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

Including press releases and the latest news round-up (bulletin).

August 12 update

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

 

Previous bulletins

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 is difficult to predict, and arrangements will need to be made to ensure there are enough seats to provide a suitable distance between pupils. As a result, we are asking parents to register their need for transport via an online survey.

To register, parents should visit our website and fill in the online form. This survey will need to be completed on a weekly basis for the rest of the academic year for children who normally travel on County Council transport and who will need to use it in the forthcoming weeks. A separate form needs to be completed for each child.

Vehicles will be running along usual routes with normal pick-up and drop-off times.

We are working hard to arrange transport for pupils and ensuring social distancing, but where capacity is limited, priority will be given to pupils who are already entitled to free travel.

Social care and the NHS

Dementia

We would like to remind people that Dementia Forward is available for support, information and advice to support people living with dementia.

This can be accessed through the North Yorkshire-wide Dementia Forward helpline, which connects people to a team of trained dementia support advisors and a dementia specialist nurse.

Anyone with a dementia-related question can call, even if you don’t have an official diagnosis. The helpline is 03300 578592 and the website is www.dementiaforward.org.uk

Domestic abuse

The Independent Domestic Abuse Service is continuing to work to support North Yorkshire residents in the rapidly changing circumstances of the pandemic.

IDAS supports anyone affected by domestic abuse, including refuges, outreach services and a helpline. They’ve had to adapt during the pandemic, but are still responding and developing new ways to help people who are being abused.

They are using online video support sessions, WhatsApp messaging, calls and online live chats on their website.

For many people who are afraid of their partner, isolation with them can be a scary time.

Advice on how to deal with this situation if you are being abused is available on the website, along with advice for friends, family and neighbours of those being abused and how they could help.

Sarah Hill, CEO of IDAS, said: “We are really worried about the risks of people being isolated with abusive people whose behaviour may escalate due to increasing uncertainty, pressure on finances and cramped conditions.

“Many people who face controlling, violent or abusive behaviour from a partner or family member are likely to be feeling very scared about being isolated with them for long periods of time. We want them to know that there is support available.

“Over the next few months, we will work creatively and flexibly to provide vital services in very difficult circumstances. We are immensely proud of our teams who are pulling together during this difficult time to ensure that there is a way for people to get help if they are afraid of their partner or concerned for someone they know.”

IDAS is available on 03000 110 110, info@idas.org.uk and web chat at www.idas.org.uk

Support for people in isolation

Over the coming bank holiday weekend, the County Council is once again leading a relief service, with staff and volunteers ready to meet any additional demand for help with essentials such as shopping and prescriptions; this will mean that many of the community support organisations are able to take a break.

Julie Macey-Hewitt, the chief executive of Age UK Scarborough, one of the community support organisations working with the County Council, said: “Our staff are working flat out at the minute so the bank holiday relief effort is so important, because it allows us to have a proper break. Everyone can have a couple of days to recuperate and come back feeling fresher afterwards. We work incredibly hard as it is, but at the minute it’s a different kind of pressure.”

Despite some changes to lockdown restrictions, many people are advised to remain at home as much as possible and be particularly vigilant about social distancing. That includes people with some health conditions, including heart disease and diabetes, people over the age of 70 and pregnant women. For people who are being shielded because they are extremely clinically vulnerable to being hospitalised as a result of Covid-19, current Government advice is to stay at home until 30 June at the earliest.

With at least another four weeks of isolation for people who are being shielded, telephone calls and door-knock checks are crucial in making sure that everyone in North Yorkshire is getting the help and support they need. This weekend volunteers from North Yorkshire County Council will be checking on people in areas including Ripon, Skipton, Selby, Pickering and Malton. The checks include delivering a leaflet with the County Council’s customer service centre number and a copy of the Yorkshire Post newspaper.

Tanya Shipley, a teaching assistant working in the council’s adult learning and skills service, checked on 33 residents last weekend. Tanya said: “Some of the people I spoke to were so glad of someone just to chat to. I was pleased to hear that everyone had help from either family members, friends or neighbours. It was so lovely chatting and reassuring them that there is support and help available if they needed it. It is such a difficult time for us all right now and I just so glad I was able to help.” 

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. So far, 348 grants have been approved 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.

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 including bank holidays.

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

North Yorkshire Buy Local (www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local) is the online marketplace to bring together businesses and customers.

Many local suppliers are plugging the gap to help the most vulnerable access goods and services. Among them is the Home Farmer in Wensleydale, which signed up to Buy Local to reassure customers that the business is running as normal. 

“Many people are changing how they shop, so one simple website connecting people to small independent shops and services is a great idea,” said Sam Spence, who runs the farm with her husband, Ben, and his brother, Adam. “We found it was really easy to sign up and the website was clear and easy to use. We wanted to reassure customers that we are open as usual and have extra safety measures in place, so the Buy Local website was a great place to get that message out.”

Read more here www.northyork.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.

NYCC / YCC LEP Update 22.5.2020

BEIS to host webinars to help business adopt COVID-secure workplace guidance

Following on from the government's recent publication of workplace guidance, produced in consultation with industry, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will be hosting a series of free webinars to help businesses make their workplace COVID-secure.

The webinars cover a range of workplace settings that are allowed to be open. Many businesses operate more than one type of workplace, such as an office, factory and fleet of vehicles, so businesses may need to use more than one of the guides/webinars to adapt work environments to keep people safe.

Webinars start from Wednesday 27th May and will run until Tuesday 2nd June - for more details and to sign up, use this link:  https://bit.ly/BEISWebinars

COVID-19 Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme webinars

The government is committed to doing whatever it takes to support businesses and individuals through the coronavirus pandemic and the following webinars have the information, guidance and tips relating to the Coronavirus COVID-19 Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme.

Providing an overview of the scheme; this webinar looks at who can claim, when to start paying SSP, employees you can claim for, making a claim, keeping records, and more. Choose a date and time

Future Fund now open

The government’s £500 million Future Fund is now open for applications with innovative and high-growth British businesses able to secure investment to help them through the Coronavirus outbreak.

UK-based companies can apply for a convertible loan of between £125,000 and £5 million, to support continued growth and innovation in sectors as diverse as technology, life sciences and the creative industries. For more information, visit https://bit.ly/CV19FFLaunch

Government extends maximum loan size through CLBILS scheme

Government is extending the maximum loan size available through the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme from £50 million to £200 million.

Loans under the expanded scheme will be made available to large businesses affected by coronavirus from 26th May. Changes also mean companies receiving help through CLBILS and the Bank of England’s Coronavirus Corporate Financing Fund will be asked to agree to not pay dividends and to exercise restraint on senior pay

For more information, visit Larger businesses to benefit from loans of up to £200 million

Latest Education & Skills Funding Agency business update

Business update is the Education and Skills Funding Agency’s monthly round-up of apprenticeship information and news for businesses, including advice relating to COVID-19.

As the country takes steps towards recovery, apprenticeships and skills investment will be a vital contributor to economic recovery post-pandemic. Guidance on the re-opening of FE colleges, sixth forms and secondary schools is also now available.

The priority remains the safety of all learners and staff and re-opening is based on scientific advice. Employers are now being asked to work with their apprentices, learners and learning providers to help them understand plans for re-opening.

Training will be at the forefront of the country’s recovery from this pandemic. It is paramount to continue to upskill our workforce and support people getting back into work. By continuing to invest in further education and apprenticeships, now and in the long term, businesses can ensure they have the skilled workforce they need post-pandemic.

Staying informed

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

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

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

Tour ancient Rome

You can explore other cities and even other times online, such as this virtual tour of ancient Rome which takes you through the forum, Capitoline hill, and famous monuments.

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

It feels a bit like we are in a very strange hiatus. As we take the smallest and most cautious of steps towards whatever the new norm will become – like many of you, I am sure – I find myself wrestling to balance the intricate messaging to reflect the world we are in.

On the one hand, there continues to be a very gentle decline in the number of people from North Yorkshire and nationally who are seriously ill or, sadly, dying from Covid-19. This is positive and very welcome news. However – the infection rate in some areas is not dropping as our public health experts would like and that is clearly a concern.       

The battle to protect our most vulnerable residents – those in our 235 care settings – is at full tilt. It is a complex one which involves daily monitoring and support, access to PPE and testing alongside our detailed plan for escalation and intervention, should that be necessary. The current indications are of a slowly improving picture but we are nowhere near out of the woods and this remains a real priority.

Then there are the implications of the easing of certain lockdown rules. Specifically, those which allow unlimited journeys and timescales around exercise and wellbeing outdoors. We now also have permission to meet one person, we don’t live with, outside and whilst observing social distancing guidance. For many, this takes the form of sitting or standing outdoors or walking in open countryside – always remaining at least 2 metres apart. It also means that residents and visitors are able to drive to many of our beauty spots and coastal towns and villages.   This aspect presents us with much bigger challenges. While we are blessed with very many stunning landscapes to explore – some communities and other visitor hot spots don’t lend themselves easily to social distancing, so we have taken some limited action to allow for that where we can. But, by providing this extra space, there is the argument that we facilitate higher numbers of people which, in some areas, could translate into crowds. That’s something we cannot afford given the very real threat the virus still poses to people here and elsewhere. 

Then there are our businesses, some are tentatively reopening, albeit often with new ways of working. Some very much struggling to adapt and some forbidden currently to reopen due to the Covid laws. The latter covers the vast majority of our food and drink businesses, hotel and accommodation providers – all major employers in North Yorkshire. When these businesses are able to reopen, we will rally behind them and work with the LEP, destination marketing organisations and the district councils to promote their wonderful offer. But for now, we must stay measured and practical with what we can provide for visitors. Given that the current rules mean people cannot stay overnight – our visitors will be day trippers. We have much open countryside and a small number of takeaways able to trade. Limited hygiene facilities – essential for the guidance around regular handwashing – and a loyalty to our residents – who have sacrificed much to get to this point in the fight against Coronavirus.

So, weighing all of the needs, interests and requirements together, it seems sensible to simply appeal to people’s common sense.  We cannot cope with crowds and we must support the communities where social distancing and lack of parking can quickly become a concern. Equally, we have many vast open spaces where it is easier to manage. So, if you are visiting North Yorkshire this Bank Holiday weekend, please plan ahead and think about all of these things. If somewhere is busy, don’t park thoughtlessly – have a plan B and maybe even a plan C.  Think about the facilities available and be mindful of local residents – many of whom may be isolating and/or understandably anxious about visitors just now. If local businesses, which are allowed to trade, are open please do support them. Yes, queues may be longer due to social distancing etc. but we are all getting used to managing our personal space. We are all – I am sure – all too aware of the potential consequences of not doing so.

Be kind, be thoughtful and be tolerant - avoid crowds. We will get through this.

Just on an associated note; concerns have been raised around some young people particularly not adhering to social distancing. Perhaps the good weather, easing of lockdown and schools being closed are contributors. Please look out for your mums, dads, grans, granddads, brothers and sisters and stay at least 2 metres apart. Don’t risk carrying the virus back to your home and potentially making someone you love poorly. Do the right thing. Stay apart. Your efforts are really appreciated.

Before I go, a little better news for many of you, I hope. Over the past week we have managed to reopen all but one of the remaining Household Waste Recycling Centres which had to close under the lockdown rules. I am sure this will be welcome for many people looking to make the most of the increasing number of DIY stores and garden centres reopening. If you are using any of the centres, our ask is simple - restrictions for the safety of our staff, and you, remain in place. That may mean queues are longer and managed differently. Please only take waste you cannot store safely at home and thank you for being courteous and patient to others and our teams on site. Harrogate Stonefall remains closed while we work though the highways issues for that site. The other 19 are open.

Remember we are all in this together. Take care of yourselves and others as we continue this long journey.

A message from Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health

Current World Health Organization data shows that we have now passed 4.5 million confirmed cases globally, with over 310 thousand deaths across 216 countries, areas or territories.

At a national level, yesterday’s (18/05) Public Health England data show there were 246,406 lab confirmed cases in the UK, with 34,796 COVID-associated deaths. Locally, we currently have 1248, 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 557 deaths from COVID-19 across Airedale, Harrogate, South Tees and York to date, of whom an estimated 212 will be North Yorkshire residents.

Although the COVID-19 picture in hospitals is gradually improving, one of our top priorities continues to be working to support care homes around outbreak management, improving access to testing and PPE. We are also preparing to support the national effort on contact tracing and we are exploring what our local plans will look like.

The government added a new symptom of COVID-19 to the list of common symptoms. People who are experiencing a new, persistent cough and/or high temperature and/or anosmia (the loss of, or change in, normal sense of taste or smell) are asked to follow self-isolation guidance. We are continuing to learn about the virus and its presentations and we are monitoring the newest evidence as it emerges.

Mental Health Awareness Week

Kindness is the theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, which began yesterday, and perhaps more than ever at the moment we are seeing the breadth and depth of kindness in North Yorkshire.

Individuals and community groups are supporting neighbours in need and the county council is working with 23 community support organisations who, in turn, are working with volunteers to support those people who have no-one to help them. People in need of help can call our customer services on 01609 780780, seven days a week from 8am to 5.30pm, including bank holidays.

The theme of kindness runs through our ongoing Salt of the Earth campaign. Many examples of #SaltoftheEarth Yorkshire folk helping others can be found on our website.

Restrictions resulting from the pandemic can have an impact on mental health, so as well as being kind to others it’s important to be kind to ourselves. The Mental Health Foundation encourages people to take 30 minutes every day to do something physical, as physical activity is a great contributor to improving mental health. It can be anything, from walking or running to gardening. North Yorkshire sport has resources to help people stay active at home https://www.northyorkshiresport.co.uk/ideastostayactive

Our libraries are promoting their Reading Well mental health collection of books, many of which are available to borrow free as e-books and e-audiobooks. Libraries are also posting examples of random acts of kindness on their Facebook pages and recommending “feel good” books. For more information, read: Libraries share a little kindness for mental health week or mental health week.

Further help and support can be found at:

Planning for recovery

Further re-openings of household waste recycling centres across North Yorkshire

Following the successful opening of 14 North Yorkshire household waste recycling centres (HWRCs) on 6 and 14 May, five more opened on Tuesday 19 May. The next five household waste recycling centres to reopen are:

  • Malton, Pasture Lane, Malton, YO17 6BT
  • Northallerton, Yafforth Road, Northallerton, DL7 0LG
  • Ripon, Dallamires Crescent, Dallamires Lane, Ripon, HG4 1TT
  • Tadcaster, Station Road Industrial Estate, Tadcaster, LS24 9SG
  • Wombleton, Cockerhill Lane, Wombleton, YO62 7RJ

For safety reasons, we are unable to reopen Harrogate Stonefall at this time because of difficulties managing highway safety. This is under review with an aim to open as soon as it is safe for both public and staff.
Restrictions are in place for some vehicles and types of waste so please check before you set off. In the meantime, we urge everyone to continue to reduce, re-use and recycle all they can, and to stay alert, control the virus and save lives.

For the full list of HWRC’s open across the county and full details can be found at www.northyorks.gov.uk/CovidHWRC

Mobile COVID-19 testing sites

As part of the national roll out of testing for COVID-19, drive-through Mobile Testing Units will be operating in the following locations over the coming days:

Here are the locations of the mobile testing units for this week so far:

  • 11am – 3pm, 19 - 20 May - Settle - Settle Greenfoot Car Park
  • 11am – 3pm, 20 May - Scarborough – Seamer Road Park and Ride (A64)
  • 11am – 3pm, 20 May - Drax - Drax Social Club

Eligible key workers and those prioritised for testing must register for a self-referral test on the Government website.

Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. 

You can see the current list of eligible key workers and those prioritised for testing on the Government website

Schools and childcare

Schools

We are following the guidance from the Government and advising schools to prepare to be ready to open for a phased re-opening from June 1st at the earliest.

As such, schools are undertaking a risk assessment in order to plan appropriate safety measures, which will also tell us if there are any schools in the county which can’t implement appropriate measures. We are working with the schools, head teachers and the unions to support this preparation. The decision on whether to open will be taken by the head teacher and governing body. Our teams are working with head teachers and unions to answer queries which have ranged from the re-opening of schools, to how transport and cleaning will be organised.

Parents will be encouraged to send their children to school; however, their attendance has not been mandated by the Government. Parents will not be penalised for not sending their children to school at this time.

We will continue to support the schools and education staff in any way we can and ensure a safe learning environment for children and staff alike, along with providing up-to-date information for parents who might be concerned about sending their child back to school during these unprecedented times.

Social care teams

The outstanding work of our social work teams continues to safeguard our children and young people.  We would like to congratulate the work of social worker Amy Bendall, from the Harrogate Safeguarding Children Team who has won a prestigious national award for her exceptional work in keeping a group of vulnerable girls safe from serious harm. She was one of 20 national finalists in the 2020 Child Exploitation Unsung Hero Awards run by the charity NWG (National Working Group) Network of more than 14,500 practitioners working on child exploitation and trafficking in the UK. The awards recognise individuals or teams who have made a significant contribution to tackling exploitation.

Amy carried out the work as part of North Yorkshire’s Multi Agency Child Exploitation (MACE) partnership working arrangements.

She was nominated by North Yorkshire Safeguarding Children Partnership (NYSCP) for her innovative work on a safeguarding strategy for a number of girls who were frequently found missing and were classed as at risk of either Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE), Child Criminal Exploitation (CCE), or both.

The girls were all friends and while some of them were working with social care, some were avoiding their social workers and not wanting to discuss any concerns.

Amy developed a group which would enable targeted work with the girls in a way that was more likely to engage them. It was recognised that the girls were all known to one another and they would often go missing to spend time together, so were likely to feel more comfortable working as a group.

Amy contacted other multi-agency professionals including those working in sexual health, The Children’s Society Hand in Hand project and North Yorkshire Police to develop a partnership approach.

She sourced funding through the local council partnership fund and identified the right venue so that the girls would feel comfortable and able to work creatively and, where appropriate, would transport the girls to the meeting place and provide food and positive activities.

She worked with them on healthy relationships, identified a wealth of intelligence and importantly built a working relationship with some girls who had previously not spoken to social care. Together with other professionals she also worked with their parents on safety planning and other areas.

The relationship Amy and the other multi agency professionals were able to develop led to them feeling more confident in talking to workers about what was going on in the community. 

By building and developing a trusting relationship with the girls as a group, they felt able to share information about those who were exploiting them and areas they were going to that presented a risk to them.

Through the MACE arrangements the multi-agency partnership developed and shared information and built disruption plans to target those who were seeking to exploit the girls and there was a significant reduction in the number of missing episodes for these young people and development of action plans which is continuing to disrupt the exploitation locally. 

A virtual ceremony celebrating honouring the most outstanding work will take place in April next year.

Social care and the NHS

Social care

Our top service priority continues to be supporting care homes to prevent, reduce and delay the transmission of Covid-19 and to help to manage outbreaks. Support has been in place for providers since the start of the pandemic. However, this support has been stepped up over the past 10 days, with daily calls to all providers. Behind these calls there are a menu of services available to support providers, including HR and staffing advice, infection control and practical help on zoning care homes.

The biggest challenge at the moment is to have comprehensive testing in place for all care home residents. As well as using the national portal, which is over-subscribed, we are using limited additional testing kit supplies to support care homes and have also applied to set up an additional satellite testing station. We are doing everything possible to secure supplies of testing kits. We are also escalating concerns about the timeliness of lab results so that residents and staff can be kept safe.

The Government has just announced a new £600m infection control fund to support care homes. We understand that North Yorkshire will receive a £8m allocation and are awaiting full details of the national regulation so that we can make these payments, with the Government’s requirements, as soon as possible

Meanwhile, community health, social care and public health services are continuing to provide care and support for people who do not have Covid-19. We are keen to stress that these services remain open as usual and we would encourage people to come forward if they need the support that we can offer.

Support for people in isolation

To make sure people have the help and support they need, some North Yorkshire residents have been receiving a door knock check. Last weekend, the third of four dates planned, council staff and six off-duty fire fighters, from North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, volunteered to check on over 1,000 people in Filey, Scarborough and Whitby.

Joshua Hukin, a project manager in the children and young people’s service said: “All of the residents I visited were incredibly grateful for the call; they really appreciated having a conversation. One lady told me how she wouldn’t have spoken to anyone that day if I hadn’t called. It was really touching to see first-hand how communities and neighbours were supporting each other all over the area. At the final two houses I visited, the residents were all tucking into fish and chips which had just been delivered by someone in the village.”

Fire fighter, Nick Bennett, added: “It was really enjoyable and I felt like I was doing something positive in this mad time. It was really well received and nobody needed anything - which was good. Everyone was getting help from either partners or family and neighbours are all helping, too. I’m looking after a lady across the road from where I live, Hilary. She’s 92 and her family live down south. Me and my wife are doing her shopping. My dad is 75 so we’re doing his shopping as well. I really do think people will keep it going. You can tell by the Thursday night clapping how amazing the community spirit is. It’s giving people a bit of hope.”

We have also telephoned over 15,000 people who are particularly vulnerable to being hospitalised as a result of Covid-19, working in partnership with district councils and North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue. If people cannot be contacted by telephone, a Ready for Anything volunteer is deployed to do a welfare check and make sure people being shielded have support in place.

Community support organisations (CSOs), and partners, continue to make sure that nobody in North Yorkshire feels alone or is left without food, medicines or other essential supplies. Jacqueline Brakenberry is from The Bridge at Catterick, one of 23 CSOs who are part of the voluntary sector network supporting people across North Yorkshire.

“The feedback that we get from people is amazing, they’re so grateful for what we’re doing to help them. When people call us for their shopping or medication, they like a chat and we have a good conversation. We get some requests for the telephone befriending service and we’ve got those people set up with someone. People are coping really well and most seem quite upbeat. For me, it’s a great feeling of achievement that we’ve been able to help all these people and know that they’re happy.”

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 including bank holidays.

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 now has 529 businesses registered on the site with numbers rising daily – the popularity of the site is an indication that local businesses see it as a very supportive initiative.

Buy Local brings together all businesses and tradespeople, eligible to operate during Covid-19, with the people who need their services. We invite any business within North Yorkshire that is trading at the moment to register.

Read more about some of the businesses who have registered 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.

The York and North Yorkshire LEP  

Regional Intelligence

The 9th virtual York & North Yorkshire intelligence meeting, took place on Friday 15th May. This was attended by the County Councils, District Councils, and the key cross-sector networks and business organisations including the Chamber, FSB & CBI.

Last week proved a busy week with businesses and people trying to understand the new government guidance and rules on starting to phase and control the re-opening of the economy.

The extension of the furlough scheme was welcomed although some employers have expressed concern that it will be difficult to bring employees back into the workplace after such a long period away.

Many businesses are now looking at how they can re-open safely, adhering to the new guidance for COVID-safe work environments.

Further clarity is needed by businesses, from government, on when and how they will be able to open more fully, in order to assist with their recovery planning.

Updates from BEIS and Treasury

Trade Credit Insurance:  https://bit.ly/CV19TradeCreditInsurance

The government will temporarily guarantee business-to-business transactions currently supported by Trade Credit Insurance, ensuring the majority of insurance coverage will be maintained across the market. This will support supply chains and help businesses to trade with confidence as they can trust that they will be protected if a customer defaults on payment.

Holiday entitlement and pay

Visit: https://bit.ly/HolidayEntitlement for an explanation of how holiday entitlement and pay operate during the coronavirus pandemic, where it differs from the standard holiday entitlement and pay guidance. This guidance applies to those that have continued to work as well as those that have been furloughed.  

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

Tour ancient Rome

You can explore other cities and even other times online, such as this virtual tour of ancient Rome which takes you through the forum, Capitoline hill, and famous monuments.

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

Heading into this weekend, there is some understandable anxiety in many towns, villages and rural beauty spots across North Yorkshire. Even yesterday, we were receiving reports about visitors making the most of the Government’s relaxation of the travel and exercise rules and parking in villages to explore the countryside again. These were very small numbers – a sign of the concern in many places. A single post on our Facebook yesterday sparked a real debate about this – reaching more than 85,000 people already! It is very evident many people have strong views on this topic. We understand it is a real concern and – along with our partners in the districts and North Yorkshire Police – we are working hard to try and discourage visitors from outside of North Yorkshire from coming until we can welcome them properly. Our message is clear. There is a very real threat of a second peak of Covid-19. That is why the Public Health advice remains to wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water and to stay at least 2 metres or 6 feet apart from anyone you do not live with. Many hand washing and toilet facilities, as well as car parks, remain closed or are extremely limited, given social distancing rules. And, almost all cafes and shops remain shut. There are also no life guards on duty along the coast. We are a county famous for our warm welcome, outstanding landscapes and wonderful local produce but we are not ready to open the gates to the world yet and so we are asking people to be patient.

We are doing our best to limit crowds in those places where lack of space is particularly concerning such as Whitby, Filey, Scarborough and Harrogate. We are closing a number of streets, shutting certain car parks and suspending parking in a number of areas. We will also have highways crews looking out for any issues of concern over the weekend and ready to take the action open to us, to respond.

We hope this is reassuring, but you all have a part to play in this, too. Of course, enjoy the outdoors; there is no finer place than our county in my, perhaps biased, view. But, please, access open countryside rather than paths, narrow lanes or town and village centres. If you can do so close to your home all the better, and be prepared to change your mind if where you are heading looks busy. Protect yourselves and your family by avoiding crowds and encourage anyone you know who is thinking of coming – to wait until we can offer them a real North Yorkshire welcome in the future.

Many of you will be aware our school hubs have been providing vital support for many key workers involved in the fight against Covid-19. In line with the Government’s announcement, we are involved with detailed planning now to deliver a staged reopening of our primary schools. This is a really challenging piece of work. Schools cannot reopen as rapidly as they were forced to close under the Covid laws. Social distancing will have an obvious and important impact on matters such as school transport, catering and, indeed, right across the teaching and learning environments. The initial phase of reopening will enable Reception and Years 1 and 6 to return to class next month. All of this is subject to careful and detailed planning with the safety of pupils and staff at its heart.

On the subject of young people, we are in the midst of Foster Care Fortnight – celebrating the phenomenal people who make a difference to the lives of some of our most vulnerable children. We are blessed to have very many caring families raising children in our care and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their outstanding contribution.  We believe that every child deserves the best possible start in life and good beginnings deliver the best life chances for children. Here’s the sales pitch…if you have never thought about being a foster carer please read this https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/north-yorkshire-celebrates-impact-fostering

These words from foster dad, Dave sum it up for me “Every kid has a backstory, usually not a good one – and if you can make it a little easier for them, then you are giving them something they haven’t always received from the adults in their lives. That might be a shoulder to cry on, or a bit of normality in what may have been a life full of disruption and upheaval.” Please give it some thought.

On the subject of ‘giving’ to improve the lives of others – another one thousand people will receive welfare checks this weekend as part of a huge community support programme.  These door knocks by community champions are really well-received and making a big difference to people who are shielding or self-isolating because they are otherwise vulnerable. Thank you to every person who is making Team North Yorkshire the force it is. So, this weekend remember you are not going through this on your own; there are thousands of caring and supportive people who will help you if you need it.  

No one is alone in North Yorkshire. If you have no one to help you, call our customer service centre 01609 780780. The centre is open seven days a week 8am-5:30pm.

A message from Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health

Current World Health Organisation data shows that we have now passed 4.3 million confirmed cases globally, with 295 thousand across 215 countries, areas or territories. 

At a national level, Public Health England data shows there were 233,151 lab confirmed cases in the UK, with 33,614 COVID-associated deaths. Locally, we currently have 1216 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 546 deaths from COVID-19 across Airedale, Harrogate, South Tees and York to date, of whom an estimated 209 will be North Yorkshire residents.

Supporting people affected by dementia

Dementia, often presenting as memory loss, confusion and difficulty carrying out daily activities, affects about 800,000 people living in the UK. Providing end of life care for people with dementia is a key part of delivering good quality care but many people put things off until it’s too late, often missing opportunities that could lead to improved quality of life.

Why talk about it?

  • Reducing anxiety- knowing what to expect and how to respond.
  • Informed decision making- it’s not unusual for loved ones to have to make decisions on behalf of the person with dementia.
  • This is much easier if their wishes are clear.
  • Peace of mind- knowing that everything possible has been done to ensure quality of care for the person with dementia.
  • Not being a burden- knowing that things are taken care of, to save families and loved ones unnecessary stress and cost.

Further information:

Planning for recovery

More recycling centres to reopen in North Yorkshire

Following the opening of half of North Yorkshire’s household waste recycling centres (HWRCs) on 6 May, four more sites are due to open on Thursday (14 May). They are:

  • Leyburn, Shawl Quarry Lane, Leyburn, DL8 5LA
  • Burniston, Burniston Road, Scarborough, YO13 0DA
  • Settle, Sowarth Field Industrial Estate, Settle, BD24 9AB
  • Tholthorpe, Flawith Lane, Tholthorpe, YO61 1SG

All sites have been structured to operate within the guidelines and maintain the safety of the public and centre staff.

For safety reasons, the remaining six sites (Northallerton, Ripon, Malton, Tadcaster, Harrogate (Stonefall) and Wombleton.) cannot be opened at this time because of their size, layout and difficulty with highway safety, but this will be reviewed continually with a view to opening more as soon as possible.

