on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

The number of cases of COVID-19 in North Yorkshire continues to increase.  At 22 November, there have been 12,614 positive tests since 3 March, with 2,778 new cases reported in the past two weeks. Over the past week, the average number of new cases is approximately 151 per day, but may be as high as 229 per day, allowing for incomplete data in the most recent days. Work continues to ensure effective monitoring of all areas, with support for incidents being provided across a range of settings, which are reviewed daily.

Get further information on North Yorkshire data provided at county, district and local area level.

Local Restriction Tiers

We are expecting an announcement on 26 November from the Government regarding which tier North Yorkshire will be in when the current lockdown ends on 2 December. On 23 November, Government published new guidance about the restrictions within each tier. Until 2 December, the current lockdown restrictions will remain in place.

The current national lockdown has helped to bring coronavirus transmission back under control. From 2 December, different tiers of restrictions will apply in different parts of the country. They will be strengthened compared to the previous tiered system to prevent transmission rates growing. The tiered approach allows the toughest measures to be targeted only in the areas where coronavirus is most prevalent.

A summary of the restrictions within each tier that will come into force on 2 December can be accessed through the links below:

Tier 1: Medium alert

Find Information and advice on tier 1: medium alert.

Tier 2: High Alert

Tier 2 is for areas with a higher or rapidly rising level of infections, where some additional restrictions need to be in place. In tier 2, the same restrictions as tier 1 are in force. Find more information and advice on Tier 2: High Alert.

Tier 3: Very High Alert

Tier 3 is for areas with a very high or very rapidly rising level of infections, where tighter restrictions are in place. For more information and advice on Tier 3: Very High Alert.

Regardless of the tier that North Yorkshire is placed in, we all need to continue to follow the Hands. Face. Space guidance as much as possible:

  • Hands – wash your hands regularly and for 20 seconds
  • Face – wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.
  • Space – stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings)

Working together towards recovery

Testing

Testing sites in North Yorkshire, as elsewhere in England, are operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care and private contractors employed by them. We try to help the department by promoting the Mobile Testing Site locations and hosting information on how people with symptoms can book a test via the national government portal. We do not manage the national booking system or laboratory testing process.

Indications are that lab testing capacity is improving but, if you are unable to book a test at a local site straight away, please keep checking as availability varies during the day.

We are also supporting the Department in asking the public only to get a test if they are directed to do so by NHS Test and Trace or other NHS services – OR – if they have symptoms, to ensure that those people who need tests the most can be prioritised.

Before you attend you must book a test. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. 

Testing sites operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care will be running at the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • Every day - Harrogate - Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Every day - Scarborough - William Street Car Park, Scarborough. YO12 7PL
  • Thursday 26 November - Whitby - Whitby Marina Car Park, Langbourne Road, Whitby, YO21 1YW
  • Thursday 26 November - Richmond - Round Howe car park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4T
  • Friday 27 November - Sherburn in Elmet -  Pasture Way Carpark, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6LY
  • Friday 27 November - Thornton Le Dale - National Trust Car Park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Thornton Le Dale, Pickering, YO18 7RR
  • Friday 27 November - Northallerton - Newby Wiske Hall, Northallerton, DL7 9HA
  • Saturday 28 November - Selby - South Entrance, DRAX Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Saturday 28 November - Skipton - Coach Street, Skipton, BD23 1LH
  • Saturday 28 November  - Filey - Filey Country Park, Church Cliff Drive, Filey, YO14 9ET
  • Sunday 29 November -  Scarborough - Scarborough Park and Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough, YO12 4LW
  • Sunday 29 November - Richmond - Round Howe car park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4T
  • Sunday 29 November - Thirsk - Millgate Car Park, Marage Road, Thirsk, YO7 1PE

New permanent local testing sites are schedule to open in Northallerton and Selby at the weekend.

The Northallerton site will be outside The Forum on Bullamoor Road, DL6 1LP. It is scheduled to come into full operation from Sunday, 29 November. The Selby site will be in Portholme Crescent car park, YO8 4QH, and is scheduled to be operational from Saturday, 28 November.

These sites are indoors and allow walk-in appointments. People do not need to arrive in a vehicle, unlike drive-through mobile testing units where testing is inside a vehicle. The sites will offer Covid-19 testing from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week.

Watch this video to find out what to expect and how to prepare for the test.

See the latest dates and locations, find out more and how to book.

Supporting our schools and childcare

As rates of confirmed cases of coronavirus have decreased across the county, we have seen a corresponding decrease in rates within North Yorkshire’s schools.

This week, pupil attendance within schools is at 87 per cent, a slight increase on last week, but a figure which we expect will continue to improve over the coming weeks. Currently, we have fewer than five schools across the county closed, including academies and independent schools.

The number of schools with a year group or bubble closed has reduced from the mid-40s to the mid-30s this week.

It’s very important that children are back in school and receiving their education and that parents continue to feel confident sending their children to school.

Throughout the pandemic we have managed to maintain above average attendance levels and we’re very pleased to see so many children back at school.

Teamwork to support our residents

For many volunteers, helping people in their communities during coronavirus has become a way of life this year. Sioban Moore has been volunteering through Thirsk Community Works, one of the community support organisations providing a safety net of support across the county, since the beginning of the first national lockdown. Now, during the latest restrictions, she is still doing all she can to help by shopping for people, delivering prescriptions and taking people to James Cook Hospital as a volunteer car scheme driver.

“What I pick up from people is that they’re being incredibly stoic about it,” said Sioban. “A lot of them are on their own, a number of them are widowed.”

There are challenges for Sioban and the people she’s helping. “The one thing that is different is that we can’t go into in the hospital with them and certainly, if they’re an older person, it can be a nightmare going into James Cook to try and find out which bit they’re meant to be in. I feel like I’m abandoning them. I also have a neighbour in Hambleton Grange and I used to go and have chats through the window with her, but since the lockdown I write to her and tell her all the local village gossip and anything I can think of.”

Sioban is not the only one going out of her way to help others. In her village people came together to offer support, one of many examples of a North Yorkshire community pulling together to make sure that no-one feels alone. Sioban added: “At the start of the first lockdown, a group put leaflets through everybody’s door offering to help in various ways from dog walking to shopping. I thought it was wonderful that they did it just off their own bat. And the local pub has always said that they'd be willing to do shopping for people. The motto on the back of our primary school mini bus says ‘Have courage and be kind’, what more do you need to say?”

People who need support with shopping, prescriptions and other essentials but don’t have anyone to call on, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780. The centre is open seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm. People can also contact us by email or live chat.

To find local businesses offering food deliveries and takeaways, go to the Buy Local directory.

People can also Find details local voluntary and community groups offering support.

For more information about the help available, including a link to the latest Government advice for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable.

We’re also urging people to keep checking on neighbours and people in their communities who might need help and support during the lockdown. Find advice on how to help safely.

Growing our local economy

LEP News: Today’s Spending Review

The UK Government will provide billions of pounds in the fight against coronavirus, deliver on the promises it has made to the British people and invest in the UK’s recovery, the Chancellor announced today.

Read the full spending review story.

PM statement on the COVID-19 Winter Plan

The Prime Minister issued a statement on the Government's COVID-19 Winter Plan. Read a summary from the government on what you need to know.

Key points:

Tiers toughened

  • In England, the three-tiered regional measures will return from 2 December

Hospitality changes

  • Spectators will be allowed to return to some sporting events, and weddings and collective worship will resume.
  • Where pubs and restaurants are allowed to open, last orders will now be at 10pm, with drinkers allowed a further hour to finish their drinks.

Tier allocation

  • Regions will not find out which tier they are in until Thursday.
  • The allocation of tiers will be dependent on a number of factors, including each area's case numbers, the reproduction rate - or R number - and the current and projected pressure on the NHS locally.
  • Tier allocations will be reviewed every 14 days, and the regional approach will last until March.

Christmas

Reducing the risk of COVID-19 in the workplace

​​​​​​Public Health England (PHE), the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Faculty of Occupational Medicine (FOM) issued a consensus statement on mitigating the risk of COVID-19 in occupational settings with a focus on ethnic minority groups.

City of York Council launches additional restrictions grants scheme

York businesses impacted by the latest lockdown can benefit from additional financial support as City of York Council launched a new grant scheme.

Businesses now have until Monday 7 December to apply for the grants, which are open to:

  • Businesses effectively forced to close through lockdown but not qualifying for government grants, whether they are liable for business rates or not.
  • Businesses where trade is impacted by more than 75% due to lockdown, whether they are liable for business rates or not.
  • Find out more and apply

Business support webinars this week

Through the YNY Growth Hub, free business support webinars will run this week and include help with PR, leadership development, and preparing for importing and exporting next year:

#FeelRealYork encourages increased openness about emotional health

A new campaign in York is asking people to talk more about how they are really feeling during the pandemic, and to share and use resources to support their emotional wellbeing.

Developed by multiple partners, including the York and North Yorkshire LEP, the campaign recognises that many people, including business owners across the region, are struggling emotionally as they do their best to keep their businesses afloat and look after their staff and customers.

Read here for more information and to access the resources.

Staying informed

As always, we are keen to promote the following as main sources of business support information:

Creative lockdown ideas

Christmas carol singing lessons for families

Families across North Yorkshire are invited to join online Christmas carol singing lessons to get into the Christmas spirit together.

The course is open to families with children of all ages. Participants will need a tablet or laptop with an internet connection and a camera to record themselves, so that their contribution can be captured for the wider public audience to appreciate.

The last session will be on Tuesday, 15 December. Find more information and book.

Or call the Adult Learning team on 01609 536066 or email adultlearningservice@northyorks.gov.uk

In January, the service will launch a virtual choir for adults. Details will be posted in the course finder.

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

It has been all eyes on Scarborough over the past week or so with what has been described as a ‘herculean’ effort by all the agencies involved in responding to the soaring rates of covid-19, the borough has been experiencing. To put it into perspective Scarborough remains in England’s top 10 highest infection rate areas and at one stage, was second only to Hull.

Many people are asking why Scarborough? I have seen a number of comments from people linking it to the influx of visitors to the coast over half term. In honesty, the facts are rather closer to home and they serve to remind us all of the very volatile virus we are dealing with. While most people are continuing to stick to the rules and making sacrifices around not seeing their loved ones, sadly a few others are not. So of the 45 fixed penalty notices issues by our partners in the police over the weekend just gone, 40 were for illegal gatherings and breaches of other covid rules in Scarborough town, Filey and Whitby. This included birthday parties indoors during a national lockdown. I bring you these words in response today from our Director of Public Health, Dr Lincoln Sargeant:

“This virus does not spread in a linear way, it increases exponentially. This is difficult for some people to grasp - hence there can be a degree of complacency. By the time they are aware of the impact, the spread is getting rapidly worse. It is catastrophic, as is the nature of pandemics.

“This virus has told us its secrets earlier in the year. It spreads through people we trust to be in our personal space.

“If we are going to make a difference we have to think about our personal responsibility.”

And there it is. The stark truth, it is only we who can make the difference in the decisions we make every day. While most of us are playing our part for the county, those who decide to flout the rules can trigger rapid changes in the rate of spread. Some people seemed well aware they should not be having house parties, perhaps they felt safe because they did not believe they had been in contact with anyone who had the virus. But many people will carry this with very mild or even no obvious symptoms. Sadly, they may then pass it onto the very people who may develop much more serious symptoms, some may well die. None of this is very palatable, I understand that, but frankly, I think we are at the point with the small minority of people where just asking isn’t enough. As a result, North Yorkshire Police are very clear that they will act on the public’s concerns and respond to reports of breaches of the covid laws and that enforcement will continue where that is necessary.

So as we head toward the lifting of the second English national lockdown I urge everyone in the strongest terms to think very carefully about the sort of Christmas we want to have. We do not yet know what national tier we will be in from December 2. At the moment as a county, we remain above the national average, which is not a happy place to be. The very high rates along the coast are pulling that average up, but we are not powerless in this. In fact, we are very much in charge of our own decisions so let’s make the right choices!

There are of course other significant matters we are managing away from the pandemic, highways being one of them! The reconstruction of the collapsed section of the A19 at Eggborough is progressing well. This photo shows the scale of the repairs.

And improvements to a major trans-Pennine route troubled by landslips, the A59 at Kex Gill, are moving a step forward too, with our executive members being asked to agree additional funds, should they be needed, to move the work on.

And then there are the apparently small acts of thoughtfulness which happen every day in North Yorkshire, of which this is one.  Some of you may already know that at the county council we fund an organisation called Dementia Forward to help support people with dementia to have happy and fulfilling lives. During this pandemic people with dementia have missed the group activities which help them a great deal with laughter, socialising and support. These activities had to stop but, thanks to some creative thinking, they will now receive boxes filled with games, tea and biscuits so, with their carers, they can enjoy a café at home experience. Companionship is so important to help combat loneliness and previously we worked with Dementia Forward to trial robot cats as a means of tackling social isolation. The cats have been so popular with many people they wanted to keep them and I am delighted that Knaresborough Rotary has stepped forward to provide 50 new Rotary Companion Cats. It’s the sort of generosity and kindness that makes North Yorkshire the great place it is. I would encourage you to learn more about the terrific work around this community effort here.

Take care and please stay safe.

Keeping in touch

Our website has a dedicated area for all the latest news, see links below:

Follow us on social media: @northyorkscc on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

The number of cases of COVID-19 in North Yorkshire continues to increase.  At 17th November, there have been 11,572 positive tests since 3rd March, with 3,020 new cases reported in the past two weeks.  Over the past week, the average number of new cases is approximately 155 cases per day, but may be as high as 280 per day, allowing for incomplete data in the most recent days. Work continues to ensure effective monitoring of all areas, with support for incidents being provided across a range of settings, which are reviewed daily.

From 16 November 2020, PHE has updated the way it records the location of people who test positive or negative for COVID-19. It now prioritises addresses given at the point of testing over the details registered on a patient’s NHS Summary Care Record. This better reflects the distribution of cases and testing. However, it may give rise to differences in previously reported numbers of cases and rates in some areas. The change has been retrospectively applied to tests carried out from 1 September 2020, and data in the dashboard was updated to reflect this change on 16 November 2020. Due to reallocation of cases in this way, the number of cases reported by local authority may be artificially high or low on 16 November 2020.

Get further information on North Yorkshire data provided at county, district and local area level.

Scarborough

In the last week, Scarborough district has seen the highest rate of new cases, and the seven-day rate of new cases per 100,000 people there is currently 525.9. As a result of this rapid increase of cases, North Yorkshire County Council, working alongside local partners, ramped up efforts to bring the number of cases back down. Our work in Scarborough district is still ongoing, and comprises four main themes:

Community Engagement

  • Police colleagues and COVID Marshalls have been a visible presence in communities across Scarborough district and have been supporting the distribution of the leaflets to homes, across the borough concentrating on villages and town centres.  Social isolation and financial support information will also be provided at local test centres.
  • Trading Standards have visited over 100 businesses over the past week to ensure they are complying with relevant guidance. They’ve been supporting businesses by supplying any resources, listening to any challenges and discussing how to keep themselves and customers safe.

Enforcement

  • North Yorkshire Police have increases patrols in the locality, particularly to the North of the borough.
  • There has been a noted increase in enforcement action taken over the past week with more engagement with the public and proactive measures to ensure compliance with all current legislation.

Communications

  • An advertising van has visited different areas of Scarborough district in the past week to deliver messaging directly in local communities.
  • A leaflet has been produced and distributed to members of the local community in their homes, in town centres and at test centres. The leaflet reminds people of their responsibility to follow current guidance to keep themselves and others safe and includes information on financial support for those isolating.
  • There has been an increase in press coverage including broadcast media coverage. Messaging will continue via local radio stations as well.

Testing

  • New mobile test units have been identified and installed in response to increasing rates.
  • Working with higher education setting to help them prepare for Christmas break and support families reuniting over the festive period.

During the current lockdown, we all need to play our part in bringing the number of new cases down across North Yorkshire by staying at home as much as possible. We understand this is difficult, and North Yorkshire County Council can support you if you may need additional help.

We are working along 23 community support organisations across the county to ensure that everyone who needs help has someone to call on. During the lockdown, help and support is available for you if you need it with a range of things such as:

  • shopping for food or other essentials
  • help to set up online shopping services and access priority delivery slots at supermarkets
  • collecting and delivering prescriptions
  • caring for pets
  • having someone to talk to
  • help for you to get online and using technology like FaceTime or Skype to talk to friends and family
  • delivering books and magazines or materials to support hobbies such as wool for knitting or art materials

More information can be found here.

NHS Volunteer Responders can also help people who are self-isolating and in need of support with shopping, prescriptions and other essentials. You can call 0808 196 3382 every day between 8am and 8pm.

Working together towards recovery

Testing

Testing sites in North Yorkshire, as elsewhere in England, are operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care and private contractors employed by them. We try to help the department by promoting the Mobile Testing Site locations and hosting information on how people with symptoms can book a test via the national government portal. We do not manage the national booking system or laboratory testing process.

Indications are that lab testing capacity is improving but, if you are unable to book a test at a local site straight away, please keep checking as availability varies during the day.

We are also supporting the Department in asking the public only to get a test if they are directed to do so by NHS Test and Trace or other NHS services – OR – if they have symptoms, to ensure that those people who need tests the most can be prioritised.

Before you attend you must book a test. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. 

Testing sites operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care will be running at the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • Every day - Harrogate - Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Every day - Scarborough - William Street Car Park, Scarborough. YO12 7PL
  • Wednesday 18 November - Scarborough - Scarborough Park and Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough, YO12 4LW
  • Wednesday 18 November - Filey - Filey Country park, Church Cliff Drive, Filey, YO14 9ET
  • Wednesday 18 November - Selby - South Entrance, DRAX Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Thursday 19 November - Whitby - Whitby Marina Car Park, Langbourne Road, Whitby, YO21 1YW
  • Thursday 19 November - Richmond - Catterick Race Course, Catterick Bridge, Richmondshire, North Yorkshire, DL10 7PE
  • Friday 20 November - Sherburn in Elmet - Pasture Way Carpark, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6LY
  • Friday 20 November - Filey - Filey Country park, Church Cliff Drive, Filey, YO14 9ET
  • Friday 20 November - Northallerton - Newby Wiske Hall, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL7 9HA
  • Saturday 21 November - Selby - South Entrance, DRAX Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Saturday 21 November - Skipton - Coach St car park, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 1LH
  • Sunday 22 November - Scarborough - Scarborough Park and Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough, YO12 4LW
  • Sunday 22 November - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Sunday 22 November - Thirsk - Millgate Car Park, Marage Road, Thirsk, YO7 1PE
  • Sunday 22 November - Thornton Le Dale - Thornton Le Dale, National Trust Car Park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Thornton Le Dale, Pickering, YO18 7RR

Watch this video to find out what to expect and how to prepare for the test.

See the latest dates and locations, find out more and how to book.

Supporting our schools and childcare

Over the coming weeks, the County Council will be distributing £1.4m to schools, academies and early years providers in North Yorkshire, to help those families hardest hit by the pandemic.

The funding will ensure children eligible for Free School Meals will continue to have access to meals over the Christmas holidays and into the next year. Schools will be allocated funding for supermarket vouchers for families in need of support in covering the cost of food and utilities such as heating.

We have decided to open the expand the scheme to include all families where they are struggling to cover the cost of essentials such as food, as we know many have been hit hard by the pandemic.

Schools are in a unique position to be able to identify which families are struggling and will be given the discretion to allocate vouchers to those they know are in need.

The funding will also be made available to children in early years provision and post-16 education.

The funding comes from the Government’s Covid Winter Grant Scheme, which was announced earlier this month. The Government’s Covid Winter Grant Scheme funding runs from November until March 2021. The large majority of this funding - 80 per cent - is ring-fenced to provide the hardest hit families and other individuals with financial support for food and essential utility bills and specifically provide food for children who need it over the holidays.

The County Council will begin distributing the grant funding to schools over the coming weeks.

Teamwork to support our residents

Community support organisations and the voluntary sector partners they are working alongside continue to provide vital help with shopping, prescriptions, looking after pets and other essentials. Volunteers are also reducing loneliness and isolation by providing much needed companionship through befriending schemes like Age UK Good Friends.

When 83-year-old Gerry Bass heard about the Age UK Good Friends scheme two-years-ago, he was keen to put himself forward to help. Little did he know that the project, which matches volunteers with lonely elderly recipients to befriend, would benefit him as much as the person he was paired with.

Gerry, who lives near Hawes, was put in touch with 91-year-old Jack Elliott who lives on his own, and for the last two years, before the coronavirus pandemic disrupted things, they met up at a cafe every couple of weeks to catch up.

Jack, who worked as a woodwork teacher for 25-years, became increasingly lonely as he got older. Since being paired with Gerry, their friendship has blossomed and they have stayed connected throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

Gerry explains: "I befriended Jack as a volunteer, but in actual fact I think we've befriended each other. When people are lonely they quite often need just a little bit of support really. I think we all just need to talk to someone sometimes."

Jack said becoming friends with Gerry has been a highlight of his later years. "It has been one of the best things in my life.”

People who are self-isolating and need support with shopping, prescriptions and other essentials but don’t have anyone to call on, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780. The centre is open seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm. People can also contact us by email or live chat.

To find local businesses offering food deliveries and takeaways, go to the Buy Local directory.

People can also Find details local voluntary and community groups offering support.

For more information about the help available, including a link to the latest Government advice for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable.

We’re also urging people to keep checking on neighbours and people in their communities who might need help and support during the lockdown. Find advice on how to help safely.

Growing our local economy

Buy Local: Help us tell businesses about FREE online advertising

Our Buy Local directory brings together local businesses and services in one place to provide an easy way to search online. It was set up in March and over 800 local businesses have signed up so far to shout about what they can offer. It’s a one-stop shop connecting businesses and customers.

We’d like as many businesses and tradespeople as possible to register on Buy Local – it’s free and only takes a few minutes. Businesses can also specify what they are able to offer during Covid restrictions, and update their profile on the site at any time.

Please encourage anyone you know with an eligible trade or business to sign up – whether they are a one man band, a new start up or an established concern.

When many businesses are facing their toughest time yet and have been asked to close during a key trading period, this is an important way of reaching out to potential customers.

All businesses on the Buy Local directory are required to abide by government guidelines on operating under Covid-19 restrictions.

LEP News: Business grants are now open for applications throughout York & North Yorkshire

Many businesses can apply now for grants covering:

  • All those forced to close under national restrictions
  • Hospitality and leisure for the 19 days spent in Tier 2 (York only)
  • Some sectors including nightclubs that hadn't previously had any grants.

The grants are now open for applications throughout York & North Yorkshire through the following links:

EU Transition: What you need to know about importing and exporting in 2021 (26 November, 2:00 - 3:00pm)

Accountancy specialists Garbutt + Elliot and the Department for International Trade will join the York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub to give details of what we currently know with regards to customs duty and VAT for imports and exports, and provide more detail about the customs process, tariffs, commodity codes and Incoterms, as well as answer any questions that you may have. Visit here for full details and to book your place

Extension to Takeaway services

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick announced on 11th November that restaurants, pubs and cafes will receive automatic freedoms to provide takeaway services for food (alcoholic drinks will continue to be subject to licensing laws) for another year until 23 March 2022.

Business update from Education and Skills Funding Agency

In this month’s update, you can find out about the Kickstart scheme, which is one of a number of skills offers for employers that provide financial incentives as part of the Government’s Plan for Jobs.

Get more information about the Education and Skills Funding Agency.

In addition, if you are considering taking on a student for an industry placement or T level, take a look at two new films from York & North Yorkshire LEP that showcase the many benefits these can offer you as an employer.

LEP Annual Conference 2020

Many thanks to those who attended our recent Annual Conference. This is available to watch again online until 6 December.

Staying informed

As always, we are keen to promote the following as main sources of business support information:

Creative lockdown ideas

Christmas carol singing lessons for families

Families across North Yorkshire are invited to join online Christmas carol singing lessons to get into the Christmas spirit together.

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

It is the 11th day of the 11th month and like many of you, I fell silent for two minutes at 11 o’clock this morning to remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. I also paid my own respects to the 600 people in the county we have lost to Covid-19 this year. I felt an immense sadness for those who have passed and for their families, who will be grieving. Did you know that currently we lose one person every day in North Yorkshire to this virus? That is another family every day losing a loved one.

Infection rates are soaring in many areas. These are measured as a figure across the seven-day rolling average, per 100,000 people. We had been doing very well and we went into the current lockdown in the lowest tier of intervention. Sadly, our current rates put us in a very different place. We now have three areas above the England average, which is 245. Hambleton stands at 263, Harrogate at 295 and levels in Scarborough have soared to 463. Selby is only just below that England average.

I feel sure that as a county – when faced with the stark statistics on such an important day as this – we will want to rise to the challenge and come together as the team we can be to overcome the current threat to our families, our friends and our way of life.

Our economy is also suffering. Our hospitality sector, famous the world over for its hearty welcome and high-quality food and drink, is in lockdown again. And although we have generally good levels of employment across the county, we also struggle with low wages and high house prices in many areas.

A good number of our younger residents get their first taste of work, and probably a good deal of pleasure, from this sector and they play a vital role in ensuring we have a buoyant visitor economy, based on great customer service and strong levels of return visits here.  

Many of you will understandably be worried about future job prospects I am sure. I know that very many of you will share my passion for the county and its people and for our ability to come together to get through this and thrive again. Over the weeks ahead, we will need to harness that collective energy and take some dynamic action if we are to emerge from the second national lockdown in the same tier we were when we entered.

The facts are unavoidable and while most of you will be rigidly sticking to the rules, unfortunately some continue to flout them. The outcome is that we all pay for that behaviour. We all wait longer to see our families, to support our shops and restaurants and to return to the lifestyle we enjoy. So what can we do?

We can give this fight our absolute focus. We can show the grit and resilience we are famous for. We can explain to those around us why it matters and we can play our part in turning the tide on the virus here. Let’s take this day of reflection to pull together and show everyone what we are made of.  

We are blessed to have diverse landscapes and market towns full of character. Character that features in the very many successful TV programmes – All Creatures Great and Small, The Yorkshire Vet, The Yorkshire Shepherdess to name a few. Let’s do it for the people and the places we love and take the action that we know will make a difference. Hands, face and make space. No more gatherings, no more rule breaking. Let’s get those rates down and look forward to better times ahead.

This week we heard much more about a vaccine. Our health partners are already considering the logistics around this and there is no doubt it is very positive news. The caveat must be that it is one piece of the jigsaw. How we live our lives will need long-term behavioural change. I am incredibly grateful for the vast majority of you who understand that and are doing the right thing.

Before I leave you today, I would love to share a couple of uplifting stories with you. As well as remembering, today we also celebrated the hard work of staff and pupils across many primary schools. Great efforts have been made to support the health and wellbeing of teachers and children through our Healthy Schools programme. Fifty-one of our schools achieved bronze, silver or gold awards that are helping our schools be offer an even better teaching and learning environment. Please do read more about their efforts here.

And everyone loves a good sing-song, don’t they? Why not take up our offer to join our online Christmas carol singing lessons. These family sessions start on Tuesday next week and run 6pm to 7pm. All families and children of any age are welcome and I believe the aim is to form a virtual choir with a polished performance on December 15. It is a lovely idea and is completely free. You can enrol here. 

So, sing up! Let’s beat this virus and get our county back on track. We have done it before. We can do it again. Thank you.

Keeping in touch

Our website has a dedicated area for all the latest news, see links below:

Follow us on social media: @northyorkscc on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

The number of cases of COVID-19 in North Yorkshire continues to increase.  At 8 November, there have been 10,150 positive tests since 3 March, with 2,852 new cases reported in the past two weeks. Over the past week, the average number of new cases is approximately 220 cases per day. Work continues to ensure effective monitoring of all areas, with support for incidents being provided across a range of settings, which are reviewed daily.

Further information on North Yorkshire data provided at county, district and local area level can be found here.

Mental health in lockdown

It is important to recognise that everyone will react to lockdown differently. You may be bored, frustrated or lonely, maybe low, worried or anxious. You may also be concerned about your own health or those close to you. These are all common reactions, and it’s important that we all take care of our minds as well as our bodies.

Some people may find strategies that work for them, and the difficult feelings associated with the outbreak may pass. Some people, particularly those with pre-existing mental health problems, may need extra support.

What can help my mental health and wellbeing during lockdown?

Here are eight key things that might help you to adjust to lockdown and take care of yourself:

  • Think about your new daily routine: create positive new routines and try to engage in useful and meaningful activities. You might find it useful to write a plan of what you’ll do this week.
  • Consider how to connect with others: although we’re physically distant, we don’t need to be socially distant. If you can’t meet in person, think about how you can stay in touch with friends and family. The NHS Volunteers Service can also provide a “check-in and chat” service if you are feeling isolated. You can call them on 08081 963646 (8am-8pm).
  • Help and support others: We all need to listen to and accept other people’s concerns, worries or behaviours. Could you reconnect with someone you haven’t spoken to recently? Are there any groups that you could join to help support your local area? Remember it’s important to do this in line with the COVID-19 guidance to keep us all safe.
  • Talk about your worries: This isn’t a normal situation, and it’s completely normal to feel worried, scared or helpless about finding ourselves in lockdown again. Sharing how you feel with your family and friends can help yourself and them, too. If you don’t feel able to speak to them, the NHS recommends helplines where someone will listen to your concerns. A list of these helplines can be found here.
  • Look after your physical wellbeing: Your physical and mental health are closely linked. In lockdown, it can be too easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour which can make you feel worse. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals and drink enough water. Where possible, exercise at home or outside. Did you know you can find 10-minute workouts on the PHE website? Take a look here.
  • Try to manage difficult feelings: You may find the constant stream of COVID-19 news concerning, and may feel anxious. Try to focus on the things you can control, such as managing or limiting how much of this information on the news or on social media you take in. It may help to only check the news at set times or limiting yourself to checking a couple of times a day. A lot of things are out of all of our control at the moment, and it is OK to acknowledge that. Take a look at Every Mind Matters page on anxiety for further information.
  • Get the facts: Find credible sources that you can trust such as GOV.UK, the NHS website, and make sure you fact-check the information you get from newsfeeds, social media or other people. Try not to share information without fact-checking with credible sources.
  • Do what you enjoy: If you’re feeling anxious, you may not want to do things you enjoy. However, taking some time to do what you enjoy (in line with the current COVID-19 guidance) might help to give you some relief from anxious thoughts and feelings and might help to boost your mood.

Want to know more? Here are some useful links:

Working together towards recovery

Testing

Testing sites in North Yorkshire, as elsewhere in England, are operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care and private contractors employed by them. We try to help the department by promoting the Mobile Testing Site locations and hosting information on how people with symptoms can book a test via the national government portal. We do not manage the national booking system or laboratory testing process.

Indications are that lab testing capacity is improving but, if you are unable to book a test at a local site straight away, please keep checking as availability varies during the day.

We are also supporting the Department in asking the public only to get a test if they are directed to do so by NHS Test and Trace or other NHS services – OR – if they have symptoms, to ensure that those people who need tests the most can be prioritised.

Before you attend you must book a test. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. 

Testing sites operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care will be running at the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • Every day - Harrogate - Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Every day - Scarborough - William Street Car Park, Scarborough. YO12 7PL
  • Thursday 12 November - Whitby - Whitby Park and Ride, Whitby, YO21 1TL
  • Thursday 12 November - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Friday 13 November - Sherburn in Elmet - Pasture Way Carpark, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6LY
  • Friday 13 November - Filey - Filey Country Park, Church Cliff Drive, Filey, YO14 9ET
  • Friday 13 November - Northallerton - Newby Wiske Hall, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL7 9HA
  • Saturday 14 November - Selby - South Entrance, DRAX Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Saturday 14 November - Skipton - Coach St car park, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 1LH
  • Saturday 14 November - Thirsk - Millgate Car Park, Marage Road, Thirsk, YO7 1PE
  • Sunday 15 November - Scarborough - Scarborough Park and Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough, YO12 4LW
  • Sunday 15 November - Thornton Le Dale - National Trust Car Park, 5 Chestnut Avenue, Thornton Le Dale, Pickering, North Yorkshire, YO18 7RR
  • Sunday 15 November - Filey - Filey Country Park, Church Cliff Drive, Filey, YO14 9ET

Watch this video to find out what to expect and how to prepare for the test.

See the latest dates and locations, find out more and how to book.

Library services

Libraries in North Yorkshire continue to offer as many services as they can during the lockdown – but there are changes.

Customers cannot enter a library to choose books, but the Select and Collect service that began earlier in the year is operating, enabling people to contact their library with requests and pick up books from the library entrance.

Select and Collect is available at County Council-managed libraries in Filey, Harrogate, Knaresborough, Malton, Northallerton, Pickering, Ripon, Scarborough, Selby, Skipton and Whitby. Some community-managed libraries will also offer the service where their volunteer capacity allows. To use Select and Collect, contact your library.

People can book library computers for essential use at Filey, Harrogate, Knaresborough, Northallerton, Pickering, Ripon, Scarborough, Selby, Skipton and Whitby. Some community-managed libraries will also offer computer access where they have capacity.

Libraries will continue to deliver books to customers receiving the Home Library Service.

E-books, e-audio, digital magazines and newspapers and a wide range of online reference material are available at any time through the library website.

Digital resources are also available through the library app, which can be downloaded to mobile devices from the App Store for iOS and Google Play for Android devices. Search for North Yorkshire Library.

Books currently on loan have been renewed to 11 January so that people do not accrue fines.

To join the library, renew membership or get a PIN number, call your local library or the helpline number, 01609 533878.

Supporting our schools and childcare

The majority of schools in North Yorkshire remain open. Despite rising numbers of confirmed cases in North Yorkshire generally, we still have attendance levels within our schools of 90 per cent, which remains above the national average. 

Presently, there is one school fully closed in North Yorkshire and 19 other education settings with some form of partial closures. Most schools are able to deal with any confirmed cases of coronavirus by contact isolation, rather than having to close year groups or bubbles.

All schools in North Yorkshire are now set up to provide remote education to any pupils self-isolating. This may be a combination of online learning, uploading class work, provision of text books and other measures. It is a system which works well if students need to self-isolate for short periods of time.

Teamwork to support our residents

We have now written to more than 24,000 North Yorkshire residents who are clinically extremely vulnerable to remind people at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus that support is still there should they need it, particularly during the next few weeks as the country faces tighter restrictions. Outbound telephone calls to people who have asked for help are ongoing to put support in place.

Community support organisations and the voluntary sector partners they are working alongside also continue to provide vital help with shopping and collecting medication as well as telephone check-in and befriending services. For lots of people, just having someone to talk to has been a lifeline during coronavirus when the effects of loneliness have been even more profound. A friendly chat with a volunteer can make all the difference.

Nidderdale Plus is one of the 23 CSOs supporting people across North Yorkshire. There are 13 different volunteer networks under Nidderdale Plus and each one co-ordinates its own befriending effort. Helen Flynn, Executive Director, said: “The befriending services have become more established since Covid. A lot of the people on the other end of the phone are local people, too, which is an added bonus for those who are befriended because they can share news from the same area. It’s always been important to get befriending services in, but at the minute days are getting shorter, it’s colder. If you’re living on your own and it’s cold and dark, this can really compound feelings of social isolation. Having someone at the end of the phone to have contact with is so important, especially into the second lockdown. These are some of our most vulnerable people. Where people had help with shopping, dog walking before, a lot of those relationships have persisted beyond lockdown. That’s also a form of befriending, just knowing there’s someone there you can call, that you can trust.”

People who need support with shopping, prescriptions, caring for pets and other essentials are encouraged to contact family, friends, neighbours or groups they belong to. North Yorkshire residents without those local networks, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780. The centre is open seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm. Find details of other local voluntary and community groups offering support. To find local businesses offering food deliveries and takeaways in your area, go to the Buy Local directory.

We’re also urging people to keep checking on neighbours and people in their communities who might need help and support during the lockdown. Find advice on how to help safely.

Read more information about the help available, including a link to the latest Government advice for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable.

Growing our local economy

Thinking of Christmas? Think of North Yorkshire businesses first

Buy Local is our free website to support North Yorkshire businesses and tradespeople, as well as help people find local services available to them.

We're urging all eligible traders and businesses who are a vital part of team North Yorkshire to register on the Buy Local website as soon as possible - it’s free and easy to join.

Mark Craggs from Proper Pizzas joined Buy Local to strengthen a sense of community and ultimately, be able to support other small businesses.

He says: “We're all independent businesses trying to find stability in order to flourish and grow, so trying to build relationships can only be a positive thing in my opinion.”

This month, it’s more important than ever to support local businesses who can still trade during the national restrictions so, when you are thinking of your Christmas shopping, please think of North Yorkshire businesses first.

Sign up or search.

Follow @northyorkscc and help us spread the word about Buy Local by sharing our posts and tweets.

All businesses on the Buy Local directory are required to abide by government guidelines on operating under Covid-19 restrictions. Please refer to individual business ‘coronavirus support’ information on the site for clarification of the services that they can offer during this time.

LEP News: York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub partners with local experts to deliver a programme of free online business support

The York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub is launching a new programme of more than 40 free webinars and masterclasses starting next week and running until March 2021.

The programme, designed to appeal to SMEs in York & North Yorkshire, is being delivered in partnership with industry experts from the region and will cover a wide range of topics from visitor tourism, marketing, branding, PR, social media, leadership, employment law, mental health, well-being and business development.

Find out more and register for the webinars.

Free EU Transition webinar: What you can do now before the EU Transition ends

  • Tuesday 17 November, noon

The York and North Yorkshire Growth Hub will be joined by Garbutt + Elliot and the CBI to give you an update on the current discussions with the EU, highlight key uncertainties and provide an overview of what you can do now to prepare your business. There will also be the opportunity to ask any questions that you may have.

This is the first in a five-part series of EU Transition webinars, and as talks develop, the Growth Hub will aim to explore specific issues in more depth, including finance and cash flow, importing and exporting, tariffs and taxation, and employment law.

Visit here for more details and to book your place

Annual Conference 2020 – Thank you

A big thank you to everyone who attended our annual conference on Friday. We were delighted to see so many of you joining us for what was our first virtual event on this scale.

We are also grateful for all the questions put forward for our live Q&A. As we said on the day, we will ensure all the questions we couldn’t get to during the session are answered. These responses will be posted on our website.

The conference platform remains available to registered delegates until 6 December so you can use the same link to watch again or catch-up on any sessions missed. Today, you can see the event introduction, address, live Q&A and closing remarks and view the marketplace. In the coming days, an edited version of the live stream is due to be available, and recordings of the three webinars will also be posted, so please do keep checking back.

Feedback

We would love to hear your views on the conference. A short survey is available here.

Creative lockdown ideas

Christmas carol singing lessons for families

Families across North Yorkshire are invited to join online Christmas carol singing lessons to get into the Christmas spirit together.

Our Adult Learning and Skills Service will launch the weekly lessons as part of its Family Learning offer from Tuesday, 17 November, between 6pm and 7pm.

Tutor Martyn Cresswell will encourage all participants to sing up and share their enthusiasm with other families taking part. The finished performance, featuring singers in their homes, will be recorded and posted online for all to enjoy.

The course is open to families with children of all ages. Participants will need a tablet or laptop with an internet connection and a camera to record themselves, so that their contribution can be captured for the wider public audience to appreciate.

The last session will be on Tuesday, 15 December. Get more information and to book.

Or call the Adult Learning team on 01609 536066 or email adultlearningservice@northyorks.gov.uk

In January, the service will launch a virtual choir for adults. Details will be posted in the course finder.

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

Today is a critical day for North Yorkshire for a number of reasons.

As we prepare to go back into lockdown with the rest of England, I hope we can show the resilience we are famous for once more and pull together as a county to look after each other and support our businesses as best we can.

I would urge everyone to use these weeks to stick to the lockdown rules rigidly to help us come out of this on the other side in the best possible shape. While we are in tier 1 today (November 4), we were hanging by a thread in that position and were under increasing pressure in some areas where positive Covid tests were above the England average. The virus remains widespread across the county and we must not forget that. But if we can work together to get on top of that spread, we can drive those transmission rates down and help protect our families and help our businesses reopen. The goal here must be to save lives and protect the economy.

Our hospitality, retail and many other sectors have worked incredibly hard to protect us. I know many will diversify again and offer takeaways and online goods and services. The run-up to Christmas if a critical time for many hotels, restaurants and shops. It is also a time when we hope desperately to be allowed to be with our loved ones. The more we stick to the rules, the greater the chance of us being able to be together again and to enjoy our high streets, market towns and villages again.

Tonight there is a real risk that some people may see lockdown eve and bonfire night as a last chance to gather for a while. Some may be tempted to break the rule of six. This morning I heard the police gold commander for the county’s response to Covid describe this evening as “mischief night”. They will be increasing their presence across the county as a result. Please show restraint and don’t forget there are pretty hefty fines for breaking those Covid rules.

While we will miss not being able to be with friends, we also have an opportunity to help before us. To pursue those small acts of kindness that we do so well here and which make a big difference to others. Checking on neighbours, particularly those who are alone or isolated. Shopping for others when we shop for ourselves. Telephoning people to keep in touch. Using FaceTime, Skype, WhatsApp – a myriad of other ways to stay in touch. While we will be closely following national guidance to protect our most frail residents, those in care settings, we will also be ensuring we find creative ways to help them see loved ones, virtually or face-to-face where that is safe and possible.

The other thing we can do is to buy local when we are shopping online over the coming weeks. We can look to local businesses, and there are hundreds of great local businesses and retailers registers on our Buy local directory. There are also Covid-secure services advertised here, so it is a great place to start for whatever you need: food deliveries, Christmas presents or trades people. Pleased do look close to home first.

I have also been talking to you for many weeks about the need to change the current two-tier structure of county and district councils to pave the way for a mayoral-led combined authority here with devolution as the prize. This morning our proposal for a single new council to deliver all your services took an important step forward. County councillors, many of whom are also district councillors, voted overwhelmingly to submit our bid to government. As a result, we shall do so next week. This is important in making sure that Government can consider all bids on their merits side by side and make an informed decision on which ministers feel offer the county and its residents and businesses the best possible outcomes in the future.

Finally, I would like to invite you to join children from across the county to share with them a virtual remembrance service. We may not be able to be together physically this year, but we can still pay our respects and remember. Our children’s champions have worked with children of armed forces personnel and the service, which is usually at Ripon Cathedral, with be online this year. Please join us if you can.

Please stay safe and look after your neighbours at this important time.

Keeping in touch

Our website has a dedicated area for all the latest news, see links below:

Follow us on social media: @northyorkscc on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

The number of cases of COVID-19 in North Yorkshire continues to increase.  At 1 November, there have been 8,425 positive tests since 3 March, with 2,221 new cases reported in the past two weeks.  Over the past week, the average number of new cases is approximately 161 cases per day. Work continues to ensure effective monitoring of all areas, with support for incidents being provided across a range of settings, which are reviewed daily. The North Yorkshire rate for COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population is currently lower than both the England and Yorkshire & Humber rates.

Further information on North Yorkshire data provided at county, district and local area level can be found here.

Local Contact Tracing

From Thursday, 5 November, North Yorkshire County Council will be undertaking local contact tracing. If the national Test and Trace system is unable to contact a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 and provide details to the national online system within 24 hours, this will be handed to the local contact tracing team for follow up.

Local contact tracing calls will be undertaken by trained staff in the County Council’s Customer Resource Centre, who will provide a seven-day-a-week service (9am-5pm Mon-Fri and 10am-1pm Sat-Sun). Residents will be contacted on an 01609 number and spoken to by a member of the Customer Support team on behalf of public health, who will provide specialist support where needed through the public health hub.

Callers will never ask residents to:

  • dial a premium number
  • make any form of payment
  • provide bank account details
  • provide passwords or PIN numbers
  • disclose any personal or medical information
  • download any software

Working together towards recovery

Testing

Testing sites in North Yorkshire, as elsewhere in England, are operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care and private contractors employed by them. We try to help the department by promoting the mobile testing site locations and hosting information on how people with symptoms can book a test via the national government portal. We do not manage the national booking system or laboratory testing process.

Indications are that lab testing capacity is improving but, if you are unable to book a test at a local site straight away, please keep checking as availability varies during the day.

We are also supporting the Department in asking the public only to get a test if they are directed to do so by NHS Test and Trace or other NHS services – OR – if they have symptoms, to ensure that those people who need tests the most can be prioritised.

Before you attend you must book a test. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. 

Testing sites operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care will be running at the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • Every day - Harrogate - Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Thursday 5 November - Whitby - Whitby Park and Ride, Whitby, YO21 1TL
  • Thursday 5 November - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Friday 6 November - Sherburn in Elmet - White Rose Sports Club, The Recreation Ground, Tadcaster Road, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6EL
  • Friday 6 November - Thornton Le Dale - National Trust Car Park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Pickering,
    North Yorkshire, YO18 7RR
  • Friday 6 November - Northallerton - Newby Wiske Hall, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL7 9HA
  • Saturday 7 November - Selby - South Entrance, DRAX Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Saturday 7 November - Skipton - Coach St car park, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 1LH
  • Sunday 8 November - Scarborough - Scarborough Park and Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough, YO12 4LW
  • Sunday 8 November - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL

Watch this video to find out what to expect and how to prepare for the test.

See the latest dates and locations, find out more and how to book.

Join county’s service children for online Remembrance service

People in North Yorkshire are being invited to share in an online service of Remembrance involving school children from across the county.

Each year, North Yorkshire County Council’s service children’s champions, who work with the children of armed forces personnel and their families, organise an extremely well-attended Service to Remember at Ripon Cathedral for the county’s service children.

This year, the service cannot be held in the cathedral because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Instead, it has gone online. The online service is led by the Dean of Ripon, the Very Rev John Dobson, and has contributions from schools across North Yorkshire, the Army, RAF, local civic leaders and veterans. 

Service children’s champion Jess Greenhalgh said: “We are taking advantage of this unusual situation and inviting as many people as possible to join us for our Service to Remember. All schools in North Yorkshire are invited to view the service on Friday, 6 November, the day we would have all been in the cathedral together.”

The theme this year is Heroes, to reflect not only war heroes, but the heroes of this past year – the keyworkers. The service children of North Yorkshire have contributed artwork and poems to the service, detailing their own personal heroes.

The service can be viewed.

Supporting our schools and childcare

School attendance at the start of the new term has remained high and is currently more than 90 per cent, which is well above the national average.

We’re very pleased that schools in North Yorkshire have maintained this high attendance rate; it’s vitally important children remain in education and schools and that parents remain reassured that schools are safe environments.

We’re continuing to work with schools and other education settings to make sure we continue to take swift and robust action where we have cases of covid. We currently have just four settings closed and 15 partial closures of classes or group bubbles. This is out of approximately 1,000 educational settings from nurseries to post-16 education and colleges which we are currently supporting.

From this month, schools can access support for children and young people most affected by school closures during the coronavirus outbreak, through the Government’s National Tutoring Programme. To register an interest in joining the programme, schools can visit the National Tutoring Programme website. There is also a webinar for schools on Thursday, November 5, which will provide an introduction to the programme and details on how schools can get involved. 

Teamwork to support our residents

Today we are writing to people in North Yorkshire who are clinically extremely vulnerable and at higher risk of serious illness from coronavirus to give some reassurance that support is still there in every community where it’s needed. Since March, we have been working with 23 community organisations across North Yorkshire to coordinate volunteer and community support in each area, ensuring everyone who needs help has someone they can call on.

These hubs have been a single point of contact within the community, pulling together other organisations in the area to provide a safety net of support which will be there for people during the November lockdown and beyond. More than 1,500 volunteers have been helping thousands of people every week with almost 23,000 bags of shopping, over 22,000 hot meals and more than 13,000 prescriptions delivered up and down the county since April.

In addition, they have also been calling people every week to check on their general health and wellbeing as well as carrying our other activities to support people during the lockdown. Over 14,000 welfare calls and over 17,000 befriending calls have been made since the start of the pandemic. Between them, CSO volunteers have clocked up over 65,000 volunteering hours.

Over the coming weeks people who need support with shopping, prescriptions, caring for pets and other essentials are encouraged to contact family, friends, neighbours or groups they belong to. North Yorkshire residents without those local networks, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780. The centre is open seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm. Find details of other local voluntary and community groups offering support. To find local businesses offering food deliveries and takeaways in your area, go to the Buy Local directory.

We’re also urging people to keep checking on neighbours and people in their communities who might need help and support during the lockdown. Find advice on how to help safely.

Read more information about the help available, including a link to the latest Government advice for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable.

Growing our local economy

LEP News: Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Following the Prime Minister's announcement on further restrictions, the UK-wide Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be extended until December covering 80% of employees’ wages.

Read more about the job retention scheme

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme Grant Extension opens for applications from 14 December.

Read more details about the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

Coronavirus Loan Scheme updates

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) provides financial support to smaller businesses affected by coronavirus (COVID-19). The government guarantees 80% of the finance to the lender and pays interest and any fees for the first 12 months. The scheme is open until 31 January 2021.

The Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) enables smaller businesses to access finance more quickly during the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme is open to applications until 31 January 2021.

Free platform subscription to help sell your produce online during lockdown

With the Government’s announcement of a second lockdown from Thursday, 5 November, the impact on high street retail in the lead up to Christmas will be significant. The York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub continues to offer free subscriptions to the community-led shopping platform, ShopAppy. The platform can help high street retailers sell their produce online.

More information about how to sign up to ShopAppy can be found here.

York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub offer with Too Good to Go gets even better!

Too Good to Go work with thousands of food businesses in the UK and through their app, connect consumers with businesses who have surplus food to sell at the end of a day, saving businesses money and food being thrown away.

By simply registering here Too Good To Go will waive their annual administration fee for the first year for 50 businesses to join the platform. On top of this, those businesses that register also receive a free personal membership to Welcome to Yorkshire (worth £25) which includes a tree planting on their behalf.

Circular Economy: 6 Benefits to Business E-guides launched for SMEs

Being sustainable and circular makes good business sense.

Employees, shareholders and customers want businesses to make this change that can also positively affect the bottom line. There are some simple steps that a business can take, including rethinking waste, looking at energy use, reviewing supply chains and finding inventive ways to keep materials in use for longer.

The six e-guides launched for the start of Circular Yorkshire Month and developed with FSB, CBI and West and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce give immediate, cost-effective actions that businesses can take now. In addition, they provide details about how businesses can access further support to help achieve medium to longer term goals.

Download the guides to see how businesses can benefit.

REMINDER: York & North Yorkshire LEP Annual Conference

The LEP is holding its annual conference on Friday, 6 November, from 10am.

Register for the York and North Yorkshire LEP Annual Conference.

Staying informed

As always, we are keen to promote the following as main sources of business support information:

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

Unfortunately, the infection rates for Covid-19 across the county continue to rise. An inevitable and sad consequence of that is that we are seeing growing positive tests among the frailest residents in North Yorkshire, those living in the county’s care settings.  Despite robust outbreak management plans, we now have more than 55 care homes out of a total of 233 with single cases or outbreaks, and three of those now have a very difficult situation with wider scale infection. This is a serious matter, as you will understand.

Alongside this we have transmissions continuing to rise across the county, and I am afraid to say much of this spread lies outside of our direct control, because it is taking place within people’s homes and social settings. We are also surrounded by counties and regions in higher levels of restrictions than we are. Together all of these issues mean we are literally remaining in tier one – the lowest level of intervention – by a thread.

If we are to have any chance at all of staying in this tier, and to give us all the best chance of being able to be with our loved ones at Christmas, we need to step up and stand together as a county and we will explain this in more detail over the coming days. In my role as Chair of North Yorkshire’s Local Resilience Forum, I am regularly asked when all this will end. The answer is unfortunately not as straightforward as the question.  In truth, we will need to adapt the way we live for many more months.  There is much talk of vaccines, let’s hope that one becomes widely available, and that it is effective. There is certainly cause for hope and the treatments for people who end up in hospital have also improved, which is positive. Testing and lab capacity are also improving and we are extremely successful in North Yorkshire at securing new options for testing across communities.

We appreciate more people are finding they need a little bit of extra help too, in these difficult times. In response, we can offer some aid to those most in need through our North Yorkshire Local Assistance Fund. At the start of the pandemic we allocated an extra £1million for this fund to pay for things like food and utility vouchers.   Government supplemented this with an extra £150,000. We have also donated more than £200,000 to a variety of charities supplying food, including food banks and hot meal deliveries. If you need help you can learn more about what’s available and how to apply here. Alternatively, to find details of food supply charities near you, you can call our customer service centre, which currently opens seven days a week from 8am to 5.30pm, on 01609 780780. No one in North Yorkshire should feel alone.

While we know that Covid-19 is having a big impact on the way we like to live we should also feel fortunate to be a county of such resilience and determination to overcome whatever the world throws at us. I am constantly inspired by the way North Yorkshire folk just get on with things. Today is no exception.  Take 10-year-old Elise, and Harry, who is four! They are leading the way this week on creating rainbow pumpkins for a village Hallowe’en trail near Thirsk, instead of trick or treating. You can see their wonderful artwork and read more about their covid-safe adventures here.

The other big-ticket item I have promised to keep you informed on is our proposal to pave the way for a mayoral-led combined authority and a strong devolution deal for North Yorkshire. This week we published our bid to restructure local government to support the road to that ultimate prize. We have written our proposal based on experience and understanding built on having delivered high-quality services to everyone in North Yorkshire for many decades. We believe for every household in the county we have the potential to save up to £185 a year to plough back into the services that matter to you. Over five years this equates to a total potential saving worth £252 million. It would be negligent not to pursue this. Alongside this, we also have detailed and ambitious plans to drive a revolution in empowering residents and businesses to have a much bigger say in what matters to them. I am grateful to the very many people and organisations, businesses and groups that have taken the time to help us write this report. You can read more about it here.

Look after yourselves and stay safe. I will bring you more news on all of these points in the days ahead.

Keeping in touch

Our website has a dedicated area for all the latest news, see links below:

Follow us on social media: @northyorkscc on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

The number of cases of COVID-19 in North Yorkshire continues to increase.  At 25th October, there have been 7,047 positive tests since 3rd March, with 1,716 new cases reported in the past two weeks. Over the past week, the average number of new cases is approximately 121 cases per day. Work continues to ensure effective monitoring of all areas, with support for incidents being provided across a range of settings, which are reviewed daily.

Further information on North Yorkshire data provided at county, district and local area level can be found here.

Self-Isolation and Close Contacts

It is important that everyone plays their part in preventing the spread of the virus, one vital measure that we know is effective is self-isolation. Self-isolation is not the same as social distancing, it means not leaving your home, because you could be at greater risk of passing COVID-19 on to others. 

Individuals should self-isolate if:

  • you have any COVID-19 symptoms (the symptoms are a new continuous cough, a high temperature or a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell)
  • you or someone in your household is waiting for a test result
  • you or someone in your household tests positive for COVID-19
  • you are notified by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app because you have been in close contact with someone who has the virus.

Guidance on how long to self-isolate include:

  • You must isolate immediately for 10 days if you have any coronavirus symptoms, do not wait for a test or a test result before starting your self-isolation.
  • If someone in your household has the virus, you need to self-isolate for 14 days from the point that household member first developed symptoms.
  • If you have been identified as the close contact of someone outside your household who has the virus, you need to self-isolate until 14 days after your last contact with them.

The 14-day period is used, because you are at risk of developing COVID-19 for 14 days. Even if you never develop symptoms, you can still be infected and pass the virus on without knowing it. If you do have a negative test during this time, you still need to self-isolate for the full period. This is because you could still develop COVID-19 and pass it on to other people. It is important that everyone understands that a negative test result during your self-isolation does NOT mean you can stop self-isolating early. You could put other people at risk of catching the virus if you do.

A close contact is a person who has been close to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 anytime from two days before the person was symptomatic up to 10 days from onset of symptoms, this is when they are infectious to others. For example, a contact can be:

  • people who spend significant time in the same household as a person who has tested positive for COVID-19
  • sexual partners
  • a person who has had face-to-face contact (within one metre), with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, including:
    • being coughed on
    • having a face-to-face conversation within one metre
    • having skin-to-skin physical contact, or
    • contact within one metre for one minute or longer without face-to-face contact
  • a person who has been within 2 metres of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 for more than 15 minutes
  • a person who has travelled in a small vehicle with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or in a large vehicle or plane near someone who has tested positive for COVID-19

The full Government guidance on self-isolation can be found here.

Self-isolation can be challenging. There is a range of support available for individuals that need to self-isolate.

Working together towards recovery

Testing

Testing sites in North Yorkshire, as elsewhere in England, are operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care and private contractors employed by them. We try to help the department by promoting the Mobile Testing Site locations and hosting information on how people with symptoms can book a test via the national government portal. We do not manage the national booking system or laboratory testing process.

Indications are that lab testing capacity is improving but, if you are unable to book a test at a local site straight away, please keep checking as availability varies during the day.

We are also supporting the Department in asking the public only to get a test if they are directed to do so by NHS Test and Trace or other NHS services – OR – if they have symptoms, to ensure that those people who need tests the most can be prioritised.

Before you attend you must book a test. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. 

Testing sites operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care will be running at the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • Every day - Harrogate - Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Thursday 29 October - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Thursday 29 October - Whitby - Whitby Park and Ride, Whitby, YO21 1TL
  • Friday 30 October - Sherburn in Elmet - White Rose Sports Club, The Recreation Ground, Tadcaster Road, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6EL
  • Friday 30 October - Thornton Le Dale - National Trust Car Park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Pickering,
    North Yorkshire, YO18 7RR
  • Friday 30 October - Northallerton - Newby Wiske Hall, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL7 9HA
  • Saturday 31 October - Selby - South Entrance, DRAX Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Saturday 31 October - Skipton - Coach St car park, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 1LH
  • Sunday 1 November - Scarborough - Scarborough Park and Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough, YO12 4LW
  • Sunday 1 November - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL

Watch this video to find out what to expect and how to prepare for the test.

See the latest dates and locations, find out more and how to book.

