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

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

October 21 update

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keeping in touch

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

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

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

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

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

Self-Isolation and Close Contacts

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

Individuals should self-isolate if:

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

Guidance on how long to self-isolate include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Working together towards recovery

Testing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

North Yorkshire launches pilot to get children school-ready

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Supporting our schools and childcare

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

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

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

Teamwork to support our residents

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information about help for you here.

Growing our local economy

LEP News:

Job Support Scheme

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

New guidance on £9 billion Job Retention Bonus

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

Read the full Job Retention Bonus update

Self-isolation support payments

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

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

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

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

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

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

Small Business Leadership Programme and Peer Network Scheme

Access the Small Business Leadership Programme and Peer Network Scheme.

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

What industry placements look like in your sector

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

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

Find out more and register for a webinar.

Process and Product Innovation (PAPI) York

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

Discover more about PAPI.

Ad:Venture | Extensive online programme until December

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

REMINDER: LEP Annual Conference

Join us on Friday 6 November for our annual conference.

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

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

Staying informed

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

North Yorkshire Council Council Covid-19 News

Previous bulletins

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

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

That is a sobering thought. 

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

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

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

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

Until then stay safe and enjoy half-term.

Keeping in touch

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

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

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

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

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

Events Guidance

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

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

More detail on enjoying Halloween can be found here.

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

 

Working together towards recovery

Testing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Supporting our schools and childcare

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Teamwork to support our residents

Since March, Harrogate and District Community Action (HADCA) has been working alongside Ripon Community House as part of the community support organisation network helping people through the coronavirus pandemic. One of their volunteers, Stewart Webb, has made the transition from volunteer driver to Harrogate Easier Living Project (HELP) volunteer.

Anna Woollven, HELP Project Development Worker, said: “Stewart has been volunteering with our service for the last two years. Up until March, he was helping people get to medical appointments, make essential trips and other journeys as one of our volunteer drivers. We reshaped our services to also offer shopping, prescription collections, errand running and telephone befriending.

“Stewart was one of the first to sign up to help in this new capacity as a ‘Here to HELP’ volunteer. He has been an absolute stalwart throughout. In the early days when people were struggling to obtain food supplies, he helped set up and coordinate food boxes. As well as assistance on a practical level, Stewart has been keeping a friendly eye on some of his regular clients and flagged up any concerns to us. For example, where he feels clients might enjoy a befriending call. We are extremely grateful to Stewart, and all our other volunteers, for giving their time and support to help other people.”

Stewart said: “I lost my wife 11 years ago and I was getting bored. I went to Age Concern and asked what I could do and somebody said ‘we’d like you to come and be one of our car drivers’. That was about two and a half years ago. When Covid hit, we came to a full stop. There was no handbook. No rules. We had to start from scratch.

“It can be very rewarding and helps keep me occupied. People feel awkward sometimes and struggle to accept support, having a sense of humour can help. We’re a bit like a tree really, if we can’t help, we have branches and we know someone who can.”

As the number of coronavirus cases across the county continues to increase, community support organisations and the voluntary sector partners they are working alongside are preparing for a potential increase in demand.

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

For more information about help for you here.

Communities are also being encouraged to keep checking on family, friends and neighbours who might need a helping hand with shopping, collecting medication, or simply being there for a chat.

Growing our local economy

LEP News: Local business support for those in Tier 2

York is now in the Tier 2/High Risk category. The York & North Yorkshire LEP and Growth Hub are here to provide assistance and support to these businesses and others across the region.

We continue to lobby government for more financial support for the businesses impacted, as do many from across the North.

Bounce Back Loans and Coronavirus Interruption Loans are schemes that are both still open. Nearly 17,000 loans have been granted across our region, amounting to £643.6m. Get more information about the Bounce Back Loans and Coronavirus Interruption Loans.

Reminder: The York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub continues to offer eligible businesses 12-months fully funded membership to the online, community-led shopping platform, ShopAppy.com. Find more information about membership here.

Local Covid Alert Levels

The Government's Covid regulations () have come into force in England.

The launch of a new Postcode Checker  enables people to find out quickly the Covid alert level in the areas that they live and work.

Chamber to explore future skills needs

The West & North Yorkshire Chamber in partnership with West Yorkshire Learning Providers is conducting research into future skills needs for businesses across the region.

A short survey can be completed here.

How can your business benefit from the circular economy?

  • FREE webinar: 2 November, 12 noon

To celebrate the start of Circular Yorkshire month, businesses are invited to attend a free webinar that will explore practical steps to help businesses benefit from the circular economy.

All attendees will be given access to our new Circular Economy: 6 Benefits to Business e-guides, developed with the FSB, CBI and West and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce. These are full of practical advice and information about making simple changes within your business.

Register here

How businesses need to prepare for EU exit

Letters are going out to VAT-registered businesses from HMRC to highlight actions that are required to continue to trade with the EU from 1 January 2021.