Please visit the website for all the details about opening times and days. Restrictions are in place for some vehicles and types of waste, so please check before you set off.

For the full list of HWRC’s open across the county and full details can be found at www.northyorks.gov.uk/CovidHWRC

Key worker mobile testing sites

As part of the national roll out of the Key Worker and Priority Testing for COVID–19, drive-through Mobile Testing Units will be operating in the following locations over the coming days:

Here are the locations of the mobile testing units for this week so far:

15 May:

  • Scarborough – Seamer Road Park and Ride
  • Northallerton – Civic Centre, Stone Cross
  • Settle - Greenfoot Car Park, Ingfield Lane, Settle, BD24 9RW 

16 May:

  • Harrogate- Hydro Leisure Centre, Jenny Field Drive, Harrogate, HG1 2RP 

Find out more about testing facilities in North Yorkshire: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/key-worker-and-priority-testing-facilities-north-yorkshire

Guidance on what you can and can’t do

FAQs to summarise what the government guidance on current lockdown restrictions means, have been published. The guidance sets out to inform the public on these changes which apply for England only. For further information, read https://bit.ly/CV19FAQs

Further guidance on schools reopening, travelling safely and borders will be circulated as they are released and the FAQs will also be updated to reflect this.

The guide at the link below will help you understand how to travel safely during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in England. It provides guidance for walking, cycling, using private vehicles (for example cars and vans), and travelling by taxis and public transport (for example trains, buses, coaches and ferries).

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-travel-guidance-for-passengers

Please do circulate these trackable links throughout your business networks and supply chains. 

Schools and childcare

Following the announcement by the government to prepare for the wider opening of childcare and schools from 1st June at the earliest, we continue to work with head teachers, unions and wider colleagues on this issue. Head teachers and managers, staff and parents need to be reassured that procedures and systems are in place to ensure that children can return safely to educational settings.

Two hundred of our schools have remained open throughout to take in vulnerable children and the children of critical workers but all aspects of the day, from home to school transport, cleaning, catering and education need to be appropriately managed if we are to return to all schools taking in children in greater numbers. There is a great deal of planning that needs to be done if we are to achieve this in a short time.

In this very challenging period we are heartened by the story of one of our young carers, 13-year-old William Stainton from Scarborough, who used money saved for a holiday to buy a 3D printer so he could make PPE.

So far, he has made 670 face shields and 900 ear savers for nursing homes in Scarborough and Bridlington. William cares for his dad Kevin Stainton, 57, who has heart disease and COPD. He decided to make the PPE after seeing what was happening in Italy and wanted to prevent it happening in the UK.

Dad Kevin says he’s incredibly proud of his son: “I’m so proud of him and everything he does. “I think he’s worried about me getting Covid-19, so he thinks if he can help to protect other people from the virus he can help me.

“He helps me every day with everything I need as well. Cooking, washing, he helps me to get about.

“He just brightens my day up and always does his best to cheer me up.”

Support for people in isolation

Door knock welfare checks continue this weekend, with council volunteers out and about in Filey, Scarborough and Whitby making sure residents have support in place and that people are getting help with shopping and other essentials while in isolation. Six off-duty fire fighters from the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service have also volunteered to join the operation on Saturday; the third of four dates planned.

The checks include delivering an information leaflet and a copy of the Yorkshire Post newspaper. They are in addition to outbound calls to people who are shielded and particularly vulnerable as a result of COVID-19; these have been ongoing for several weeks in partnership with district councils. Checks such as these are crucial in making sure that everyone in North Yorkshire is getting the help and support they need.

Gary Fielding, the County Council’s Director of Strategic Resources said: “Most people are getting help from family or being supported by neighbours, but these checks are clearly providing the much needed comfort that we are here to help.”

Senior Strategy and Performance Officer, Louise Rideout, volunteered in Bedale last weekend. Louise added: “The response from the public was very positive. All the residents who answered the door had nothing but praise and were extremely grateful. One lady in particular was overwhelmed by the act of kindness and we had a lovely chat. I took my 2-year-old daughter with me and she proved a big hit with residents. I think the check-ins are a wonderful idea.”

It’s clear that this continuing crisis is bringing out the best in many people. Neighbours are looking out for each other to make sure nobody is left without essential supplies and people have come together to form groups in their towns and villages. Shelagh, a volunteer with Skipton Step into Action, has been helping Carla and her son with shopping while she’s self-isolating.

Shelagh said: “Carla lives quite close to me but we would probably have never met in normal circumstances. Hopefully soon I can take a flask and a chair round and we can have a socially distanced coffee in the garden. I know there are other volunteers doing various things for people of all ages. I think it’s brilliant, it’s bringing the community together.”

Our Salt of the Earth campaign, to celebrate kindness in North Yorkshire communities, also continues to show how people up and down the county are supporting each other. Derek Bratton from Scarborough has been helping people with shopping, prescription collections, DIY jobs and delivering homemade meals every week since lockdown started.  Neighbour Andrea said: “Throughout the pandemic he has put others before himself working all day, collecting items, delivering to people who are in isolation. He is such a wonderful guy.”

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 has achieved its first milestone with over 500 businesses registered on the site just five weeks after it launched – the popularity of the site is an indication that local businesses see it as a great and supportive initiative.

Buy Local brings together all businesses and tradespeople, eligible to operate during Covid-19, with the people who need their services. We would invite any business within North Yorkshire that is trading at the moment to register, especially those who are now able to re-open following the new government guidance this week.

Read more about some of the businesses who have registered 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: Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme extension

Earlier this week, the Chancellor announced that the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will remain open until the end of October. Full details of the announcement can be found here: https://bit.ly/CJRSExtension

Key details to note:

  • Furloughed workers across the UK will continue to receive 80% of their current salary, up to £2,500.
  • From August, furloughed workers will be able to return to work part-time with employers being asked to pay a percentage towards the salaries of their furloughed staff.
  • The employer payments will substitute the contribution HMG is currently making, ensuring that staff continue to receive 80% of their salary, up to £2,500 a month.

Further details on implementation will be made available by the end of the month. 

Government communication of guidance on Covid-safe working practices

Given many businesses and employees are worried about returning to workplaces, new communication assets have been created by the government to help share messaging around working safely. These can be found here .

It sets out practical steps for businesses focused on five key points:

  • Work from home if you can
  • Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment in consultation with workers or trade unions
  • Maintain 2 meters social distancing wherever possible
  • Where people cannot be 2 meters apart, manage transmission risk
  • Reinforcing cleaning processes

This also includes several videos which walk through the guidance provided.

Applications for Self-Employment Income Support Scheme open early

The government’s scheme to support the self-employed has now opened for claims ahead of schedule.

Self-employed individuals or members of partnerships whose business has been adversely affected by coronavirus can now apply for a Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant worth 80% of their average monthly trading profits.

Millions are expected to benefit from the scheme with the payments – to be paid in a single instalment covering three months and capped at £7,500. Everyone eligible for the SEISS will be able to receive the government grant by 25 May, or within six days of a completed claim.

For more information, visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/applications-for-self-employment-income-support-scheme-open-early

Here is a video on how to access the scheme.

Funding & Grants: Discretionary Grant Fund

The guidance on the Discretionary Grant Fund has now been published on gov.uk, alongside the main scheme guidance- https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-business-support-grant-funding?5432.

Individual local authorities are now looking at managing this to best meet their local needs. The LEP will be supporting communication of this once details are agreed.

UKRI Innovation

UKRI are now running an open ended grant call for research and innovation ideas which respond to the coronavirus.  Proposals can last up to 18 months and must meet at least one of the following:

  • New research or innovation with a clear impact pathway that has the potential (within the period of the grant) to deliver a significant contribution to the understanding of, and response to, the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts.
  • Supports the manufacture and/or wide scale adoption of an intervention with significant potential
  • Gathers critical data and resources quickly for future research use

For further information on this, visit: https://www.ukri.org/funding/funding-opportunities/ukri-open-call-for-research-and-innovation-ideas-to-address-covid-19/

Staying informed

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

Social Care and the NHS

Funding

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement that £600m will be allocated to local councils to work with the care sector on Covid-19 infection control, we have yet to have confirmation of the amount of money that the Government will be allocating to North Yorkshire.

As part of our support for care providers, we are making daily calls to every care home in the county to pick up issues and give support and we hope that we will be able to address in this way both the practical help and the data returns that the government will require. We are therefore working with the Independent Care Group to ensure all homes work together and take part in the daily calls.  We are also using every opportunity to make the case for further national funding for care.

Testing

We have escalated nationally our concerns about the lack of sufficient test-kits and the slow turnaround in getting test results. North Yorkshire partner agencies are doing all we can to get tests to those who need them.

Activity packs

Hundreds of activity packs are currently being delivered to older adults, children and families in North Yorkshire to help improve their physical and mental health during the pandemic.

North Yorkshire Sport has teamed up with North Yorkshire County Council to distribute 750 packs to certain groups in the county during the coronavirus outbreak.

The packs contain practical suggestions for staying active at home and tailored exercises, along with items to help people take part in physical activity more easily and maintain positive mental health. They include advice on how to stay happy and healthy from organisations such as Compass Buzz, along with chair-based exercises, mindfulness drawing booklets and exercise bands in the packs for older adults and skipping ropes, disc-markers, throwing bean bags and pavement chalk in the pack for families.

Staying physically active throughout the pandemic can bring a variety of positive outcomes and the packs will help people with practical items and ideas for staying active and looking after their mental health.

Direct payments support

People in North Yorkshire who are funded to pay for their own care are getting special support during the Covid-19 pandemic.

We have stepped up help for over 1,000 people across the county who receive direct payments or individual service funds to fund their own bespoke care package as the crisis has meant that many receiving these payments are not able to access their usual support either because a service or centre they use is closed or because their personal assistants are self-isolating.

We have therefore ensured that our direct payment liaison advisors keep in constant touch with people and, in many cases, advisors have been able to mitigate risks and enable care to continue.  They have helped to access PPE on a priority needs basis so that where possible personal assistants have been able to continue their support. They have also provided advice as to how budgets can be used differently to access equipment or to pay for family and friends to take over care where this is the safest alternative.

In one case where a person using direct payments was hospitalised with Covid-19, our advisors supported the whole process of discharge, accessing PPE for the person’s personal assistants so they could return safely home.

Video shows: Direct payments manager Emma Ryan explains the help that is on offer from the county council https://youtu.be/KaV28YyxlLc

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

Tour ancient Rome

You can explore other cities and even other times online, such as this virtual tour of ancient Rome which takes you through the forum, Capitoline hill, and famous monuments.

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

I am sure I am not the only person who finds themselves regularly questioning how we seem to have moved from the storms at the start of this year that delivered such devastating flooding – to taking the first and very tentative steps out of the storm we are all battling today. While it is welcome to be planning our move into the first stage of lifting the lockdown – we must not underestimate the importance of the moment. We mustn’t throw away all the hard work we have all put in by forgetting the fundamentals that helped us to get here.

Those first early messages that helped protect so many of you from Covid-19 are the same ones that will help get us through the weeks and months to come. We must continue to stay 2 metres apart and we must wash our hands regularly, and for at least 20 seconds, with soap and warm water. There is much talk about face masks in certain enclosed spaces but it’s also clear these simple calls to action remain critical.  We also recognise that the Government’s announcement on the relaxation of the rules around driving for exercise, the time you can spend in the open air and the fact that you can now meet outdoors with one person outside of your household will be met with a degree of anxiety. It’s completely understandable. Together with our partners in the district council and the police, we are busy mapping out the actions we can take to try and provide the safest possible spaces where we can. Our particular focus is understandably on those busiest places particularly where the streets and paths are narrow and it may, therefore, be difficult to socially distance properly and to protect yourselves and your loved ones.

We are all also working with the National Parks and Welcome to Yorkshire as well as the LEP to target messaging outside of the county to be clear that the county is very much NOT open for visitors yet. We look forward to welcoming everyone back when we are through this – but we are not there by some way yet. Facilities for hand washing and toilets will be limited; most shops and restaurants remain closed and some areas will have less car parking because we may need to use some of that space to keep people safe. We anticipate some of our beauty spots will be much busier and we will try to alleviate pressure where we can. We also encourage everyone to access open countryside close to their homes rather than head to these hot spots. We are fortunate to live somewhere with a great deal of choice around open spaces, so I urge you to stick to those places where you feel safe rather than rush to the more iconic places that will inevitably attract visitors.

We have also been planning for some time how we can safely reopen our schools. As you know, we had to close them extremely quickly when the lockdown regulations were announced by Government. While we are working closely with schools and child care settings to support pupils learning from home, at the same time a great deal of careful work continues to plan the reopening. All this preparation is helpful given the PM’s announcement that we should prepare for reception, year 1 and year 6 pupils to return next month and more information on that will follow in the weeks to come. We will also be doing everything possible to continue to support our most vulnerable young people and, of course, those with important exams next summer.   

Our daily and detailed work with care homes is also providing really important help for people in residential care who are particularly vulnerable and require maximum protection from the virus. This will continue for as long as it is needed. We are working hard to pull together an approach to meet the massive challenge of testing people in these places. There has been some mixed messaging around this nationally, but, in North Yorkshire, we are trying really hard to design local solutions which will speed up wide-spread testing.

So, there are many challenges to come but we will face them together – as we have done and we will continue to do the right thing and save lives. You have already proven that there’s not much that will stop Team North Yorkshire from tackling whatever life throws in our way. Thank you and keep it up. There is a chink of light - now let’s stay focussed on reaching it.  

A message from Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health

Current World Health Organization data shows that we have now passed 4 million confirmed cases globally, with 283 thousand across 215 countries, areas or territories.

At a national level, today’s Public Health England data shows there were 226,463 lab confirmed cases in the UK, with 32,692 COVID-associated deaths. Locally, we currently have 1191 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across North Yorkshire.

The number of people currently in hospital with COVID-19 continues to decrease slowly. There have been 511 deaths from COVID-19 across Airedale, Harrogate, South Tees and York to date, of whom an estimated 194 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.

Dying Matters - Supporting people to think about planning end of life care

The 'Dying to be Heard' message for Dying Matters Week is being supported by North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) and NHS staff across the Vale of York. Coronavirus is changing the way we deal with death and dying.

We would like to encourage people to take five simple steps to make their end of life experience better, both for them and for their loved ones. These are:  

  • Write your will – did you know that only 35% of adults have made a will? https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/family/death-and-wills/wills/
  • Record your funeral wishes – only 30% of people have let someone know their funeral wishes.
  • Plan your future care and support – only 7% of us have written down wishes about the care we would want it we couldn’t make decisions. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/end-of-life-care/advance-statement/
  • Consider registering as an organ donor – 39% of adults have registered to be an organ donor.
  • Tell your loved ones your wishes – only 25% of us have asked a family member about their end of life care wishes.

Many people may already have made plans but these may have to change in light of current restrictions. For example funerals and who is with them at the end of life. https://www.dyingmatters.org/page/my-funeral-wishes

Planning for recovery

Guidance on what you can and can’t do

The government has issued new guidance on current lockdown restrictions as part of its plan to return life to as near normal as they can, for as many people as they can, as quickly and fairly as possible in order to safeguard livelihoods, but in a way that is safe and continues to protect our NHS. FAQs to summarise what the new rules mean, when they come into force on Wednesday, have been published. The guidance sets out to inform the public on these changes which apply for England only. For further information, read https://bit.ly/CV19FAQs

Further guidance on schools reopening, travelling safely and borders will be circulated as they are released and the FAQs will also be updated to reflect this.

The guide at the link below will help you understand how to travel safely during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in England. It provides guidance for walking, cycling, using private vehicles (for example cars and vans), and travelling by taxis and public transport (for example trains, buses, coaches and ferries).

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-travel-guidance-for-passengers

Please do circulate these trackable links throughout your business networks and supply chains. 

Schools and education

Following the announcement by the government to prepare for the wider opening of childcare and schools from 1st June, the Children and Young Peoples’ Service is involved in planning the logistics of this, working with Head teachers, Unions and other colleagues across the Council.

Head teachers and managers, staff and parents need to be reassured that procedures and systems are in place to ensure that children can, when the science guides us to, return safely to educational settings. All aspects of the day, from home to school transport, cleaning, catering and education need to be appropriately managed as Nursery, Reception, Year One and Year Six begin to look at returning to schools and settings.

Since lockdown, North Yorkshire’s Children and Families service has maintained close contact with children and young people to help to keep them safe - with social workers carrying out over 1,000 face-to-face visits so far.   

Over 95 per cent of children in need and child protection visits have been carried out by meeting families, children and young people in gardens and places chosen locally, demonstrating the commitment of our social workers so that children and young people at risk continue to be well supported. 

North Yorkshire is judged outstanding by Ofsted for its determination, ethical and effective practice in social care and its relentless focus on building relationships with families and supporting them to change. Where social workers have not been able to make visits in person, they have used technology to stay in touch with young people. Our staff have been determined to maintain the quality of their practice, even during this very challenging period.

Staff and residents at No Wrong Door, our children and young people’s residential hub at Stepney Road in Scarborough, have been creative when it comes to combatting the lockdown blues.

This includes residential hub worker Jezz Pratt – a former police officer and member of the town’s Rat Pack band – helping to hone musical talents.

Self-taught guitarist, Jezz, has been writing songs and playing them and encouraging staff and residents to sing along.

The hub filmed a video of them all singing one of his songs with lockdown-themed lyrics.

Manager Cerena Butterworth said: “Jezz is amazing and it’s really helped lift spirits.”

Staff have been working hard to ensure the residents at the home are safe, reassured and entertained, too.

Cerena added: “On Easter Sunday we had an egg hunt, Jezz dressed up as the Easter bunny and walked around the streets which the kids found amazing.

“We’ve got a young man called Joe Brown who lives with us doing a Skype-a-thon – every day he Skypes different people at North Yorkshire County Council and asked for a tour of their house – including Richard Flinton!  We’ve had metal detectors all around our garden so it looks like we’ve got moles, we’ve been baking and we’ve been Zorbing.”

Cerena said she and her staff have been a secure, calming presence during the lockdown.

She said: “The kids have found it understandably difficult, but we’ve kept up with Skype meetings with family and social workers. “We’ve got a really resilient staff force and team.”

Support for people in isolation

Despite minor changes to lockdown restrictions, many people, particularly those who are most vulnerable to being hospitalised as a result of Covid-19, continue to need support with shopping and other essentials. The community support organisations (CSOs) will remain at the heart of this response and our message to those who don’t have anyone to call on, is that we will continue to make sure they get the help they need. Last week, the CSOs delivered 1,042 lots of shopping and 666 prescriptions and are helping over 2,500 people each week with 1,576 active volunteers. This doesn’t include the countless examples of neighbours looking out for each other and the army of volunteers who have formed groups in their towns and villages to make sure nobody is left without essential supplies.

Volunteers from Oatlands community group, a charity working alongside the community support organisation in Harrogate, have been putting together and delivering weekly care packages since lockdown started and are determined that nobody in their community should feel alone. They also made sure everyone in their local area could join in with VE Day celebrations at the weekend by taking afternoon tea to older residents. Molly, who will be 101 at the end of May, had a wonderful time. Molly’s daughter Frida said “Everyone was thrilled, thank you for your kindness.”

For people in need of financial assistance to pay for food and household essentials during isolation, the Covid-19 support grant scheme is also providing much needed reassurance. So far, 257 grants have been approved 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 19% are over 70.

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 including bank holidays.

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

500 of the 750 activity support packs to be delivered today.

The first of the activity support packs, designed to help improve the physical and mental health, during lockdown, of our three target groups; older adults, families and young people, are being distributed at Bilton Hub in Harrogate today. Living Well teams, mental health teams and community volunteers will be getting into the community and delivering the first 500 activity bags, which include equipment donated by our partner organisations: North Yorkshire Sport; Rural Arts North Yorkshire; North Yorkshire Youth; Compass Buzz; and our NYCC print room, to families and young people in need.

Local economy

Buy Local

Following our bank holiday weekend advertising campaign in local press and on social media, 29 more new businesses have registered on the Buy Local online marketplace taking the total up to 488.

On average there are 1400 visits to the site each day, and the click through rate to business websites this weekend peaked at 7% (for comparable sites, a click through rate of 4.5% is considered good).

Buy Local brings together all businesses and tradespeople, eligible to operate during Covid-19, with the people who need their services. Go to www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local to see the range of registered local businesses.

The Council encourages any business, which is trading at the moment, within North Yorkshire, to register. Read more about some of the businesses who have registered 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 Update

UK furlough scheme extended by four months

The UK’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is to be extended to October, announced the Chancellor this lunchtime.

It was confirmed that employees would continue to receive 80% of their monthly wages up to £2,500, but that companies would be asked to start sharing the cost of the scheme from August. Further details to follow.

Government guidance on Covid-secure workplaces

Guidance has been issued to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic.

The government, in consultation with industry, has produced guidance to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible as it encourages people to return to work if it is safe to do so.

There are 8 guides to cover a range of different types of work. Many businesses operate more than one type of workplace, such as an office, factory and fleet of vehicles so will need to refer to more than one guide. To read these, visit https:/bit.ly/CV19WorkingSafely

Linked to getting people back to work, the government has also issued new guidance on the use of public transport which they want to limit given the need for continued social distancing. For more information, read here

Welcome to Yorkshire call to action to save tourism

Welcome to Yorkshire have instigated, and accepted, the challenge to act as the conduit for the county’s crucial tourism resurgence.

A series of seminars bringing together the region’s tourism partners and businesses aims to ensure strong and safe tourism, to save tourism as #YorkshireTogether, and will take place on Wednesday 13th May 2020 – 11am to 1pm.

Email  info@yorkshire.com to request an agenda or read here for more information.  

Stay informed

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

 

Stay informed on local support during and post COVID-19

The LEP, its Growth Hub, and many partners are working hard to support the businesses in our region. We are updating all information on a regular basis and are keen to promote the following as main sources of local business support information:

Social Care and the NHS

Support for carers

We wish to thank the many people across the County who are caring for family members and friends during the Covid-19 pandemic.

We estimate that up to 60,000 people in North Yorkshire (one in ten of us) care for family and friends as part of everyday life and many are now providing more care than they have ever done before.

The majority of carers are providing more help with emotional support and are checking in on the person they care for more often and keeping them motivated as well as spending more money on food and household bills. The current lockdown regulations can create significant added pressure

Unpaid family carers are now also classed as essential workers and, therefore, eligible for priority testing and we are offering support and guidance on testing and where to get tested in the county.

As well as our existing services provided by Carers’ charities across the County, we have partnered with 23 community support organisations to coordinate help on the ground with shopping, collecting prescriptions, caring for pets and having someone to talk to.

We have also established one point of contact – our customer service centre on 01609 780780. The line is now open seven days a week from 8am to 5.30pm for people to call who are without other help. 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 are also encouraging carers who look after someone who couldn’t manage without their help to create an emergency plan.  We can give guidance on the creation of a plan which carers should have easily available and in place in case of an emergency so that anyone taking over their care has all the information they need. 

We have also provided an advice pack for carers with links to partner organisations and advice on use of personal protective equipment.

Video links: https://youtu.be/umPwH_hYhPQ

Care homes connect with family and friends

Elderly residents of care homes across North Yorkshire can stay in touch with friends, family and loved ones with new technology to battle loneliness through Covid-19.

Although the fight against the coronavirus is waging more than ever in our care homes, staff across the county have adapted to make sure residents can see the faces of their loved ones despite being in isolation.

Devices to provide video calling are being delivered to our 10 Elderly Persons Homes to facilitate video calling.

Staff at each of the homes will be trained on how to use the devices to support residents. The devices include an Echo Show, Facebook Portal and a Fire tablet. Residents can use Skype, WhatsApp and the Alexa to call their families.

An existing programme to install superfast broadband and WiFi services at each home has been accelerated to be completed by early May when the devices will be available for use.

By using this technology, grandparents can see their grandchildren, wives can see their husbands, people can communicate face to face with their families and friends without breaking lockdown rules. A conversation with a loved one and being able to see their face will make a massive difference to people living in our care homes and allow them to stay connected during these unprecedented times.

Benkhill Lodge in Bedale was the first to receive the technology. The remaining homes across the county will get it by next week.

Dawn Spare, Deputy Manager at Benkhill Lodge, said: “It’s really wonderful for our residents to be able to see the faces of their loved ones – we’ve had a few happy tears from them.

“Having the tablets has been invaluable during this crisis when residents can’t see their friends or families when normally, having visits would be the highlight of their day.

“It means families can have ‘virtual visits’ and it’s been brilliant.

“It gives everyone reassurance and peace of mind – families know their relatives in the care home are fine and it’s good for the resident’s mental health and stops them feeling isolated and locked in.”

Resident Carrie Watson, 93, added: “It’s marvellous and makes me feel emotional.”

The list of care homes receiving the technology is Silver Birches in Filey, Springfield Garth in Boroughbridge, Neville House in Gargrave, Ashfield in Skipton, Ashfield in Malton, Whitby Road in Pickering, Larpool Lane in Whitby, Benkhill Lodge in Bedale, Station View in Starbeck and Carentan House in Selby.

This is complementary to a programme being carried out by the North Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group to equip all North Yorkshire Independent Sector Care Homes with similar devices. The devices will be used to provide video consultations with GP’s and in the future Hospital Consultants.

Video: Shows Carrie Watson using an iPad https://youtu.be/7Myy2eKQ0TY

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

History month for libraries

The 75th anniversary celebration of VE Day is the focus of North Yorkshire’s Local and Community History Month 2020.  Our libraries are promoting free home-access to family history sites Find my Past and Ancestry, as well as e-book and e-audio collections including Second World War and VE Day titles.

Selby library is encouraging its customers to send in family wartime memories and others are highlighting their digital local history collections. Harrogate library is posting a weekly Then and Now photograph, Ripon library is featuring covers from the Ripon Gazette, and Northallerton library is sharing photographs from its local history collection.

For details of all events, please visit www.northyorks.gov.uk/libraries-news-and-events or your local library Facebook page.

Made in North Yorkshire

Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughters presents the fourth nomination from the public: Dr William Pickles, a leading epidemiologist who spent more than 50 years as the GP in Aysgarth, Wensleydale. He dedicated his life to investigating disease and epidemics, studying the science behind incubation periods of infectious diseases. 

To find out more about Dr Pickles and the Made in North Yorkshire project follow this link: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/made-in-north-yorkshire

Tour ancient Rome

You can explore other cities and even other times online, such as this virtual tour of ancient Rome which takes you through the forum, Capitoline hill, and famous monuments.

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

Today, we would have been witnessing crowds of people celebrating, concerts and services and street parties across our county as we commemorated VE Day and the end of the Second World War in Europe 75 years ago. It is touching to see the efforts people have made hanging out bunting and flags around their own homes and business premises, but for the most part we are marking this momentous event in our own homes and with our own reflections while the streets remain quiet and the pubs shut and the services and concerts are virtual. As we continue with our current battle against the global coronavirus pandemic is it is uplifting to remember that we can go through the most difficult times and pick ourselves up and change things for the better. But we must never forget the sacrifices people made then, and are making now, for better days.

It is particularly touching to read and hear the reflections of older people who lived through the celebrations of VE Day and can remember them still, like residents of Benkhill Lodge, our older people’s home in Bedale, who have spent the day recollecting. Les and Doris Kelly, aged 100 and 99 and married for 79 years spent VE Day apart but will never forget it. Les was in Germany where he had been fighting and remembers the relief and the joy but also the sadness at coming across three British soldiers killed the day before the war ended. Doris spent her time queuing for stockings - a fortune at five shillings - to dress up for the party and she recalls the excitement and the merriment. Staff have worked tirelessly to help residents remember with socially distanced celebrations and video calls with family.

However, many of our care home residents and the staff who look after them now find themselves on a new front line. While new Covid-19 cases in hospitals have continued to reduce, the number of care homes affected by coronavirus is increasing.  At the moment we have 75 outbreaks at care homes and there have been 129 deaths of residents believed to have been from Covid-19. This is a sobering and desperately difficult number which emphasises where our focus needs to be.

For this reason our staff in health and adult services have worked round the clock to step up support to the care home sector and this week a newly created team has started to make daily calls to our 235 care homes and extra care settings and a second team is working with the homes around specific problems that they identify to us.

There will also be a major effort in the coming days to test every person in every care home in order to help track down the disease and to help us to build a wall around those care homes that are currently Covid free.

We also carry on working to protect people in the community who are self-isolating. We are coordinating 23 community support organisations who are dealing with something in the region of 5000 requests for support in an average week. We are also working to protect and support people with underlying health conditions who are at the centre of an operation to shield them from the virus. This weekend we have a group of volunteers going out to visit 1000 people and we are even dropping off a free copy of the Yorkshire Post to them as well. We are also making outbound calls to check up on people. People tell us these calls make them feel less isolated, that somebody cares.

We will also have an increased number of school hubs in operation over the Bank Holiday weekend to cater for the increased number of vulnerable children and children of critical workers who are attending. We are enormously grateful to all the school staff who support these children with such dedication.