North Yorkshire launches pilot to get children school-ready

It is never too early to start talking, singing and reading to babies – that is the message at the heart of a North Yorkshire project to improve speech, language and communication in young children for when they start school.

A child who is unable to communicate properly with its peers or teachers can become frustrated and challenging in his or her behaviour. For this reason the County Council has begun an ambitious pilot programme to improve early language development and tackle school readiness in North Yorkshire.

The pilot, called Grow and Learn, is taking place in East Whitby and Ryedale over the next year.  It will involve a range of targeted interventions by the County Council and its partners in health and early years provision such as nurseries and baby and toddler groups who will work with communities and families.

The pilot is built around the idea of the whole community contributing to a child’s progress and supporting them to be school-ready.  Singing nursery rhymes and other songs, chatting and reading to children away from the distractions of television and phones are key ways of developing their early language.

“These don’t have to be done at a set time – they can be done any time to fit in with daily living”, said Ruth Little, who has been appointed School Readiness Co-ordinator. 

“Chatting with children on the way to nursery, or while making a meal or playing ‘I spy’ on the bus or in the car, sharing a picture book, singing to your bump in ante-natal classes – all contribute to a child’s language development. It’s never too early to start and can involve the whole community and wider family networks.”

The Book Trust has also provided North Yorkshire County Council Library Service with free resources for children aged 0 to 5, including board and picture books, rhyme sheets and Make Your Own Pet Star craft, to add to their existing collection of books suitable for babies and very young children. Registrars are also now auto-enrolling babies with the library during birth registration.

Get ideas on fun, free activities which can be done at home to help get children school ready.

Also look out for the Grow and Learn North Yorkshire County Council social media campaign.

Supporting our schools and childcare

We would like to encourage everyone to stay safe while celebrating Hallowe’en or Bonfire Night during the school half-tem. 

We want families and others to enjoy social time, but still protect yourself and others by not meeting in groups of more than six indoors or outdoors when seeing people you do not live with, or who are not part of your bubble, to protect yourselves and others. We also want people to carry on adhering to the “Hands. Face. Space” guidance outside of schools and workplaces. This applies to play dates, leisure activities and supervised activities and entertainment for young people.

Families and communities in North Yorkshire have been putting their creativity into action to come up with alternatives to trick and treating this Hallowe’en. A number of communities have already started creating some creative and eye-catching pumpkin trails and outdoor Halloween displays, to help children and young people celebrate the event.

Teamwork to support our residents

With a continued increase in coronavirus cases across the county, and the risk of further restrictions, community support organisations and the voluntary sector partners they are working alongside are preparing for a potential increase in demand. Communities are also being encouraged to keep checking on those who might need a helping hand with shopping, collecting medication, or simply being there for a chat.

In the Esk Valley, Revival North Yorkshire has become a lifeline for around 130 residents working in partnership with the Whitby CSO. Director Debbie Swales said: “Nothing we do would be possible without our volunteers. People making one phone call are just as important as those who go out and do the shopping.”

Val Rowe, a retired teacher from Sleights, is one of the volunteers making a difference in her community. She said: “Debbie is a really special person, she thinks outside the box. She doesn’t just think about prescriptions or how to get food, she thinks about everything in a broad sense because she cares about people. She won’t leave any stone unturned until she finds a way that person can be supported.”

When lockdown started, Val became a telephone befriender, and as restrictions have eased, she has also been able to have socially distanced visits with people in their gardens.

She said: “I’ve just started delivering Fish and Chips from Eskdale Fisheries in Sleights. I love doing it. I’ve learnt so much about people. I do quite a bit of volunteer work, but this is my favourite.”

People who are self-isolating and need support with shopping, prescriptions and other essentials but don’t have anyone to call on, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780. The centre is open seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm.

People can also find details of local voluntary and community groups offering support.

For more information about help for you here.

Growing our local economy

LEP News:

Job Support Scheme

The Job Support Scheme will be expanded to support businesses across the UK required to close their premises due to coronavirus restrictions. The government will pay two thirds of employees’ salaries to protect jobs over the coming months and cash grants for businesses required to close in local lockdowns will be increased to up to £3,000 per month.

New guidance on £9 billion Job Retention Bonus

Further information is available on how businesses can claim the government’s Job Retention Bonus, with millions set to benefit from the £9 billion package.

Read the full Job Retention Bonus update

Self-isolation support payments

Eligible employees who are required to self-isolate by the Government’s Test and Track scheme, will be able to apply for one-off payments to support them through the 14-day quarantine period.

The scheme is open to eligible self-employed people who can prove they are unable to work while self-isolating.

Business Secretary urges businesses to prepare for the end of the transition period

Businesses need to take action now to prepare for the UK’s new start on 1 January 2021.

A series of online webinars have been organised by BEIS throughout October. Businesses can sign-up to attend these on Workcast.

Businesses can find out about what actions they will need to take, by visiting GOV.UK and using the checker tool.

Small Business Leadership Programme and Peer Network Scheme

Access the Small Business Leadership Programme and Peer Network Scheme.

Ambitious businesses in York and North Yorkshire have the opportunity to come together and work collaboratively as part of our new Peer Networks programme.

What industry placements look like in your sector

Industry placements can be a great way for businesses to develop and grow new talent. The Department for Education and SDN are hosting webinars for employers looking at what industry placements look like in the following skill areas:

  • Health and Science (22 Oct)
  • Legal, Finance and Accounting (27 Oct)
  • Engineering and Manufacturing (3 Nov)
  • Business and Administration (9 Nov)
  • Agriculture, Environment and Animal Care (8 Dec)
  • Creative and Design (17 Dec)

Find out more and register for a webinar.

Process and Product Innovation (PAPI) York

PAPI are delivering online workshops to help businesses optimise commercial, innovation and entrepreneurial capabilities.

Discover more about PAPI.

Ad:Venture | Extensive online programme until December

Ad:Venture’s business events offer a host of benefits to SME business owners with teaching from the likes of Leeds Trinity University and Knights PLC. Eligibility applies. Find out more about Ad:Venture's business.

REMINDER: LEP Annual Conference

Join us on Friday 6 November for our annual conference.

Held online, the conference will focus on a Greener, Fairer, Stronger vision for reshaping the York & North Yorkshire economy and how we can work together to achieve this.

To be able to access the conference website, you will need to register in advance here

Staying informed

As always, we are keen to promote the following as main sources of business support information:

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

Coronavirus is now the largest pandemic on record and is the leading cause of deaths worldwide with more than 35 million cases and sadly over one million deaths recorded.

That is a sobering thought. 

In North Yorkshire, our average rates continue to track just below the England average and are roughly half those of Yorkshire and Humber. As I have said many times, that is due to the actions you take every day. That Team North Yorkshire spirit means we remain in tier 1 – also known as medium. However, we know how quickly positions can change and we have a number of areas currently close to and one above the England average. In Selby, the latest figure for a rolling seven-day average is 179 with the England average 169. In recent weeks, we have seen the highest stats in Harrogate and Craven. The numbers are volatile; partly because of the lower population levels in many areas and partly because a single outbreak can have a considerable impact. I am telling you all of this not to alarm you, but to focus the mind and to ensure that you are aware of the need for continuing vigilance.

This is particularly important as we head into the half-term school holidays next week. I hope many of you will have planned nice things to do with your families. We must try to continue to enjoy our beautiful county and to support its rich array of shops, cafes and restaurants. While doing so, we need to stay alert to the risks and take the simple actions that we know protect us and our loved ones. So, please, while you are out and about keep washing your hands and using the hand sanitisers in businesses, wear a face covering where advised indoors and outdoors where it’s difficult to keep a safe distance from people you don’t live with. And don’t forget the rule of six, of course.  We should not lose sight of the huge effort made by our hospitality and retail businesses to put in place a raft of measures to protect you and their staff and these are very successful. In fact, there is very little transmission in these settings as a result of that huge and positive effort. The majority of cases can be tracked back to households and socialising too closely with other people. If we are to stay out of additional measures this is where we need to make the changes. Only you can make that difference, so that is my ask of you today. Enjoy a Covid-safe half-term! There are even some top tips for a safe Halloween here on our website, too. Trick or treat may be out this year but how about a pumpkin trail?

If you fancy something more home-based, don’t forget our libraries have a great online offer and the latest addition is thanks to Skipton. Our library there has teamed up with East Riding to join in on the What Was Here digital heritage trail. You can sit in the comfort of your armchair and take an online historical tour. Read more about the trail here.

On a separate subject entirely, many of you have been following our position regarding the best way to land a strong devolution deal for North Yorkshire. As part of that, we have been invited to submit a proposal for how local services would be delivered by a new single and sustainable council to replace the current two-tier structure and pave the way for a mayoral-led combined authority with York. The district councils are also working on a bid, which splits North Yorkshire in half on an east/west basis. We will be publishing our plan in detail next week and you will be able to read it. Ahead of that, I wanted to thank the many people, businesses, groups and organisations that have taken the time to help us develop the details. We are extremely grateful for your time and thoughts. It is a very big deal and we know how much strong local services mean to you all. Our bid document will reflect all of that feedback and all of those ideas. I will talk to you more about that next week.

Until then stay safe and enjoy half-term.

Keeping in touch

Our website has a dedicated area for all the latest news, see links below:

Follow us on social media: @northyorkscc on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

The number of cases of Covid-19 in North Yorkshire continues to increase. At 18 October, there have been 5,970 positive tests since 3 March, with 1,470 new cases reported in the past two weeks. Over the past week, the average number of new cases is approximately 91 per day. Work continues to ensure effective monitoring of all areas, with support for incidents being provided across a range of settings, which are reviewed daily.

Further information on North Yorkshire data provided at county, district and local area level can be found here.

Events Guidance

Staying safe and protecting others when wanting to take part in local events and celebrations is one of the Covid-19 challenges faced by individuals, families and communities. However, we know from the North Yorkshire Covid-19 data that a key source of infection spread occurs within households and through social interactions. It is important that anyone attending local events remains vigilant and follows the principles of Hands, Face, Space. Advice about how to enjoy Halloween safely has been issued by the North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum (NYLRF), including suggestions for alternative Halloween activities:

  • Be creative: create a pumpkin trail where you live so everyone can join in without knocking on doors.
  • Be active: get dressed up and take a walk around your neighbourhood to see homes decorated for Halloween.
  • Be virtual: consider an online party with decorations, fancy dress and themed food. Play Hallowe’en games, bake Hallowe’en treats or tell spooky stories.
  • Be social: take pictures of your spooky costumes and activities to share on social media.
  • Be colourful: dress up the outside of your house with Halloween decorations for you and your neighbours to enjoy.
  • Be treat-wise: buy your own sweets to give to your children so they don’t miss out.
  • Be bright: if you carve a pumpkin, use a battery-powered light inside it to reduce the risk of fire.

More detail on enjoying Halloween can be found here.

The North Yorkshire County Council Public Health team continues to work closely with district colleagues and event organisers to ensure that local events have been risk assessed and appropriate measures taken where needed. Guidance for local event organisers can be found here.

 

Working together towards recovery

Testing

Testing sites in North Yorkshire, as elsewhere in England, are operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care and private contractors employed by them. We try to help the Department by promoting the Mobile Testing Site locations and hosting information on how people with symptoms can book a test via the national government portal. We do not manage the national booking system or laboratory testing process.

Indications are that lab testing capacity is improving but, if you are unable to book a test at a local site straight away, please keep checking as availability varies during the day.

We are also supporting the Department in asking the public to get a test only if they are directed to do so by NHS Test and Trace or other NHS services – OR – if they have symptoms, to ensure that those people who need tests the most can be prioritised.

Before you attend, you must book a test. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. 

Testing sites operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care will be running at the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • Every day - Harrogate - Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Thursday 22 October - Whitby - Whitby Park and Ride, Whitby, YO21 1TL
  • Thursday 22 October - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Friday 23 October - Northallerton - Newby Wiske Hall, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL7 9HA
  • Friday 23 October - Sherburn in Elmet - White Rose Sports Club, The Recreation Ground, Tadcaster Road, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6EL
  • Friday 23 October - Thornton Le Dale - National Trust Car Park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Pickering, North Yorkshire, YO18 7RR
  • Saturday 24 October - Skipton - Coach St car park, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 1LH
  • Saturday 24 October - Selby - South Entrance, Drax Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Sunday 25 October - Scarborough - Scarborough Park and Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough, YO12 4LW
  • Sunday 25 October - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL

Watch this video to find out what to expect and how to prepare for the test.

See the latest dates and locations, find out more and how to book.

Supporting our schools and childcare

As we move into the half-term holidays and Halloween we want to get the balance right between protecting people and reducing the spread of the virus and making sure families and children enjoy themselves.

We want people to have that social time, but it’s important that we help families and children remember the rules and know that they apply every day, not just in school, but on other occasions such as Halloween.

It’s important that people remember not to meet in groups of more than six indoors or outdoors when seeing people you do not live with, or who are not part of your support bubble, to protect yourselves and others. This applies to play dates, leisure activities and get-togethers.

Other times to be vigilant are when attending clubs and activities such as dance classes or football training, or other supervised activities for young people. Make sure you continue to social distance when arriving or leaving out-of-school groups, use face masks when in crowded places and shops and remember to wash your hands regularly.

North Yorkshire Youth have been carrying out some voluntary work in Scarborough, going out on to the streets to speak to young people and handing out free face masks. As a local authority, we’re continuing to work with schools and other settings to make sure they’re ready to open again after half-term.

Pupil attendance in North Yorkshire’s schools still remains high and is currently at 2 per cent above the national average.

At the present time, we have cases of coronavirus at 94 settings out of 1,100 settings, including local authority, academy and independent schools, early years settings, colleges and post-16 education. In the vast majority of cases this involves one or two pupils or staff members and only close contacts have had needed to self-isolate.

Teamwork to support our residents

Since March, Harrogate and District Community Action (HADCA) has been working alongside Ripon Community House as part of the community support organisation network helping people through the coronavirus pandemic. One of their volunteers, Stewart Webb, has made the transition from volunteer driver to Harrogate Easier Living Project (HELP) volunteer.

Anna Woollven, HELP Project Development Worker, said: “Stewart has been volunteering with our service for the last two years. Up until March, he was helping people get to medical appointments, make essential trips and other journeys as one of our volunteer drivers. We reshaped our services to also offer shopping, prescription collections, errand running and telephone befriending.

“Stewart was one of the first to sign up to help in this new capacity as a ‘Here to HELP’ volunteer. He has been an absolute stalwart throughout. In the early days when people were struggling to obtain food supplies, he helped set up and coordinate food boxes. As well as assistance on a practical level, Stewart has been keeping a friendly eye on some of his regular clients and flagged up any concerns to us. For example, where he feels clients might enjoy a befriending call. We are extremely grateful to Stewart, and all our other volunteers, for giving their time and support to help other people.”

Stewart said: “I lost my wife 11 years ago and I was getting bored. I went to Age Concern and asked what I could do and somebody said ‘we’d like you to come and be one of our car drivers’. That was about two and a half years ago. When Covid hit, we came to a full stop. There was no handbook. No rules. We had to start from scratch.

“It can be very rewarding and helps keep me occupied. People feel awkward sometimes and struggle to accept support, having a sense of humour can help. We’re a bit like a tree really, if we can’t help, we have branches and we know someone who can.”

As the number of coronavirus cases across the county continues to increase, community support organisations and the voluntary sector partners they are working alongside are preparing for a potential increase in demand.

People who are self-isolating and need support with shopping, prescriptions and other essentials but don’t have anyone to call on, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780. The centre is open seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm. People can also find details of local voluntary and community groups offering support.

For more information about help for you here.

Communities are also being encouraged to keep checking on family, friends and neighbours who might need a helping hand with shopping, collecting medication, or simply being there for a chat.

Growing our local economy

LEP News: Local business support for those in Tier 2

York is now in the Tier 2/High Risk category. The York & North Yorkshire LEP and Growth Hub are here to provide assistance and support to these businesses and others across the region.

We continue to lobby government for more financial support for the businesses impacted, as do many from across the North.

Bounce Back Loans and Coronavirus Interruption Loans are schemes that are both still open. Nearly 17,000 loans have been granted across our region, amounting to £643.6m. Get more information about the Bounce Back Loans and Coronavirus Interruption Loans.

Reminder: The York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub continues to offer eligible businesses 12-months fully funded membership to the online, community-led shopping platform, ShopAppy.com. Find more information about membership here.

Local Covid Alert Levels

The Government's Covid regulations () have come into force in England.

The launch of a new Postcode Checker  enables people to find out quickly the Covid alert level in the areas that they live and work.

Chamber to explore future skills needs

The West & North Yorkshire Chamber in partnership with West Yorkshire Learning Providers is conducting research into future skills needs for businesses across the region.

A short survey can be completed here.

How can your business benefit from the circular economy?

  • FREE webinar: 2 November, 12 noon

To celebrate the start of Circular Yorkshire month, businesses are invited to attend a free webinar that will explore practical steps to help businesses benefit from the circular economy.

All attendees will be given access to our new Circular Economy: 6 Benefits to Business e-guides, developed with the FSB, CBI and West and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce. These are full of practical advice and information about making simple changes within your business.

Register here

How businesses need to prepare for EU exit

Letters are going out to VAT-registered businesses from HMRC to highlight actions that are required to continue to trade with the EU from 1 January 2021.

Read how businesses need to prepare for EU exit here.

The Government is committed to helping businesses to get ready for the end of the Transition Period on 31 December 2020.

​​​​​​Government launches Export Growth Plan to help business

The Government has launched an Export Growth Plan to help businesses in England build back better following the pandemic.

Film & TV Production Restart Scheme is now open

A £500 million scheme to cover Covid-related insurance costs is now live.

Screen productions struggling to restart due to a lack of coronavirus-related insurance will now get the go-ahead, as the Government-backed Film and TV Production Restart Scheme formally launches.

 

Staying informed

As always, we are keen to promote the following as main sources of business support information:

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

It has been a busy week and there is much to update you on! I will start with our fight against the impacts of coronavirus in North Yorkshire and with a hearty thank you to everyone for their significant efforts to keep us out of wider lockdown measures.

Today, Government has confirmed that North Yorkshire and York remain in the new Tier 1 level of restrictions. That puts us in line with the majority of the country – although we should not forget that we are surrounded by many areas under far tighter interventions and with stricter rules.

Thanks to your collective effort over recent weeks, we are seeing the previously surging infection rates stabilise in a number of areas, and outbreaks in many settings are effectively managed. Our schools now have 92% attendance – this, I hope, is due to the faith parents have in our education system and our teachers’ ability to provide safe learning environments for pupils. We are extremely grateful for that support.

Our businesses have responded immediately and with diligence to the requirements of national government around providing safe environments for staff and customers. Many people have downloaded the NHS app to help support faster contact tracing where someone you have been close to has tested positive for Covid-19.

There is a long road to travel as we fight the devastating impacts of this virus, but I hope this serves as an incentive for us all to carry on our good work and bring others with us on this journey. There will almost certainly be dark days ahead, we know that, but if you keep up your effort, we will get through this in better shape.

Looking at the latest data, it is clear from North Yorkshire’s Director of Public Health, Dr Lincoln Sargeant, that the most difficult area for us to tackle the spread of infection is within households and their social interactions – and it’s to there that the majority of the spread can be tracked. Understanding that is helpful for a number of reasons. Firstly, because it should give us all confidence to continue to attend or support our education and childcare settings, to carry on supporting our businesses and to go about our daily lives in a safe way. Also, because if we accept that fact, we know exactly what we must do to keep on top of it. Wash our hands, keep our distance, cover our faces and stick to the rule of six. You have proven once again how willing you are to make the necessary sacrifices. Please, stay part of Team North Yorkshire and keep making that difference.

Some more positive news is that two new permanent testing sites are to open shortly. One in Harrogate and one in Scarborough. There is more detail on those sites here.

Our Public Health consultants tell us that testing capacity across the county remains good. That is a crucial piece of the jigsaw in battling Covid-19. So, if you have symptoms, please book a test and if a site in North Yorkshire is not immediately available on the national portal then please keep trying. We know that slots are updated regularly throughout the day, so it is worth persevering!

The other big-ticket item I want to talk about is the subject of how local government is organised here. Many of you will be aware that there are currently nine councils across North Yorkshire and York delivering your local services. You may also have seen some of the media coverage over the past few months about all of this. In brief, not only is this system duplicative but it is also expensive. Both ourselves and the district councils have been developing proposals to change that here.

Understandably, when nine councils are to become two, there are differences of opinion. The thing we all have in common is that both proposals have independently identified tens of millions of pounds in waste that could, and we believe should, be used to shore up crucial frontline services – critical and nationally recognised services that we deliver, such as children’s services including safeguarding, health and social care services and so on. We have spent the past months listening very carefully to you, our partners in health and the emergency services, town and parish councils, the community and voluntary sector, employers and wider businesses, unions and, of course, our younger generation. We have undertaken surveys, polls, focus groups, webinars and very many briefings to listen and build the strongest possible case for everyone in North Yorkshire. We believe that a single, strong and sustainable council – serving every single one of you – delivering the best possible public services and lobbying for North Yorkshire nationally with a single voice – is the strongest option. On Friday evening, all of these nine councils (including the City of York) received an invitation from the Secretary of State to prepare to submit their proposals and I want to do everything possible to ensure I keep you informed of progress. 

It is our view, and shared by many, that only a single council for North Yorkshire can deliver in the toughest of times, protecting excellent services we already deliver, encompassing the very best from each district council – and working extremely closely at grassroots level in communities to ensure that your voice is strengthened as part of this. We appreciate the district councils do not share our view and I am sure you will hear much on that. However, our proposal retains the strengths and scale that are important in delivering key countywide services, while also being resilient enough to take the lead in emergencies such as flooding and the current pandemic. We are home to public health, health and social care, schools and childcare services and, of course, the resilience and emergencies team. We deliver many of the life-giving and life-changing services you need on your journey, but equally we deliver at hyper-local level all day every day in your community. Our safeguarding and health and social care teams help some of the most frail and vulnerable people every day, our Stronger Communities team is coordinating the community and voluntary sector response to the pandemic and supporting groups and individuals continuously – knocking on doors and keeping people safe. We care about the whole of North Yorkshire and our nationally acclaimed Trading Standards service takes it very personally when people come into North Yorkshire and rip people off! We will propose only what we can deliver on, and those proposals will be based on knowledge, experience and understanding of the needs of people and places everywhere in our county. This is something I feel incredibly passionate about, as you may be able to tell. But, here are a couple of very recent examples of how our staff go the extra mile every day to deliver you the very best services possible. From our social workers and care home staffto our voluntary sector support.

Please keep safe and thank you for playing your part for North Yorkshire.

Keeping in touch

Our website has a dedicated area for all the latest news, see links below:

Follow us on social media: @northyorkscc on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

The number of cases of COVID-19 in North Yorkshire continues to increase.  At 12th October, there have been 5,222 positive tests since 3rd March, with 1,422 new cases reported in the past two weeks.  Over the past week, the average number of new cases is approximately 116 cases per day. Work continues to ensure effective monitoring of all areas, with support for incidents being provided across a range of settings, which are reviewed daily.

Further information on North Yorkshire data provided at county, district and local area level can be found here.

Local COVID alert levels: Tier System

The new system of local COVID alert levels introduced by the Government came into place today (14th October) and replaces the current area-based restrictions. This new system aims to ensure that the right level of intervention is in place in the right areas to limit the transmission and spread of Coronavirus and aid effective management of outbreaks. There are three levels (or tiers) within the new system medium (1), high (2) and very high (3), with the decision to move a geographic location into a level being based on a number of factors including number of cases, rates of infection, patterns of transmission alongside other consideration such as numbers of Coronavirus-related hospital admissions. We are at level 1, medium.

Each level sets out restrictions about what you can and cannot do if you live, work or travel in each local COVID alert level. Details of the restrictions in each level and the current level in your area can be found here.

Working together towards recovery

Testing

Testing sites in North Yorkshire, as elsewhere in England, are operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care and private contractors employed by them. We try to help the Department by promoting the Mobile Testing Site locations and hosting information on how people with symptoms can book a test via the national government portal. We do not manage the national booking system or laboratory testing process.

Indications are that lab testing capacity is improving, but if you are unable to book a test at a local site straight away, please keep checking as availability varies during the day.

We are also supporting the Department in asking the public only to get a test if they are directed to do so by NHS Test and Trace or other NHS services – or if they have symptoms – to ensure that those people who need tests most can be prioritised.

Before you attend, you must book a test. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. 

Testing sites operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care will be running at the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • Thursday 15 October - Whitby - Whitby Park and Ride, Whitby, YO21 1TL
  • Thursday 15 October - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Friday 16 October - Sherburn in Elmet - White Rose Sports Club, The Recreation Ground, Tadcaster Road, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6EL
  • Friday 16 October - Harrogate - The Hydro, Jenny Field Drive, Harrogate, HG1 2RP
  • Saturday 17 October - Skipton - Coach St car park, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 1LH
  • Saturday 17 October - Selby – South Entrance, Drax Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Sunday 18 October - Scarborough – Scarborough Park & Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough YO12 4LW
  • Sunday 18 October - Northallerton - Newby Wiske Hall, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL7 9HA
  • Sunday 18 October - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Sunday 18 October - Harrogate - Harrogate High School, Ainsty Road, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG1 4AP

Watch this video to find out what to expect and how to prepare for the test.

See the latest dates and locations, find out more and how to book.

Supporting our schools and childcare

The Government has announced some alterations to GCSE and A-level exams in summer next year, involving a slightly reduced curriculum content and delaying the exams by three weeks to take into account the disruption to education brought about by the pandemic.

While we understand there is still uncertainty, we welcome this announcement.

We will continue to follow Government guidance on exams and prepare and support our students and schools for their exams this academic year.

Our schools are working incredibly hard to get students to the point they need to be in their education including consideration of how to allocate their catch-up funding to support their pupils.

We are confident that our young people will be as prepared as any in the country when exams go ahead next summer.

North Yorkshire County Council is currently providing support to any settings in North Yorkshire where a positive case of coronavirus has been reported. The numbers of schools reporting positive cases remain low and in the vast majority of cases, this involves a very small number of cases. This is being managed by isolating those identified in close contact following the advice and guidance of Public Health England.

Throughout all this, we are pleased to report that attendance has remained strong in North Yorkshire and remains consistently above the national average.

Teamwork to support our residents

With an increase in coronavirus cases across the county, and the risk of further restrictions, community support organisations and the voluntary sector partners are preparing for an increase in demand. Communities are being encouraged to keep checking on those who might need a helping hand with shopping, collecting medication, or simply being there for a chat.

In the Esk Valley, Revival North Yorkshire has become a lifeline for around 130 residents working in partnership with the Whitby CSO. Director Debbie Swales said: “Nothing we do would be possible without our volunteers. People making one phone call are just as important as those who go out and do the shopping.”

Val Rowe, a retired teacher from Sleights, is one of the volunteers making a difference in her community. She said: “Debbie is a really special person, she thinks outside the box. She doesn’t just think about prescriptions or how to get food, she thinks about everything in a broad sense because she cares about people. She won’t leave any stone unturned until she finds a way that person can be supported.”

When lockdown started, Val became a telephone befriender, and as restrictions have eased, she has been able to have socially distanced visits with people in their gardens.

She said: “I’ve just started delivering fish and chips from Eskdale Fisheries in Sleights. I love doing it. I’ve learnt so much about people. I do quite a bit of volunteer work, but this is my favourite.”

People who are self-isolating and need support with shopping, prescriptions and other essentials but don’t have anyone to call on, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780. The centre is open seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm.

People can also find details of local voluntary and community groups offering support.

For more information about help for you here.

Growing our local economy

LEP News

Job Support Scheme

The Job Support Scheme will be expanded to support businesses across the UK required to close their premises due to coronavirus restrictions. The government will pay two thirds of employees’ salaries to protect jobs over the coming months and cash grants for businesses required to close in local lockdowns will be increased to up to £3,000 per month.

New guidance on £9 billion Job Retention Bonus

Further information is available on how businesses can claim the government’s Job Retention Bonus, with millions set to benefit from the £9 billion package.

Read the full update.

Self-isolation support payments

Eligible employees who are required to self-isolate by the Government’s Test and Track scheme, will be able to apply for one-off payments to support them through the 14-day quarantine period.

The scheme is open to eligible self-employed people who can prove they are unable to work while self-isolating.

Business Secretary urges businesses to prepare for the end of the transition period

Businesses need to take action now to prepare for the UK’s new start on 1 January 2021.

A series of online webinars have been organised by BEIS throughout October. Businesses can sign-up to attend these on Workcast.

Businesses can find out about what actions they will need to take, by visiting GOV.UK and using the checker tool.

Small Business Leadership Programme and Peer Network Scheme

Access the Small Business Leadership Programme and Peer Network Scheme.

Ambitious businesses in York and North Yorkshire have the opportunity to come together and work collaboratively as part of our new Peer Networks programme: https://www.ynygrowthhub.com/resources/peer-networks-programme/

What industry placements look like in your sector:

Industry placements can be a great way for businesses to develop and grow new talent. The Department for Education and SDN are hosting webinars for employers looking at what industry placements look like in the following skill areas:

  • Health and Science (22 Oct)
  • Legal, Finance and Accounting (27 Oct)
  • Engineering and Manufacturing (3 Nov)
  • Business and Administration (9 Nov)
  • Agriculture, Environment and Animal Care (8 Dec)
  • Creative and Design (17 Dec)

Find out more and register here

Staying informed

As always, we are keen to promote the following as main sources of business support information:

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

Today, I am sorry to say that, despite the terrific efforts of many of you, in North Yorkshire we are now in a more serious position than last week. Infections of Covid-19 continue to rise across the county – as they do in many areas – and specifically in the north of England. We are, by no means, in the perilous position of some of our close neighbours, but, unfortunately, without an urgent, sustained and collective effort from everyone – we are heading that way.

The England 7-day average rate of infection per 100,000 people is 93.2. North Yorkshire’s is now 91.1. However, in areas such as Craven and particularly around the Skipton and south Craven border, the situation is above that at 136.5.

We suspect that the continued and worrying rise in cases in this area will result in the district going onto the Government’s watch list as an area of concern. Scarborough and Selby, which were the first parts of the county to go onto the watch list, are no longer seeing the highest level of spread. It is reasonable to assume that this is due to effective support and interventions by our public health team and wider local resilience forum partners, as well as a really positive and sustained response from residents and businesses there. I thank you for doing the right thing for your friends, family, neighbours and businesses and urge you to keep up that good work. To everyone right across North Yorkshire, I am asking you to redouble your effort. The next few days will be critical; we stand at a tipping point and only by playing our part as individuals in a concerted effort will we be able to step back from this precipice.

Across the county, our public health colleagues are dealing with 125 outbreaks and incidents across a whole range of settings. Where they fall within settings we have direct access to, the outbreak management plans are working very effectively in containing the virus. These include schools, care homes and workplaces. Where containment is far more complex, unfortunately, is also where the most frequent spread is taking place. This is within households and social interactions. We are also seeing infection carried into the county from surrounding areas where the rates are higher.

Please stay alert to the risks at all times. You may suffer only mild symptoms, but you may unknowingly give it to someone who is much more at risk from the more serious side-effects of Covid. They may become extremely poorly and, in some cases, they may die. Indeed, I am sorry to say that our NHS colleagues are now reporting increasing numbers of Covid patients in intensive care units in hospitals serving North Yorkshire and a number of those people have sadly died.

Please – let us not lose any more of our loved ones; let’s take this urgent call to action together and take the steps we know work. Wash hands, cover face, leave space.

I should touch on the steep rise in cases reported this week. You may have heard about the national issue involving thousands of positive test results being unreported due to a technical glitch. This national error has affected figures here, too, but more importantly it has meant that many people who may have been close contacts of those who tested positive were not contacted by the NHS Test and Trace team.   For those of you who were not aware of this, there is a government statement here which explains the glitch.

Understandably, many people have been keen to keep track of positive tests in their communities and we have responded to that need for information by publishing daily statistics on a ‘heat map’ on our social media platforms and by setting up this web page. If you would like to understand the position near you, please take a look.

North Yorkshire is a place of resilience and kindness and I know we can get through this together. Just this week we heard how small grants from our Stronger Communities team have been making a big difference to people struggling with communicating because they were visually impaired or deaf. This is an uplifting story of positivity, which I hope you will enjoy.

Finally, I will leave you with the words of our Director of Public Health for North Yorkshire, Dr Lincoln Sargeant, from a press conference today and please stay safe.

“As the infection rate rises, the chances of being in contact with someone who is infected are greater and the risks higher. It is inevitable that as the infection rate rises we will see infections introduced into communities where there are more vulnerable people, like care homes.  We will begin to see more hospitalisation of people with Covid and we will begin to report deaths.  York hospital has had its first Covid death for many weeks.

“We must not fall into complacency. We need to contain the infection, otherwise this will translate into more severe illness and death and we will begin to see the same patterns we saw in April.

“So we must carry on with those hands, face, space measures - keeping a two-metre distance when we can, washing our hands, wearing a facemask, even outside when we are in crowded areas. When people are being tested, it is also vitally important that they self-isolate and that they cooperate with the test and trace programme over their contacts. 

“This is how we will break the chain of transmission, by playing our part, by making sure that we don’t become a player in causing the spread.”

Keeping in touch

Our website has a dedicated area for all the latest news, see links below:

Follow us on social media: @northyorkscc on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus data

A public facing webpage providing an overview of North Yorkshire Coronavirus data is now available on our website. The overview provides information on the number of cases at county, district and local area level. At the 5th October, there had been 4,320 positive tests across North Yorkshire since 3rd March, with 528 new cases reported in the previous seven days. The weekly rolling average of new cases is approximately 36 cases per day.

Currently, the Scarborough and Selby districts remain on the Public Health England watch List as areas of concern but we have seen an overall increase in people testing positive for Covid-19 in North Yorkshire since the beginning of September. We continue to monitor all areas closely.

We are working with the district councils and our partner organisations to support incidents across a range of settings, and we review these daily. We are managing a number of small outbreaks across the county, although most coronavirus spread is currently linked to household and social settings.

PHE delayed reporting of COVID-19 cases

Public Health England announced on the 4th October that, due to a technical issue in the data load process that transfers COVID-19 positive lab results into reporting dashboards, 15,841 cases between 25 September and 2 October were not included in the reported daily COVID-19 cases. This issue did not affected people receiving their COVID-19 test results - all people who tested positive still received their COVID-19 test result in the normal way and all those who tested positive were advised to self-isolate. The NYCC Data Team is assessing the impact of this on North Yorkshire figures.

A PHE statement on the delayed reporting of COVID-19 cases can be found here.

COVID-19 Testing Availability

Availability of COVID-19 tests continues to be challenging; however, it is essential that anyone displaying symptoms of COVID-19 continues to try to book a test and self-isolates immediately. Tests slots are released throughout the day and so it is important to keep checking the booking portal. Details about how to access a test can be found here: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/book-coronavirus-covid-19-test

NHS COVID-19 App - Should I use the NHS COVID-19 app while I am at work?

It is important you use the app at all times, including while at work, except if you:

  • store your phone in a locker while you're working or are involved in a leisure activity, like swimming
  • are already protected by a Perspex (or equivalent) screen
  • are a health and care worker and are wearing medical grade PPE, such as a surgical mask, in a clinical setting

In most of these situations, you are already protected, so it is highly unlikely that you would catch the virus. If your phone is not with you, use the ‘pause’ function on the app so that the contact tracing part does not work. Or, you could switch your phone off. If you forget, you might get an alert because an infected person was near your phone when your phone was not with you. Read more about how and when to pause contact tracing

Working together towards recovery

Testing

Testing sites in North Yorkshire, as elsewhere in England, are operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care and private contractors employed by them. We try to help the department by promoting the Mobile Testing Site locations and hosting information on how people with symptoms can book a test via the national government portal. 

We do not manage the national booking system or laboratory testing process.

We are aware of current issues with the availability of tests and laboratory capacity and we have raised our concerns at a national level.

We are also supporting the Department in asking the public only to get a test if they are directed to do so by NHS Test and Trace or other NHS services – OR – if they have symptoms, to ensure that those people who need tests the most can be prioritised.

Before you attend, you must book a test. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. 

Testing sites operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care will be running at the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • Thursday 8 October - Whitby - Whitby Park and Ride, Whitby, YO21 1TL
  • Thursday 8 October - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Friday 9 October - Northallerton - Newby Wiske Hall, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL7 9HA
  • Friday 9 October - Sherburn in Elmet - White Rose Sports Club, The Recreation Ground, Tadcaster Road, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6EL
  • Saturday 10 October - Selby – South Entrance, Drax Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Saturday 10 October - Skipton - Coach St car park, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 1LH
  • Saturday 10 October - Harrogate - Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Sunday 11 October - Scarborough – Scarborough Park & Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough YO12 4LW
  • Sunday 11 October - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL

Watch this video to find out what to expect and how to prepare for the test.

See the latest dates and locations, find out more and how to book.

Supporting our schools and childcare

We are still supporting all educational settings, including post-16 education and early years settings, in North Yorkshire in their response to any confirmed cases of coronavirus and are pleased to say the number of cases within these establishments remain low.

In the vast majority of cases within schools, only a very small number of people are affected and only close contacts have had to isolate, instead of whole schools, classes or bubbles.

Overall school attendance in North Yorkshire remains good, despite the challenges presented by coronavirus. Attendance figures across the county were approximately 92 per cent last week, compared with a national average of 88 per cent.

It is important we continue to maintain high attendance; right now children and young people urgently need to be in school, continuing their education.

Schools have effective risk assessments in place which allow them to respond swiftly to any confirmed cases of coronavirus and which have been effectively preventing the virus spreading within schools. These risk assessments mean that on the whole, any cases of coronavirus in schools have been limited to one member of staff, or one pupil.

Teamwork to support our residents

Throughout lockdown and beyond, people in North Yorkshire have made an extraordinary effort to support their family, friends and neighbours.

There have been examples from every community across North Yorkshire of help and support provided when people need it.

Members of RVS Sight Loss, Yorkshire Coast and Ryedale Disability Forum and Scarboccia All Inclusive Sports been helping people, with sight or hearing loss, in Scarborough, Whitby, Filey, Pickering, Ryedale and Bridlington.

Antonio Mollica, a member of all the groups, said: “We’ve been in touch with our members and community since day one to make sure they didn’t feel isolated and were getting help with the things they needed. It was difficult at first in lockdown, when the supermarket shelves were empty and tensions were high. So, we began to think about how we could help our members who were visually impaired or deaf.”

Antonio approached the County Council’s Stronger Communities programme to seek funding to get IT kit to help members stay connected during lockdown, making sure those who were shielding and isolated had access to audiobooks, songs, jokes and voice-controlled calling to friends and family members.

Antonio, and other members of the community, looked at other measures to support the visually and hearing impaired community, including lanyards with cards that explained different disabilities, from sight and hearing loss to explaining why people might be exempt from wearing face coverings.

They also distributed lip-reading masks to members of the public working in places such as buses, shops and libraries, so people who are deaf could continue to lip read.

Antonio said: “From the start, we knew we had to help. All our groups have worked together to cover a large geographical area – we tried to reach out as far as we could and beyond. Things like lanyards really helped to raise awareness in the community, so our members could go out and avoid stigma for not wearing a mask. Our main message is everyone is in this together and no-one is left behind.”

With coronavirus cases rising, we encourage people to keep checking on friends or neighbours who might need a helping hand with shopping, collecting medication, or simply being there for a chat. We want to make sure everyone stays safe, so find advice on how to help safely here.

Those who are self-isolating and need support with shopping, prescriptions and other essentials but don’t have anyone to call on, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780. The centre is open seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm.

People can also find details of local voluntary and community groups offering support.

Growing our local economy

LEP News

LEP News: Online Popup Business School:

FREE online course: 16 – 20 November 10am – 3pm

York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub have partnered with the hugely popular PopUp Business School to help would-be start-ups in York & North Yorkshire to get your ideas off the ground this November and December.

Designed to inspire people and help them find the confidence to try their ideas, the PopUp Business School is aimed at everyone, from those with no cash and no business experience to fledgling start-ups that need guidance to keep on track.

Interested? Register your attendance via the PopUp Business School website.

Applications for free peer-to-peer support programme are now open

Peer Networks is a free national peer-to-peer programme for SME leaders that want to grow and develop their organisation for future success. ​

The York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub are working in partnership with the University of York to create diverse groups of individuals who can collaboratively work through common business issues. Through interactive action learning, participants will be able to discuss their challenges, gain and reflect on valuable feedback, and implement practical solutions to overcome them. ​

To be eligible, businesses need to have operated for over a year, have five or more employees and an annual turnover of at least £100,000. The scheme will close to applications on 26 October 2020 and places are limited. More information and details on how to apply can be found here.

One month to go

Join us on Friday 6 November for our annual conference.

Held online for the first time, the conference will focus on a Greener, Fairer, Stronger vision for reshaping the York & North Yorkshire economy and how we can work together to achieve this.

The conference will start at 10am with keynote speaker, our chair, David Kerfoot MBE DL and followed by a live Q&A. Do you have a question you would like to put to David and our panel on the day? You can send through questions in advance to: enquiries@businessinspiredgrowth.com, or write them during the session via the event platform.

On the day, we will have three webinars of around an hour each. You can attend as many as you wish and no pre-booking for delegates is required. These promise to be lively, interactive sessions covering skills, circular economy, place and more.

There will also be an opportunity to visit our virtual marketplace, where you’ll be able to see more about the work of the LEP and some of our partners.

To be able to access the conference website, you will need to register in advance.

Learning in lockdown

Lockdown was a strange time for everyone, but it also gave us time to focus on ourselves and try new and different things. We asked people what they did during lockdown, whether this be learning a new language, a new skill, cooking from scratch, a new hobby or something that was different for them.

This week’s learning in lockdown story is from Paul Robinson, design lead at NYCC:

“How was it I became a YouTube and Instagram influencer during lockdown? OK, that’s a slight exaggeration, but I did create a YouTube channel, so only time will tell If I reach the heady heights of online stardom and social media fame, with offers to appear on Strictly Come Dancing or I’m a Celebrity…. We can but dream.

So why and how did this happen? Certainly not due to any online stardom itch that needed scratching, but more to do with my eldest son, Norman, and attempting to navigate a way of dealing with the pressures of lockdown.

Like many families throughout the country, juggling work and childcare can put a great deal of strain on the family unit; keeping young ones occupied at the best of times is tough enough. A few months into lockdown and it was visible that Norman was becoming more and more anxious. He was missing nursery friends (he’s 4 almost 5), grandparents and a solid routine.

After learning to ride his bike, exhausting all the games in the house and endless attempts trying to make spelling and counting fun, the options (and imagination) had run dry. What can we do together, is fun and will give him something to focus on? Lego- that was it! So a few small sets were purchased.

Did it work? Yes, better than expected. Not sure who enjoyed it more, even if sometimes we only managed a quick 45 minutes of building while Maurice, Norman’s younger brother had a nap. For that moment playing and building together erased the lockdown blues. From the first second we started to build we indeed became hooked and more sets had to be purchased, with a few special sets for myself. I mean, why not, you’re never too old for Lego, right?

How does YouTube fit in to this I hear you cry. Well, with our new found love of Lego we started watching Lego builds and Lego reviews on YouTube for some light entertainment without having to spend a fortune. Yes, some Lego sets cost the Earth!

One morning without thinking, I said ‘Norman, let’s make our own YouTube video!’ to which he replied ‘Can I dance and sing?’ ‘…I tell you what, I’ll do it and we can watch it together. Deal?’ He couldn’t be more excited.

But what had I done? I then had to figure out a way to make, edit and upload a video without any fuss. So a quick google and I figured I could do it all on my iPhone. Shoot the video, edit, add effects and upload. No need to transfer files and spend hours with complex editing software, it had to be quick and easy, time was already thin on the ground.

A few weeks later and success! A spare evening and one YouTube video was complete. Was it enjoyable? Did Norman enjoy watching it? His giggling and dancing around the room pointing at the TV shouting it was ‘our Lego’ was the seal of approval.

Since the first moment we became hooked on Lego we’ve spent many an enjoyable moment building an imaginary world without a care in the world and we’ll continue to spend many more precious moments with Lego in the future.

As for the YouTube channel, let’s say I haven’t dusted off my dancing shoes yet, or imagined eating bugs, but time will tell! Shameless plug and for anyone that’s interested, visit ‘The Everyday Cool Channel’ on YouTube.

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

In the week that the global death toll for Covid-19 passed one million, regrettably we are now also beginning to see admissions creeping up in the hospitals that serve North Yorkshire and it is with great sadness that I confirm the first covid death of the second wave, here. This is set against the background of increasing infection rates across North Yorkshire – as in many places nationally. We are studying the data carefully and can clearly see that the majority of cases can be linked back to household and social transmission. This is important, because what it also tells us is that our schools are safe places to be. That, in turn, is testament to all the hard work schools, colleges and childcare setting have put in to plan for a safe return for pupils. Learning is critical to every young person’s future prospects and it can only be positive to say that where we are seeing infection in these settings, the intervention mechanisms linked to our outbreak management plan are extremely effective in containing them. To put that in perspective – there are around 1,000 education and childcare settings in North Yorkshire and only one of them is currently closed due to Covid. Often these are single, isolated cases linked to a household or social interaction, which affect classes or staff largely due to the need to isolate if they are a close contact. School attendance here is good – around 87% of pupils are back. I hope this information will help to reassure parents and pupils about all the careful planning and support that is in place to keep everyone safe.

Equally, outbreaks in workplaces and business settings are well managed and less frequent.

The greatest areas of concern here currently are south Craven, particularly around the Skipton area, and Richmondshire, where there has been an increase in positive tests linked to the Catterick area. While in Craven the outbreaks are often amongst college and older school pupils; this is not generally linked to where the students learn but rather to their household or social activity. 

So, what can we do about infection being passed around in households and social settings? From our perspective, not a great deal more than we are, unfortunately – this is where we turn to you for your help. We must not risk everything we have achieved in North Yorkshire by letting our guard down. Social distancing and hand washing remain the best defences against Covid – with face coverings where required. We would like to go a little further than that to protect our schools, businesses and freedoms here – we are not waiting for more areas to go onto a watch list to step up our response. We would ask that you wear a facemask or covering in any areas where social distancing is difficult – even when outside. So, if you are in a narrow street or other busy area, please cover your face – be part of Team North Yorkshire and help keep our county open. Protect your friends and family and keep our High Streets and hospitality sector safe and open.

We will all need to work hard together if we are to avoid enforced national interventions, which may prevent us from being with our friends and family.  We have already taken the sad, but necessary, step of suspending care home visits through October, to protect our most frail residents, but we are working hard to ensure that doesn’t mean residents cannot go out to enjoy the autumn air safely. We have formed a working group with relatives and care providers to look at how we can offer contact between care home residents and their family. As soon as we can enable safe visits we will, and in the meantime our virtual visitor programme will be put in place to keep people in touch.

There has been good news for our vital community support organisations, which continue to do a sterling job across the county supporting people who need help. Thanks to a Defra grant we are able to give 26 organisations across North Yorkshire up to £10,000 to enable them to keep supplying food to people in their locality.

Read more about the Defra grants.

Finally, some really welcome news from our trading standards team. Thanks to a successful multiagency prosecution and The Proceeds of Crime Act, ten victims who were ripped off in a tarmac fraud are getting their money back! We take things very personally here and this is a really good result. Read the full trading standards story here.

Stay safe and well.

Keeping in touch

Our website has a dedicated area for all the latest COVID-19 related news.

Follow us on social media: @northyorkscc on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Public Health and social care

The number of cases of COVID-19 in North Yorkshire continues to increase.  At 27th September, there had been 3,630 positive tests since 3rd March.  There have been 519 new cases reported in the past two weeks.  The weekly rolling average of new cases is 36 cases per day, but may be as high as 45 cases per day, allowing for incomplete data in recent days.

Scarborough and Selby Districts remain on the Public Health England Watch List as ‘areas of concern’. We continue to watch closely all districts to ensure that we adapt approaches across the county and allocate appropriate support and resources.   

As we approach the winter season, it is essential that everyone within all of our communities continue to be vigilant and follow the key principles to control the spread of the virus:

  • Hands – wash your hands regularly
  • Face - use a face covering when social distancing is not possible
  • Space - keep your distance from those not in your household

In addition, download the NHS Test and Trace app and if eligible please do consider getting the flu vaccine this year.

Care home visiting

North Yorkshire’s care homes and supported living schemes have been advised to limit routine visiting during October to protect residents as Covid-19 infection rates rise across the county.  This recommendation follows the call to arms issued by North Yorkshire’s Local Resilience Forum last week to “act now, save lives”.  Richard Webb, has written to care providers to advise that routine visiting to care homes should cease from October 1 for a month after which the situation will be reviewed.

Families and friends will still be able to visit loved ones who are at the end of their lives and essential visits by NHS and social care practitioners will still take place as long as  national rules around hand-washing, face masks, PPE, distancing and other requirements are followed.  Care homes will be encouraged to allow window visits for all residents so that family members, friends and residents can still see each other, alongside greater use of remote contact by telephone and other technology.  The County Council is also advising that care home residents can continue to make trips into the community, but are advising that these should, ideally, be outdoors to allow for social distancing and that, when out and about, they should wear face masks where possible and be extra vigilant.

Families and friends can also still visit people living in Extra care schemes, as these are self-contained apartments. Extra care providers are being advised to prepare for further potential restrictions and to enhance their Covid security, including the flow in and out of buildings, to reduce the risks.

The County Council has also reviewed its North Yorkshire additional COVID-19 payments to care providers and will be extending its current extra support into October. It is also advising that PPE will be provided nationally on a free basis to the care sector.

Working together towards recovery

Testing

Testing sites in North Yorkshire, as elsewhere in England, are operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care and private contractors employed by them. We try to help the department by promoting the Mobile Testing Site locations and hosting information on how people with symptoms can book a test via the national government portal. We do not manage the national booking system or laboratory testing process.

We are aware of current issues with the availability of tests and laboratory capacity and we have raised our concerns at a national level.

We are also supporting the Department in asking the public only to get a test if they are directed to do so by NHS Test and Trace or other NHS services – OR – if they have symptoms, to ensure that those people who need tests the most can be prioritised.

Before you attend you must book a test. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. 

Testing sites operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care will be running at the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • Thursday 1 October - Whitby - Whitby Park and Ride, Whitby, YO21 1TL
  • Thursday 1 October - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4T
  • Friday 2 October - Northallerton - Newby Wiske Hall, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL7 9HA
  • Friday 2 October – Harrogate - Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Friday 2 October – Sherburn in Elmet - White Rose Sports Club, The Recreation Ground, Tadcaster Road, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6EL
  • Saturday 3 October - Skipton - Coach St car park, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 1LH
  • Saturday 3 October - Selby – South Entrance, Drax Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Sunday 4 October - Scarborough – Scarborough Park & Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough YO12 4LW

Watch this video to find out what to expect and how to prepare for the test.

See the latest dates and locations, find out more and how to book.

Supporting our schools and childcare

We’re pleased that the number of educational settings in North Yorkshire where a case of coronavirus has been confirmed remains very low. We are supporting not just our own schools in their coronavirus response, but also independent schools, academies, early years’ providers, Further Education settings and colleges. Of the hundreds of settings we are working with, we currently have 44 where a case of coronavirus has been confirmed.

On the whole, cases in schools tend to be limited to one pupil, or one member of staff and most of our actions are centred around close contact isolation, rather than closing whole schools or bubbles.

We are finding the risk assessments schools put in place before reopening in September are working well and have high levels of confidence that schools are safe places for children. It is vitally important that children and young people are in school, continuing their education and we are working hard to make sure everything is in place for this to happen.

Teamwork to support our residents

With a sharp increase in coronavirus cases, community support organisations and voluntary sector partners across North Yorkshire are preparing for a potential increase in demand. Communities are being encouraged to keep checking on those who might need a helping hand with shopping, collecting medication, or simply being there for a chat.

Age UK North Craven is one of North Yorkshire’s 23 community support organisations helping to coordinate the voluntary efforts in the area and ensuring people are properly signposted to the right support.

Manager Jonathan Kerr said: “A lot of our services went from being face to face to online and phone, and that has continued.”

Jonathan added when the Covid-19 crisis took hold, many voluntary groups in the area appeared. As a CSO, they took the role of supporting these groups to apply for funding but also signposted people, who needed support, to them. Their guidance included advice, managing volunteers, sourcing and supplying PPE and helping them with access to grants and other support.

Jonathan says the pandemic has identified many hidden needs in the community surrounding food poverty, adding: “We have a really successful food bank which has identified a lot of hidden need and people who flew under the radar. There are particular villages who needed food banks, and two more have been set up to meet this demand.”

Thanks to a Defra grant, the County Council has been able to allocate funding to organisations like Age UK North Craven so they can continue to help vulnerable people in the community get food and hot meals.

The funding comes after the Government made a provision of £63 million for local authorities across the country to help those who are struggling following the Covid-19 crisis. The County Council was given £530,000 from this fund to aid food providers, hardship payments, and benefits advice and support. Community organisations across the county including food banks, hot meal delivery, community kitchens and community fridges have also been given extra funding.

Help is still available where it’s needed. People who are self-isolating and need support with shopping, prescriptions and other essentials but don’t have anyone to call on, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780. The centre is open seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm.

People can also find details of local voluntary and community groups offering support.

Find more information about coronavirus.

Growing our local economy

LEP News

LEP News: Test and trace NHS QR code

It is now a legal requirement to record contact details of customers, visitors and staff to a business premises and using QR codes can help you meet your obligations.

Businesses are being encouraged to have NHS QR code posters visible on entry so customers who have downloaded the new NHS COVID-19 app can use their smartphones to easily check-in. If you are already using your own QR system, you are being encouraged to switch to the NHS Test and Trace QR code.

Register your business for a unique QR code poster.

Get advice on how to handle customer data correctly.

Coronavirus loan schemes

The application deadline for all coronavirus loan schemes has been extended to 30 November. This includes the Bounce Back Loans, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans, Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loans and the Future Fund Scheme.

If you have borrowed under the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, you will be offered more time and/or greater flexibility over repayments. In addition, lenders have been enabled to offer Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme borrowers more time to make their repayments where needed.

Read the

PM’s plan to transform training and skills system

The PM yesterday set out plans to transform the training and skills system to help the country recover from coronavirus. The plans include a Lifetime Skills Guarantee to give adults the chance to take free college courses valued by employers and new entitlement to flexible loans to allow courses to be taken in segments, boosting opportunities to retrain.

Read the PM's speech about transforming training and skills system

Read the response to this news from our LEP’s Skills and Employability Chair, Sam Alexander.

This included an expansion of the Department for Education’s online learning platform, The Skills Toolkit where there are now more than 70 courses in digital, numeracy and employability or work-readiness available online and free of charge.

​​​SME and Kick-starting tourism grant funding update

Stage 1 applications for the SME and Kick-starting tourism grants will open on Wednesday 30 September at 10am.

The grants were announced by the government to help small and medium-sized businesses gain access to professional support, new equipment and technology to continue to deliver a business activity or diversify in response to COVID-19.

Due to the expected high demand for the grants, the closing date for Stage 1 applications is 10am on Monday 5 October 2020.

Currently, further details about Stage 1 SME and kick starting tourism are available here. The link to the application form will also be available via this page during the application window.

Upcoming business support via webinars

 Stay informed

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

So, here it is – the anticipated second wave of Coronavirus is with us and seeping into our communities at an unwelcome rate. We must all remain in the highest state of alert to prevent it shutting our county down, closing our schools and businesses and taking our freedoms once again.

In North Yorkshire, we are famous for our straight talking, no nonsense approach to life and our hearty welcome to visitors; for our world famous food and drink, outstanding hospitality offer and inspiring scenery.

With that in mind, I won’t hold back – now is not a moment for stepping around the issue. We must act right now – every one of us – this minute, and every minute to contain it and protect our most frail residents. Please speak to your friends, family, neighbours and work colleagues. Encourage them to adhere strictly to the hand washing, face covering and social distancing measures that we all know work. But they only work if we actually do them in a consistent way.  

One more ask of you too, please.  Today sees the launch of the new NHS Covid-19 App from the Department of Health and Social Care. The App is based on the Apple/Google privacy framework, and is designed to support contact tracing and make it easier to give meaningful details when checking into venues.  From today, designated venues in certain sectors are required by law to display an official NHS QR code poster on sites which, for us, include libraries.  The more people who download and use the App, the more effective it will be - thank you in advance for your help in uniting to as a team to stop the spread. Find out more about the app. You can find out more about the app.

It’s not all doom and gloom by any means, but don’t we all want to keep our way of life? Albeit it is changed for now. Parts of the county are faring better than others; the data changes all the time and our public health experts are examining that constantly and acting quickly with the venues and settings where outbreaks occur, to contain them. We are seeing transfer within households from younger people to their parents – some of those parents are inevitably taking the virus unknowingly into their workplaces – some of those workplaces are our care homes. Sadly, a small, but growing, number of care homes now have residents who are testing positive for Covid-19. We are all very aware of the cruel nature of Covid and how it targets vulnerable people without pity. Let’s pull together and protect them, protect our freedom, protect our businesses and protect our future together.

On the subject of bringing people together, I would like to invite you to join our libraries for an online celebration of National Poetry day next week. On Thursday, October 1, we will welcome Andy Croft, author of over 80 books and organiser of Ripon Poetry Festival. He will be reading his new collection and you can find out more about that here.

You may also be interested in the latest person to feature in our search for those Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughters who have made our county the wonderful place it is to live, work and visit.  Thomas Richardson was born in 1771 into somewhat humble beginnings. Hard work and dedication saw him help to establish the county as a great place to learn. His financial success benefitted not just the village of Great Ayton, but also the wider area as he invested his wealth back into the community. Representative of the Quaker values of community and equality, Richardson’s greatest legacy is supporting the education of the children of North Yorkshire.

In 1841, he contributed £5,000 of the £6,500 needed to buy the land to establish what was then called the North of England Agricultural School. Richardson’s donation meant the school was able to buy 74 acres of land, backing onto High Green in Great Ayton. Please do read this fascinating story, here, and I hope you will agree he is a wonderful example of someone who was made in North Yorkshire and used that to make the world a better place for many.