Our County Music Service is also continuing to teach pupils with more than 1000 currently receiving lessons online. As well as giving pupils vital access to music teachers at home, our service is supporting teachers and the children of key workers by running class singing and music lessons to those still in school. Indeed the music service has also made its own contribution to mark VE Day, getting children from across the country individually to sing that great World War II anthem “We Will Meet Again” and to pull it together into a virtual choir. It can be accessed on this link https://youtu.be/ku9y50Af6HI and speaks to the time when we will all physically meet each other again in different circumstances having come through this crisis.

So we must now begin to look to the next phase and the gradual relaxing of lockdown regulations which the Prime Minister will set out for us in his roadmap on Sunday.   We have already opened half of our Household Waste Recycling Centres across the county under strict controls to keep the public and staff safe and this has gone very well - we would like to thank members of the public for keeping to the rules. The next few weeks will be focused on carrying on responding to the virus but also trying to get businesses safely back up and running to reduce the extent of the economic shock that will follow on after the health impact. The Recovery Coordinating Group established by the North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum, which brings together all first responder agencies delivering public services in the county, met for the first time yesterday and reviewed the initial assessments provided by partners on the impacts of Covid-19 as a baseline for moving forward together

 And as we head into the Bank Holiday weekend let’s remember that as Team North Yorkshire we must keep up the fight against coronavirus.  We urge people to keep on checking on neighbours and friends, observe social distancing regulations, enjoy the fresh air and exercise but stick to essential travel only.

A message from Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health

World Health Organization data shows that there have been 3,726,292 confirmed cases globally, with 257,405 deaths across 215 countries, areas or territories. At a national level, Public Health England data shows there were 206,715 lab confirmed cases in the UK as at 7th May, with 30,615 COVID-associated deaths. This now includes deaths from all settings.  Previously only deaths in hospital were reported.

We currently have 1102 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across North Yorkshire. For the most part this has focused on hospital cases although there continues to be an increase in the amount of testing that is carried out in our communities, particularly around key workers and care homes, through Regional Test Centres and Mobile Test Units.

There have been 488 COVID-19 deaths in hospital trusts covering North Yorkshire (Airedale, Harrogate, South Tees, and York) to date (07/05). Of these, an estimated 187 deaths will be of North Yorkshire residents. National work to understand deaths in all settings (including care homes and the community) reports that, up to 24th April, there have been 259 COVID-19 deaths registered in North Yorkshire since 1st March.  Detailed analysis shows 77 residents died from COVID-19 in the week 18th to 24th April, with additional deaths relating to earlier weeks.  Current priorities include support to care homes, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and access to testing.  It remains very important that local residents continue to stay at home as much as possible over the Bank Holiday weekend.

How are you?

The ‘How Are You?’ online quiz is free and analyses your lifestyle to provide a personal health score and give tailored advice on how to improve your health. Search One You and take the quiz or visit www.nhs.uk/oneyou/how-are-you-quiz .

Depending on your results and personal health goals, the quiz will direct to one of a number of One You apps, available to download for free from the Apple App Store and Google Play:

Active 10: quickly and simply shows you how many brisk 10-minute walks you’re doing and how to fit more into your day, to benefit your health, improve the way you feel and reduce the risk of a number of long-term conditions such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Drink Free Days: a simple and easy way to track the days you drink alcohol and the days you don’t. Feel healthier, lose weight and save money – simply nominate days to take off drinking and get practical, daily support to help you stick to it.

Easy Meals: a great way to eat foods that are healthier for you, and find delicious, easy meal ideas to help get you going if you’re ever short of inspiration.

Smokefree: to help you stop smoking by providing daily support and motivation; if you stay smokefree for the 4-week programme, you’re up to 5 times more likely to quit for good.

Schools and education

Goody bags to help care leavers during lockdown

Young people who have left local authority care in North Yorkshire are to be given goody bags to help to keep them safe and well during the pandemic.

North Yorkshire has more than 300 care leavers – young people who left local authority care after they became 16 and who often had difficult lives before coming into care. We are committed to supporting them during the lockdown.

The cost of the goody bags has been met by county councillors from their locality budgets in their role as corporate parents, led by children’s champion Cllr Annabel Wilkinson.

The bags have been put together by our leaving care team, include a voucher to spend at a local supermarket and sweet treats, as well as information on activities to help the young people to stay well. Councillors were also keen to ensure these young people were given hand sanitiser and gloves to protect themselves.

During the pandemic, the leaving care team has worked tirelessly with care leavers, using digital methods to keep in touch. The team’s Facebook page has become a source of support and advice. Care leavers have received laptops to help those who weren’t able to access online college work and to help particularly vulnerable young people to keep in touch and access support.

Our school staff continue to provide a vital service for the children of critical workers and vulnerable children during the Covid-19 crisis and we now have 16 hubs for children to attend across the county with an increase of 500 children attending over the last month. We have seen modest increases in the number of vulnerable children with education, health and care plans and those who have a social worker attending school hubs. But, we are taking further steps to ensure attendance of all the vulnerable children who we believe need to be in school as their welfare is of paramount importance. Therefore, our social work and inclusion teams will be working closely with schools in the coming days to prioritise supporting more of these children back into school.

Meanwhile, our county music service is teaching weekly music lessons to more than 1,000 children online. The service started running after the Easter holidays for all pupils and now has 1020 signed up for weekly classes.

As well as giving pupils vital access to music teachers at home, our service is supporting teachers and the children of key workers by running class singing and music lessons to those still in school.

The tutorials provide vital structure and routine for the children signed up, as well as helping them build a skill.

There is evidence to suggest learning to play an instrument and read music benefits children in other areas of school life while gaining confidence, communication skills and concentration. The music service has found that students have gained from the lessons by having some structure, normality and something to look forward to. The teacher can also email over music or backing tracks.

Feedback from parents includes how much children have enjoyed the sessions and how they’ve seen their children motivated to practice at home. It’s possible that this is the only contact some children are getting outside of their immediate family and it means they know there’s still a world outside of lockdown.

Parents of students who want to sign up for lessons get in touch with the music service who book the student in for a slot and email over a link to join a video meeting.

For more information, parents should email countyhall.music@northyorks.gov.uk.

Support for people in isolation

To make sure people have the help and support they need while in isolation, some North Yorkshire residents have been receiving a ‘door knock’ check. This includes delivering a leaflet with the County Council’s customer service centre number and a copy of the Yorkshire Post newspaper. This weekend, the second of four dates planned, council staff have volunteered to check on over 1,000 people. One North Yorkshire resident posted on social media to say “What a lovely surprise and gesture. Feel less isolated and that someone cares. Many thanks!”

Kevin Mort, a passenger assistant from Malton who was out checking on people last weekend added: “Everyone we checked on is getting help from their family or neighbours, taking them stuff in. They were managing fine which is good. People were thankful that we were out checking, even though they’re getting help. One lady said it was nice to have someone coming round and asking. I’ve been helping my neighbour; she has family but I’ve been getting bits for her, too. For people who can’t drive, it’s difficult to get out anyway. You don’t see a lot of people to talk to because of social distancing but we’re all looking out for each other like most communities.”

Seven weeks into lockdown and the 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.

In Ryedale, the CSO is made up of Scarborough and Ryedale Carers Resource, Ryedale Carers Support, and Ryedale Community Transport and involves local voluntary sector and community groups, such as Ryedale Charities Together and the Scarborough and Ryedale Voluntary Sector Leaders Forum. Stronger Communities, Ryedale District Council, and emerging groups in the community are working closely to support the people of Ryedale. 

Claire Robinson, who is working in the Ryedale community support organisation, said: “The last few weeks have allowed us to build on these systems and efficiently receive and manage referrals from different partners. Now, in week seven, we are in a strong and healthy position. We are dealing with requests the same day they come through, which is fantastic, and we’re working closely with colleagues in the wider networks across our district.”

Council staff and extra volunteers meet any additional demand from across North Yorkshire while many of the community support organisations take a well-deserved break over the bank holiday weekend. People have been encouraged to plan ahead and think about whether they might need help with essentials such as shopping and prescriptions.

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 including bank holidays.

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

There have been more than 44,000 visits to our free online marketplace, Buy Local; the 430 businesses now registered range from plumbers to organic farm shops and solicitors. 

Over the last four weeks alone, 900 people have used the platform to click straight through to business websites.

Buy Local brings together all businesses and tradespeople, eligible to operate during Covid-19, with the people who need their services. Go to www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local to see the range of registered local businesses.

Charlotte needed to diversify her photography business, and used Buy Local to reach new audiences. “I stock my Greeting Cards in a number of local shops, but when these closed I had to re-evaluate my business and look for other opportunities,” Charlotte said. “I was one of the first to sign up to Buy Local with the aim of pushing my online sales and adapting to the current situation. It’s a great place for people to go and find those businesses that are still operating. I hope it will encourage customers to shop with me even when lockdown is over.”

Read more about Charlotte and other businesses who have registered 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 Update

The York & North Yorkshire LEP, through its Growth Hub, is working with partners across the region to deliver practical support to businesses to help them through the current crisis and beyond.

This continuous programme of support is being co-created and delivered by the Growth Hub along with a range of expert external partners. We encourage promotion of these support packages to ensure businesses can achieve maximum benefit.  

New “Managing Cash Flow in a Crisis” webinar

In collaboration with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, the York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub is hosting a webinar for businesses struggling to manage their cash flow during COVID-19.

The 45 minute, free session on 12th May will look at:

  • Strategies for effective cash flow management in a time of crisis from ICAEW member Tom Bottomley
  • The free support and mentorship that businesses can access through the Growth Hub from David Ryden, Programme Manager.

For more information and to sign up, visit https://www.ynygrowthhub.com/events/covid-19-managing-cash-flow-in-a-crisis/

To enable you to share and communicate this support with stakeholders, access the Cash Flow Crisis Webinar communications pack here 

York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub promotes new COVID-19 Learning Toolkit

The has created a new Learning Toolkit to help businesses and employees in the region access online learning resources during these difficult times. This follows the launch last week of the Government’s own national Skills Toolkit.

As a response to COVID-19, which has seen many employees furloughed, or now working from home, skills providers across the region have been working hard to adapt their provision to this new environment.

Working with local providers and partners who offer high-quality learning resources, the Growth Hub has been able to create this local Learning Toolkit to help individuals and businesses access the knowledge and skills they need for resilience and productivity during and beyond the pandemic.

The Growth Hub, and its skills partners, are committed to helping businesses and individuals to remain engaged, productive and positive in these times and the Learning Toolkit will be regularly updated to ensure the resources meet the needs of businesses.

To enable you to share and communicate this support with stakeholders, access the Learning Toolkit communications pack here

Jobs Fuse support for employers and employees

This service was launched two weeks ago to help those who have been made unemployed as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak in the York & North Yorkshire region to get back into employment, whilst also supporting key regional employers with the challenges they face where staffing is concerned due to the pandemic.

York & North Yorkshire Jobs Fuse brings the expertise of the National Careers Service, the Department for Work and Pensions and the York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub together to provide a ‘one stop shop’ for both job seekers and local employers.

As businesses and individuals continue to be concerned about employment, please promote this service which can be accessed through the   and social media channels, including the Growth Hub’s Facebook Group which at a grassroots level, is promoting the sharing of jobs and skills amongst our communities.

To enable you to share and communicate this support with stakeholders, access the Jobs Fuse communications pack here

Stay informed on local support during and post COVID-19

The LEP, its Growth Hub, and many partners are working hard to support the businesses in our region. We are updating all information on a regular basis and are keen to promote the following as main sources of local business support information:

Social Care and the NHS

Today marks a special remembrance of VE Day for people across North Yorkshire. It is 75 years since victory was declared in Europe and residents in many of our care homes are sharing their precious memories of that momentous occasion. We heard, in the introduction to this bulletin, the recollections of Les and Doris Kelly, at Benkhill Lodge, and many others have shared their memories, too. Carrie Watson, 93, remembers the butcher giving extra ham for the village celebration; Mary, who is 96 and lives in Harrogate, and is currently being supported by the County Council’s reablement team, remembers her mum “getting the bottle out as soon as we heard the news” and then going with her boyfriend into Knaresborough to dance the night away in the castle yard with hundreds of others. 

For many who lived through the Second World War, this is the first VE Day anniversary they can’t celebrate with family or friends because of lockdown. But this hasn’t stopped both care homes and extra care housing schemes – both those run by the County Council and by other care providers - working tirelessly to ensure the day is marked and that important memories are remembered through socially-distanced celebrations and video calls with family and friends.

However, while new cases of Covid-19 in hospitals continues to reduce, in a number of residential and nursing homes, it is increasing. For this reason, in partnership with the NHS and the Independent Care Group (the umbrella group representing most care providers), the County Council has stepped up the work we were already doing to support the County’s 235 care homes and extra care housing schemes to try and prevent new outbreaks, as well as managing those outbreaks that exist already.

From day one of the crisis in this country 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: SocialServices.Contractingunit@northyorks.gov.uk

These measures have been open to all care providers but have, inevitably, been focused on the care homes and extra care housing schemes which have outbreaks.

Now, in order to stem infection and deaths from Covid-19 in care settings, we have adopted a broader approach aimed at prevention of outbreaks and keeping homes Covid-free as well as responding to outbreaks.

The Council has put in place additional teams to spearhead this enhanced service. From this week, each home in North Yorkshire is receiving a daily call seven days a week from a named care home contact officer with a welfare checklist. They will find how each home is doing and if they have any issues related to Covid-19.

Homes experiencing problems will then be 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. They will also be able to draw on support from the NHS and other agencies.

An unprecedented amount of work has been undertaken over the last week and additional staff redeployed and trained to carry out this vital supporting role for the care sector during the current crisis.  Our new teams are there to build a rapport with care settings and to help residents and staff. Intelligence gathered from daily calls will be used to escalate any concerns to get the right interventions and help.

This work also accelerates what the County Council expects will shortly be requested by Government as part of a national response to Covid-19 within care homes.

There is also a major effort going on at present to plan for the Government’s introduction of testing kits for care homes, which will hopefully start next week, subject to confirmation from the Department of Health and Social Care.

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

Council chairman: our spirit links us to VE Day

On the 75th anniversary of VE Day today (8 May), North Yorkshire residents are being encouraged to reflect on the togetherness and community spirit that they share with those who celebrated the end of the Second World War in Europe in 1945.

County Council Chairman Cllr Jim Clark believes the messages behind the celebrations remain as relevant as ever.

He said: “This anniversary was never just about looking back at something that happened 75 years ago, and the situation in which we find ourselves today makes that even more pertinent.

“Then, as now, it is about community spirit. The theme of Holocaust Day this year was Stand Together. While we can’t do that physically, we can in spirit. We can stand together in remembrance and thanksgiving, against hatred and prejudice and for building stronger communities.

“I encourage people in towns and villages across North Yorkshire to take time to reflect and to remember in their own way.”

Cllr Clark will give a reading at a virtual Ripon Cathedral VE Day service at 11am on 8 May. The service can be accessed at www.riponcathedral.org.uk

A celebratory concert planned by our Music Service has been postponed, but the service has invited children that were to sing to record themselves singing along at home to two wartime Vera Lynn songs. Listen to the recordings, which have been edited to feature the choir in a video, here or on our social media channels.

VE Day activities from North Yorkshire libraries

As part of the VE Day anniversary activities, libraries will use their Facebook pages to host activities and displays and to invite wartime memories from library members. They will also promote digital resources, including family history sites Find My Past and Ancestry, as well as relevant e-books, e-audio and e-magazines.

Find more details here: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/council-chairman-our-spirit-links-us-ve-day or visit your library’s Facebook page.

Archive exhibition

North Yorkshire County Record Office has compiled an online collection recalling VE Day and wartime on the home front in North Yorkshire. This can be viewed at https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/celebrating-ve-day

History month for libraries

The 75th anniversary celebration of VE Day is the focus of North Yorkshire’s Local and Community History Month 2020.  Our libraries are promoting free home-access to family history sites Find my Past and Ancestry, as well as e-book and e-audio collections including Second World War and VE Day titles.

Selby library is encouraging its customers to send in family wartime memories and others are highlighting their digital local history collections. Harrogate library is posting a weekly Then and Now photograph, Ripon library is featuring covers from the Ripon Gazette, and Northallerton library is sharing photographs from its local history collection.

For details of all events, please visit www.northyorks.gov.uk/libraries-news-and-events or your local library Facebook page.

Made in North Yorkshire

Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughters presents the fourth nomination from the public: Dr William Pickles, a leading epidemiologist who spent more than 50 years as the GP in Aysgarth, Wensleydale. He dedicated his life to investigating disease and epidemics, studying the science behind incubation periods of infectious diseases. 

To find out more about Dr Pickles and the Made in North Yorkshire project follow this link: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/made-in-north-yorkshire

Tour ancient Rome

You can explore other cities and even other times online, such as this virtual tour of ancient Rome which takes you through the forum, Capitoline hill, and famous monuments.

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

This week looks set to be one of something of a roller-coaster of emotions.  Many of us have adapted to the ‘new norm’ of living within the rules of lockdown to make the best of things and to help others self-isolating or otherwise in need. This coming Bank Holiday weekend we anticipate the Government’s official detail of how it plans to lift the lockdown. I am sure that lots of people will feel some anxiety about this and it will take time and continued considerable effort for us all to get through this next phase together. But I have every faith we will do that and - as Team North Yorkshire is already proving – we will do best by working together to navigate whatever the future holds on this. Then there is the reflection we will feel and the huge sense of gratitude for the sacrifices of the many men and women from North Yorkshire and the nation, who delivered us freedom on V.E. Day – 75 years ago on Friday.  While we will be marking this commemoration without the planned parties with friends and neighbours– we will remember and pay tribute in many other ways and on Friday I hope to bring you our virtual choir – that will certainly be a first for me although I shall spare you my singing!

It’s sometimes easy to lose sight of the fact that while the ‘new norm’ sees most of us working and living in more remote and socially distanced environments – for many essential frontline staff that is not a possibility. They must protect many of our most vulnerable residents and themselves by wearing appropriate personal protective equipment and continue to deliver the care and support people need. You will be aware of the particular vulnerabilities in the care environment – of which there are 250 providers in North Yorkshire. We have been working closely with the sector from the outset of Covid-19 focussing on those with cases. We are stepping this work up with a new Care Home Resilience Service. Running 7 days a week we are working with each venue every day, to help them manage any issues or offer support and guidance. This very detailed intervention work is already helping to manage the impact of the virus in these venues and having a positive impact on the lives of residents and the fantastic staff working in them.

These are extremely testing times – and I mean this in more ways than one. This week has seen a big uplift in the Covid-19 testing offer to staff – like those I have just mentioned – and to all those people delivering services, stacking shelves, delivering parcels and keeping the county safe. There have been a number of days where we have had 4 military-operated mobile essential worker testing units in the county. Visiting Scarborough, Whitby, Richmond, Northallerton, Skipton, Settle, Harrogate and even Flamingo Land - more than 4,100 tests have already been carried out at these mobile sites. That’s in addition to the 5,500 tests completed at the regional centre near York which serves the county. These tests are critical both now and, looking ahead, in us being able to safely get these key staff back to work – where we need them – helping to keep the county fed and well. The County Council is, with other agencies, offering a great deal of support to coordinate this effort. Information on who qualifies and how to book a test can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Touching on key workers – another of our frontline services is about to relaunch – albeit in a suitably managed and staged way. From tomorrow 10 of our Household Waste Recycling Centres will reopen. This has entailed many detailed considerations around the safety of our staff and the public as well as managing potential queues and the inevitable safety implications and impact on the highways. You will understand there must be strict rules in place around these so that we comply with national guidance while we try to offer the public an opportunity to safely dispose of essential household waste which cannot be stored at home. Before you visit any of our sites I would ask that you read the information on our website carefully and that you are patient while we roll this new approach out https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/changes-our-services-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Thank you for your continued support and as always, stay well and stay safe.

A message from Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health

World Health Organisation data shows that there have been 3,489,053 confirmed cases globally, with 241,559 deaths across 215 countries, areas or territories. At a national level, Public Health England data shows there were 171,253 cases in the UK on 30th April, with 28,734 COVID-associated deaths. The UK has the fourth highest number of cases and third highest number of deaths (behind USA and Italy).

We currently have 1,024 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across North Yorkshire. For the most part this has focused on hospital cases although there continues to be an increase in the amount of testing that is carried out in our communities, particularly around key workers and care homes, through Regional Test Centres and Mobile Test Units.

Sadly, there have been 458 COVID-19 deaths in hospital trusts covering North Yorkshire (Airedale, Harrogate, South Tees, York) to date (04/05). Of these, an estimated 174 deaths will be of North Yorkshire residents. Overall, the number of COVID patients in hospital continues to plateau – this plateau is currently sitting at about 80% of the peak number of cases we had in mid-April, which emphasises that the decline is very gradual.

NHS ‘Open for business’ campaign

If you need medical help, the NHS is still here for you. You can receive medical help from your GP practice by contacting them either online, by an app or by phone to be assessed.

Always attend your appointments unless you are told otherwise. Remember if you do need urgent medical help you can use the NHS 111 online service, if you cannot get help online, call 111. If it’s a serious or life-threatening emergency, call 999.

We’ll give you the care you need. www.nhs.uk

Planning for recovery

While we are still very much responding to the many challenges of Covid-19 and its impact on the county we are also planning for when we will be able to return to some new kind of business as usual in the future.

Tomorrow, in response to government guidance, half of North Yorkshire’s household waste recycling centres (HWRCs) will reopen (Wednesday, 6 May).

This first phase of the reopening of the service, under strict controls to keep the public and staff safe, follows national guidance that disposing of waste that could cause a health hazard if stored at home could be seen as essential travel.

All 20 of our HWRCs closed temporarily in March in response to Government restrictions to protect the public during the pandemic. Now, arrangements have been made to reopen ten of them. For safety reasons, not all sites can be opened at this time because of their size, layout and proximity to roads, but this will be reviewed continually.

Residents are being urged go to a HWRC only if they are struggling to store waste at home and to continue to minimise waste and, where possible, use their kerbside collection services.

The household waste recycling centres to reopen are:

  • Catterick Bridge, Gatherley Road, Catterick Bridge, DL10 7JD
  • Leeming Bar, Tutin Road, Leeming Bar Industrial Estate, Leeming Bar, DL7 9UJ
  • Seamer Carr, Dunslow Road, Eastfield, YO12 4QA 
  • Selby, Canal Road, Selby, YO8 8AG
  • Skipton, Harrogate Road, Skipton, BD23 6AB
  • Sowerby, Ox Moor Plantation Lane, Sowerby, Thirsk, YO7 1FA
  • Stokesley, 8 Ellerbeck Court, Stokesley Business Park, Stokesley, TS9 5PT (the existing permit system remains in place)
  • Thornton le Dale, Outgang Lane, Thornton le Dale, YO18 7QP
  • West Harrogate, Penny Pot Lane, Harrogate, HG3 2SN
  • Whitby, Discovery Way, Whitby Industrial Estate, Whitby, YO22 4PZ

These centres will be open seven days a week (including Wednesdays, when HWRCs are usually closed, and bank holidays) and opening hours will be 8.30am to 5pm.

A queuing system will manage vehicles entering the sites to protect staff and residents and social distancing must be observed. Full details can be found at www.northyorks.gov.uk/CovidHWRC

Social Care and the NHS

Stepping up support for the care sector

We are stepping up our support for the 250 care homes and extra care housing schemes across the County as they find themselves in the frontline of fighting Covid-19.

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: SocialServices.Contractingunit@northyorks.gov.uk

These measures have been open to all care providers but have, inevitably, been focused on the care homes and extra care housing schemes which have outbreaks. Now, we are shifting to a broader approach aimed at prevention of outbreaks and keeping homes Covid-free as well as responding to outbreaks. This will be a big challenge – especially without a national system of widespread, preventative testing in care homes and contact-tracing, but we are determined to do all we can to help and support.

We are 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.

Our priorities are:

  • Keeping people safe and well both people using services and the workforce
  • Preventing and reducing deaths, where possible
  • Preventing, containing and managing outbreaks
  • Providing safe services to people who do not have Covid-19
  • Shielding Covid-free settings shielded so that they remain Covid-free

From tomorrow - Wednesday 6 May -  the additional measures include:

  • A daily call, 7 days a week, from a named care home contact officer
  • Support from a care home liaison officer for all those homes experiencing problems
  • Additional practical help and support on HR, staffing and recruitment, reducing agency usage if possible, infection control, zoning of care homes, cohorting of staff and residents, safe hospital discharge, clinical advice, registered manager support and more

An unprecedented amount of work has been undertaken over the last week and additional staff redeployed and trained to carry out this vital supporting role for the care sector during the current crisis. 

This work also accelerates what we expect may be requested by Government in coming days as part of a national response to Covid-19 within care homes.

Support for people in isolation

Supporting the most vulnerable

North Yorkshire residents who are particularly vulnerable to being hospitalised as a result of Covid-19 received a welfare check at home over the weekend as part of a coordinated effort involving council staff and volunteers.

Gary Fielding, the County Council’s Director of Strategic Resources said: “The dedication and enthusiasm of our staff and volunteers in making this possible has been outstanding. These checks are crucial in ensuring that everyone in North Yorkshire is getting the help and support they need, particularly those who are most vulnerable.”
 
Members of the minibus operations team and Ready for Anything volunteers were out checking on people who are being shielded to make sure they have support in place.
 
Driver Ian Mears said: “Most people have family helping them or neighbours sorting shopping. One lady had a nasty cut on her leg that she was worried about but didn’t want to bother anyone, but we made sure she rang 111 to get some help. It was a good thing to be involved in, it’s what I’m doing at home anyway. Checking on neighbours and getting bits and pieces for them. You realise what a small world it is when you start knocking on doors and talking to people. It was a really positive experience.

The number of people who have now received an outbound telephone call to check they have support in place while they are being shielded now stands at 12,780.

Over the coming bank holiday weekend, North Yorkshire County Council is also leading a relief service with staff and extra volunteers ready to meet any additional demand while many of the community support organisations take a well-deserved break. People left isolated by the coronavirus pandemic are urged to think ahead about whether they might need help with essentials such as shopping and prescriptions.

People 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 including bank holidays.

For more information, including links to the main supermarkets detailing arrangements 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

There have been more than 40,000 visits to our free online marketplace Buy Local, with 425 businesses now registered, ranging from plumbers to organic farm shops to solicitors. 

Food supplies are still by far the most popular category, which proves that people are finding the site useful for sourcing local produce and suppliers during lockdown. 

The site brings together all businesses and tradespeople eligible to operate during Covid-19 with the people who need their services. Go to www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local to see the range of local businesses who have signed up so far.

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: Bounce Back Loan Scheme open for applications

Following the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s announcement on 27 April, the Bounce Back Loan (BBL) Scheme opened yesterday (4 May) for applications.

Delivered by lenders accredited by the British Business Bank for this scheme, Bounce Back Loans target small and micro businesses in all sectors, providing loans from £2k up to 25% of the business’ turnover with a maximum loan of £50k.

Providing lenders with a 100% government-backed guarantee and standardising the application form is expected to lead to a faster process with many loans becoming available within days.

For more guidance on how to apply, visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-a-coronavirus-bounce-back-loan .

The York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub has also produced a simple walk-through for this scheme which can be found here.  

Important information on the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

HMRC are contacting people this week who may be eligible for the new Self-Employment Income Support Scheme. If eligible, this scheme will allow them to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of their trading profits up to a maximum of £7,500.

Advice on eligibility and how to apply is here.

Small Business Grants Update

In order to support eligible businesses in England to access the small business grants, BEIS have created a toolkit with regional graphics and messaging.

A new discretionary fund has also been announced, which will help small businesses with ongoing fixed property related costs. Please find further details here: https://bit.ly/BizGrantTopup.

Business Sentiments

As a LEP, we continue to work with many regional partners to share intelligence about the latest impact of COVID-19 on the business community, to identify ongoing emerging needs and to inform BEIS and influence government policy.

Entering the sixth week of major restrictions, on the whole we are seeing businesses continue to fall into four distinct groups but with some updates.

Trading with restrictions and re-adjustment: Continuing to operate but with constant adjustment to operating models, level of demand and use of labour. This group is seeing challenges arise from volatile changes in demand and problems with supply chains.

Stability/Reassessment: Furloughed, stable with support accessed but constantly reassessing the situation and what the future may look like. This group has started to focus on recovery and consider how, when and what it will take to re-start.

Looking to restart: Many businesses are starting to look at plans to restart operations with social distancing measures introduced. This has gained lots of traction over the last week but many questions remain unanswered.

Cash Crisis: This continues to be prevalent with the small and micro businesses who have fallen through the gaps of support. As we have just passed the end of the month we have many concerns, although the bounce-back loan scheme has come just in time for many. 

Recovery has started to be the key focus. The main concern for many is the safety of staff and customers, supply chain challenges and uncertain markets. A shortage of PPE is an important concern as businesses wait for government guidance.

Stay informed on local support during and post COVID-19

The LEP, its Growth Hub and many partners are working hard to support the businesses in our region. We are updating all information on a regular basis and are keen to promote the following as main sources of local 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

Celebrate VE Day with your local library

The 75th anniversary celebrations of VE Day is the focus of North Yorkshire’s Local and Community History Month 2020.  Our libraries are promoting free home access to family history sites Find my Past and Ancestry, as well as e-book and e-audio collections including Second World War and VE Day titles.

Selby library is encouraging its customers to send in family wartime memories and others are highlighting their digital local history collections. Harrogate library is posting a weekly Then and Now photograph, Ripon library is featuring covers from the Ripon Gazette, and Northallerton library is sharing photographs from its local history collection.

For details of all events, please visit www.northyorks.gov.uk/libraries-news-and-events or your local library Facebook page.

Made in North Yorkshire

Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughters presents the fourth nomination from the public: Dr William Pickles, a leading epidemiologist who spent more than 50 years as the GP in Aysgarth, Wensleydale. He dedicated his life to investigating disease and epidemics, studying the science behind incubation periods of infectious diseases. 

To find out more about Dr Pickles and the Made in North Yorkshire project follow this link: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/made-in-north-yorkshire

Tour ancient Rome

You can explore other cities and even other times online, such as this virtual tour of ancient Rome which takes you through the forum, Capitoline hill, and famous monuments.

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

May 1st or May Day is usually a day of celebration. Today we would have been hosting the second day of the Tour de Yorkshire in the county. Our towns and villages would be bedecked with the traditional bunting and bikes and our routes lined with crowds welcoming the world. But instead here we are on day 39 of lockdown and on Monday it will be six weeks since we entered these unprecedented measures. I am not making this point to be maudlin but in recognition of how extraordinary our world is just now. Throughout these weeks we have been doing the right thing, sticking to the rules and we have learned a lot about ourselves and our county. Many of us will have reconnected in new ways to where we live and those around us who need our help. Many businesses have found new ways of working. We certainly have as a County Council.

Thousands of our staff are working effectively and remotely. Many are working to transform models of delivering frontline services completely and hundreds have been redeployed where they are needed most. Others have joined the army of volunteers helping those most in need in North Yorkshire. Like you, we are keen to learn more about the Government’s plans for coming out of lockdown but as we do let’s not forget those valuable things that have come from a desperate situation. It’s in these very worst of times that we see the best in people and so many of you have risen to the challenge. On behalf of North Yorkshire, I want to say how grateful we are to have you with us for this – one of the greatest challenges in our history.

The challenge continues and the situation in care homes is really concerning. This is a national phenomenon. In North Yorkshire the number of care homes that are effected by Covid-19 is a little less than the national average but nevertheless, given the sheer number of care homes that we have in the county, it is very worrying. We are working extremely closely with care providers to ensure they have the help and support they need, understand how to access urgent PPE supplies and how to utilise our step-down facilities. These provide a safe space in the community for vulnerable people being discharged from hospital and before they are admitted to care homes. They receive the care they need while the results of their tests for Covid-19 can be returned. That way we can be sure we are not admitting people who may take the virus into a very vulnerable setting. I hope this is of reassurance to you. There is more on this further down the bulletin.

On the subject of Covid-19 testing, North Yorkshire hosted four of the military-operated mobile testing units today. Given our geography these are really valuable for all those eligible to be tested without travelling long distances.  There will be a programme of similar mobile sites across the county in the weeks ahead and you will be able to find the latest information on those here https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/key-worker-and-priority-testing-facilities-north-yorkshire

In closing I want to note that a week today it will be the 75th anniversary of V.E. Day. The pandemic means we will have to find new and innovative ways to mark this important moment but we will pay tribute and remember the sacrifice of others and the fighting spirit that delivered us the freedom we love.

It is that same spirit which will carry us through our current crisis, so we must keep our resolve and take each day as it comes.   Before I finish I want to share with you the story of Dr William Pickles. He was a leading epidemiologist who spent more than 50 years as the GP in Aysgarth in Wensleydale. He dedicated his life to investigating disease and epidemics, studying the science behind incubation periods of infectious diseases. As the world strives to overcome the Covid-19 pandemic how apt that our campaign which celebrates the county’s greatest sons and daughters should be looking at the work of a Dales GP who led the study of epidemics in the last century. I hope you enjoy reading more in the text below. As always please stay safe and look after yourselves.

A message from Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health

World Health Organisation data shows that there have been 3,175,207 confirmed cases globally, with 224,172 deaths across 213 countries, areas or territories. At a national level, Public Health England data shows there were 171,253 cases in the UK on 30th April, with 26,771 COVID-associated deaths. The UK has now surpassed Germany to have the 4th highest total number of cases globally, behind USA, Spain and Italy.

We currently have 908 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across North Yorkshire. For the most part this has focused on hospital cases, but we are now seeing an increase the amount of testing that is carried out in our communities, particularly around key workers and care homes. There have been 421 deaths in hospital trusts covering North Yorkshire (Airedale, Harrogate, South Tees, and York) to date (30/04). Of these, an estimated 159 deaths will be of North Yorkshire residents.

We are still in the ‘plateau phase’ with a very gradual decline in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in hospitals. However, it is good to remind ourselves that the NHS is here for non-coronavirus patients too, and non-COVID activity levels are increasing again in hospitals and primary care. We would encourage people who need to use health services to continue to do so as appropriate.

Check out any potential cancer symptoms

Humber, Coast and Vale Cancer Alliance have asked us to share the following message as new research revealed that nearly half of the public have concerns about seeking help during the coronavirus pandemic.

Please do not hesitate to get checked. One in 10 people would not contact their GP even if they had a lump or a new mole which did not go away after a week, the survey by Portland found. Getting coronavirus or giving it to their family were among the top reasons that people would not come forward when they have cancer symptoms along with fears that they could be a burden to the health service. Professor Peter Johnson, the NHS clinical director for cancer, is emphasising that NHS staff are working hard to make sure people can get cancer checks and treatment safely so there is no need to delay.

Please help us to support the campaign by retweeting/sharing the relevant messages from our social media accounts. Facebook:HCVCancerAlliance / Twitter: @HCVCancer

Schools and Childcare

Laptops will help most disadvantaged pupils

A total of 949 laptops and tablets are to be allocated to the most disadvantaged young people in North Yorkshire, as part of a Government scheme to ensure they can continue their education during lockdown.

The County is set to receive 830 devices for young people in social care and 119 for disadvantaged students in Year 10 who are currently studying for GCSE and other exams next year.

Internet access will be provided through 4G hotspot devices.

The Government has said digital devices are likely to be distributed throughout June and will announce further details of the initiative in due course. We are currently working to make sure children in North Yorkshire who are eligible for the scheme are identified.

Priority will be given to care leavers, children and young people aged from pre-school to 19 with a social worker and disadvantaged children in Year 10 due to sit GCSE exams next year. Academy Trusts will be ordering laptops for eligible students separately and should have received communication on this from the Department for Education.

Children attending one of North Yorkshire’s school hubs, Hutton Rudby Primary School, near Stokesley, received a virtual visit on Monday from the High Sheriff of North Yorkshire, David Kerfoot MBE DL.

The school is open seven days a week from 7.30am to 7.30pm to provide childcare to children of key workers. It has been adapted to provide care for children from babies to 12-year-olds, which has also allowed siblings to stay together during the day while their parents work shifts in hospitals, care homes, supermarkets and in other critical roles.

Dressed in his formal attire, the High Sheriff took pre-prepared questions from the children of all ages via a live video link.

He said: “I think it is important to offer support to our schools who, in turn, are supporting our key workers to keep our county afloat.  In addition, it was good to talk to children about the role of the High Sheriff, many of whom may know nothing about it.”

Headteacher Matthew Kelly said afterwards: “The children are still talking about him and their interview! It was also lovely for the staff, who greatly appreciated the time and kindness David showed.”

David Kerfoot will be paying virtual visits to schools in Scarborough next week.

We are proud to announce that social worker Amy Bendall, from our Harrogate Safeguarding Team, is a national finalist in the 2020 Child Exploitation Unsung Hero Awards.

She was nominated for her exceptional work in keeping a group of vulnerable girls safe from harm. The girls were classed as at risk of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) and Child Criminal Exploitation and had incidents of going missing. Amy worked closely with the girls to develop a safeguarding strategy for them.  As a result of her work and multi-agency co-ordination, there was a significant reduction in the number of missing episodes for these young people and development of action plans which disrupted the exploitation locally. 

Support for people in isolation

This weekend, council staff and volunteers will be out and about across the county checking on people who are being shielded to make sure they have support in place. Residents receiving this check will also get a leaflet with our customer service centre contact details signposting to help and support should they need it. These checks are crucial in ensuring that everyone in North Yorkshire is getting the help and support they need, particularly those who are most vulnerable.

People who are self-isolating and being supported by volunteers often need someone to talk to as well as help with shopping and other essentials. Boroughbridge Community Care (BCC), one of the 23 community support organisations, have a befriending service to make sure people who live alone in the area don't fall through the cracks. Manager Karen Parker said: "People are really benefitting from this bit of social contact and if any of us have any concerns we can alert the right people."

Karen said they've had hundreds of calls and emails requesting help. The charity originally started out by transporting people to medical appointments, expanding into lunch clubs, coffee mornings and regular trips to attractions in the area. When the pandemic hit, the already vital help became a lifeline.

Most of Karen's existing volunteers were over 70 themselves, so, had to shield for their own health. But when the charity put out a call on social media, 120 people came forward to help with delivering food, medication and checking in on people who need it most.

Cynthia lives in Boroughbridge and thinks the help and support she is receiving from Karen and the team is “just wonderful”. Every Thursday a volunteer calls round to help with the shopping. “They even loosen lids from jars and bottles, like marmalade and coffee, so I don’t have trouble opening them when I want to use them.”

The BCC befriending service gives her a ring every week to check on her wellbeing.  She looks forward to her chat with Margaret, Beth or Barbara. 

Cynthia feels that with the support of BCC she is coping well with lockdown.  “They give us ideas of how to stay active and pass the time during lockdown. I’ve always liked doing jigsaws and crosswords so I am keeping busy.”

“It is a worrying time but it all depends on your outlook on the world”, says Cynthia.  “I always try to stay positive and to me lockdown is a bit like World War ll but without the planes.”

For people in need of financial assistance during isolation to pay for food and household essentials, the Covid-19 support grant scheme is also providing much needed reassurance that nobody in North Yorkshire should feel that they are alone. So far, 200 grants have been approved and awarded to eligible applicants through the network of community support organisations. The majority people receiving these grants have long-term health conditions and weakened immune systems.

People 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 including bank holidays.

For more information, including links to the main supermarkets detailing arrangements 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

Activity support packs

Next week we’ll be distributing the first of 750 activity packs to help those in isolation or lockdown to keep physically active and maintain positive mental health.  The packs have been put together by North Yorkshire Sport with contributions from NYCC, Rural Arts North Yorkshire, North Yorkshire Youth and Compass Buzz and contain sports equipment and art materials along with ideas of what to do and how to use them. 

This initiative is proving very popular and we have already had requests for over 300 packs for residents including from Richmondshire District Council who have many of the most isolated communities in North Yorkshire.  We will work closely with North Yorkshire Sport and our community partners to ensure we get as many packs as possible to those most in need.

Local economy

Buy Local

More than 36,000 visits have been made to our free online marketplace Buy Local. The site brings together all businesses and tradespeople eligible to operate during Covid-19 with the people who need their services. Go to www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local to see the range of local businesses who have signed up so far.

Over the last three weeks alone there have been 700 people who have used the platform to click through to the websites of businesses still operating which have registered for free on Buy Local. The most popular search remains food businesses at 38 per cent of the total.

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.

Read about how Yorkshire Dales Meat are adapting their business during Covid-19, and seeing continuing benefit from being on the site.

Door-to-door switch helps butcher meet the challenge of lockdown

In the three weeks since its launch, almost 400 businesses have registered with North Yorkshire Buy Local. Among those is Yorkshire Dales Meat which is based near Patrick Brompton in Wensleydale.  Usually a catering butchers, the company has changed the way it works to meet demand during the pandemic.

“We are now doing door-step deliveries, which we have never done before, so that’s very different to what we were doing,” said managing director James Knox. “We are getting repeat orders, which I think says it all really, doesn’t it?”

But business isn’t easy in the current circumstances, so the company has been using its social media channels and advertising, as well as signing up for Buy Local, which James says is definitely worth doing, “without any doubts”.

“It is very tough,” he said. “We are not back to where we want to be, regarding sales, and we’re managing to keep the current employees in business. All the time we all looking at new avenues for how we can sell our product until the lockdown ends, but is pretty tough, it’s hard work. We have to be proactive and look for business.”

Buy Local can help your business be proactive in reaching new customers, and customers can find the services they need and support local businesses by using the site. Search for services or register your business at www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local

LEP News

Bounce Back Loans scheme open 4th May - The Government’s new Bounce Back Loans scheme opens from Monday 4 May 2020.

The scheme will help small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000. The government will guarantee 100% of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months.

Loan terms will be up to 6 years. No repayments will be due during the first 12 months. The government will work with lenders to agree a low rate of interest for the remaining period of the loan. The scheme will be delivered through a network of accredited lenders.

The new scheme will run alongside the existing Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS). 

For more guidance on how to apply, visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-a-coronavirus-bounce-back-loan

Treasury cuts taxes to reduce PPE costs

From today PPE purchased by care homes, businesses, charities and individuals to protect against Covid-19 will be free from VAT for a three-month period. For further information read: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/treasury-cut-taxes-to-reduce-ppe-costs

Stay informed on local support during and post COVID-19

The LEP, its Growth Hub and many partners are working hard to support the businesses in our region. We are updating all information on a regular basis and are keen to promote the following as main sources of local business support information:

Social care and the NHS

Support for care homes coping with Covid-19

York and North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum partners are working hard to support care homes and other care providers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The care sector in North Yorkshire employs more than 17,000 people and its work is fundamental to meeting the challenges of Covid-19 and to keeping people safe and well looked after. We recognise the difficulties facing care homes and other care providers.

The County Council, along with clinical commissioning groups and Public Health England are working with care providers to ensure everything possible is done to protect vulnerable residents and frontline staff.

Support to protect residents and staff includes help with training, staffing, additional payments to contribute to Covid-19 costs, a hardship fund and help with implementing national guidance on safe practice and infection control. Recruitment to the County Council and the wider care sector continues. See www.northyorks.gov.uk/careandsupport

In addition, we are working with affected homes to try to zone them so that they can protect people from Covid-19 and ensure that patients discharged from hospital can be cared for in appropriate surroundings to meet their needs.

Testing is now available for key workers, with mobile and regional centre testing being rolled out, and we are also doing all we can to source personal protective equipment.

If relatives of care home residents have concerns, they should speak to the care home directly or to their social worker, if they have one. Alternatively they can contact our customer service centre on 01609 780780, 8am to 5.30pm every day and for emergencies overnight.

Read the full details here: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/york-and-north-yorkshire-support-care-homes-coping-covid-19

Support for family carers

We want to thank the many people across the County who are caring for family members and friends during the Covid-19 pandemic.

It is estimated that up to 60,000 people in North Yorkshire (one in ten) care for family and friends as part of their everyday life and many are now providing more care than they have ever done before. We must especially bear them in mind as we continue to live through Covid-19 and the current lockdown regulations which can create significant added pressure for anyone who is a carer.

The majority of carers are providing more help with emotional support and are checking in on the person they care for more often and keeping them motivated as well as spending more money on food and household bills.

We are working hard with our partners therefore to provide a network of support for carers.  As well as our existing services provided by carers’ 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.

We have also provided an advice pack for carers with links to partner organisations and advice on use of personal protective equipment.

We have established one point of contact – our customer service centre on 01609 780780.  The line is now open seven days a week from 8am to 5.30pm for people to call who are without other help. 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

The Council is also encouraging carers who look after someone who couldn’t manage without their help to create an emergency plan.  The Council can give guidance on the creation of a plan which carers should have easily available and in place in case of an emergency so that anyone taking over their care has all the information they need. 

For more information go to video link: https://youtu.be/umPwH_hYhPQ

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

Made in North Yorkshire

Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughters presents the fourth nomination from the public: Dr William Pickles, a leading epidemiologist who spent more than 50 years as the GP in Aysgarth, Wensleydale. He dedicated his life to investigating disease and epidemics, studying the science behind incubation periods of infectious diseases. 

To find out more about Dr Pickles and the Made in North Yorkshire project follow this link: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/made-in-north-yorkshire

Tour ancient Rome

You can explore other cities and even other times online, such as this virtual tour of ancient Rome which takes you through the forum, Capitoline hill, and famous monuments.

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

At 11am this morning, I took my place alongside County Council staff and LRF partners to stand on the steps of the Old Courthouse in Northallerton and to remember the NHS and other frontline staff who paid the ultimate price in the battle against COVID-19.  I am sure you all did the same and shared equally sombre thoughts on the scale of the loss suffered and of the families everywhere mourning the loss of loved ones. If ever there was a painful reminder of why we need to keep our resolve and battle on with the lockdown rules, this 60 seconds of silence was surely it. To back up the efforts and drive the message home, we are placing roadside signs, along key routes, reminding motorists about the rules around essential only journeys. We hope these will help NYP officers who are having to issue fines to people who have driven from as far away as Kent to access our countryside. I cannot understand how a small number of people just don’t seem to think it applies to them. We are grateful to the vast majority of you who are doing the right thing whatever the sacrifice – please keep it up for the sake of your family, friends, neighbours and our county.

There continues to be a very slow decrease in demand for our hospital trust critical care beds – specifically from people requiring treatment for COVID-19. This is some positive news and can be attributed to the tremendous efforts by so many of you in adhering to the lockdown rules. There is, however, an understandable focus on the increase in the number of suspected and positive cases in Care Homes nationally and in North Yorkshire. We continue to work really hard to support the care sector in a range of practical ways and work with Public Health and the NHS daily to understand the latest impacts and needs. To support the hospitals and care homes, we have a range of special measures in place. These include ‘step down’ beds which allow us to make sure that people discharged from hospital can get the care they need in a safe environment away from care homes until they can be tested for COVID-19 and those results are known.

The other important and fast-moving factor here, is the escalation by the Department for Health and Social Care in testing for key workers. Saturday saw the start of military-run drive-through mobile testing facilities in the county. This mobile facility is particularly important for North Yorkshire, given its geography. Starting in Scarborough at the weekend, the mobile unit is currently in Northallerton for a few days. Additional mobile units look set to supplement this in other Market Towns and communities too. The Government has big targets on testing of key workers and we will do what we can to support that effort in North Yorkshire. These drive-throughs are a valuable addition to the regional testing centre which opened near York yesterday. Together with a programme which will deliver Care Homes testing kits, and which is operated by Deloitte, these measures will enable many more of our key workers to get back to work safely and quickly. There is a broad definition of eligible key workers, and the criteria on who can book a test, available on the gov.uk website.  

Many of you are playing a crucial role as part of ‘Team North Yorkshire’ in your communities by delivering food and medicine to neighbours, keeping in touch with vulnerable self-isolating people and offering other welcome acts of kindness. It is so well received and appreciated. For those who have no one – our customer service team continue to offer a helpline and to coordinate urgent support to those who need it.  We are also watching the Food Banks very carefully to try and assist them with access to food and other support during these tough times. They are also doing a phenomenal job and facing increasing demand.

Looking ahead, our collective focus must be on continuing to protect our must vulnerable residents, wherever they are living, to do our utmost to help them get the support they need and to stay safe. We are also seeing more businesses and tradespeople coming back into work, within the rules, so don’t forget our Buy Local website to see who is offering deliveries and services you may need https://buylocal.northyorks.gov.uk Stay safe and stay well.

A message from Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health

World Health Organisation data shows that there have been 2,883,603 confirmed cases globally, with 198,824 deaths across 213 countries, areas or territories. At a national level, Public Health England data shows there were 157,149 cases in the UK on 27th April. Of those hospitalised in the UK who tested positive for coronavirus, 21,092 have died.

We currently have 836 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across North Yorkshire. However, this focuses on those who have been tested in hospital settings, which will only be a proportion of the total number. We expect that hospital cases are around 8% of the total number of cases across the community. This overall number of cases will continue to rise as we increase the amount of testing that is carried out in our communities, particularly around key workers and care homes.

There have been 384 deaths in hospital trusts covering North Yorkshire (Airedale, Harrogate, South Tees, and York) to date (27/04).  Data are reported at trust level and it is not yet possible to determine deaths for North Yorkshire residents reliably as all trusts apart from Harrogate serve large populations outside North Yorkshire. However, estimates suggest around 151 of these deaths will be of North Yorkshire residents.

Over the last week the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in hospitals has continued to plateau. We are at the start of what appears to be a very gradual downward trend in terms of hospitalised cases, but the level of pressure on critical care services is likely to be sustained as it stands over the next few weeks.

Immunisations

To all new parents, please continue to take your babies for their routine vaccinations.  We need to ensure children are protected from all diseases, and avoid any further outbreaks. Contact your GP. https://www.nhs.uk/start4life/baby/vaccinations-and-immunisations-baby/

Quit for COVID

North Yorkshire County Council is supporting the #QuitforCovid campaign to encourage smokers to quit the habit during the pandemic.Covid-19 is a respiratory condition affecting the lungs and airways, often causing a cough and shortness of breath. 

Taking action to #QuitforCovid can reduce the likelihood of complications from Covid-19 and aid a faster recovery, as well as being an excellent move for overall health. It can also help to protect the health of others in a household where people might be around second-hand smoke. This all would help to relieve some of the pressure on the NHS as stopping smoking means a healthier lifestyle with less chance of needing healthcare for smoking-related reasons.

There is a Twitter Quit Clinic every day between 7.30pm-8.30pm hosted by expert, Louise Ross.  People can ask a question about stopping smoking by using: #QuitforCovid on Twitter.

More info at: www.todayistheday.co.uk.

Schools and Childcare

Children and Young People’s Services are working with local head teachers on how best to support pupils and their families when the time comes to return to school. A team of school leaders and advisers, education psychologists and colleagues from the young people’s mental health organisation, Compass Buzz, are looking at the issue and considering what support and advice can be put in place for schools in North Yorkshire.

Judith Kirk, Assistant Director for Education and Skills, said: “There are not yet any indications on when or how the majority of students will return to traditional schooling, but we do know some children may find the adjustment difficult after time in lockdown. It is expected some pupils will feel anxiety about mixing again in large groups after such a long period with little social interaction, while others may have concerns about catching up with school work. There will be a range of mental health and wellbeing issues to consider after such upheaval.

“Our priority will be supporting school leaders to help their pupils make the transition back to school.”

The team is initially focusing on collecting questions from schools and then providing points to consider when developing ‘returning to school action plans’.

Their work will also involve identifying wellbeing material which can be used in school and sharing the work that other schools are developing on the transition. A focus group of school leaders and other colleagues has been set up to provide feedback on the material.

Support for people in isolation

Working with district councils, we have telephoned 9,019 people who are particularly vulnerable to being hospitalised as a result of COVID-19. If people cannot be contacted by telephone, we deploy a Ready for Anything volunteer to do a welfare check and make sure people being shielded have support in place.

Andrea Watson, Ready for Anything volunteer and lawyer working for North Yorkshire County Council, said: “I’ve been a Ready for Anything volunteer for just over a year and helped out following the floods last year. I am pleased to be able to help out again during the COVID-19 outbreak; I have been out and about in the area, checking up on those in our community who may be vulnerable. 

This involves ensuring they are ok, that they have any support they may need or details of where to access such support, including signposting them to the County Council’s customer service centre if they need it.  It’s great to be able to help out in such difficult times and, on a personal level, I am also checking on my elderly neighbour every day and doing her shopping for her as she has no family locally. I joined to help out in times of emergency and to be able to give something back to the community and I find it very rewarding.”

Last week, volunteers coordinated through the community support organisations (CSOs), helped 3,006 people with shopping and other essentials including picking up 761 prescriptions. This support is crucial for those in need who do not have local networks or help from family, friends and neighbours.

Paul Bettison is in his 70s and lives in Sheffield. He’s arranged shopping deliveries for his 91 year old mum Lorna through Tadcaster Volunteer Cars and Services Association, one of 23 CSOs helping people in North Yorkshire alongside local partners.

Paul said “Initially, I drove up and left the shopping outside of mum’s apartment door but I’m in my 70s so it wasn’t ideal. We didn’t know what to do. I got in touch with the volunteer car scheme; they already knew mum from when she was a bit more mobile. They used to take her to hospital appointments and things like that, and they said they could do her shopping. Top of the list was a packet of chocolate éclairs! We are so grateful and it’s helped mum feel safe and confident. They’ve been really helpful, exceptionally flexible and it’s put our minds at rest.”

People in need of help, who don’t have the support of family, friends or neighbours, or, anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, should call 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 detailing arrangements for people who can shop safely for themselves, go to www.northyorks.gov.uk/help-you-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Feeding the County: Major Tom’s Pizza

A bar in Harrogate has delivered hundreds of pizzas to key workers – and plans to carry on through the duration of the pandemic.

Lee Bellwood and Toby Smith, owners of Major Tom’s Social, first gave away 200 pizzas to workers at the Nightingale Hospital and then last week, a further 60 to staff at The Cuttings and Station View care home.

Lee was in the kitchen prepping from 8am for a midday delivery.

The food went down well with staff, who said it boosted morale and they felt appreciated.

Samantha Westwood, registered manager at Station View, said: “It was just fantastic. It was really good to boost morale at a time when everyone is working hard and doing brilliantly. The staff were so happy, you could see them all lift.

“As no-one can go out for meals at the minute it was a welcome boost to get some food delivered. It helped to bring everyone together as well and created a lovely ambience for the afternoon. At the minute, all our staff are putting in 150 per cent and this provided a wonderful boost.”

Sue Cawthray, CEO of Harrogate Neighbours Housing Association, added: “The pizzas were delicious and the staff feel appreciated. It was a real morale booster.”

Lee Bellwood said: “We are also planning to deliver again to the Nightingale Hospital in Harrogate if it needs the support. When they were building, we donated and delivered 200 pizzas in two hours to the engineers, builders and key workers. It felt like the right thing to do as those people are risking their life to keep the country going. The least we can do is give them some hot food.”

Local economy

Buy Local

North Yorkshire Buy Local is the one-stop shop to find businesses, products and services in North Yorkshire during the Covid-19 outbreak.

The free online marketplace brings together all businesses and tradespeople eligible to trade during Covid-19 with the people who need their services. Go to www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local to see the range of local businesses who have signed up so far.

There are currently 327 businesses registered and new business registrations are averaging 20 per day.

Read our case studies from businesses and customers here https://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 100% government backed loan scheme for small business

Small businesses will benefit from a new fast-track finance scheme providing loans with a 100% government-backed guarantee for lenders, the Chancellor announced yesterday.

Businesses will be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 and access the cash within days. Loans will be interest free for the first 12 months, and businesses can apply online through a short and simple form.

Further information can be found here

Government provides online digital learning during lockdown

Adults at home during the coronavirus lockdown, including millions furloughed from their jobs, are being offered free online courses in digital and numeracy skills.

The Department for Education is launching a collection of job-related online courses, teaching numeracy, coding and internet skills. The Open University and Google are among the providers.

Workers who have been furloughed are encouraged to improve their knowledge, build their confidence and support their mental health so they have skills they need to succeed after the coronavirus outbreak.

The training is focused on improving skills for online jobs, in the expectation more people will be working remotely. Further information can be found here

The LEP is also looking to provide a regional guide of online training through its York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub in the coming week.

Stay informed on local support during and post COVID-19

The LEP, its Growth Hub and many partners are working hard to support the businesses in our region. We are updating all information on a regular basis and are keen to promote the following as main sources of local business support information:

 

LEP News

York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub launch Jobs Fuse

A new service has been launched to help those who have been made unemployed as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak in the York & North Yorkshire region to get back into employment, whilst also supporting key regional employers with the challenges they face where staffing is concerned due to the pandemic.

York & North Yorkshire Jobs Fuse, brings the expertise of the National Careers Service, the Department for Work and Pensions and the York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub together to provide a ‘one stop shop’ for both job seekers and local employers.

This service will be promoted online through the York and North Yorkshire Growth Hub website  and social media channels, including the Growth Hub’s Facebook Group which at a grassroots level, is promoting the sharing of jobs and skills amongst our communities.

We hope that our many partners will get behind this initiative so that it reaches those employers and individuals who can benefit the most. Find the full press release here.

New assets created by Y&NY Growth Hub to help simplify support messages

The new York and North Yorkshire Growth Hub website has been launched, offering free business advice and support, including advice on the Coronavirus crisis.

We understand businesses are struggling to process the amount of information that is being provided by government and local partners, which could result in businesses missing out on crucial support available.

The York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub has provided a series of simple visual guides to help businesses navigate their way through a number of schemes.

These assets can be shared by partners so that we are collectively enabling our region’s businesses to seek out the support they need.