Read more about Thomas Richardson.

Please take care and stay safe.

Keeping in touch

Our website has a dedicated area for all the latest COVID-19 related news.

Follow us on social media: @northyorkscc on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Public Health and social care

In line with the national picture, we have seen an overall increase in the number of cases of Covid-19 across North Yorkshire over the last few weeks. To date, there have been 3,331 cases and we are currently seeing around 30 new cases per day. Cases continue to be more prevalent in the younger and working age populations, with spread linked to extended time spent together within households and social settings.

On the 18th September, Scarborough District and Selby District were added to the Public Health England Watch List as ‘areas of concern’. We continue to closely monitor all Districts to ensure that we adapt approaches across the county and allocate appropriate support and resources. Residents living within ‘areas of concern’ are asked to:

  • Exercise extra vigilance in sticking rigorously to hand hygiene and social distancing guidance;
  • Use face coverings when leaving home where safe social distancing is not achievable and avoid crowds;
  • Stick to the ‘rule of six’;
  • Take extra care when leaving home if you have an underlying health condition or have been advised to shield;
  • If you have Covid symptoms, you must self-isolate and get a test;

If you do not have symptoms, do not get a test, unless directed to do so. Priority is being given to those with symptoms

As we approach the winter season, it is essential that everyone within all of our communities continue to be vigilant and follow the key principles to control the spread of the virus:

  • Hands – wash your hands regularly
  • Face - use a face covering when social distancing is not possible
  • Space - keep your distance from those not in your household

Protect your loved ones. Get the app.

As mentioned in the introduction to this bulletin, the NHS Test and Trace app launched today and is a key part of the country’s ongoing COVID-19 response and carries the key message of ‘Play your part in protecting your loved ones!’ If we can rapidly detect people who have recently come into close contact with a new COVID-19 case, we can take swift action to minimise transmission of the virus. From today, designated businesses and organisations, including hospitality, close contact services and leisure venues, will be legally required to log details of customers, visitors and staff for NHS Test and Trace and will be required to display official NHS QR code posters.

Find information on how to create a QR code.

The new NHSCOVID19 app can be downloaded from Google play store or Apple App

Working together towards recovery

Testing

Testing sites in North Yorkshire, as elsewhere in England, are operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care and private contractors employed by them. We try to help the department by promoting the Mobile Testing Site locations and hosting information on how people with symptoms can book a test via the national government portal. We do not manage the national booking system or laboratory testing process.

We are aware of current issues with the availability of tests and laboratory capacity and we have raised our concerns at a national level.

We are also supporting the Department in asking the public only to get a test if they are directed to do so by NHS Test and Trace or other NHS services – OR – if they have symptoms, to ensure that those people who need tests the most can be prioritised.

Before you attend you must book a test. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. 

Testing sites operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care will be running at the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • Friday 25 September - Northallerton - Newby Wiske Hall, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL7 9HA
  • Friday 25 September – Harrogate - Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Friday 25 September – Sherburn in Elmet - White Rose Sports Club, The Recreation Ground, Tadcaster Road, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6EL
  • Saturday 26 September – Selby – South Entrance, Drax Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Sunday 27 September – Scarborough – Scarborough Park & Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough YO12 4LW
  • Monday 28 September - Skipton - Coach St car park, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 1LH
  • Monday 28 September – Northallerton - Newby Wiske Hall, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL7 9HA
  • Monday 28 September - Whitby - Whitby Park and Ride, Whitby, YO21 1TL
  • Tuesday 29 September - Thornton Le Dale - National Trust Car Park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Pickering, YO18 7RR
  • Tuesday 29 September – Harrogate - Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Tuesday 29 September – Sherburn in Elmet - White Rose Sports Club, The Recreation Ground, Tadcaster Road, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6EL 
  • Wednesday 30 September – Selby – South Entrance, Drax Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Wednesday 30 September – Scarborough – Scarborough Park & Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough YO12 4LW

Watch this video to find out what to expect and how to prepare for the test.

See the latest dates and locations, find out more and how to book.

Supporting our schools and childcare

Parents in North Yorkshire will now have received information from the County Council via their school on the steps to take if anyone in their household has suspected Covid 19 or a positive test for the virus. The flow chart information contains guidance on how long, and when, pupils or other members of their household need to self-isolate, when to return to school, what to do if your child is a confirmed contact of someone with the virus and other scenarios. Read a brief overview of the main points.

We hope the information will answer questions from parents unsure if they need to keep their child from school.

We are happy to report that confirmed instances of coronavirus in schools remain relatively low. 

Of the 1,000 settings across the county, including academies, independent schools, early years settings, colleges and other post-16 establishments, we currently have 31 settings with at least one case of coronavirus which we are supporting.

The county has a very high proportion of small schools and as most cases just one pupil or staff member, we do not wish to identify individual schools in the media. In the vast majority of cases, whole school closures will not be necessary, but owing to the large number of small schools in the county, closures may be necessary due to the small number of pupils on the school roll.

Parents should be confident that schools are safe places for children and that schools are taking immediate action when needed.

We encourage parents to speak to their local school if they have any worries, but presently children need to be in school every day unless the school informs them otherwise.

Teamwork to support our residents

From community support organisations coordinating a county wide volunteer effort, to people checking on friends and neighbours, the support offered by people across North Yorkshire has been a lifeline during the toughest of times. With a sharp rise in coronavirus cases, communities are being encouraged to keep checking on those who might need a helping hand. Voluntary organisations like Husthwaite Village Hall Committee sprang into action at the start of the pandemic offering help to those who needed it.

Co-chair Lynn Colton said: “We do have an ageing population here and those people in the past are the ones that we would have been helping.

“It might just have been seeing them out and about walking and checking they were okay and had support, but we also arranged a food delivery service where one of us would go and pick up shopping. We did the same for prescriptions too, which helped the doctor’s surgeries in the area as it meant not as many people going through. We continued the Orchard Village club with a two course meal delivered once a month, and a soup run once a week, delivering soup to 25 people in the village.

“We would also stay and speak to whoever we were delivering to in a socially distanced and safe way for as long as they needed us to, to make sure they were getting to see a friendly face too.”

Thanks to a Defra grant, the County Council has been able to allocate funding to many vital organisations like Husthwaite Village Hall Committee so they can continue to help some of the most vulnerable people in the community access food and hot meals.

The funding comes after the Government made a provision of £63 million to be distributed to local authorities across the country to help those who are struggling to afford food and essentials following the Covid-19 crisis. The County Council has been allocated £530,000 from this fund to aid food providers, hardship payments, and benefits advice and support.

Community organisations across the county including food banks, hot meal delivery, community kitchens and community fridges have been granted extra money to help people and families to access food and hot meals.

Lynn added: “The Defra funding has ensured we can commit to having these measures in place until at least next March, so people don’t have to worry about it and we can reassure them.”

People who are self-isolating and need support with shopping, prescriptions and other essentials but don’t have anyone to call on, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780. The centre is open seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm.

People can also find details of local voluntary and community groups offering support.

Find more information about coronavirus.

Growing our local economy

LEP News

Buy Local

We have contacted all businesses registered on Buy Local regarding the new government legislation around maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace, which came into effect today (24 September 2020)

Designated venues in certain sectors will now be required by law to display an official NHS QR code poster at their venue.

Further information on sectors in scope of this legal requirement can be found on the gov.uk guidance. This will make it easier for customers with the app to check-in and allow NHS Test and Trace to alert users and provide them with public health advice in the event of a coronavirus outbreak linked to a venue.

Businesses and venues that are not currently expected to maintain visitor logs are encouraged to display official NHS QR codes if they have indoor areas where visitors are likely to congregate or sit-down in close contact for 15 minutes or more.  

By using the NHS QR code system, businesses will be helping to protect themselves and their customers from the impact of the virus.

LEP News: Job Support Scheme #WinterEconomyPlan

From 1 November, for the next six months, the Job Support Scheme will protect viable jobs in businesses who are facing lower demand over the winter months due to Covid-19.

Eligible employees must be working a minimum of 33% of their hours.

For remaining hours not worked, the government and employer pay 1/3 wages each. So employees working 33% of their hours will receive at least 77% of their pay.

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme will be extended to 30th April 2021 to support viable traders who are facing reduced demand over the winter months, covering 20 per cent of average monthly trading profits via a government grant.

Coronavirus Loan Schemes

The application deadline for all coronavirus loan schemes has been extended to 30 November ensuring even more businesses can benefit from government-backed support. This includes the Bounce Back Loans, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans, Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loans and the Future Fund Scheme.

More than one million businesses which have borrowed under the Bounce Back Loan Scheme will be offered the choice of more time and greater flexibility for their repayments. Lenders have been enabled to offer Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme borrowers more time to make their repayments where needed.

VAT Deferral

Businesses who deferred their VAT will no longer have to pay a lump sum at the end of March next year. They will have the option of splitting it into smaller, interest free payments over the course of 11 months - benefitting up to half a million businesses.

Any of the millions of self-assessed income taxpayers who need extra help, can also now extend their outstanding tax bill over 12 months from January.

Tourism & Hospitality VAT cut

To continue supporting over 150,000 businesses and protect 2.4 million jobs, the Government has extended the 15% VAT cut for the tourism and hospitality sectors to the end of March next year.

Financial support for lost income

A new package of support for those having to self-isolate and unable to work from home has been launched.

Support to prevent business evictions

Support has been extended to prevent business evictions until the end of 2020.

Choose Yorkshire! Building back tourism to be greener, fairer and stronger.

James Mason, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire gives his support to the vision of a carbon negative, greener, fairer and stronger economy in this month’s think piece for the Yorkshire Post.

Read the full article.

Jobs Fuse live online event: 29th September, National Careers Service

29th September, 12:00- 13:00

National Careers Service North Yorkshire and Yorkshire Coast Facebook page

York and North Yorkshire Jobs Fuse  brings together the expertise of the National Careers Service, the Department for Work and Pensions and the to provide a one stop shop for both job seekers and local employers.

 Stay informed

Learning in lockdown

Lockdown was a strange time for everyone, but it also gave some people time to focus on ourselves and try new and different things. We asked people what they did during lockdown, whether this be learning a new language, a new skill, cooking from scratch, a new hobby or something that was different for them.

Learning in lockdown has allowed people to adjust and spend time on things they otherwise may not have had chance to do.

This week’s learning in lockdown story features Stacey Arling, who is a customer service advisor at NYCC.

Throughout lockdown Stacey and her daughter Caitlin, age 7, learned a number of new things, more importantly they worked towards the “Blue Peter six badges of summer challenge”, which is a range of different tasks and challenges dependent on the colour/name of the badge.

Stacey said: “One subject was our environment and how we could do our bit to help it. We learnt a lot about local wildlife in our area and the impact littering can have on their habitats and their overall health and wellbeing.

“My daughter wanted to make a difference so we contacted our local council offices for some equipment and hit the streets to clean up our area. Afterwards, she made posters highlighting some of the dangers and using some of the facts and figures we had learnt about litter and local wildlife.

“Caitlin also applied for, and was awarded, her Green Blue Peter badge for this. We both learnt a great deal and had great fun doing it.

“We both felt very proud, especially seeing the difference it made as we walked around our estate. It made me feel especially proud to see my little girl showing such an interest in the environment and understanding that everyone has to play their part to make an impact.

We also both felt a renewed sense of responsibility and used that to educate others on how small simple things can have such a huge effect on the world around us. Plus receiving her badge made her feel extremely excited but also very grown up”

Throughout lockdown Caitlin applied for all six of the badges and has so far been awarded three of them.

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

This week unfortunately brings with it increasing concerns about the worrying rise in positive coronavirus tests in North Yorkshire.

In response to this situation, last night I chaired a meeting involving many very senior figures in a broad range of partner agencies to assess the latest data and direction and to discuss what action we should take – collectively.

I want to be clear that the actions we decide to take will have only one aim – to protect people, communities, schools and businesses from the impacts that we are seeing elsewhere in areas going back into lockdown to contain this virus.

I am telling you this to reassure you – that we are here and working hard together to manage the virus and to prevent it taking a hold of our lives once again.

So – we are stepping up our oversight and management once again and to do this we will reinstate what we call a ‘major incident’ status - we will be communicating some very important messages with you over the coming days and weeks. Your response to the ‘asks’ we put to you will be critical. Only your actions – the choices each and every one of you make in the days and weeks ahead – will turn the tide in the areas where we are seeing worry positive cases rise and help protect those where we are not. To be clear, we cannot do this without your support.

As I mentioned last week, the rise in positive tests in the Selby and Harrogate areas, as well as Scarborough, were being carefully monitored. We have watched these extremely carefully and examined the data daily and over the past week. I am sorry to say that positive tests in Harrogate remain a worry, but of particular concern is the rapid increase in Selby and Scarborough, specifically Whitby. Like you, we are extremely keen to avoid enforced lockdowns if that is possible. We desperately want our children to be able to attend school and other education settings so everything we ask, or action we take, will look to preserve their learning. It’s so important for their future prospects and for their mental health.

As a county – we also need to protect our economy and to do all we can to ensure our businesses are able to continue to stay open. Another lockdown, as the furlough scheme comes towards its end, could cost more jobs and will inevitably have a negative impact on businesses striving to recover from the body blow delivered by the first wave of Coronavirus.   

As things stand, the number of people being admitted to hospital is not escalating at the same rate as the positive tests. Largely this is due to the fact that it is a younger age group seeing cases grow. This age group may well be less vulnerable to the more serious symptoms, and therefore less likely to require hospital care. However, unfortunately we are also seeing a rise in the number of positive tests in our care settings – home to many of our most vulnerable residents. We are managing this, with the care sector, dynamically on a daily basis and a whole host of prevention and infection control measures are already in place. Our oversight of this issue across the sector will remain robust so that we can offer your parents and grandparents, friends and family, the best protection possible.

We are also heading towards winter months – this in itself bring its own pressures on the NHS, but we know that covid type viruses thrive in the colder temperatures.

When we put together the pieces of the jigsaw nationally, regionally and locally – it’s not hard to see the picture.

Sadly, we are indeed heading towards a second wave of coronavirus and we must take definitive and consistent action – every single one of us – to contain it here.  Of course there are rules and the police, councils and other relevant agencies will do our best to limit the spread by enforcing them where necessary – but wouldn’t it be altogether better if we just did our bit and stuck to them? Otherwise, we will all have to bear the consequences - and I don’t say that to finger wag. You have only to look elsewhere across Europe and the UK to see what can happen. Following the introduction of the new ‘rule of six’, I noted with interest the words of Harrogate hotelier Simon Cotton yesterday, when he talked in the local press about the potential impact of a lack of compliance with the covid rules as ‘nothing short of devastating’ he goes on to ‘urge people to think about the consequences of businesses having to shut their doors for a second time’ the article is here and I would urge you to read it. https://www.harrogateadvertiser.co.uk/business/consumer/harrogate-hotels-boss-issues-stark-warning-avoid-horrendous-and-devastating-second-lockdown-2970917

We are also aware of the current high profile issues nationally involving laboratory capacity to process covid swab tests. We have raised our concerns about this at a national level. While we promote the mobile testing sites across North Yorkshire and host information for the NHS on how to access tests and advice here, we do not control or manage the process or systems here. We continue to press for a resolution, as you would hope and expect, and understand capacity will be increased in the weeks to come, which is hopeful.

While we are reinvigorating our approach to the fight against covid in response to the latest data in North Yorkshire, we are also continuing to deliver the many services that we know matter a great deal to you. Recently we have had two successes in supporting people’s mental health – an area we know is particularly important following the extended lockdown period we all experienced earlier this year.  We have secured national funding for grassroots projects in North Yorkshire which promote good mental health. NHS England has awarded us £34,000 in a third year of funding for projects in the county which promote wellbeing and positive mental health. The aim of the funding is to support a national initiative to reduce suicide rates in England by ten per cent by 2020-21, with the statistics showing that, at some point in their lives, one in four people will experience mental health issues. You can read more on that here:

https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/funding-local-projects-improve-mental-health

In addition, a new hub has been launched to deliver mental health and suicide awareness training across North Yorkshire. Called ‘Headfirst’, it’s a new facility which aims to create healthy communities and workplaces across the county. There are more details on that here and I hope you will agree they are both important initiatives: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/new-training-hub-launched-improve-mental-health-and-wellbeing

Please take care and help make a difference in North Yorkshire to save lives, save jobs and protect our communities. Stick to the guidance, every day – thank you and stay safe.

Keeping in touch

NYCC’s website has a dedicated area for all the latest COVID-19 related news visit: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-advice-and-information

Follow us on social media: @northyorkscc on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Update from Dr Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health

There have been 3075 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in North Yorkshire to date. Over the last few days we have seen increases of around 30 new cases per day, particularly in younger and working age groups. Most spread continues to be between people who spend extended time together in household and social settings. However, this will inevitably include individuals who work in local businesses (including care homes) or attend local schools, and so we are seeing an increase in cases associated with these settings. It is important to note that in the majority of cases the transmission is occurring outside of the settings themselves – schools, care homes and businesses have worked very hard to make premises COVID-secure.

On Monday 14th September, the Government introduced new legislation to limit the number of people you can meet socially to no more than 6 individuals, both indoors and outdoors. More information on meeting others safely is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-meeting-with-others-safely-social-distancing/coronavirus-covid-19-meeting-with-others-safely-social-distancing.

I am sure that everyone is aware there are challenges with access to swab testing across the UK, including in North Yorkshire. The limiting factor is with the capacity in national labs, rather than our ability to take swabs locally. We have fought very hard to maintain our access to Mobile Testing Units across the county, which we have so far managed to achieve. However, we do not have any control over how many slots are available to book on the national portal at each of the sites that we put on. I appreciate that this is very frustrating for people who are doing their best to follow the guidance for symptomatic individuals to isolate and access testing. The latest information available nationally is that lab capacity will be increased from the start of October – in the meantime we continue to look for local solutions to support testing for key workers in particular.

There are a number of events planned across the county over the next few weeks and months. We are working with partners to produce guidance on holding events safely. However, we are also in a position where we are seeing rapidly increasing numbers of new cases in various parts of the county (particularly Harrogate, Scarborough and Selby districts). We will monitor the level of COVID-19 in areas closely, as decisions about events proceeding may need to change at short notice in light of local infection rates.

Working together towards recovery

Testing

Testing sites in North Yorkshire, as elsewhere in England, are operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care and private contractors employed by them. We try to help the department by promoting the Mobile Testing Site locations and hosting information on how people with symptoms can book a test via the national government portal. We do not manage the national booking system or laboratory testing process.

We are aware of current issues with the availability of tests and laboratory capacity and we have raised our concerns at a national level.

We are also supporting the Department in asking the public only to get a test if they are directed to do so by NHS Test and Trace or other NHS services – OR – if they have symptoms, to ensure that those people who need tests the most can be prioritised.

Before you attend you must book a test. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. 

Testing sites operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care will be running at the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • Thursday 17 September - Whitby - Whitby Park and Ride, Whitby, YO21 1TL
  • Thursday 17 September - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4T
  • Friday 18 September - Northallerton - Newby Wiske Hall, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL7 9HA
  • Friday 18 September – Harrogate - Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Saturday 19 September – Selby – South Entrance, Drax Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Sunday 20 September – Scarborough – Scarborough Park & Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough YO12 4LW
  • Monday 21 September - Skipton - Coach Street, Skipton, BD23 1LH
  • Monday 21 September – Northallerton - Newby Wiske Hall, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL7 9HA
  • Monday 21 September – Whitby - Whitby Park and Ride, Whitby, YO21 1TL
  • Tuesday 22 September - Sherburn in Elmet - White Rose Sports Club, The Recreation Ground, Tadcaster Road, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6EL
  • Tuesday 22 September – Harrogate - Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Wednesday 23 September - Scarborough - Scarborough Park & Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough YO12 4LW
  • Wednesday 23 September - Thornton Le Dale - National Trust Car Park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Pickering, North Yorkshire, YO18 7RR

Watch this video to find out what to expect and how to prepare for the test: https://youtu.be/QawyKwIIfKQ

See the latest dates and locations, find out more and how to book at www.northyorks.gov.uk/testing

Supporting our schools and childcare

Where we have had individual cases of coronavirus confirmed in a school, Public Health North Yorkshire and Children and Young Peoples Service have been working with the school individually to determine the best approach to take. 

Families are contacted if their child is a close contact of the person who has tested positive for coronavirus and needs to self-isolate. For those who haven’t been contacted by the school, their child is not a contact of the person and can continue attending as normal.

We are currently recommending schools follow the national guidance on the wearing of face coverings. The guidance allows headteachers to decide on their approach to the use of face masks in school.

The national guidance states that schools which teach pupils in Years 7 and above which are not under specific local restrictions will have the discretion to ask pupils to wear face coverings in areas outside the classroom where social distancing can’t be maintained. In areas where local lockdowns or other restrictions are in place, face coverings should be worn by teachers and pupils in communal spaces outside classrooms.

Primary school-aged children are not required to wear face coverings under the national guidance.

Teamwork to support our residents

People across the county continue to be supported by local volunteers through a network of community support organisations – with countless examples of neighbours looking out for each other.

Skipton resident Sarah Wilson has gone above and beyond to make life during Covid-19 that bit easier for her neighbours by helping with shopping and being there for a chat. She says it has been heart-warming to see residents come together and says the camaraderie shown by people has reduced her to tears on occasion.

Sarah is a member of Skipton Step into Action, a group working alongside the CSO response in North Yorkshire.

Sarah said: “The situation we have all found ourselves in has brought us together. People I am helping support now, I would probably never have met. Skipton is a friendly town and I have enjoyed being able to help. It has made me feel so humble and grateful at the same time. I think we have a lovely community here. People are looking out for their neighbours and those we only knew to nod to or smile at before the pandemic are now good friends.”

Each afternoon, weather permitting, Sarah and neighbour Bryan Robinson enjoy a chat over the garden fence.

Bryan, 83, added: “She goes and gets bits for me when I need them though sometimes the shopping list gets a bit long. I enjoy our chats in the sun. The neighbourhood is definitely closer than it was and people are looking out for each other and making sure they are safe”.

People who are self-isolating and need support with shopping, prescriptions and other essentials but don’t have anyone to call on, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780. The centre is open seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm.

People can also find details of local voluntary and community groups offering support at www.northyorkshireconnect.org.uk

For more information go to www.northyorks.gov.uk/help-you-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Growing our local economy

LEP News

Online Business Start-Up Masterclass

FREE online course: 12 – 16 October & 9 – 13 November (over 4 days, 9:30am – 12:30pm)

York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub and Blue Orchid are hosting free online Master classes on how to set up and run a successful business in the first 12 months.

Visit the events page at www.ynygrowthhub.com for further details and to register.

Please share this opportunity with your networks using our communications pack here.

PAPI Innovation Workshops

PAPI have recently launched their October innovation workshops for SMEs in York, North Yorkshire and East Riding.

Taking place via Zoom on Thursday 8th October (day 1) and Tuesday 20th to Friday 23rd October (day 2), Dr Jo North of The Big Bang Partnership will once again lead these sessions, along with topic experts for day 2 of activity.

Businesses can register their interest through our Eventbrite page or via the PAPI website for further info. Alternatively they can email papi-project@york.ac.uk for further information.

ShopAppy offer passes 100 signups

Over 100 businesses in York & North Yorkshire have taken up our offer of 12-months fully funded membership to the online, community led shopping platform, ShopAppy.com.

Some new businesses registered on ShopAppy in our area have not validated their free offer. If you refer anyone to the scheme, make sure they sign up with us to get 12 months free.

If you have any questions you can contact us, the ShopAppy.com team or drop in to a virtual advice session on a Tuesday, which can be booked here.

New ESF Community Grants Applications

A new round of Community Grants funding is now available. To find out more about the funding criteria, eligibility and how to apply please follow this link - http://yourconsortium.org/projects/esf-community-grants/

Your Consortium will be specifically looking for projects that can be delivered and adapted to continue throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

Deadline for Applications is Friday 25th September at 2pm. 

NHS Test and Trace App launch

The NHS Test and Trace app will launch in England and Wales on 24 September.

Local businesses will be required to display NHS QR posters so visitors and customers can start checking in safely and securely to venues using the app. 

Businesses will have a clear duty to support NHS Test and Trace. From Friday 18 September, it will be mandatory for certain businesses to have a system to collect NHS Test and Trace data, which must be kept for 21 days.

Scale up Survey 2020

This is a crucial moment in which the UK’s scaling companies need to make their voice heard.

The Scaleup Survey is now in its seventh year and is an influential and important feedback mechanism. 

Access the survey Access the survey here  before the deadline for completion on 5 October 2020. 

Stay informed

Learning in lockdown

Lockdown was a strange time for everyone, but it also gave us time to focus on ourselves and try new and different things. We asked people what they did during lockdown, whether this be learning a new language, a new skill, cooking from scratch, a new hobby or even starting up a business from home.

Learning in lockdown has allowed people to adjust and spend time on things they otherwise may not have had chance to do.

This week’s learning in lockdown features the story from Sophia Wigglesworth, a social care coordinator from NYCC.

Sophia started gardening and growing her own food during lockdown.

“I started it because I have always had an interest in healthy eating and being outdoors, so I decided to mix the two together.

“During lockdown I have been lucky enough to have a garden and doing gardening really helps me to relax and take my mind off everything else

“Also I get a great sense of achievement when things grow. So far, I have grown potatoes, runner beans- which are still growing at about 9 feet high! And herbs and sugar snap peas.

“I have garlic, broccoli and cauliflower planted and lettuces waiting to be planted”

If you know of anyone who has spent their lockdown time learning then get in touch and email: Jessica.highfield@northyorks.gov.uk

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

Many of you, like me, will be watching very closely the rise in the number of positive tests for Covid-19 nationally. Here in North Yorkshire we continue to see regular outbreaks, which are being managed by the Test and Trace team. I am sorry to say that cases here continue to rise, too, particularly in areas including Selby, Scarborough, Whitby and Harrogate. While cases here remain lower than the national average, and are certainly nowhere near the levels seen in some other areas of Yorkshire or indeed in places such as Bolton – we must all take this very seriously to keep it that way.

As Chair of the North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum, which is at the forefront of managing impacts from Coronavirus here, I am monitoring daily the case rates and impacts. I am speaking very regularly to our Director of Public Health and, although we absolutely hope this won’t be necessary, we are making sure that appropriate plans are in place to manage further outbreaks, should they happen.

There can be no doubt we are at a pivotal moment with this virus as we approach the winter months, so I am making a direct appeal to everyone today. Please, play your part. For the sake of our parents, grandparents, the many vulnerable people trying to resume some level of freedom in the new norm – for the sake of our economy and businesses – please stick to the guidance and follow the simple precautions that we know work the best. I am going to repeat those here, because, although they are simple, their importance cannot be underestimated.

Wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds with soap and water or use hand sanitiser (particularly when leaving home or work and returning)

Keep a safe two-metre distance, meet outside where possible, avoid crowded places, do not meet up with anyone outside your home if you have Covid-19 symptoms

Take extra precautions if two metres isn’t possible – face coverings, avoiding face-to-face contact, try to stand or sit side by side.

Wear a face covering on public transport, in shops and in indoor public spaces

If you have Covid-19 symptoms, book a test immediately and self-isolate at home: visit www.northyorks.gov.uk/TestandTrace or call 119

Like many areas, we are pushing these messages hard. We have mobile digital screens touring communities, roadside signs and a constant stream of social media messages. Please help us keep North Yorkshire safe. One more point on testing. It is being widely covered in the media that nationally there are issues with testing capacity. Again, we can all play our part by alleviating some of this pressure. The testing programme is in place currently to support people who have symptoms and people in more vulnerable settings. We do hear that some people are regularly going to be tested, who don’t have symptoms, for their reassurance. While this is entirely understandable in many settings, we need to ensure we do use the testing system appropriately so that those people with symptoms can be quickly tested and the Test and Trace team can follow up positive tests to manage the spread. You can find out more on our website here: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-advice-and-information

Quite apart from the potentially very serious health impacts from the virus, the economy here is equally fighting hard to try to recover from the impact of lockdown. A second wave would be hard to bear for businesses, desperate to get back on their feet. We are doing all we can to help. One of the ways is via our free Buy Local directory, which matches local businesses to customers needing their goods and services. More than 750 North Yorkshire businesses have registered – if you have a business or know anyone who has, and they are Covid-secure, then please encourage them to make the most of this opportunity to join the growing number of business reaping the benefits of this free promotion. The latest case studies can be found here, including The Buck Inn at Thornton Watlass and Proper Pizzas of East Cowton: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/countys-local-business-directory-hits-750-sign-ups

We are also continuing to pursue devolution for North Yorkshire and York. I have said many times that the very significant sums of money and powers of local decision making that come with devolution would be a game-changer here. To be eligible, we are continuing to work on our proposal for a single, strong and sustainable council to service all of North Yorkshire. The abolition of the current two-tier system of districts and county councils are a requirement for devolution. As we develop our plan we are listening carefully to very many groups, sectors, partners and individuals. This morning we hosted a webinar with the community and voluntary sector and tomorrow we host one for business. If you have a business, please join us for a discussion about how this approach may benefit you. Businesses can learn more here: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/chance-businesses-hear-plans-countys-future

and sign up to join us here: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/local-government-reorganisation-and-devolution-north-yorkshire-webinar-smes

Everything is different now, isn’t it? Thousands of pupils are getting used to new ways of being back at school and no doubt also enjoying face-to-face learning again. School is essential, not just for their future prospects but for their wellbeing and mental health. Vast amounts of planning have been undertaken by schools to ensure they are safe and we continue to support them. We are also grateful to you as parents for supporting the need to get children back learning – thank you.

So there is a great deal going on. It continues to be a relentless year – testing us all in many ways. Don’t give up. We will get through this – I really mean that. Let’s show everyone just what North Yorkshire can do when everyone sticks together – Team North Yorkshire is strong and resilient! Please stay safe.

Keeping in touch

NYCC’s website has a dedicated area for all the latest COVID-19 related news visit: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-advice-and-information

Follow us on social media: @northyorkscc on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Update from Dr Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health

There has been an increase in cases of Covid-19 across the UK over the last week, particularly among young adults. North Yorkshire has seen a similar rise, although the number of cases in the county remains lower than in neighbouring areas such as Middlesbrough and Leeds, who have recently been added to the Public Health England watch list.

Case numbers have increased in all North Yorkshire districts, but most particularly in Selby district, Harrogate district and Scarborough district (mostly around Whitby). The week from 1st to 7th September saw 129 new cases in North Yorkshire, including 28 in Harrogate district, 31 in Scarborough district and 36 in Selby district. The majority of recent infections appear to be among younger people under 30 years old. Most of the cases are spread within households and close social groups, although we are aware of a number of small outbreaks related to workplaces and the hospitality sector.

A crucial step in controlling the spread of the virus is for people to limit unnecessary interactions with others. Avoid socialising outside of your social bubbles. In going about daily activities remember to wash your hands frequently, observe social distancing guidance and wear face coverings where it is not possible to maintain 2m social distance. Social gatherings both indoors and outdoors should be limited to a maximum of 6 people.

Guidance for businesses

We have produced guidance for workplaces, communal accommodation, hospitality, leisure and tourism settings that covers both preventing COVID and also what actions to take and who to inform should any possible or confirmed cases be identified. For more information, please visit: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/covid-19-prevention-and-outbreak-support-settings.

Testing

Demand for testing has increased nationally in recent weeks. To manage the increase in demand, capacity at sites across the country has been adjusted. In North Yorkshire we continue to offer the same number of mobile testing sites during the week, although the number of bookable slots may be reduced. Slots will be open for booking from around 8pm the evening before for morning slots and 8am for afternoon slots.

Eligibility for testing has not changed – people who have COVID symptoms (one or more of a new continuous cough, fever or loss/change in sense of taste/smell) and key workers are encouraged to book tests through the national system. In North Yorkshire we have also continue to have access to locally-directed swabs we can use to support the investigation of outbreaks where needed, including in care homes and workplaces.

What happens if you have a positive test:

You must self-isolate for 10 days and members of your household must self-isolate for 14 days from when you started having symptoms. Self-isolation means remaining at home and not going outside for any reason.

You will be contacted by NHS test and Trace who will send you a text or email alert or call you with instructions of how to share details of people with you whom you have had close recent contact and places you have visited. You will be told this online via a secure website or you will be called by a contact tracer.

You will be sent a link to the NHS Test and Trace website and asked to create a confidential account where you can record details about recent close contacts. If you do not have internet access or if you don’t complete the online process, a contact tracer will phone you to gather this information.

When NHS Test and Trace contact people to advise them to self-isolate, they will not be told your identity.

Close contact means:

  • having face-to-face contact with someone less than one metre away, including when you wore a face covering;
  • spending more than 15 minutes within two metres of someone
  • travelling in a car or other small vehicle or close to someone on a plane.

If you need support while self-isolating and have no other support available, you should call the County Council’s customer services on 01609 780780.

Working together towards recovery

Testing

As part of the national testing programme for coronavirus, drive-through Mobile Testing Units, run by the Department for Health and Social care, will be operating in the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • Thursday 10 September - Whitby - Whitby Park and Ride, Whitby, YO21 1TL
  • Thursday 10 September - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4T
  • Friday 11 September - Northallerton - Newby Wiske Hall, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL7 9HA
  • Friday 11 September – Harrogate - Harrogate Old Education Offices, Ainsty Road, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG1 4AP
  • Saturday 12 September – Selby – South Entrance, Drax Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Sunday 13 September – Scarborough – Scarborough Park & Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough YO12 4LW
  • Monday 14 September - Skipton - Coach St car park, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 1LH
  • Monday 14 September – Northallerton - Newby Wiske Hall, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL7 9HA
  • Tuesday 15 September - Thornton Le Dale - National Trust Car Park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Pickering, YO18 7RR
  • Tuesday 15 September – Harrogate - Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Wednesday 16 September - Scarborough - Scarborough Park & Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough YO12 4LW

Before you attend you must book a test. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. 

Watch this video to find out what to expect and how to prepare for the test: https://youtu.be/QawyKwIIfKQ

See the latest dates and locations, find out more and how to book at www.northyorks.gov.uk/testing

Supporting our schools and childcare

Schools have reopened to all year groups in North Yorkshire this week, with early indications showing pupils seem to be adapting well to the new routines.

Each teaching establishment has its own arrangements in place to limit interactions between pupils to their own teaching bubbles, as well as other hygiene measures. These have been based on a risk assessment template developed by the County Council in conjunction with headteachers and the unions.

Mill Hill Primary School in Northallerton was one of those schools which reopened yesterday. Headteacher Rebecca Bainbridge said: “The children have all been excited to get back and parents seem to be reassured by our systems and routines.  The children have all enjoyed seeing each other and sharing news and the teachers have been pleased to get back to a routine. 

“Our week is starting with having a good look at where all of the children are, so that we can ensure that everyone catches up to where they need to be.”

Teaching staff at schools in North Yorkshire are now assessing where pupils are in their learning and then planning the most appropriate catch-up education. For children and young people with any anxieties or mental health issues, extra support will be in place.

North Yorkshire County Council received a Government grant of £126,000 for Wellbeing for Education Return, to better equip schools and colleges to promote children and young people’s wellbeing, resilience and recovery in response to Covid-19.

As well as strengthening and building wellbeing and resilience, the grant aims to prevent the onset of mental health problems and ensures those with pre-existing or emerging difficulties access the right support.

Schools will receive training through the funding and local authorities can use the funding to appoint local experts to adapt the training for a local area, as well as provide ongoing advice and support until March 2021.

We would like to thanks parents headteachers, staff and governors for their hard work over the past few weeks in making sure their schools are as safe as possible ahead of the start of the new term.

Teamwork to support our residents

Organisations helping communities recover by supporting the most vulnerable and those facing hardship as a result of the coronavirus pandemic in North Yorkshire will receive extra funding to boost their efforts. The funding comes after the Government, through Defra’s Local Authorities Emergency Assistance Grant for Food and Essential Supplies, provided £63m to be distributed to local authorities across the country to help those who are struggling to afford food and essentials following the Covid-19 crisis.

The County Council has been allocated £530,000 from this fund to aid food providers, hardship payments, and benefits advice and support.

Twenty-four community organisations across the county, including food banks, hot meal delivery, community kitchens and community fridges, have been granted extra money to help people and families get food and hot meals, totalling around £175,000.

Many of these organisations have worked tirelessly to support the community throughout lockdown and beyond, from delivering prescriptions and food to simply being a friendly face.

Michelle Hayes is the director of Resurrected Bites in Harrogate, one of the organisations that will receive a grant. Michelle said: “We are anticipating that demand is going to grow as the furlough scheme winds down leading to more people being made redundant and facing food poverty whilst waiting for their Universal Credit payments to start.

“This money will enable us to continue to provide a high-quality service to those most in need and continue to provide free food packages to people who are struggling to access food from themselves.”

£80,000 has been granted to Citizens Advice Bureau North Yorkshire for increased support and financial advice, with the capacity to increase hours on their cross-county phone line. Funding has also been made available for people on low incomes through the provision of additional hardship payments from the North Yorkshire Local Resilience Fund, offering even more vital support for those people in our communities who have been hit hard by Covid-19.

These services, working alongside our 23 community support organisations, have already been providing invaluable support to thousands of people and families since the start of the pandemic in March and this will enable them to go even further.

Help is still there in every community where it’s needed. People who need support with shopping, prescriptions and other essentials but don’t have anyone to call on, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780. The centre is open seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm.

People can also find details of local voluntary and community groups offering support at www.northyorkshireconnect.org.uk

For more information go to www.northyorks.gov.uk/help-you-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Growing our local economy

LEP News: ‘Bounce-back’ trade plan announced to help boost retail exports

This plan for the consumer and retail industry outlines new measures to boost exports and increase British retail firms’ readiness to sell overseas. It includes the creation of a Consumer and Retail Export Academy to help businesses export, via digital learning.

E-commerce will be at the heart of the plans, with measures tailored to help consumer and retail businesses develop international, multi-channel, e-commerce strategies fit for the changed retail environment. For more information, read here

National Apprenticeship Awards 2020 are now open for entries!

The National Apprenticeship Awards are an opportunity to showcase the apprentices, employers and champions who have gone above and beyond this past year.

Entries to the digital awards are open until 25 September 2020. It is free to enter the awards, and all entries must be made through the application website: appawards.co.uk

Free Apprenticeships Webinar for Employers this week

The Government Apprenticeship service is running an expert-led apprenticeship service webinar on Thursday 10 September 2020.

In the webinar, employers will find out:

  • what the incentive payments are
  • how and when they’ll get paid
  • how to apply using the apprenticeship service, including a step-by-step walkthrough

Sign up to the free apprenticeships webinar here.

Kickstart jobs scheme

The new Kickstart scheme in Great Britain is a £2 billion fund to create hundreds of thousands of high-quality six-month work placements aimed at those aged 16 to 24 who are on Universal Credit and are deemed to be at risk of long-term unemployment.

Funding available for each job will cover 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus the associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions.

To help smaller businesses, employers offering fewer than 30 placements will be asked to make a bid through an intermediary, such as a local authority or chamber of commerce, which will then bid for 30 or more placements as a combined bid from several businesses.  

Find out more here: http://bit.ly/kickstart-jobs

Businesses invited to give their views on local government reorganisation.

Events are being hosted by NYCC and the District and Borough councils to enable businesses to understand more about proposed local government changes.

North Yorkshire County Council Proposal:      

District & Borough Council Proposals:

York & North Yorkshire LEP and Growth Hub remain impartial to all proposals.

Register for the LEP annual conference

Registration for the York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership Annual Conference 2020 is now open.

The conference will focus on a Greener, Fairer, Stronger vision for economic recovery in the region and how we can work together to achieve this.

Hosted online, the programme will include speakers, webinars, Q&As and a marketplace full of inspiring content.

To access the conference website, attendees must register in advance here: https://ynylepannualconference2020.register-me.uk/

Stay informed

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

Here we are in September. The mornings are notably cooler and the evenings are drawing in. The leaves will soon start to mark the changing of the season. While we have much to be thankful for – our pandemic infection rates have been lower than many places and we have space and warm communities in which we can find our own comfort and wellbeing – sadly the changing of the season will not alter the challenges we continue to face.

For some of these the solution lies within our own control.  While you are out and about you may have seen some of the roadside messages around the continuing importance of taking simple precautions to minimise the risk of spreading Coronavirus. We have also worked with regional health colleagues and Government on messaging on vehicles which will be parked in key places around the county to remind people about how they can continue to play their part. We have come so far in North Yorkshire as a county. Your sacrifices during the height of the pandemic have been outstanding. We must stick to the guidance to avoid a second spike as we head into the colder months. While our infection rate remains lower than some, we are seeing outbreaks in communities across North Yorkshire. Our Test and Trace teams are doing a sterling job but they need your help. If we stick together as a team we can help keep the virus at bay – so let’s give it our continued focus and not let our concentration lapse. I think the new message is Hands, Face, and Space! But don’t forget if you have symptoms get a test. They are free and available at mobile sites across communities or online via our website here https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/book-coronavirus-covid-19-test We cannot return to the normality we love until the virus is at bay.

By doing this we will also support our businesses. The pandemic has delivered a shock wave to our economy and by helping to limit the virus’s spread we can help businesses here stay open and to create more jobs at a critical time. Many of you will understand that the Government’s furlough scheme is starting to pare back its support for businesses – ahead of its end in October.  In North Yorkshire there are still close to 85,000 people furloughed and we know that nationally just under a quarter of businesses may be considering reducing their staffing levels.

Collectively we can be dynamic in our response to this and pursue devolution and the money and power that goes with that – to ensure we are not left behind.  North Yorkshire County Council has approved the submission of plans to Government to invest £540m in fibre connectivity, £390m in transport links, £290m in market town centres, £215m in the bio-economy, £95m on housing, £50m on green energy and £10m in skills across the county over the coming years. These are our devolution asks which need to be submitted to Government very soon to ensure we don’t delay this huge opportunity.  I have spoken previously about the requirement to restructure local government here to be eligible and promised to keep you informed on progress. We continue to listen to and work with many partners and sectors to build our approach to this. Our focus is very much on maximising benefits to the public and businesses, while minimising disruption via a single, strong and sustainable new county council. As part of this we have made an absolute commitment to harness the power of devolution to unleash the power of communities which we know exists. We are working very closely with town and parish councils as we progress this as well as the community and voluntary sector and wider partner agencies. If you want to know more, please take a look here and there’s a have your say section if you would like to let us know your thoughts and ideas www.northyorks.gov.uk/StrongerTogether

Looking to next week, I am sure you can imagine, a great deal of work continues to ensure our schools can reopen safely to welcome back all pupils. Things will, of course, be a little different but I feel sure pupils and staff will adapt – as we all have over the past few months. One big part of that is how pupils will get there. Walking and cycling are being encouraged nationally and our pre-covid home to school transport network will be back in place for the start of the new school term. However, where some schools and colleges may be considering staggered times and bubbles, it is not possible for us to accommodate that.

The social distancing which is in place on public transport will not apply to home to school transport, as school buses and taxis will be carrying the same group of children on a regular basis. This approach is in line with Department for Education guidelines and is the most practical and workable solution. We will issue updated information as we get it, but we also have an ask to parents which is really important and there is more on that further down this bulletin. Please help keep everyone safe by reading it and ensuring your children are confident around how they can help. We are really looking forward to seeing everyone again in school and grateful for the support of schools and parents throughout a really difficult time.

Another sign of progress is the imminent start of work on the permanent repairs to the bridges destroyed during catastrophic flash flooding in the Yorkshire Dales in summer 2019. The structures at Cogden North and Cogden South bridges will be replaced with permanent bridges, beginning mid-September. On the evening the bridges collapsed, Swaledale saw a month of rain fall in just a few hours. For those caught up in the impact, it was devastating and the fightback nothing short of inspiring. We are proud to have worked with and alongside the communities as they have recovered. I hope you will share that sense of inspiration if you read the rest of this story further down the bulletin.

Please take care and stay safe in North Yorkshire.

Keeping in touch

NYCC’s website has a dedicated area for all the latest COVID-19 related news visit: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-advice-and-information

Follow us on social media: @northyorkscc on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Update from Dr Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health

The number of new cases across North Yorkshire is currently around 5 per day.

We are supporting schools, colleges and universities in North Yorkshire for safe full opening (for more information see  https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/schools-and-childrens-services-during-coronavirus-covid-19).  The evidence on the impact of Covid-19 on children and young people is evolving. However, existing evidence from UK and international studies shows there is a very low rate of severe disease in children of primary and secondary school ages compared to adults, with the majority of children showing no or very mild symptoms of Covid-19. The evidence of the impact of Covid-19 on children and young people is set against a certainty of long-term harm to many children and young people from not attending school. There is an overwhelming need for children and young people to return to school now, not just so they can catch up with their missed studies and go on and fulfil their academic potential in the future, but also for their mental health, their wellbeing and their wider development.

Early identification and quickly managing cases and outbreaks of Covid-19 in schools is essential as part of our local response to Covid-19. We have given clear advice for pupils and staff not to attend school with symptoms, and getting promptly tested, advice on self-isolation, prompt reporting of suspected or confirmed cases of Covid-19 and local process for managing any potential outbreaks. We have access to local data on Covid-19 cases that help us to monitor potential cluster of cases or outbreaks. Schools have been operating in North Yorkshire before the summer holidays, and we have not seen any outbreaks despite identifying individual cases in a number of schools, 75% of cases in parents of pupils and 21% in staff. We have little evidence to suggest that transmission was school related in these cases.

Working together towards recovery

Testing

As part of the national testing programme for coronavirus, drive-through Mobile Testing Units, run by the Department for Health and Social Care, will be operating in the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • Thursday 3 September - Whitby - Whitby Park and Ride, Whitby, YO21 1TL
  • Thursday 3 September - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4T
  • Friday 4 September - Northallerton - Allertonshire School, Brompton Road, Northallerton, DL6 1ED
  • Friday 4 September – Harrogate - Harrogate Old Education Offices, Ainsty Road, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG1 4AP
  • Saturday 5 September – Selby – South Entrance, Drax Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Sunday 6 September – Scarborough – Scarborough Park & Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough YO12 4LW
  • Monday 7 September - Settle - Greenfoot Car Park, Lower Greenfoot, Settle, BD24 9RB
  • Monday 7 September – Northallerton - Newby Wiske Hall, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL7 9HA
  • Tuesday 8 September - Thornton Le Dale - National Trust Car Park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Pickering, YO18 7RR
  • Tuesday 8 September – Harrogate - Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB

Before you attend you must book a test. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. 

Watch this video to find out what to expect and how to prepare for the test: https://youtu.be/QawyKwIIfKQ

Find out more and how to book at www.northyorks.gov.uk/testing

Work to begin on permanent repairs to bridges destroyed by floods

Permanent repairs to bridges destroyed during catastrophic flooding in the Yorkshire Dales in summer 2019 is about to start.

Both Cogden North bridge, on the B6270 Richmond to Grinton road, and Cogden South bridge on the C106 near Grinton Moor, will be replaced with permanent bridges, beginning on 14 September.

The night the bridges collapsed, Swaledale saw a month of rain fall in just one night. In the space of hours, land and property was destroyed and bridges washed away. Some residents were left standing with only the clothes they had on their backs.

But despite the adversity, the council and community pulled together to get a semblance of normality back as soon as they could.

The county council acted fast to build temporary roads at both the Cogden South and Cogden North bridges.

Geraldine Coates, chair of the Grinton and Ellerton Abbey Parish Council, recalls the floods.

She said: “The beck overflowed its banks and ran down the road, the road resembling a river bed with stones, boulders and debris. The following morning a lot of people came out to clear the road of debris to allow traffic to move about.

“The County Council acted very swiftly in the aftermath of the flood and had the temporary bridges up in record time, enabling communications to carry on as normal. 

“It is very good news that they are now following through and rebuilding the permanent structures in the original dales vernacular style.”

County Councillor Yvonne Peacock, member for the Upper Dales, said: “The bridges are part of a vital infrastructure in the Dales and it’s a positive step that work is starting on them.

“When the floods happened, the local community and county council reacted very quickly to a difficult situation – working together to find a solution. North Yorkshire County Council will continue to do that going forward.”

The work to rebuild the Cogden North bridge on the B6270 will begin on 14 September and is anticipated to be completed by 30 November. The B6270 will remain open during the reconstruction, but there will be some traffic management using two-way lights toward the end of the scheme, with a one-night road closure when the new bridge units are lifted into place.

The work to rebuild the Cogden South bridge is programmed to begin on 14 September and anticipated to be completed by 25 January 2021. There is very limited space for contractors to work safely and effectively while the road is open. Engineers have carefully considered the need to complete these works as quickly and safely as possible with the minimum of disruption. To achieve this, a full road closure will be required for the 16-week construction period.

Video: Cllr Peacock and Cllr Coates talk about the forthcoming work: https://youtu.be/AFJrfkXR_mo

Supporting our schools and childcare

The home to school transport network which was in place before lockdown, is to be put back in place for the start of the new school term, where circumstances allow.

Although social distancing is in place on public transport, this will not apply to dedicated home to school transport, as school buses and taxis will be carrying the same group of children on a regular basis and no members of the public travel with them

This approach is in line with Department for Education guidelines and is the most practical and workable solution, enabling us to transport all pupils to school.

We can also identify who was travelling on which vehicle so can comply with any contact tracing and isolation if necessary.

Parents and pupils are being asked to play their part in safety measures by making sure they;

  • Wash or sanitise their hands prior to boarding the transport service each morning
  • Queue at their designated bus stop/collection points in the usual orderly manner and take particular care not to make unnecessary contact with other pupils
  • Board the vehicle and sit on the furthest rear seat available and try and use the same seat and sit with the same group of pupils each day.
  • On the return journey home pupils should wash and or sanitise their hands at school and queue up. The last to get off the bus should go to the front of the queue, followed by those getting off first.
  • Based on Public Health England recommendations, we ask that all pupils, aged 11 and over wear a face covering provided by their parents, where individual needs allow it. This will ensure the safety of each pupil, the driver and other pupils travelling on the bus.
  • Where school transport is shared by children attending different schools we would ask that pupils sit together based on the school they are attending wherever possible. The guidance for dedicated education transport services also applies to those pupils who pay for a bus pass to travel on one of those services.

Where pupils entitled to free transport, travel on the public transport network they will be required to adhere to mandatory 1m social distancing and wear a face covering if they are 11 or over, unless they have a valid reason for exemption.

Requirements for pupils with a Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND);

  • Pupils who have a SEND requirement will be transported in the usual way by bus or taxi but any additional special arrangements as a result of COVID will be detailed in their individual risk assessment where relevant (e.g. pupils with a Health Care Plan requiring close contact intervention.) Parents, schools and transport providers should liaise to ensure that any special requirements over and above that, can be met wherever possible for these pupils.
  • Additional personal protective equipment (PPE) will need to be worn by some drivers and passenger assistants on contracts where a risk assessment for the pupils being transported states that it is necessary.
  • Where it is possible for them to do so, we advise pupils to use a face covering but it is understood that some pupils will not be able to do this due to the nature of their individual needs.

Schools have their own risk assessments in place ready for the start of the school term and parents with any questions can get in contact with their school to talk over any potential concerns they have.

Some schools will have staggered start times, which parents will now have been notified about, while many will have measures such as one-way systems in place, which will be explained to pupils as they arrive at school.

Most schools, such as Mill Hill Primary School, will be keeping children together in a bubble system throughout the day.

Rebecca Bainbridge, Headteacher of Mill Hill Primary, said they were working to make the school appear as familiar as possible for children when they returned next week.

Other than the tables being set out in rows facing forward - in line with Government advice - pupils will wash their hands at the sinks they would normally use and access their classrooms in the same way. But they will spend their day in a bubble of the same classmates, to avoid coming into contact with more than a few people during their school day.

All this week, Mrs Bainbridge is providing tours around the school for parents wanting information or reassurance about the measures which will be in place. She said: “We have decided that we will make measures such as regular hand washing in school and different break times our new normal.

“We have focused on keeping children in the same bubbles throughout the school day to minimise the risk of infection, so they won’t be mixing with different year groups or classes. Systems such as one-way systems created pinch points so separate entrances have been identified for different year groups keeping our bubbles completely separate.

“Keeping children in bubbles allows us to minimise the risk of them coming into contact with many other children and allows the school and classrooms to remain looking as normal as possible.”

Teamwork to support our residents

Volunteers have kept North Yorkshire going through these difficult times. In the Yorkshire Dales village of West Burton, 17 year old Luke Greenslade opened the local shop every day during the pandemic to make sure that members of the community had access to food. Luke had help from his brother Jack, 18, who organised fruit and veg orders, newspaper deliveries and supported their mum, Julie, to co-ordinate a shopping delivery service around villages from West Burton up to Gayle.

The shop was previously kept open by an elderly member of the community, but when Covid-19 hit the community, she needed to protect her health. The owner of the shop doesn’t live locally, so Luke stepped into the role.

Luke said: “I decided to help as I realised the majority of the village were high-risk individuals who, unless the shop was open, would find it difficult to get essentials such as bread, milk and eggs. I didn’t find it difficult to find the motivation, as I saw how important it could be for others. I did 107 consecutive days running the shop and delivering newspapers on weekdays before the shop was due to open and a friend of mine helped delivering newspapers on the weekend, too.”

Jack decided to help the volunteer efforts after his mum, Julie, arranged food deliveries for the village.

He said: “I decided to help because my mum was struggling with the volume of grocery deliveries she had to organise, which meant gathering the list of items, weighing each one, ensuring the price was correct and then the actual delivery. I want to say, though, many more people in the community have also gone out of their way to lend a hand!”

Julie, a project co-ordinator for A Good Life, part of the Upper Dales Community Partnership, one of the community support organisations helping the community through lockdown, said: “I’m incredibly proud of both Luke and Jack.

“We have a lot of young people who have helped out in the community, but that’s just what the Dales is all about. When you live somewhere rural, it’s even more important to stick together as a community and that’s exactly what we’ve done. The new owners of the village shop are in now and we wish them a warm welcome and hope they will be happy living in the Dales.”

Although life is getting back to normal, support is still there in every community where it’s needed. Those who need help with shopping, prescriptions and other essentials but don’t have anyone to call on, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780. The centre is open seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm.

People can also find details of local voluntary and community groups offering support at www.northyorkshireconnect.org.uk

For more information go to www.northyorks.gov.uk/help-you-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Growing our local economy

Buy Local: North Yorkshire’s local business directory gets 750 sign ups to help strengthen local economy

Buy Local, North Yorkshire’s small business directory, is celebrating 750 local suppliers signing up.

The county council launched the scheme at the start of the pandemic to help businesses link up with local people, matching customer needs to local suppliers during the crisis.

Using local businesses not only supported everyone during the height of the outbreak but it’s hoped it will also speed up post-pandemic economic recovery.

Leader of the Council, Cllr Carl Les, said: “Buying locally is incredibly important, now more than ever and the Buy Local directory makes it easier for local people to find what they need.

“We’d like to thank not just every business who signed up, but every single person who has used these businesses for their takeaways or weekly shop. It’s incredibly important.”

Vicki, the landlady of The Buck Inn for six years, is at the heart of her community.

She signed up to Buy Local and launched a food delivery service. So although her pub was physically closed, she was still providing a vital service to local people.

Now, Vicki has safely opened her doors once more.

She said: “I’ve had great support from day one from the locals – I’m lucky that it is very much a locals driven pub, we don’t have a shop in the village, we have a lovely village school and the church and the hall, but we don’t have anything else.

“During the pandemic, I couldn’t have just stayed shut.

“We have two brilliant guys who work for us, who wanted to earn money through the pandemic as college had ended and our two chefs, too, so I was able to keep them on doing the takeaway orders and we were able to furlough the rest of our staff during that time.”

Now regulars are flooding back in safely.

Vicki says

“When local people give you business, you have to see what you can do for them to give back. It’s a two-way system.”

People can find a wide range of goods and services and businesses can register, on Buy Local.

LEP News:

Employers encouraged to sign up for apprentice cash boost

Employers are invited to apply for generous cash incentives to help them take on new apprentices and get more people into work.

As part of the Government’s Plan for Jobs, employers are being offered £2,000 for each new apprentice they hire aged under 25, and £1,500 for each newly recruited apprentice aged 25 and over. This includes taking on an apprentice who has been made redundant.

Employers who want to take advantage of the offer can apply through the government’s digital apprenticeship service.

Kickstart Scheme opens for employer applications

The new £2billion Kickstart Scheme launches today with the aim of creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs for young people.

Under this scheme, employers can offer youngsters aged 16-24 who are claiming Universal Credit a six-month work placement.

The government will fund each “Kickstart” job - paying 100% of the age-relevant National Minimum Wage, National Insurance and pension contributions for 25 hours a week- and will also pay employers £1500 to set up support and training for people on a Kickstart placement.

To find out more about the scheme, employers should visit: gov.uk/kickstart

Young people can access the scheme through their Jobcentre Plus work coach.

The scheme, delivered by the Department for Work and Pensions will initially be open until December 2021.

Low income support for workers asked to self-isolate

People on low incomes who need to self-isolate and are unable to work from home in areas with high incidence of COVID-19 will benefit from a new payment scheme.

For more information, read here

Applications invited from business leaders to Chair LEP main board

have launched a campaign to recruit a new Chair for the main Board as the term of office for current Chair, David Kerfoot MBE DL, comes to an end next March.

Applications are invited from dynamic and experienced business leaders with drive, energy, and a passion for York and North Yorkshire and are open until Friday 2nd October.

 Speaking about the role, David said: “As Chair, you are able to make a real difference ‘on the ground’ and I look forward to seeing a new Chair take up the legacy and lead the LEP’s vision to build a greener, fairer and stronger economy for the region as we emerge from the pandemic.”