Snapshot of business sentiment

Businesses seem to fall into two camps: those that are starting to re-open, some operating at reduced capacity, adapting to enforce social distancing measures or developing plans to re-start their business and those that are remaining closed, struggling to understand what to do and how to do it in the current and developing situation. Support and guidance is needed for those to help with getting business moving again.

Cash flow concerns are paramount, as month end approaches and businesses have only enough cash reserves to last for a limited time. The LEP is lobbying government on this with partners and is looking at launching further practical support in the week ahead.

Stay informed on local support during and post COVID-19

The LEP, its Growth Hub and many partners are working hard to support the businesses in our region. We are updating all information on a regular basis and are keen to promote the following as main sources of local business support information:

Social care and the NHS

The priorities for adult social care and public health services remain:

  • supporting the wider care sector and, in particular, those care providers where there are Covid-19 outbreaks
  • supporting the NHS to work with people with Covid-19 in the community, through hospital and community teams
  • continuing to provide as near normal a service as possible (albeit with some changes) to people who already use services as well as to people who are making contact about non-Covid-19 issues

A broad range of key public health services continue to be provided as well (https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/public-health-services-during-coronavirus-covid-19

We continue to work with care home providers to ensure everything possible is done to protect vulnerable residents and frontline staff through a combination of actions and support.

These include zoning affected homes so that they can protect people from COVID-19 and ensuring that patients discharged from hospital – both those who test positive for COVID-19 and those who are negative – can be cared for in appropriate surroundings to meet their needs and to protect other people.

In addition, there is help with training, implementation of national guidance on safe practice and infection control.

Advice is also being offered to families who may be concerned about relatives living in care homes.

The roll-out of testing for key workers continues for County Council and care provider staff with a mobile testing unit in Scarborough at the weekend, moving on to Northallerton during the week, as well as access to major sites in York, Leeds, Keighley and Lancashire.

Work continues to source PPE so that frontline care workers are protected. Government PPE guidance has been further updated and we will provide further advice and training to ensure frontline teams follow the guidance with appropriate equipment.

Richard Webb, Corporate Director for Health and Adult Services

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

Virtual links

Lots of museums, Zoos and other tourist spots are live streaming their day’s and most are offering virtual tours as something to do whilst staying at home. See links below to find out what is going on across the county. Take a look and see if somewhere local to you is live streaming their day:

Find my Past

You can now access Find my Past from home using your NYCC library card and pin, allowing you to search our parish registers and some school log books. Follow the link and click on ancestry resources: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/libraries-online-information-resources

Sport England

A new campaign has been launched called ‘Stay In, Work Out’ which provides advice on physical activity during this lockdown period at https://www.sportengland.org/stayinworkout

Food Waste

Reduce food waste and make your food go further by using Love Food Hate Waste’s leftover recipe search https://www.lovefoodhatewaste.com

Free Language Lessons

Children can continue to expand their horizon by learning a new language, and parents can ensure that the kids are using their time wisely. Rosetta Stone is giving free access for schoolchildren to use its language courses for the next three months, saving parents the usual £50 fee. Visit: https://www.rosettastone.co.uk/lp/freeforkids/

A message from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

On days like today many thousands of us will be looking out of our windows and wondering how it is possible that we remain in the grip of a virus that targets our people and communities indiscriminately and without compassion. The sun is up; the sky is blue – but, sadly all is not well in the world. So, as we approach the weekend and the weather is set to remain beautiful, please enjoy your daily exercise thoughtfully and within the lockdown rules. I am sorry to start with this message on such a stunning day – but the fact is that a small number of people continue to stretch the ‘essential travel only’ rules. For this reason, we will be placing visual reminders along many of our key routes with our partners at North Yorkshire Police. The Police, via the Local Resilience Forum, are also issuing further very clear warnings that they will fine those who persist.  I hope these road signs will act as a reminder to the consciences of those who put others at risk.

For the vast majority of people who are doing the right thing, once again, I thank you. Because of your collective efforts, our hospitals and NHS, health and social care and other key frontline services are managing the impact and supporting vulnerable people.  The plateau in cases in North Yorkshire continues and we are proving what a terrific force Team North Yorkshire is. 

Some good news, too, on the testing front for our essential and key workers. A super centre in York will pilot key worker testing this Sunday and then operate from Poppleton Park & Ride site from Monday. A national booking system is in place. We also look set to have a military-operated mobile testing unit in Scarborough for key workers on the coast. Alongside this – North Yorkshire has been chosen by the Department of Health and Social Care to be part of the home testing pilot – again for essential workers. This means more of our front line critical staff can get back to work more quickly and can carry on delivering vital services to the public. This is really welcome news. 

More positive news also continues to come from the innovation and generosity of local businesses. NHS and our social care staff have been treated to some tasty deliveries of food this week while they care for some of our most vulnerable residents. Then there is the news today that hand sanitiser made by North Yorkshire gin distilleries is helping our own and other key workers to stay safe during the Covid-19 outbreak. Three distilleries across the county – Masons Gin, Spirit of Masham and Harrogate Tipple – have turned to production of sanitiser to support not only North Yorkshire County Council, but also health services and other organisations. Another example of resilience and community spirit!

Our Buy Local website is also going from strength to strength – every day we seem to receive more positive feedback from businesses or customers. There is another story below with a happy ending for a family who had no hot shower – not good when you are socially isolating! The problem was solved with speed thanks to this free market place. Please tell your local businesses and trades people about it. For those who are allowed to trade within the COVID-19 rules, it’s a great asset.

We have also relaunched our celebration of those people in North Yorkshire who are the Salt of the Earth.  This week’s stories feature six-year-old Emily Caffrey from Harrogate who has cerebral palsy but has been inspired by Captain Tom to do her own sponsored walk. The family will be donating money raised to the NHS and local charities. I believe Emily is 7 tomorrow, so, Happy Birthday, Emily from everyone at the County Council and well done you! Another features a couple who started making protective masks with their 3D printer to supply a GP in Filey – a local group donated some funds from a community bingo game so they could buy another printer to make more. Such heart-warming stories.

Finally, today I wanted to touch again on a moment of business as usual in our world of anything but! North Yorkshire’s Rural Commission met virtually this week and are now picking up their work and ensuring the current crisis is part of that thinking. You can find more on their thoughts on this link https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/considering-post-coronavirus-county-north-yorkshires-rural-commission-gets-back

A message from Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health

Today’s World Health Organization data shows that there have been 2,626,321 confirmed cases globally, with 181,938 deaths across 213 countries, areas or territories. At a national level, Public Health England data shows there were 143,464 cases in the UK on 24th April. The number of cases in the UK has overtaken the total number in France, and the UK now has the 5th highest number of recorded cases amongst all nations (behind USA, Spain, Italy and Germany). Of those hospitalised in the UK who tested positive for coronavirus, 19,506 have died.

We currently have 718 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across North Yorkshire. However, this focuses on those who have been tested in hospital settings, which will only be a proportion of the total number. We expect that hospital cases are around 8% of the total number of cases across the community.

There have been 356 deaths in hospital trusts covering North Yorkshire (Airedale, Harrogate, South Tees, and York) to date.  Data are reported at trust level and it is not yet possible to determine deaths for North Yorkshire residents reliably as all trusts apart from Harrogate serve large populations outside North Yorkshire. However, estimates suggest around 132 of these deaths will be of North Yorkshire residents.

Over the last week the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in hospitals has continued to plateau. We are not likely to see a sharp rise in cases from this point but expect to remain at the current level of activity over the next few weeks. The increased number of tests carried out in the community (for key workers and care homes in particular) will contribute to this.

Quit for Covid campaign

North Yorkshire County Council is supporting the National #QuitforCovid campaign.  As smoking damages lungs, and weakens the immune system, some evidence is suggesting that smoking may make it more likely to have complications from the infection.

There is a Twitter Quit Clinic every day between 7.30pm-8.30pm hosted by expert, Louise Ross.  People can ask a question about stopping smoking by using: #QuitforCovid on Twitter.

More info at: www.todayistheday.co.uk

People can also use the local Live Well Smokefree stop smoking service by phone: 01609 797272 and email: stop.smoking@northyorks.gov.uk

Ramadan Guidance

The Muslim Council of Britain has guidance in their #RamadanAtHome pack, and Public Health England has published a helpful blog post. This may be of interest to the communities you serve and to councils as employers as the guidance includes information on supporting your Muslim workforce during this time. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has also written some key points to help communities come together at this time. 

Schools and Childcare

Approximately 300 people stepped forward to work in the 16 childcare hubs which are now running in schools and nurseries in North Yorkshire. We would like to extend our thanks to them for giving up their bank holidays and weekends to support key worker families in this way. The hubs were used by approximately 500 to 600 children over the Easter holidays.

We have had a lot of positive feedback from parents on how well the hubs are working, including comments from two NHS workers, who got in contact to say their children enjoyed their time at the hubs over Easter and who were both able to complete their shifts on COVID-19 wards because of the childcare.

Children and Young People’s Service have also heard back from other NHS workers appreciative that many of our schools have been open over the Easter holidays.

Barlby Community Primary School, near Selby, is one of those schools which has become a hub, opening seven days a week and bank holidays.

The school has a number of parents working in key roles, including nurses, paramedics, care workers and supermarket workers and said there was a clear need for them to open on weekends to help those families.

Headteacher, Jillian Baker, said she was inundated with offers from staff and people in the wider community “desperate to come in and help” and support local children and their families by working in the hubs. The school is only bringing in staff where needed and on a normal day has a team of 30 staff on rota, with two reserve teams of staff.

Jillian said they ensure they have provided plenty of fun activities for children over the bank holidays and weekends.

“We have a forest school, lots of arts and crafts and den-making equipment. We’ve had children having hot chocolate around a camp fire and they’ve made some amazing dens.

“They’ve camped out in their dens and had lunch in them. Children have also been asking if they can sleep overnight in them – we’ve had to say no to that!

“But the children’s feedback has been great; they’re really enjoying coming into school.

“If pupils have a particular interest we’re encouraging them to follow those. A group of older children in school have set up a science lab. They do a lot of operations on a science dummy; they’re doing fantastic science work through fun role play.

“They’ve been playing that for four weeks now; things come and go but the science lab has stuck with them. They’re convinced they’re going to find a cure for coronavirus!”

Schools and families using the Government’s national Free School Meals vouchers should already have their eCodes, or expect them within the next four days. The eCodes are then converted into supermarket vouchers by the schools or families.

Support for people in isolation

Earlier this year, we launched our Salt of the Earth campaign, celebrating kindness in North Yorkshire communities. We could not have foreseen what the impact of this global pandemic would be on us locally, but if there is one positive to come from this crisis, it’s seeing how people up and down the county have come together to get through it.

Our Salt of the Earth feature, for the coast this month, focusses on David Chamberlain from Filey, one example of the growing number of people using their ingenuity and creativity to help keep key workers safe. David and his wife Gemma have been 3D printing visors and donating the finished product to businesses and healthcare workers throughout the town. As news of David’s endeavour spread, the people of Filey volunteered to help him raise funds to buy more printers, enabling him to increase output. David said: “The community has been fantastic. I’ve never seen them pull together as they have in the last few weeks.” Read more at https://www.thescarboroughnews.co.uk/news/people/salt-earth-david-chamberlain-working-extraordinary-hours-create-visors-filey-2547312

This continuing crisis is bringing out the very best in many people; neighbours are looking out for each other and there is an army of volunteers forming groups in their towns and villages to make sure nobody is left without essential supplies.

At the heart of that response are the community support organisations and the local partners they are working alongside. The 23 community support organisations (CSOs) provide assistance with shopping, picking up prescriptions and other essentials, to those in need who do not have local networks or help from family, friends and neighbours.

Jonathan Kerr, Chief Officer of Age UK North Craven said: "We are there for people who need extra help, support over the phone and we can also escalate support to social services if people need it. We have 100 people who are being telephoned by volunteers to check they have everything they need and just to have someone to listen to them.”

Anyone who needs help with shopping, prescriptions and other essentials, but doesn’t have the support of family, friends or neighbours can contact our customer service centre on 01609 780780 seven days a week 8am-5:30pm. This includes people who need to stay at home for 12 weeks because they have underlying medical conditions and are being shielded. Welfare calls to people in this group are also continuing at pace in partnership with the district councils.

Feeding the county during the covid outbreak

The council has been involved in many aspects of feeding the county including checking on the delivery of government food parcels, supporting foodbanks, matching local businesses who are offering volunteer services with community groups, and helping to find ways for volunteers to pay for shopping.

For people who can shop for themselves safely, there are links to the COVID information from the main supermarkets here: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/help-you-during-coronavirus-covid-19

We’ve also launched Buy Local www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local which is already proving to be a valuable resource for information on food available from local suppliers, with over half the businesses registered on the site selling food in some form. Read the Buy Local update below for more information.

Local economy

Buy Local

North Yorkshire Buy Local is the one stop shop to find businesses, products and services in North Yorkshire during the Covid 19 outbreak.

The free online marketplace brings together all businesses and tradespeople eligible to trade during Covid 19 with the people who need their services. Go to www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local to see the range of local businesses who have now signed up. Since its launch two weeks ago, over 300 businesses have registered, with more joining all the time.

Over half of the businesses on the site are food suppliers, and the most popular search is for food with over half the total page views. The site is growing in value as a resource to enable residents, including those who are vulnerable or who may be self-isolating, to access food from local suppliers.

As of yesterday, 2,774 new people have visited the site since it launched and 2,228 people have returned to the site.

Supporting local businesses now will help them to come back more strongly as we recover from this crisis. We’ve already had some great feedback from businesses and customers – Luke Boston, owner of BSA Electrical, registered his business on Tuesday, and was fixing a broken electric shower by Wednesday! Luke said “It’s definitely worthwhile signing up, and gives the general public who are in need of services fairly promptly, a selection of local businesses and services to choose from. We’re glad we signed up, and feel that the service is something people need at the minute – for both the customers and businesses.”

Read the full story from Luke and his customer Rachel here https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local.

If you can, 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.

Gin distillers turning to hand sanitiser support our Covid-19 effort

Hand sanitiser made by North Yorkshire gin distilleries is helping our key workers to stay safe and keep others safe during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Three distilleries – Masons Gin, Spirit of Masham and Harrogate Tipple – that have turned to production of sanitiser have been supporting not only the County Council but also health services and other organisations.

Cathy Mason, co-founder of Masons Gin, said: “So far we have donated about 1,200 litres and we are expecting more ingredients this week to make more, so hopefully will be able to donate another 1,000 litres.”

Derek Harle, co-owner of Spirit of Masham, added: “The main thing was to get this out and to be able to do it at a low enough price to make it viable. It has been a very busy period, which we anticipated.”

And Steve Green, co-founder of Harrogate Tipple, said: “We realised we could do this and keep our business open. We could go back to the doctors and hospitals and councils that had asked about this to say that we could do it at cost price, as well as selling it online to individuals.”

Read the full story: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/gin-distillers-turning-hand-sanitiser-support-covid-19-effort

LEP News

York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub launch Jobs Fuse

A new service has been launched to help those who have been made unemployed as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak in the York & North Yorkshire region to get back into employment, whilst also supporting key regional employers with the challenges they face where staffing is concerned due to the pandemic.

York & North Yorkshire Jobs Fuse, brings the expertise of the National Careers Service, the Department for Work and Pensions and the York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub together to provide a ‘one stop shop’ for both job seekers and local employers.

This service will be promoted online through the York and North Yorkshire Growth Hub website  and social media channels, including the Growth Hub’s Facebook Group which at a grassroots level, is promoting the sharing of jobs and skills amongst our communities.

We hope that our many partners will get behind this initiative so that it reaches those employers and individuals who can benefit the most. Find the full press release here.

New assets created by Y&NY Growth Hub to help simplify support messages

The new York and North Yorkshire Growth Hub website has been launched, offering free business advice and support, including advice on the Coronavirus crisis.

We understand businesses are struggling to process the amount of information that is being provided by government and local partners, which could result in businesses missing out on crucial support available.

The York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub has provided a series of simple visual guides to help businesses navigate their way through a number of schemes.

These assets can be shared by partners so that we are collectively enabling our region’s businesses to seek out the support they need.

Snapshot of business sentiment

Businesses seem to fall into two camps: those that are starting to re-open, some operating at reduced capacity, adapting to enforce social distancing measures or developing plans to re-start their business and those that are remaining closed, struggling to understand what to do and how to do it in the current and developing situation. Support and guidance is needed for those to help with getting business moving again.

Cash flow concerns are paramount, as month end approaches and businesses have only enough cash reserves to last for a limited time. The LEP is lobbying government on this with partners and is looking at launching further practical support in the week ahead.

Stay informed on local support during and post COVID-19

The LEP, its Growth Hub and many partners are working hard to support the businesses in our region. We are updating all information on a regular basis and are keen to promote the following as main sources of local business support information:

Social care and the NHS

The priorities for adult social care and public health services at the moment are:

  • supporting the wider care sector and, in particular, those care providers where there are Covid-19 outbreaks
  • supporting the NHS to work with people with Covid-19 in the community, through hospital and community teams
  • continuing to provide as near normal a service as possible (albeit with some changes) to people who already use services as well as to people who are making contact about non-Covid-19 issues

A broad range of key public health services continue to be provided as well (https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/public-health-services-during-coronavirus-covid-19)

Work continues to source PPE so that frontline care workers are protected. Local PPE guidance has been updated and further training undertaken with frontline teams following new Government guidance.

The roll-out of testing for key workers is welcome and the County Council and care provider staff have been accessing sites in Leeds, Keighley and Lancashire ahead of new facilities opening in York and the development of mobile and home testing.

Richard Webb, Corporate Director for Health and Adult Services

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

Virtual links

Lots of museums, Zoos and other tourist spots are live streaming their day’s and most are offering virtual tours as something to do whilst staying at home. See links below to find out what is going on across the county. Take a look and see if somewhere local to you is live streaming their day:

Find my Past

You can now access Find my Past from home using your NYCC library card and pin, allowing you to search our parish registers and some school log books. Follow the link and click on ancestry resources: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/libraries-online-information-resources

Sport England

A new campaign has been launched called ‘Stay In, Work Out’ which provides advice on physical activity during this lockdown period at https://www.sportengland.org/stayinworkout

Food Waste

Reduce food waste and make your food go further by using Love Food Hate Waste’s leftover recipe search https://www.lovefoodhatewaste.com

Free Language Lessons

Children can continue to expand their horizon by learning a new language, and parents can ensure that the kids are using their time wisely. Rosetta Stone is giving free access for schoolchildren to use its language courses for the next three months, saving parents the usual £50 fee. Visit: https://www.rosettastone.co.uk/lp/freeforkids/

A message from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

Today is an important day in North Yorkshire’s fight against COVID-19 for two big reasons. The first is that the latest Public Health analysis indicates that new cases and further loss of life in North Yorkshire are plateauing. That means that, unless there is a change of circumstance, we will not see the surge of cases linked to earlier predictions. This is testament to the high level of compliance in the county to the lockdown rules – for which you should all be proud.

Today is also the day that we witness a piece of history – with the opening of the new NHS Nightingale Hospital Yorkshire and the Humber. The facility has been constructed in less than three weeks – an outstanding feat. Based in Harrogate Convention Centre, it is reassuring to know it is there to serve the region if it is needed.

Understandably, there remains a big focus on, and public interest in, testing. As a Local Resilience Forum, we are working towards opening a super centre to serve key workers in the York and North Yorkshire area. We anticipate this will be operating next week which will be a huge help. Testing in care homes is being facilitated by the Care Quality Commission, and hospitals and emergency services have access to testing via a number of additional routes. As a County Council, we are working really closely with our NHS colleagues to help protect care homes from further infection. Care homes are particularly vulnerable and, so, we are looking to provide what we are calling step-down facilities to ensure that when people are discharged from hospital – before they return to care homes – they can receive their support in a separate environment while tests are carried out and results are received. This should be reassuring and is an important move.

From a Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) perspective, our staff are being issued with the protection they need and our supply chains appear to be reliable which is very welcome. As an LRF, we have now had two national emergency deliveries to support the care sector and allocation of these supplies is working really well. While we know our NHS colleagues remain concerned around the provision of gowns, things are looking much better in broader terms for the time being. It’s essential this supply is maintained.

I continue to be humbled by the innovation across our schools and in our local businesses who are responding dynamically to the challenges; and by their generosity in donating PPE to our frontline staff. It is both welcome and appreciated. Equally, we now have 263 registrations by businesses on our new Buy Local website. This aims to link businesses and trades people who are allowed to work through COVID, with customers. It is proving popular and useful – which is terrific. North Yorkshire Buy Local can be found at www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local. Please also promote this via your social media channels.

You may also be aware of the announcement over the weekend of more Government funds for local authorities who are at the front of supporting communities and providing key frontline services. The costs of this, including the loss of income, are into many tens of millions. We are grateful for the government allocations, but will desperately need significantly more national financial support if we are not to carry the cost of this outbreak once we are through it.   We can’t lose sight of the importance of that – whilst making sure we do what we must to fight the pandemic here.

On recovery, we are about to undertake a major intelligence gathering exercise to ensure, as a county, we know all the impacts that need to be considered and managed as we start to prepare for life beyond the current emergency status. This will be a strong and collaborative approach including the county and district councils, as well as other partners, and we will keep you informed throughout.

So, as we look ahead, please keep up your tremendous work! Carry on looking after your neighbours, continue sticking to the lockdown rules and stay strong. While there is some considerable way to go, we are getting there, even if it may not feel like it sometimes. We are with you through this – no one is alone. If you know anyone in North Yorkshire who is alone and unable to get the help they need from their families and friends, please ask them to call 01609 780780 8am to 5:30pm seven days a week.

A message from Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health

Around the world levels of COVID-19 continue to increase. World Health Organisation data shows that there have been 2,397,216 confirmed cases globally, with 162,956 deaths across 213 countries, areas or territories. At a national level, Public Health England data shows there were 129,044 cases in the UK on 21st April. Of those hospitalised in the UK who tested positive for coronavirus, 17,337 have sadly died.

We currently have 656 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across North Yorkshire. However, this focuses on those who have been tested in hospital settings, which will only be a proportion of the total number. We expect that hospital cases are around 8% of the total number of cases across the community.

There have been 306 deaths in hospital trusts covering North Yorkshire (Airedale, Harrogate, South Tees, York) to date.  Data are reported at trust level and it is not yet possible to determine deaths for North Yorkshire residents reliably.  All trusts apart from Harrogate serve large populations outside North Yorkshire.

Over the last week we have seen that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in hospitals have remained roughly the same. This suggests we have entered a ‘plateau’ phase; we are not likely to see a sharp rise in cases from this point but expect to remain at the current level of activity over the next few weeks.

Looking after your heart is still important

Stats show a reduction in attendance to hospital with suspected heart attack / strokes during lockdown period.

If you think you might be having a heart attack or stroke - don’t delay because you think hospitals are too busy. The NHS still has systems in place to treat people for these conditions. If you delay, you are more likely to suffer serious heart damage and more likely to need intensive care and to spend longer in hospital.

More information on how to look after your heart visit:

Schools and Childcare

We have acted to establish an urgent financial package for early years providers in recognition of their vital work in supplying places for the children of critical workers and for vulnerable children and their families. This includes up to £1.4m in an early years support fund.

This funding package is over and above the financial support provided by the Government and is on offer for those private, voluntary and independent sector providers who have remained open despite extreme challenges and the financial disincentives inherent in the system to do so.

We took the decision to draw from our own funds for this crucial support which will be focused on providing financial assistance to those early years’ providers that have remained open during this extremely challenging period and are committed to remain open in future months.

We believe very strongly that early years’ providers are an essential part of the current childcare support network across the county and we recognise that many have gone above and beyond their normal offer in order to support families with critical workers as well as vulnerable families and we are extremely grateful for this.

The financial support package will include an up-front rather than monthly payments for the summer term for registered funded providers; payment for providers that remained open during the Easter holidays, and a support fund of up to £1.4 million for providers to continue being open and also to support the sector to recover on the removal of the current restrictions.

The fund is cash limited and funding allocations will need to be capped within the constraints of monies available. They are intended to support the ongoing operation of a provider, and will have regard to their operating context, their opening hours and numbers of children currently attending their provision. We will not be able to resolve all of the financial concerns of early years providers but we are determined to help where we can.

The closing date for applications for the North Yorkshire County Council Covid-19 Early Years Provider Financial Support Fund is 9am April 29th.

Queries should be sent to eyft@northyorks.gov.uk

Support for people in isolation

Working with our district council partners, we have telephoned 6,524 people who are particularly vulnerable to being hospitalised as a result of Covid-19. If people who are being shielded cannot be contacted by telephone, a Ready for Anything volunteer is deployed to knock on their door to check they are safe and make sure they have support in place.

The 23 community support organisations (CSOs) provide assistance with shopping, picking up prescriptions and other essentials, to those in need who do not have local networks or help from family, friends and neighbours. Last week, volunteers, coordinated through the CSOs, helped 2,625 people and there are many more individuals looking out for their neighbours across the county.

The Covid-19 support grant scheme is also providing financial assistance, for those who need it during isolation, to pay for food and household essentials. So far, 119 grants have been approved and awarded to eligible applicants, the majority of which are people with long-term health conditions and weakened immune systems.

As lockdown continues, it becomes increasingly important to keep looking out for people in our neighbourhoods. If you helped someone in the first couple of weeks, with shopping or collecting a prescription, please keep checking they are ok and remember that anyone over 70 or with underlying health conditions should not be leaving their homes.

Moira Wellbourne is 82 and lives alone. She is being supported by Community Works in Thirsk.

Moira said: “My daughter lives in York and gave me the number to ring as she’s also being shielded because of an immune system condition so can’t get out either. My friends are all as old, if not older, than me, so they’re stuck in as well. I’ve had two shops done so far and they’ve picked up my prescription. I live in a flat on the first floor, so they bring it up the stairs and leave it outside the door then step back. I open the door and take it in. I think it’s absolutely brilliant.

“Aside from the shopping, a few times I’ve had something to post but can’t get out to the post box. So, I write a note asking if anyone who is going out can take it, paper clip it to the letter and stick it to my front door. So far, it’s always been done for me. The chap living in the flat upstairs has phoned me a few times, too. There are so many people just helping one another.”

People in need of help, who don’t have the support of family, friends or neighbours, or, anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, should call 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 go to www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus

Local economy

LEP News

Business support finder tool live

Employers, and the self-employed, can access a new tool to see what COVID-19 support they can claim, including loans, tax relief and cash grants.

Visit https://www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder to use this.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme extended and now open

This scheme has now been extended until the end of June 2020 and opened yesterday.

Employers are advised to read all guidance on GOV.UK before applying. Here you can access a claim calculator and further advice in the calculation guidance . There is also a step-by-step guide for additional help.

Once a claim has been made, funds should be received six days afterwards, so this will provide a critical lifeline to businesses.

HMRC are running a series of webinars today and tomorrow on the Job Retention Scheme. You can book here .

£1.25bn support package for innovators

The government has announced a £1.25bn support package for UK businesses – ranging from tech to life sciences – which are driving innovation and development.

This includes a new £500 million loan scheme for high-growth firms, called the Future Fund to be launched in May  and £750 million of targeted support for small and medium sized businesses focusing on research and development. For further information, visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/billion-pound-support-package-for-innovative-firms-hit-by-coronavirus.

Stay informed on local support during and post COVID-19

The LEP, its Growth Hub, and many partners are working hard to support the businesses in our region. We are updating all information on a regular basis and are keen to promote the following as main sources of local business support information:

Social care and the NHS

The national Adult Social Care Plan was published last week and we are now working through it.

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-social-care-guidance

The main points include:

  • Proposals to develop an intermediate tier of beds for people being discharged from hospital – we have started work on this already with the NHS, building on the work we are already doing with care providers. We are finding solutions to ease some of the pressures and concerns in the sector in terms of admissions of new Covid-positive residents
  • Testing – this is a major logistical challenge and, again, we have started work with our NHS colleagues who are leading on this issue. Our key workers are accessing the testing facilities in Leeds and Keighley where appropriate and plans for a ‘super centre’ in York are progressing well. We remain confident the York facility will be up and running next week.
  • PPE –  The multi-agency North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum has taken delivery of its second delivery of PPE from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government  which means that for the next 7 days there is better confidence we can cope with demand from the care sector. Nevertheless we are aware that the issue around gowns remains one for our NHS partners.

Richard Webb, Corporate Director for Health and Adult Services

NYnet supports vital health services

Broadband upgrades and support are being provided to vital health services in North Yorkshire to help them to keep running smoothly as they tackle the Covid-19 outbreak.

NYnet, a company owned by the County Council, provides high-speed internet connections to more than 750 public sector sites across the county, including those of the County Council and other local authorities. It has temporarily upgraded all its health sector sites to offer 24/7 support, enabling any issues to be dealt with as a priority. This free upgrade has been in place since last month.

NYnet ensures sufficient capacity at businesses and homes to meet demand for increased levels of video conferencing and other virtual communication. This includes providing same-day bandwidth upgrades for hospitals and GP surgeries, in some cases doubling the available bandwidth. NYnet also this week increased the County Council’s web capacity to support its work.

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

Virtual links

Lots of museums, Zoos and other tourist spots are live streaming their day’s and most are offering virtual tours as something to do whilst staying at home. See links below to find out what is going on across the county. Take a look and see if somewhere local to you is live streaming their day:

Find my Past

You can now access Find my Past from home using your NYCC library card and pin, allowing you to search our parish registers and some school log books. Follow the link and click on ancestry resources: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/libraries-online-information-resources

Sport England

A new campaign has been launched called ‘Stay In, Work Out’ which provides advice on physical activity during this lockdown period at https://www.sportengland.org/stayinworkout

Food Waste

Reduce food waste and make your food go further by using Love Food Hate Waste’s leftover recipe search https://www.lovefoodhatewaste.com

A message from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

I am sure that the extended period of lockdown announced yesterday by Government has not come as a surprise to anyone and although many people are finding this really tough, the heart-warming level of compliance in North Yorkshire is giving us some reason to hope. Although we are absolutely not out of the woods – far from it – we are not seeing the surge in demand for critical care beds that some other areas have seen and our health and social care services are coping, despite this unprecedented challenge. Together with your support and the strong multi-agency management of emergencies we have here, we are making a difference in North Yorkshire and we are saving lives. Don’t lose sight of that in the weeks ahead. I urge you to stay focussed on what we need to do to get through this as a county in the best possible shape to face the future.

I continue be inspired by the wonderful kindness and generosity of local individuals, businesses and partners who have donated to us what they can to help us protect our front line staff – only today we accepted a gift of face masks, aprons and other personal protection equipment from the British Library Boston Spa’s Yorkshire office. Making sure that our frontline staff in health and social care, safeguarding and other areas get the PPE they need remains a key priority for us. We have negotiated new supply chains and have a better level of optimism now for our own teams. However, across the multi- agencies represented by North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum the position remains extremely difficult and the LRF panel issuing our limited national supplies of PPE remains inundated with requests. We very much hope to see a fresh delivery from government over the next few days or we will simply run out. These are the short term emergency supplies supporting our social care providers and it’s critical we get more quickly.

We continue to operate in a rapidly changing environment and we are responding in a dynamic way as a County Council. The Buy Local site we launched just a few days ago is already proving an effective way of linking businesses and tradespeople still able to work in the current environment, with customers and there is more on that below. We are also watching closely the impact on the county’s economy and working with the district councils and LEP to ensure businesses know the help that’s available and how to get it. The fact that from Monday employers will be able to make claims on behalf of furloughed employees is particularly welcome in North Yorkshire where we have a very large number of micro, small and medium sized businesses in need of help to retain talented staff.   

Our isolation helpline team continues to proactively contact those defined by Government as being most at risk from COVID-19 and to work with the 23 community organisations and wider volunteers to get vital medical and food deliveries to people all over the county. And we have just launched a telephone befriending service for vulnerable young people who are struggling to live with the social distancing requirements during this outbreak.  This will ensure that young people have access to the practical and emotional support they need during lockdown and someone close to their own age to confide in.

This week we also had a brief reminder of the importance of business-as-usual as we managed to offer over 95 per cent of families in our county their first choice of primary school. This figure remains consistently high in comparison to other areas and will be a welcome bit of news for families in this strange world we are living in. Regarding when exactly our schools will reopen to all pupils we await guidance from Government but in the meantime we continue to operate education hubs which are helping many essential key workers fight this outbreak on the frontline which is incredibly important.

In closing, as we approach another weekend, please continue to do the right thing and follow the rules. Remember we are all in this together and it is by sticking together we will fight this terrible virus and be able to enjoy our families, friends, work colleagues and our beautiful county properly again.

A message from Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health

Around the world levels of COVID-19 continue to increase. World Health Organisation data shows that there have been 2,034,802 confirmed cases globally, with 135,163 deaths across 213 countries, areas or territories. The UK has overtaken both Iran and China for the total number of cases and now has the 6th highest number of cases amongst all nations (behind USA, Spain, Italy, Germany and France).

At a national level, Public Health England data shows there were 108,692 cases in the UK on 17th April. Of those hospitalised in the UK who tested positive for coronavirus, 14,576 have sadly died.

We currently have 564 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across North Yorkshire. However, this focuses on those who have been tested in hospital settings, which will only be a proportion of the total number. We expect that hospital cases are around 8 per cent of the total number of cases across the community.

There have been 246 deaths in hospital trusts covering North Yorkshire (Airedale, Harrogate, South Tees, and York) to date.  Data are reported at trust level and it is not yet possible to determine deaths for North Yorkshire residents reliably.  All trusts apart from Harrogate serve large populations outside North Yorkshire.

Whilst numbers continue to rise, they are not of the magnitude we were originally expecting when planning for the reasonable worst case scenario. This has certainly been helped by peoples’ adherence to isolation and social distancing measures, for which we would like to extend our thanks in this difficult time. This will continue to be crucial over the next few weeks as the lockdown continues, and I am sure that people will do their very best to support our essential services with their excellent work across the County.

COVID-19 Mental Health Campaign

Public Health England’s Every Mind Matters campaign has launched a new suite of tips and advice, focussed on looking after people’s mental wellbeing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The new Every Mind Matters resources, designed specifically to help manage our mental health during coronavirus, include a tailored COVID-19 Mind Plan, content for individuals and their loved ones on managing their mental wellbeing during the outbreak, and support for specific mental health issues such as anxiety, stress, low mood and trouble sleeping. Every Mind Matters encourages people to create a personal Mind Plan, a quick and free interactive tool offering tailored mental wellbeing advice. For more information please visit https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/

Days off Alcohol

Alcohol can quickly become a part of your daily routine. A good way to take control of your drinking is to make sure that you have days off from alcohol.

Try to have at least two drink-free days each week. Why not try the Drink Free Days app? https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/apps/

During social distancing and isolation, the advice on safer consumption of alcohol remains the same. It could be harmful to your health to regularly drink more than:

  • six medium glasses of wine or pints of beer a week*, or
  • three medium glasses of wine or pints of beer (for women) or four medium glasses of wine or pints of beer (for men) on any single occasion*
  • Regularly drinking more than six medium glasses of wine or pints of beer a week increases your risk of cancer, heart disease and liver disease.

*This is based approximately on a medium glass of 11% wine (1.9 units) or a pint of 3.8% beer (2.2 units)

For more information visit http://wakeupnorthyorks.co.uk/days-off/

Schools and Childcare

Across our children and young people’s service the response from all our teams has been amazing and people are working at pace to adapt services to meet the coronavirus challenge.

Schools

The Education team has done an outstanding job in co-coordinating what have been unprecedented changes to schools over the last few weeks. Over 250 school staff have stepped forward to ensure that schools and settings can be opened and have gone above and beyond the Government’s requirements. In addition to the emergency childcare hubs operating over the public holidays and weekends, a number of schools have opened over the Easter holiday weekdays with an average of around 600 vulnerable learners and critical worker children being provided with childcare each day.

Primary school places allocation

This year, over 95 per cent of North Yorkshire parents or carers of primary age children secured their first school preference. Just over 98 per cent of families in the county secured one of their top three preferences.

The figure remains consistently high in comparison with many other places in the country, is one of the highest in Yorkshire and is a great achievement given current challenging circumstances.  We are pleased that so many families continue to gain the first preference from their choice of schools, however we work hard with all our schools to ensure they deliver high standards of education so that families who are not given first preferences can still send their children to good schools.

Music Service

The Music Service will begin remote lessons for pupils at the beginning of the summer term, using Skype for Business to interact with pupils in order to teach instrumental lessons across North Yorkshire to those who are home learning. The music service has also been providing support for schools which have remained open. This has included lesson plans, online singing sessions and individual support for pupils.

PPE production

CLEAPSS, the national consortium of local authorities supporting practical science, design & technology and art have produced guidance on what schools need to do in order to be able to produce PPE equipment using school equipment whilst remaining compliant with all relevant legislation. Schools in North Yorkshire are joining this great national initiative.

Children and Families

Our Children and Family teams have worked tirelessly to risk assess over 4,000 cases in a matter of days to ensure we continue to provide safe plans for young people. Social workers continue to visit families where it is appropriate to do so and they are working with schools to ensure vulnerable children are in school and when they are not, that the right support is in place.

Our Leaving care service has stepped up contact to our young adults and is in touch with them even more during this difficult time.

Our Early Help teams have been developing some extremely innovative approaches to support looked after children through a Skype buddy system as well as working on delivering support to vulnerable families. They have been delivering sessions and courses remotely, sending out information, using PowerPoint presentations, phone calls and WhatsApp groups, including one for LGBT. They have also been coordinating with their local Food Banks to ensure families are getting what they need.  There has been an enormous amount of creative thinking!

Our Foster carers have been inspiring. They have continued to take young people in, including one carer who took very young children from a family where COVID was suspected, resulting in the carer going in to self-isolation. In addition, our No Wrong Door hubs continue to show fantastic compassion and support to our children. At a time when we are hearing stories of the private market either sending children “back” to local authorities or charging even more, I am incredibly thankful and proud that we have the ability and compassion to look after our own young people in North Yorkshire.

Stuart Carlton, Corporate Director for the Children and Young People’s Service

Support for people in isolation

As lockdown continues, it becomes increasingly important for us to keep looking out for any potentially vulnerable people in our neighbourhoods - even just a note through their door can make a big difference. We’re working with 23 community organisations across the county to help people without family, friends or local networks. If you know someone who needs help with shopping, picking up prescriptions or other essentials, they can call 01609 780780 between 8am and 5.30pm and we will make sure they get the help they need.

Our customer service centre is now making around 400 calls a day to people who are being shielded and have requested support. These people are particularly vulnerable because of existing health conditions and have been advised to stay at home for 12 weeks. District councils will also be making outbound calls to people who are being shielded to make sure they are getting the help they need; in North Yorkshire, this is just under 15,000 people.

If someone on the shielded list cannot be contacted by telephone, a volunteer is deployed to check that they are safe. Ready for Anything volunteer, Sandra Barber from Filey, went out to check on someone who was potentially at risk last week. Sandra said “'If l can help, l will. That's why l joined up with Ready For Anything. I was pleased to be asked to go and check on a vulnerable local resident. Thankfully all was ok and I was proud to have been able to help out in the local community.”

Support for young people feeling isolated

A telephone befriending service has been launched for vulnerable young people who are struggling to live with the social distancing requirements.

Our Restorative Academy recruits relief workers aged between 16 and 25, many of whom have experienced care. This befriending service is taking enquiries from leaving care services, looked after children services, fostering services and the early help service.

It will ensure young people have access to practical and emotional support throughout the lockdown period and have somebody to confide in of a similar age.

Online library service

Our online library service has been embraced by residents since the temporary closure of library branches in March.

Since then, almost 1,000 people have joined the library online or by phone. The same period has seen a 68 per cent increase in loans of e-books and a 53 per cent increase in e-audio book loans. There has been a 97 per cent rise in the use of digital magazine. Online reference resources also saw big increases.

We have added 1,400 new copies of e-books and introduced a new e-audio book platform, BorrowBox, with 1,200 titles. Remote access has been arranged for library members to family history resources Ancestry.com and Find My Past.

Library staff have hosted video story times, rhyme times, craft sessions, quizzes and Lego challenges on libraries’ Facebook pages, which have welcomed more than 3,500 new followers.

Digital library services can be found at www.northyorks.gov.uk/digital-library. To access these, you need your library card number and PIN number. If you do not know your PIN, call 01609 533878 and one will be issued. If you wish to join the library, call the same number.

Local economy

Business sees immediate benefit from Buy Local directory

Sam Spence, who runs Crafts of Thirsk, is one of about 200 businesspeople to register on our new Buy Local free online marketplace in its first week – and she saw an immediate benefit.

“I registered in the morning after seeing it on social media and got a new order before 2pm that afternoon off the back of it,” said Sam, who founded the Thirsk Yarnbombers and took over the 40-year-old business a year ago. “It took me only a minute to register and I’ve shared it with loads of other people, so you’ve probably been inundated!”

We launched Buy Local to enable North Yorkshire businesses and tradespeople who can work under Covid-19 restrictions to share what they offer with customers who need their services. The site can be found at www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local.

Sam closed her shop when Covid-19 restrictions were introduced, but began to get requests from customers.

“People started messaging to ask whether I could post or deliver craft materials,” she said. “I spoke to people about it and realised how important it is for mental health and keeping occupied.”

Sam is in the shop three days a week to pack orders, which she then posts or delivers.

“I arrange a delivery time, leave the package and ring the bell,” she said. “A lot of customers are on their own, and a lot have taken up crafting during the outbreak and are asking for advice. People are so pleased with what they get they are now re-ordering.”

Sam recommends Buy Local.

“It’s a one-stop shop. I could see what people in other towns were doing. So there are companies in Scarborough, for instance, and I thought: ‘If I’ve got a birthday coming up I might use them’. So it’s not just local to Thirsk, it’s North Yorkshire as a whole. And I am a bit like a stick of rock with Yorkshire running through me, so you had me at that point!”

Since its launch a week ago, almost 200 businesses have registered on Buy Local, with more joining all the time, and about 12,270 people have visited the site.

Businesses on the site already range from farm shops that will deliver produce to joinery to computer repairs and many others.

LEP News

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to open for claims:

Employers will be able to make claims on behalf of their furloughed employees from Monday 20th April.

A simple step by step guide is available on the York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub site: https://ynygrowthhub.com/blog/news/what-you-need-to-know-job-retention-scheme/

Government have amended the timeframe of the scheme so that employees that were employed as of 19 March 2020 and were on PAYE payroll on or before that date will now be eligible.

Those employed and on payroll as of 28 February 2020 and who were made redundant or stopped working after that, and prior to 19 March 2020, can also qualify for the scheme if re-employed and put on furlough.

More information on this scheme and furloughing can be found on GOV.UK.

Stay informed on local support during and post COVID-19

The LEP, its Growth Hub and many partners are working hard to support the businesses in our region. We are updating all information on a regular basis and are keen to promote the following as main sources of local business support information:

We know there are some businesses that aren’t eligible for support and we want to know about these cases so we can understand the challenges and plug the gaps with solutions.

If you think there is a gap in support for businesses, either from the government or locally – please contact us and we’ll feed that in directly: enquiries@businessinspiredgrowth.com . We would also encourage you to use internally this very simple survey to record feedback from businesses    https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/LMXF92F. This information will contribute to us shaping our medium to long term recovery plan which is being spearheaded by Tim Frenneaux.  Please email Tim to be involved in this. Tim.Frenneaux@businessinspiredgrowth.com

Amidst all the challenges, it is heartening to finally see much greater public and media recognition of the role played by North Yorkshire’s 17000 care workers. We owe a great debt of gratitude for all that they are doing right now and when the nation claps for key workers on Thursday we need to show the care workforce our huge appreciation.

PPE is a pressing focus for us right now and we co-ordinated a series of messages over the weekend, to encourage schools and the County’s businesses to help, wherever they can, with manufacturing supplies of PPE.  We had our first delivery last week of PPE to the multi-agency North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum from Government and another drop is expected this week.  We welcome this much-needed assistance and are now seeking regular and reliable supplies in the future as these are vital for all care services Supplies are being kept under constant review.

We have moved our frontline social care teams into a new way of working seven days a week 8am to 8pm, to support emergency discharge from hospital and also to work with GPs and community health staff to ensure emergency support for people with Covid-19 with social care needs. This new way of working has been in operation over the Easter Bank Holiday and members of staff have pulled out all the stops to ensure the right support is in the right place when needed.

We are continuing our urgent recruitment drive for the care sector, including care homes, to take on nearly 400 more staff to address the challenge.

We are also providing practical, advice, training webinars and administrative support for the wider care sector, as well as some financial help.

Social care and the NHS

This week has seen some well-deserved national recognition of the care sector, the passion and commitment of our care workers in the most challenging of circumstances and the achievements of and difficulties faced by care providers.

National Adult Social Care Plan

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-social-care-guidance

The national Adult Social Care Plan was published on Wednesday evening and contained much valuable recognition of what care providers do.  We are working through the Plan on the following key points:

  • Proposals to develop an intermediate tier of beds for people being discharged from hospital – we have started work on this already with the NHS, building on the work we are already doing with care providers and which we hope will find solutions which ease some of the pressures and concerns on the sector in terms of admissions of new Covid positive residents;
  • Rapid roll-out of testing – this is a major logistical challenge and, again, we have started work with our NHS colleagues who are leading on this issue;
  • PPE – we believe that the promised Clipper distribution system is at least 4 weeks away. In the meantime, we are encouraging providers to link with their existing suppliers and, where this does not result in supplies, to make applications to the LRF by contacting covid19PPE@northyorks.gov.uk  And, meanwhile ,we are doing all we can to source supplies and to bang the drum for care providers, locally, regionally and nationally.

Recruitment campaign

Our recruitment campaign to attract emergency workers for care and support services through the www.makecarematter.co.uk and North Yorkshire Your community needs you websites has attracted 774 applications to date and will be looking to expand this in addition to linking to the National recruitment campaign over the coming weeks. Our intention is also to support the wider care sector through these initiatives via the Recruitment Hub centre of excellence. The campaign has reached over 80,000 people so far and growing.  We encourage business leaders to bring the opportunity to the attention of their staff and we are working with further education partners to ignite interest in students who have finished their studies early. The Make Care Matter team’s contact details by locality are on the website.

In order to introduce emergency new staff quickly the Government have worked with Skills for Care to make it easier for employers to access rapid online induction training for new staff. This includes key elements of the Care Certificate and is available free of charge.

https://www.skillsforcare.org.uk/About/News/COVID-19-Essential-training.aspx

Financial help for care and support providers

Covid-19 is presenting us all with a fast moving and uncertain operational environment and we understand that in the coming weeks and months our care providers face issues around a reduced workforce; increases in statutory sick pay and increased use of agency staff; the need for higher volumes of PPE and therefore overall higher costs. 

We recognise the importance of supporting our providers and their crucial services that we and our communities rely on and we, along with the NHS and CCGs in the North Yorkshire area, are therefore implementing the following package of financial support:

  • For nursing, residential, home care and supported living providers, we are providing a 5 per cent compensatory payment increase for planned care across the sector to address Covid-19.  This will be reviewed every 4 weeks during the emergency period and is in addition to any agreed inflation award for 2020/21;
  • Where providers experience additional exceptional hardship during the COVID-19 period contact should be made to our Quality & Market Improvement Team within Health and Adult Services socialservices.contractingunit@northyorks.gov.uk                                                                     

We hope this financial package will enable cash flow support and provides some assurance on income during this challenging period, enabling providers to work with us to change operational practices and utilise staff in other ways. 

Richard Webb, Corporate Director for Health and Adult Services

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

Virtual links

Lots of museums, Zoos and other tourist spots are live streaming their day’s and most are offering virtual tours as something to do whilst staying at home. See links below to find out what is going on across the county. Take a look and see if somewhere local to you is live streaming their day:

Find my Past

You can now access Find my Past from home using your NYCC library card and pin, allowing you to search our parish registers and some school log books. Follow the link and click on ancestry resources: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/libraries-online-information-resources

Sport England

A new campaign has been launched called ‘Stay In, Work Out’ which provides advice on physical activity during this lockdown period at https://www.sportengland.org/stayinworkout

Food Waste

Reduce food waste and make your food go further by using Love Food Hate Waste’s leftover recipe search https://www.lovefoodhatewaste.com/

A message from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

I wanted to say thank you to all the people across the county who followed the essential government advice to stay at home over the Easter weekend and to take their exercise from their own front doors wherever possible. This ongoing display of people pulling together, in whatever way we can, is making a real difference; it is so valuable to our front line and, is a real expression of support, to those who are, unfortunately, poorly or who are in fear of the virus spread.

We co-ordinated, and sent out, messages to our communities in the days leading up to Easter asking them to prepare and plan, where they could, to have their needs in place over the four-day weekend in order to ease the pressure on the community support organisations (CSOs) and enable them to have a much-needed break. We are grateful that people in the community heeded, and acted upon, these messages and demand was significantly reduced over this period. I would like to thank those county council staff and Ready for Anything volunteers who supplied support to the 45 people who did need help over the weekend.

All 23 community support organisations (CSOs) are now back and ready to face the increasing demands to supply support to those who have no family, friends and neighbours. Our message to the public remains the same - no one should feel that they are alone. We ask that people keep looking out for their neighbours and those who have no other means of support can contact our customer service centre on 01609 780780 8am to 5:30pm seven days a week.

This is a fast evolving situation and many messages which involve practical and critical details are changing and developing by the day. We are working flat out to make sure that up-to-date information on all these messages reaches our colleagues and all relevant partners as soon as we can. Messaging on PPE, including how to use it and distribute it, remains a key area which is under constant review. The Government has just published a new plan for PPE (personal protective equipment), which provides further guidance of when, and what type of, PPE should be worn and, also, the arrangements for ordering PPE: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-personal-protective-equipment-ppe-plan

We have also produced an online learning training session advising on the correct way to use the equipment. PPE is a pressing focus for us right now and, in addition to the above, we co-ordinated a series of messages, over the weekend, to encourage schools and the County’s businesses to help, wherever they can, with manufacturing supplies of PPE.

I mentioned, in my message, before Easter that we would be launching a ‘Buy Local’ website very soon. We launched the site on Good Friday to enable North Yorkshire businesses and tradespeople, who can work under Covid-19 restrictions, to share what they offer with customers who need their services and within the first four days of the launch, almost 100 businesses have registered.

Businesses register in a range of categories, including food suppliers, retail, property services, transport, professional services and accommodation for key workers; we will assess the suitability and try to verify information within 24 hours during working days. Following this, residents will be able to access the information and contact businesses directly.

We need to promote businesses, traders and professional services who are still open for trade under COVID19 restrictions and this, in turn, could prove to be a massive help to local people and communities. With the full backing of partners and the right promotion, North Yorkshire Buy Local has the potential to be an invaluable resource in these challenging times; complementing the excellent economic support services that you all are already providing to businesses and tradespeople within North Yorkshire. Please will you promote this widely to encourage businesses to register. The LEP, Chamber of Commerce and FSB have all agreed to promote this within their networks and I would be grateful if you can put the link in a prominent location on your own websites and on your business support pages.  

North Yorkshire Buy Local can be found at www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local. Please also promote this via your social media channels.

We will continue to develop the functionality of the website over time and it is intended that this website will stay live after COVID19 restrictions are lifted to encourage local people to ‘Buy Local’ supporting the local economy. Businesses registered on the site are able to update their information themselves at any time. 

So, as we continue on this strange journey, many good initiatives from across the county are emerging and the sharing of experiences, expertise and, most importantly, support from all of us who are working together to minimise the impact of the pandemic, continues to be heart-warming. My thanks to all of you and take care of yourselves.

A message from Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health

Global

World Health Organization data shows that there have been 1,812,734 confirmed cases worldwide, with 113,675 deaths across 213 countries, areas or territories.

Cases are currently increasing in many European states, including the UK’s closest geographical neighbours.

The UK is thought to be 2 to 3 weeks behind Italy on the epidemic curve. The Italian outbreak took off in the last week of February and there are early signs of a slowdown in cases from the last week in March. For the UK, the epidemic took off in the second week of March, suggesting early signs of a slowdown in the increase might happen in the second week of April. North Yorkshire is likely to be slightly behind the UK as a whole.

The UK

Public Health England data from 13th April shows that in the UK 88,621 people have so far tested positive for COVID-19. Cases have almost doubled in 6 days: on 7th April there were 55,242 cases. There have been 11,329 deaths recorded, almost doubling in 7 days from 5,373 on 6th April.

North Yorkshire

The number of cases in North Yorkshire continues to increase. The 13th April saw a lower daily increase compared with the previous day, with 20 new cases identified, bringing the overall total to 456. These numbers focus on individuals tested in hospital settings, which will only be a proportion of the total number. We expect that hospital cases are around 8% of the total number of cases across the community.

There have been 185 deaths in hospitals covering North Yorkshire to date. Data are reported at hospital trust level and it is not yet possible to determine deaths for North Yorkshire residents reliably. All trusts apart from Harrogate serve large populations outside North Yorkshire.

Care Homes

Before the bank holiday there were 14 care home with laboratory confirmed cases of COVID-19 and a further 11 with suspected cases, not yet confirmed (post-Bank Holiday data not yet received).

Schools and Childcare

Hubs

All of our hubs were open and ready to provide emergency childcare for critical workers across the county over the Easter weekend.

All Early Years hubs will remain open for 7 days a week and the school hubs will be open at weekends and bank holidays. There is an online registration and booking system set up for parents and carers.

School support

A large number of schools throughout North Yorkshire have remained open throughout the Easter holidays. We would like to thank all the staff in these schools who are going above and beyond and continuing to provide fantastic levels of support to their local communities with childcare for our key workers.

Support for people in isolation

County Council staff, NHS and ‘Ready for Anything’ volunteers delivered shopping and other essential support to around 45 needy people across the county as part of a publicised relief operation to allow community support organisations to take a much needed break over the
Easter weekend.

All 23 community support organisations (CSOs) are back and anticipating increased demand as NYCC and districts promote the message that help is available for those in need who have no family, friends and neighbours. Last week, volunteers, coordinated through the CSOs, supported 1,857 people with shopping, collecting prescriptions and other essentials. Collectively, the CSOs took 3,347 calls and received 1,128 email and social media contacts.

There have also been around 70 requests for financial assistance through a grant support scheme set up to make sure that people in North Yorkshire, who are most in need or most at risk because of Covid-19, have access to food and other household essentials. For people who are most at risk of being hospitalised by coronavirus, we are continuing to make welfare calls in partnership with district councils.

Our message to the public remains the same - no one should feel that they are alone. We ask that people keep looking out for their neighbours and those who have no other means of support can contact the council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780 8am to 5:30pm seven days a week.

Local economy

More businesses encouraged to register on online marketplace

We have launched a new website to enable North Yorkshire businesses and tradespeople who can work under Covid-19 restrictions to share what they offer with customers who need their services.

North Yorkshire Buy Local can be found at www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local. Businesses and tradespeople that continue to provide essential goods and services during the outbreak are being encouraged to register now on this online marketplace.

Within the first four days of the launch, almost 100 businesses have registered.

Businesses can register in a range of categories, including food suppliers, retail, property services, transport, professional services and accommodation for key workers.

Information received from businesses will be assessed for suitability for the site. The aim will be to verify information within 24 hours during working days, after which residents will be able to access the information and contact businesses directly.

LEP News

Updated advice from government on business support

Latest business support updates can be found here.

Guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is available below:

 https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-you-could-be-covered-by-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

 https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

This includes clarification on the scheme, including:

  • Confirmation of what should form the basis for furlough pay for employees furloughed on return from (maternity/paternity/shared parental/adoption/sick/parental bereavement) leave
  • Confirming employees subject to TUPE transfer/ business reorganisation/ payroll consolidation can be furloughed
  • Confirming position for contractors in scope of IR35 in the public sector
  • More information on what information employers need to claim the grant
  • Clarifying circumstances where an employee shouldn’t be furloughed by multiple employers

Stay informed on local support

The LEP, its Growth Hub and many partners are working hard to support the businesses in our region. We are updating all information on a regular basis and are keen to promote the following as main sources of local business support information:

Y&NY LEP: https://www.businessinspiredgrowth.com/covid-19/

Y&NY GROWTH HUB: https://www.ynygrowthhub.com/how-we-can-help/coronavirus/

We know there are some businesses that aren’t eligible for support and we want to know about these cases so we can understand the challenges and plug the gaps with solutions.

If you think there is a gap in support for businesses, either from the government or locally – please contact us and we’ll feed that in directly: enquiries@businessinspiredgrowth.com .

We would also encourage you to use internally this very simple survey to record feedback from businesses  https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/LMXF92F. This information will contribute to our shaping of our medium to long term recovery plan which is being spearheaded by Tim Frenneaux.  Please email Tim to be involved in this. Tim.Frenneaux@businessinspiredgrowth.com

Social Care and the NHS

Amidst all the challenges, it is heartening to finally see much greater public and media recognition of the role played by North Yorkshire’s 17000 care workers. We owe a great debt of gratitude for all that they are doing right now and when the nation claps for key workers on Thursday we need to show the care workforce our huge appreciation.

PPE is a pressing focus for us right now and we co-ordinated a series of messages over the weekend, to encourage schools and the County’s businesses to help, wherever they can, with manufacturing supplies of PPE.  We had our first delivery last week of PPE to the multi-agency North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum from Government and another drop is expected this week.  We welcome this much-needed assistance and are now seeking regular and reliable supplies in the future as these are vital for all care services Supplies are being kept under constant review.

We have moved our frontline social care teams into a new way of working seven days a week 8am to 8pm, to support emergency discharge from hospital and also to work with GPs and community health staff to ensure emergency support for people with Covid-19 with social care needs. This new way of working has been in operation over the Easter Bank Holiday and members of staff have pulled out all the stops to ensure the right support is in the right place when needed.

We are continuing our urgent recruitment drive for the care sector, including care homes, to take on nearly 400 more staff to address the challenge.

We are also providing practical, advice, training webinars and administrative support for the wider care sector, as well as some financial help.