Further information is available and applications can be submitted at: www.ynylepchair.com

Stay informed

Creative lockdown ideas

Online music lessons

Our service has adapted to allow lessons to be taught online to pupils unable to attend school. We offer the full range of instruments, including brass, woodwind, strings, percussion, voice and keyboard. Lessons are delivered by specialist instrumental teachers over a secure connection.

We were among the first music service to pioneer this approach and are very experienced in it. For details, visit www.northyorkshiremusichub.co.uk or email MusicServiceTuitionRequests@northyorks.gov.uk

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

I was impressed to see that even yesterday’s torrential downpours didn’t appear to dampen North Yorkshire’s commitment to supporting businesses in the last week of the Government’s Eat Out to Help Out initiative. In true resilient style, despite that awful weather, I noted the queues outside Betty’s tea room in Northallerton, too – I feel sure that was a scene repeated across the county – so well done everyone who braved the weather to support their local businesses again. This has been a welcome scheme, which I am aware has benefitted not just our hospitality industry but also seen many people venture out to dine and socialise safely for the first time – an important step in our county’s return to the new norm.  If you haven’t yet made the most of the chance to visit your favourite restaurant or café under this deal, then there is tonight and then the Bank Holiday Monday to do so – a list of participating businesses can be found here and you can get up to £10 off your meal, so it’s well worth a go! https://www.gov.uk/guidance/get-a-discount-with-the-eat-out-to-help-out-scheme

Don’t forget, we have a free website providing an online directory for goods and services where you can find a growing range of Covid-compliant companies. Buy Local now has more than 750 businesses registered – see if you can find what you need and support the local economy here  https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local

On the subject of supporting businesses, our executive this week agreed to extend free parking in Knaresborough Market Place and Northallerton High Street to an hour, from 30 minutes. This will allow shoppers some extra time to support retailers and will be in place until December 31st. There’s more on this on the following link https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/free-parking-extension-comes-force-northallerton

The biggest return to the new norm coming up is, of course, the reopening of schools to all pupils.  In preparation for welcoming everyone back safely, a huge amount of work has been going on across a broad range of education settings from child minders and nurseries to primary and secondary schools.

This includes detailed risk assessments and individual pupil plans, which will minimise risks to pupils and staff while ensuring young people can get the education they need.

In many instances, pupils will be part of ‘teaching bubbles’, which involve pupils spending the day with the same group of people within school. We hope that understanding the thoughtful planning process which has been ongoing throughout the summer will give everyone confidence to help get pupils back to class. There is more further down the bulletin on this.

More positive news for the people of Ryedale is the refurbishment of Malton library, which gets under way next week. The investment will provide more modern and flexible space for visitors, including a new-look children’s section plus new books for all ages and a brand new IT and study area. All very welcome for local people, I am sure. There’s more on that here https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/malton-library-undergoes-refurbishment-improve-its-services

I also promised to keep you up to date on the latest on devolution and the changes to local government that are required to be eligible for a devolution deal. This is a fast-moving topic and we have been very busy. We are developing a proposal that we believe would deliver the strength needed to be able to respond to big challenges like the current pandemic, the major issue with the A19 flood damage and other significant impacts such as those experienced during the Dales flash floods last year. We are also absolutely committed to the concept of double devolution – under which powers and money would come from central government to local government and then on down to very local level, ensuring priorities are set in communities. Last week, 250 town and parish councillors attended our online seminar to discuss the ideas we have for localism and I am pleased to say the first meeting of the working group to take ideas forward and explore all thoughts will take place very soon. 

We are listening carefully to the views of people, groups, partners and organisations as we develop our proposal for a new single council for North Yorkshire. We would like to bring together the very best from the districts and county council and see them deliver best value and strengthened services in a much simpler format for everyone. We are aware the district councils are also working on a bid and look forward to that being in the public domain, too. You can find out more about our proposal and let us know your thoughts and suggestions here https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/stronger-together

Today saw another development in this area as Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen crossed the bridge at Croft-on-Tees to talk about the importance of a Mayoral Combined Authority for York and North Yorkshire. You can hear his words for yourself here about why it matters so much now https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/bridging-north-south-divide

While we are all getting used to the new norm we must not lose site of the fact that we are still in a pandemic which has taken tens of thousands of lives in this country alone. So my plea once more is that you all continue to play your part in containing the virus and prevent it taking a hold of our communities again.  It is down to every one of us to keep a safe distance, wash our hands and get a test if we have symptoms. Let’s look out for North Yorkshire and stick together to beat this.

Keeping in touch

NYCC’s website has a dedicated area for all the latest COVID-19 related news visit: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-advice-and-information

Follow us on social media: @northyorkscc on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Update from Dr Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health

The number of new cases across North Yorkshire is currently around 3 per day. We have seen an increase in the number of people across the county accessing testing, but the number of tests that come back as positive remains below 1%. A significant proportion of recent cases have been linked to routine testing of care homes and staff, small outbreaks in workplaces/hospitality settings, or transmission within households. Although the number of cases remain lower in North Yorkshire than in some of our surrounding areas, it is still vitally important that people continue to follow advice on social distancing, frequent handwashing, and staying at home if you (or anyone you live with) has symptoms to prevent any wider spread of infection.

We are continuing to work to support COVID testing across the county. This includes both the roll out of regular antigen (swab) testing and offering antibody testing in care settings, plus supporting community access to testing through our Mobile Testing Units that continue to travel across the county. We are working to ensure that we continue to have accessible testing provision across the winter months and that our sites are suitable for winter use.

There have been several recent changes to the countries on the national travel corridor list that are exempt from the requirement to self-isolate for 14 days following arrival in the UK. From Saturday 22nd August, Austria, Croatia and Trinidad and Tobago were removed from the list – anyone returning from these countries should now complete 14 days of self-isolation as set out here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-travel-corridors. This applies to UK residents and to visitors of the UK. We would urge anyone who is travelling abroad to make yourself aware of the latest guidance before you go, and ensure you complete the full period of self-isolation on your return if you travel to a country that is not on the travel corridor list.

Working together towards recovery

Testing

As part of the national testing programme for coronavirus, drive-through Mobile Testing Units, run by the Department for Health and Social Care, will be operating in the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • Thursday 27 August - Whitby - Whitby Park and Ride, Whitby, YO21 1TL
  • Thursday 27 August - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4T
  • Friday 28 August - Northallerton - Allertonshire School, Brompton Road, Northallerton, DL6 1ED
  • Friday 28 August – Harrogate - Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Saturday 29 August – Selby – South Entrance, Drax Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Sunday 30 August – Scarborough – Scarborough Park & Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough YO12 4LW
  • Monday 31 August - Skipton - Coach St car park, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 1LH
  • Monday 31 August – Northallerton - Allertonshire School, Brompton Road, Northallerton, DL6 1ED
  • Tuesday 1 September - Thornton Le Dale - National Trust Car Park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Pickering, YO18 7RR
  • Tuesday 1 September – Harrogate - Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB

Before you attend you must book a test. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. 

Watch this video to find out what to expect and how to prepare for the test: https://youtu.be/QawyKwIIfKQ

Find out more and how to book at www.northyorks.gov.uk/testing

Supporting our schools and childcare

We are looking forward to welcoming all pupils back to school from the week beginning September 7. We want to reassure parents, carers and pupils that schools, colleges, nurseries and child minders have all put a range of protective measures in place to reduce the risk and create a safe and welcoming environment for children and young people.

Schools have been working throughout the summer holidays on the measures which will allow them to reopen safely. They have planned individually how they will arrange children in bubbles to minimise contact, using risk assessment templates developed by the County Council in conjunction with head teachers and the unions.

Teaching bubbles, which involve pupils spending the day with the same group of people within school, are just some of the bespoke measures which will be employed by individual schools, depending on their site, student population and other factors.

They will also be using strategies including one-way systems, minimising movement around the school buildings and providing additional hygiene measures.

This may include adjustments to lesson and break timings during the day and lunchtime arrangements, and changes to start and finish times to minimise congestion around the school.

Additional hygiene and safety measures will also be in place on school transport. North Yorkshire County Council has prepared guidance for families, transport providers and schools to support the safe return to school transport.

The home to school transport network will be operating in the same way as it did previously and pick-up and drop-off times will largely remain the same.

Students who rely on public transport to reach school will need to observe the government guidelines in relation to the wearing of face coverings and the 1m social distancing rules.

Wherever possible, parents and pupils are being asked to think about alternative, sustainable ways of getting to school by walking, cycling or scooting, to reduce the number of people using public transport.

Teamwork to support our residents

As restrictions continue to ease, our community support organisations are helping people return to everyday activities such as shopping and meeting friends.

In Leyburn, a walking group is helping people get back on their feet and into the community. The group, run by volunteers, has started up again when members, who had been isolated during lockdown, were keen to get out and about. The group comes under Leyburn Arts and Community Centre, which is currently operating as a community support organisation.

Gill Mitchell, who manages the group admin, said as lockdown began to lift members got in touch to ask when the walks would be back on. She said: “Once lockdown began to ease, people started contacting us to ask when it was coming back.

“Some members live alone, are widows or widowers or don’t have family locally so have been very isolated during lockdown and both the social and exercise elements of the walks are important to them.”

Gill said they have devised a way to start the walks again safely. They head out in smaller groups led by keen walker Diana Jolland, ensuring they are socially distant and armed with hand sanitiser.

Gill added: “We’ve done four walks so far; we have four or five walks that we do regularly that are around three to five miles long. Everyone has welcomed the opportunity to get out and about and have a catch up with their friends after lockdown.”

She said: “It’s important for some of the people who go to have that companionship and to keep fit. Lockdown has been hard, especially for people living alone, so it’s good to get out again.”

Despite community support organisations shifting their focus to recovery, support is still there for people who need it. Those who need help with shopping, prescriptions and other essentials but don’t have anyone to call on, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780. The centre is open seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm.

People can also find details of local voluntary and community groups offering support at www.northyorkshireconnect.org.uk

For more information go to www.northyorks.gov.uk/help-you-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Social care and NHS services

The ‘Please give me space’ Distance Aware Initiative has been recently endorsed by the Department of Health and Social Care to help those who need support in getting others around them to maintain social distancing.

Visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/please-give-me-space-social-distancing-cards-or-badges  to see optional badges which can be carried to show that the carrier may have concerns or difficulties in maintaining social distancing.

They can be used on mobile phones along with print.

Growing our local economy

Free skills funding and Kickstart scheme webinar – 2 September

The government’s ‘plan for jobs’ has created additional funding opportunities to encourage businesses to provide new routes for young people into employment.

The York and North Yorkshire Growth Hub have partnered with the Education, Skills and Funding Agency (ESFA) to help businesses understand the options and the process involved for apprenticeships, T Levels, traineeships and the Kickstart scheme. The session will explore the opportunities in more detail and answer any questions that you may have.

For full details and to register, visit: https://www.ynygrowthhub.com/events/funding-opportunities-for-skills-training-and-the-kickstart-scheme/.

This webinar is delivered in partnership with Make It York and North Yorkshire County Council

DoE employer webinars for T levels

The Department for Education and Strategic Development Network (SDN) are hosting three webinars for employers looking at what industry placements look like in the following skill areas for the new T levels:

Education and Childcare: 10 Sept

Construction: 15 Sept

Digital: 23 Sept

Find out more and register here

DWP “A Good Place to Start” campaign

The Department for Work and Pensions have launched a new campaign.

‘A Good Place to Start’ aims to help jobseekers through the COVID-19 pandemic back into work, and put those businesses needing to recruit in touch with them. At the centre of the campaign are two websites, jobhelp which provides support to jobseekers including those starting out in their career, and employerhelp which provides links to business support and information, as well as help for those who need to recruit.

Employers are encouraged to post their vacancies on the free DWP Find a Job service. Help on how to do this can found here.

HMRC Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme reminder

From 1‌‌‌ ‌September, CJRS will pay 70% of usual wages up to a cap of £2,187.50 per month for the hours furloughed employees do not work.

Employers will still need to pay furloughed employees 80% of their usual wages for the hours they do not work, up to a cap of £2,500 per month and fund the difference between this and the CJRS grant themselves.

Employers will continue to pay furloughed employees’ National Insurance (NI) and pension contributions from their own funds.

Further guidance can be found here.

New support for disabled to work from home during pandemic

Those working from home or in the workplace with a disability will benefit from extra help, thanks to an extension of the Access to Work scheme, including support for special equipment, travel costs and mental health.

For more information, read here

Stay informed

Creative lockdown ideas

Online music lessons

Our service has adapted to allow lessons to be taught online to pupils unable to attend school. We offer the full range of instruments, including brass, woodwind, strings, percussion, voice and keyboard. Lessons are delivered by specialist instrumental teachers over a secure connection.

We were among the first music service to pioneer this approach and are very experienced in it. For details, visit www.northyorkshiremusichub.co.uk or email MusicServiceTuitionRequests@northyorks.gov.uk

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

A big well done to the thousands of pupils right across North Yorkshire celebrating their hard-earned GCSE results today!  I am delighted that the uncertainty is over for them and that they can now plan their futures with confidence. The coronavirus pandemic has had a massive impact on their education and school experience and we are extremely proud of the resilience pupils have shown in response. As a result of all this disruption, results given today are based on the results their teachers felt students would have achieved, if this summer’s exams had taken place. Those that received higher calculated grades from the exam boards have retained those as their final results. While Government isn’t allowing this year’s results to be used to judge school performance by organisations such as Ofsted and local authorities, the indications from feedback we have via schools suggests the county has received its usual high standard results!

North Yorkshire’s adult learners are also rightfully celebrating another year of excellent GCSE results. More than 600 adults signed up for a range of GCSE subjects and the results speak for themselves. You can read much more and hear from schools in Bedale, Selby and Ryedale here https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/after-months-uncertainty-students-celebrate-gcse-grades

I should also say that school leavers who received their A or AS level results last Thursday are also currently being reissued with their teacher-assessed grades, unless the standardised results they received from the exam boards were higher. This, of course, follows the Government and Ofqual announcement this week. BTEC results, which were also due today, are delayed following that national announcement yesterday and students will be notified when the re-graded results are due to be issued.

I would like to thank every single student for their commitment and patience through what’s been a really difficult time for them and their families. It’s also important to acknowledge the mammoth efforts made by our school staff right across North Yorkshire to support students and to help them get the results they deserve. I know there is very detailed and considerable effort still going on in schools to prepare for the start of the new term next month. I am grateful to all staff and volunteers for their hard work and professionalism. Thanks to this collective effort, our young people will not be disadvantaged in whatever they decide to do now.

I have previously promised to keep you informed of our thinking around the requirement from central government for us to get rid of the current district and county local council structure here to be eligible to bid for a devolution deal. We have been clear that we believe North Yorkshire should follow in the success of the many county-wide single councils already operating very effectively across England.

It is our firm belief that to be successful, a new single council for North Yorkshire would need to work closely and collaboratively with the people who know their areas at a very local level.

For that reason, it was a pleasure this week to host an online seminar for representatives of parish and town councils from across the county, to hear their questions and comments, to set out how we see the future of local government in North Yorkshire and to open a conversation to understand what town and parish councils would want from a new council - what could work better now and in the future.

It was extremely encouraging that more than 250 representatives joined us for this discussion to listen and respond to the presentation by myself and council leader Cllr Carl Les. We also hosted guests from the Cornwall Association of Local Councils as well as Falmouth Town Council. Falmouth took advantage of the opportunities offered by Cornwall Council, when Cornwall became a single council some years ago. The town council took on more responsibility for services such as leisure and tourism. Alongside these guests we were also fortunate to hear from Whitby Town Council.

Giving more powers to towns and parishes that want them through “double devolution” is central to our proposal. We are seeking more powers from the government, but we also want more powers and the money to support them to be devolved at very local level as well. This is about presenting opportunities and empowering town and parish councils to take up that opportunity. We want to bring people together to get things done at a local level and harness that community spirit that drives the most effective local improvements throughout North Yorkshire.

As a step towards this we have invited town and parish representatives to join a working group, which will look at the practical issues of making devolution and restructured local government work to best effect. I am pleased to say we have already had numerous people coming forward to offer their services. This is a very positive step.

As usual I would also like to shine a spotlight on some of the outstanding teamwork going on across the county at grassroots level that makes a big difference to people and their communities. This week we have the Dales showing how they can bounce back.  The Leyburn walkers are out and about again enjoying summer safely thanks to Leyburn Arts and Community Centre – one of the 23 community hubs set up by the County Council to support people during the pandemic. I would encourage you to learn more about how they are stepping out here https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/volunteer-walking-group-gets-people-back-their-feet-after-isolation-during-lockdown

I am also heartened by the strength shown by locals in Grinton – hit by three lots of floods and then the pandemic over the last 12 months! The Bridge Inn is not just a place for a pint and a chat – it’s a crucial community hub. It is a perfect example of Team North Yorkshire at its best and testament to what can be achieved when we work together at the most local level – as we do – every day.  Please do follow this Swaledale story of survival here: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/bridge-inn-working-together-put-pub-back-together

A brief mention of the importance of maintaining rigorous hand washing, social distancing and other precautions before I go. Cases of Covid-19 in the county remain low, but they are creeping up. It lies within our own power to prevent more outbreaks and to make sure our businesses can stay open. Please look after yourselves and your family – help keep our shops, cafes, restaurants and hotels open – please play your part in our economic recovery and take all necessary precautions to stop the spread.

Keeping in touch

NYCC’s website has a dedicated area for all the latest COVID-19 related news visit: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-advice-and-information

Follow us on social media: @northyorkscc on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Update from Dr Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health

The number of new cases in the county is currently around 5 per day. Cases are generally linked to routine testing of care homes and staff, small outbreaks in workplaces/hospitality settings, or transmission within households. There has been an increase in cases in young adults (10-29-year-olds) in particular. Younger people are less likely to show symptoms or have severe illness from COVID. However, even if individuals have mild disease there is still the risk of spread to people who are more susceptible to severe illness and death. Although lockdown restrictions have been eased, individuals should still avoid large gatherings and maintain 2 metre social distancing from people outside their household.

The way that deaths from COVID-19 are being reported has changed. Previously all deaths of people who had tested positive for COVID-19 were included in figures, regardless of how long ago the test was carried out. This made sure that the number of deaths from COVID-19 was not underestimated. However, the main indicator has now changed to count deaths within 28 days of a first positive test (with a second indicator including anyone who has died within 60 days of a positive test if COVID-19 appears on the death certificate). These measures will be used across all parts of the UK.

Earlier this week it was announced that Public Health England will be replaced in 2021 by the National Institute for Health Protection, which will bring together PHE’s health protection function with NHS Test and Trace and the Joint Biosecurity Centre. Since PHE’s inception we have worked very closely with our local team in Yorkshire & The Humber who have always provided invaluable support, particularly during COVID. We are extremely grateful for the expertise they have provided to us and will continue to work together to tackle COVID-19 and other health protection issues through this transition period.

Working together towards recovery

Testing

As part of the national testing programme for coronavirus, drive-through Mobile Testing Units, run by the Department for Health and Social Care, will be operating in the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • Friday 21 August - Northallerton - Allertonshire School, Brompton Road, Northallerton, DL6 1ED
  • Friday 21 August – Harrogate - Harrogate Old Education Offices, Ainsty Road, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG1 4AP
  • Saturday 22 August – Selby – South Entrance, Drax Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Sunday 23 August – Scarborough – Scarborough Park & Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough YO12 4LW
  • Monday 24 August - Settle - Greenfoot Car Park, Lower Greenfoot, Settle, BD24 9RB
  • Monday 24 August - Northallerton - Allertonshire School, Brompton Road, Northallerton, DL6 1ED
  • Tuesday 25 August - Thornton Le Dale - National Trust Car Park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Pickering, YO18 7RR
  • Tuesday 25 August – Harrogate - Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB

Before you attend you must book a test. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. 

Watch this video to find out what to expect and how to prepare for the test: https://youtu.be/QawyKwIIfKQ

Find out more and how to book at www.northyorks.gov.uk/testing

Supporting our schools and childcare

Today, students have received GCSE results from their schools which contain their final grades. These are the grades which schools had assessed for their students had this summer’s exams taken place, but students who received higher calculated grades from exam boards are able to retain those.

We know schools in North Yorkshire worked hard on producing assessed grades for their students, looking at the mock exam results and course work as well as non-assessed work such as homework and we hope students can now look forward to their future with confidence following all the uncertainty of the past few months.

The Principal of Selby High School, Nick Hinchliffe, said: “This has been such an unusual year and I’m so proud of how our students have dealt with the situation, and absolutely delighted to see so many smiling faces this morning as students celebrate their achievements. 

“I wish everybody the best of luck in the future.”  

School leavers who received their A or AS level results last Thursday are also currently being reissued with their teacher-assessed grades. If last week’s standardised result from the exam boards is higher, again, that will remain their grade.

The Government has removed temporary student number controls which had been introduced for the coming academic year, to ensure students can still progress to higher education, but schools in North Yorkshire will continue to provide support to A-level students in need of advice or support on their university applications.

North Yorkshire’s adult learners are also celebrating another year of excellent GCSE results. This is the eighth year that North Yorkshire County Council’s Adult Learning and Skills Service has offered a comprehensive range of GCSE English and maths courses, with more than 600 adult learners signing up for the free maths and English courses with the service every year.

In GCSE maths, an outstanding 95 per cent of learners achieved a grade 9 to 4, of which two achieved the highest possible grade 9.  Results for GCSE English saw a magnificent 100 per cent achieving a grade 9 to 4 of which two learners achieved a grade 8.

BTEC results have been delayed after exam board Pearson announced yesterday it would re-grade BTECs in line with GCSEs and A-levels after saying they had become concerned about potential unfairness in relation to the GCSE and A-level results. The grades were due to be issued today. Students will be notified when the re-graded results are due to be released.

School leavers who received their A or AS level results last Thursday are also currently being reissued with their teacher assessed grades. If last week’s standardised result from the exam boards is higher, again, that will remain their grade.

We thank students for their perseverance over what has been an unsettling few months and hope young people in North Yorkshire can now look ahead to embarking on the next steps in their life with some optimism.

Teamwork to support our residents

During the coronavirus pandemic, people across the county have been supported by an army of local volunteers. Almost 14,000 bags of shopping and more than 10,000 prescriptions have been delivered across North Yorkshire since March through the network of 23 community support organisations.

These community hubs up and down the county continue to help people with shopping and other essentials while also getting people eased back into normal day-to-day life with confidence. Phil Henderson, manager at the Stokesley and District Community Care Association, told us how they are supporting people back into everyday life after lockdown.

Phil said: “The CSO set up through North Yorkshire County Council has been very good for us, we slotted into it nicely and were already helping a lot of people.

“When lockdown started, a lot of our volunteers were over 70 so they stopped going out and about doing things like prescription deliveries – but 50 new people came forward and wanted to help, which was amazing.”

Phil added that as lockdown begins to lift, the focus will be on continuing to support members of the community who need it by building confidence in getting back outside.

He said: “Instead of just phoning people to talk, some of our volunteers have started doing visits in the garden. It’s not just about delivering things physically but helping with the confidence and loneliness side of things, too.”

Phil added that the most satisfying thing for him has been when teamwork means that everything slots into place and a job gets done – along with helping his community.

He said: “We’ve had an incredibly positive reaction to what we’ve been doing.”

There are also countless examples of neighbours looking out for each other. In Harrogate, Starbeck residents Anne and Michael Dennis knew their neighbours before the coronavirus outbreak, but lockdown brought the community closer together.

Anne, 78, said: “My neighbour, Alison, does my shopping on a Friday and if Mrs Kirkbright, who lives next door but-one, sees me trying to hang the washing out, she’s round in two minutes to do it for me. Mrs Gray and her husband also help. They’ve all been fantastic.”

Krista Gray has lived opposite Anne and Michael for over five years, she said: “We are all in this together, as much of a cliché as that is, we are. It’s a two-way thing. I love the conversations! The relationship has definitely gotten stronger and I don’t want it to just end if everything goes back to normal. I hope she knows that we will always be here for her.”

Those who need help with shopping, prescriptions and other essentials but don’t have anyone to call on, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780. The centre is open seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm.

People can also find details of local voluntary and community groups offering support at www.northyorkshireconnect.org.uk

For more information go to www.northyorks.gov.uk/help-you-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Social care and NHS services

Although we now have very few cases of Covid-19 in care settings (six out of 235 settings) our work to support them continues.  We remain vigilant, particularly with winter coming and an increase in infections in some parts of the UK. 

We work closely with, and continue to monitor, all our care homes and record every Covid-19 infection so we can help a home to take swift action if an outbreak arises. 

From the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic we stepped up support for the 235 care homes and extra care housing schemes in North Yorkshire with a seven-day-a-week response with daily calls and support, including staffing, training, cleaning, help with PPE and testing for all care settings. This support continues.

Multi-agency meetings, involving senior managers from the county council and the NHS, also take place daily to consider the risks identified at specific locations and we have put in place any additional support that has been required.

This approach is a key part of managing the pandemic and protecting frail residents and keyworkers. It has resulted in North Yorkshire securing additional testing kits for care settings and taking rapid action to tackle poor quality (for example, working with CQC to ensure the rapid closure of two residential homes in Scarborough).

Where possible, the county council and the NHS have worked with care providers to go beyond the requirements set out by Government: for example, in designating quarantine beds across the county for people being discharged from hospital.

Our learning to date has been that:

  • Good multi-agency work is crucial, whether that is in a care home or a factory
  • Having a flying squad, for example our Quality Improvement Team, working with care providers has been essential
  • Risk stratification and constantly checking the numbers and trends has helped
  • Developing our own approach to testing – and asking Government for more local control – has helped
  • Webinars and e-bulletins have helped massively with training and awareness raising

In order to help manage future outbreaks we are working with NHS partners and care providers to 

  • Review what has been learned from the initial pandemic
  • Continue regular calls and support to care providers
  • Continue additional social care funding for providers
  • Review hospital discharge arrangements
  • Plan for a second wave and/or a severe winter

The County Council, the NHS and the care sector continue to work closely together to support and protect residents and care workers.

Growing our local economy

Buy Local:  For this pizza proprietor, buying local is more important than ever

During the Covid-19 pandemic, times have been hard for everyone. But some members of our community are determined to use teamwork and search for positives that can come out of this terrible situation.

One man who has done this is Mark Craggs, who owns Proper Pizzas.

Mark says if there’s one small good thing to come from the pandemic, he hopes it keeps people buying produce locally.

That’s why he signed up to Buy Local, North Yorkshire County Council’s directory of local businesses and services, all in one place to provide an easy way to search for whatever you need.

720 local businesses have signed up so far – Buy Local is a one-stop shop connecting businesses and customers.

Mark set up Proper Pizzas three years ago, converting a horsebox into a portable pizza parlour with a wood-fired oven with his wife, Emma.

He was expecting a busy year, having started taking bookings for weddings. But when Covid-19 hit, the weddings were postponed and Mark was forced to think about the future – but instead of worrying, it made him realise how lucky he is and the importance of buying locally.

He said: “I try to buy a lot of my produce locally. If we can get what we need from a local business, then we absolutely should.

“A lot of those places were open and had stuff in when the bigger supermarkets didn’t. We should all switch our attention to supporting our local community, because it’s important. If there’s one good thing to come out of this pandemic I hope it’s that, continuing to support local businesses.”

Proper Pizzas began after Mark struggled to get a takeaway pizza in his village, Pepper Arden near East Cowton, so began making his own. With a friend, this developed into converting the horsebox and selling pizzas at farmers’ markets plus doing takeaways, before starting to cater weddings and events.

He said: “We’ve basically had all our business wiped out for a year. At first people who had us booked for their wedding rescheduled to a date later in the year, then when it became clear that wouldn’t happen, next year.

“Obviously you do worry about these things, but looking at the key workers across North Yorkshire and the effort they’ve gone to during this pandemic, it does make me feel relieved and lucky.

“I like to look at it that my glass is always half full. That business isn’t lost, it’s just moved to next year and I do appreciate that. The business overall has given me a completely different pace of life.

“About three years ago, my wife lost her mother to cancer. It all happened quite suddenly, and that’s what made us decide to go for it. You don’t know what is around the corner.

“It’s gone from strength to strength, we practiced a lot making pizza at home first, too.”

Mark joined Buy Local to strengthen this sense of community and, ultimately, to be able to support other small businesses.

He said: “We're all independent businesses trying to find stability in order to flourish and grow, so trying to build relationships can only be a positive thing.”

Mark and Proper Pizzas are currently located at Kiplin Hall while its tea rooms remain closed.

County Council Leader Cllr Carl Les said: “Buying local is something that should be heartily encouraged. Having a base of customers in a locality is something which shouldn’t be underestimated and provides help for the local economy.

“It’s fantastic that so many businesses have signed up to Buy Local. It’s a valuable resource which only increases in value the more shops and services we have on there.

“Business owners like Mark help to keep communities in North Yorkshire on their feet, provided with the vital things they need.”

People can find a wide range of goods and services and businesses can register, on Buy Local.

LEP News: New grants announced to boost recovery of small businesses

The are working with Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to administer two new grants – Kick-starting tourism and SME grant funding.

These will support SME businesses to access specialist advice to further mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 by building in resilience for the future or addressing potential new opportunities.

The schemes will open for applications in mid-September. However, businesses can register their interest via the following links to keep up to date and be notified as soon as they are open for applications:

Register your interest in the SME grant funding

Register your interest in the Kick-starting tourism scheme

To share this information with others, please use the Communications Pack here

Circular Yorkshire webinar: How your business can find value from food waste streams

  • Date: Wednesday 2 September 2020
  • Time: 15:00-16:00

In this webinar, businesses will explore how they can find new income streams, cut costs and improve their green credentials by creating value from food ‘waste’ streams. They can hear from those who have successfully turned waste into profit and from those who can offer funded support to help regional businesses to do the same.

This is organised by BioVale and the York and North Yorkshire LEP as part of this year’s  Circular Yorkshire Month campaign.

To register for this event, visit https://bit.ly/3gubiZB

To find out more about the Circular Yorkshire Month campaign, visit https://www.businessinspiredgrowth.com/newsletter-sign-up/

Queen’s Awards for Enterprise deadline

Applications are open until midday on 9 September 2020.

The annual awards recognise outstanding achievement by UK businesses in the categories of innovation, international trade, sustainable development and promoting opportunity through social mobility.

Winners have reported benefiting from worldwide recognition, increased commercial value, greater press coverage and a boost to staff morale. Fifteen businesses in Yorkshire and the Humber won awards this year, including four from North Yorkshire. For further details, visit www.gov.uk/queens-awards-for-enterprise 

Coronavirus business support webinars

To support businesses and the self-employed, HMRC has developed new webinars on the following topics:

  • Extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and flexible furloughing webinar – register here. 
  • Eat Out to Help Out scheme webinar – register here.
  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, Universal Credit and Child Benefit webinar –register here. 
  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme webinar - register here. 

On 17 August, the Government announced that applications opened for the second stage of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS). Those eligible will receive a government grant worth up to £6,570. Further information is available at: https://bit.ly/3iOHmrI

Stay informed

Creative lockdown ideas

Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughters – John Carr

A man whose legacy is threaded through North Yorkshire’s roads network is the latest subject of the Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughters campaign. The latest nominee is renowned Georgian architect John Carr. Carr served as the North and West Riding “bridgemaster”.

Read more about John Carr and Made in North Yorkshire at: www.northyorks.gov.uk/made-in-north-yorkshire

Online music lessons

Our service has adapted to allow lessons to be taught online to pupils unable to attend school. We offer the full range of instruments, including brass, woodwind, strings, percussion, voice and keyboard. Lessons are delivered by specialist instrumental teachers over a secure connection.

We were among the first music service to pioneer this approach and are very experienced in it. For details, visit www.northyorkshiremusichub.co.uk or email MusicServiceTuitionRequests@northyorks.gov.uk

Scavenger hunt at home

You may not be able to spend long enough outside to enjoy a scavenger hunt, but why not try one at home? https://www.thebigsmokeevents.com/the-stuck-at-home-scavenger-hunt

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

I don’t suppose many of us are surprised by the fact that the UK is in recession for the first time in more than a decade. Equally, while not wishing to be the voice of doom, you will be very aware of how hard North Yorkshire’s economy has been hit by the pandemic. 

The global outbreak has delivered an absolute shockwave that will be a hard graft to recover from – a huge collective effort will be required. It is all the more difficult given that we are still fighting the impacts of Covid-19 across the county. We are living, and working, in unprecedented times.

As you would expect, we are naturally worried about the latest unemployment figures and the fact that in North Yorkshire there are still 87,000 people who are furloughed. 

All the more reason then that we pull together as a county and do what we can to support businesses and jobs! It’s Shop Local Week so let’s get behind our retailers, cafés, pubs, restaurants and hotels and show them how passionately we feel about those high-quality goods and experiences we love on our doorsteps. Let’s join the growing throng of families enjoying the benefits of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, and let’s get safely back to our high streets and markets – boosting local trade. Together we can play our part in supporting our local economy and protecting jobs. We understand some people are returning to the new norm in life at different paces, so please don’t forget that you can access local businesses and services via our free Buy Local website here too www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local

As a County Council, we are working hard to do our bit. We are talking and listening to a really wide range of partners, businesses, community groups and organisations as we develop our business case for a new single council for North Yorkshire. We must reform local government here in order to be eligible for a devolution deal from Government. If you would like to read more about the background to this, please do so here: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/stronger-together

These discussions are critical – now more than ever. Because as we continue to battle the virus itself with our test and trace, public health and community group partners, we must also pursue with vigour our devolution bid work. Without that all-important ‘devo deal’ we will not be in the position we need to be to drive forward economic renewal for North Yorkshire.

So together with our colleagues in the City of York, that is exactly what we are doing. A great deal of hard work continues to ensure that our bid for devolution offers the county and Government the best possible option to drive that economic revival. The best possible chance to protect and create jobs here. The best opportunity to protect and enhance frontline services and of course – the best possible value for money.  

As we prepare our proposals, we do so based on a sound knowledge and understanding of the people and the communities we serve. We protect and educate the county’s children, we go into people’s homes to help them live longer, more fulfilling lives within their communities and we know every street! We look after them!

We are determined to deliver a stronger voice for everyone as part of this work. But how would we do this? Via 25 community networks consisting of businesses, local members and community groups and offering everyone a bigger say in what matters to them. Challenge and governance would be delivered via area committees and strengthened town and parish councils. There are nationally recognised models of success that prove the case – such as Durham’s here: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/north-yorkshire-single-council-plan-backed-empowering-local-communities

We have also now received confirmation from Government that our size is within the scope of their plans for devolution and you can read more on that here: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/minister-confirms-position-bid-keep-county-together

We are trying to outline our position, while also being open to challenge and discussion, because we want our case to be strong and sound.

Our focus is on getting the very best for the county. Simplifying things for the public, businesses and partners, strengthening services and local voices and saving on the waste that currently exists. That waste equates to tens of millions of pounds every year. We firmly believe that breaking up the county of North Yorkshire, splitting up nationally acclaimed services that protect our most vulnerable residents and continuing with wasteful duplication with multiple local councils is not in the best interests of revitalising the economy or delivering sustainable high-quality frontline services. 

Bids need to be agreed and submitted to Government over the coming weeks. They will be published and you will be able to examine them in full. National Government will decide which have merit and will take those forward for public consultation. I will keep you all informed of where we are in this process throughout.

Before I sign off this week, I just want to outline a little about tomorrow’s A-level results in North Yorkshire. The predicted grades which make up this year’s A-level results are the result of teacher calculations. So, teachers looking at mock exams, classwork and homework and then exam boards standardising the results. Last night the Government announced pupils in England could use the grades awarded from mock exams if they are unhappy with the ones awarded. Students can also request to resit the exams directly with their school. Schools will be on hand tomorrow to provide advice on the next steps for students, from university applications to information on apprenticeships, jobs or offer any other form of support needed. Good luck to all those who will have worked so hard!

Thank you for following our weekly bulletins and please do support your local businesses in any way you can. Big thanks also for working with us as part of Team North Yorkshire to keep the county safe. Courtesy of your collective and continued efforts we are doing well, compared to many other areas in fighting Coronavirus. That doesn’t mean we can drop our guard as we are managing outbreaks with health partners on a weekly basis. So keep up the good work and, as always, stay safe. 

Keeping in touch

NYCC’s website has a dedicated area for all the latest COVID-19 related news visit: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-advice-and-information

Follow us on social media: @northyorkscc on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Update from Dr Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health

The number of new cases in the county is currently between 2 and 3 per day. As previously noted, some of these are linked to our testing of care homes residents and staff, but there continue to be some cases linked to a small number of outbreaks we are managing across the county. The virus has most definitely not gone away and we urge people to continue following advice on social distancing, frequent handwashing, and staying at home if you (or anyone you live with) has symptoms.

You will have seen in the news this week that NHS Test & Trace and Public Health England are planning to extend their working relationship with local authorities in order to reach more people testing positive and their contacts, to prevent further spread of COVID-19. This will involve NHS Test & Trace working more closely with public health teams to identify local solutions where the national system has been unable to contact individuals within a set time limit. Further details of the scheme are yet to be announced, but for North Yorkshire this should build on our existing relationship with PHE and our approach to contact tracing during outbreaks so far.

Although shielding has now been paused, support offered by NHS Volunteer Responders will continue until at least December 2020. Our local support will also continue for those who need it, co-ordinated via the customer service centre (01609 780780).

Since 8 August, face coverings have become mandatory in more public enclosed places – for a full list of locations see here: Face coverings: when to wear one and how to make your own. However, that doesn’t mean these are the only places where it is appropriate to use a face covering. With the holiday season and the sunny weather some parts of the county are seeing larger than usual crowds, including in outdoor spaces – while we urge everyone to maintain 2m social distancing, should this not be possible then wearing a face covering will help to decrease the risk of spreading COVID-19.

Working together towards recovery

Testing

As part of the national testing programme for coronavirus, drive-through Mobile Testing Units, run by the Department for Health and Social care, will be operating in the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • Thursday 13 August - Whitby - Whitby Park and Ride, Whitby, YO21 1TL
  • Thursday 13 August - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4T
  • Friday 14 August - Northallerton - Allertonshire School, Brompton Road, Northallerton, DL6 1ED
  • Friday 14 August – Harrogate - Harrogate Old Education Offices, Ainsty Road, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG1 4AP
  • Saturday 15 August – Selby – South Entrance, Drax Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Sunday 16 August – Scarborough – Scarborough Park & Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough YO12 4LW
  • Monday 17 August - Skipton - Coach St car park, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 1LH
  • Monday 17 August - Northallerton - Allertonshire School, Brompton Road, Northallerton, DL6 1ED
  • Tuesday 18 August - Thornton Le Dale - National Trust Car Park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Pickering, YO18 7RR
  • Tuesday 18 August – Harrogate - Harrogate Old Education Offices, Ainsty Road, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG1 4AP

Before you attend you must book a test. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. 

Watch this video to find out what to expect and how to prepare for the test: https://youtu.be/QawyKwIIfKQ

Find out more and how to book at www.northyorks.gov.uk/testing

Supporting our schools and childcare

Schools are preparing to share their A-Level results with students tomorrow.

Following the cancellation of summer’s exams after the nation went into lockdown, this year’s results have been based on calculated grades.

The results were calculated based on teacher predictions of what students would have achieved if this year’s A-Level exams had gone ahead. For each student, teachers based their decision on a range of evidence, including non-exam assessments such as classwork, homework and mock exams before carrying out internal moderation processes and providing a rank order of students for exam boards. Exam boards then standardised the results based on a process decided with Ofqual, the government’s body for regulating exams following wide consultation. Yesterday evening, the Government announced pupils in England had the right to appeal to use the grades awarded from mock exam results if they are unhappy with the ones they have been awarded.

A-Level students can also request to sit their exams, which can be requested directly through their school between now and September 4 with exams taking place in the autumn term.

The Government has announced it will not hold schools and colleges to account on the basis of exams and assessment data from 2020 and this year’s results cannot be used by organisations such as Ofsted and local authorities to assess the performance or progress of schools and colleges. As a result, this year’s results from schools in North Yorkshire will not be collated by the County Council.

All children are expected to return to school from the week beginning September 7, in line with the Government’s intentions that schools will fully re-open and the full home-to-school transport networks will be back in operation.

Schools have planned individually how they will arrange children in bubbles to minimise contact, using risk assessment templates which have been developed by the local authority in conjunction with head teachers, and in consultation with unions. They have used strategies such as one-way systems, minimising movement around school buildings and additional hygiene measures and facilities. They may also include adjustments to timings in the school day, lunchtime arrangements and changes to start and finish times. Throughout the pandemic, schools have been provided with a named education adviser who has supported them and addressed any individual concerns over the safe opening of schools.

Outbreak procedures have been developed in conjunction with local Public Health colleagues and have been in place for some time. If a suspected outbreak were to occur in a school, then colleagues in Public Health will support schools on an individual basis and advise on actions which should be taken.

In conjunctions with headteachers, North Yorkshire has also produced guidance to support schools manage a range of potential lockdown restrictions through a series of scenario plans.

Teamwork to support our residents

With shielding now paused, North Yorkshire residents who remain vulnerable to coronavirus and continue to need assistance with shopping and other essentials are being helped by community support organisations (CSOs). Although the vast majority of the people who had been receiving Government food parcels and prescription deliveries are being supported by family and friends, for the small number who don’t have those networks the safety net of the CSOs is a lifeline.

Alan Kane has been shielding with wife Sue as they both have lung disease. He said: “We have managed and it has got easier, but knowing someone was looking out for us was marvellous and I’m very glad it’s continuing. Me and Sue have to shield because of our lung disease – if we catch anything, it could be incredibly dangerous.

“At first it was very hard not seeing anyone, especially the family and my grandchildren. But knowing we had the volunteer organisations behind us to help was incredibly reassuring and it still is.”

Alan and Sue have had their prescriptions delivered by volunteers throughout lockdown, but they also appreciated the time taken by volunteers to simply call and check they were okay.

“If one good thing has come out of this it’s how friendly people have been and how willing to help. The volunteers who helped me could have sat at home and not, but they’ve put themselves out there and keep doing so.”

Community support organisations and an army of more than 1,500 volunteers continue to support over 3,000 people every week with shopping, prescriptions and other essentials as well as helping people begin to build their confidence and regain some independence.

For people who have needed financial assistance to pay for food and household essentials, more than 800 Covid-19 support grant scheme awards have been made through the community support organisations since March. The majority of applicants have long-term health conditions or weakened immune systems.

Those who need help with shopping, prescriptions and other essentials but don’t have anyone to call on, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780. The centre is open seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm.

People can also find details of local voluntary and community groups offering support at www.northyorkshireconnect.org.uk

For more information go to www.northyorks.gov.uk/help-you-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Social care and NHS services

Antibody testing

We are working with NHS acute trusts to roll out antibody testing for social care colleagues. Antibodies are proteins produced by the body in response to infections, including viruses such as SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). Antibodies can be produced in response to the virus itself (i.e. when the virus enters your body) or in response to vaccination.

Antibody tests look for antibodies in the blood, which means they are carried out by taking a blood sample rather than a swab. A positive test indicates that you have previously had the virus, even if you have not had symptoms.

For some infections, the presence of antibodies provides a degree of immunity against catching the disease (or having serious consequences of the disease) again. However, there is no evidence yet that the presence of antibodies to COVID-19 gives any immunity to prevent getting the disease again.

This means that even if individuals have a positive antibody test they should still consider themselves susceptible to catching and passing on the virus in the future. Individuals should not change their behaviour or work patterns on the basis of a positive test, nor should employers or others expect them to do so. Social distancing and handwashing guidance remain as important as for those people who have not developed an antibody response

PHE Services

An updated overview of Public Health services available during Coronavirus can be found here https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/public-health-services-during-coronavirus-covid-19 , services including are:

  • Health Visiting and School Nursing Services
  • Lifestyle Services e.g. Substance Misuse, Smoking, Sexual Health, Healthy Weight
  • NHS Health Check Programme
  • Warm and Well

PPE

Throughout the pandemic we have been supporting health and care settings around personal protective equipment (PPE), including access to emergency supplies through the Local Resilience Forum. The government is currently expanding access to the national PPE portal, which means more setting will be able to access PPE (and in greater quantities) than previously. For more information on who is able to access the portal, and the weekly stocks available, please see: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/ppe-portal-how-to-order-emergency-personal-protective-equipment.

Growing our local economy

Shop Local Week celebrates our local businesses

More than ever this year, we’ve all learned to appreciate and be proud of our local businesses in North Yorkshire, and do all we can to support them.

During the pandemic we set up www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local - our online marketplace offering free advertising for businesses who form a vital part of Team North Yorkshire. They offer a huge range of services and many of them have gone above and beyond to support their customers over the last few difficult months.

This week is Shop Local week, and we are proud to say that there are now 720 local businesses registered, from village stores to well-known North Yorkshire brands. Pages on the site have been viewed over 100,000 times since it was launched in April.

There’s never been a better time to show your support for local retailers and tradesmen, and there are countless examples of businesses adapting to serve their customers during Covid-19 – read more here.

If you’re a business owner, why not register today?

Customers – search on Buy Local for everything from florists and solicitors, to take-aways and builders!

www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local

LEP News: Online recruitment webinar

To respond to changing recruitment needs, have teamed up with Clare Hutchison from One to One Recruitment to deliver a one-hour recruitment workshop to help businesses better understand the virtual recruitment landscape and succeed in hiring superb talent.

This free webinar on the 25 August at 12:15pm with help to understand:

  • How candidates consider the job market
  • The types of skills and attributes you need
  • How you can support the candidates during a virtual recruitment process.

To register, visit here.

New apprentices support service

Government has announced a new online and telephone support service for apprentices who have lost their jobs during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Redundancy Support Service for Apprentices (ReSSA) aims to ensure apprentices can access local and national services to provide financial, legal, health and wellbeing support, and help them to find a new job should they need it.

The service’s website can be viewed here

Job Retention Bonus update

Further details of the Government’s new Job Retention Bonus have been unveiled by HMRC.

Businesses will receive a one-off payment of £1,000 for every previously furloughed employee if they are still employed at the end of January next year.

Small business leadership schemes

The government has provided £20m to support two new leadership programmes, helping small business leaders grow their companies in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic have been announced.

The Small Business Leadership Programme will focus on strengthening decision-makers’ leadership skills, whilst the Peer Networks Programme will focus on helping business owners improve their problem-solving skills, through a series of guided exercises.

West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce has announced several new webinars:Chamber of Commerce webinar series

  • Thursday 10 September; British Chambers of Commerce – In Conversation with Ambassador Woody Johnson, US Ambassador to the UK
  • Tuesday 22 September; British Chambers of Commerce – In Conversation with Andrew Bailey, Governor of the Bank of England

Details of these can be found here .

Office 'How to Return Safely' guide

A government film has been produced offering guidance on returning to the office safely. It can be watched at: https://bit.ly/OfficeGuideNorth

Stay informed

Government: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support

Y&NY LEP: https://www.businessinspiredgrowth.com/covid-19/

Y&NY Growth Hub: https://www.ynygrowthhub.com/how-we-can-help/coronavirus/

Creative lockdown ideas

Great North Yorkshire sons and daughters – Marie Hartley, Ella Pontefract & Joan Ingilby

A trio of women whose actions, passion and amazing talent led to the preservation of the rich heritage of the Yorkshire Dales are being celebrated in the Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughters campaign.

Marie Hartley, Ella Pontefract and, later, Joan Ingilby worked together for more than 75 years and were experts on the social history of the Dales. The women travelled across the county collecting stories, written material and artefacts, all of which they brought back to the cottage they shared at Askrigg in Wensleydale.

Read more about Marie Hartley, Ella Pontefract and Joan Ingilby and Made in North Yorkshire at: www.northyorks.gov.uk/made-in-north-yorkshire

Online music lessons

Our service has adapted to allow lessons to be taught online to pupils unable to attend school. We offer the full range of instruments, including brass, woodwind, strings, percussion, voice and keyboard. Lessons are delivered by specialist instrumental teachers over a secure connection.

We were among the first music service to pioneer this approach and are very experienced in it. For details, visit www.northyorkshiremusichub.co.uk or email MusicServiceTuitionRequests@northyorks.gov.uk

Scavenger hunt at home

You may not be able to spend long enough outside to enjoy a scavenger hunt but why not try one at home? https://www.thebigsmokeevents.com/the-stuck-at-home-scavenger-hunt

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

It’s a strange old world just now, isn’t it? Face masks or coverings are the new norm, hand sanitiser is available to use in many shops and restaurants, café’s etc, and one-way systems keep us safely apart. It’s truly commendable to see how the vast majority of us are just taking it in our stride and making the most of our slightly unusual new way of living and working.

In fact, to be honest, I bet I am not the only one who sometimes forgets what life was like before we had to take such precautions to protect ourselves and our loved ones. Our Test and Trace team are working regularly with health colleagues to help manage and close down the small number of outbreaks we are seeing and this approach is very effective here. However, we must exercise maximum caution because we can see that the virus continues to wreak havoc on communities where it is able to take hold again. Sadly, a number of our neighbours in the north of England are back in harsher degrees of lockdown and I am aware that this has resulted in some concern here in North Yorkshire. Please don’t forget our future is in our own hands, literally. So, please wash your hands regularly, carry hand sanitiser and stay at least 2 metres from people not in your household where you can. Where that’s not possible, take additional precautions, like wearing a face covering.  Now is not a moment to lose concentration; lives and livelihoods here continue to depend on us all playing our part. Thank you for playing yours.

It is without doubt, a critical moment for our economy too. Coronavirus has delivered a massive shock to so many of our businesses. Our world-renowned hospitality industry has been extremely hard hit and that’s continuing to have an impact on the very many people who depend financially on the visitor and hospitality industry, including their supply chains. The number of people furloughed in North Yorkshire is 85,000, the second highest in the north of England, behind Leeds. We will need to take some pretty dynamic action to drive our recovery from this. Our best chance of maximising renewed economic fortunes is to land a devolution deal. That’s a simple fact. Devolution will give us the money and local powers we need to supercharge investment in skills and job creation initiatives, superfast broadband and mobile connectivity and to build a better transport infrastructure. It means we can prioritise what matters here and make locally-led decisions on those. That’s incredibly important in a county like ours where there are many different communities spread out across a large geographic area – there isn’t a one size fits all – and devolution will mean much more power closer to people.

You may already be aware that to land a ‘devo deal’ we need to make big changes to local government here. That means the 8 councils currently delivering services to you must become one or two. Our position is very clear. One council is the only proposal that makes sense. It’s the only option that delivers maximum gain and least disruption. All the other options would split up the county, cause the biggest upheaval and deliver significantly less by way of savings. You may also have heard claims that a single council for North Yorkshire, serving all 610,000 residents, would be a ‘super council’. My response to that is that it would be a ‘super’ council, delivering best value and keeping our county together! However, any suggestion that our current county footprint would be unacceptable to Government can be scotched immediately. We have that in black and white from the minister himself, confirming the benefits of councils of scale and clarifying that our bid would be within the scope of Government’s ideas for unitary councils. 

Equally, you may hear claims that a new single council delivering all your services can not be local. Nonsense. You only need look at the success of our colleagues in Durham and Cornwall. Both have been single councils for more than a decade, delivered annual savings of between £20 and £25 million a year, maintained a strong financial footing, delivered high quality services and empowered communities. Our proposal would do likewise and strengthen local decision making, giving you a stronger voice. Through ‘double devolution’, we would pass on more powers, and the money to back them up, to those town and parish councils that wanted them. At least 25 community forums, covering market town areas, would offer residents, voluntary groups and businesses the platform to have their say and deliver on local priorities. Area committees would provide challenge to a new council, and oversight. We are carefully examining the success of other single councils to ensure all learning can benefit our proposal here.

I am aware that local government reorganisation is not the most scintillating conversation topic for everyone, but make no mistake, it is the only way to get the money and powers we need to renew the economy here and to be able to punch our weight regionally and nationally, so we need to get on with it.

Before I go, I would like to bring you some more inspiring stories of some of the people who have and continue to make North Yorkshire so special.  You may already have heard about our Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughters campaign. The latest to feature is a trio of women whose actions, passion and amazing talent led to the preservation of the rich heritage of the Yorkshire Dales.

Marie Hartley, Ella Pontefract and, later, Joan Ingilby worked together for more than 75 years and were experts on the social history of the Dales. The women travelled across the county collecting stories, written material and artefacts, all of which they brought back to the cottage they shared at Askrigg in Wensleydale.

Marie Hartley MBE, was born 29 September 1905 and was the author and co-author of 40 books documenting the social history of the Dales. There’s more on this story on the link below:

https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/women-devote-75-years-preserving-countys-rural-traditions

And here is another story of how a relatively small effort has made a big difference to a micro business trying hard to recover from the pandemic impact.  Just a week after the first birthday of the Old Post Office micro bar in Ingleton, it was forced to close as the UK went into lockdown. But, the support of North Yorkshire County Council highways team has eased the load and sparked a creative solution. An outdoor seating area means they can serve more customers and continue to provide a community spot for people in the small village to gather. It’s a tale of resilience and collaboration – typical of what we see going on across the county and there’s more on that here:

https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/post-office-pub-community-hub

Stay safe and look after yourselves.

Keeping in touch

NYCC’s website has a dedicated area for all the latest COVID-19 related news visit: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-advice-and-information

Follow us on social media: @northyorkscc on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Update from Dr Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health

The number of new cases in the county is currently between 2 and 3 per day. Some of these are linked to our testing of care homes residents and staff but we do have small outbreaks from time to time in other settings. For example, we are working with Wensleydale Creamery where they have reported that five colleagues who work within their production area have tested positive for Covid-19. We have provided tests for all members of the production team and are awaiting the results. Measures are in place to contain the spread of the virus. There have been no cases detected at the separate Wensleydale Creamery Visitor Centre which remains fully open.

On the 1st of August, shielding was paused. This means that people who were defined as extremely clinically vulnerable, will no longer have to stay at home; they can start socialising with other people and go to work/school. However, it is still very important that, people who are extremely clinically vulnerable, are particularly vigilant about social distancing and frequent hand washing and limit the amount of people they come in contact with. The national Guidance on shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19 provides more information for people who have been shielding.

From the 8th of August, the use of face coverings will become mandatory in more public, enclosed places. At the moment, face coverings are mandatory in shops, supermarkets, post offices, banks, public transport and hospitals when attending as a visitor or outpatient. From the 8th of August, they will become mandatory in libraries, cinemas, theatres, museums and places of worship. A comprehensive list of places where face coverings will be mandatory can be found here: Face coverings: when to wear one and how to make your own.  

It is also worth to note that the isolation period for those who have symptoms of COVID-19 or have tested positive is now 10 days rather than 7 days that it was previously.

Working together towards recovery

Testing

As part of the national testing programme for coronavirus, drive-through Mobile Testing Units, managed by the Department for Health and Social care, will be operating in the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • Thursday 6 August - Whitby - Whitby Park and Ride, Whitby, YO21 1TL
  • Thursday 6 August - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4T
  • Friday 7 August- Northallerton - Allertonshire School, Brompton Road, Northallerton, DL6 1ED
  • Saturday 8 August – Selby – South Entrance, Drax Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Sunday 9 August – Scarborough – Scarborough Park & Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough YO12 4LW
  • Monday 10 - Northallerton - Allertonshire School, Brompton Road, Northallerton, DL6 1ED
  • Tuesday 11 - Thornton Le Dale - National Trust Car Park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Pickering, YO18 7RR
  • Tuesday 11 – Harrogate - Harrogate Old Education Offices, Ainsty Road, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG1 4AP

Before you attend you must book a test. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. 

Watch this video to find out what to expect and how to prepare for the test: https://youtu.be/QawyKwIIfKQ

Find out more and how to book at www.northyorks.gov.uk/testing

Supporting our schools and childcare

September will mark an important move back towards normal life for many children and their families with the return to school for all year groups. The start of the new academic year will see work beginning on catching-up missed education and the opportunity for children and young people to have important contact with their peers, as well as the return of a traditional routine

Schools in North Yorkshire are currently finalising their risk assessments ahead of the full return to school for all year groups. There won’t be a one-size-fits-all approach to planning; school leaders are best placed to understand the needs of their school communities, but the County Council is providing support to schools in their decision-making. Parents will be notified in due course on the arrangements for home-to-school transport, but normal school transport arrangements will largely resume.

The County Council is also involved in planning for any potential local lockdown, which includes schools and how education will continue in the event of a local outbreak.

Teamwork to support our residents

Across the county, many residents have relied on the vital help of community support organisations and thousands of willing volunteers. Over the past few weeks, residents, who have been shielding since March, have been contacted to reassure them this help will continue despite the pause in shielding. Colleagues in our customer service centre have put alternative arrangements in place to make sure we are able to help those residents who still need support. Our partners at North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, the district councils and our own council staff have all been volunteering to check in on people. It’s been a huge team effort, and the reassurance of continues support has provided much comfort to those who are vulnerable.

Peter Murray, from Scarborough, suffers from COPD and asthma. He said: “I’ve been shielding since February but I got a letter from the NHS advising me to do it officially in March. The County Council has been fantastic and the volunteer who helped me was a really nice person – he deserves an award. Just polite, lovely to chat to. He always kept his distance from me but always made time to make sure I was alright.”

In Selby, Tina Whiteley was supported by volunteers as she entered the long recovery process from coronavirus. Tina, a mental health nurse who has asthma, contracted Covid-19 in March. Tina said: “When I came out of hospital I was shielding, which was hard because I was isolated. I physically couldn’t go out either because my blood oxygen levels were so low – walking to the kitchen to make a drink just about took it out of me. Getting up the stairs I had to go one step at a time.”

Tina realised she was running out of medication and had no-one available to collect her prescription for her. But a call from the council alerted her to the fact that support was available and she could get her medication delivered by a volunteer. She said: “They went and got my medication and brought it back. It’s simple but it helped me so much because I didn’t have to worry about it. When I found out they were there it was a big reassurance to me and I’m glad it’s carrying on.”

People who are self-isolating and need help with things like shopping and prescriptions, but don’t have anyone to call on, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780. Open seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm. People can also find details of local voluntary and community groups offering support at www.northyorkshireconnect.org.uk. For more information about support available go to www.northyorks.gov.uk/help-you-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

Social care and NHS services

Our Adult Weight Management Service is being seen as a vital route for residents to improve their health and lifestyle after Public Health England launched the national Better Health campaign.

In North Yorkshire, 61.3 per cent of adults in 2017/18 were overweight or obese, which is on par with the UK average. People living with obesity are twice as likely to be hospitalised with Covid-19.

Therefore, for many, the past few months have been a wake-up call and people are recognising that it is time to get back on track after gaining weight over a long period of time.

Our service, which is fundamental to the North Yorkshire Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives strategy, is free to eligible adults for up to 24 weeks and works to develop people’s self-esteem, confidence and motivation while giving practical advice and activity sessions to achieve 5 per cent weight loss at 12 weeks and sustain it at 24 weeks.

The service provides a tailored approach for each person who is referred. Throughout lockdown the service continued supporting clients but was unable to take on new people. However, most services are now once again accepting GP referrals and it is hoped that over the coming months there will be an increased offer.

We commission the service across North Yorkshire, though it is delivered by a different provider in each district.

Scarborough and Ryedale NHS Weight Management Service client Caroline Shepherdson has really enjoyed the remote service. She said: “The virtual group has kept me focused. I have been able to pick up valuable information and tips from my weekly catch-ups.”

Caroline continued: “I feel that we have received a personal service. You get a more focused experience and learn about individuals. I don’t feel that the power or focus has been lost because the meeting is online.”

Selby resident James Stone got involved with the programme after becoming a father for the first time and being fed up with feeling unhealthy. In Selby, the programme is called Move it to Lose it and is delivered by Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles at Selby Leisure Centre.

James said: “I have enjoyed taking control of my diet now that I understand more. It is nice being able to eat treats but in a controlled way that doesn’t feel too restricted. I started swimming much more when the leisure centre was open and have since been increasing my cycling during lockdown.

“I have managed to lose 22kg so far and I am now on the 12-week maintenance programme after achieving the target weight loss. I feel so much better for it and after struggling over the past six years to maintain my weight I am now glad to be able to control my diet.

“It’s an excellent programme and I have made new friendships and now support newcomers in feeling safe and welcome over Zoom calls and have recommended it to loads of people.”

Jo Hardiman, from Skipton, is full of praise for the programme and advisors Hannah Storey and Mark Hampton. In Craven, the service is called Healthy Lifestyles Weight Management Programme and is delivered by Craven District Council.

“I’m absolutely over the moon with the way the programme has worked for me,” said Jo. “I’ve tried to lose weight several times, but this is the only thing that’s worked for me. I’ve really enjoyed becoming much more active.

For more information on the Adult Weight Management Service, visit

https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/healthy-weight-and-eating-well

Growing our local economy

LEP News: £15.4m investment for York & North Yorkshire

Infrastructure schemes to benefit from £15.4m secured by York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership have been announced. Money has come from the Government’s Getting Building Fund, following a bid by the LEP in June which outlined a list of local projects capable of boosting economic recovery from COVID-19. Ten projects have now had funding approved and will receive a share of the £15.4m pot.

Government to refund council cost of keeping York Central project moving - as £77m confirmed

The Government will reimburse City of York Council for money it has committed to keep the York Central project moving forward. And the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has written to the council to confirm the arrangements for £77.1 million of essential funding for the scheme.

Reporting outbreaks of coronavirus

COVID-19 early outbreak management information has been created to make sure that people who run businesses or organisations:

  • Know how to recognise and report an incident of COVID-19; and 
  • Are aware of measures local health protection teams may advise in order to contain it.
  • In addition, 'action cards' have been developed to cover a range of businesses and organisations to provide specific advice on the issues each type of organisation may face now lockdown restrictions have been eased.

More small businesses to benefit from loans under CBILS

More small businesses can benefit from loans up to £5 million under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). Previously businesses which were classed as ‘undertakings in difficulty’ were unable to access CBILS because of EU rules. From today, businesses in this category and which have fewer than 50 employees and a turnover of less than £9 million can apply to CBILS.

Construction Talent Retention Scheme

The BEIS funded Construction Talent Retention Scheme is now live with an overarching aim to address a mass skills shortage in the sector. The scheme will specifically facilitate talent matching and employee loans on a temporary basis between business and supply re-deployment of staff at risk of redundancy from other sectors, given the overlapping competencies.  

Eat Out to Help Out

Many eateries across the region have signed up to take part in the Eat Out to Help Out scheme. Diners are encouraged to take advantage of this offer, where if eating-in, they can benefit from a 50% discount, up to a maximum of £10 per person, on food and non-alcoholic drinks, any Monday to Wednesday in August.

Stay informed

Government: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support

Y&NY LEP: https://www.businessinspiredgrowth.com/covid-19/

Y&NY Growth Hub: https://www.ynygrowthhub.com/how-we-can-help/coronavirus/

Creative lockdown idea

Online music lessons

Our service has adapted to allow lessons to be taught online to pupils unable to attend school. We offer the full range of instruments, including brass, woodwind, strings, percussion, voice and keyboard. Lessons are delivered by specialist instrumental teachers over a secure connection.

We were among the first music service to pioneer this approach and are very experienced in it. For details, visit www.northyorkshiremusichub.co.uk or email MusicServiceTuitionRequests@northyorks.gov.uk

Scavenger hunt at home

You may not be able to spend long enough outside to enjoy a scavenger hunt but why not try one at home? https://www.thebigsmokeevents.com/the-stuck-at-home-scavenger-hunt

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

It is a real joy to be able to start with some great news for families in Selby today. I am very pleased to be able to confirm that our plans for a Special Free School have taken a big step forward – with the announcement of the sponsor. The Wellspring Academy Trust has been selected by the Department for Education to take the school on and to deliver much needed support for families in the area who have children with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND). Currently, pupils with SEND in the area must travel for some distance to get the help and education they need – so this is really welcome news. We believe that every child should have the best possible opportunities in life and we are passionate about pursuing that goal – this school will make a really positive difference for many families in Selby. Helping some of our most vulnerable young people to enjoy school life as close as possible to where they live is at the heart of our approach. You can read more about the free school here  https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/special-school-selby-takes-major-step-forward

It’s also very nice to be able to talk about more great things you all continue to achieve during the pandemic. Take the ‘virtual’ community celebration taking place this Friday in the Esk Valley, for example.  Residents there continue to keep their spirits up and stay connected with all sorts of things like sharing exercise and music sessions and even virtual walks. You can read all about what they have been up to - and the terrific tale of North Yorkshire Moors National Park volunteer and assistant ranger, Jim Hall on the link just below. It’s a lovely story and just typical of the team spirit and selflessness we continue to see right across the county.

https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/community-celebrates-lockdown-triumphs

We have been keeping busy, too – as you would no doubt expect. I have talked previously about how government has told us that the only way to secure the substantial money and local powers that go with devolution is to get rid of the current local government structure here. In brief, that means the eight councils in existence becoming one or two. The order covers York and North Yorkshire and is a really important moment for everyone. We want the very best deal and the strongest, most sustainable public services for everyone. That’s why, yesterday, we made it clear we are working on a bid that will deliver that.

Ours will be the only bid that won’t break up North Yorkshire. The only bid that will deliver best value and annual savings to strengthen and protect services of around £25million pounds a year. It will offer you a stronger say in what matters in your area through what we are calling a ‘double devolution’ approach. By that, I mean we would hand on down the powers and money to those town and parish councils that wanted it, to deliver on your very local priorities. We would also give you a stronger voice through a network of community forums serving market town areas.

Ours is the only bid that will ensure that brand North Yorkshire, and all the values it stands for, stay intact and which respects our identified geography. And the only one which respects the integrity of the City of York, which is already a single tier council providing all services to its residents and businesses. Our bid also follows in the success of other single councils serving whole counties, such as our neighbours in Durham and colleagues in Cornwall. We have been researching their experience to learn from the very best of them and talking to them about the very significant financial savings and service improvements they have been able to deliver thanks to their scale and strength. This learning is important and extremely relevant here.

You can find out more about our proposal here  https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/north-yorkshire-kick-starts-unitary-bid-secure-devolution-deal

Signing off for this week, I cannot leave you without wishing you all happy Yorkshire Day for August the 1st.  I hope you spend it celebrating the very many wonderful things you have done and continue to achieve as part of that team. Our very own North Yorkshire Youth Choir have continued to work together virtually across the county, throughout lockdown, and have produced some really inspiring music. We are very grateful that they have let us use their beautiful rendition of ‘Song of the Sea’ as the theme for our ‘Thank You’ video to Team North Yorkshire.

They are an inspirational member of that team and we hope you enjoy their performance https://youtu.be/Et0Ak2l2sKc

Stay safe and well.

Keeping in touch

NYCC’s website has a dedicated area for all the latest COVID-19 related news visit: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-advice-and-information

Follow us on social media: @northyorkscc on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Update from Dr Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health

Across the UK there have now been 300,692 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 up until 28th July, sadly with 45,878 COVID-associated deaths. To date, there have been 2,562 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across North Yorkshire – we are currently seeing an average of 2 new cases per day across the county. The infection rate in North Yorkshire remains lower than the national and Yorkshire & Humber average rates.

We continue to proactively work with businesses, accommodation settings and other organisations across the county to help keep them COVID-secure. It has been good to see so many people complying with the new guidance on face coverings, which are now mandatory in shops and supermarkets as well as on public transport. It is still advised to maintain 2 metre social distancing wherever possible, but using face coverings in crowded places and regular handwashing will help to minimise the risk of transmission. More information on face coverings is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own.

Testing and contact tracing remain key elements of both the national and local response to COVID-19. If you develop symptoms of coronavirus you should self-isolate at home (along with any other members of your household) and arrange to get tested as soon as possible by visiting www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or by ringing 119. If you test positive, you will be contacted by NHS Test & Trace and asked to provide information on who you have been in close contact with since 48 hours before your symptoms started. You may also be contacted by Test & Trace if you have been identified as a contact of someone who has COVID-19 – you will be asked to isolate at home for 14 days (as it can take up to 14 days for symptoms to appear). For more information visit: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-and-tracing/.

Working together towards recovery

Testing

As part of the national testing programme for coronavirus, drive-through Mobile Testing Units, run by the Department for Health and Social care, will be operating in the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • Thursday 30 July - Whitby - Whitby Park and Ride, Whitby, YO21 1TL
  • Thursday 30 July - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4T
  • Friday 31 July - Northallerton - Allertonshire School, Brompton Road, Northallerton, DL6 1ED
  • Saturday 1 August – Selby – South Entrance, Drax Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Sunday 2 August – Scarborough – Scarborough Park & Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough YO12 4LW
  • Monday 3 August - Northallerton - Allertonshire School, Brompton Road, Northallerton, DL6 1ED
  • Tuesday 4 August - Thornton Le Dale - National Trust Car Park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Pickering, YO18 7RR

Before you attend you must book a test. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. 

Watch this video to find out what to expect and how to prepare for the test: https://youtu.be/QawyKwIIfKQ

Find out more and how to book at www.northyorks.gov.uk/testing

Visiting care home residents

We appreciate the benefits of seeing family for mental health and wellbeing during these difficult times, however this needs to be balanced with the risk of introducing COVID-19 into the care setting. Guidance has been shared with care providers for them to facilitate care home visits in a variety of ways, making sure measures are in place to keep residents and staff safe. Our in-house care homes are working on arrangements at each location with the intention of commencing visits from next week (3rd August). An Easy Read version will be ready to share by the end of this week.

Supporting our schools and childcare

The development of a special free school for the Selby area has taken a major step forward with the naming of the academy sponsor for the project. 

The opening of a special school has been widely supported locally and we made the successful bid for a free school to Government as it is an important part of our strategic plan for SEND provision in the county.

The Department for Education has now named the Wellspring Academy Trust as the sponsor to take on the school, which will meet a long-standing need of families in the area with children with special educational needs and disabilities.

At present, there is no special school in Selby, which means children and young people from the area who need special education have to travel to another part of North Yorkshire, often for long distances, or out of the county.

It will reduce travelling time and, therefore, the time children spend away from their home and community. There will also be greater opportunity to have health needs met locally, to be part of community events and developments and to prepare for adulthood in their own area.

We already work closely with the Wellspring Academy Trust on special education provision in the Harrogate area as it runs the Grove pupil referral unit in Harrogate and The Forest School, a special school in Knaresborough, and we look forward to developing a positive partnership in Selby.

The proposed school will cater for up to 100 pupils aged three to 19 and the Government expects that the school, which is one of 35 announced for England, will open after September 2022.

Work with the DfE, in respect of the site and the building, is developing but is in the early stages. The planning authority for the school will be Selby District Council. A planning application for the school will be submitted by the DfE’s consultant and the date for this has yet to be determined.

Grow and Learn

It is never too early to start talking, singing and reading to babies – that’s the message at the heart of ‘Grow and learn’ – our initiative to improve speech, language and communication in young children for when they start school.

Singing nursery rhymes and other songs, and chatting and reading to children are key ways of developing their early language.

“These don’t have to be done at a set time – they can be done any time to fit in with daily living”, said Ruth Little, School Readiness Co-ordinator at North Yorkshire County Council. 

“We’ve put together a summer activity calendar for parents and carers with children under four – you can get the whole family involved and keep everyone entertained!

“The activities in the calendar will promote play and opportunities for children to explore the world around them. This in turn supports their learning and development which will help them to be ready to start school.”

Find the calendar and more chat, read, sing and play ideas, plus information about how to join your local library at: www.northyorks.gov.uk/growandlearn 

Look out for Grow and Learn on @northyorkscc

Video of Song of the Sea: https://youtu.be/BwwGFHK5tV8.

Teamwork to support our residents

Community support organisations (CSOs) continue help people returning to carrying out ordinary tasks such as shopping for themselves. In Richmondshire, members of a walking group have started meeting in small numbers and setting off at timed intervals. Most of the members are over 70 and have been self-isolating. This step towards a return to ordinary life is a positive move forwards. For people who do still need support with shopping, prescriptions and other essentials, CSOs will still be there as part of Team North Yorkshire’s help for those who need it.

Although shielding pauses from August 1, and the national programme of food and prescription deliveries ends, we are making sure no-one slips through the cracks. Over the past few weeks we have been contacting residents, who have been shielding, to reassure them that alternative arrangements are in place for help with shopping and other essentials where this is required and a volunteer is deployed to carry out a door knock check if people can’t be contacted.

Alan Kane, has been shielding with his wife Sue as they both have lung disease. He says simply knowing the CSOs and the team of volunteers were there to help him was incredibly reassuring and made himself and Sue feel less alone during lockdown.

Alan said: “If we catch anything, it could be incredibly dangerous. At first it was very hard. But knowing we had the volunteer organisations behind us to help was incredibly reassuring and it still is.”

Alan and Sue have had their prescriptions delivered by volunteers throughout lockdown, but they also appreciated the time taken by the volunteers to simply call and check they were okay. He said: “We have managed and it has got easier, but knowing someone was looking out for us was marvellous and I’m very glad it’s continuing. If one good thing has come out of this, it’s how friendly people have been and how willing to help. The volunteers who helped me could have sat at home, but they’ve put themselves out there and keep doing so.”

People who are self-isolating and need help with shopping, prescriptions and other essentials but don’t have anyone to call on, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780. The centre is open seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm. People can also find details of local voluntary and community groups offering support at www.northyorkshireconnect.org.uk. For more information about support available go to www.northyorks.gov.uk/help-you-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

Growing our local economy

Local pub gives back to the community

North Yorkshire Buy Local (www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local) is the online marketplace set up by North Yorkshire County Council to help local businesses survive and thrive.

There are now over 700 businesses registered from across the county, forming a vital part of Team North Yorkshire by offering a huge range of services.

For Vicki Jowett, owner of The Buck Inn, a traditional country pub at the heart of Thornton Watlass near Ripon, being a community pub is about much more than serving quality food and drink to her customers. Now, and during lockdown, Vicki and her team have gone out of their way to support the local community, doing anything from shopping to providing an outdoor library.

Vicki has also found new customers through offering take-aways and deliveries, and well over 100 people viewed The Buck Inn on Buy Local.

Register your business and tell your network about the Buy Local market place today!

www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local

Please share our social media messages encouraging businesses to register, and directing the public to the site. Follow @northyorkscc on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

County Leader urges Freeport approval

The creation of a Freeport on Teesside could bring major employment benefits to North Yorkshire, the Leader of the County Council has told Chancellor of the Exchequer and Richmond (Yorks) MP Rishi Sunak.

In a letter to the Chancellor, Cllr Carl Les urges that Teesport be given Freeport status now.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen is leading a proposal to Government for a Freeport on the Tees. He believes it could create 32,000 jobs over 25 years. Much of North Yorkshire would be in commuting distance for these jobs, he says, and the benefits of the wider economic upturn would extend into North Yorkshire, for example supply chains operating from Stokesley and surrounding areas.

Cllr Les welcomes the forecast creation of jobs and a projection that a free zone could create £2bn of additional annual gross value added.

In his letter to the Chancellor, he writes: “Whilst there will be clear and obvious direct benefits for the Tees Valley, it is my firm belief that these will also be felt strongly in North Yorkshire.

“I am extremely encouraged by these projections and their potential positive impact in North Yorkshire. As you will understand, more than most, many of those living in North Yorkshire have jobs located in the Tees Valley and the boost a Freeport would provide for industries around the port and in the extensive supply chains would be a very welcome boost to jobs in the North Yorkshire area. As we emerge from the coronavirus pandemic, creating good-quality, well-paid jobs is going to be critical and this is an ideal opportunity to begin this progress.”

With this in mind, he urges the Chancellor to act now to grant Freeport status to Teesport, rather than to wait until other ports are ready to compete for the status, pointing out that Teesside is ready to go now and could begin to deliver benefits quickly.

Cllr Les says: “Once the criteria have been drawn up and have been set out, I believe that the awarding of Freeport status for Teesside could be accelerated as its proposal would comfortably meet the necessary demands. Once the other areas across the country reach the stage Teesside is currently at, they would compete for the remaining spots using the same criteria. By taking this approach, Government can accelerate this job creating policy in a fair and appropriate manner.

“As we navigate our way through this economic recovery, we cannot waste time and it seems logical to take this approach to the roll-out of Freeports.”

LEP News

York & North Yorkshire LEP’S annual report published

York and North Yorkshire’s emergence from the COVID-19 pandemic into a Greener, Fairer, Stronger economy is highlighted in the latest annual report from the regions’ Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

The report also reflects £220m of investment secured by the LEP across the region in infrastructure, business and skills and looks ahead to the area’s forthcoming recovery plan and Local Industrial Strategy.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme updates

The government has launched a new calculator to help employers with their next CJRS claims.  Employers can now also download a new template if claiming for 100 or more employees through the scheme.

NHS Test & Trace & Face Coverings in the workplace

Guidance on the NHS Test and Trace service for employers, businesses and workers has been updated this week to include a new section on collecting customer and visitor data and additional information on if a worker develops symptoms and orders a test. Updated guidance on wearing face coverings can be read here

Further business re-opening

Bowling alleys, indoor skating rinks, casinos, exhibition halls and conference centres are due to reopen from 1 August. For guidance, access here

Eat Out to Help Out

Establishments are now signing up to this scheme which offers diners discounts throughout August. The government is encouraging people to Eat Out to Help Out – look for the logo

FCO advises against non-essential travel to Spain and Islands

People arriving in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland from Spain (including islands) from 25 July 2020 will need to self-isolate for 2 weeks due to the increasing risk of COVID-19. Read here for full details.

Government’s push to promote better heath

PHE has launched the Better Health campaign to support people to live healthier lives and reduce their risk of serious illness, including COVID-19.

The government has also launched a £2bn programme to boost cycling and walking to embed the benefits of walking and cycling into how we live, work and get around.

Government’s UK Transition Business Toolkit

The government has launched a new campaign and toolkit - The UK’s new start: let’s get going - to help businesses prepare for the end of the transition period on 31st Dec 2020.

FastFutures Digital Skills   

A new digital and personal skills programme has been launched by FastFutures, targeting school leavers and looking to bridge the gap from education to employment. It will prioritise those from underrepresented groups.

Backed by businesses such as AstraZeneca, AO.com, Barclays, NHS, Tate and Lyle, the programme is free to learners and applications are open now until 13 August 2020.

Pay rises in public sector

Nearly 900,000 workers will benefit across the country, with teachers and doctors seeing the largest rise at 3.1% and 2.8% respectively recognising their efforts on the frontline during the battle against COVID-19.

For more information, visit: Pay rises for doctors, police and more in the public sector

Creative lockdown idea

Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughters – John Carr

A man whose legacy is threaded through North Yorkshire’s roads network is the latest subject of the Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughters campaign. The latest nominee is renowned Georgian architect John Carr. Carr served as the North and West Riding “bridgemaster”.

Read more about John Carr and Made in North Yorkshire at: www.northyorks.gov.uk/made-in-north-yorkshire

Online music lessons

Our service has adapted to allow lessons to be taught online to pupils unable to attend school. We offer the full range of instruments, including brass, woodwind, strings, percussion, voice and keyboard. Lessons are delivered by specialist instrumental teachers over a secure connection.

We were among the first music service to pioneer this approach and are very experienced in it. For details, visit www.northyorkshiremusichub.co.uk or email MusicServiceTuitionRequests@northyorks.gov.uk

Scavenger hunt at home

You may not be able to spend long enough outside to enjoy a scavenger hunt but why not try one at home? https://www.thebigsmokeevents.com/the-stuck-at-home-scavenger-hunt

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

I hope that many of you are enjoying some more relaxing family time as the school holidays start and we continue to see more of our shops, cafés, pubs, restaurants and other attractions reopen. There does appear to be a greater sense of confidence growing through our communities right across the county. We recognise that everyone is individual and has their own thoughts on what they feel comfortable with – but we are heartened by the very many businesses that are displaying their Covid-safe messages for customers and inviting people to enjoy their favourite haunts and pastimes once more.

Don’t get me wrong, it is absolutely right that we move forward with caution and that we stay alert to the risks of coronavirus because, as we know, it is still very much amongst us. So, we must continue to take the now familiar precautions like handwashing, keeping a safe distance and using face coverings where appropriate, but equally we can now support our local businesses and help them recover too. The experience may be different in this new norm – but the spirit and welcome we are famous for is still very much there and that is something of which we can all be proud. In North Yorkshire, we are renowned for our resilience, strength and honesty but, let’s not forget, our locally produced food and drink offer is pretty hard to beat; so, please support our businesses if you feel able. They have also had a tough time and many people have lost their jobs – together we can help drive our economic prosperity forward and do what we do best here, get on with things.

So, what have we been ‘getting on with’?

A lot! Our current focus is very much on continuing to work with you and our partners to drive forward economic recovery, alongside supporting those who still need our help during the pandemic. We think we are doing a good job but don’t take our word for it. We have just published our performance and you can make your own mind up. Alongside taking a leading role in fighting the many impacts on the county from Covid-19, we have successfully operated the high quality ‘business as usual’ services you expect. We have, for example, invested £10million in surface dressing roads with a further £6 million on repairing potholes. 

We have worked closely with Community Support Organisations since the start of lockdown to deliver help ensuring no one was alone. I will let you decide if you think the support we have given to some of our most vulnerable residents, is time and money well spent.

Our Stronger Communities team has:

  • Deployed on average 1,400 volunteers per week delivering 50,000 volunteer hours;
  • Supported 2,800 people per week;
  • Delivered 625 prescriptions per week;
  • Delivered 820 food shops per week;
  • Processed 703 Covid-19 grants for food or energy worth £66,675;
  • Responded to 38,200 contacts from the public; and
  • Welcomed 2,000 new library members.

Thank you to every single one of you who has given, and who continues to give, their time and energy to help us move forward together from the pandemic and I have every confidence we will come through this in the best possible shape thanks to your collective efforts.

You can read more about the work we have undertaken here https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/north-yorkshire-shows-evidence-high-performance-through-pandemic

You may also have seen some of the recent media coverage on the situation around devolution for North Yorkshire. You will be aware that this is the way we hope to secure substantial funds and powers to ensure that the priorities delivered here are the ones you actually want and need. The Government is now clear that to get our share of the money and powers we will have to end the current district and county structure of local government and ‘unitise’. We firmly believe a single council would serve you better by ending duplication and cutting red tape. As proven in other similar areas where this has happened – it would also save tens of millions of pounds a year. Money which could support stronger services and give you a much bigger say on decision-making and priorities at a more local level. How would we do that? Well, via community forums mapped to market town areas, stronger town and parish councils and empowered area committees. I am well aware this is what may be termed as a bit of a ‘dry’ subject, but it is critical to every one of you and our businesses. We don’t want to see North Yorkshire broken up and all the disruption to services and additional costs that would mean. We want to see the whole county grow and prosper together, playing to its strengths and punching its weight nationally. We will outline how we hope to see this in a public document which will be published in the coming weeks for our elected members to consider and which I would then hope we will formally submit to Government. It will then be for Government to consult on and make a decision.  

So, a lot still going on! There is no let up!

If you are fortunate enough to be able to enjoy some relaxing time just now, before I go, I just wanted to remind you that our online directory is free and full of activities for families and children over the summer holidays. I hope you find it helpful

https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/free-directory-help-parents-and-carers-find-holiday-activities-and-childcare

Keeping in touch

NYCC’s website has a dedicated area for all the latest COVID-19 related news visit: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-advice-and-information

Follow us on social media: @northyorkscc on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Update from Dr Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health

World Health Organisation data shows that we have now passed 14 million confirmed cases globally, with over 607 thousand deaths across 216 countries, areas or territories.

At a national level, yesterday’s (21/07) Public Health England data show there have been 295,817 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the UK, with 45,422 COVID-associated deaths. To date, there have been 2,544 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across North Yorkshire (an increase of 11 since last week). The infection rate in North Yorkshire is lower than the national and Yorkshire & Humber average rates.

The number of people currently in hospital with COVID-19 continues to decrease slowly. There have been 542 COVID related deaths recorded in North Yorkshire, with an estimated 258 North Yorkshire residents having died in hospital to date from COVID-19. You can see the latest confirmed cases of coronavirus by area on the Government's website.

From this Friday (24th July), face coverings will become mandatory in shops and supermarkets across England. This will provide additional protection in situations where it is not possible to maintain 2 metre social distancing at all times (although this is still the recommended distance wherever possible). Regular handwashing remains very important, including when putting on and removing your face covering. More information on face coverings is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own.

If you develop symptoms of coronavirus you should self-isolate at home (along with any other members of your household) and arrange to get tested as soon as possible by visiting www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or by ringing 119. If you test positive, you will be contacted by NHS Test & Trace and asked to provide information on who you have been in close contact with since 48 hours before your symptoms started. You may also be contacted by Test & Trace if you have been identified as a contact of someone who has COVID-19 – you will be asked to isolate at home for 14 days (as it can take up to 14 days for symptoms to appear). For more information visit: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-and-tracing/.

Working together towards recovery

Testing

As part of the national testing programme for coronavirus, drive-through Mobile Testing Units, run by the Department for Health and Social care, will be operating in the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • Wednesday 22 July - Scarborough - Scarborough Park & Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough YO12 4LW
  • Wednesday 22 July- Harrogate - Hydro Leisure Centre, Jenny Field Drive, Harrogate HG1 2RP
  • Thursday 23 July - Whitby - Whitby Park and Ride, Whitby, YO21 1TL
  • Thursday 23 July - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4T
  • Friday 24 July - Northallerton - Allertonshire School, Brompton Road, Northallerton, DL6 1ED
  • Saturday 25 July – Selby – South Entrance, Drax Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Sunday 26 July – Scarborough – Scarborough Park & Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough YO12 4LW
  • Sunday 26 July – Harrogate - Harrogate Sports and Fitness Centre, Hookstone Wood Rd, Harrogate, HG2 8PN
  • Monday 27 July - Northallerton - Allertonshire School, Brompton Road, Northallerton, DL6 1ED
  • Tuesday 28 July - Thornton Le Dale - National Trust Car Park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Pickering, YO18 7RR

 Before you attend you must book a test. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. 

Find out more and how to book.

Upload ideas for cycling and walking improvements

As part of our ongoing commitment to support sustainable and active travel as the county recovers from the pandemic, we have launched an online form to allow the public to submit their suggestions for improvements to cycling and walking facilities.

Suggestions received will inform future funding bids by the authority.

The map-based submission form can be found at www.northyorks.gov.uk/socialdistancingandactivetravel People are asked to mark the location of their suggested improvement on a map and give details of the idea and why it would be helpful.

The move comes as we prepare our bid for a second tranche of funding, of up to £1,065,000, from the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Emergency Active Travel Fund. The bid must be submitted to the DfT by 7 August. The DfT’s guidance indicates that the focus of this round of funding is on providing for walking and cycling, providing an effective replacement for public transport and reallocating road space to pedestrians and cyclists. To be successful, any bid must meet the Government’s strict criteria. Any successful schemes must be delivered by 31 March 2021.

Chairman’s message of hope as he is re-elected

County Councillor Jim Clark was re-elected until next May at today’s full County Council meeting.

Continuing his office, Cllr Clark acknowledged the strength of the ordinary people of North Yorkshire, doing extraordinary things, along with health service employees, council staff and other key workers who have come to the forefront during the pandemic.

He said: “I want to thank all the people I had the pleasure of meeting as chairman in the first part of my year as chairman, especially the volunteers and carers, and all those who have stepped up to help their neighbours since the start of this pandemic. It goes to show that we are much better and stronger when we stand together.”

The new deputy chairman is Cllr Stuart Martin, who represents the Ripon South division.

Supporting our schools and childcare

Not many of us can hold a tune like members of the North Yorkshire County Youth Choir.

And despite not being in the same place, some of the young singers have managed to come together to perform, adapting to the “new normal”.

Singing socially-distant in their own homes, members of the choir performed and recorded a version of “Song of the Sea” to make up for the fact several of their live performances have been cancelled because of the pandemic.

Music service teacher Andrea Rhodes said the choir decided on the song for the virtual performance because originally it was meant to be part of a VE Day commemoration performance in Harrogate. The choir had been practising it throughout February but then the concert was cancelled along with a summer residential which the choir was also looking forward to; so although the virtual performance was a lot of work both students and staff have reaped the benefits.

Andrea sent the music out to choir members with a backing track sung by herself, with guitar and bass played by her son.

Then the singers donned their headsets and sung their part, which was then expertly mixed by Andrea’s son and a video put together by her husband.

The clip shows the young performers singing separately at home, but coming together as a real team, to create the melodic track. The video has had great feedback so far, so we hope the young people can feel proud of what they’ve achieved.

Andrea teaches music day to day for North Yorkshire and she’s had to adapt to instructing students virtually over video chat rather than visiting schools like she would before.

Our head of music service Ian Bangay said the videos made by all the County ensembles have been a lifeline for the students to express themselves. He also said the fact that the music service had continued through lockdown by moving all its teaching online had been hugely appreciated by families as it provided structure and a sense of normality to students learning from home.

Due to the constraints of Covid the music service will carry on teaching online in September but hopes to be back in schools and performing as ensembles as soon as possible.

Video of Song of the Sea: https://youtu.be/BwwGFHK5tV8.

Teamwork to support our residents

How we are adapting our service delivery during the pandemic

Support for people in isolation

Many people in North Yorkshire who have spent months self-isolating and shielding now need a helping hand with getting back into everyday activities. Community support organisations, who continue to be a vital element of Team North Yorkshire, will carry on helping those who need to limit their social contact and who will still need help getting food and medication.

Volunteers at Hambleton Community Action, one of 23 community organisations supporting people across the county, have adapted services to help those who feel ready to start venturing out. Chief Officer Liz Lockey said: “There’s been much talk about mental health but we have to remember that a lot of shielded people are elderly and have problems with their mobility. After months of staying indoors many have lost the confidence to go out. Our aim is to give people their independence back.

“We have been visiting people in their gardens or in groups of up to six at the park where everybody brings their own chairs and picnic. One lady was accompanied to walk up and down Northallerton high street after her doctor’s appointment to see how it had changed so she would have the confidence to go out on her own.

“With lockdown easing, volunteers are busy providing transport for hairdressing appointments and accompanying people shopping for the first time in months. We’ve had a few people tell us how they have missed going to the beach so hopefully we can soon offer day trips again.”

We are also continuing to contact people, who have been shielding, to give some reassurance that support will still be available after shielding is paused at the end of July. Colleagues in our customer service centre are supporting people to put alternative arrangements in place should they need it. If people cannot be contacted by telephone, one of our team’s volunteers will be deployed to carry out a door knock check. From 1 August, the Government is advising people to adopt strict social distancing rather than full shielding measures, and the national programme of food and prescription deliveries will stop. We know that most people have been supported by family, friends and neighbours while they have been shielding, but we want to reassure North Yorkshire residents that our support will continue for those who need it.

People who are self-isolating and need help with shopping, prescriptions and other essentials but don’t have anyone to call on, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780. The centre is open seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm.

People can also find details of local voluntary and community groups offering support at www.northyorkshireconnect.org.uk

For more information about support available go to www.northyorks.gov.uk/help-you-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Social care and NHS services

We have transformed the way we work and carried on delivering strong services across all areas through one of the most challenging periods in our council’s history, our newly published quarterly performance report shows.

The monitoring report, which will go before the Executive next week, provides robust evidence of progress, even during the Covid-19 pandemic, towards delivering on our ambitions as a council to be pioneering in the provision of high performance, high value services.

Our flexible approach to services has enabled communities to support each other during this unprecedented period and enabled us to work at speed, reconfiguring our adult social care services to meet the Covid challenge and moving to a 24/7 operating model. Transformation on this scale would normally take six to twelve months but was achieved in three weeks at the peak of the pandemic. 

Responding to new Government guidance during the pandemic quickly and effectively has been central to our endeavours and the work of our community support organisations to help the shielded and the isolated and the positivity and willingness of our staff to be flexible as required has been the biggest contributing factor to what we have delivered over recent months.

In addition, County Council teams, led by Adult Social Care and Public Health and working closely with the NHS, community groups and with care providers have worked hard to:

  • Carry out daily support calls to 235 care homes;
  • Ensure adequate levels of personal protective equipment  is available;
  • Ensure Covid-19 related  assessments are  completed quickly;
  • Deliver support 7 days a week across 5 acute hospital trust areas to facilitate rapid and appropriate discharge of patients;
  • Establish the capacity to distribute up to 800 Covid-19 swab tests per day through 2 satellite testing sites in Scarborough and Harrogate and 2 mobile testing sites.

Our key objective remains to prevent, reduce or delay the transmission and/or outbreaks of Covid-19 in care homes and extra care schemes and we continue to work hard with all our partners in the NHS and care setting providers:

  • to keep people who use services and the workforce safe and well; 
  • ensure safe services to people who do not have Covid-19;
  • keep Covid-19 free settings shielded so that they remain Covid-19 free;
  • Prevent, contain and manage outbreaks  
  • Prevent and reduce deaths, where possible

Where there have been problems, we have taken local action (quarantine beds to ensure safer discharge from hospital, PPE supplies/training/guidance, satellite testing units for care homes, testing care setting residents under 65) ahead of national policy being clarified or changed.

Following a recent change in Government policy, care homes for people over 65 and those living with dementia are able to access whole home testing through a national portal. This is in the process of being rolled out and will include all care homes by the end of August. This will mean all residents of care homes are tested every 28 days and that care staff are tested every week. Until this programme is completely rolled out, we are able to support care settings needing additional whole home testing through our Satellite Testing Site capacity.

The current position is much improved but as the general population moves out of lockdown, there is a risk of an increase in infection rates. This poses an increased risk of infection in care homes. We are currently considering the Government guidance in visiting to care homes and want to get the balance right between protecting residents and offering them some type of normality.

In order to prevent and contain future outbreaks, we, along with our NHS partners are currently:

  • Reviewing what has been learned from the initial pandemic;
  • Continuing regular calls and support to care providers;
  • Continuing additional social care funding for providers;
  • Reviewing hospital discharge arrangements;
  • Planning for a second wave and/or a severe winter

We will continue to work closely together to support and protect residents and care workers.

Growing our local economy

Buy Local: Lewis and Cooper serves customers old and new

North Yorkshire Buy Local (www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local) is the online marketplace set up by North Yorkshire County Council to help local businesses survive and thrive.

There are now over 700 businesses registered, from across the county, forming a vital part of Team North Yorkshire by offering a huge range of services.

Even the well-known North Yorkshire brand Lewis and Cooper has seen the benefit of free advertising on the site.

The multi-award winning, independent, gourmet food store based in Northallerton, stayed open throughout lockdown, but, like many other retailers, also adapted their business to offer phone and collect, and home delivery. Home deliveries were so popular, not only did the company serve the local community, but also had high demand nationally!

Nearly 100 people viewed their profile page on the site during lockdown.

Their high street store is welcoming customers from far and wide as confidence grows and people come back on to the high street to shop.

Julie Oxley-Hoyle, Deli and Wine Manager in the Northallerton store, told us about how the team has pulled out all the stops to reassure customers.

“We’ve done our best to keep everybody safe. We’ve put in place all the measures that we have been asked to do. Everything is as clean as it can be. We’ve moved fixtures out of the way so there is plenty of space for people to move around and to browse.”

“We are getting really excited about seeing more people, and we hope that they’ll come and see us.”

Hear more from Julie here https://youtu.be/gy2SDON-Ut4

Register your business and tell your network about the Buy Local market place today!

www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local

Please share our social media messages encouraging businesses to register, and directing the public to the site. Follow @northyorkscc on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

LEP News: Local Highlights

Yorkshire & Humber Tourism Business Support Questionnaire

In order to aid the recovery of the tourism sector, a series of funding streams will soon be made available to provide support to businesses in the visitor economy.

Welcome to Yorkshire is working with the 4 LEP Growth Hubs & Local Enterprise Partnerships across Yorkshire and the Humber, to help identify the most valuable way this funding can be used, and what the most impactful and beneficial resources to businesses are at this time.

A survey has been created to give the opportunity for stakeholders to have their say on the support needed from the Growth Hubs. This closed at 9am Wednesday 22nd July and will be analysed promptly to determine conclusions.

York & North Yorkshire High Street Network Facebook Group

A new Facebook group has been launched. Hosted by the York & North Yorkshire LEP and Growth Hub in partnership with the Federation of Small Business (FSB), the focus is to build links between the regions high-street businesses, local authorities, networks and organisations to drive collaboration, creativity and prosperity across our region.

This group aims to promote creativity, share best practice and provide a channel through which problem- solving and collaboration can flourish.

 To join this group, go to https://www.facebook.com/groups/569966023702112  or search “York & North Yorkshire High Street Network”.  Please promote this with stakeholders so that a strong network can be created.

Call to shape ambitious decarbonisation pathways

The first part of a major study commissioned by the (LEP), has identified what needs to change to realise our regional ambition to be carbon neutral by 2034 and carbon negative by 2040. This is key to our regional recovery vision of creating a Greener, Fairer, Stronger economy and Local Industrial Strategy.

Stakeholders and business leaders are now being asked to contribute towards developing policy to implement the study findings.

A survey consultation process launched on 20th July 2020 and will be closing on 7th August, with partners invited to take part in sector-specific surveys. Following this, the York & North Yorkshire LEP will then be working further with partners to co-create an ambitious “Roadmap Towards Carbon Negative”. This will build upon our existing Local Energy Strategy and Circular Economy Strategy to provide a clear pathway to a carbon-negative York and North Yorkshire.

For more information on this project and to find out how to get involved, please visit https://www.businessinspiredgrowth.com/carbon-abatement-pathways/.

Eat Out to Help Out registration

Restaurants and other establishments serving food for on-premises consumption can now register for the Eat Out to Help Out scheme. You can register if your establishment:

  • Sells food for immediate consumption on the premises;
  • Provides its own dining area or shares a dining area with another establishment for eat-in meals; and
  • Was registered as a food business with the relevant local authority on or before 7 July.

For further details and to register, visit: https://bit.ly/EOHORegistration. Registration will close on 31 August.

Creative lockdown idea

Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughters – John Carr

A man whose legacy is threaded through North Yorkshire’s roads network is the latest subject of the Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughters campaign. The latest nominee is renowned Georgian architect John Carr. Carr served as the North and West Riding “bridgemaster”.

Read more about John Carr and Made in North Yorkshire at: www.northyorks.gov.uk/made-in-north-yorkshire

Online music lessons

Our service has adapted to allow lessons to be taught online to pupils unable to attend school. We offer the full range of instruments, including brass, woodwind, strings, percussion, voice and keyboard. Lessons are delivered by specialist instrumental teachers over a secure connection.

We were among the first music service to pioneer this approach and are very experienced in it.

For details, visit www.northyorkshiremusichub.co.uk or email MusicServiceTuitionRequests@northyorks.gov.uk

A message from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

What a time of rapid change we are experiencing. While we are all, clearly, still driving forward our county’s response to, and recovery from, the Coronavirus pandemic - it would be remiss not to acknowledge the news this week regarding devolution.

So, let’s start there. Devolution, or devo as many call it – what does that mean for us all here in North Yorkshire? Well, stripped back to the basics, it means the transfer of powers, funding and decision-making from central government to a much more local level.  That means much more say in deciding what local priorities are in many key areas. English devolution aims to address historic inequalities and ensure that people across the whole country enjoy the same opportunities and quality of life. Typically, a devo deal delivers an investment pot, to the successful area, worth hundreds of millions of pounds, paid in instalments over 30 years. Decision-making powers are transferred to cover important areas such as transport and infrastructure, skills, housing, planning and economic development. Basically, it enables much stronger local level ‘place shaping’ -  by that I mean using all those local decision-making powers to build a stronger economy and deliver better life chances for everyone, regardless of where they live.

We have been working with the City of York, and the seven district and borough councils in North Yorkshire, for some time to put together a bid for devolution. Last week, we were told by Government that, in order to be eligible to bid for a devo deal, we will need to reorganise local government in the area. This would mean an end to the two-tier system currently operating. In essence, the nine councils covering York and North Yorkshire would need to establish one, or two, unitary councils and these would deliver all the services to residents and businesses.  As we look to drive economic recovery, following the devastation of the Coronavirus pandemic, at the County Council we believe it is right to respond positively to that challenge from Government.

There has never been a more critical moment to take dynamic action than there is now to secure a sustainable and value-for-money local Government structure for this county. We believe there are opportunities linked to this requirement from Government – not just to bring the region a successful devolution deal – but to simplify access to services, ending duplication and cutting red tape, to strengthen our County’s voice at a national level lobbying for more money and to save many millions of pounds annually which can be ploughed back into front line services – ensuring they are viable for the future.

There is no current consensus on what a new local government structure will look like, but we will be seeking to protect the boundaries of our historic county and the global brand and value the words ‘North Yorkshire’ carry. The timeline from Government is very tight – with bids invited for this September – so, as we go forward on this journey we will keep you informed and listen carefully to your views. As we do this, please be reassured that we remain very much focussed on continuing to fight Covid-19, while delivering the high quality public services you expect from us and we will work with our partners to do just that.

I hope you will all now have seen some of the promotional activity around the NHS Test and Trace service. Here, this sees our Director of Public Health, working very closely with Public Health England, manage the county’s response to outbreaks wherever they happen. We need to be very clear on the fact that outbreaks will very likely continue to happen for many months to come.  We need to shut these down effectively when they do to minimise the opportunity for the virus to infect more people.   To do this, we need your help. So, if you have symptoms, please book a test and isolate. Only leave home to get the test – you can do this at one of the mobile test units across the county or book a test online and there’s more information here  https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19-testing

By doing this, you are continuing to play your part in protecting your family and friends from a virus which has taken the lives of more than 500 people in our county and many tens of thousands of people nationally. The infection rate here is declining, thank goodness, but at any point it could rise again if we are not extremely careful.  You have been amazing – I continue to be humbled by the collective efforts of Team North Yorkshire - and we are now dedicating this newsletter to that response with a Team North Yorkshire title.

Thank you and keep it up in the months ahead.

A message from Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health

World Health Organisation data shows that we have now passed 13 million confirmed cases globally, with over 572 thousand deaths across 216 countries, areas or territories.

At a national level, yesterday’s (14/07) Public Health England data show there have been 291,373 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the UK, with 44,968 COVID-associated deaths. To date, there have been 2533 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across North Yorkshire.

The number of people currently in hospital with COVID-19 continues to decrease slowly. There has been 1 death from COVID-19 reported across Airedale, Harrogate, South Tees and York NHS Trusts during the last week. An estimated 258 North Yorkshire residents have sadly died in hospitals to date from COVID-19. You can see the latest confirmed cases of coronavirus by area on the Government's website.

At the moment, there is an average of 2 new cases of COVID-19 identified per day across the County. It is encouraging that case numbers are currently so low, and this is thanks to all the hard work everyone has put in to make sure that individuals, communities, and workplaces are kept safe. In order to keep COVID under control, we need to keep going with the measures that have been so important over the last few months, including frequent handwashing, and social distancing with people outside your household or bubble.

If you develop symptoms of coronavirus you should self-isolate at home (along with any other members of your household) and arrange to get tested as soon as possible by visiting www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or by ringing 119. If you test positive, you will be contacted by NHS Test & Trace and asked to provide information on who you have been in close contact with since 48 hours before your symptoms started. You may also be contacted by Test & Trace if you have been identified as a contact of someone who has COVID-19 – you will be asked to isolate at home for 14 days (as it can take up to 14 days for symptoms to appear). For more information visit: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-and-tracing/.

North Yorkshire Horizons – Drug and Alcohol Service

Horizons has continued to provide clinically critical face-to-face appointments and interventions throughout the response phase, with other assessments, appointments and groups delivered by telephone and digital means. The service has reviewed their COVID-secure risk assessment process across all 5 hubs, overseen by their lead provider Humankind, and are now in a position to extend face-to-face appointments from Monday 6th July.

This extension is strictly by appointment only (with the exception of needle exchange which will continue to be offered on a socially distanced drop-in basis, including at Pharmacies), to ensure that those who most need face-to-face care can be prioritised. Psychosocial support will still be available via telephone and/ or digital means (where required). Horizons is reinforcing symptomatic, social distancing and test and trace messages and have updated their website accordingly, and they have issued a statement on social media.

For more details, please contact their Single Point of Contact on 01723 330730 or visit their website: https://www.nyhorizons.org.uk/index.php/2020/07/01/were-extending-face-to-face-appointments/  

Horizons and Catterick Garrison – successful in gaining British Army funding

A pilot scheme to help soldiers at Catterick Garrison recover from alcohol and gambling addictions has now been funded for two years by the army and could be extended to cover other military bases across the UK.

Planning for recovery

Testing

As part of the national testing programme for coronavirus, drive-through Mobile Testing Units, run by the Department for Health and Social care, will be operating in the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • Thursday 16 July - Whitby - Whitby Park and Ride, Whitby, YO21 1TL
  • Thursday 16 July - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4T
  • Friday 17 July - Northallerton - Allertonshire School, Brompton Road, Northallerton, DL6 1ED
  • Saturday 18 July - Selby - South Entrance, Drax Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Sunday 19 July - Scarborough - Scarborough Park & Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough YO12 4LW
  • Sunday 19 July - Harrogate - Hydro Leisure Centre, Jenny Field Drive, Harrogate HG1 2RP
  • Monday 20 July - Northallerton - Allertonshire School, Brompton Road, Northallerton, DL6 1ED
  • Tuesday 21 July - Thornton Le Dale - National Trust Car Park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Pickering, YO18 7RR

Before you attend you must book a test. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. Find out more and how to book at www.northyorks.gov.uk/testing

County libraries continue phased return

North Yorkshire libraries are continuing a phased return of services this week, with sessions on public computers being available to book in advance at some branches and the restart of the Home Library Service. Libraries managed by North Yorkshire County Council at Scarborough, Harrogate, Malton, Whitby, Pickering, Filey and Skipton are offering limited access to public computers. Ripon, Selby, Northallerton, Knaresborough and Richmond will follow on 20 July.

Computers are placed to allow for social distancing and will be cleaned between each use. The number of computers available at each library will be reduced and sessions may be limited to 45 minutes, so you will need to contact your library to check availability and book before visiting. There will be some variations at community-run libraries. Customers are encouraged to check the Facebook page or website of their local community library for further information about the services they are offering and opening times.

This follows the launch of the Select and Collect service, which enables customers to phone or email their library to request the type of books they want, then later collect a selection hand-picked by a member of the library team. Library customers can also use a “library takeaway” service, which offers specially selected book bundles to borrow. There is a menu to choose from each week with details on local library Facebook pages. People can also return books, but have until 1 September to return any items borrowed before lockdown without accruing fines. Returned books are quarantined for three days.

All details and updates can be found on the County Council’s website, www.northyorks.gov.uk/CovidLibraries Alternatively, if people have queries they can call their local library or the library helpline number, 01609 533878.

Schools and childcare

Our directory of holiday activities for children and childcare providers in the county has been launched to help parents returning to work as lockdown restrictions ease.

Independent providers offering summer holiday activities can add details of their sessions to the directory for free on North Yorkshire Connect, an online community listings for North Yorkshire. The directory also now incorporates details of more than 100 child minders, nurseries and other early years providers.

The directory can be found at; https://northyorkshireconnect.org.uk

Independent providers, offering school holiday activities in North Yorkshire, can have a free listing by visiting the website and clicking on the “sign up” icon.

We will soon be welcoming a new assistant director to Children and Young People’s Services. Amanda Newbold will take up the post of Assistant Director for Education and Skills. Amanda will be joining during a period of great change, as schools adapt to new circumstances brought about by the pandemic and prepare to welcome back students from all year groups in September. Amanda will be well prepared for any challenges this may present with her 20 year career in education. Whilst working as a Headteacher, she improved her school’s Ofsted performance from Requiring Improvement to Good, while also overseeing the relocation of her school to a new site.

Most recently, Amanda helped 87 per cent of schools in the city to be judged Good or Outstanding by Ofsted while at the City of Wolverhampton Council. She will be replacing Judith Kirk who will be retiring in August. Judith has signed up to complete a two-person English Channel relay in 2021. We wish her all the best and welcome her to Team North Yorkshire.

Social care, the NHS and Public Health Services

How we are adapting our service delivery during the pandemic

Robert Swindells works as part of one of the adult social care teams serving the Whitby area.

Like other frontline workers across the County, Robert has continued to work during the Covid-19 pandemic – but has adapted in a big way to a new, socially distanced way of doing his job as a social worker.

Robert said: “The biggest part of our job is about communication, as well as assessing people, so that has been very difficult not being able to do it face-to-face.

“It’s about gathering information, developing a plan and forming a solution, all done via good communication.

“Generally this has been done face-to-face, but the Covid situation has denied us that ability to meet with our customers

“We work with many people, including our older residents, those with disabilities, people with mental health problems and those who might be homeless or may have issues with substance abuse, be asylum seekers or have other issues in their lives where they need our advice and support.

“So it’s been incredibly important for me doing my job to adapt in the best way to deal with the broad range of lives I come into contact with because of my job.

Robert, who also undertakes specialist working around safeguarding and in assessing people’s mental capacity, explained he’s had to adapt to be able to speak to people in a way they understand, especially when some people may not use the technology some of us have become so familiar with, like video calling.

He added: “For me, it’s been about having more regular contact in smaller doses.

“A lot of people are feeling overwhelmed at the moment, so it’s important to take time for answers and responses to assess people appropriately.”

Robert added, it’s also been important to work even more closely with other colleagues both within NYCC and within the NHS – and says he believes this team work has been a positive to come out of the pandemic.

He said: “We’ve had to learn to communicate more efficiently across our own teams and the teams we work with and I hope we keep that when we move out of the Covid emergency.”

Support for people in isolation

Team work continues the vital support for people in isolation

Over 3,000 shielded people in North Yorkshire have relied on the Government food and prescription deliveries which will end on 31 July. To help prepare people, we are contacting those who have needed help and support. Our customer service centre will support people to put alternative arrangements in place should they need it and our support for people who do not have anyone else to call on will continue.

From 1 August, the Government is advising those people, who were previously shielded, to adopt strict social distancing, rather than full shielding measures. People who have been shielding will be able to visit shops and return to work provided that their workplace is Covid secure. Priority supermarket delivery slots will continue but anyone who hasn’t registered must do so before 17 July. More information can be found at www.northyorks.gov.uk/help-you-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Last week our customer service centre made 18 new referrals to community support organisations from incoming calls and 23 following the outbound call campaign to people on the shielded list.

Since March, in a vital team initiative, we have worked with district councils and 23 community organisations across North Yorkshire to coordinate the voluntary sector network in each locality. 3,178 people received help through community support organisations last week and many are helping people build their confidence as they begin to regain some independence. Meal delivery, food shopping and prescription collection continue to be the areas of highest demand.

Jean Madden, 82, lives in Danby and has been supported by volunteers through The Heather Hopper, a community minibus service which helps to connect older people living in the Esk Valley. When lockdown started, the bus stopped running but Linda Grout and daughter Liz put plans in place to make sure everyone was coping and quickly adapted to start delivering meals in partnership with the Eskdale Pub in Castleton. Jean said: “Social isolation can happen very easily in rural areas. Since I haven’t been able to go out Linda and Liz ring up and have a ‘check in’ with me. They have wonderful drivers and wonderful assistants. Jean said the weekly meals are much appreciated. “It’s a wonderful idea, we’re very lucky that it’s happening.”

Since March, 781 Covid-19 support grant scheme awards have been made through the community support organisations, providing financial assistance to pay for food and household essentials during isolation. 43% are repeat awards and the majority of applicants have long-term health conditions or weakened immune systems. There have been 445 awards in the Scarborough area followed by 108 in Selby and 64 in Hambleton.

Those who need help with shopping, prescriptions and other essentials but don’t have anyone to call on, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780. The centre is open seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm.

People can also find details of local voluntary and community groups offering support at www.northyorkshireconnect.org.uk

For more information, including links to the main supermarkets for people who can shop safely for themselves, and a link to the Buy Local site, go to

www.northyorks.gov.uk/help-you-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Local economy

Buy Local – The pies have it as business beats lockdown

North Yorkshire Buy Local (www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local) is the online marketplace which brings together businesses and customers.

We’re urging all businesses, retailers and members of the hospitality industry to join the team by registering on the site to reach new customers and increase their visibility. On their Buy Local profile, businesses can outline the safety measures they have put in place to protect the public, and update their details to let customers know they are open and trading.

North Yorkshire pie maker, Vale of Mowbray – one of the over 700 businesses to register on Buy Local – continues to keep North Yorkshire fed with pies during the pandemic.

During lockdown, like many businesses in North Yorkshire, Vale of Mowbray demonstrated agility and resourcefulness by adapting to serve its communities. The company is known for its pork pies, but the core business of wholesale meat delivery all but disappeared at the start of lockdown. The team quickly set up an online meat delivery offer, and meatboxdeliveries.com was born.

Marketing and Events Manager Jason Crowe would recommend any North Yorkshire business looking to the future to register on Buy Local.

“I would strongly encourage people to register if they want to adapt or expand their business. They should get their name out there as much as they can, and if there are sources like Buy Local offering a free service then you can’t turn that down.” Read more at www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local

LEP News: Free leadership webinars for businesses

The York and North Yorkshire Growth Hub has teamed up with Michelle Mook of Pro-Development (UK) Limited to deliver a series of free leadership webinars.

During this series of one-hour webinars, Michelle will take us through ways in which we can lead our people in these current times. Full details and how to book your free place are available below:

Wednesday 22 July – Leading through change and adversity

Wednesday 29 July – Leading your team into recovery

Wednesday 5 August – Leading with purpose

These webinars are delivered in partnership with Make It York and North Yorkshire County Council.  Please feel free to share details of these events using this Communication Pack https://www.ynygrowthhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Free-leadership-webinars-Comms-Pack-07.07.20.docx

LinkedIn webinar

The York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub, in partnership with North Yorkshire County Council and Make It York, is hosting a session on LinkedIn. Working with Intandem Communications; this webinar is perfect for beginners as well as those already with a LinkedIn profile. For further details on this event on Thursday 30th July at 12;15pm, visit:  Using LinkedIn to expand your network and attract new opportunities

Watch on demand webinars

All York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub free webinars are recorded and will be available to watch again online via our website. Details of sessions currently available are provided below:

Knowledge transfer partnerships webinar

Delivered by the University of York, this new programme ­– the Management Knowledge Transfer Partnership (mKTP) – forms part of the existing £multi-million KTP Programme. The webinar will take place from 12:15 – 13.00 and businesses can register for free here.

A devolution deal for York & North Yorkshire

Announcements have been released regarding the first steps towards agreeing a York & North Yorkshire devolution proposal. The full statement is available here and on the LEP website https://www.businessinspiredgrowth.com/about-the-lep/devolution/.

NP11, the partnership that represents the 11 LEPs in the North, has launched the #NorthMeansBusiness campaign.

This will focus on showcasing the North as an innovative and resilient region. To get involved with this campaign, you can:

  • Tag @The_NP11 in relevant content that you want NP11 to engage with and share
  • Use #NorthMeansBusiness on content that is relevant to the NP11 campaign
  • Use #NorthernPowerhouse on content linked to the government agenda on the North

Or, please send in business innovation stories to tracy.blundell@businessinpsiredgrowth.com who can share them through the LEP communication channels.

National Highlights:  Face coverings to be worn in shops and supermarkets

The government has announced that the wearing of face masks will be mandatory in shops and supermarkets from 24 July. For further information on this, visit: Face coverings to be mandatory in shops and supermarkets from 24 July

Key re-opening dates: Further businesses are now able to open:

  • Outdoor pools and performing arts can now take place outdoors with a socially distanced audience present.
  • Beauticians, tattooists, spas, tanning salons and other close-contact services. Existing guidance on close contact services will be updated here: https://bit.ly/CV19CloseContactGuidance.
  • From Saturday 25th July- indoor gyms, swimming pools and sports facilities.
  • Further guidance on grassroots sport and gym/leisure facilities reopening can be found here: https://bit.ly/GymsLeisureReopening.
  • Full details of the re-opening statement can be found here: https://bit.ly/CSStatement

Updated guidance on government support schemes

  • Job Retention Bonus- This is a one-off payment of £1,000 to employers that have used the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) for each furloughed employee who remains continuously employed until 31‌‌‌ ‌January 2021. Employers will be able to claim the bonus from February 2021. 