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

Key Public Health Services

Yorkshire Sport are hosting a webinar, on Tuesday 14th April, for the public and professionals on the benefits of being physically active during the COVID-19 restrictions. The webinar offers advice and guidance - visit https://www.northyorkshiresport.co.uk/events/2020/04/stayinworkout for more information.

Sport England have also launched a new campaign called ‘Stay In, Work Out’ which provides advice on physical activity during this lockdown period at https://www.sportengland.org/stayinworkout

Reduce food waste and make your food go further by using Love Food Hate Waste’s leftover recipe search https://www.lovefoodhatewaste.com/

A message from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

This week already nationally many hundreds more people have sadly lost their lives to COVID-19 and although the numbers have fluctuated a little, do not be under any misapprehension -  all the expert advice we have is that we are not yet at the peak of this outbreak. As we head towards Easter it’s critical to remember that if we don’t continue to stick rigidly to the national lock-down guidance we will lose even more people from our communities to this terrible virus. The news that the Prime Minister remains in intensive care is concerning and I am sure many of you join me in wishing him, and all those experiencing the impact of Coronavirus, a full and speedy recovery. The country and county need strong leadership and continued public support to get through this unprecedented period in our history.

Many of us will be looking out for our friends and neighbours already or, for those who are most vulnerable, relying on local voluntary groups and other support networks to help get things like food and medical supplies. One of the many wonderful things about North Yorkshire is our sense of community and I thank every one of the thousands of people out there right now doing what we do best here – supporting each other.  With that in mind I would like to make a personal plea. As we approach the Easter weekend we are trying really hard to offer our volunteer network a well-earned rest. Please help us by trying to plan now the help you will need regarding food shopping and other support so we can let them relax with their families. For anyone in desperate need we have our customer service professionals working through the period so no one without support needs to feel alone. They will work throughout and can be contacted on 01609 780780 it’s now open seven days a week.

Although PPE remains a concern, in addition to the deliveries we had last week, we have now also been given access to a national allocation from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. This will cover the York and North Yorkshire LRF area and, to ensure that this provision goes to those who need it most, we have set up an LRF panel. This expert panel, which includes Public Health, will meet daily to consider requests and allocate kit. At the County Council we also have very significant orders which are on their way from overseas to support and protect our front line staff.

We are trying hard to provide the best possible public services in these very trying times - health and social care; safeguarding; child care for key workers through the holidays; community support; highways services and so on. But it is getting harder and I am sure you will understand that we have to focus on these essential areas. Unfortunately, household waste centres will remain closed for now but we will reopen them to help you get rid of your waste as soon as the conditions allow. For now, please store waste from any gardening or home improvements carefully at home.

If you are lucky enough to live within walking distance of the thousands of miles of public rights of way in North Yorkshire - enjoy them while the weather is kind but please do so with care and especially where they pass through fields and gardens of people’s private homes. Ensure you observe the rules around staying at least 2 metres from others at all times and do not gather in groups.  We know there is some anxiety in some areas around this and so we ask you are particularly thoughtful.

A few months ago we could not have imagined the world we would be living and working in today. And so I would like to remind everyone that in the months ahead we will come through this – it will not go on forever – even though it can feel daunting at times at the moment. I would like to thank everyone who has helped reduce the impact so far in our county by adhering to the social distancing and essential travel only guidance and to ask you all stick with it. Stay safe, stay well and stay strong.

A message from Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health

Global

The World Health Organization reports (07/01/20) that there have been 1,247,505 confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide, with 69,215 deaths. Currently 212 countries, areas or territories have reported cases.

Cases are currently increasing in many European states, including the UK’s closest geographical neighbours.

The UK

Public Health England data from 6th April shows that 208,837 people have been tested for COVID-19, of whom 51,608 tested positive. As of 5pm on 5 April, of those hospitalised in the UK who tested positive for coronavirus, 5,373 have sadly died.

New modelling published by Imperial College suggests that people with COVID-19 on average spread the disease to more people than originally thought (3.7 rather than 2.4). However, the number of people who will develop symptoms of COVID-19 is likely to be much lower than originally predicted (around 10% rather than 80%). This suggests an earlier and lower peak in cases and deaths than was previously thought, but also offers the possibility of re-emergence of COVID-19 into second and subsequent peaks.

North Yorkshire

The number of cases in North Yorkshire continues to increase. Monday 6th April saw a similar daily increase compared with the previous day, with 26 new cases identified, bringing the overall total to 269.  This focuses on people who have been admitted to hospital, which is expected to be around 8% of the total number of cases circulating in the community.

There have been relatively few deaths in hospitals covering North Yorkshire to date. Data is reported at trust level and it is not yet possible to determine deaths for North Yorkshire residents reliably.  All trusts apart from Harrogate serve large populations outside North Yorkshire.  Due to small numbers, there is considerable daily fluctuation.

Care Homes

There are 10 care homes with laboratory confirmed cases of COVID-19 and a further 10 with suspected cases.

Schools and Childcare

We have set up a series of hubs in schools and nurseries across North Yorkshire to make sure critical workers have childcare throughout bank holidays, weekends and other times where there is no other local provision.

These are located close to hospitals across the county and will care for pre-school and school-aged children of key workers from Good Friday. They will operate from 7.45am to 5.45pm and will continue to operate as long as they are needed throughout the pandemic.

The majority of schools in North Yorkshire are already remaining open over the Easter holidays for children of keyworkers, but the hubs will fill in gaps in childcare in the county.

The early years’ hubs for children 0 to 4 will begin from Good Friday and will operate seven days a week. There will be a maximum of ten places available for pre-school children in each hub and there will be qualified early years’ professionals on site.

The hubs for school-aged children will run on weekends and bank holidays only, as there is expected to be sufficient cover provided by North Yorkshire schools during the working week. The hubs will open on Friday, April 10 for the Easter weekend and there will be a maximum of 20 places available for the 4 to 12 age range. They will be staffed by people from the existing school workforce.

Parents and carers are asked to transport their children to and from the hubs and to provide them with packed lunches.

To book a place for a child in one of the hubs, a link to the booking site can be found on our website, along with a list of the hubs; https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/schools-and-childrens-services-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Parents are asked to pre-book places; this will also help us establish if there is a larger demand than anticipated, so we can adjust arrangements accordingly.

It has been a huge task to organise hubs across the county at such short notice and we are hugely grateful for the hard work, dedication and flexibility of all the school staff and our partners involved in making sure this happens and would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to them.

The hubs will be located at:

Craven area

  • Settle College (children attending school aged 4 to 12)
  • Greatwood, Skipton (children attending school aged 4 to 12)
  • Sutton-in-Craven CE Primary School (children attending school aged 4 to 12)
  • Brougham Street Nursery, Skipton (pre-school children aged 0 to 4) 

Hambleton area

  • Mill Hill Community Primary School, Northallerton (all children aged 0 to 12)
  • Hutton Rudby Primary School (children attending school aged 4 to 12)

Harrogate area

  • Harrogate, Grove Road (all children aged 0 to 12)
  • Ripon, Moorside Primary School (children attending school aged 4 to 12

Richmond and Catterick area

  • Richmond Methodist Primary School (children attending school aged 4 to 12)
  • Risedale Community College, Catterick (all children aged 0 to 12) 

Ryedale area

  • Malton Community Primary School (all children aged 0 to 12)

Scarborough and Whitby area

  • Whitby, Airy Hill Community Primary School (all children aged 0 to 12)
  • Barrowcliff School, Scarborough (children attending school aged 4 to 12)
  • Childhaven Day Nursery, Scarborough (pre-school children aged 0 to 4)
  • Kinder Place, Scarborough (pre-school children aged 0 to 4)

Selby Area

  • Barlby Community Primary School (all children aged 0 - 12) 

For children continuing to attend their existing school throughout the Easter holidays, home to school transport providers have been liaising with schools to find out whether there is a need to operate during the rest of the Easter holidays. Where transport operators have been unable to continue to transport pupils to school we have worked with schools to put in place alternative arrangements.

Schools are using different approaches to continue to provide free school meals, according to the resources they have. But all families who are in receipt of free school meals will continue to receive these and should contact their school for details.

We have also agreed to fund early years’ provision over the Easter holiday for the children of key workers, which will be based on their normal entitlement to funded childcare provision.

Key workers should check with their early years’ provider as to whether they are offering funded provision for key worker children during the Easter holiday period. 

For any key workers who still have problems accessing school or early years provision, please email cyps.covid19@northyorks.gov.uk  and provide full details, including your usual educational setting, the days needed for child care, any other issues and contact details.

Stuart Carlton, Corporate Director for the Children and Young People’s Service

 

Support for people in isolation

We are urging people who may need help and support during isolation to plan ahead ready for the bank holiday weekend so they are not left without food or other essentials if shops are closed and delivery services reduced. People are also being encouraged to look out for their neighbours and if they know someone is vulnerable and they are not able to help them, they can contact us and we will provide that support.

Our customer service centre is now open seven days a week 8am to 5:30pm and by putting plans in place for county council staff and additional volunteers to provide cover, our community support organisations and volunteers will be able to take a well-deserved break over Easter and recharge ready for what we anticipate will be an increase in demand. So far more than 4,000 people have made contact with our 23 community support organisations - who we are working with alongside our partners - for advice and support and 1,500 people have been helped by their volunteers with practical things like food shopping or prescription collections. The community response to this crisis is also aided by the countless other volunteers helping friends and supporting neighbours in their local areas, many as part of small coordinated groups.

We have now made calls to over 1,200 people who are being medically shielded and requested support because they are particularly vulnerable to make sure the national programme of food parcel deliveries is working. This is providing much needed reassurance that we are here for anyone who needs additional help and in some of these cases our community support organisations are providing that. We continue to reassure the public that no one should feel they are alone, if they need help they can contact the council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780 seven days a week.

People can find up to date information about community support including links to the COVID-19 pages of major supermarkets with information on opening hours and special arrangements are on our website at www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-advice-and-information.

 

Local economy

Trading Standards waives fees to offer free business advice.

Our Trading Standards service is offering free advice to businesses in the county to support them during the Covid-19 outbreak. The service will waive fees for its business advice for the next six months.

Trading Standards offers a range of advice services, which will be available free of charge to any North Yorkshire-based business. A specialist team of officers can provide advice on all aspects of trading standards law, including helping businesses to diversify into different product areas or to move their business online or to a takeaway service. 

Businesses that would like to use the service can contact the team on 01609 780780 or at business.advice@northyorks.gov.uk for more details or for advice on a specific query.

LEP News

Business responding to last week’s changes to Government loan schemes

Changes to the government-backed loan schemes were launched last week to increase the number of businesses eligible for this support. Updated details below.

Grassroots LEP Facebook Group connecting employers and individuals to job opportunities

Since its launch 2 weeks ago, over 200 people have joined this group to share job opportunities and skills swaps. We are now working with the DWP and National Careers Service to extend the reach of this group and support their efforts to manage displaced employees and workers as a result of COVID-19. Please join and support local businesses through this group https://www.facebook.com/groups/employmentandskillsYNYGH/

Communications key to driving awareness of business support

As we continue to navigate our way through this situation, never has it been more important to signpost businesses and organisations to support that is available. We are keen to promote the following as main sources of business support information:

Social Care and the NHS

North Yorkshire is moving its frontline social care teams into a new way of working this week to support local residents better and to help the NHS, as everyone responds to Covid-19.

For the time being, it will be a mix of business as usual in most services, alongside major changes to help local hospitals free up the beds they need to treat people who are critically ill and to try and avoid new admissions to hospital or 24-hour care unless vital.

From this week, North Yorkshire County Council’s social care teams are providing a seven-day-a-week 8am-8pm service:

  • Working with our main hospitals in Harrogate, Northallerton and Scarborough to support emergency discharges for people – they will also be linking into hospitals in Keighley, Middlesbrough and York, too, for same reasons;
  • Working with community health staff and GPs, based around groups of GP practices, to ensure emergency support and treatment for people in the community with Covid-19;
  • Support for people in the community with social care needs not related to Covid-19.

Some changes have also been made to day and respite care services, partly as a result of the national lockdown and social distancing measures and also in response to the need to provide sufficient hospital and care home beds to those people most in need.

In addition, the County Council’s Chief Executive, using emergency powers today, has also approved arrangements for even more far-reaching changes.  However, these changes will only be made if, and only if, North Yorkshire reaches a point where the increase in Covid-19 cases and deaths reaches the point where the impact on the community, the NHS and social care is so great that the County Council has to re-prioritise its social care work to focus primarily on supporting people with Covid-19 and any other urgent needs that people have.

Similar arrangements are being put in place by councils around the country, as a contingency, after Parliament approved the special measures set out in the Coronavirus Act 2020.

 “Our focus now is to keep people safe and well and to prevent admissions to hospital and to 24 hour care, wherever possible, so they can be used for people who are critically ill with Covid-19”, said Richard Webb, North Yorkshire’s Director for Health and Adult Services.

“Although North Yorkshire so far has not seen as many Covid-19 cases as in other parts of the country, numbers are increasing and we are starting to support more people with Covid in the community.

“We would like to thank people for their patience where we have already had to make changes to services and we are doing our best to stay in touch and keep support going, even if this has to be done in a different way.

“We hope that we do not have to put in place the more radical measures that have been agreed today, but we have them available if we need to use them.

The County Council is taking the following urgent steps to alleviate potential pressures brought about by Covid-19 and the increased demand for services:

  • Recruiting to an additional 395 posts, both within the County Council and the wider care sector, with a rapid recruitment process and a campaign to attract people to adult social care positions from other sectors of the economy negatively affected by Covid-19:   https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/careandsupport;
  • Re-deployment from other parts of the council to support adult social care;
  • Bringing social care workers back from retirement;
  • Purchasing around 200 additional care home beds across North Yorkshire;
  • Contacting and supporting people who have direct payments or individual service funds to organise their own care;
  • Informing people of potential changes to any financial contributions they may make to the cost of care services and signposting people to its online financial assessment service: www.northyorks.gov.uk/financial-assessment

In addition, for people who do not necessarily require social care or NHS services, but who cannot be supported by family or friends, the County Council is working with partners to provide advice and support, including through a network of 23 community hubs, led by the voluntary sector: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19-community-support

“We have been working around the clock to prepare our services to meet the urgent challenge presented by Covid-19” said Richard Webb.

“We are extremely grateful to people who use our services, and to all of our staff, partner agencies and volunteers who are pulling together to meet this national emergency.  So many people are making a very big contribution to help others.

“To support this effort, we will continue to urge our residents to play their part in keeping safe and well by following the Government regulations - stay home, stay safe, wash your hands, look out for friends and family and if you must go out for essential trips, please keep at least two metres (seven feet) away from other people.”

People in need of support should contact the County Council Customer Services Centre on 01609 780780.  The centre is open seven days a week 8am-5:30pm

For more information go to: www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus

Key Public Health Services

The Public Health team has been working closely with providers to adapt and maintain access to essential Public Health services.  Many have moved to remote access models and work continues as the situation progresses. Details of all service provision can be found here:

https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/public-health-services-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Communications

NYCC’s website has a dedicated area for all the latest COVID-19 related news click on the link above for more information and advice. Follow us on social media @northyorkscc on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Advice on things to do

Household Waste Recycling Centres

In March we made the difficult decision to close all of our HWRCs for the safety of staff and to discourage any unnecessary travel as part of the Government’s drive to slow the spread of Covid-19.

Whilst the HWRCS’s are closed we are encouraging everyone to minimise the amount of rubbish, recycling and food waste produced. There are many ways in which we can all re-use items or find other uses for things we would otherwise throw away- for example: using plastic tubs with lids to store leftovers or cutting up old sheets and towels to use as dusters and cleaning cloths.

There are many ways we can contribute towards minimising our waste, visit the sites below for more hints and tips:

Staying indoors over the bank holiday weekend­­

There are so many things we can do on our doorstep. Discover what is just outside your window and stay home: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lists/50-things-activities-to-do-in-your-back-garden

Gardening is great for mental and physical health, it’s a great way to express yourself. Try getting creative with containers; planting in an old pair of shoes, jeans, or furniture. Your upcycling will also be helping the environment, turning trash into something useful.

Some garden centres across North Yorkshire remain open and are offering delivery. Visit your local garden centres Facebook page and website to see if they are open and what they have to offer. Some examples of open businesses:

Virtual links

Lots of museums, Zoos and other tourist spots are live streaming their day’s and most are offering virtual tours as something to do whilst staying at home. See links below to find out what is going on across the county. Take a look and see if somewhere local to you is live streaming their day.

A message from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

This week has been another very difficult week for us all. Nationally we are seeing infection rates, and very sadly the number of deaths, rise significantly. Today’s UK figures are desperately sad.  Confirmed cases in North Yorkshire are also rising, as you will see from our Director of Public Health’s update below. While we are certainly not in the position of some of the worst hit areas – we anticipate that both positive test results and the number of people who lose their lives to this virus will continue to rise here too over the coming weeks. This is a very dangerous virus that we must make every effort together to battle.

A new campaign launched nationally is very clear on the importance of social distancing and each of us undertaking essential travel only, to help save lives. This campaign tells us to act as though we all have it and therefore take the maximum care in our daily lives – adhering stringently to the lock-down guidance. Put frankly those who don’t adhere are putting the lives of others at risk. I have also been asked by our county police gold commander to reiterate the fact that they will be out on the roads again over the weekend and coming Bank Holidays and will turn away people away who do not live here permanently.  Accessing second homes is not essential travel. It’s important to also remember – with the weekend forecast for good weather - that you should not gather in coastal communities or other beauty spots. The instruction is to exercise from your doorstep once a day not to travel to other places for this.

It is also a week in which we have seen more outstanding work by so many critical workers. Despite the NHS facing the ‘greatest challenge’ in its history, five nightingale hospitals are being kitted out from scratch across the country. This includes the new facility at Harrogate Convention Centre which will provide additional facilities for those critically ill – including any patients from our county, if that become necessary. NHS staff have done in days what would usually take months or years. That resilience and conviction is evident too with our own teams who are – as I write -  implementing a brand new model for health and social care services. This tremendous achievement will mean we can take some pressure off our NHS colleagues and provide the right level of care for non-critical patients away from hospital.  It is a really fantastic achievement that will make a big difference for our county in its response to this virus.

Nationally you will have heard about the difficulties experienced in getting appropriate Personal Protective Equipment for many frontline staff. This remains a concern despite how hard we have worked to get what we need for our health and social care staff, social workers and others on the frontline. While we have resolved some of our problems and been able to take delivery of sanitising gel, aprons and protective goggles – we still await significant deliveries of crucial face masks. I will keep you informed on progress.  Donations and provisions from local businesses have been very welcome and there is more on that below.

The huge community response efforts also continue at pace. Our customer service staff have already contacted hundreds of people we know are in isolation due to vulnerabilities. Early feedback is that this is very well received. We do not want anyone to feel they are alone and our community partners have risen to this challenge with remarkable vigour to lead this piece of work where it’s needed.

From next week a multi-agency coordination centre will operate from 3 Racecourse Lane, Northallerton.  This will offer all partners the opportunity to share systems and facilities – with strict social distancing and hygiene measures in place. This will further enhance our multi-agency working and should be a reassuring move for all.

As globally confirmed COVID-19 cases exceed one million, I can assure you that the partners involved in our north Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum continue to do everything possible to mitigate and plan for impacts from this unprecedented crisis here.

Please stay safe and stick to all the rules. We all need to continue – now more than ever – to do our bit to help save lives in our county and protect the NHS.

North Yorkshire County Council

Public Health Update

Global

The WHO reports:

  • 972,640 confirmed cases (up 114,999)
  • 50,325 deaths (up 8319)
  • 206 countries, areas or territories with cases

Nations with cases (31/03/20):

Country and rank Cases Deaths
1.USA 213,600 4,793
2. Italy 115,242 13,917
3. Spain 110,238 10,003
8. UK 33,722 2,921

 

Cases are currently increasing in many European states, including the UK’s closest geographical neighbours.

The UK is thought to be 2 to 3 weeks behind Italy on the epidemic curve.  The Italian outbreak took off in the last week of February and there are early signs of a slowdown in cases from the last week in March.  For the UK, the epidemic took off in the second week of March, suggesting early signs of a slowdown in the increase might happen in the second week of April.  North Yorkshire may be lagging behind the UK as a whole.

The UK

Public Health England data shows there were 33,718 cases in the UK on 2nd April. Cases have doubled in 5 days: on 28th March there were 17,100 cases. There have been 2,921 deaths recorded, doubling in 4 days from 1,400 on 30th March.

North Yorkshire

The number of cases in North Yorkshire continues to increase. The 2nd April saw a smaller daily increase compared with the previous day, with 14 new cases identified, bringing the overall total to 163. Cases continue to increase exponentially and, despite this fall in new cases, it is anticipated that daily new cases will continue to increase. Cases are those confirmed by test, there is likely to be ten times that number in the community.

You will see from all of this how critical it is that everyone continues to play their part in obeying all the health and hygiene messages issued by PHE and the NHS. Protect yourselves and help save lives while we face the very challenging days and weeks still to come.

Dr Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health for North Yorkshire

Schools and Childcare

The majority of schools catering for the children of critical workers will remain open over the Easter holiday.  However, to meet any gaps in provision we are setting up a series of additional childcare hubs across the county.  

Some of these new hubs will cater for school-aged children and some will cater for pre-school children 0-4.   They will operate from nearby schools and nurseries and will be close to local hospitals. Parents can book onto the hubs for a full or half day and they will open from 7.45am to 5.45pm.

The new early years’ hubs 0 to 4 will be open from Good Friday and will operate seven days a week. There will be a maximum of ten places available for pre-school children in each hub.

The new hubs for school-aged children aged 4-12 will only run on weekends and the Easter bank holiday (including Good Friday) as there is expected to be sufficient cover from North Yorkshire schools during the normal working week. They will offer a maximum of 20 places.

The new hubs will be staffed from the existing school workforce.

Home to school transport

There will be no home to school transport provided on Good Friday, Easter Monday or over any weekends to any school or hub and we ask that on those days, parents and carers are responsible for transporting children to school.

Home to school transport providers are liaising with schools to find out whether there is a need to operate during the rest of the Easter holidays.

If transport operators don’t have the ability to continue to transport pupils to school, then alternative arrangements are being put in place between ourselves and the schools.

For any critical workers who are having problems accessing school or early years provision, please email us on cyps.covid19@northyorks.gov.uk and provide full details, including your usual educational setting, the days needed for child care, any other issues and contact details.

Free school meals

Schools in North Yorkshire are using different approaches to continue to provide free school meals, according to the resources they have. But all families who are entitled to free school meals will continue to receive these or vouchers during term time and should contact their school for details.

Early years funding

We have agreed to fund early years’ provision over the Easter holiday for the children of critical workers so they can continue with their vital contribution to the Covid-19 response.  The additional funding will be based on their normal entitlement to funded childcare provision.

Critical workers should check with their early years’ provider as to whether they are offering funded provision for critical worker children during the Easter holiday period. 

If you are a critical worker and you are having difficulty accessing early years childcare during the Easter holiday period please contact 01609 780780 or email cyps.covid19@northyorks.gov.uk

Stuart Carlton, Director of Children and Young People’s Services

Adult Learning and Skills Service

Our team’s delivery methods have moved to more creative online options, adapting their timetables to suit those learners that also need to home school their children and changing perceptions about learning online. Colleagues have taken on the integration of new technologies and systems readily and are sharing their experiences daily.

Family Learning teachers have been sending out activities over the Easter period. Families will be keeping in touch with each other while drawing, sharing and commenting on each other’s work on Google Classroom

Maths and English courses are continuing online. The feedback is that the learners really appreciate the bespoke delivery and are very keen to continue their studies. Adults can join new courses starting from 20th April.

‘Ask the Teacher’ has been set up for parents and carers to message ALSS directly through social media for learners who need some support with their children’s homework.

Supporting the mental health of all our learners is very important to us. Teachers and advisers are ensuring regular contact with more vulnerable learners and advising them of activities that will help them to manage the challenges of social isolation and stay connected to the service. 

For more information visit:  https://www.facebook.com/NorthYorkshireAdultLearning

Support for people in isolation

Over the past two days our Customer Service staff have proactively contacted more than 300 people who are self-isolating as a result of what’s known as the government shield. These are the people in North Yorkshire who have been asked to stay at home for 12 weeks because they are particularly vulnerable and our staff are making sure they get the help they need. These calls are being well received and seem to be good reassurance for residents that they are not alone. Food parcels for these residents are starting to arrive and are organised by central government. Work has been happening in parallel with this and a huge effort has gone into collating data for people who meet these criteria in our county. We have put in place a plan B in case it’s needed for anyone who needs that support and doesn’t receive it.

For other people self-isolating community support organisations continue to deliver outstanding results, with requests for help with food deliveries, shopping and collecting prescriptions making up the majority of their calls with some for befriending services. Calls to the community support organisations are increasing every day as both ourselves and our colleagues in the districts share and promote messages that help is out there for anyone who doesn’t have family, friends and neighbours to help them. We are committed to providing these 23 hubs with the resources they need to keep delivering this critical service and this week we provided finance and administrative support to our community support organisation in Thirsk within 24 hours of it being requested.

We are sending a clear message that nobody should feel they are alone and that we are working hard with our partners to make sure people do not get missed. People can now call our customer service centre seven days a week to be signposted to the right support. Our Facebook post reached almost 4k people in the first two hours.

Another important priority being progressed at speed this week is our Universal Plus offer. Although this term will only be used internally with partners and community support organisations, Universal Plus will bridge a much needed crossover between community support and health and adult services. It will match people who have low level care needs with a solution that is beyond what our community support organisations are able to offer. This is a crucial part of our approach to making sure nobody ‘falls through the net’. The processes around this are currently being tested with colleagues in adult social care and our aim is that this will be fully implemented next week.

Our message to the public remains unchanged. No one should feel alone, if they need help they can contact the council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780. We are also adding information to the website daily about national supermarkets to include opening hours and arrangements for vulnerable customers.

Self-isolating and looking for something to do? Don’t forget our huge resources in online library

While libraries are closed, our digital library service offers thousands of e-books, e-audio books, newspapers, magazines, comics, reference works and educational resources that people can access at any time. We anticipate increased demand for e-books and e-audio, so have placed an order to make more copies available.

All the digital services can be found at www.northyorks.gov.uk/digital-library. To use these, you will need your library card number and PIN number. If you do not know your PIN, call 01609 533878 and one will be issued. If you are not a library member and wish to join, just ring the same number.

For anyone who borrowed books, DVDs or CDs from a library before the closure, the loan period for all physical items has been extended to three months, so there is no need to worry about accruing fines.

Nationwide cultural initiatives

Over the past week, arts and cultural organisations have launched a range of digital initiatives to make sure extraordinary national collections and performances can be enjoyed by everyone whilst following the latest guidance from public health experts to stay at home.

Existing initiatives include:

More information here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/culture-at-your-fingertips-from-home

Local economy

Changes to Government loan schemes welcomed

Yesterday, the Chancellor launched new changes to the government-backed loan schemes to increase the number of businesses eligible for this support.

  1. Extended Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) 
    The Government has extended the CBILS so that all viable small businesses affected by COVID-19, and not just those unable to secure regular commercial financing, will now be eligible should they need finance to keep operating during this difficult time. 

    The government is also stopping lenders from requesting personal guarantees for loans under £250,000 and making operational changes to speed up lending approvals. The government will continue to cover the first twelve months of interest and fees. Please find further details here: https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme

  2. New Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS)
    The new CLBILS will ensure that more firms are able to benefit from government-backed support during this difficult time. It will provide a government guarantee of 80% to enable banks to make loans of up to £25 million to firms with an annual turnover of between £45 million and £500 million. 

Loans backed by a guarantee under CLBILS will be offered at commercial rates of interest and further details of the scheme will be announced later this month. Please find initial details here:https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-large-business-interruption-loan-scheme

 

Struggling business sectors

After several weeks of lockdown and with the impending Easter holidays that will prove difficult for working parents, businesses are feeling the strain.

Tourism businesses (accommodation, visitor attractions, and events) are the most at risk as many of the smaller B&B businesses start the 2020 season in debt with no positive revenue outlook in the coming months, given the lockdown over Easter which is likely to continue into the summer period. Welcome to Yorkshire and partners are working hard to address the challenges this sector faces.

Banks and engaging with businesses

Small business has found it challenging to engage with banks and local bank teams, but this is improving. Support is needed for businesses with business planning so that are best prepared for conversations with lenders. Assets are being developed with this aim in mind.

If you think there is a gap in support for businesses, either from the government or locally – please contact us and we’ll feed that in directly: enquiries@businessinspiredgrowth.com

The key workers ensuring other key workers can do their jobs

Key highways workers continue to help other key workers, including those in the NHS and social care, to deliver their essential services efficiently.

We and our highways contractors, including main contractor Ringway, are delivering roads maintenance during the Covid-19 outbreak to ensure that others who need to travel to provide crucial services or deliver vital food and other supplies can do so with confidence.

By keeping the county’s roads in good repair our highways workers are providing an essential service. It is important that the standard of our roads is maintained for NHS staff, social care workers, teachers, delivery drivers and others providing essential services.