More information about this scheme will be available by 31‌‌‌ ‌July and full guidance will be published in the autumn.

  • Eat Out to Help Out Scheme- during August, diners can get 50% off Monday to Wednesday on meals and non-alcoholic drinks, up to £10 per person, when eating at participating restaurants, bars, cafes and other establishments that have registered.

Establishments need to register to take part in this scheme- this can be done from 13 July 2020 and will close on 31st August. For more information, visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/get-more-information-about-the-eat-out-to-help-out-scheme/get-more-information-about-the-eat-out-to-help-out-scheme

  • VAT reduction – from 15‌‌‌ ‌July until 12‌‌‌ ‌January 2021, the UK government will cut VAT from 20% to 5% on any eat-in or hot takeaway food and drinks from restaurants, cafes and pubs, excluding alcohol. This VAT reduction also applies to all holiday accommodation in hotels, B&Bs, campsites and caravan sites, as well as attractions like cinemas, theme parks and zoos. For more information, read here 

Important dates on Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Employers need to claim by 31‌‌‌ ‌July for employees furloughed through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) for periods ending on or before 30‌‌‌ ‌June. From 1 August employers will no longer be able to use a CJRS grant to cover National Insurance (NI) and pension contributions for furloughed employees. Employers can submit August claims in advance, from 20‌‌‌ ‌July.

Free Recovery Advice for Business Scheme for Small Business

The Recovery Advice for Business scheme will give small firms access to free, one-to-one advice with an expert adviser to help them through the coronavirus pandemic and to prepare for long-term recovery. The platform is now live: https://bit.ly/EnterpriseNationSupport. 

Communications

NYCC’s website has a dedicated area for all the latest COVID-19 related news visit: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-advice-and-information

Follow us on social media: @northyorkscc on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Advice on things to do

Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughters – John Carr

A man whose legacy is threaded through North Yorkshire’s roads network is the latest subject of the Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughters campaign. The latest nominee is renowned Georgian architect John Carr. Carr served as the North and West Riding “bridgemaster”.

Read more about John Carr and Made in North Yorkshire at: www.northyorks.gov.uk/made-in-north-yorkshire

Online music lessons

Our service has adapted to allow lessons to be taught online to pupils unable to attend school. We offer the full range of instruments, including brass, woodwind, strings, percussion, voice and keyboard. Up to 32 lessons a year are offered, with a guarantee of 28. Lessons are delivered by specialist instrumental teachers over a secure connection.

We were among the first music service to pioneer this approach and are very experienced in it. For details, visit www.northyorkshiremusichub.co.uk or email MusicServiceTuitionRequests@northyorks.gov.uk

A message from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

I wonder how many of you enjoyed a suitably socially-distanced catch-up with friends or family at one of the many wonderful hospitality businesses which were able to safely reopen over the weekend.  I was delighted to support our local Covid compliant pub and, although it will take some time for these vital businesses to recover, seeing people supporting them safely is a very positive step. I am pleased to say our police force colleagues reported very little by way of issues linked to the latest easement of the lockdown rules and I join them in thanking everyone who ventured out to enjoy some long-awaited downtime in a careful and considerate way.  

Who would have thought a few months ago that the little things, like a good chat over a pint in the local beer garden, would become so treasured! But, in truth, it’s often the little things that make a really big difference to us.  Take the heart-warming tale of retiring Clerk to the Parish Meeting, octogenarian Rob Cattle, from the conservation village of Lastingham in the National Park.  For years, an old concrete and post fence has plagued the otherwise picture postcard village. Thanks to some thoughtful work by our highways team, support from our local ward councillor and Rob’s campaigning – his last job, after 10 years in his voluntary role, was to see the railings finally go. Another victory for Team North Yorkshire and the community spirit we all share.  I would like to offer him my personal thanks for his decade of volunteering and making a different at grass roots level – where it counts every bit as much as the big ticket items. You can read more about Rob here https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/parish-clerk-80-gets-final-job-done-village-retiring

Another seemingly small gesture that is making a tremendous difference to some of our most vulnerable young people in Scarborough is our mobile ‘Youth Club in a Boot’ initiative. It’s just one of the successful ways our Children and Families Support Workers have kept in touch with young people throughout lockdown. While youth clubs haven’t been possible due to Covid rules, delivering these packs has helped support face-to-face contact and given children and young people the chance to talk to their support workers personally.  In between visits, support workers are able to keep contact virtually through video calling, phone calls or WhatsApp messaging. I am constantly impressed by, and grateful for, the innovations and determination of our staff as they battle to continue with so many vital services in the most difficult of times. See more on this here https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/mobile-youth-club-helps-children-stay-safe-and-well

Actually that brings me onto another bit of gratitude. Thank you to the 35 organisations and individuals who responded to our invitation to suggest improvements to our cycling and walking facilities. We asked for your help to prioritise healthy travel schemes to support our bid for up to £1.06million in the second tranche of the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Emergency Active Travel Fund. Our highways teams are now looking at these in detail to see which could be delivered and will come back to you all. 

These requests are alongside the work officers have already done to create the County Council’s local cycling and walking plans, which include schemes that are bid-ready for when suitable funding opportunities arise. There’s more information here which I hope you will find of interest. https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/cycling-and-walking-groups-be-invited-rank-improvement-ideas

We are also busy getting on with reopening and expanding other services to help the county return safely to the new norm. That includes our ever-popular libraries. Hot on the heels of the successful launch this week of our ‘Select and Collect’ service, which enables customers to pick up a selection of reads, hand-picked to match their tastes by a member of the library team, we are now offering some computer access again.

From this coming Monday, libraries managed by us in Scarborough, Harrogate, Malton, Whitby, Pickering, Filey and Skipton will offer limited access to public computers. Ripon, Selby, Northallerton, Knaresborough and Richmond will follow suit on 20 July. Appropriate social distancing will be in place alongside other changes to keep you and our staff and volunteers safe – but it’s another good sign that I know will be welcomed by many people. If you want for details just click here https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/computers-and-home-delivery-libraries-continue-phased-return

So, lots going on but much still to do! Our Test and Trace team continues to support Public Health England and the NHS to manage and contain Covid-19 outbreaks across the county and infection rates continue to slow. While this is very welcome, the virus is most certainly not gone so please continue with hand washing, safe distancing and getting a test if you have symptoms. Let’s keep working together to bring our beautiful county back to where it needs to be. Thanks again for everything you are doing.

A message from Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health

World Health Organisation data shows that we have now passed 11.5 million confirmed cases globally, with over 537 thousand deaths across 216 countries, areas or territories.

At a national level, yesterday’s (07/07) Public Health England data show there were 286,349 lab-confirmed cases in the UK – this is lower than the figure reported last week following removal of duplicates across Pillar 1 and Pillar 2 testing.

Nationally, there have been 44,391 COVID-associated deaths. To date, there have been 2,517 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across North Yorkshire – this number has also changed since last week to include positive tests identified through both Pillar 1 and Pillar 2 (previously just Pillar 1 was reported). Pillar 1 tests are swab tests arranged through the NHS (e.g. in hospitals), and Pillar 2 tests are swab tests arranged through commercial partners (e.g. at Regional Test Centres, Mobile Testing Units and home testing kits). You can see the latest confirmed cases of coronavirus by area on the Government's website. 

The number of people currently in hospital with COVID-19 continues to decrease slowly. There have been no additional deaths from COVID-19 reported across Airedale, Harrogate, South Tees and York NHS Trusts during the last week, with the overall total staying at 656 (of whom an estimated 256 will be North Yorkshire residents).

Since publishing the North Yorkshire COVID-19 Outbreak Control Plan on 26th June, we continue to put in place the prevention and control measures set out in the plan. This includes working with partners to support education settings, care providers, workplaces and communities to prevent outbreaks of coronavirus and quickly control them when they occur. You can find our Outbreak Control Plan here: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/our-outbreak-plan

In the aftermath of the Leicester local lockdown, considerably more data is being shared between national and local government, with daily monitoring of key triggers points including cases, rates of infection, Covid-related hospital admissions and NHS111 calls. At this stage, North Yorkshire’s position is that our infection rates are much lower than Leicester, Bradford, Barnsley and other areas that have been highlighted nationally. However, events move rapidly and we need to remain vigilant, follow the rules on a safe easing of lockdown and continue to take personal responsibility (washing hands, keeping a distance of 1 metre plus, etc) as well as working in partnership with communities and across agencies.

Since 4th July, changes have been made to national guidance, particularly around the re-opening of hospitality and leisure facilities and meeting other households. For more information on these changes see: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do

Good conversations

Good Conversations skills training, supports frontline workers to Make Every Contact Count (MECC). It builds confidence, knowledge and skills required for good conversations in these very challenging times. The course has been designed for frontline workers who are in direct contact with the public, who wish to develop or sharpen their conversational skills, and who want to improve their knowledge of basic health and wellbeing advice and where to signpost people for further help.

The target audience includes workers who have been re-directed to respond to COVID19, and new volunteers who have come forward to help. Wide-ranging tasks delivered by these workers, include: telephoning to check on vulnerable residents; arranging food parcels and prescriptions; connecting to befriending activities and signposting people, coping with bereavement, to appropriate services.

Contact with the public is now frequently over the telephone. Face-to-face contact must be at a safe, and unusual, social distance. COVID19 has meant that many more frontline workers are having to deal with issues that matter to people (and that can impact mental health) that are outside of their comfort zone.

A link to the webinar platform Zoom will be provided around a week before the webinar commences:

Planning for recovery

Testing

As part of the national testing programme for coronavirus, drive-through Mobile Testing Units, run by the Department for Health and Social care, will be operating in the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • Thursday 9 July - Whitby - Whitby Park and Ride, Whitby, YO21 1TL
  • Thursday 9 July - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4T
  • Friday 10 July - Northallerton - Allertonshire School, Brompton Road, Northallerton, DL6 1ED
  • Saturday 11 July - Selby – South Entrance, Drax Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Sunday 12 July - Scarborough - Scarborough Park & Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough YO12 4LW
  • Sunday 12 - July - Harrogate - Hydro Leisure Centre, Jenny Field Drive, Harrogate HG1 2RP
  • Monday 13 July - Northallerton - Allertonshire School, Brompton Road, Northallerton, DL6 1ED
  • Tuesday 14 July - Thornton Le Dale - National Trust Car Park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Pickering, YO18 7RR

Before you attend you must book a test. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. 

Find out more and how to book at www.northyorks.gov.uk/testing

NYnet delivers connectivity boost to rural schools

High-speed connectivity provider NYnet, which is wholly owned by the County Council, is working to deliver gigabit-capable broadband connections to more than 20 rural primary schools in North Yorkshire as part of the Government’s commitment to improve internet infrastructure in rural and remote areas.

The Rural Gigabit Connectivity (RGC) programme is a multi-million pound initiative created by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), in conjunction with the Department for Education (DfE) and local authorities. 

Schools already connected under the programme have greatly benefitted from significantly improved broadband speeds of up to 100Mbps, and now have the capability to be further upgraded to 1Gbps in the future.

During the lockdown, schools have found that the significantly faster broadband speeds are enabling teachers to work remotely, take part in video conferencing and plan and set lessons.

Tockwith Church of England Primary Academy is among the schools chosen to be part of the programme. NYnet, in conjunction with North Yorkshire Education Services, has worked with Openreach to connect the school. 

Justin Reeve, Head Teacher of Tockwith Primary School, said: “We are delighted to be part of the RGC programme provided by NYnet. At Tockwith, we have always embraced technological advances, but the internet speed has always been a limiting factor for us – not any more. We currently have 165 Chromebooks in the school, so the new broadband connection will have a significant impact for us.”

Active travel

Cycling and walking groups are to be invited to prioritise active travel schemes that have been put forward, following an appeal to the public.

The County Council asked organisations and individuals to suggest improvements to cycling and walking infrastructure as it prepared to bid for up to £1.06m in the second tranche of the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Emergency Active Travel Fund as part of the national recovery from the pandemic.

The authority received about 35 requests from all over the county. Its highway teams have been assessing the requests to understand their delivery and feasibility. As soon as this is done, the council will share details with appropriate groups and ask them to rank schemes from highest to lowest priority. The groups’ responses will be considered as the council prepares its funding bid.

These requests are alongside work officers have already done to create Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans, which include schemes that are bid-ready for when suitable funding opportunities arise.

The County Council also confirmed that it will press ahead with the full package of work submitted in its tranche one bid to the Emergency Active Travel Fund to encourage social distancing, facilitate walking and cycling and stimulate the economy as North Yorkshire emerges from lockdown. The DfT’s gave the authority £133,000 – half the possible maximum – in that first tranche bid, but the County Council intends to supplement the DfT funding to ensure it delivers all the measures in its bid.

The County Council is awaiting formal guidance on the requirements for the second tranche submission.

Phased return of libraries

Libraries will continue the phased return of services next week, with sessions on public computers being bookable at some branches and the restart of the Home Library Service.

This follows the launch this week of a Select and Collect service, which enables customers to phone or email their library to request the type of books they want, then later collect a selection hand-picked by the library team.

From 13 July, County Council-managed libraries at Scarborough, Harrogate, Malton, Whitby, Pickering, Filey and Skipton will offer limited access to public computers. Ripon, Selby, Northallerton, Knaresborough and Richmond will follow suit on 20 July.

Social distancing measures mean fewer computers will be available, so people must call or email their library to book. Community-managed libraries also offer computer facilities. People should check with their local library to see what arrangements are in place.

Also restarting from 13 July, is the Home Library Service. Before lockdown, this volunteer service was delivering books to more than 1,600 people. To allow for social distancing, books will be placed on the doorstep rather than carried inside. To sign up for this service, visit www.northyorks.gov.uk/home-library-service or call your local library.

The aim is, that from the end of July, customers will be able to browse and pick their own books.

Details can be found at www.northyorks.gov.uk/CovidLibraries alternatively, people can call their local library or 01609 533878.

Schools and childcare

As the Government announced recently, schools will be fully re-open for all pupils in September. Children and Young People’s Services had already begun working with headteachers on scenario planning, to cover a number of eventualities for the start of the September term, including full reopening, further closures as a result of another spike and partial opening with blended home learning. This scenario planning will finish in case it is required for the future, but the focus is now on full re-opening.

Our directory for childcare which will, we hope, support parents and carers for the summer holidays has now been published; https://northyorkshireconnect.org.uk/ we are also adding details of summer holiday activities from independent providers to this county-wide directory and a variety of organisations providing support over this period.

Our music service has always been a shining light for the county, and the lengths it has gone to during lockdown to keep music teaching and learning and performance alive for children and young people is yet more proof that it is ahead of the game nationally.

Our music service was one of the first to pioneer online music lessons and we are now delivering 1,100 a week – a remarkable feat.

The pandemic led to a series of cancellations of major events planned by the service – the VE Day concert with 450 pupils from across the county at the Harrogate Convention Centre; the County Youth Orchestra & Choir residential courses and the Big Band Tour to Northern Ireland.  Disappointed, but undeterred, the music service got pupils to make videos of themselves singing “We’ll Meet Again” and the “White Cliffs of Dover” which were made into a virtual choir performance to commemorate VE Day, recordings which got nearly 50,000 viewings. 

In addition, the County Youth Orchestra has been involved in making a Guide to the Symphony Orchestra for primary children to learn about different instruments, how a symphony orchestra works and to hear the orchestra play together.

As part of the guide, section leaders of the orchestra recorded themselves talking about their experiences of learning to play an instrument and playing in the orchestra. 

All orchestra members have also recorded themselves playing the Radetsky March by Johann Strauss Snr with all recordings brought together in a video for streaming this month. A powerful learning tool and a great achievement all round.

Social care, the NHS and Public Health Services

We are currently looking very carefully at the implications of the Department for Health and Social Care’s next stage of the testing strategy for adult social care, which is being rolled out.

This next stage is based on advice from SAGE (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies) and Public Health England and evidence from the initial round of whole home testing and the results from our Vivaldi surveillance survey, which showed that many residents who tested positive for Covid-19 were not symptomatic. The DHSC has seen this as a significant milestone.

Retesting helps to prevent and control outbreaks in care homes and means steps can be taken to reduce the spread of the virus.

This next stage includes weekly testing of staff and testing of residents every 28 days in all care homes without outbreaks. Bank, agency and visiting staff such as social workers and Allied Health Professionals working in care homes are to be included in the weekly staff tests in care homes. 

This approach balances the need for regular testing of staff, who will potentially be more exposed to the virus with the fact that regular testing can be difficult and distressing for some residents. We are therefore giving very detailed consideration to the most effective and ethical way of testing our residents and staff. 

Initially the priority will be care homes for the over 65s and those with dementia because these homes were the first to receive whole home testing in the initial round of testing and based on SAGE and PHE advice.

Our Director of Public Health is being sent a list of care homes eligible for this first wave of retesting. Retesting will be expanded to the remaining adult care homes from early August.

The DHSC will review this strategy in September, taking into account prevalence levels in the community and local settings and the latest evidence. Based on this, the frequency of testing may be adjusted. 

We are heartened by the fact our work to support care homes during the Covid-19 pandemic with daily calls, staff training, deep cleaning and the mapping of outbreaks has brought the number of North Yorkshire care homes with Covid-19 outbreaks, of less than 14 days, down to eight out of a total of 67 homes that have had laboratory confirmed outbreaks.

This further development with regards to regular whole-home testing will mean that in the long term our care homes will be better protected. We have developed very close, positive work with our care home settings over these difficult months and no doubt we will work together on the best way forward to meet the challenges of carrying out this regular testing strategy.

Support for people in isolation

People who are shielding as a result of Covid-19 are now able to create a support bubble with another household if they live alone or they are a single parent. Those who have been shielding can also meet up to five other people outdoors while maintaining strict social distancing.

From 1 August, the national programme of food and prescription deliveries will end and the Government is advising people who are shielding to adopt strict social distancing, rather than full shielding measures. People who have been shielding will also be able to visit shops and return to work provided that their workplace is Covid secure. Priority supermarket delivery slots will continue but anyone who hasn’t registered must do so before 17 July. More information can be found at www.northyorks.gov.uk/help-you-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Of the 24,700 people shielding in North Yorkshire, more than 3,000 have relied on Government food and prescription deliveries while they stayed at home to protect themselves from coronavirus. We are contacting those people who have needed help and support over the last three months to help them prepare for the end of July.

So far, more than 140 people have been identified as needing help with food and prescriptions from August onwards. The customer service centre will help people who have been shielding put alternative arrangements in place, if they need it, and our support for people who do not have anyone else to call on will continue.

In Harrogate, volunteer Margaret Currie has been helping 47-year-old Loraine Wood who has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Loraine said “Margaret has been wonderful! Dropping food round and collecting prescriptions for me. She rings me up and I can have a chat with her. She’s an absolute sweetheart and is always there if I need anything.”

Community support organisations (CSOs) will continue to help people who have no one else to call on while they are isolating and throughout June CSO volunteers collected 2,804 prescriptions and delivered 3,668 lots of shopping. Other types of support include telephone befriending calls, pet care, organising meal deliveries and helping people continue their hobbies by delivering supplies. Many CSOs are also beginning to provide support for people to build their confidence by organising small, socially distanced gatherings and accompanied shopping trips.

People who are self-isolating and need help with shopping, prescriptions and other essentials but don’t have anyone to call on, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780. The centre is open seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm.

People can also find details of local voluntary and community groups offering support at www.northyorkshireconnect.org.uk

For more information, including links to the main supermarkets for people who can shop safely for themselves, and a link to the Buy Local site, go to www.northyorks.gov.uk/help-you-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Local economy

Buy Local – Door to door switch helps butcher meet the challenge of lockdown

North Yorkshire Buy Local (www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local) is the online marketplace to bring together businesses and customers.

With non-essential retailers and hospitality businesses now re-opened, we’re urging them to register on the site to reach new customers and increase their visibility. Buy Local also allows all businesses to outline the safety measures they have put in place to protect the public. Businesses can also update their details if they are already registered to let customers know they are open and trading.

This week, we got back in touch with James Knox, owner of Yorkshire Dales Meat. We spoke to James back in April when he admitted things were tough. Much of his wholesale revenue had vanished overnight, so he started doing doorstep deliveries to the public and quickly reached a whole new audience on Buy Local.

Now, James has opened Mill Close Farm Shop, and is continuing with click and collect and deliveries.  He said ‘Everyone is impacted in some way shape or form – everyone is in a similar boat, having to think on their feet, be agile and try to survive.’

Read more at www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local

Please share our social media messages encouraging businesses to register, and directing the public to the site. Follow @northyorkscc on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

LEP News: Local Highlights

Free leadership webinars for businesses

Covid-19 has caused unprecedented changes to the way in which many of us work, with minimal time for teams to prepare. To help overcome the challenges that this may have brought, the has teamed up with Michelle Mook of Pro-Development (UK) Limited to deliver a series of free leadership webinars.

During this series of one-hour webinars, Michelle will take us through ways in which we can lead our people in these current times. She will provide insights into what engages a team and how to bring out the very best in each and every one of them to help individuals, teams and the business flourish.

Full details and how to book your free place are available below:

These webinars are delivered in partnership with Make It York and North Yorkshire County Council.  Please feel free to share details of these events using this Communication Pack https://www.ynygrowthhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Free-leadership-webinars-Comms-Pack-07.07.20.docx

Social media support for business

The final session of the current series of webinars is tomorrow, hosted by York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub, in partnership with North Yorkshire County Council and Make It York.

Working with York PR and marketing agency Intandem Communications, this series of webinars have been popular so far.

Details of tomorrow’s session are below. Look out for further updates as there will be others scheduled.

Growing your social media presence- 9 July, 12:15-13:00, https://www.ynygrowthhub.com/events/social-media-growing-your-social-media-presence/

Circular Yorkshire master class for business

The University of York, in partnership with York & North Yorkshire LEP, is holding a series of master class events for business as part of this year’s Circular Yorkshire 2020 campaign.

These webinar events will look broadly at how shifting to a circular economy can help businesses as they recover post COVID-19.

The next event on Wednesday 15 July 2020, 4pm to 5pm will be led by Gavin Milligan from Green Knight Sustainability Consulting and will look at risks and mitigation in the agri-food system, and the role of circular economy principles in increasing the resilience of individual businesses within the overall system.

For further information and to book, visit https://www.york.ac.uk/management/events/2020/gavin-milligan-15-july/ 

If you are an individual, business, local authority or community group who would like to know more about Circular Yorkshire 2020 campaign, please sign up here or contact Katie Thomas on Katie.Thomas@businessinspiredgrowth.com

Support Love Local Business campaign

The York Press is running a six-week campaign called “Love Local Business” to promote businesses and shops in our communities as they get back on their feet post COVID-19 and start to recover.

The campaign highlights the amazing efforts of our businesses, in adapting to the challenges brought about by the crisis and encourages readers to support local shops and services.

We support this campaign and encourage all partners and stakeholders to promote this message as we join together to make our economy Greener, Fairer and Stronger through its recovery and beyond.

National highlights: “Plan For Jobs” to help Britain bounce back

The Chancellor today set out a ‘Plan for Jobs’ that will drive the UK’s recovery post COVID-19.

As the UK enters the second phase in its recovery, the Chancellor’s plan is designed to support jobs by focussing on skills and young people, create jobs with investment in shovel-ready projects and greening our infrastructure, and protect jobs through a VAT cut for the hospitality sector and a landmark Eat Out to Help Out discount scheme for diners.

For more information on this, visit https://www.gov.uk/government/news/rishis-plan-for-jobs-will-help-britain-bounce-back

Government announces £10 million for small businesses to kick-start tourism

Communities that depend on tourism will receive a major boost from a new £10 million Kick-starting Tourism Package, which will give small businesses in tourist destinations grants of up to £5,000 to help them adapt their businesses following the coronavirus pandemic.

Funding will be allocated via Local Growth Hubs based on how much of their employment base is linked to tourism and hospitality businesses. This means that coastal and rural areas like ours– with a bigger proportion of their economy focused on tourism, hospitality and allied sectors, will get a larger share of the funds

For more information, visit: Government announces £10 million for small businesses to kickstart tourism

Cultural and heritage organisations to receive £1.57 billion support package

The government announced earlier this week that Britain’s globally renowned arts, culture and heritage industries will receive a £1.57 billion rescue package to help weather the impact of coronavirus.

Thousands of organisations across a range of sectors including the performing arts and theatres, heritage, historic palaces, museums, galleries, live music and independent cinema will be able to access emergency grants and loans. For more information, read here.

Staying informed

As always, we are keen to promote the following as main sources of business support information:

Communications

NYCC’s website has a dedicated area for all the latest COVID-19 related news visit: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-advice-and-information

Follow us on social media: @northyorkscc on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Advice on things to do

Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughters – John Carr “bridgemaster”

A man whose legacy is threaded through North Yorkshire’s roads network is the latest subject of the Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughters campaign.

The latest nominee is renowned Georgian architect John Carr. Carr served as the North and West Riding “bridgemaster”, and built or altered more than sixty bridges across North Yorkshire, alongside hundreds of extravagant halls and buildings that have made North Yorkshire’s architectural heritage what it is today.

Read more about John Carr and Made in North Yorkshire at: www.northyorks.gov.uk/made-in-north-yorkshire

Online music lessons

Our service has adapted to allow lessons to be taught online to pupils unable to attend school. We offer the full range of instruments, including brass, woodwind, strings, percussion, voice and keyboard

Up to 32 lessons a year are offered, with a guarantee of 28. Lessons are delivered by specialist instrumental teachers over a secure connection.

We were among the first music service to pioneer this approach and are very experienced in it.

For details, visit www.northyorkshiremusichub.co.uk or email MusicServiceTuitionRequests@northyorks.gov.uk

Tour from home

Google arts and culture has lots to offer for those staying at home, it’s somewhat a “holiday from home”. You can explore collections, artworks and places from over 80 countries as well as stepping inside the Natural History Museum, London, Sydney Opera House and many more: https://artsandculture.google.com/

Summer Reading Challenge

The Summer Reading Challenge has gone digital. The challenge is open to children aged four to 11 and the theme is the Silly Squad, so children are invited to read anything that makes them happy – a comic, joke book, poetry, fiction or non-fiction, in digital or print, an e-book borrowed from the library or what they already have at home.

Children can sign up for free at summerreadingchallenge.org.uk, where they will find brilliant book suggestions, super silly activities, quizzes, videos, games, a place to keep track of their books and rewards to unlock along the way.

Last year, almost 10,000 children took the challenge in North Yorkshire though local libraries. The county’s library service has a huge selection of children’s e-books and e-audiobooks that are free to borrow at northyorks.gov.uk/digital-library, so we hope to encourage just as many children to join in this year.

Library members just need their library card and PIN to download books. If you are not a member, call 01609 533878 to join for free.

A message from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

I can barely believe it is July the 1st today. Time during a pandemic feels so different, doesn’t it? I have heard so many people over the past few weeks, particularly perhaps as we emerge from our lockdown, asking where spring went! 

Our journey, as a county, through Coronavirus continues to deliver us many tough challenges but, thanks to our collective effort which includes every one of you, we are stepping into the next phase as safely as possible.

I am sure many people will be looking forward to enjoying a catch up with friends and family over the coming days and weeks as our café’s, bars, restaurants and hotels reopen. This is a huge moment for us in North Yorkshire – where our welcome, locally sourced high quality food and outstanding views are world famous. Tens of thousands of jobs depend on our visitor and hospitality sectors, here, and this sector is worth around £1.9billion to the county’s economy. We will all have missed the pleasure of not having to cook or wash dishes and of relaxing in pretty pub gardens with our friends.

A huge amount of positive work continues by many of our hospitality businesses to reassure customers of the extensive measures they are taking to protect them and staff from the virus. As a County Council, our highways teams have been out and about assisting these efforts and creating new spaces, where possible, to support them. For example, in Harrogate, where our area highways manager, Melisa Burnham, undertook a tour of some local businesses to understand the pressures they face in reopening and to find out how best to help them. There is more on that work here

https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/supporting-hospitality-businesses-reopen-safely

So, please support our county’s businesses and help them to recover from this pandemic safely. Enjoy some time with friends and family and play your part in supporting everyone to remain safe by making sure you understand what to expect in this new world before you get there. 

There are some tips here which will help us all to stay safe while enjoying our new found freedoms and of course while helping our economy to move forward:

  • Check in advance – will the pub/bar/restaurant be open?
  • Are they operating a booking system?
  • Please drink sensibly and respect local residents and bar staff;
  • Book transport home;
  • Remember face covering for public transport;
  • Wherever possible, stay 2 metres apart – it’s 10 times safer than 1 metre with no other protection.

Another positive sign of progress this week is the staged reopening of some of our library services. Many of you have been making the most of our terrific online library during lockdown and that service, of course, continues – but – from July the 6th customers will be able to take advantage of a free ‘Select and Collect’ service. You can call or email your local library and tell us the sort of books you like and we will hand-pick a selection. We are also offering a new library ‘takeaway’ service, which offers specially selected book bundles to borrow. There will be a menu to choose from each week with something for all ages. Details will be on local library Facebook pages. As always the safety of our customers, volunteers and staff will be our primary concern and, so, books will be quarantined when they are returned. If you want to know more about that just follow the link. https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/countys-libraries-begin-phased-return

Finally, July is usually when many of us are enjoying, or looking forward to, our summer holidays and, for the vast majority of us this year, that will look very different. Staycations are more popular than ever and is there anywhere more beautiful to enjoy some rest and relaxation than North Yorkshire? Please support your local businesses and enjoy our wonderful county. Stay safe and don’t let the virus get us back in its grip again. It remains critical that, if you have symptoms, you book a test and isolate. The Test and Trace experts will contact you if the test is positive and advise you on what to do. We are here if you have no one around you to help while you are isolating. No one is alone.  

In our county we have shown what we can do if we work together. Stick with that Team North Yorkshire spirit and help us recover safely by continuing to play your part to minimise the spread. Thank you.

A message from Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health

World Health Organisation data shows that we have now passed 10 million confirmed cases globally, with over 507 thousand deaths across 216 countries, areas or territories.

At a national level, yesterday’s (30/06) Public Health England data show there were 306,210 lab-confirmed cases in the UK, with 43,730 COVID-associated deaths. To date, there have been 1354 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as part of Pillar 1 testing across North Yorkshire. You can see the latest confirmed cases of coronavirus by area on the Government's website. 

The number of people currently in hospital with COVID-19 continues to decrease slowly. Sadly, there have been 656 deaths from COVID-19 across Airedale, Harrogate, South Tees and York NHS Trusts to date, of whom an estimated 256 will be North Yorkshire residents. The number of deaths from COVID-19 each week continues to decrease.

On Friday, we published the North Yorkshire COVID-19 Outbreak Control Plan, alongside an Executive Summary and an Easy Read version, on the NYCC website. The plan outlines how we will respond with our partners to identify and manage outbreaks of COVID-19 to limit their spread and impact. 

It also sets out how we will focus on preventing infection in the first place, through ongoing engagement with our communities and providing information and guidance to reduce the risk of spreading the infection. It is a dynamic plan which we will continue to develop and refine in line with national policy and local circumstances.

You can find our Outbreak Control Plan here: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/our-outbreak-plan

Planning for recovery

Testing

As part of the national testing programme for coronavirus, drive-through Mobile Testing Units, run by the Department for Health and Social care, will be operating in the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • 3 July - Northallerton - Allertonshire School, Brompton Road, Northallerton, DL6 1ED
  • 3 July - Whitby - Whitby Park and Ride, Whitby, YO21 1TL
  • 4 July - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4T
  • 4 July - Selby - Drax Social Club, Main Road, Selby, YO8 8PJ
  • 5 July - Scarborough - Scarborough Park & Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough YO12 4LW
  • 5 July - Harrogate - Hydro Leisure Centre, Jenny Field Drive, Harrogate HG1 2RP

Before you attend, you must book a test. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. 

Find out more and how to book at: www.northyorks.gov.uk/testing

County libraries to begin a phased return

Libraries across the county closed in March as lockdown began to combat the spread of Covid-19. Following the relaxation of restrictions, libraries will reopen in stages and, to begin with, visits will be by appointment only.

From Monday 6 July, customers will be able to take advantage of a free Select and Collect service. They will be able to call or email their local library to request the kind of books they like. A member of the library team will hand-pick a selection that meets the customer’s request, then contact the customer to arrange a convenient time for them to collect the books from the library entrance.
 
Regular library user Sophie Drury-Bradey is looking forward to being able to borrow books again.  She said: “We love our local library in Scarborough town centre. As a family, we’ve always found it so welcoming and relaxed. I often take my three-year-old son, Wallace, to the children’s section and the staff are always so helpful with his unique interests – for instance when he was obsessed with sausages the librarian helped us find six different books all about them! My son was thrilled and I was pleased, too, as it gave him a reason to enjoy story time at home. 
 
“During lockdown we’ve gradually worked our way through the books we have at home. Currently, the obsession is diggers – and we’ve got stuck reading one particular digger book called Dig, Dig, Digging every single night and many times! My son loves it, but I’m desperate for the library to reopen so we can find some different books on diggers!”
 
Customers who have been waiting patiently for libraries reopening can also enjoy a new “library takeaway” service, which offers specially selected book bundles to borrow. All books will be quarantined when they are returned.
 
Library members with items on loan from before lockdown do not need to hurry to return them. The loan period has been extended to 1 September, so no fines are accruing.
 
The aim is to open further services over the coming weeks, starting with bookable access to libraries’ public computers, followed by a return to browsing with social distancing in place. Only when restrictions are eased sufficiently will libraries reopen their public toilets, desks and tables for public use and café areas.
 
The Select and Collect system will be run at the 11 libraries managed by the County Council. Most community-managed libraries will follow suit but some will take a slightly different approach. More information including opening times and contact details can be found online at www.northyorks.gov.uk/covidlibraries and individual library Facebook pages. Alternatively, if people have any queries they can call their local library or the library helpline number on 01609 533878.

The digital library service, which has been very popular during the lockdown period is still available for people to use www.northyorks.gov.uk/digital-library

Birth registration service resumes

The birth registration service across North Yorkshire is now open to all births, regardless of the date. All register offices across the county have now reopened with new rules in place to maintain social distancing and to impose extra hygiene measures. Register offices are working by appointment only.

For further details please visit www.northyorks.gov.uk/birth

Video at https://youtu.be/Mf3xeJW8UzE

Schools and childcare

More than 5,000 statutory, face-to-face visits to families, children and young people in North Yorkshire have been carried out in the county since lockdown conditions were imposed.

Children and Families Support Workers have conducted the visits to support families, keep children safe and ensure issues of harm aren’t hidden from services. Throughout lockdown this work has become vital as children have been unable to use services such as youth clubs which they would normally attend.

As a result, support workers have put a huge amount of work into ensuring this work continues and have managed to achieve more than 5,200 visits in person since lockdown conditions began.

Children and Young People’s Services have worked with 295 private holiday activity providers to put together a comprehensive directory of all the summer activities on offer for school-aged children over the holidays. A directory of all the activities will be published on North Yorkshire County Council’s main website, www.northyorks.gov.uk before the start of the summer holidays. Digital copies of the directory will also be sent to schools and published on their websites where possible.

An eight-year-old pupil with Whitely and Eggborough Community School has managed to raise £400 for the NHS with a project she began in the Easter holidays. Izzy Harwood set up a fundraising page with her mother’s help in April and began to make bracelets in return for donations to the NHS.

Izzy had been telling her class on Google Classroom what she had been up to over the Easter holidays and mentioned about raising money in the message.

Her mum, Nicky Harwood, said: “Her school teacher then shared this with all the other school teachers who found the fundraising page. The response was overwhelming for Izzy as she then received lots more orders and some really lovely messages.

“She got quicker at making them too.

“We are really proud of her, coming up with the idea to raise money off her own back and then doing it herself. She’s been fitting it in around home schooling as well.”

Izzy, who has been doing home learning since the pandemic began, said: “I wanted to do something to help the people who were helping others during the pandemic.”

Social care, the NHS and Public Health Services

North Yorkshire County Council, along with NHS North Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group and the Care Quality Commission has worked with two care homes in Scarborough following concerns about residents.

Everyone living at Elsinor and Grosvenor Hall have now been safely relocated.

Richard Webb, North Yorkshire County Council’s Director for Health and Adult Social Care, said: “Safeguarding people who live in North Yorkshire’s care homes is among our most urgent priorities, and we are being especially vigilant during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We, NHS North Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group colleagues and care regulator the Care Quality Commission are working with two care homes in Scarborough, operated by the same provider, following concerns about the quality of care provided to residents in each home.

“Covid-19 has not caused these problems directly. However, the daily calls and interventions we put in place with all care homes have highlighted the problems at Elsinor and Grosvenor Hall. Grosvenor Hall was closed by the provider last week and residents have been moved to new homes.

“We and the CCG wrote earlier this week to Elsinor residents and their families to tell them that due to concerns about the quality of care everyone would be offered a new assessment to see whether their needs were being met and to consider moves to new homes.

“We and the CCG have given significant practical support, help and advice to the provider in recent weeks, but the homes have failed to implement the required changes.

“On Wednesday (24 June), we began contacting residents and families to tell them that we were so concerned about the care provided at Elsinor that we would be looking to move all residents to new homes within the next week.

“Moving people from their current home is always a last resort and we do not do so lightly. However, this provider has failed to improve services, despite considerable help and support.”

The approach to managing the next stage of the pandemic in North Yorkshire was outlined in a detailed plan published on June 26.

The County Council’s Covid-19 Outbreak Control Plan outlines how local knowledge, experience and expertise will be used to prevent outbreaks and manage the virus over time as part of the national Test and Trace programme.

Led by North Yorkshire County Council’s Director of Public Health, the approach will see public health experts work with the public, businesses, the NHS, Public Health England, local government partners and the community and voluntary sector.

Together they will work to support individuals, communities, businesses, education and care homes settings to understand how to prevent outbreaks via good hygiene and social distancing measures. Equally, it sets out how the county will respond when outbreaks occur and the measures necessary to control them.

The Director of Public Health for North Yorkshire is Dr Lincoln Sargeant. Launching the plan, he said: “Our plan outlines how we will respond, with our partners, to work effectively and at speed to manage outbreaks to help prevent any wider spread.

“It ensures there are clear protocols in place to respond wherever they might happen and outlines how we will focus on preventing infection in the first place through good education and guidance.

“As part of the NHS national Test and Trace programme the outcome will be that we can support the county, its residents, businesses, work force and visitors to return to normal life safely.

The plan in North Yorkshire is overseen by an Outbreak Management Advisory Board, chaired by the County Council’s Leader, Cllr Carl Les: “In North Yorkshire the collective effort to manage the terrible impacts of the coronavirus pandemic has been outstanding. Without the public response to support hand washing and social distancing measures over a prolonged period of time there can be little doubt that more loved ones would have been lost.

“It has hit us all hard personally, financially and emotionally and we want to now take the necessary steps in this next phase, to help get rid of it.

“And – everyone has their part to play. As the lockdown lifts further next week these principles are absolutely critical, so please wash your hands thoroughly and regularly, keep a safe distance from others and use face coverings and follow all the other guidance if two metres distance is not possible.

“We want to be clear this is the latest aspect of our commitment to reassure people that we continue to be here with you leading the fight to control coronavirus in North Yorkshire and helping everyone to Stay Safe.”

Support for people in isolation

Since March, the County Council has been working alongside district councils with 23 community organisations across North Yorkshire to coordinate the voluntary sector network in each locality. These hubs have been a single point of contact within the community for those in need of help. More than 1,500 volunteers have been helping thousands of people every week with shopping, collecting prescriptions or just having someone to talk to.

For the County Council’s Living Well team based in Whitby, the support provided by Coast and Vale Community Action (CaVCA) has been invaluable. Victoria Poole, Living Well coordinator, said: “They have been nothing short of phenomenal. They have contacted the clients within an hour of our referral and to date have provided numerous shopping vouchers, have arranged volunteers to complete shopping trips and collect medication. But they have also gone above and beyond and arranged for dogs to be walked and gardens to be mowed. They have supported a client to hospital with her 12-year-old son, to receive news about a recent cancer diagnosis, ensuring that both the client and her son were matched with a very supportive volunteer. Nothing has ever been too much trouble and they are so approachable and passionate about finding solutions to best suit the client. They have remained in contact with us and the client and provided continued support for the Whitby community.”

From Monday 6 July, people who are shielding because they are clinically extremely vulnerable to being hospitalised as a result of Covid-19, will be able to create a support bubble with another household if they live alone or they are a single parent. Those who have been shielding will also be able to meet up to five other people outdoors whist maintaining strict social distancing.

From 1 August, the Government is advising people to adopt strict social distancing, rather than full shielding measures, and the national programme of food and prescription deliveries will end. People who have been shielding will be able to visit shops and return to work from August 1 provided that their workplace is Covid secure. Priority supermarket delivery slots will continue for people who are shielding but anyone who hasn’t registered online must do so before 17 July.

We are currently contacting those people on the shielding list, who have needed help and support over the last three months, to help them prepare for the end of July and put alternative arrangements in place should they need it. Our support for people who do not have anyone else to call on will continue.

Since March over 700 Covid-19 support grant scheme awards have also been made through the community support organisations, providing financial assistance to pay for food and household essentials during isolation. The majority of applicants have long-term health conditions or weakened immune systems.

Those who need help with shopping, prescriptions and other essentials but don’t have anyone to call on, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780. The centre is open seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm.

People can also find details of local voluntary and community groups offering support at www.northyorkshireconnect.org.uk

For more information, including links to the main supermarkets for people who can shop safely for themselves, and a link to the Buy Local site, go to www.northyorks.gov.uk/help-you-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Local economy

Buy Local – Online card venture sees increased web traffic

North Yorkshire Buy Local (www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local) is the online marketplace to bring together businesses and customers.

With many non-essential retailers now re-opened and more hospitality businesses opening this weekend, we’re urging them to register on the site to share their plans with customers and increase their visibility. The Buy Local site also allows all businesses to outline the safety measures they have put in place to protect the public.

We spoke to Charlotte Gale, a professional photographer from Knaresborough, during lock down. She updated us last week on how things are going. Registering her online greeting card business www.pictur-esque.com on Buy Local resulted in increased traffic to her site and new customers placing orders with her.

Read more at www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local

Please share our social media messages encouraging businesses to register, and directing the public to the site. Follow @northyorkscc on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Supporting hospitality businesses to reopen safely

As the hospitality and tourism industry prepares to reopen, we are doing everything we can to support cafés, bars and pubs who are seeking to use some of the public highway to facilitate trade.

The hospitality industry in North Yorkshire employs thousands of people and adds more than £920m annually to the county’s economy.

In Harrogate, our highways team has been visiting businesses to understand the pressures of reopening and to find out how best to support them.

Jim Mossman, co-founder of the Cold Bath Brewing Co and representative of Harrogate BID, said: “I’m delighted to say that we are engaged on behalf of the BID with NYCC. We are looking at how we can move forward with pedestrianised zones compatible for food and drink businesses. We want to create a cosmopolitan and European-style zone where we can affect our trade and be transformational in terms of saving jobs and businesses.”

We would like people who feel they need our support to come forward and speak to their local highways office.

LEP News: New Deal for Britain

Yesterday, the Prime Minister announced a “New Deal” which will bring forward £5bn of capital investment projects, supporting jobs and the economic recovery, including:

  • £1.5bn this year for hospital maintenance, eradicating mental health dormitories, enabling hospital building, and improving A&E capacity. This will improve patient care, make sure NHS hospitals can deliver world-leading services and reduce the risk of coronavirus infections.
  • £100m this year for 29 projects in our road network to get Britain moving, from bridge repairs in Sandwell to boosting the quality of the A15 in the Humber region. Plus £10m for development work to unblock the Manchester rail bottleneck, which will begin this year.
  • Over £1bn to fund the first 50 projects of a new, ten-year school rebuilding programme, starting from 2020-21. These projects will be confirmed in the autumn, and construction on the first sites will begin from September 2021.
  • £560m and £200m for repairs and upgrades to schools and FE colleges respectively this year.
  • £142m for digital upgrades and maintenance to around 100 courts this year, £83m for maintenance of prisons and youth offender facilities, and £60m for temporary prison places, creating thousands of new jobs.
  • £900m for a range of ‘shovel ready’ local growth projects in England over the course of this year and next, as well as £96m to accelerate investment in town centres and high streets through the Towns Fund this year. This will provide all 101 towns selected for town deals with £500k-£1m to spend on projects such as improvements to parks, high streets, and transport.

Please find the full speech here: https://bit.ly/PMBuildSpeech

£200 million Sustainable Innovation Fund launched

The government’s Sustainable Innovation Fund will be open to companies across all parts of the UK who need urgent financial support to keep their cutting-edge projects and ideas alive.

In a move to support people across the country to establish more ‘climate-positive’ behaviours, businesses and start-ups could also make use of the circa £200 million fund to develop smart sustainability-focused projects – from apps encouraging people to cut down their food waste to sustainable biodegradable packaging.

The Sustainable Innovation Fund will help power the UK’s economic recovery and develop new sustainable opportunities for businesses in any sector following the coronavirus pandemic, while helping the UK meet its ambitions to cut carbon emissions to net zero by 2050. For more information, read here

York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub business support

The York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub, in partnership with North Yorkshire County Council and Make It York, have teamed up with York PR and marketing agency Intandem Communications to deliver a series of webinars which have proven very popular so far.

The 45-minute lunchtime sessions are designed to give an introduction to a range of topics from getting set up and creating great content, through to advertising and analytics. For details of the last 2 sessions and to sign up, see below:

Local Authority Webinar to kick-start Circular Yorkshire 2020

As part of this year’s Circular Yorkshire 2020 campaign, we will be hosting a Circular Economy webinar series for Local Authority stakeholders. The first of these “How can local authorities benefit from the circular economy?” Will take place on 9 July and provide a deep dive into the circular economy – what it is and how the principles can be used to achieve carbon-neutral targets and support economic recovery post COVID-19. 

Speakers will include: Katie Thomas, Senior Strategy Manager – Low Carbon & Environment at York & North Yorkshire LEP; Ashima Sukhdev, Government & Cities Programme Lead at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation; Mita Patel, Sustainability Programme Officer at Brighton & Hove City Council and Rebecca Ricketts, Senior Projects Manager at Glasgow Chamber of Commerce (Circular Glasgow). For more information and to sign up, visit here.

If you are an individual, business, local authority or community group who would like to know more about Circular Yorkshire 2020 campaign, please sign up here or contact Katie Thomas on Katie.Thomas@businessinspiredgrowth.com

Staying informed

As always, we are keen to promote the following as main sources of business support information:

Communications

NYCC’s website has a dedicated area for all the latest COVID-19 related news visit: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-advice-and-information

Follow us on social media: @northyorkscc on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Advice on things to do

Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughters – John Carr “bridgemaster”

A man whose legacy is threaded through North Yorkshire’s roads network is the latest subject of the Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughters campaign.

Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughters is a North Yorkshire County Council project to highlight and celebrate figures from the past who were immensely influential on the county’s history and heritage. It draws on County Record Office archives and the work of local history groups.

The latest nominee is renowned Georgian architect John Carr. Carr served as the North and West Riding “bridgemaster”, and built or altered more than sixty bridges across North Yorkshire, alongside hundreds of extravagant halls and buildings that have made North Yorkshire’s architectural heritage what it is today.

Read more about John Carr and Made in North Yorkshire at: www.northyorks.gov.uk/made-in-north-yorkshire

Online music lessons

Online lessons being offered by our County Music Service are going really well, delivering more than 1,100 lessons each week, but the service can accommodate more pupils.

Our service has adapted to allow lessons to be taught online to pupils unable to attend school. We offer the full range of instruments, including brass, woodwind, strings, percussion, voice and keyboard

Up to 32 lessons a year are offered, with a guarantee of 28. Lessons are delivered by specialist instrumental teachers over a secure connection.

We were among the first music service to pioneer this approach and are very experienced in it.

For details, visit www.northyorkshiremusichub.co.uk or email MusicServiceTuitionRequests@northyorks.gov.uk

Tour from home

Google arts and culture has lots to offer for those staying at home, it’s somewhat a “holiday from home”. You can explore collections, artworks and places from over 80 countries as well as stepping inside the Natural History Museum, London, Sydney Opera House and many more: https://artsandculture.google.com/

Summer Reading Challenge

The Summer Reading Challenge has gone digital. The challenge is open to children aged four to 11 and the theme is the Silly Squad, so children are invited to read anything that makes them happy – a comic, joke book, poetry, fiction or non-fiction, in digital or print, an e-book borrowed from the library or what they already have at home.

Children can sign up for free at summerreadingchallenge.org.uk, where they will find brilliant book suggestions, super silly activities, quizzes, videos, games, a place to keep track of their books and rewards to unlock along the way.

Last year, almost 10,000 children took the challenge in North Yorkshire though local libraries. The county’s library service has a huge selection of children’s e-books and e-audiobooks that are free to borrow at northyorks.gov.uk/digital-library, so we hope to encourage just as many children to join in this year.

Library members just need their library card and PIN to download books. If you are not a member, call 01609 533878 to join for free.

A message from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

This week has seen the most extensive national announcements around new freedoms since North Yorkshire - along with the rest of England – went into lockdown.

On Friday, it will be 100 days since the start of lockdown and I doubt I am alone in the sentiment that it feels longer than that since we were living fairly normal lives – albeit with a degree of caution about what lay ahead.

For some time, we have been emerging from the height of the pandemic and trying hard to establish some structure in the new norm. New ways of shopping, socialising, working and learning that will help us return to normality safely.

Now we face another huge moment – as the hospitality industry – something our county is rightly famous for, prepares to reopen from the 4th of July. This is incredibly important for North Yorkshire which has a big role to play in the sector. Across Yorkshire, tourism is worth £9 billion a year and employs 225,000 people. The Prime Minister’s announcement around the review of the 2 metre rule will certainly mean that more businesses in the county feel able to open – albeit there are caveats around the measures they must take to reopen safely. Understandably – after so many months of being told to keep at least 2 metres apart – this review is prompting much debate so I have discussed this with our director of public health in some detail to understand the difference.

Firstly, it’s important to remember that Coronavirus is very much alive and remains a real threat. It hasn’t suddenly changed its behaviour or mutated into something whereby it’s suddenly safe to halve the distance we keep from others. But, equally, no one is saying that – the review is not a licence to ignore safe distancing – in fact, the announcement came with a number of references to the importance of the scenario in which it is considered safe to be one metre plus from others as long as other measures are put in place to limit the transmission of the virus. These include things like wearing a face covering, installing screens, making sure people face away from each other and providing extra handwashing facilities etc.

So, it is really important in this instance to understand what is meant by a safe distance. With the above measures, and any other appropriate guidance followed, the one metre plus rule will allow many businesses hardest hit and many people desperate for some freedom – to enjoy those things safely.

However, please don’t forget the general advice remains that where possible you should continue to stay 2 metres apart. This is particularly important when you are indoors – where we know the risks are greater.

When facing someone – without additional protective measures – at 1 metre you are ten times more likely to be infected by someone with Covid-19. So, please continue to stay focussed, because the weeks and months ahead will almost certainly see regular small outbreaks in the county that we will be working with partners to manage and close down quickly.

With that in mind – this Friday is also the day we will publish our Outbreak Management Plan.

This outlines how we will respond with our partners to work effectively and at speed to help close down outbreaks to prevent any wider spread. It ensures there are thorough plans in place to respond to outbreaks wherever they might happen and how we will focus on preventing infection in the first place through good education and guidance. It supports helping the county and communities, businesses and people to return to normal life safely and as soon as possible. I hope you will find it of reassurance that we continue to be here with you, leading the battle to eliminate Coronavirus in North Yorkshire and to help you to Stay Safe.

Our Test and Trace programme sees us working with the NHS and Public Health England in support of this.

I would also like to reassure our shielded residents – particularly those who need help getting food and medication that our support will still be available when the national programme stops at the end of July. Despite the Government announcement that the national programme of food parcels and prescription deliveries will end on July 31, we are clear we will continue this support for those who need it. This offer is also available to anyone who needs short term help and has no one else to turn to if they are isolating because they, or someone else in their household, has symptoms. No one in North Yorkshire must feel alone. Our Director of Resources, Gary Fielding, explains more on that, here https://youtu.be/548RtlQtuuo and there is also more further down the bulletin.

This Saturday is Armed Forces Day and, in North Yorkshire, we know very well the importance of our relationship with our colleagues in the forces. Never more so, perhaps, than now – when they continue to support us in our frontline response to Coronavirus – with testing services and logistics. There is more on that important relationship here https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/celebrate-our-heroes-home-armed-forces-day

It is also the day many people globally would be celebrating LGBT Pride and, while these two important moments will be marked differently this year, due to the pandemic, the values they represent remain every bit as important to us. Our Rainbow Flag will fly from Friday throughout the weekend and the following week there will be virtual celebrations involving some of our libraries including a zoom session run by North Yorkshire Youth. You will be able to find out more about those on our website later this week.

As always stay safe and keep up your great work.

A message from Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health

World Health Organisation data shows that we have now passed 9 million confirmed cases globally, with over 473 thousand deaths across 216 countries, areas or territories.

At a national level, yesterday’s (23/06) Public Health England data show there were 306,210 lab-confirmed cases in the UK, with 42,927 COVID-associated deaths. To date, there have been 1,350 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as part of Pillar 1 testing across North Yorkshire.

The number of people currently in hospital with COVID-19 continues to decrease slowly. Sadly, there have been 653 deaths from COVID-19 across Airedale, Harrogate, South Tees and York NHS Trusts to date, of whom an estimated 255 will be North Yorkshire residents. The number of deaths from COVID-19 each week continues to decrease.

This week, the government has downgraded the national COVID-19 alert level from 4 to 3. This is good news as it means that we are no longer considered to have a high or rising level of transmission. However, Level 3 still means that the virus is in general circulation – it has certainly not gone away. We have been able to get to this point thanks to everyone’s efforts to support social distancing, regular handwashing and self-isolation. The only way we are going to continue to decrease the COVID-19 risk level down to level 2, and eventually level 1, is if we all continue to follow these measures. You can see the latest confirmed cases of coronavirus by area on the Government's website. 

Contact tracing will be a key part of preventing further spread of COVID-19. Anyone with symptoms should self-isolate in line with government guidance, and access swab testing via an appropriate route (see gov.uk website or call 119 for more details). Anyone with a positive test result will be followed up by the NHS Test and Trace system - for more information see https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-test-and-trace-how-it-works.

Planning for recovery

Testing

As part of the national testing programme for coronavirus, drive-through Mobile Testing Units, run by the Department for Health and Social care, will be operating in locations across the County over the coming days - usually between 11am and 3pm. Before you attend you must book a test. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. 

Find out more about dates and locations, as well as how to book at www.northyorks.gov.uk/testing

Schools and childcare

Following Boris Johnson’s announcement on the relaxation of the 2m social distancing rule to 1m, the County Council and school leaders are now studying the implications for school transport and how schools will welcome pupils back in September.

School leaders and staff are also now looking at the most appropriate form of catch-up education for their pupils.  On Friday (June 19) a one-off, £650m financial package was announced by the Government for primary and secondary schools in England to tackle the impact of lost teaching time from September. There will not be a one-size-fits-all approach to catch-up education, with schools making their decisions based on the needs of their pupils, the availability of teaching staff and other considerations.

The County Council and North Yorkshire’s schools are committed to making sure no child’s education loses out as a result of the pandemic and we will be working very hard to make sure we get every pupil to where they need to be in their academic progress.

With many parents and carers in the county now returning to work as the summer approaches and more lockdown measures are relaxed, independent holiday clubs and activities should be resuming where possible.

The Government announced on Friday (June 19) that organisations offering holiday clubs and activities for children over the summer holidays should be able to open, as long as they run protective measures in place at the time such as social distancing and hygiene rules.

Social care, the NHS and Public Health Services

Extra Care

North Yorkshire’s flagship Extra Care schemes are set to reopen their doors and accept new tenants after closing them to new occupants in March at the start of lockdown.

Extra Care gives older people the opportunity to live in homes they can afford, in the heart of their own community but with care and support, according to need, seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

The county council has 23 schemes providing over 1,200 units of supported accommodation across North Yorkshire – and all have been closed to new tenants during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

On May 21st, as part of the easing of lockdown measures, the Government announced that people could move house should they wish to do so. Extra Care schemes fall under this guidance as they comprise developments of individual apartments.

As Extra Care remains a key part of how people are supported to live independently in North Yorkshire, the reopening of schemes is an important step in supporting people currently living in the community who may require the additional care and security that Extra Care can provide, as well as supporting people leaving hospital.

However, as Extra Care settings are home for North Yorkshire residents who may be particularly vulnerable and potentially exposed to outbreaks of Covid-19, we maintain that Extra Care residents and schemes should continue to be shielded as much as possible with outside contact minimised at all times.

For that reason, we have been working intensively with our Extra Care providers, Public Health and our own Extra Care team both to keep Extra Care settings safe for current residents but also to create clear guidance on the steps to be taken in accepting new tenants.

These steps include the requirement that people are tested for Covid before they move to Extra Care. They also include guidance on how to carry out safely any necessary refurbishments on units that become empty to get them ready for new occupancy; safely carry out multi-agency assessments of people who are eligible to move to Extra Care; the signing of tenancies; and guidance on moving people into their new home, ensuring their own safety and that of other tenants in what is a close community setting.

If, of course, there are confirmed cases of Covid in an Extra Care setting – and there are none currently - then the take-up of new tenancies into that setting would be suspended until any outbreak was cleared.

We will continue to work closely with all our Extra Care providers as they take these important steps to support people who want to move into these facilities in the weeks and months ahead.

Support for people in isolation

More than 3,000 people in North Yorkshire who are clinically extremely vulnerable to being hospitalised as a result of COVID-19 have relied on Government food and prescription deliveries while they stayed at home to protect themselves from coronavirus.

The County Council will continue to offer support to residents, who need help getting food and medication, following the Government announcement that the national programme of food parcel and prescription deliveries to these people will end on July 31. Of the 24,700 people shielding in North Yorkshire, around 12% have needed support.

For the last three months Maureen has been getting help with shopping and prescriptions from Boroughbridge and District Community Care, one of the community support organisations who are part of the voluntary sector network helping people across North Yorkshire during coronavirus.

Maureen said: “They have been absolutely brilliant, truly. I have some very good friends who are like family to me and they keep checking that I’m ok, but many of them are in the same situation. I would’ve been really stuck without the support. I’ve been shielding since March after receiving my letter so the help with getting the medication I need and shopping has just been superb.”

Over the next six weeks we will be contacting those people on the shielding list to help them prepare for the end of July and put alternative methods of support in place should they need it. Since March, the County Council has worked with district councils and 23 community organisations across North Yorkshire to coordinate the voluntary sector network in each locality, providing a safety net of support.

The number of active community support organisation volunteers has remained steady at 1,418, and 4,016 people received help and support last week. Of the 54 people in Ryedale currently receiving telephone befriending phone calls, 18 would like to transfer to a longer-term service. Ryedale Carers Support will transfer those people across to the My Neighbourhood Service, which connects communities and provides support to people who may be isolated, lonely or in need of extra help.

Those who need help with shopping, prescriptions and other essentials but don’t have anyone to call on, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780. The centre is open seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm.

For more information, including links to the main supermarkets for people who can shop safely for themselves, and a link to the Buy Local site, go to www.northyorks.gov.uk/help-you-during-coronavirus-covid-19

People can also find details of local voluntary and community groups offering support at www.northyorkshireconnect.org.uk

Local economy

Buy Local

Buy Local - Villagers’ mask-making efforts help their community shop stay safe

North Yorkshire Buy Local (www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local) is the online marketplace to bring together businesses and customers.

There are now over 650 businesses registered on the site, many of whom have had to re-model themselves during the coronavirus outbreak and are now adapting again as lockdown restrictions ease.

With many retailers re-opening to the public last week, we’re urging them to register on the site to let as many customers as possible know their doors are open. The Buy Local site also allows all businesses to outline the safety measures they have put in place to protect the public.

Church Fenton Community Shop is run by an army of volunteers from the surrounding area. Throughout lockdown, they have seen many villagers doing their weekly shop rather than using it for emergencies. They have been operating a delivery service for those self-isolating or vulnerable.

With more people venturing into the shop now, a dedicated team of sewing bees have been making face coverings in a bid to help protect customers and volunteers.

Read more at www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local

Please share our social media messages encouraging businesses to register, and directing the public to the site. Follow @northyorkscc on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

‘Help at home’ project launched

We’re launching an innovative approach to providing more flexible care for people in their homes while supporting local people who want to create or expand a business in Ryedale.

As an increasing number of people need care and support in Ryedale’s villages, the “help at home” project aims to increase the number of small care providers to develop a diverse range of support to complement existing services.

It’s an opportunity for people who run a small business and are looking to diversify and those who are considering a career in the caring sector.

Our health and adult services are behind the scheme, which is being managed on our behalf by Community Catalysts, a North Yorkshire-based community enterprise.

To learn more, contact Kathy Peacock at kathy.peacock@communitycatalysts.co.uk or phone 07503 800094. More details: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/project-supports-local-people-help-other-local-people

LEP News: Economy set to open further

Yesterday, the government set out further changes to lockdown measures in England to enable people to see more of their friends and family, help businesses get back on their feet and get people back in their jobs.

From Saturday 4 July, it was announced that:

  • Pubs, restaurants and hairdressers will be able to reopen, providing they adhere to COVID Secure guidelines - updated guidance for all workplace settings can be found here: https://bit.ly/sectorsocialdist
  • Two households will be able to meet up in any setting with social distancing measures - updated guidance on social distancing can be found here: https://bit.ly/SDUpdated
  • People can now enjoy staycations in England with the reopening of accommodation sites - guidance on opening up the visitor economy can also be found here: https://bit.ly/sectorsocialdist

In order to begin restoring the arts and cultural sector, some leisure facilities and tourist attractions may also reopen, if they can do so safely – this includes outdoor gyms and playgrounds, cinemas, museums, galleries, theme parks and arcades, as well as libraries, social clubs, places of worship and community centres - guidance on opening up the visitor economy can also be found here: https://bit.ly/sectorsocialdist

Regarding the two metre rule, where it is not possible to stay two metres apart, guidance will allow people to keep a social distance of ‘one metre plus’. This means staying one metre apart, plus mitigations which reduce the risk of transmission. 

The full press release is here: https://bit.ly/PMPressNotice

New shared vision of economic recovery for York & North Yorkshire launched

This vision- Greener, Fairer and Stronger- and accompanying narrative was launched on Monday. We hope this will motivate and inspire the region to come together, overcome challenge and take this unique moment in time as an opportunity for transformational change.

The vision will drive the direction of policy and investment decisions as we address the economic impacts of COVID 19 in a way that will accelerate us towards the priorities laid out in our Local Industrial Strategy. It will also influence key sector recovery plans such as retail and tourism.

You can see the full vision and accompanying narrative here:

https://www.businessinspiredgrowth.com/covid-19-economic-recovery/

A communications pack to help share the region’s vision is here: https://www.businessinspiredgrowth.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Greener-Fairer-Stronger-Communications-Pack.pdf

Welcome to Yorkshire launch recovery vision for the region’s tourism sector

Welcome to Yorkshire, has launched details of a collaborative recovery plan to ‘Reopen, Recover and Rebuild’ Yorkshire’s £9bn tourism economy.

As the county’s destination marketing organisation, Welcome to Yorkshire has worked with the county’s local authorities, national parks, LEPs, many businesses and tourism representatives on this plan with the aim of preserving our much-loved attractions, locations and businesses whilst keeping interest high in Yorkshire as a visitor destination.

As part of this plan, a new Yorkshire Gift Card has been launched to encourage spend within the county.

For further details, read:  FULL REPORT (Download) & SUMMARY REPORT (Download) - yorkshire.com/recoveryplan.

Staying informed

As always, we are keen to promote the following as main sources of business support information:

Communications

NYCC’s website has a dedicated area for all the latest COVID-19 related news visit: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-advice-and-information

Follow us on social media: @northyorkscc on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Advice on things to do

Online music lessons

Online lessons being offered by our County Music Service are going really well, delivering more than 1,100 lessons each week, but the service can accommodate more pupils.

Our service has adapted to allow lessons to be taught online to pupils unable to attend school. We offer the full range of instruments, including brass, woodwind, strings, percussion, voice and keyboard

Up to 32 lessons a year are offered, with a guarantee of 28. Lessons are delivered by specialist instrumental teachers over a secure connection.

We were among the first music service to pioneer this approach and are very experienced in it.

For details, visit www.northyorkshiremusichub.co.uk or email MusicServiceTuitionRequests@northyorks.gov.uk

Summer Reading Challenge

The Summer Reading Challenge has gone digital. The challenge is open to children aged four to 11 and the theme is the Silly Squad, so children are invited to read anything that makes them happy – a comic, joke book, poetry, fiction or non-fiction, in digital or print, an e-book borrowed from the library or what they already have at home.

Children can sign up for free at summerreadingchallenge.org.uk, where they will find brilliant book suggestions, super silly activities, quizzes, videos, games, a place to keep track of their books and rewards to unlock along the way.

Last year, almost 10,000 children took the challenge in North Yorkshire though local libraries. The county’s library service has a huge selection of children’s e-books and e-audiobooks that are free to borrow at northyorks.gov.uk/digital-library, so we hope to encourage just as many children to join in this year.

Library members just need their library card and PIN to download books. If you are not a member, call 01609 533878 to join for free.

Have a read: Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughters – Bridget Talbot

Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughters is a North Yorkshire County Council project to highlight and celebrate figures from the past who were immensely influential within the county. It draws on County Record Office archives and the work of local history groups.

The latest nominee is Miss Bridget Elizabeth Talbot, the last owner of Kiplin Hall, near Scorton. She spent her life channelling her energy, innovative mind-set and influence into addressing injustices.

Read more about Miss Bridget Talbot and Made in North Yorkshire at: www.northyorks.gov.uk/made-in-north-yorkshire

Enjoy the fresh air with some gardening

With all the amazing weather we have had recently, why not turn your hand to gardening? Many recent studies have shown the benefits of gardening for our mental health, especially during lockdown where many of us are isolated from friends and family. Visit https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/health-and-wellbeing for more information and tips on gardening.

Cook up a storm at home

Many of our favourite restaurants are unfortunately closed, if you’re bored of eating the same things and need some inspiration visit https://tasty.co for amazing recipes and ideas.

A message from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

In North Yorkshire we are continuing to make good progress in our recovery and it is clear as a county we are working hard, collectively, to emerge from this incredibly difficult period in our history in the best possible shape. As individuals, communities, businesses, groups, organisations, local government bodies and emergency services – we can all be really proud of our continuing efforts to protect our loved ones and support our county’s journey safely back to the new norm. To ensure this good progress continues, it’s important that Team North Yorkshire remains focussed and not just for a few weeks, but for many months in all probability.  Coronavirus is retreating, but not disappearing, and is still very much alive and thriving in some parts of the world. Let’s not forget that the pandemic here, which has sadly taken more than 40,000 lives, began just a few short months ago with around 1,300 cases. So, what can we do to play our part now in this new phase of fighting the virus?

The facts regarding infection control are very clear. Prevention is our biggest weapon here - the hand washing and social distancing the vast majority of us continue to practice, remain critical as part of our daily lives wherever we are.  The use of face coverings in more confined places will continue to help us protect others and, of course, for others to protect us. Put bluntly, if we don’t get it – we can’t spread it – so let’s carry on doing our bit.

Then there’s the best way to manage outbreaks when they do inevitably happen – despite everyone’s best efforts. This virus will continue to pop up across the county and, where it does, we will have really robust outbreak management plans in place to lead the local response where needed and to support the NHS Test and Trace programme. Knowing where the virus is, is vital and that’s where you can really play your part. If you have symptoms, it is absolutely crucial you book a test and isolate immediately with your household. Then – if your test is positive – you will receive an alert from the NHS team.

Please do check the message carefully to make sure you avoid the scammers out there. NHS England advises that any telephone call or text will come from one verified NHS number: 0300 013 5000 and it will provide you with a unique ID number which you can use on the NHS Test and Trace website.  Please remember that effective rapid testing is key to infection management which is why we have put such a focus on resolving those issues in North Yorkshire. Find out more about how you can get a test here www.northyorks.gov.uk/testing

On the subject of testing, I am sure many of you will have been aware of what was a really difficult and challenging position in many care settings regarding Covid-19. Home to many of our most vulnerable residents, the lack of rapid testing facilities was complicating our considerable efforts to support care homes and extra care settings with their outbreak management plans. I have good news on both fronts, here. We have, this week, launched our bespoke approach to supporting testing in these settings with a satellite facility in Scarborough providing a ‘collections and drop-off’ point for testing kits, which are being distributed across the east and north of the county by some of our highways teams. In the south, we are fortunate to have good support on this from our neighbours in Bradford via their satellite. Together – alongside our management plan with these settings – this new approach will mean we can protect more of the people who need it the most in the future. There is more on this approach on our website

https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/steping-fight-against-covid-19-testing-station-care-homes

We are also working behind the scenes with the Department of Health and Social Care on another pilot which we hope will support the county’s Test and Trace programme and I hope to be able to tell you more about that next week.

Our focus is to work effectively with our partners to help North Yorkshire return to normality safely. And that’s not just about testing – vital though that is – it’s also about giving people the confidence to get on with their lives in our new norm. Across the county we are taking steps to support that and today we closed the road in Northallerton to facilitate social distancing around the popular outdoor market. You can see how some of those visiting and trading felt about the efforts via this link: https://youtu.be/EaM3sciJ0Ec

We are also listening to our youngest residents as we continue to expand our school provision. Secondary schools are joining primary schools in reopening to particular years and groups of pupils and here’s how Hutton Rudby Year 6 pupils are spreading the word on staying safe at school https://youtu.be/_BSvNdaybLY

In finishing today, please accept the points of advice in the spirit they are intended which is to continue to look out for each other and to work together towards our new norm.  Remember if you have symptoms – book a test – follow the advice you are given carefully – protect North Yorkshire and carry on playing your part. On behalf of the county council and North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum – which continues to lead the response and recovery in our county – I would like to offer our hearty thanks for everything you are doing to Stay Safe in North Yorkshire.

A message from Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health

World Health Organisation data shows that we have now passed 8 million confirmed cases globally, with over 439 thousand deaths across 216 countries, areas or territories.

At a national level, yesterday’s (16/06) Public Health England data show there were 298,136 lab-confirmed cases in the UK, with 41,969 COVID-associated deaths. To date, there have been 1340 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as part of Pillar 1 testing across North Yorkshire. 

The number of people currently in hospital with COVID-19 continues to decrease slowly. Sadly, there have been 644 deaths from COVID-19 across Airedale, Harrogate, South Tees and York NHS Trusts to date, of whom an estimated 250 will be North Yorkshire residents. The number of deaths from COVID-19 each week continues to decrease. You can see the latest confirmed cases of coronavirus by area on the Government's website. 

Yesterday we held the first meeting of the Outbreak Management Advisory Board, which is the new member-led group overseeing the North Yorkshire Outbreak Control Plan. The Plan itself is well under way, and we continue to work with Public Health England on how we link in to the Test & Trace system.

For more information on NHS Test & Trace see https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-test-and-trace-how-it-works.

Time to Test – HIV prevention

The #TimeToTest campaign, which launched last week, is a bid to maximise the current social distancing situation to identify everyone who has undiagnosed HIV. This is so they can start treatment early, improve their health, and prevent them from passing on HIV to anyone else.

NHS England have pulled together the following information briefing, and initial assets, to summarise this campaign and it includes links to the free home testing that is available through PHE: https://www.hivpreventionengland.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Time-to-Test-Campaign-Information-Briefing.pdf

Planning for recovery

Testing

As part of the national testing programme for coronavirus, drive-through Mobile Testing Units, run by the Department for Health and Social care, will be operating in the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • 18 June - Settle - Greenfoot Car Park, Ingfield Lane, Settle, BD24 9RW
  • 19 June - Northallerton - Allertonshire School Car Park, Brompton Road, DL6 1ED
  • 19 June - Whitby - Whitby Park and Ride, Guisborough Rd, Whitby, YO21 1TL

Before you attend you must book a test. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. 

Find out more and how to book at www.northyorks.gov.uk/testing  

All HWRCs to reopen this week

This week, Harrogate Stonefall household waste recycling centre will reopen and the mobile HWRCs will return to North Yorkshire.

After a phased return, Harrogate Stonefall and the mobile sites are the final household waste recycling centres to reopen after they were all shut down in March. All household waste and recycling centres will be open with social distancing measures in place.

Current restrictions remain in force: no trailers, commercial or charity waste; only one person out of the vehicle where possible; only bring what you can manage yourself as staff are unable to help unload; keep two metres apart to protect yourself and others and wash your hands at home before and after visiting the site.

Hand sanitising facilities at sites are limited, so people are advised to wear gloves on site and are reminded to wash their hands before and after attending an HWRC.

Full details can be found at www.northyorks.gov.uk/CovidHWRC

Cold callers alert as lockdown eases

North Yorkshire residents are being reminded not to deal with cold callers offering property repairs and gardening work.

The warning comes from our trading standards service and North Yorkshire Police as Covid-19 lockdown restrictions start to be eased and concerns rise about doorstep callers taking advantage of the changes to exploit vulnerable residents.

These offenders are always on the lookout for opportunities to defraud the elderly and vulnerable, but their ability to do so has been curtailed due to the lockdown. We are concerned that they will soon be back out cold calling vulnerable residents and trying to persuade them to have roofing, driveway, pressure washing, gardening and other work undertaken.

The message is clear. Residents should not deal with doorstep callers.

Doorstep traders can be reported to Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133, or to the police on 101, or 999 in emergencies.

Dispose of PPE safely

As more of us use personal protective equipment, including disposable face masks, gloves and wipes and tissues, we are reminding people how important it is to dispose of these items correctly.

Disposable, used, face coverings, gloves, tissues and wipes cannot be recycled. These should be disposed of in your general waste.

If you or anybody in your household is experiencing symptoms of coronavirus, you should take extra precautions when disposing of any personal waste.

It should be stored securely in disposable rubbish bags. These should be placed into another bag, tied securely and kept outside for at least 72 hours before being put in the general rubbish bin, outside your house.

For further information on disposing of PPE correctly, watch our video: https://youtu.be/ACafUluQibA

Schools and childcare

Secondary schools this week began to welcome back Year 10 and Year 12 students after having put in place risk assessments and measures to ensure students can remain safe in school.

They include Wensleydale School, where head, Julia Polley, said they had brought in a raft of amendments. She said: “As students start coming back, we’ve done all the risk assessments and identified areas which needed amending. So, for example, all students can come in wearing non-school uniform, so they don’t need to worry about washing uniform quickly for the next day. The school day has been shortened to 10am to 2pm and students can’t bring anything in with them apart from lunch in a disposable wrapping.”

Julia says they have measures in place such as social distancing everywhere, hand sanitiser stations and staff remaining within the same social bubble of students throughout.

She added: “I’m really proud the students have engaged and taken on the challenge in such a way. They’ve all been absolutely amazing.”

Thirsk School and Sixth Form College prepared for the logistical and educational challenges with measures such as floor markings in areas students will be travelling through, class bubbles of no more than ten students who stay in classroom all day.

The curriculum is catering to all students, with a tailored approach for each student, depending on how much work they’ve done over lockdown, to get everyone to a similar level.

Primary schools in North Yorkshire are continuing to report an increased number of pupils attending. Katie Smith, Headteacher at Thornton-in-Craven Community Primary and Nursery School reopened for Nursery, Reception, Year One and Year Six after remaining open for key worker children at a school hub during lockdown.

She said the benefits of children returning have been huge for everyone – students and staff alike.

She said: “It’s so wonderful to hear laughing in every classroom again. School is important for pupils in so many ways...obviously for learning, but at the moment a huge focus has been on well-being, social interaction and routine."

We are also now two weeks into the wider opening of early years’ provision in response to the Government’s request for early years’ providers to welcome back those needing childcare from June. We have three-quarters of early years’ providers in North Yorkshire currently open and anticipate the demand for childcare places will continue to increase over the coming weeks as more parents return to work.

Social care, the NHS and Public Health Services

The North Yorkshire Outbreak Management Advisory Board met for the first time yesterday (Tuesday) in order to discuss the roll-out of the Government’s Test and Trace system at a local level. The role of the board is to provide local democratic ownership and oversight of the Test and Trace programme and the local outbreak management plan, which is led by the Director of Public Health. Members of the Board include Leaders of the County Council and the 7 borough and district councils (or their representatives), NHS, business, voluntary sector, schools, Health Watch and other representatives.

North Yorkshire has stepped up the fight against Covid-19 with testing stations for care homes. A satellite testing unit to serve care homes in the east of the county started operating from Scarborough last Friday, with the capacity of up to 500 testing swabs per day. This marks a significant step forward in the fight against Covid-19 in the county’s care settings to improve radically the speed and quantity of testing and turnaround in results. It complements testing provision for care settings in the western side of North Yorkshire which already operates from a satellite site in Bradford.

The Scarborough testing site was negotiated and agreed with the Department for Health and Social Care by the North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum.

This latest development follows major changes to the county council’s social care services and a whole raft of measures for care settings undertaken in partnership with the care sector (supported by the Independent Care Group umbrella organisation), along with the Care Quality Commission and the NHS, to tackle the impact of the virus and to keep people safe and well.

Mike Padgham, Chair of the Independent Care Group and Managing Director of social care provider St Cecilia’s in Scarborough said: “The setting up of the satellite testing station for the sector in Scarborough is extremely welcome and a big step forward in the fight against the virus. The joint working with the county council is invaluable for care providers as we tackle the impact of coronavirus.

“It is sometimes a challenge to explain the measures we are taking as care providers but our aim has always been to do our best for our own residents and staff and to play our part in supporting our hospitals and caring for those with Covid-19 in this area.”

Measures taken by the county council, NHS partners and the care sector since the outbreak of Covid-19 in North Yorkshire include:

  • Each home in North Yorkshire receiving a daily call from a county council care home contact officer with a welfare checklist. Homes experiencing problems are supported by a care home liaison officer who channels resources to meet requirements such as support on HR, staffing and recruitment, help with sourcing PPE, infection control, zoning of care homes, cohorting of staff and residents, safe hospital discharge, clinical advice, registered manager support and more;
  • Stepping up support to the care sector, putting in place a 7 day/week response team within the county council’s Quality & Monitoring Service;
  • Establishing a daily Gold Group between the Chief Nurses of the 3 NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups, Adult Social Care Assistant Directors and the North Yorkshire Director of Public Health and Public Health Consultants to review care home hotspots and to target assistance, interventions and support (including PPE and testing)
  • Commissioning additional bed capacity from independent sector providers to provide additional beds for people who might need them, either in response to Covid or for other urgent reasons; and to provide “quarantine” beds, around the County, for people whose Covid status has not been confirmed
  • Following Government guidance at all times and taking a careful and considered approach to risk: on care homes, on homecare and on use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
  • In line with Government guidance, where the county council has commissioned extra beds from care homes, asking homes to admit people with a potential Covid diagnosis but only if people can be kept safe by the provision of zoned areas and cohorting residents;
  • Some care homes have not been funded for additional beds as they were not in a position to be able to zone or cohort their services or residents;
  • The county council has challenged hospital discharges where there have been concerns about safety and suitability;
  • The county council and ICG have contributed to the Ethics Committee discussions that have been led by NHS partners including issues such as admissions to care homes and end of life care.

A way forward is being considered urgently for adults with disabilities and their families after the charity, Henshaws, which provides a range of educational, day support and residential services, has announced it will be withdrawing from its day, and supported living, services.

The County Council has been working with Henshaws in recent months to address operational and financial difficulties the charity has faced with its Harrogate Home Support service (which includes supported living, community support and personal care). The Council has been offering support to the charity to map out sustainable provision for these vital services.

Henshaws is a much-loved part of the community in the Knaresborough and Harrogate areas for its services for people with sight loss and other disabilities.  More recently in common with many other charities, it has faced the service and financial consequences caused by Covid-19.

The Centre, which caters for 160 people, many of whom have been attending the centre for many years, has been closed for both art makers and visitors since before lockdown but the charity has announced in recent days that it will not now re-open.

Richard Webb, North Yorkshire County Council Director of Health and Adult Services said: “We were surprised and disappointed to hear this news. Henshaws is much-valued by many people and, along with the other councils that fund people to use their services, we would have expected to have been involved in early discussions about this kind of momentous decision. We will work with the charity and with people who use the Arts and Craft centre, and their families, to see what might be possible in the future.”

Harrogate Home Support includes 10 supported living properties in Harrogate, with capacity for 25 people, with 16 currently funded by the county council and the rest by other local councils. The service also provides community support to 11 people of which the county council funds 4 people. 

Families have now been notified of Henshaws’ intention to withdraw from the service and the County Council has also written to families to reassure them that it will work with them to find a sustainable solution for the people who are resident in supported living.

Support for people in isolation

Since the last bulletin, we have written to more than 6,800 people in North Yorkshire who are on the national shielding list, to give some reassurance that our support will continue for those who need help with food, medication and other essentials. The Government will carry out the next review of shielding measures this week and will then write to people on the shielded list, with advice and information about the next steps and the support that will be available following the review.

Anyone at higher risk from coronavirus remains vulnerable and should still stay at home as much as possible. Current Government advice for anyone who is shielding to protect themselves from Covid-19 is not to go shopping, attend gatherings or visit other people’s homes. Community support organisations will continue to help people who have no one else to call on while they are isolating and we will also carry on with telephone welfare checks, in partnership with district councils, to make sure people have support in place.

Incoming calls to the county council customer service centre are now largely requests for information, with fewer than 100 new referrals to community support organisations (CSOs) last week. The number of people being helped by the CSOs has remained steady at around 3,800 each week for the last four weeks, with volunteers contributing 3,553 hours to help people in their communities. 1,316 meals have also been delivered across North Yorkshire in the last week, with the community support organisation for North Craven in particular seeing demand for their meal delivery service increasing.

Along with collection and delivery of shopping and medicines, books and magazines and materials to support hobbies, support from CSOs has also included regular social contact via telephone, FaceTime, Skype or other methods. Community support organisations in Northallerton and Reeth are also now starting to organise some socially distanced face-to-face contact in outside spaces.

For lots of people, just having someone to talk to has been a lifeline during coronavirus and many North Yorkshire befriending services have adapted from face-to-face visits to a phone call. This week we have marked Loneliness Awareness Week, a national campaign aimed at combatting loneliness. It’s estimated that 2 million people in the UK over the age of 75 live alone and half of those can go an entire month without speaking to another person.

Last week community support organisations carried out 1,034 telephone check-ins and 756 befriending calls to people who are lonely and isolated. Particularly when the population has been in lockdown, the effects of loneliness can be even more profound.

Marjorie Walsh was keen to continue her involvement as a volunteer carer with the Ryedale Voluntary Carers group – whilst also staying at home in Thornton le Dale to protect herself from coronavirus.

Marjorie said: “Normally I visit a lady in Pickering who doesn’t get out a lot. We tend to go for a ride round then we choose somewhere to stop to have tea and cake on our way home. At the moment I phone her regularly instead and we have a good chat, but it is obviously not the same. She does miss the contact but understands the need for the isolation, as I do. Another lady and I have a good old chat a couple of times a week; she’s on her own and because of underlying health issues she needs to isolate herself. We happily chatter away for quite a long time. I wanted to continue to do something if I could but obviously shopping for people wasn’t really an option for me, so I was quite happy to do something else. When it all started the main concern initially for people was making sure they could get food and essentials, then once that settled down and time went on, I think a lot of people on their own started to feel quite lonely.”

Marjorie is confident that North Yorkshire communities will continue to support each other long after the Covid-19 has gone.

She added: “We are lucky that we have family close by that can help us with shopping and things but we are constantly getting updates of things that are available to us locally which I’ve found really helpful. I think the response has just been tremendous.”

Since March, 577 Covid-19 support grant scheme awards have been made through the community support organisations, providing financial assistance to pay for food and household essentials during isolation. Around 30% are repeat awards and the majority (80%) of applicants have long-term health conditions or weakened immune systems (42%). 17% are unemployed and 9% are waiting for a benefit claim. There have been 307 awards in the Scarborough area.

Those who need help with shopping, prescriptions and other essentials but don’t have anyone to call on, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780. The centre is open seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm.

For more information, including links to the main supermarkets for people who can shop safely for themselves, and a link to the Buy Local site, go to www.northyorks.gov.uk/help-you-during-coronavirus-covid-19

People can also find details of local voluntary and community groups offering support at www.northyorkshireconnect.org.uk

Local economy

Buy Local

North Yorkshire Buy Local (www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local) is the online marketplace to bring together businesses and customers.

There are now over 650 businesses registered on the site, many of whom have had to re-model themselves during the coronavirus outbreak and are now adapting again as lock down restrictions ease.

With many retailers re-opening to the public this week, we’re urging them to register on the site to let as many customers as possible know their doors are open. The Buy Local site also allows all businesses to outline the safety measures they have put in place to protect the public.

Matthew and Andrea, who own The Dale Stores in Birstwith near Harrogate, adapted their business and signed up to Buy Local.

“Being able to help people has been really terrific and has given us a real sense of purpose,” said Matthew. The village store began putting together orders for collection and delivery in the nearby area. They launched a system whereby customers who are vulnerable or self-isolating are able to place orders either on the telephone or via an Internet order form.

The Dale Stores is a traditional village shop with limited space, so Matthew is making changes ready for when they re-open “We have had screens fitted at the till point in readiness and plan to adopt a “two customers at a time” policy. Once we have reorganised the kitchen into an order fulfilment room, we will be able to allow shoppers in properly and safely.

Read more at www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local

Please share our social media messages encouraging businesses to register, and directing the public to the site. Follow @northyorkscc on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

LEP News: York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub launch additional business support

The Growth Hub has launched a number of free webinars for businesses to provide them with a range of support. This includes those detailed below.

Free webinar: Converting to take away and delivery during COVID-19

For businesses such as restaurants, cafes or pubs looking to offer takeaway, or delivery, and wanting to maximise this opportunity, the York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub in partnership with North Yorkshire County Council and Make It York is hosting a free webinar.

Expert advice will be given on how to successfully adapt business models, make the most of digital technology and ensure regulation compliance.

The webinar will take place on Monday 22 June 12:15 – 1:00 pm. For more details and links to sign up, see below:

Social media support for business

The York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub, in partnership with North Yorkshire County Council and Make It York, has also teamed up with York PR and marketing agency Intandem Communications to deliver three free webinars.

The sessions are designed to give an introduction to a range of topics from getting set up and creating great social media content, through to advertising and analytics. For more details and to sign up, see below.

Mastering the basics: 25 June, 12:15-13:00 

Planning and creating great content: 2 July, 12:15-13:00 

Growing your social media presence- 9 July, 12:15-13:00 

ShopAppy offer extended to cover all of York and North Yorkshire.

The York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub has invested in a community- led shopping platform, ShopAppy.com, allowing local businesses to have free 12-month subscriptions to the site.

Launched last month, it initially targeted businesses from 10 towns. The 10 towns are: Selby, Tadcaster, Harrogate, Knaresborough, Malton & Norton, Richmond, Leyburn, Stokesley, Thirsk and Easingwold.

Now, businesses from elsewhere in York and North Yorkshire can take up the offer too. The first 50 businesses to sign up from outside these towns can also benefit from free 12-month subscriptions, worth £240 each. For further information, go to link to press release.

Grow Yorkshire launch free online trading offer for farmers

Free subscriptions are being offered to help York and North Yorkshire farmers sell their produce direct to shoppers online and to also connect them to retailers. The 12 month subscriptions, worth £240 each, allow access to community led shopping platform, ShopAppy.com.

The offer is led by Grow Yorkshire – a collaboration of farming, food businesses and research organisations coordinated by the York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

ShopAppy.com features a directory of towns. Farmers eligible for the offer, from the York & North Yorkshire areas, would showcase their produce on the webpage of the town closest to them.  Funding for the free subscriptions has been provided by the York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub.

Farmers interested in taking up the free offer can contact ShopAppy to register interest by emailing info@shopappy.com or visit the site at www.shopappy.com . For further information, go to Link to press release and comms pack.

Promoting Government guidance on re-opening: Updated working safely guidance 

Guidance to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic has been updated to reflect industry feedback, guidance on Test & Trace, guidance on safer travel and to provide guidance on managing security risks.

The full guidance can be found here: https://bit.ly/CV19WorkingSafely.

The Cabinet Office has shared the following video to show how retailers are keeping customers and staff safe. We would appreciate you retweeting on your own channels where possible: https://bit.ly/How2GuideTweet.

Marketing Materials available to promote wearing face coverings

From Monday 15th June, wearing face coverings is now mandatory on all public transport.    

To help support this change, HM Government has created a range of new marketing materials available on the Campaign Resource Centre. These include PostersSocial Media and  Additional Social Media assets.

Staying informed

As always, we are keen to promote the following as main sources of business support information:

Communications

NYCC’s website has a dedicated area for all the latest COVID-19 related news visit: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-advice-and-information

Follow us on social media: @northyorkscc on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Advice on things to do

Online music lessons

Online lessons being offered by our County Music Service are going really well, delivering more than 1,100 lessons each week, but the service can accommodate more pupils.

Our service has adapted to allow lessons to be taught online to pupils unable to attend school. We offer the full range of instruments, including brass, woodwind, strings, percussion, voice and keyboard

Up to 32 lessons a year are offered, with a guarantee of 28. Lessons are delivered by specialist instrumental teachers over a secure connection.

We were among the first music service to pioneer this approach and are very experienced in it.

For details, visit www.northyorkshiremusichub.co.uk or email MusicServiceTuitionRequests@northyorks.gov.uk

Summer Reading Challenge

The Summer Reading Challenge has gone digital. The challenge is open to children aged four to 11 and the theme is the Silly Squad, so children are invited to read anything that makes them happy – a comic, joke book, poetry, fiction or non-fiction, in digital or print, an e-book borrowed from the library or what they already have at home.

Children can sign up for free at summerreadingchallenge.org.uk, where they will find brilliant book suggestions, super silly activities, quizzes, videos, games, a place to keep track of their books and rewards to unlock along the way.

Last year, almost 10,000 children took the challenge in North Yorkshire though local libraries. The county’s library service has a huge selection of children’s e-books and e-audiobooks that are free to borrow at northyorks.gov.uk/digital-library, so we hope to encourage just as many children to join in this year.

Library members just need their library card and PIN to download books. If you are not a member, call 01609 533878 to join for free.

Have a read: Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughters – Bridget Talbot

Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughters is a North Yorkshire County Council project to highlight and celebrate figures from the past who were immensely influential within the county. It draws on County Record Office archives and the work of local history groups.

The latest nominee is Miss Bridget Elizabeth Talbot, the last owner of Kiplin Hall, near Scorton. She spent her life channelling her energy, innovative mind-set and influence into addressing injustices.

Read more about Miss Bridget Talbot and Made in North Yorkshire at: www.northyorks.gov.uk/made-in-north-yorkshire

Enjoy the fresh air with some gardening

With all the amazing weather we have had recently, why not turn your hand to gardening? Many recent studies have shown the benefits of gardening for our mental health, especially during lockdown where many of us are isolated from friends and family. Visit https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/health-and-wellbeing for more information and tips on gardening.

Cook up a storm at home

Many of our favourite restaurants are unfortunately closed, if you’re bored of eating the same things and need some inspiration visit https://tasty.co for amazing recipes and ideas.

Go to the aquarium

Although they’re closed to the public, Monterey Bay Aquarium has added a number of live cams to let you keep an eye on the jellyfish, kelp forest, coral reef, and even the penguins, completely free: https://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals/live-cams

A message from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

The weather is not the only thing which has changed considerably in the past few days.

Since then, we have seen many national announcements which will bring about very significant easements to the previous lockdown rules over the coming days. Many of our primary schools continue to expand their pupil numbers – some are reaching capacity, given the need for these settings to adhere to the public health guidance on social distancing and hygiene. Our highways teams continue to progress significant work with partner agencies to understand the potential impacts from the reopening of non-essential shops across our communities from next week and to see how we might support social distancing on the high streets and elsewhere.

We have learned there will now be a review by Government of those people placed on their shielded list. This is due next week.  At the start of the outbreak, those are the people who were advised to stay inside for at least 12 weeks because they were most clinically vulnerable to being hospitalised if they developed Covid-19. There are currently more than 24,000 people on the shielded list in North Yorkshire and around 3,500 of those have been receiving nationally organised support with things like essential food and medical supplies. We have been supporting the wider community piece, with thousands of regular outbound calls via our customer service team to ensure no one in our county is alone during this global crisis. Since the start of the lockdown, we have been working with 23 Community Support Organisations and an army of volunteers to deliver welfare checks, food and medicines and we have just extended that arrangement for another 3 months. Despite the easements to the lockdown and progress towards the new norm – we will continue to support those people who need it the most to ensure they are not more vulnerable during this very early period of the road to recovery. You will find more on that, here https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/support-isolated-and-shielded-continues

Looking ahead, one of the most significant weapons we have in our battle against this virus is the newly launched test and trace service. In North Yorkshire, the County Council is at the heart of this and we are finalising our Outbreak Management Plan as I write. Our Director of Public Health, Dr Lincoln Sargeant, is taking a lead role and is supported by our Public Health Consultants. Our role will be to support the NHS system in ensuring that when we are notified of an outbreak we have the right resources, skills set, plans, processes and powers (if necessary) to respond rapidly. We have worked incredibly hard to ensure we are well positioned for this. Next week we hope to trial a pilot testing initiative with the Department of Health and Social Care which could enable us to offer broad ranging workforce testing capability. This will be massively important in tracing the virus through employment and other settings where groups of people may share work space, transport or even living accommodation. Tracking and tracing people who are established as close contacts of those who test positive, supporting them while they self-isolate and getting them access to timely swab tests - this is a big logistical challenge but we are up for it and ready for this next stage.

You all have a big part to play in this latest stage of the fight. Regular and thorough hand washing and social distancing remain the best deterrents but, if test and trace is to work and we are to beat this virus, we need you to book a test if you have symptoms. If you have any of the symptoms associated with Covid-19 such as a new and persistent cough, a temperature or changes to your sense of smell or taste, it’s absolutely vital you book a test and self-isolate. If you are contacted by the Test and Trace Team, please follow their instructions carefully.  There are a variety of ways to book a test; there are home test kits, a regional centre near York and regular mobile testing units visiting communities across the county. There is good capacity at the sites so please take a look at the information here so you are aware what to do if you, or someone in your household, has symptoms:

https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19-test-sites-north-yorkshire

By booking a test and self-isolating, you will be doing your critical bit for Team North Yorkshire and helping our wonderful county return to normality safely. It’s so important for our lifestyle and economy that we stick together to beat Coronavirus.

I will leave you with that thought and ask you to stay safe. We will bring you updates on all these important projects as they progress so please keep an eye on our social media feeds and website. Thank you for your help.

A message from Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health

World Health Organisation data shows that we have now passed 7.1 million confirmed cases globally, with over 407 thousand deaths across 216 countries, areas or territories.

At a national level, yesterday’s (09/06) Public Health England data show there were 289,140 lab-confirmed cases in the UK, with 40,883 COVID-associated deaths. To date, there have been 1,327 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as part of Pillar 1 testing across North Yorkshire. You can see the latest confirmed cases of coronavirus by area on the Government's website. 

The number of people currently in hospital with COVID-19 continues to decrease slowly. Sadly, there have been 637 deaths from COVID-19 across Airedale, Harrogate, South Tees and York NHS Trusts to date, of whom an estimated 244 will be North Yorkshire residents. The number of deaths from COVID-19 each week continues to decrease.

The NHS Test and Trace programme has been running for almost two weeks. Anyone who receives a positive swab test result will be contacted by the Test & Trace system – for more information see https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-test-and-trace-how-it-works.

The NYCC Outbreak Control Plan is taking shape. We are building on our work with care homes to increase the support given to schools, workplaces and other settings around preventing and managing outbreaks. This work will be overseen by a Member-led advisory Board, who will hold their first meeting next week.

Planning for recovery

Testing

As part of the national testing programme for coronavirus, drive-through Mobile Testing Units, run by the Department for Health and Social care, will be operating in the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • 12 June - Whitby - Whitby Park and Ride, Guisborough Rd, Whitby, YO21 1TL
  • 12 to 13 June - Northallerton - Allertonshire School, Brompton Road, DL6 1ED
  • 13 June - Selby - Drax Social Club, Main Road, Selby, YO8 8PJ
  • 13 June - Settle -  Greenfoot Car Park, Ingfield Lane, Settle, BD24 9RW

Before you attend you must book a test. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. 

Find out more and how to book at www.northyorks.gov.uk/testing

Free advice for businesses

New businesses and those that are diversifying as a result of the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic are being urged to make sure they take the right advice before committing their time and money.

To support the economic recovery from the pandemic, North Yorkshire Trading Standards service is currently offering all its advice services free to any businesses, with particular focus on those that are starting up or changing the products or services they sell as a result of Covid-19. A specialist team can provide advice on all aspects of trading standards law. 

The aim is to offer as much support as possible to businesses at this time. Anyone planning to start or diversify a business needs to consider such things as product safety regulations and their responsibilities as a manufacturer or importer. Our Trading Standards team can help business people to understand and meet the requirements.

Businesses can contact the team on 01609 780780 or at business.advice@northyorks.gov.uk. Information about product safety, including imports, can be found at www.northyorks.gov.uk/product-safety

Free resources for business in online library

With business start-ups in mind, North Yorkshire’s library service has recently invested in COBRA (the Complete Business Reference Adviser), a free online business reference resource with a wealth of easy to find, practical information.

COBRA provides access to reports, guides and more than 4,000 factsheets. This includes:

  • Business opportunity profiles, short reports on more than 600 business types;
  • Factsheets covering all aspects of starting a business;
  • Sector guides;
  • Local area profiles, identifying sources of support in the region, down to district level within North Yorkshire;
  • A business legal library; and
  • A calendar of upcoming business events.

COBRA can be found at www.northyorks.gov.uk/libraries-online-information-resources. All customers need to do is input their library card number and PIN. To join the library or get a PIN number, call 01609 533878

Schools and childcare

The Government has this week released new guidelines on the full reopening of primary schools, announcing they will be given more flexibility on whether or not to admit more pupils over the next few weeks. A total of 268 of North Yorkshire’s 300 primary schools have now reopened to reception, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils since June 1, in addition to vulnerable children and the children of key workers who were already attending. We are now supporting schools in their individual decisions on whether to reopen to more pupils prior to the school summer holidays.

We have had positive feedback from primary schools which have already reopened, which have found their arrangements have worked well and children have settled back into school quickly.

One of those to reopen last week was Whitley and Eggborough Community Primary School, which has adapted to the new conditions by putting in place activities classes where tasks can be done in groups but alone, providing each child with a pack of resources such as pencils, whiteboards, pens and using resources which can be washed on a regular basis.

Children have been in bubbles, including family groups, so there’s no crossover in each bubble with children or staff and yellow footprints in the school playground remind children to social distance.

Head Sarah Langridge said the number of children returning to school increased as the week went on.

Sarah added the teachers have adapted to the new circumstances and are all aware of the emotional side of the pandemic and how it might affect their students, which has been the primary focus in the early days of the return of each year group.

Secondary schools will be opening from June 15 to allow students in key year groups – Year 10 and Year 12 – to have contact with teachers as they study for exams they will sit next year. Only a quarter of each of those two year groups will be in school at a time.

We have so far been allocated 830 laptops from the Government to distribute to children and young people in the county who have a social worker, to help with their studies, and are currently waiting to place orders for a further 119 laptops or 4G routers for eligible young people in Year 10.

We have extended the deadline for schools to tell us how many laptops they need for eligible pupils from Monday (June 8), until Friday (June 12). Laptops for children with social workers are expected to arrive later this week and we will be distributing them in stages over the next couple of weeks once the devices are ready. The Government will be announcing soon when we can place orders for laptops for Year 10 pupils.

Social care, the NHS and Public Health Services

As part of our support for care homes, extra care facilities and supported living during the Covid-19 pandemic we moved ahead of government guidance to create new care teams to make daily calls to check on any outbreaks and to give back-up support and channel resources on issues such as staffing and recruitment, help with sourcing PPE, infection control, zoning of care homes, cohorting of staff and residents, safe hospital discharge, clinical advice, registered manager support and more.  These teams have been working at full tilt over the past month and thankfully this is leading to reductions in Covid-related deaths in our care settings.  In another best practice development to aid rapid and efficient testing processes to reduce outbreaks further, we hope we have reached agreement with the Department for Health and Social Care to establish a satellite testing unit for the care sector in Scarborough. Once operational this will give the sector access to up to 500 testing swabs a day and a more rapid turnaround in results.  This site will serve the east of our large county and complement the testing service for the care sector in the west which is based in Bradford.

Visitor arrangements for care settings

We appreciate that these are difficult times and people really want to see family and loved ones in care settings.  However, we are still trying to manage transmission and outbreaks of Covid-19 within care settings and communities in North Yorkshire, so we need to continue with existing arrangements for the meantime. This means that only essential visitors can go into care settings e.g. carers and families providing end of life support, health staff, and essential contractors. Care settings must also ensure that all essential visitors adhere to infection control policies and confirm that they are not displaying any symptoms associated with COVID-19 - including a temperature and/or new and persistent cough or loss of smell or taste.

We are actively encouraging care settings to use electronic devices or social media to help to make sure that people can keep in contact with their loved ones and we have delivered a number of these devices to care homes.

We will continue to review the situation in the light of national guidance and local arrangements, and we will work jointly with care sector representatives and the regulator to prepare for further easing of the visiting restrictions, in accordance with Government direction.

PPE

Our operational guidance on PPE to support social care staff during the outbreak has also been cited as good practice by the Local Government Association https://www.local.gov.uk/covid-19-adult-social-care-commissioning-practice-resource Our guidance is intended to help with local interpretation of government guidelines and outlines clear steps for social care staff to take across a range of scenarios in community and social care settings as well as the types of PPE that might be used. A 4-stage flowchart covers self-assessment, initial risk-assessment, PPE requirements and specific requirements for facilities with sustained disease transmission.

Support for people in isolation

Over the next few days, people in North Yorkshire who are shielding to protect themselves from COVID-19, and need help getting food and medication, will receive a letter from North Yorkshire County Council giving them reassurance that our support will continue.

Anyone at higher risk from coronavirus remains vulnerable and should still stay at home as much as possible. Although people who are being shielded are now able to go outside once a day for fresh air and exercise, Government advice for anyone in this group is not to go shopping, attend gatherings or visit other people’s homes.

Our network of community support organisations will continue to help people, who have no one else to call on, with shopping, picking up prescriptions and other essentials. We will also continue to carry out telephone welfare checks, in partnership with district councils, to make sure people have support in place.

The Government has scheduled to carry out the next review of shielding measures in England during the week beginning June 15. They will then write to people, on the shielded list, with advice and information about the next steps and the support that will be available following the review.

Michelle Sherriff has been shielding to protect herself from coronavirus. Michelle said: “I have mixed feelings about the changes. I’m shielding because I have asthma, diabetes and take immunosuppressant medication. What worries me about leaving home isn’t so much who you’re going to meet, it’s who they’ve been in contact with and have they got it. That’s what scares me.”

During isolation Michelle has been helped by volunteers through Hambleton Community Action, one of 23 community support organisations helping people across the county. Community support organisations (CSOs), and the partners they are working alongside, continue to make sure that nobody in North Yorkshire feels alone or is left without food, medicines or other essential supplies.

Michelle added: “They have been amazing, I cannot believe what they do. People are giving their time to help others. I have a friend next door, and she does little bits of shopping for me, but it was too heavy for her. She was struggling and isn’t in good health. When I contacted them the lady said to write a list out, then they came and took the list, did all my shopping, then you just pay over the phone. They have been absolutely amazing.”

Throughout May CSO volunteers collected 3,445 prescriptions and delivered 5,129 lots of shopping, providing a lifeline to people in North Yorkshire during this challenging time. Other types of support include telephone befriending calls, pet care, organising meal deliveries and helping people continue their hobbies by delivering supplies.

Gill Sayer volunteers with Ripon Community House, another community support organisation helping people across the county. Despite shielding to protect herself from coronavirus, Gill has been working on plans for a meal delivery service.

Gill said: “When you volunteer you realise there is a lot of goodness out there. It gives you a sense of wellbeing. People were falling over themselves to help friends and neighbours here. People in need had help coming from every direction. It’s been a positive situation in the very darkest of times.”

The Covid-19 support grant scheme is also providing much needed reassurance to people in need of financial assistance to pay for food and household essentials during isolation. 512 grants have been approved since March and awarded to eligible applicants through the community support organisations. The majority of people receiving these grants have long-term health conditions or weakened immune systems and the average amount awarded is under £100.

Those who need help with shopping, prescriptions and other essentials but don’t have anyone to call on, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780. The centre is open seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm.

For more information, including links to the main supermarkets for people who can shop safely for themselves, and a link to the Buy Local site, go to www.northyorks.gov.uk/help-you-during-coronavirus-covid-19

People can also find details of local voluntary and community groups offering support at www.northyorkshireconnect.org.uk

Local economy

Buy Local

North Yorkshire Buy Local (www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local) is the online marketplace to bring together businesses and customers.

There are now 642 businesses registered on the site, many of whom have adapted their ways of working and found new avenues to trade during the coronavirus outbreak.

During the pandemic, many businesses have also gone out of their way to support their local community.

Stuart’s Foods in Scarborough found new audiences on Buy Local when they opened up their wholesale food business to take online orders from the public.

Damian Howarth, Managing Director said “We started to help those who are self-isolating and in the vulnerable category,”

“I was under no illusions – the general public will buy where it’s easiest, in a supermarket they can get everything they want; it’s easy and convenient. However, even though more shops are re-opening we have new customers who are buying products, and some who are placing repeat orders.”

Read more about Stuart’s Foods and Buy Local here www.northyork.gov.uk/buy-local

We’re urging all businesses to register on the site - especially if they are re-opening next week - to let as many customers as possible know their doors are open. The site also allows businesses to outline the safety measures they have in place to protect the public.

Please share our social media messages encouraging businesses to register, and directing the public to the site. Follow @northyorkscc on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

LEP News: Re-opening of retail businesses

All non-essential retail including shops selling clothes, shoes, toys, furniture, books, and electronics, plus tailors, auction houses, photography studios, and indoor markets can reopen from 15 June if they follow the COVID-19 secure guidelines.

Businesses can access guidance on this by signing up to BEIS free webinars here

As high streets and businesses start to re-open in York & North Yorkshire, this will present a number of challenges for both them and their customers.  We want to support these businesses through this process and have developed a Communications Pack which includes some key messages that would be helpful to promote at this time, as well as signpost to further useful information.

The messages focus on 3 key themes:

  1. SAFE- we want to support businesses and residents to work together and take responsibility as individuals to practice social distancing and safety precautions relating to COVID19
  2. KIND- we want to promote community spirit and cohesion – bring an optimistic tone to the reopening of the high street.
  3. LOCAL- we want to encourage residents to continue the local shopping campaigns they’ve developed during COVID-19 and to support their local high-street

You can access this Communications Pack here and we encourage you to share this with your wider business networks.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Important Dates

Note key dates below relating to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).

  • The scheme will close to anyone who hasn’t been furloughed for 3 weeks by 30 June, so employers will only be able to claim for employees after that if they have been furloughed for a full three-week period at any time before the end of June.
  • If employers intend to furlough an employee who hasn’t been furloughed before, they will need to agree that with them and start their period of furlough on or before 10 June – TODAY is the last day on which someone who has never been furloughed before can start a period of furlough and qualify for the scheme – this ensures the minimum three-week period is complete by 30 June.
  • Employers will then have until 31 July to make a claim for any periods of furlough up until 30 June – this applies to both employees furloughed for the first time and those you have previously furloughed and claimed for.

Regarding the future of the scheme, HMRC will publish on 12th June full guidance on all future scheme changes and this will include a programme of webinars.

Employer guidance for Test and Trace service

HM Government has now launched the Test and Trace service to help reduce the spread of coronavirus and save lives. Full details and guidance for employers can be found here: https://bit.ly/testandtracenorth.

Staying informed

As always, we are keen to promote the following as main sources of business support information:

Communications

NYCC’s website has a dedicated area for all the latest COVID-19 related news visit: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-advice-and-information

Follow us on social media: @northyorkscc on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Advice on things to do

Summer Reading Challenge

The Summer Reading Challenge has gone digital. The challenge is open to children aged four to 11 and the theme is the Silly Squad, so children are invited to read anything that makes them happy – a comic, joke book, poetry, fiction or non-fiction, in digital or print, an e-book borrowed from the library or what they already have at home.

Children can sign up for free at summerreadingchallenge.org.uk, where they will find brilliant book suggestions, super silly activities, quizzes, videos, games, a place to keep track of their books and rewards to unlock along the way.

Last year, almost 10,000 children took the challenge in North Yorkshire though local libraries. The county’s library service has a huge selection of children’s e-books and e-audiobooks that are free to borrow at northyorks.gov.uk/digital-library, so we hope to encourage just as many children to join in this year.

Library members just need their library card and PIN to download books. If you are not a member, call 01609 533878 to join for free.

Have a read: Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughters – Bridget Talbot

Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughters is a North Yorkshire County Council project to highlight and celebrate figures from the past who were immensely influential within the county. It draws on County Record Office archives and the work of local history groups.

The latest nominee is Miss Bridget Elizabeth Talbot, the last owner of Kiplin Hall, near Scorton. She spent her life channelling her energy, innovative mind-set and influence into addressing injustices.

Read more about Miss Bridget Talbot and Made in North Yorkshire at: www.northyorks.gov.uk/made-in-north-yorkshire

Host a games night

Organising a games night is a sure-fire way to keep the whole family or your friendship group entertained this weekend. Here's a few tips...

  • Play a good old game of charades
  • Assign someone the 'happy hour host' and ask them to give a live cocktail/ cooking master class
  • Get one person to mute themselves and mime phrases and see who can read their lips the best
  • Ask guests to submit a surprising fact about themselves beforehand and see who can guess which fact correlates to which person on the Zoom
  • Play a good old game of Bingo. Ask everyone to mock up their own Bingo card based on a Google template and use this number generator to kick things off.

Enjoy the fresh air with some gardening

With all the amazing weather we have had recently, why not turn your hand to gardening? Many recent studies have shown the benefits of gardening for our mental health, especially during lockdown where many of us are isolated from friends and family. Visit https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/health-and-wellbeing for more information and tips on gardening.

Cook up a storm at home

Many of our favourite restaurants are unfortunately closed, if you’re bored of eating the same things and need some inspiration visit https://tasty.co for amazing recipes and ideas.

Go to the aquarium

Although they’re closed to the public, Monterey Bay Aquarium has added a number of live cams to let you keep an eye on the jellyfish, kelp forest, coral reef, and even the penguins, completely free: https://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals/live-cams

A message from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

We are edging slowly but surely towards being able to provide the sort of hearty North Yorkshire welcome people expect in our beautiful county – but everything hangs very carefully in the balance and we all hold the key to success – individually and collectively.

As well as being the Chief Executive of the County Council, I chair North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum – the partnership which is tasked with fighting the impacts of Covid-19 in our county, which includes York.  I receive daily updates on infection and death rates, consider these with directors of public health, police gold command and our district colleagues. We establish the most effective actions we can collectively take and how we can work with you all to protect people and communities. Sadly, over the past few days the huge collective effort of Team North Yorkshire has been somewhat marred by some really thoughtless and even dangerous behaviour. Speeding on highways, tombstoning into open water, drinking in makeshift beer gardens, gathering in crowds, disregard for social distancing, piles of litter left on verges and scattered through beauty spots.

We are at a very delicate point in our management of Covid-19 in North Yorkshire and York and only you can help us continue to save lives. Without your support, the virus has a fighting chance of a new surge and we could lose more people we love and have to wait even longer to see those we cannot see yet.

Please, please protect yourselves and your children, brothers, sisters, mums, dads, grans and grandads. Stay at least 2 metres apart at all times from anyone you don’t live with. Wash your hands thoroughly and regularly with soap and warm water or, if that’s not possible, use hand sanitiser. Avoid crowds and think ahead to limit the spread. Please take your litter home. What we do now will dictate what happens next in this pandemic and you have worked so hard. Thank you for your support.

124 of our primary schools have now increased their pupil capacity and that expansion of education services will continue through other schools over the coming days as they implement the risk assessment action plans needed to keep staff and pupils safe. Early indications are that for those pupils who are returning this is a positive experience and many will be delighted to see their friends and teachers again.  Plans are well underway, too, to expand secondary school provision from mid-June. Schools have bespoke plans and they will be in touch with parents directly. However, there is good information available here, including how to book school transport given social distancing   https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/schools-and-childrens-services-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Our support for Care Homes continues to pay dividends and new infection rates are reducing. Our efforts to secure reliable and consistent access to swabs to facilitate faster testing, continue. And we very much hope to see a resolution to the delays which put pressure on these settings which are home to many of our most vulnerable residents and no doubt many of your loved ones. 

Testing remains key in the fight against this virus and this week has seen the expansion of the Government’s test and trace scheme. This approach relies on people with symptoms getting tests so that anyone who may also have been infected can be found and asked to take a test.  If the outbreak is in a particular setting, this approach can very effectively facilitate a mini lockdown to control the spread of Covid-19 and track it down; closing off its prospects of wider infection. If we get this right, together we will lead the charge out of this in much better shape for the future.  Information on how to book a test is available here along with details of the current mobile testing units which have good capacity and are spread across the county    https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19-test-sites-north-yorkshire

With retail premises reopening, we are also working, at a very local level, to put in mitigation, where that is possible and appropriate, to help facilitate social distancing in shopping areas. It’s important to say that some streets and pavements may not lend themselves to a really managed approach and so you will need to be very aware of your own personal space to ensure you take the necessary steps to protect yourselves. I am sure the prospect of being able to visit shops again is very welcome to many of you. Social distancing changes on the highway can be found here https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/social-distancing-measures

On the subject of shopping, a real positive from all of this is the success of Buy Local – more and more people are supporting their local stores and shops during this difficult time. The website we set up has more than 600 businesses and traders now registered – providing residents and other businesses with a terrific go-to place for everything from food to electrical repairs. We very much hope that the ethos of buying local quality goods will continue in the future.

Before I go, I would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to read and share our Covid-19 bulletins. From this week, they will be reduce to one per week. Generally, we will issue them on a Wednesday afternoon but we will increase the number and/or change the issue day as appropriate if there are important things to be said.

Stay safe in North Yorkshire everyone.

A message from Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health

Current World Health Organisation data shows that we have now passed 6.1 million confirmed cases globally, with over 373 thousand deaths across 216 countries, areas or territories.

At a national level, yesterday’s (01/06) Public Health England data show there were 276,332 lab-confirmed cases in the UK, with 39,045 COVID-associated deaths. The national number of deaths now includes deaths of people who had tested positive under the Pillar 2 route (e.g. community testing), which has added to the total since the previous bulletin. To date, there have been 1,304 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across North Yorkshire.

You can see the latest confirmed cases of coronavirus by area on the Government's website. 

The number of people currently in hospital with COVID-19 continues to decrease slowly. Sadly, there have been 610 deaths from COVID-19 across Airedale, Harrogate, South Tees and York NHS Trusts to date, of whom an estimated 236 will be North Yorkshire residents.

We are continuing to develop our local COVID-19 outbreak control plan to work alongside the NHS Test and Trace programme. We also continue to support schools as they start to reopen across the county.