We and our contractors take very seriously Government guidance around social distancing and the need for workers to stay safe and are observing the guidance on social distancing.

Since the current Government restrictions were introduced on 23 March, our highways service has received more than 500 service requests from customers and we have repaired almost 800 defects on the county’s highways network. Alongside this ongoing work, we intend to begin our annual surface dressing programme as soon as possible in the weeks after Easter.

Residents urged to keep waste to a minimum

Householders are encouraged to reduce the waste they create while the county’s household waste recycling centres (HWRCs) are temporarily closed and kerbside collection services are under pressure.

Our 20 HWRCs closed in March for the safety of staff and to discourage unnecessary travel. District and borough councils will prioritise collection of general waste for public health reasons.

We understand that while people are confined at home they may generate more waste, particularly if they have food and other essentials delivered. We ask them to minimise this as far as possible to support the efforts of the refuse collection teams.

Consider carefully any DIY or gardening projects. Bulky waste created can’t be taken to a household waste recycling centre and bulky items or garden waste should not be added to your general waste bin. Bulky waste would need to be stored at your home until the HWRCs are able to reopen. If you don’t have space, please don’t do such work.

Do not fly tip. It is an offence punishable by fines or imprisonment and offenders will be prosecuted.

Enquiries about kerbside collections should be made to district or borough councils.

Social Care and the NHS

We are now mobilising on the new temporary model for social care that we have developed to meet the anticipated demands of Covid-19 and the Hospital Discharge Requirement Guidance that came into effect on 19th March 2020.

From this weekend our teams will be providing cover on the hospital Discharge Command Hubs seven days a week from 8am – 8pm. This will include the bank holidays.

We are also finalising arrangements for our locality Response and Delivery Hubs with our NHS, Primary Care and District partners.  The Response and Delivery Hubs will provide support to people in the community as well as following up on those who may need ongoing support following their discharge from hospital. This will include safeguarding as well as care coordination. These hubs also operate from 8am-8pm seven days a week.

We are briefing key partners over the coming week and are making this information available to the public on our website.

Many people who use our services, for example our day services and respite/short break services, are following Government advice on social distancing and shielding to protect many vulnerable people.  Therefore, we have reviewed our provision to ensure we continue to offer a service to those people that need it, by keeping in touch or by providing a service from other buildings across the county. This will free up some of our building bases to provide additional support to hospital discharges across the county. We had our first admission into the additional bed capacity on Thursday 2nd April.

We are now involved in rapid recruitment and redeployment to ensure we have the right resources in place to meet the demand expected. We are also working through the updated guidance on PPE and care home admissions to ensure we are able to share accessible information to our teams, our providers and the people we support.

Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)

A close network of Yorkshire companies has rallied round to source supplies of much needed personal protection equipment for North Yorkshire’s care workers.

Due to difficulties in our national supply arrangements our senior officers spent much of last weekend on the phone to business associates across the region who could help in the crucial sourcing of PPE.  In particular, we were in search of Type II R fluid-resistant surgical masks, so that carers can continue to carry out their critical work safely during the Covid-19 pandemic in looking after older and disabled people.

As a result of collective effort and calls late into the night, Skipton company Deliver Net, which procures medical and cleaning products for care companies, linked in with the County Council to make a delivery this week of 11,000 of these urgently needed face masks.

Deliver Net is one of 7 distributors of PPE nationally chosen by the Department for Health and Social Care in a bid to quality assure products and to minimise profiteering. We could not ask more of our business partners. As soon as we put the call out about the need to maintain our PPE stocks and the need to extend our supply chain, the business community pulled out all the stops on our behalf. 

We continue to press ahead with our own established channels for PPE supply, but we are buoyed by this quick response from regional business.  We have also been supported with emergency back-up supplies from a range of other local companies, including the natural oils firm O&3, co-founded by Jennifer Wood, Eleanor Wade and Thomas Kerfoot – the three children of David Kerfoot, chair of the York and North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

The company has sourced thousands of respiration face masks from a supplier in China that are now on their way to North Yorkshire.  Other local companies in the county have this week given and delivered a broad range of face mask types for use as back-up if supplies of Type II R masks are disrupted, including highways contractor Ringway; construction industry supplier Hansons UK and l’Ansons, animal feed supplier in Masham.

It is very heart-warming to know we have so much help out there in meeting this critical challenge but the problem carries on; the challenge continues as we struggle with national supply and so we need people to continue to rally to our cause.  Our carers need all the supplies and support we can get to them and we are turning over every stone to make sure we keep these supplies going.

In particular, we would welcome any further supplies of Type II R fluid-resistant face masks and disposable eye protection to keep care workers safe and protected.

But people across our communities can also play a fundamental part in fighting coronavirus and keeping people safe.  The key message we want to get across to all our North Yorkshire residents continues to be - if you want to save lives and help the NHS and our care sector, stay at home, wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water and if you must go out for essential supplies keep at least a two metre distance from other people. 

New PPE guidance has been produced by PH England today https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-infection-prevention-and-control/covid-19-personal-protective-equipment-ppe

Advice on social care

People who use our adult social care services; have a direct payment; use our public health services; and/or need information for their family and friend carers can go to our document https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19-service-disruption#HAS   (an easy read version is also available to download).  They can also call 01609 780780 between 8am and 5.30pm Monday to Friday for further advice.  Outside those hours, if it is an urgent social care issue, they can contact the Emergency Duty Team on the same number.

Direct payments

Information about Direct Payments in North Yorkshire is available on the County Council’s website: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/direct-payments

Guidance for care providers
We are in contact with care providers and are signposting them to government guidance that sets out:

Translated information   

Information for residents is available in a range of languages: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people  (more translated material is being developed by PHE)

Useful links

Information about COVID-19, including advice on shielding vulnerable people, is available from: www.gov.uk/coronavirus

For information in North Yorkshire, more information can be found here:  https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus

www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19-community-support

The BBC also has a range of useful stories, advice sheets and videos https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/world-51939591 

Public Health

Looking after your mental health and wellbeing

The pandemic is having an impact on everyone’s lives and, for many, this also has a negative impact on their general mental health and wellbeing. Everyone reacts differently, but, for some people, staying at home may make them feel bored, lonely or isolated - whilst others may feel scared and anxious about their own health and that of their family. It is important that we look after our psychological health as well as our physical health at this time.

The government has released new guidance to help us look after our mental health which includes help to deal with negative emotions, and tips for mental health self-help. It is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-the-public-on-mental-health-and-wellbeing/guidance-for-the-public-on-the-mental-health-and-wellbeing-aspects-of-coronavirus-covid-19

The Every Mind Matters website includes a short video about how to exercise at home, plus advice and tips on how to maintain good mental health and manage anxiety during social distancing and isolation: https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/

These are also useful links on how to stay physically and mentally well:

Communications

Please be aware of false information online

Please look out for false information particularly online and encourage people to get information from trusted sources only. The successful ‘Don’t Feed the Beast’ public information campaign has launched to empower people to question what they read online.

The announcement: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-cracks-down-on-spread-of-false-coronavirus-information-online

At the County Council our website is updated several times a day and our social media and media responses are being widely shared and reproduced. There are increasing numbers of disruptions to services linked to the COVID-19 outbreak – the latest information can be found here: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19-service-disruption

All our latest press releases can be found here: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news 

 

A message from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

This week in North Yorkshire, we are focussed very much on finalising the preparations for the launch of a new model for the delivery of essential health and social care services. The aim of this new approach is simple - to provide the right care for people in the community so that critical care beds in hospitals can be released for those in desperate need linked to the COVID-19 outbreak. While the aim may sound simple, this is an incredibly complex piece of work that would usually take six months, however, together with our partners, we have completed this in two weeks. Staff are currently being briefed for imminent implementation and I will be able to say more about this in the days ahead. I am inspired by the dedication of all involved to overcome any difficulties and to think of new and innovative ways to deliver these vital healthcare services to our residents. Thank you.

To deliver some of this community support, I hope you will also have seen our recruitment drive yesterday. We are urging people to join our workforce to meet the unprecedented logistical and humanitarian challenge of caring for older people and others in need during this crisis. We are looking for cooks, drivers, home care workers, people offering companionship, alongside professionally qualified people in counselling and who have therapy skills. We will need all the help we can get, to meet the challenges, if we are to emerge on the other side in the best possible place as a county.

Our help for the self-isolating and vulnerable is gathering momentum and the first government food parcels to those behind the Government shield are due this week. This will relate to several thousand people in North Yorkshire. But there are tens of thousands of additional residents self-isolating for other vulnerabilities and our joint community support plans are now in place and operating extremely well to respond to that huge challenge.

This is thanks to the professionalism of the county and district council staff as well as the outstanding efforts of the 23 groups we are all working with in the community and voluntary sector. We hope this concerted and joined-up effort means no one in North Yorkshire needs to be without the food and medication, help and support they require in their hour of need. We do not want anyone to feel alone or isolated. I will repeat what I have said previously – if people do not have friends, family, neighbours, local groups or support networks around them, they can call us on 01609 780780 and we will get them the help they need.

Our £1m COVID grant support scheme (taken from our reserves), designed to help the most vulnerable with limited means to pay through a 14-day period of isolation, is also up and running. The scheme will help a variety of people including anyone over 70 to pay for food and other household essentials with help from the community support organisations. People can apply for a grant by contacting the customer service centre on the number above.

Our shops and supermarkets also have an important role to play in supporting our residents. Many are already responding well, but I appeal to them to think hard about what else they can do to help those most vulnerable.

No one wants to be in this position – but we are all here. How we come through this, will be dependent on our resilience and strength as a county. So, in closing today I would like to reiterate that we have some way to go in this fight and, as I have said before, our toughest moments are likely still to come. So, please pace yourselves and stay focussed on doing your bit to delay the spread. Obey the social distancing and ‘essential travel only’ rules, support your communities, protect the most vulnerable and do what we do best in North Yorkshire -  stay strong and stay safe.

Further information on the above can be found here:

North Yorkshire County Council

Schools and Childcare

We are working with schools and other education providers to put in place childcare over the Easter holidays for those key workers who need it.

Together, we are working with suppliers and other school contractors to make sure we have all the resources, including catering and cleaning arrangements, in place to cover as much of the holidays as possible. Over the next few days we will be finalising these details and schools will be contacting parents. We are hugely grateful for the hard work, dedication and flexibility of all the school staff involved in making sure this happens and would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to them.

While the pandemic is ongoing, it is also important we maintain our focus on the safety of all children and young people.

North Yorkshire Safeguarding Children Partnership has created a new, online resource containing information on safeguarding children and young people during the coronavirus outbreak.  This online information is constantly reviewed and updated.

The page can be accessed via the NYSCP home page and also via the direct link to the page

Key workers with queries about emergency childcare should email cyps.covid19@northyorks.gov.uk. Please include full details including the educational setting, days needed, the issue and your contact details.

Stuart Carlton, Director of Children and Young People’s Services

Support for people in isolation

We have a three tier approach to this challenge.  In the first instance we ask people to turn to friends, family or neighbours for help, the next line of support is via the very many community groups across the county springing up, then there are the established 23 community support organisations we are working with. If there are people with no access to any of these support mechanisms, they can call our professional customer service staff who will help them get the support they need.

Our 23 community support organisations (CSOs) are now entering their 3rd week of operation providing vital help to people in self-isolation who don’t have friends or family support.  The CSOs provide a single point of contact for localities and work with a range of local charities and volunteer groups to match people’s needs to the best groups to help them.   In a number of areas, the CSOs are working with other covid19-mutual aid groups and spontaneous volunteer groups that have been set up via social media, in a collective community effort to help those people who need support.

In their first week, Scarborough CSO alone, delivered 56 prescriptions, answered over 250 calls, and provided shopping and meals to more than 80 people; their databank of over 100 essential food and provision suppliers is helping local people access fresh food and essential items.

Anyone without help and support from family, friends or neighbours can be ‘matched’ to the community support organisation nearest to them by calling our customer service centre on 01609 780780.

To make sure that nobody ‘falls through the net’, and that there is added resilience for the CSOs, we are developing a Universal Plus for people who may have additional care needs. This enhanced community support will help people who are self-isolating and have additional low level care or health needs and will be managed through a dedicated team. This is in design at the moment, so not operational yet, but we will have more information next week.

This week we are making the £1m COVID grant support scheme available to help the most vulnerable with limited means through a 14-day period of isolation. This is being managed by our CSOs. The scheme will help a variety of people, including those over 70, to pay for food and other household essentials. People can apply for a grant by contacting the customer service centre on 01609 780780. We are pleased to say that our Harrogate CSO processed their first application yesterday and were able to issue their first grant.  

For people identified by the government as being extremely vulnerable, due to specific medical conditions, and who are being shielded for 12 weeks, a food parcel will be delivered directly to their homes in the next few days. This is expected to include an estimated 10,000 people in North Yorkshire. We are adding our own data to the central government lists, and have a food distribution network on standby to run alongside the national offer to make sure anyone who needs this additional support receives it. We are also encouraging retailers in the county, who can deliver food, to let us know; we are working with local branches of national supermarkets to agree bulk-buying arrangements to support food banks, volunteers and key workers.

Our data and information team is updating our North Yorkshire Connect directory so people and families can search for what local support is available in their neighbourhood.

Please look at our online well-being service for anyone in North Yorkshire who is looking for advice and help on how to stay well during this period of self-isolation and social distancing.

Self-isolating and looking for something to do? Don’t forget our huge resources in online library

While libraries are closed, our digital library service offers thousands of e-books, e-audio books, newspapers, magazines, comics, reference works and educational resources that people can access at any time.

We anticipate increased demand for e-books and e-audio, so have placed an order to make more copies available.

All the digital services can be found here. To use these, you will need your library card number and PIN number. If you do not know your PIN, call 01609 533878 and one will be issued. If you are not a library member and wish to join, just ring the same number.

For anyone who borrowed books, DVDs or CDs from a library before the closure, the loan period for all physical items has been extended to three months, so there is no need to worry about accruing fines.

Nationwide cultural initiatives

Over the past week, arts and cultural organisations have launched a range of digital initiatives to make sure extraordinary national collections and performances can be enjoyed by everyone whilst following the latest guidance from public health experts to stay at home.

Existing initiatives include:

More information can be found here.

Social Care and the NHS

We are carrying out a huge operation with NHS and social care colleagues across the County to mobilise staff to work in a new way to respond to Covid-19 so that we can:

  • Keep people safe and well;
  • Free up North Yorkshire’s share of the 30,000 hospital beds that are required nationally;
  • Prevent any unnecessary admissions to hospitals and 24/7 care, so that these services can be available for people who are critically ill.

These actions will result in changes to how hospital, primary care and community health and social care services work currently.

In order to make these changes work, we have also launched our “Your Community Needs You!” campaign, calling on people as a matter of urgency to join our care and support workforce at this critical period during the coronavirus pandemic.

We know that people want to help their communities and we have a huge army of volunteers stepping up with support of many kinds at this time.  However, for those who can, we are encouraging people to commit to work for us to make sure we can continue to support older people and other adults with disabilities, mental health issues and health conditions over the coming months.

For people whose current employment is taking a temporary downturn (for example if they work in retail, hospitality or tourism or are self-employed); or they have finished further education earlier than anticipated; or they are looking for temporary employment to support you with immediate income; or for those just keen to do their bit to help the county, we are urging them to apply immediately.

We work with adults of all ages from 18 upwards who may be frail or have multiple health conditions; people with learning and physical disabilities; and people with mental health issues, including dementia. We also work to support family carers.

There are many ways in which people can work and there is no requirement for specific experience or expertise in social care to help. Full training and support will be provided. If people are caring and compassionate and willing to get stuck in, we will have a role for them.

The ways in which people can help, may include:

  • Cooking meals and preparing snacks and drinks;
  • General housekeeping;
  • Driving to collect supplies, shopping and delivering vital equipment;
  • Helping people to get washed and dressed or get ready for bed;
  • Conversation and companionship and social activities - in person or by telephone or online;
  • Helping with physical activity;
  • Helping people to use technology so they can keep connected and keep well;
  • Accredited counselling and therapeutic skills; and
  • Organisation, co-ordination and administration - getting things done!

As we respond to the pandemic, there will be flexibility in the provision of services: face-to-face where necessary in people’s homes, whether they live alone or live in a care home or an extra care housing scheme; in short breaks or day services and out in the community (with due precautions taken to reduce the risk of Covid-19 infection).  The help could also be online or by telephone where that works better for people. 

As the response will be 24/7 people can consider availability for a variety of hours and times.

Please Note:

  • People can register their interest and apply straight away. If successful, the Council hopes to start people in jobs within one week after quick clearance checks. 
  • Please go to https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/careandsupport

If people are interested in care and support as a new career, we can look to consider permanent work, too.

Advice on social care

People who use our adult social care services; have a direct payment; use our public health services; and/or need information for their family and friend carers can go to our document (an easy read version is also available to download). They can also call 01609 780780 between 8am and 5.30pm Monday to Friday for further advice.  Outside those hours, if it is an urgent social care issue, they can contact the Emergency Duty Team on the same number.

Direct payments

Information about Direct Payments in North Yorkshire is available on the County Council’s website.

Guidance for care providers

We are in contact with care providers and are signposting them to government guidance that sets out:

  • How to maintain delivery of care in the event of an outbreak or widespread transmission of COVID-19
  • What to do if care workers or individuals being cared for have symptoms of COVID-19

Translated information   

Information for residents is available in a range of languages (more translated material is being developed by PHE).

Useful links

Public Health

Looking after your mental health and wellbeing

The pandemic is having an impact on everyone’s lives and, for many, this also has a negative impact on their general mental health and wellbeing. Everyone reacts differently, but, for some people, staying at home may make them feel bored, lonely or isolated - whilst others may feel scared and anxious about their own health and that of their family. It is important that we look after our psychological health as well as our physical health at this time.

The government has released new guidance to help us look after our mental health which includes help to deal with negative emotions, and tips for mental health self-help.

The Every Mind Matters website includes a short video about how to exercise at home, plus advice and tips on how to maintain good mental health and manage anxiety during social distancing and isolation.

These are also useful links on how to stay physically and mentally well:

Local Democracy

This week and next week, a series of Skype meetings are being held with the members of the County Council’s six Area Constituency Committees.  These committees are based upon the six MP constituencies and are intended to enable our county councillors to respond to local issues that have a strategic significance to the Council. 

The Skype meetings will be informal and cover a range of issues including: what work the councillors are doing in there patch to support communities; any issues of concern in their patch that the Council can help with; and updates on the work that the Council is doing, with partners, to develop community hubs.  These meetings will also give our councillors an opportunity to catch-up with each other and to share information and ideas.

The intention is to complete one round of informal meetings and then see whether it is helpful to have further meetings.  Democratic Services will follow-up by phone with any councillor who was unable to engage in the Skype meeting.

Communications

Please be aware of false information online

Please look out for false information particularly online and encourage people to get information from trusted sources only. Nationally Government are tackling this and The Culture Secretary will be contacting social media companies this week to thank them, assess the progress made, and discuss what other potential measures can be put in place to ensure accurate, honest information consistently reaches users of their platforms.

The successful ‘Don’t Feed the Beast’ public information campaign will also relaunch next week, to empower people to question what they read online.

The announcement

At the County Council our website is updated several times a day and our social media and media responses are being widely shared and reproduced. There are increasing numbers of disruptions to services linked to the COVID-19 outbreak – the latest information can be found here

All our latest press releases can be found here.

Click here for the latest NHS guidance

Click here for GOV.UK highlights

A message from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

We are all working in an unprecedented period of interruption to the way we live our lives and run our businesses, but at the same time we must remain very much focussed on continuing to deliver the best public services possible and to direct our efforts towards those who need them most.

I fully recognise there are many questions and concerns and that we are all in a fast changing environment which is likely to continue for some time.

I will, therefore, aim to share this regular briefing note with you to ensure you are kept up to date with the latest information, help and guidance that North Yorkshire County Council has to share.

We have already undertaken detailed reviews of our business continuity plans to reflect the likely impact of COVID-19 on our workforce and working practices. These are robust and prioritise particularly the delivery of health and social care services, support for parents, families and the workforce at large, including, of course, our own dedicated staff. We are also working extremely hard to support North Yorkshire’s people and businesses as well as the hugely important community and voluntary sector networks.

We are absolutely committed to continuing to work with our health, local authority and emergency service partners to plan and respond to a broad range of challenges, as you would hope and rightly expect. This means we can collectively understand the county’s needs and target our resources where they are needed most.

We also have a big focus on communications and will update this new bulletin twice a week - or more if that is appropriate. I hope you will find it useful.

Schools and childcare

School closures

We will work with all our schools, families and communities in supporting the decision by our Government to close schools from tomorrow.

We have set up a Covid-19 task group to support our school staff in their work with families to ensure that children’s learning can continue in the home environment. 

We are now working round the clock to address plans with schools and at a multi-agency level to help to protect our children and young people, particularly those who are most vulnerable, and to help to keep them safe in the period to come. It is an enormous task which will involve all our communities and resourcefulness and the cooperation of all

We fully support the mission for the children of key workers and those who are vulnerable to continue to attend schools and we are now working to make that happen. This includes working with schools, providers and suppliers to ensure that transport arrangements are in place and children are safeguarded and fed across North Yorkshire, particularly in areas where rural isolation is a factor.

Plans also include supporting private, voluntary and independent childcare providers in the county, such as nurseries and child minders and potentially sharing resources where necessary.

We are also considering how we utilise the full workforce available which will include county council as well as school staff. This workforce may need to work through the Easter holidays and for potentially several months ahead. We also need to consider how we mobilise the skills and experience of school staff who are well but fall into the ‘vulnerable’ and working from home category but who can offer much in the overall effort to provide the best learning opportunities possible for our children and young people and also care for their wellbeing.

The majority of children and young people will now be continuing studies at home, remotely and many of our schools have already been developing home learning and online learning packs.

In North Yorkshire we have well established, tried and tested partnership working practices which help us to manage the impact of very significant challenges. During this unprecedented challenge for our county and our nation we will focus our joint resources where they are needed most in protecting the future wellbeing of our young people.

It’s important to have a single source of trusted information so we are using one web-page to provide information for all educational settings https://cyps.northyorks.gov.uk/covid-19.

Support for people in isolation

We know that people across the county will want to help their communities and we’re encouraging everyone to look out for anyone in their immediate area who might need help, whilst also keeping social distancing advice in mind. Although we need to be careful about physical contact, offering to call your neighbour who can’t get out so they have someone to chat to on the phone could make all the difference.

We are taking a leading role with other local authorities up and down the county to ensure we help shield people who may be more vulnerable, such as those with underlying medical conditions as well as people over 70, who are self-isolating, over the coming weeks and months.

In addition to this, our stronger communities team are working with district and borough councils and volunteers to help people understand how they can get the help they need.

Our advice to anyone self-isolating is to firstly ask yourself:

  • Do I have family, friends or a neighbour who I can call?
  • Are you a member of a local club or church group?

If so, they may have volunteers in your neighbourhood who are offering to help with things like shopping or looking after pets.

For anyone who may not have this immediate support; we are encouraging them to contact one of our trusted voluntary organisations.

We are working with our community partners across the whole county to ensure that local support will be available for anyone who needs it so that no-one is left alone.

If there is anyone who has no help or support and is struggling we will help you, but we ask that, in the first instance, you turn to people around you – family, friends and neighbours - so that we can find and help those most vulnerable and at risk.

Help for people who have nobody

From Monday 23 March, the county council customer service centre will be providing support for those people who have nobody and find themselves in desperate need of help. This help can be accessed by calling our hotline on 01609 780780, the team will signpost you to the right support and ensure you a provided with the care you need.

We know North Yorkshire is a place of great kindness and we will be highlighting some of the stories that will illustrate that throughout this period.

Community support information is now live on our website at
www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19-community-support

Watch out for fraudsters

Unfortunately, nationally, there have been reports of frauds relating to the supply of face masks, primarily online and fraudsters posing as legitimate banks trying to persuade people to disclose personal information. 

Our Trading Standards officers are encouraging family and friends to help to protect residents from potential scams.

Some claim to provide medical guidance, investment opportunities or a safe place to which to transfer money.

We urge everyone:

  • Not to deal with cold callers at any time, either by phone or at the door, but particularly those who may seek to exploit the current situation.
  • Not to respond to unsolicited emails.
  • To take extra care of elderly and disabled residents to protect them from such scams.
  • To report all frauds to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040, or through their website www.actionfraud.police.uk

Local economy

NYCC

We are working hard with our district council colleagues and the LEP to help our businesses to access the range of financial support mechanisms announced by Government this week and there will be more details to follow on that. However, as part of our commitment as a County Council to our local suppliers, we are also taking dynamic action to help our small and medium-sized businesses. In recognition of the value we place on our local suppliers and the difficult times they are facing, we will be fast-tracking payments for invoices – which means they will receive payment from us more quickly. We hope that will be of some assistance during this difficult time.

The latest measures announced by the Chancellor The Right Hon. Rishi Sunak MP this week are welcomed in North Yorkshire where nearly 90 per cent of our companies are micro (0-9 employees) and 10 per cent are SME (10-250). The district councils are leading on the administration of a number of aspects of this work, further details are on the links below.

York and North Yorkshire LEP

Everyone in our region is facing unprecedented challenges, including our businesses. As a LEP, we will help those organisations navigate their way through this difficult period, ensuring that they remain healthy now and into the future.

Some businesses in the region are thriving due to the pandemic; others are experiencing difficulties with cash flow and staff. We see many adapting their businesses to this new reality with ingenuity and resilience.

The Chancellor has set out a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19. Highlights of the packages can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses.

Whilst it will take a little time for this support to be provided, it will be delivered and as the Chancellor said, together we will do whatever it takes to assist those in need.

Keep up to date with latest news on our website www.businessinspiredgrowth.com or encourage businesses to sign up to our e-newsletters so they receive any updates directly.

You can also find out more at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses

Social care and the NHS

The County Council is working closely with the NHS and over 500 providers of public health and adult social care services to ensure that essential services keep running and that they prioritise people with the greatest needs.

We are working hard with the NHS to help some of those most vulnerable people who will need hospital care to free up North Yorkshire’s share, what is estimated nationally to be 30 000 hospital beds.

We are also working with home care, day services and direct payments providers and residential and nursing homes, as well as specialist public health services (including children’s services, sexual health and substance misuse) to keep people safe and well. We have asked all of them to use their contingency plans to ensure they are able to prioritise their workloads. A weekly bulletin is being provided to these services and dedicated support is being offered from the Council’s Quality and Monitoring Team and Public Health teams.

We are working with Public Health England and local service providers to supply and distribute protective clothing and equipment for frontline workers who are working with people with Covid-19 symptoms.

The Council’s local social care teams are meeting daily to review people’s cases, respond to urgent situations and ensure essential work is prioritised.

If people have queries or concerns, they should contact the county council’s customer service centre on 01609 780 780 Monday – Friday 8:00am to 5:30pm, or go on line to find out about on-line services  https://www.northyorks.gov.uk

Communications

We have been supporting Public Health England’s and NHS public information campaigns for many weeks and we have now developed a more detailed area of the staff intranet and public website where all the latest information, advice and guidance can be found. We have undertaken regular and comprehensive communications with managers within the council and the whole workforce. Understandably there has been a high level of engagement with social and health care staff and providers as well as education and child care settings. Details of all service changes including schools and libraries can be found on the blue NYCC button above this text labelled Communications.

GOV.UK

This is a fast changing environment and The Prime Minister is holding daily press conferences. The highlights of these are published by government on the Gov.uk link above this text.

The latest health advice

The latest NHS guidance is available here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19

In summary:

What to do if you develop COVID-19 symptoms

The two most common symptoms of COVID-19 are a fever (i.e. temperature about 37.8 OC) and/or a new continuous cough.

The situation is constantly evolving so it’s important to check for the latest guidance where possible on the gov.uk website. The current guidance (correct as of 16th March) advises that:

  • If you live alone and you develop symptoms of coronavirus illness (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms started.
  • If you live with others and you or one of them have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill. All household members who remain well may end household-isolation after 14 days.
  • For anyone in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for 7 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14 day isolation period.
  • After 7 days, if the first person to become ill feels better and no longer has a high temperature, they can return to their normal routine. If any other family members become unwell during the 14-day household-isolation period, they should follow the same advice - that is, after 7 days of their symptoms starting, if they feel better and no longer have a high temperature, they can also return to their normal routine.

More information is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection

Keeping physically and mentally well

Staying at home for a prolonged period can be difficult, frustrating and lonely for some people. It’s important to remember to take care of your mind as well as your body and to get support if you need it. Stay in touch with family and friends over the phone or on social media. There are also sources of support and information that can help, including:

Mind – https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus-and-your-wellbeing/)

WHO factsheet – https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/mental-health-considerations.pdf?sfvrsn=6d3578af_8

Every Mind Matters – https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/

There is more information on how to stay fit and well on the NHS web pages https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-advice/

The BBC also has a range of useful stories, advice sheets and videos https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/world-51939591