In light of the recent good weather and change in lockdown rules I would like to remind everyone that the need to maintain social distancing with people outside of your own household and wash your hands regularly still remains. Although the number of new cases of COVID-19 in North Yorkshire has decreased the risk has not gone away – I am very grateful for everyone’s efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19 so far, and these measures remain as important now as they ever have been.

Planning for recovery

Testing

As part of the national testing programme for coronavirus, drive-through Mobile Testing Units, run by the Department for Health and Social care, will be operating in the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • 3 June - Scarborough - Scarborough Park and Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough, YO12 4LW
  • 3 June - Harrogate - Hydro Leisure Centre, Jenny Field Drive, Harrogate, HG1 2RP
  • 4 June - Leyburn - Tennants Auctioneers Car Park, Harmby Road, Leyburn, DL8 5SG
  • 4 June - Northallerton - Civic Centre, Stonecross, Northallerton, DL6 2UU

Before you attend you must book a test. There are two ways to do this depending on which testing group you are part of. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. 

Anyone in the country who is showing coronavirus symptoms can register at http://www.nhs.uk/coronavirus

People who don't have access to the internet, or who have difficulty with the digital portals, can ring the new 119 service to book their test.

Essential workers and members of their household can register at: www.gov.uk/apply-coronavirus-test-essential-workers

You can see the full list of essential workers at: www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested

Schools and childcare

Opening of schools

By the end of next week at least half of all North Yorkshire’s primary schools will have reopened. A total of 124 primary schools are reopening this week, with 24 to reopen next week. We are currently working with all remaining primary schools to confirm opening dates.

Schools which have confirmed their opening dates can be found here; https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/schools-and-childrens-services-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Primaries which have opened their doors this week to key year groups have completed risk assessments and adapted school sites and their daily routines to keep children’s health and wellbeing at the forefront. 

They include Easingwold Primary School, which reopened yesterday.

Rigorous planning and creative ideas on how to keep students both happy and safe meant their first day back ran as smoothly as possible, according to acting head, Alison Cottrell.

Alison said in order to ensure the school is a safe, welcoming environment for children to be, she created action plans and put together Q&A leaflets for both parents and children so they know what to expect.

She said: “I wanted to answer as many questions as possible for parents and for children so they weren’t coming in blind.

“The one for children made it clear the school is still here for them, it had pictures of our students from key worker families completing hand washing protocol and showed things like the painted markings on the playground which children can use safely.

“We’ve planned the entire day, from using separate entrances and exits to cleaning throughout and having two adults in every classroom to ensure that happens.”

Alison added they have eased back into learning in a supportive, light way.

She said: “The first week of learning will be very light – we don’t want to go rushing straight back in. We are starting by touching up on key skills like mental maths, timetables, handwriting, to ease students back in.

“We have a big focus on practical things so children can work independently in a socially distant and safe way and also a large focus on PHSCE to enable children to talk about their experiences.”

Alison added they’ve put together creative packs for younger children to ensure they don’t miss out on anything, too.

She added: “Yesterday (Monday) went really smoothly, children were so excited – but everyone stuck to the rules and everyone did their absolute best. It’s a step towards normality.”

Five initial sets of PPE have been distributed to the majority of schools to ensure they have supplies in place as they begin wider re-opening. Schools which have not received or collected their initial PPE, can collect them from their local district hub. Further supplies can be ordered from suppliers YPO. We have produced a 30 minute, online training session on PPE which can be accessed by school staff via; https://breeze.northyorks.gov.uk/pe1ash2qrdfe/

Social care, the NHS and Public Health Services

We remain at a critical stage in the management of the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on the care sector as we continue to see infections and deaths. Our care market resilience plan, which was sent to the Department for Health and Social Care last week, is now published on our website: www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/north-yorkshire-covid-19-care-market-resilience We have been ahead in implementing this plan for some weeks, working at speed with the care sector and with individual homes to take the necessary action to support residents and to halt any further spread of the virus.

As part of this approach, we have received North Yorkshire’s share of the national £600m infection control fund - £8.4m – based on this strong monitoring and control partnership between ourselves and the care sector. 75% of this sum will go out to care homes in two waves. The first wave (c£3m) going out in the next few days and we’ve written to providers over the weekend. The remaining 25% is allocated at our discretion and we are currently working through the options.

Next week is Carers Week and a chance to celebrate and give thanks for the work and commitment and love of the 60,000 people across North Yorkshire – one in ten of us - who are carers for family members or friends. It’s a chance to acknowledge what carers do and that, during the Covid-19 pandemic, many are providing more care than they have ever done before. The carers resource organisations we fund to support carers across the county, are running a number of great events next week including a selfie and words campaign where carers and the people who support them have sent in selfies with words for publication which describe the strengths all carers have. 

Adult and young carers are also being been encouraged to send in stories and poems which express their experiences as carers. In Harrogate and Craven, where the carer’s resource centre had planned a 25k walk to celebrate its 25th anniversary, staff and carers are being encouraged to join in and do this virtually as part of their daily exercise.

As well as these existing services provided by carers resource charities, we have partnered with 23 community support organisations across the county to coordinate help on the ground with shopping, collecting prescriptions, caring for pets and having someone to talk to.

This help continues through our one point of contact – our customer service centre on 01609 780780 - open seven days a week from 8am to 5.30pm for people, who are without other help, to call. Carers can also ring this number if they have any questions about the wellbeing of the person they are looking after and any other care they are receiving.  More information can be found at https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19-community-support

We have also provided an advice pack for carers with links to partner organisations and advice on use of personal protective equipment.

Support available for carers - video link: https://youtu.be/umPwH_hYhPQ

Throughout the pandemic, our key workers across the county have pulled together to forge a front line fight against the virus. Janet Ramwell, Vicky Guy and Danusia Wenhryniuk in Craven are no exception.

The trio would normally share an office in Settle meaning they were just a conversation away from sharing any problems or troubles they had.

But, working in the pandemic has changed this, meaning they have to support each other in different ways through different kinds of challenges.

Vicky, a Social Care Assessor, said: “Before the pandemic, we wouldn’t be doing as much hands on work within the community but we are now.

“For us, it’s all about working together to plug gaps. We don’t want anyone to slip through the cracks.

“We are still doing our standard day-to-day job, but in all that, we are trying to keep people out of hospital as that has been a focus in the pandemic.

“We’ve had to be creative and provide hands-on care ourselves at times.

Danusia, also a Social Care Assessor, added: “It has been quite a change. Very occasionally we would do hands-on work, but all the things like shopping and delivering prescriptions – we are doing that now.

“New guidance and paperwork comes out all the time, and we’ve had to take that on and work through it remotely without the support of each other physically.”

Vicky added: “We’ve always had that feeling of helping each other; it’s just more IT based now.”

For the team, one of the most important things is people in the community knowing they are there to help.

Janet, a Social Care Co-ordinator, said: “Everyone knows our faces and our numbers and hopefully can now call on us if they need to.”

Support for people in isolation

1-7 June is volunteers’ week; this is the national event recognising the contribution made by the millions of people who volunteer in the UK. Volunteers in North Yorkshire have been helping thousands of people, who are isolating across the county, every week during the COVID-19 pandemic with shopping, collecting prescriptions or just by being there for a chat. There are also many examples of neighbours looking out for each other and an army of volunteers who have formed groups where they live. During volunteers’ week, we will be celebrating the selfless acts of kindness that have made a huge difference to people.

John Walker would normally be out and about volunteering with our countryside service. Instead, he’s helping with the Bedale COVID-19 Mutual Aid Group as part of the helpline team. John said: “Beyond the many tragedies that coronavirus has brought, it has been heart-warming to see communities come together to help each other locally. I think everyone’s lives have changed forever and our world has changed completely. It’s shown us how much we need to work together.”

Pete Stentiford owns the Witching Post pub at Egton. Since lockdown started Pete has been volunteering with Coast and Vale Community Action. When he saw how one resident was struggling with their garden, Pete contacted Jack Reeves at TNC Landscapes who volunteered to help. Pete said: “I deliver to this lady who is quite poorly. I said I have a couple of friends that can come and she was really pleased. It looked much nicer when we finished and it was definitely a team effort.”

Jo Laking from Coast and Vale Community Action added: “Pete really does go the extra mile and he’s just brilliant. He’s been helping us and doing other things in the community where he lives. I think the generosity of the volunteers is just overwhelming. They’re not just doing shopping or collecting a prescription, they’re taking the time to talk to people and offering that extra bit of support. Lockdown has not been a pleasant experience but I think it’s really brought out the best in people.”

For North Yorkshire residents who are being shielded and need help getting food and medication, the County Council will continue to offer support. Despite some changes to lockdown restrictions, anyone at higher risk from coronavirus remains vulnerable and should still stay at home as much as possible.

Although people who are being shielded are now able to go outside once a day for fresh air and exercise, Government advice for anyone in this group is not to go shopping, attend gatherings or visit other people’s homes. Maintaining strict social distancing at this delicate stage in the COVID-19 pandemic is critical, especially for people who are at higher risk. That also includes people with underlying health conditions, including heart disease and diabetes, anyone over the age of 70 and women who are pregnant.

Community support organisations (CSOs) and the partners they are working alongside continue to help people in their communities while they are isolating. Those who need help with shopping, prescriptions and other essentials but don’t have anyone to call on, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780. The centre is open seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm.

For more information, including links to the main supermarkets for people who can shop safely for themselves, and a link to the Buy Local site, go to www.northyorks.gov.uk/help-you-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Local economy

LEP News: Self-Employment Support Scheme extended

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme is being extended to August. 

Those eligible under the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will be able to claim a second and final grant in August. The grant will be worth 70% of average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering three months’ worth of profits, and capped at £6,570 in total. Full details of the announcement can be found here - https://bit.ly/CJRS_SEISSUpdate .

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme extension details confirmed

Last Friday, further details were released on the extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). A new factsheet for this scheme can be found here

The 3 main changes to the scheme are:

From 1‌‌ July 2020, the scheme will be made more flexible to enable employers to bring previously furloughed employees back part time and still receive a grant for the time when they are not working.

From 1‌‌ August 2020, employers will have to start contributing to the wage costs of paying their furloughed staff and this employer contribution will gradually increase in September and October.

  • In August, the government will continue to pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 but employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions – for the average claim, this represents 5% of the gross employment costs that they would have incurred if the employee had not been furloughed
  • In September, the government will pay 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,187.50 for the hours the employee does not work – employers will pay ER NICs, pension contributions and 10% of wages to make up 80% of the total up to a cap of £2,500
  • In October, the government will pay 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875 for the hours the employee does not work – employers will pay ER NICs, pension contributions and 20% of wages to make up 80% of the total up to a cap of £2,500

The scheme will close to new entrants from 30‌‌ June.

Government to publish code of practice with commercial sector in boost to high street

High street businesses and landlords are set to benefit from a new code of practice, which is in development to provide them with clarity and reassurance over rent payments.

A working group has been established by the government with the commercial rental sector to develop a code which encourages fair and transparent discussions between landlords and tenants over rental payments during the coronavirus pandemic and guidance on rent arrear payments and treatment of sub-letter and suppliers. This will enable collaboration and cooperation within the sector and help ensure no one part of the chain shoulders the full burden of payment.

For more details, visit Government to publish code of practice with commercial sector in boost to high street

York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub launch new SME support programme

To help businesses recover and build resilience, the York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub has launched it’s free ‘From Adversity to Recovery’ mentorship programme designed to support SMEs who would benefit from free mentorship to help them build back from adversity and have a critical friend to help to move their business forward with resilience built in.

Businesses will also receive a range of relevant resources to appraise their business, plan for the future and support any application for finance. These will include:

  • business plan template
  • bank-ready cash flow forecast
  • personal survival budget planner

To find out more and to apply, visit: https://www.ynygrowthhub.com/resources/covid-19-support-programme-from-adversity-to-recovery/

Celebrating Volunteers Week 2020

Covid-19 has turned our world upside down, making volunteers in our communities key workers.

To celebrate Volunteers Week 2020 which runs from 1-7th June, we thank all volunteers for keeping our communities going and, sharing her experience, is Leah Furniss, Development Officer at Community First Yorkshire and Volunteer for the Two Ridings Community Foundation. Please read her blog:  https://www.businessinspiredgrowth.com/news/is-volunteering-selfish/

Staying informed

As always, we are keen to promote the following as main sources of business support information:

Communications

NYCC’s website has a dedicated area for all the latest COVID-19 related news visit: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-advice-and-information

Follow us on social media: @northyorkscc on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Advice on things to do

Have a read: Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughters – Bridget Talbot

Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughters is a North Yorkshire County Council project to highlight and celebrate figures from the past who were immensely influential within the county. It draws on County Record Office archives and the work of local history groups.

The latest nominee is Miss Bridget Elizabeth Talbot, the last owner of Kiplin Hall, near Scorton. She spent her life channelling her energy, innovative mind-set and influence into addressing injustices.

Read more about Miss Bridget Talbot and Made in North Yorkshire at: www.northyorks.gov.uk/made-in-north-yorkshire

Host a games night

Organising a games night is a sure-fire way to keep the whole family or your friendship group entertained this weekend. Here's a few tips...

  • Play a good old game of charades
  • Assign someone the 'happy hour host' and ask them to give a live cocktail/cooking master class
  • Get one person to mute themselves and mime phrases and see who can read their lips the best
  • Ask guests to submit a surprising fact about themselves beforehand and see who can guess which fact correlates to which person on the Zoom
  • Play a good old game of Bingo. Ask everyone to mock up their own Bingo card based on a Google template and use this number generator to kick things off.

Enjoy the fresh air with some gardening

With all the amazing weather we have had recently, why not turn your hand to gardening? Many recent studies have shown the benefits of gardening for our mental health, especially during lockdown where many of us are isolated from friends and family. Visit https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/health-and-wellbeing for more information and tips on gardening.

Cook up a storm at home

Many of our favourite restaurants are unfortunately closed, if you’re bored of eating the same things and need some inspiration visit https://tasty.co for amazing recipes and ideas.

Go to the aquarium

Although they’re closed to the public, Monterey Bay Aquarium has added a number of live cams to let you keep an eye on the jellyfish, kelp forest, coral reef, and even the penguins, completely free: https://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals/live-cams

A message from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

With another glorious weather forecast for the weekend ahead, at the risk of repeating myself, we need to continue to emphasize the message that we should all ‘think ahead to limit the spread’. Now that we can drive further and have an increased amount of physical freedom, it gives us more scope than ever to find space to relax and exercise away from potential crowds and, therefore, away from the risk of inadvertently contracting or spreading the virus which remains amongst us. With further relaxation to the lockdown rules due to come into play next week, I would ask you to, please, make sure you stick to the very simple, but proven to be effective, measures of staying two metres apart and washing your hands frequently and thoroughly.

A particular issue that is always present in summer months but is, perhaps, more of a potential danger during lengthy periods of good weather and the current lockdown, is the temptation to cool off in rivers, reservoirs and the sea. We know that most people behaved responsibly during the last sunny weekend and avoided busy areas but some large groups did gather to swim and drink in places like the Threshfield Quarry lagoon near Skipton in the Yorkshire Dales and Richmondshire Falls on the River Swale.

We have over 100 scenic and beautiful reservoirs that we want walkers, cyclists, runners, picnic-goers and others to enjoy this summer within the agreed guidelines but we really need people to obey the signs and not swim in them. Open water may look tempting to cool off in warmer weather but they can be full of hidden dangers, including submerged items and vegetation that you can get caught up in. It’s also likely to be much colder that you expect - some reservoirs have temperatures as low as 12ºC, which is colder than rivers in summer time and they are much deeper with depths of up to 50m. Although they have fewer currents than rivers, there are still underwater currents generated by pipework, which is an invisible danger. Even strong swimmers can be affected by cold water shock. So, please, if you are spending time near water this weekend, make sure you read all the local safety information.

Monday will see a big step forward towards the new normal as we see many of our primary schools reopen their doors, with new social-distancing in place, to children in reception, Year 1 and Year 6. Each school has carried out a risk assessment to plan bespoke safety measures. So far 110 primary schools in North Yorkshire – just over a third - have confirmed they will be opening on Monday, June 1 and an additional 24 primary schools are planning to open from June 8; other schools are initially opening so staff can plan how teaching will take place in their individual settings with social distancing rules in place.

Schools in North Yorkshire are using a variety of approaches to make sure that the children’s well-being and safety is protected as an absolute priority.  In some schools, children will be taught in small “bubbles” –spending the day with the same, small group of other children and teacher, who stay separate from other bubbles in school. Teaching tools, toys, surfaces and any other items that the children will touch will all be sanitised with everybody continuing to do regular hand-washing.

Schools are working to make sure that the children are properly settled in and that they feel secure and ready to begin formal learning again.  We do encourage parents to send their children to school but those who decide to keep them at home won’t be penalised.

We are working with all other primary schools towards their reopening in the coming weeks. Secondary schools will be opening from June 15 to allow students in key year groups – Year 10 and Year 12 – to have contact with teachers as they study for exams they will sit next year.

So, a busy time for all of us and, while we work at such pace, I will finish this message as I started, with a strong reminder that we mustn’t forget how essential it is that we all continue to follow the 2 metre social distancing rule. If you are bored with hearing that from me, why not take a couple of minutes to hear it from five-year-old, Henry Sangster, from Richmond Methodist Primary School which will be re-opening on Monday. If Henry can get his two-year-old sister to comply instantly, I’m sure we can all do the same! Thank you, Henry – you have a bright future ahead of you!  https://youtu.be/iRaoP3W3h7s

A message from Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health

Current World Health Organisation data shows that we have now passed 5.5 million confirmed cases globally, with over 353 thousand deaths across 216 countries, areas or territories.

At a national level, yesterday’s (28/05) Public Health England data show there were 269,127 lab-confirmed cases in the UK, with 37,837 COVID-associated deaths. To date, there have been 1286 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across North Yorkshire.

The number of people currently in hospital with COVID-19 continues to decrease slowly. Sadly, there have been 598 deaths from COVID-19 across Airedale, Harrogate, South Tees and York NHS Trusts to date, of whom an estimated 231 will be North Yorkshire residents.

Since the last bulletin the government has announced the start of the new NHS Test and Trace programme. The test and trace service is one strand of the overall approach for management of COVID-19 outbreaks. Whilst the core contact tracing elements will be managed by the regional and local teams of NHS Test and Trace, there is a significant role for local authorities and partners to support the overall programme. As part of this we are developing a COVID-19 Outbreak Control Plan, which builds on our recent work with care homes to help prevent and manage outbreaks in a wider range of settings.

Staying Active

PHE and Sport England have released an Active at Home booklet aimed at older people. It offers guidance and exercises to do at home, to keep strong and steady, as well as prevent further decline in mental and physical health.

The booklet can be downloaded via the campaign resource centre: https://campaignresources.phe.gov.uk/resources/campaigns/50-resource-ordering/resources/5118  (there is also access to a print friendly version)

If printing isn’t available, hard copies can be ordered on the following link:  https://sabrinapal.wufoo.com/forms/active-at-home-booklet-order-form/

World No Tobacco Day

31 May marks World No Tobacco Day and we are promoting the benefits of quitting smoking and the services and support available.

Quitting smoking reduces your risk of illness, disability or death caused by cancer, heart or lung disease. It will protect the health of the people around you by reducing their exposure to second-hand smoke and will also save you money – the average smoker saves £150 a month when they quit.

Early in the Covid-19 pandemic smokers were advised in the #QuitforCovid campaign that stopping smoking could be one of the best things they could do.

Covid-19 is a respiratory condition affecting the lungs and airways, often causing a cough and shortness of breath. Smoking weakens the immune system and damages the lungs, meaning smokers are more likely to get complications if they get ill and will recover more slowly.

The County Council’s public health grant funds Living Well Smokefree to help smokers who wish to stop. It provides personalised, one-to-one support over six to 12 weeks. The service is operating remotely throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

To access the Living Well Smokefree service visit https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/stopping-smoking call 01609797272 or email stop.smoking@northyorks.gov.uk

Planning for recovery

County prepares for safe reopening of our high streets

As Covid-19 lockdown restrictions are relaxed, we are putting measures in place in preparation for the safe reopening of many of North Yorkshire’s high street businesses in June.

Our highways teams are working with partners in district and borough councils, the police and the national parks to help businesses to open safely and to enable residents to shop with confidence.

To keep the public and businesses informed with up to date details of the steps being taken, we have created dedicated web pages at www.northyorks.gov.uk/socialdistancing

Measures can include putting out cones that will temporarily remove some on-street parking spaces and temporary road closures to make it easier for pedestrians to observe social distancing to tackle the spread of Covid-19. Some such measures have already been seen over recent weeks, particularly on bank holidays, in some of North Yorkshire’s busier towns.

National guidance to avoid the use of public transport where possible has also meant that people have chosen to use more active travel measures such as walking and cycling and the measures will look to build on this where possible.

People can also contact us with any questions about highways-related social distancing measures at www.northyorks.gov.uk/socialdistancing

Testing

As part of the national testing programme for coronavirus, drive-through Mobile Testing Units, run by the Department for Health and Social care, will be operating in the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • 30 May - Leyburn - Tennants Auctioneers Car Park, Harmby Road, Leyburn, DL8 5SG
  • 30 May - Settle - Greenfoot Car Park, Ingfield Lane, Settle, BD24 9RW
  • 30 to 31 May - Drax - Drax Social Club, Main Road, Selby, YO8 8PJ
  • 31 May - Harrogate - Hydro Leisure Centre, Jenny Field Drive, Harrogate, HG1 2RP
  • 31 May - Scarborough - Scarborough Park and Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough, YO12 4LW

Before you attend you must book a test. There are two ways to do this depending on which testing group you are part of. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. 

Anyone in the country who is showing coronavirus symptoms can register at http://www.nhs.uk/coronavirus

People who don't have access to the internet, or who have difficulty with the digital portals, can ring the new 119 service to book their test.

Essential workers and members of their household can register at: www.gov.uk/apply-coronavirus-test-essential-workers

You can see the full list of essential workers at: www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested

Schools and childcare

We have been working closely with head teachers, governing bodies and teaching unions on the reopening of schools, which the Government has said can take place from June 1 the earliest for certain year groups.

All schools have carried out a risk assessment to plan safety measures for their specific circumstances and decide whether they can open safely.

Just over a third of primary schools – 110 - will be opening their doors to children in key year groups the week beginning Monday, June 1 and a further 24 will be accepting children back the following week. We are working with the remainder of other primary schools towards their reopening in the coming weeks.

Secondary schools will be opening from June 15 to allow students in key year groups – Year 10 and Year 12 – to have contact with teachers as they study for exams they will sit next year.

Schools are using a variety of approaches to ensure the safety and wellbeing of children in school, including staggered times for parents dropping-off and collecting children from school, one-way corridors and regular disinfecting of surfaces and items which are handled by children.

Some schools will be teaching in small groups of about five children, who will remain with each other – and the same teacher – for the rest of term, but won’t come into contact with other “bubbles”. There will be a strong emphasis in schools on helping children feel settled and secure in the new routine.

During the lockdown, we had provided weekend and bank holiday childcare provision via hubs, which have been mainly based in local schools.

As schools are being asked by the government to begin re-opening to key year groups from the Monday, June 1 at the earliest, the hubs will close after today, May 29, so those schools can be cleaned ahead of the reopening. The increased numbers of children likely to return to schools from June 1 onwards means we will be unable to sustain the hubs beyond this date, but alternative arrangements have been found for the small number of children affected by this.

The latest information on home to school transport can be found at: www.northyorks.gov.uk/schoolsupdate

Social care, the NHS and Public Health Services

We are now undertaking critical work to implement the Government’s Covid-19 Outbreak Plan which includes systems for contact testing and tracing. The primary objectives of the Test and Trace service will be to control the Covid-19 rate of reproduction (R), reduce the spread of infection and save lives, and in doing so help to return life to as normal as possible, for as many people as possible, in a way that is safe, protects our health and care systems and releases our economy.

Achieving these objectives will require a co-ordinated effort from local and national government, the NHS, GPs, businesses and employers, voluntary organisations and other community partners, and the general public.  Local planning and response will be an essential part of the Test and Trace service, and we have a central role to play in the identification and management of infection through the development of a local outbreak control plan. 

£300m in national government funding will be provided to local authorities in England to develop and action their plans to reduce the spread of the virus in their area – we await what our share will be.

We already have experience across North Yorkshire of local outbreak management and during the pandemic, we have put in place targeted work already to support care homes.  Test and trace will now encompass key themes which include schools, work places, people who may be vulnerable because of their health or social circumstances. The good practice we have already established within the LRF area in the provision of community support for vulnerable people during the national lockdown must be incorporated into the management of any local lockdowns.

There is need for a national steer on how to implement potentially controversial measures such as local lockdowns, if they were ever to be needed, and the extent of local lockdown powers and enforcement. Working pro-actively with the public will be an important part of the programme. Likewise, there will be an important role for democratic accountability and, in line with other councils, we are looking at how we might establish an Elected Member-led, multi-agency Outbreak Management/Health Protection Board for the duration of the Test and Trace programme in North Yorkshire.

It is crucial to realise that a test and trace system, no matter how well implemented, is not enough on its own to contain the coronavirus pandemic. Without vigilance in maintaining social distancing rules and the regular washing of hands, the test and trace system is unlikely to be as effective as it needs to be: 2 metres means 2 metres!

We have also today sent our care market resilience plan to the Department for Health and Social Care.  We anticipated the DHSC would require local authorities to step up support for the care home sector in managing Covid-19 outbreaks and have been implementing our plan for some weeks. Although there are still, sadly, outbreaks in our care homes, we are working at speed with the care sector and with individual homes to take the necessary action to support residents and to halt any further spread of the virus. As a result of this the number of homes affected and number of cases of people with the virus is reducing slowly. As part of this approach, we are about to receive North Yorkshire’s share of the national £600m infection control fund and are writing to care home providers from today to confirm their allocations from the first wave of that national funding.

From day one we  have been providing practical support to care providers, including help with staffing and HR, help with safe hospital discharges, advice on infection control and a dedicated email address for advice and support: But as a result of a new service set up to implement the plan we have been working in close partnership with the Independent Care Group (ICG), which represents most care providers in North Yorkshire, and NHS colleagues, as well as Public Health England (PHE), which is leading nationally on Covid-19, and the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which is the regulator for care providers.

We created new care teams to spearhead this enhanced service and each home in North Yorkshire is receiving a daily call from a care home contact officer with a welfare checklist. They find out from each setting how they are coping and if they have any issues related to Covid-19 and whether they need additional support from the Council or the NHS.  Homes experiencing problems are then supported by a care home liaison officer who will channel resources to meet requirements such as support on HR, staffing and recruitment, reducing agency usage if possible, help with sourcing PPE, infection control, zoning of care homes, cohorting of staff and residents, safe hospital discharge, clinical advice, registered manager support and more. This work is proving effective and is constantly being refined.

Support for people in isolation

Volunteers have been helping thousands of North Yorkshire residents every week during the COVID-19 pandemic. There are also countless examples of neighbours looking out for each other and an army of volunteers who have formed groups where they live. During Volunteers Week (1-7 June), we will be celebrating the selfless acts of kindness that have made a huge difference to people across the county.

Mick Hawes helps to run a football team in Sherburn, Selby. When players volunteered to donate their subs to help people in the community, Mick and others were invited to join the Sherburn Coronavirus Aid Group. Mick said: “We had a number of people willing to support us with vans doing deliveries, leaflet dropping and running errands. Also the befriending scheme, meals on wheels and other kinds of general support. It’s been a massive team effort. I think we get tied up with the negative stuff that goes on in the world. We forget that there are some wonderful folk and when the chips are down people are willing to roll up their sleeves. Some of the offers of support and the lengths people have gone to have been nothing short of remarkable.”

Many people are advised to remain at home, for now, despite some changes to lockdown restrictions. That includes people with underlying health conditions, including heart disease and diabetes, anyone over the age of 70 and women who are pregnant. For people who are being shielded to protect themselves from coronavirus, current Government advice is to stay at home until 30 June at the earliest.

Community support organisations (CSOs) and their partners continue to help people in their communities while they are isolating. Volunteers have been crucial in making sure that nobody is left without essential supplies including medication, with 2,818 prescriptions being collected in the last four weeks by CSO volunteers, and many other people helping their neighbours by picking up medication.

Keith Davy is volunteering with Hambleton Community Action and has been delivering prescriptions to people who are unable to leave home. Keith said: “It’s quite rewarding to drop off some tablets, see if they’re ok and have a little natter, obviously from a safe distance. You get to meet all ranges of people and I love just helping. I was volunteering already, even before coronavirus kicked in. I retired from the army after a long career and needed something to do so I thought I’d give back to the local community by volunteering.”

Those in need of help, who don’t have anyone else to call on, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, should contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780. The centre is open seven days a week 8am-5:30pm.

For more information, including links to the main supermarkets for people who can shop safely for themselves, and a link to the Buy Local site, go to www.northyorks.gov.uk/help-you-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Local economy

Buy Local

North Yorkshire Buy Local (www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local) is the online marketplace which brings together businesses and customers.

There are almost 600 businesses registered on the site, many of whom have been forced to adapt their ways of working and find new avenues to trade during the coronavirus outbreak.

Out of the Box! in Richmond, a self-serve eco-friendly food shop, started to take orders and offer a collection service, which has been invaluable for the community.

Loyal Out of the Box! shopper, Angela said “It can be difficult setting up a new business and I feel it is important to support them or we could lose them.  I hope those customers who have discovered this great little store during lockdown will continue to support them afterwards.”

In this testing time for independent businesses, Buy Local is here to encourage people to continue to shop locally after restrictions are eased.

Read more about Out of the box! and Buy Local here www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local

Please share our social media messages encouraging businesses to register, and directing the public to the site. Follow @northyorkscc on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

LEP News: New NHS Test and Trace service launched

The government has launched the new NHS Test and Trace service across England. 

Anyone who now tests positive for coronavirus will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and will need to share information about their recent interactions.

To support this service, the Department for Health & Social Care has developed a package of materials, including guidance for employers and employees. For more information, visit: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-test-and-trace-workplace-guidance

Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme open

The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme is now live for small and medium-sized employers (fewer than 250 employees) to recover Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) payments they have made to their employees.

Full guidance can be found here: https://bit.ly/SSPRebateScheme 

ESFA Latest Update

The latest update from the ESFA can be found here .

This includes published guidance about COVID-19 in educational settings for staff, parents and carers, pupils and students and guidance on the apprenticeship service about COVID-19.

York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub Business Support

Free ShopAppy.com membership

Last week, we announced that we would be offering twelve months free ShopAppy membership to businesses in and around ten towns across North Yorkshire.

This has had a great response in those areas and we are looking at ways to extend the scheme further.

More information about the offer and eligibility is available at our website. If you are a business located outside of the ten towns, please still get in contact as there are other ways you can benefit and support that is available.

Managing Cash Flow in a Crisis webinar – watch on demand

At the start of the month, we teamed up with the ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales) to give practical advice about how you can manage you cash during this crisis, as well as put systems in place for the future. You can now watch the webinar free and on demand.

The 45-minute webinar covers:

  • Strategies for effective cash flow management in a time of crisis from ICAEW member Tom Bottomley
  • Details of the free support and mentorship that businesses can access.

Staying informed

As always, we are keen to promote the following as main sources of business support information:

Communications

NYCC’s website has a dedicated area for all the latest COVID-19 related news visit: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-advice-and-information

Follow us on social media: @northyorkscc on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Advice on things to do

LGBTQ+ writing competition

North Yorkshire Libraries has launched an LGBTQ+ writing competition accessible to anyone, including NYCC staff, with the goal of promoting positive mental health during these trying times as well as generally being something nice and enjoyable to do! It may be of particular interest to professionals working with LGBTQ+ individuals/groups, as well as those who engage with young adults/teenagers.

Here is a link to the post where you can find more information: https://www.facebook.com/nycclibraries/posts/10157525005797153

Write a play or short film

Try out a free screenwriting course to learn the ropes and (hopefully) catapult you into stardom after your first film is made: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/screenwriting

Joy of painting

403 episodes of the timeless Joy of Painting have been added to YouTube so you can listen to his soothing tones while you paint happy little trees and enjoy the beauty of imperfections: https://www.youtube.com/user/BobRossInc/videos  

Visit the MoMA

A huge number of art galleries and museums around the world have digitised their collections and are now offering free virtual tours: https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/moma-the-museum-of-modern-art?hl=en

Go to 500 other museums or galleries

Google’s arts and culture collection has virtual tours of 500 attractions around the world, including national galleries from around the world, individual artist museums, and even the Eiffel Tower: https://artsandculture.google.com/partner?hl=en

Go to the aquarium

Although they’re closed to the public, Monterey Bay Aquarium have added a number of live cams to let you keep an eye on the jellyfish, kelp forest, coral reef, and even the penguins, completely free https://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals/live-cams

A message from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

Well, the late May Bank Holiday was busy, as expected, but the vast majority of people appear to have enjoyed the beautiful weather, particularly yesterday, in an organised and thoughtful way. There were issues in certain hot spots – Osmotherley, in particular, was extremely busy with too many cars parked thoughtlessly. Unfortunately, police, supported by our highways team had to intervene and close the road to support the local community and manage the situation. So, thank you to the many people who explored our open spaces with respect and, to the tiny minority who didn’t – please think ahead to limit the spread and avoid busy places. If you turn up somewhere and there is clearly nowhere safe or appropriate to park, don’t add to the issue – please go somewhere else. It’s a huge county - there are very many beautiful places to go. We are grateful for your support in this matter. I am also aware that a number of fines were issued by the police at Osmotherley due to the parking issues – so, if you aren’t thoughtful you might take a parking ticket away with you.

Many of you will no doubt be looking forward to life returning to the new norm.  The new norm will be different for everyone depending on your circumstances. Wherever you are returning to work, there will be new measures and arrangements in place to protect you, your colleagues and your customers and we are no different. The County Council continues to operate a mix of remote and home working as well as front line teams in health and social care, safeguarding and education. We are reviewing carefully which teams may benefit from a careful return to office space and looking to learn from all the extremely good practice the increased use of technology across the workforce has delivered. There are many new IT products and systems supporting us to continue to be effective in delivering quality services despite the Covid-19 pandemic. We will ensure we don’t lose sight of that as we look ahead.

Schools across North Yorkshire continue to map out how they will expand their provision. 200 of them have been operating throughout the lockdown period to provide child care for the children of key workers as well as vulnerable young people. Some will be able to accommodate the phased reopening more easily than others. We anticipate a phased approach to this over a period of days and weeks, rather than a catch-all position from June 1. It’s important for the safety of staff and pupils that schools consider the full range of arrangements including school transport – where social distancing will also have a major impact – catering and, of course, classroom and recreation areas. How schools manage all of these changes will differ based on the building design and many other factors. Each school has an individual risk assessment plan in place or in development and will make contact with parents directly themselves.  We are supporting all our schools as well as academies with some emergency PPE sets in case they should need them, at any point, via the LRF supply.

I am pleased to say the very significant, and proactive, service of our health and social care teams working very closely with all 235 care home and extra care facilities in the county is having a positive impact on protecting our most vulnerable residents. Daily calls to every home, clear escalation and outbreak management processes and good working relationships across agencies are all playing their part.  The number and rate of infections in care settings is very slowly plateauing but we remain very much focussed on this vital piece of work.

Following yesterday’s Government announcement, we will also be working through how we can support the retail sector and broader non-essential shops to reopen. Our role will be largely to consider whether any temporary pavement and highways changes would support the social distancing guidance and offer the public a more comfortable shopping experience – particularly in areas expected to be busier or where pavements and streets are narrow. We will work with our district colleagues as well as business organisations on this important area.

We continue to work with the Department of Health and Social Care to support the mobile testing units serving the county. These offer a really useful opportunity for anyone aged five or over with symptoms to get tested for Covid-19. You can find out more about the locations and how to book here: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19-test-sites-north-yorkshire

We are also awaiting further information on how our public health team will support the Test and Trace approach announced by Government late last week. We stand ready to respond positively to this key area and to continue to play our part in supporting the county.

So, lots of change but still some way to go. We will be proactive in our communications regarding the work we are doing. In closing, a gentle reminder that thorough and regular hand washing and social distancing remain two of the most powerful measures we can take to protect ourselves. Stay safe.

A message from Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health

Current World Health Organisation data shows that we have now passed 5.3 million confirmed cases globally, with over 342 thousand deaths across 216 countries, areas or territories.

At a national level, yesterday’s (25/05) Public Health England data show there were 261,184 lab-confirmed cases in the UK, with 36,914 COVID-associated deaths. To date, there have been 1272 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across North Yorkshire.

The number of people currently in hospital with COVID-19 continues to decrease slowly. Sadly, there have been 586 deaths from COVID-19 across Airedale, Harrogate, South Tees and York NHS Trusts to date, of whom an estimated 225 will be North Yorkshire residents.

We continue to support care homes on outbreak management, and will look to expand this to other areas e.g. schools as part of developing our local plans to link in with the government’s forthcoming contact tracing strategy. We are also supporting schools and other educational settings with their efforts to support them to open safely on the 1st of June for more pupils.

Child Safety Week

Child Safety Week is the flagship annual campaign run by the Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT). The campaign aims to bring together individuals and organisations around the country to promote safety messages to families in a fun and engaging way.

This year’s campaign runs from Monday 1st June – Sunday 7th June, with the theme “Safety Makes Sense!”  In response to COVID-19, the emphasis will be on social media to reach as many families as possible.

Although rates of hospital admission in North Yorkshire caused by unintentional injuries in children are relatively stable, they are significantly worse than the England average and our closest statistical neighbours – and the gap is widening.

Injuries are preventable and we can do something about it – supporting Child Safety Week by sharing campaign messages with families and communities across the County is one of the actions we are taking to help address the issue locally.

For more information please contact: helen.goddard@northyorks.gov.uk

Planning for recovery

Testing

As part of the national testing programme for coronavirus, drive-through Mobile Testing Units, run by the Department for Health and Social care, will be operating in the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • 27 May - Scarborough - Seamer Park and Ride site, YO12 4LW
  • 27 May - Harrogate - Hydro Leisure Centre, Jenny Field Drive, Harrogate, HG1 2RP
  • 28 May - Northallerton - Civic Centre, Stonecross, Northallerton, DL6 2UU
  • 28 May - Pickering - Flamingo Land, Kirby Misperton Rd, Kirby Misperton, YO17 6UX

Before you attend, you must book a test. There are two ways to do this depending on which testing group you are part of. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. 

Everyone in the country aged 5 and over who is showing coronavirus symptoms can register at http://www.nhs.uk/coronavirus

People who don't have access to the internet, or who have difficulty with the digital portals, can ring the new 119 service to book their test.

Essential workers and members of their household can register at: www.gov.uk/apply-coronavirus-test-essential-workers

You can see the full list of essential workers at: www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested

Schools and childcare

Schools

We are now finalising arrangements for the schools which will be looking to open from June 1. Some will be opening that week, some at a later date, and some have yet to finalise their plans, but we would like to thank all school leaders, teachers and the wider school community for the considerable work they are doing on this; it has brought with it some difficult challenges and every school or early years setting faces its own individual set of circumstances when deciding how best to do this and we are fully supporting them in this and the decision they reach for their school.

We will also continue to work closely with the teaching unions and consult with them as we move forward.

Children and Young People’s Services are providing an initial set of PPE to every school to ensure they have some initial supplies when beginning wider opening to pupils. Information about the arrangements for delivery or collection of PPE from supply hubs has now been sent out to all schools.

Care leavers

Our care leavers have received a special treat to keep their spirits up during the Covid-19 crisis. This week, speakers and headphones were donated by Amazon, adding to the 300 goody bags delivered to young people over the past two weeks.

The speakers and headphones are part of Amazon’s Small Acts of Kindness programme, aimed at bringing surprises to those in need during difficult times. The goody bags received by the young people were funded by our County Councillors and are full of treats such as chocolate, toiletries and practical items such as hand sanitiser.

Feedback on the gifts includes: “Thank you so much … and everyone else at the team - really made me smile.

“You guys are super stars and don't get enough credit or appreciation for it. Thank you for working through all of this madness to make our lives a little better. So much love.”

Cllr Janet Sanderson, our Executive Member for Children’s Services said the gifts were a boost for care leavers in these difficult times and the delivery of headphones and speakers “will help them get through the lockdown.”

Children and Families

Julie Duffy is a family group conference co-ordinator for our Children and Families Service. She’s one of eight in her team and her area is Hambleton and Richmond.

Recently Julie’s hard work across a weekend meant that two twin boys were homed with their aunties rather than going into foster care – a better result for everyone. Julie has been working tirelessly to adapt to unprecedented circumstances during the pandemic – her main form of communication, face-to-face, has been taken away.

Julie said: “We had an urgent case, a family who were about to be homeless on the Monday. I got the call on the Friday.

“Generally, I would go to see people face-to-face; working that way you can determine in an instant the person’s reaction.

“But with the virus we have to find other ways of communicating. We used mediation and negotiation and got two maternal aunties to provide accommodation to a boy each.

“Those boys slept soundly from Monday onwards.

“If we hadn’t placed them, they would have needed foster care so it was a really good outcome.”

Julie said everyone around her is working incredibly hard to make things run as smoothly as possible for families across the county.

She said: “The IT department is on hand to help with the new technology, social workers are always at the end of the phone.

“We use mediation negotiation, telephone, email and Skype.

 “Under these circumstances this has highlighted the strengths of working proactively with families.

“It’s a joint effort completely.

“It’s not always been easy, sometimes if we are speaking with grandparents they don’t have a mobile let alone video calling, so we have to do it over the landline.

“It means listening so carefully to pick out key words which might give us clues on how they are feeling.

“We always try and work around the family.”

Social care, the NHS and Public Health Services

Our services continue to work on a mix of responses to Covid-19 and to people’s other needs.

Daily calls to care homes, and subsequent support interventions, are a major part of the current work programme. In line with Government expectations, a draft Covid-19 care market resilience plan is being prepared for submission to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) on 29th May. This sets out priorities and actions for supporting the care sector, including the actions which have already been put in place ahead of the Government setting out its requirements.

We, along with our NHS partners, are in ongoing discussions with the Department for Health and Social Care to improve the response from the national care home testing programme, so that more tests can be offered and turnaround times improved. We now have a local agreement with Bradford and Craven CCG for additional test-kits to be made available to care homes in North Yorkshire. This has resulted in some test-kits being available above and beyond the national programme.

We have just received confirmation of the details of the Government’s £600m Infection Control Fund for care homes. Subject to the State Aid paragraphs being satisfactory, we will be sharing the initial tranche of this funding (as set out by Government) with care providers as soon as possible.

Work is underway locally and regionally to respond to the Government’s announcement last Friday of the development of a national contact tracing programme. At a local level, this programme will be led by Directors of Public Health.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/300-million-additional-funding-for-local-authorities-to-support-new-test-and-trace-service

Support for people in isolation

For the past four weeks we have organised door knock checks for some North Yorkshire residents to make sure they have the help and support they need while in isolation. This includes delivering a leaflet with the County Council’s customer service centre number and a copy of the Yorkshire Post newspaper. Last weekend, council staff volunteered to check on over 1,000 people in areas including Ripon, Skipton, Selby, Pickering and Malton. The welfare checks are in addition to telephone calls, which we're carrying out with district councils, to people who are extremely vulnerable and being shielded to protect themselves from coronavirus. Despite some changes to lockdown restrictions, Government advice for people being shielded is to stay at home until 30 June at the earliest.

Helen Skews, a library supervisor based in Malton, said: “I wanted to help out and deliver at least some reading material, so, on a blustery Saturday, and enlisting the help of a teenage daughter, I called on nearly 40 Ryedale residents. The response was wonderful, everyone was so pleased to know that they were not forgotten about, to have a chat and receive a free newspaper.  Quite a few were very keen for something new to read and one lady had run out of puzzles to do and was thrilled at the prospect of more! All in all, it was a Saturday well spent.”

Community support organisations (CSOs), and the partners they are working alongside, continue to make sure that nobody in North Yorkshire feels alone or is left without food, medicines or other essential supplies. A new hot meal delivery service has been set up in South Craven, with 65 meals delivered in the first week, and, in Richmondshire, a jigsaw swap has been launched. In Hambleton, experienced volunteers are acting as mentors to support new members of the team.

Over 4,000 people received helped from the community support organisations during the week ending 15th May.

Joanna Chambers lives in Marton and is currently shielding to protect her son, William. During lockdown, Joanna has been volunteering by making regular befriending calls to others who are self-isolating through the community support organisation in Ryedale. Joanna said: “It is something that I get a lot from, too, and it’s good to have someone else to speak to and to feel I’m helping. It's been a real joy to learn about their lives and also really rewarding to be able to help organise for essential items to be delivered when they have been stuck. My befriending experience has been so positive as I have been able to reach out to people I would never have met before, at a time when I felt particularly isolated and unable to take positive action due to my own shielding situation.”

Those in need of help, who don’t have anyone else to call on, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, should contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780. The centre is open seven days a week 8am-5:30pm.

For more information, including links to the main supermarkets for people who can shop safely for themselves, and a link to the Buy Local site, go to www.northyorks.gov.uk/help-you-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Local economy

LEP News: New timeline for retail to reopen in June

Many high street shops, department stores and shopping centres across England are set to reopen next month once they are COVID-19 secure and can show customers will be kept safe, the Prime Minister confirmed yesterday.

Outdoor markets and car showrooms will be able to reopen from 1 June, as soon as they are able to meet the COVID-19 secure guidelines to protect shoppers and workers.

All other non-essential retail including shops selling clothes, shoes, toys, furniture, books, and electronics, plus tailors, auction houses, photography studios, and indoor markets, will be expected to be able to reopen from 15 June if the Government’s five tests are met and they follow the COVID-19 secure guidelines, giving them three weeks to prepare.

Businesses will only be able to open from these dates once they have completed a risk assessment, in consultation with trade union representatives or workers, and are confident they are managing the risks. They must have taken the necessary steps to become COVID-19 secure in line with the current Health and Safety legislation.

Updated COVID-secure guidelines are being published for people who work in, or run, shops, branches, and stores, after consultation with businesses, union leaders, Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive.

The updated guidance takes into account the best practice demonstrated by the many retailers which have been allowed to remain open and have applied social distancing measures in store. Measures that shops should consider include placing a poster in their windows to demonstrate awareness of the guidance and commitment to safety measures, storing returned items for 72 hours before putting them back out on the shop floor, placing protective coverings on large items touched by the public such as beds or sofas, and frequent cleaning of objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, including self-checkouts, trolleys, coffee machines and betting terminals, for example.

As per the government’s roadmap, hairdressers, nail bars and beauty salons, and the hospitality sector, remain closed, because the risk of transmission in these environments is higher where long periods of person to person contact is required.

Free webinar, hosted by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy:

Thursday 28 May, 11am: Shops and branches – Guidance for people who run shops, branches, stores or similar environments.

Full details of upcoming webinars can be found here: https://bit.ly/BEISWebinars

New measures announced to “keep passengers safe now and level up for the future”.

New funding to protect and increase transport services, level up infrastructure and regenerate local economies after the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has been announced. This includes:

  • Additional funding to increase frequency and capacity of bus, tram and light rail services, to help people travel safely.
  • Further investment in railways to regenerate local economies and level up Britain.
  • Preferred route announced for £1 billion upgrade to major road link which runs across Northern Powerhouse, from Teesside to Cumbria.

A further £283 million has been made available to increase the number of bus and light rail services as quickly as possible so that people who need to travel, including critical workers in the NHS, can do so safely.

The Transport Secretary has also laid out further plans to transform the country’s transport infrastructure to help the country ‘build out’ of COVID-19, supporting the nation’s economy, and delivering on the government’s key agenda of levelling up the country.

Ten bids have also been announced today to receive a share of a £500,000 Restoring Your Railway ‘Ideas Fund’ to develop proposals to build or reopen railway lines and stations, including those closed following the Beeching cuts of the 1960s. MPs and local authorities were invited to bid for a share of the fund to help reconnect communities across the country, levelling up opportunities for people in isolated areas by increasing their access to jobs and training which will be crucial as the country recovers from coronavirus.

The government also has announced the preferred route for the £1 billion A66 Transpennine upgrade, which will provide vital improvements to a key regional link which helps to connect Glasgow and Edinburgh with Leeds, Sheffield and Norwich, improving journey times, reliability and resilience for communities across the North. The new scheme will dual the 5 remaining single carriageway sections of the route and upgrade key junctions, speeding up journeys, easing congestion and boosting growth. The road is an important link across the Pennines and is a key connection used on routes between ports around the country, meaning that the wider UK economy will benefit from improvements and faster journeys.

To support people to choose alternatives to public transport, a series of measures are being rolled out to encourage more people to cycle instead, including:

  • Allocating local authorities a share of £225 million, announced earlier this month, to create pop-up and permanent cycle lanes and reallocate road space
  • Amending laws to reduce red tape and halve the time it takes for councils to get these schemes up and running
  • Committing £25 million from the emergency active travel fund to help people get their bikes repaired so that they can get back to cycling
  • Investing £2.5 million to provide 1,180 cycle parking spaces at 30 railway stations across England to help encourage people to incorporate cycling as part of a longer journey. For further details read here

Staying informed

As always, we are keen to promote the following as main sources of business support information:

Communications

NYCC’s website has a dedicated area for all the latest COVID-19 related news visit: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-advice-and-information

Follow us on social media: @northyorkscc on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Advice on things to do

LGBTQ+ writing competition

North Yorkshire Libraries has just launched an LGBTQ+ writing competition accessible to anyone, including NYCC staff, with the goal of promoting positive mental health during these trying times as well as generally being something nice and enjoyable to do! It may be of particular interest to professionals working with LGBTQ+ individuals/groups, as well as those who engage with young adults/teenagers.

Here is a link to the post where you can find more information: https://www.facebook.com/nycclibraries/posts/10157525005797153

Write a play or short film

Try out a free screenwriting course to learn the ropes and (hopefully) catapult you into stardom after your first film is made: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/screenwriting

Joy of painting

403 episodes of the timeless Joy of Painting have been added to YouTube so you can listen to his soothing tones while you paint happy little trees and enjoy the beauty of imperfections: https://www.youtube.com/user/BobRossInc/videos  

Visit the MoMA

A huge number of art galleries and museums around the world have digitised their collections and are now offering free virtual tours: https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/moma-the-museum-of-modern-art?hl=en

Go to 500 other museums or galleries

Google’s arts and culture collection has virtual tours of 500 attractions around the world, including national galleries from around the world, individual artist museums, and even the Eiffel Tower: https://artsandculture.google.com/partner?hl=en

Go to the aquarium

Although they’re closed to the public, Monterey Bay Aquarium have added a number of live cams to let you keep an eye on the jellyfish, kelp forest, coral reef, and even the penguins, completely free https://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals/live-cams

A message from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

On the eve of the second of May’s Bank Holidays many of you will be looking forward to a little peace in a somewhat chaotic world. Although we are learning to carve out a new norm for our lives, there remains very little that could be seen under any other circumstances as business as usual.

The weather, albeit today is very blustery, continues to facilitate us enjoying the unlimited time outdoors the easement of the lockdown allows. The fact that people can exercise for as long as they like and drive to open spaces for that will no doubt have helped considerably people with families and limited garden space. The outdoors is a cure for many things. A place to exercise, unburden the mind, play with the kids, walk the dog. But while you are making the most of the county’s wonderful green hills and dales, coastal walks and public rights of way, please remember the pandemic remains very much with us. While we are seeing cases in North Yorkshire very slowly decline, we are still seeing new cases, and sadly more deaths all too regularly. Remember you may not have any symptoms that you are aware of, but you may accidentally take it back to someone who becomes very seriously ill. Now is not the time for complacency, so please play your part.

Our ask is that you “Think ahead to limit the spread”. In my role as Chair of the multiagency command which is leading the fight against Covid-19 In York and North Yorkshire we are doing our best to support you. However, you can help too by sticking rigidly to the social distancing and hand washing guidance and thinking carefully about where you might go and walk or run etc. Remember most shops remain closed, including the majority of cafés and restaurants. It’s crucial you avoid crowds to limit the spread and remember that hygiene facilities will be limited. Those that are open will almost certainly be busy and social distancing may be tricky. If you arrive somewhere and it’s busy – please go somewhere else. Don’t risk it. Have a plan B and a plan C. It will be less stressful and will help you protect yourself and your family.

To support all your good work our highways teams have been reviewing the impact of the mitigation they put in place across some of the places where an influx of visitors would have been particularly challenging regarding staying at least 2 metres apart at all times. This weekend we will again close Foreshore Road, Royal Albert Drive and Marine Drive in Scarborough and there will be several parking suspensions across the Borough to try to enable social distancing. There will also be cones in places across Harrogate and Knaresborough. Please respect these closures and suspensions because we are putting them in place for everyone’s safety.

A major piece of work for the County Council continues to be around protecting our most vulnerable people. The shielding effort is going very well – thanks in part to the many volunteers in North Yorkshire giving their time to take provisions to people isolating or just calling them to make sure they don’t feel isolated. We are now also working with a number of supermarkets to help other vulnerable people secure priority food delivery slots. There are 235 care home and extra care setting in the county – which has a growing ageing population. Residents in these settings are particularly at risk and our health and adult services, public health and NHS colleagues continue to undertake daily calls with each venue. Helping with a broad range of practical measures and interventions that help to stop infection from spreading or even better – from coming into the setting in the first place. A key part of this good work is around testing for Covid-19 in care homes. This has been extremely complex and taken time to navigate. I am pleased to say that today I believe we have made a breakthrough on this that will help us test these setting more rapidly and regularly and I very much hope – play a big part in the latest fight against this virus. I hope to be able to say more on this next week. We have also set up a number of step down facilities to make sure that when people are discharged from hospital into community settings that there are safe places to send them where they can get the care they need, while also ensuring they are Covid-19 free before being admitted to wider community care facilities.  This was positively recognised by the Member of Parliament for Harrogate, Knaresborough and Boroughbridge Andrew Jones, this week at The House of Commons

So we have come a long way – there is much to do – but we will get through it and North Yorkshire will be different but it will also still be the very special place we know it to be. Remember - play your part and think ahead to limit the spread.

A message from Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health

Current World Health Organization data shows that we have now passed 4.9 million confirmed cases globally, with over 320 thousand deaths across 216 countries, areas or territories.

At a national level, yesterday’s (21/05) Public Health England data show there were 250,908 lab-confirmed cases in the UK, with 36,042 COVID-associated deaths. To date, there have been 1262 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across North Yorkshire.

The number of people currently in hospital with COVID-19 continues to decrease slowly. Sadly, there have been 574 deaths from COVID-19 across Airedale, Harrogate, South Tees and York NHS Trusts to date, of whom an estimated 220 will be North Yorkshire residents.

Although the COVID-19 picture in hospitals is gradually improving, one of our top priorities continues to be to working to support care homes around outbreak management, improving access to testing and PPE. We are currently preparing to support the national effort on contact tracing and we are exploring what our local plans will look like.

We are also supporting schools and other educational settings with their efforts to support them to open safely on the 1st of June for more pupils. Work is ongoing internally to prepare for the safe reopening of some of our front-facing services when this will be appropriate and in accordance with national guidance.

Covid-19 testing

As part of the national testing programme for coronavirus, drive-through Mobile Testing Units, run by the Department for Health and Social care, will be operating in the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • 23 May – Harrogate – The Hydro, HG1 2RP
  • 23 May – Pickering – Flamingo Land, YO17 6UX
  • 24 May – Settle – Greenfoot/rugby club car park, BD24 9RW
  • 24 May – Selby – Drax Social Club, YO8 8PJ
  • 24 May – Scarborough - Park and Ride Seamer Road (A64)

Before you attend you must book a test. There are two ways to do this depending on which testing group you are part of. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. 

Everyone in the country aged 5 and over who is showing coronavirus symptoms can register at http://www.nhs.uk/coronavirus

People who don't have access to the internet, or who have difficulty with the digital portals, can ring the new 119 service to book their test.

Essential workers and members of their household can register at: www.gov.uk/apply-coronavirus-test-essential-workers

You can see the full list of essential workers at: www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested

No health without mental health: why this matters now more than ever. 

Difficult emotions in the face of Coronavirus are a natural and widespread reaction and, for most, will recede with time. That does not make dealing with this easy. Having good mental health helps us relax more, achieve more and enjoy our lives more. 

Mental Health Awareness week helps to promote and reiterate the importance of good mental health for everyone. Practical tips to help you look after your mental health and wellbeing are available www.nhs.co.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/

Planning for recovery

Household waste recycling centres opening times return to normal

Following the successful reopening of 19 of North Yorkshire’s 20 household waste recycling centres (HWRCs) earlier this month, the majority of the sites are now reverting to their normal opening hours.

The HWRCs have been open seven days a week, including Wednesdays, when they would normally close, for a temporary period to help clear the backlog of waste that accumulated in people’s homes during the lockdown.

Now, 18 of the sites will revert to their normal opening hours and days of 08:30am to 5pm six days a week and will close on Wednesdays from 27 May.

This change back to normal opening times will apply to all sites except West Harrogate, which will continue to be open seven days a week as a further temporary measure while the Harrogate Stonefall site remains closed. Harrogate Stonefall and all mobile HWRCs remain closed for safety reasons.

Schools and childcare

Schools across North Yorkshire will get support with reopening

We are following the guidance from the Government and advising schools to prepare to be open from June 1 at the earliest.

Some schools may be ready to follow Government advice to allow them to open from that date, but many will have staggered dates and approaches depending on their individual circumstances.

Each school will be required to undertake a risk assessment in order to plan appropriate safety measures for their specific circumstances. This is to ensure each school can decide whether they can open safely.

These risk assessments will also inform the County Council if there are any schools in the county which cannot implement appropriate safety measures. The council will work with schools, head teachers and the unions to support each school and the decision to open by the head teacher and governing body.

Home to school transport

We know that some children who will be attending school from June 1 will be relying on their usual home to school transport. We are currently arranging travel for pupils already entitled to home to school transport where we have advance notice, but demand for the service i