Read how businesses need to prepare for EU exit here.

The Government is committed to helping businesses to get ready for the end of the Transition Period on 31 December 2020.

​​​​​​Government launches Export Growth Plan to help business

The Government has launched an Export Growth Plan to help businesses in England build back better following the pandemic.

Film & TV Production Restart Scheme is now open

A £500 million scheme to cover Covid-related insurance costs is now live.

Screen productions struggling to restart due to a lack of coronavirus-related insurance will now get the go-ahead, as the Government-backed Film and TV Production Restart Scheme formally launches.

 

Staying informed

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

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

It has been a busy week and there is much to update you on! I will start with our fight against the impacts of coronavirus in North Yorkshire and with a hearty thank you to everyone for their significant efforts to keep us out of wider lockdown measures.

Today, Government has confirmed that North Yorkshire and York remain in the new Tier 1 level of restrictions. That puts us in line with the majority of the country – although we should not forget that we are surrounded by many areas under far tighter interventions and with stricter rules.

Thanks to your collective effort over recent weeks, we are seeing the previously surging infection rates stabilise in a number of areas, and outbreaks in many settings are effectively managed. Our schools now have 92% attendance – this, I hope, is due to the faith parents have in our education system and our teachers’ ability to provide safe learning environments for pupils. We are extremely grateful for that support.

Our businesses have responded immediately and with diligence to the requirements of national government around providing safe environments for staff and customers. Many people have downloaded the NHS app to help support faster contact tracing where someone you have been close to has tested positive for Covid-19.

There is a long road to travel as we fight the devastating impacts of this virus, but I hope this serves as an incentive for us all to carry on our good work and bring others with us on this journey. There will almost certainly be dark days ahead, we know that, but if you keep up your effort, we will get through this in better shape.

Looking at the latest data, it is clear from North Yorkshire’s Director of Public Health, Dr Lincoln Sargeant, that the most difficult area for us to tackle the spread of infection is within households and their social interactions – and it’s to there that the majority of the spread can be tracked. Understanding that is helpful for a number of reasons. Firstly, because it should give us all confidence to continue to attend or support our education and childcare settings, to carry on supporting our businesses and to go about our daily lives in a safe way. Also, because if we accept that fact, we know exactly what we must do to keep on top of it. Wash our hands, keep our distance, cover our faces and stick to the rule of six. You have proven once again how willing you are to make the necessary sacrifices. Please, stay part of Team North Yorkshire and keep making that difference.

Some more positive news is that two new permanent testing sites are to open shortly. One in Harrogate and one in Scarborough. There is more detail on those sites here.

Our Public Health consultants tell us that testing capacity across the county remains good. That is a crucial piece of the jigsaw in battling Covid-19. So, if you have symptoms, please book a test and if a site in North Yorkshire is not immediately available on the national portal then please keep trying. We know that slots are updated regularly throughout the day, so it is worth persevering!

The other big-ticket item I want to talk about is the subject of how local government is organised here. Many of you will be aware that there are currently nine councils across North Yorkshire and York delivering your local services. You may also have seen some of the media coverage over the past few months about all of this. In brief, not only is this system duplicative but it is also expensive. Both ourselves and the district councils have been developing proposals to change that here.

Understandably, when nine councils are to become two, there are differences of opinion. The thing we all have in common is that both proposals have independently identified tens of millions of pounds in waste that could, and we believe should, be used to shore up crucial frontline services – critical and nationally recognised services that we deliver, such as children’s services including safeguarding, health and social care services and so on. We have spent the past months listening very carefully to you, our partners in health and the emergency services, town and parish councils, the community and voluntary sector, employers and wider businesses, unions and, of course, our younger generation. We have undertaken surveys, polls, focus groups, webinars and very many briefings to listen and build the strongest possible case for everyone in North Yorkshire. We believe that a single, strong and sustainable council – serving every single one of you – delivering the best possible public services and lobbying for North Yorkshire nationally with a single voice – is the strongest option. On Friday evening, all of these nine councils (including the City of York) received an invitation from the Secretary of State to prepare to submit their proposals and I want to do everything possible to ensure I keep you informed of progress. 

It is our view, and shared by many, that only a single council for North Yorkshire can deliver in the toughest of times, protecting excellent services we already deliver, encompassing the very best from each district council – and working extremely closely at grassroots level in communities to ensure that your voice is strengthened as part of this. We appreciate the district councils do not share our view and I am sure you will hear much on that. However, our proposal retains the strengths and scale that are important in delivering key countywide services, while also being resilient enough to take the lead in emergencies such as flooding and the current pandemic. We are home to public health, health and social care, schools and childcare services and, of course, the resilience and emergencies team. We deliver many of the life-giving and life-changing services you need on your journey, but equally we deliver at hyper-local level all day every day in your community. Our safeguarding and health and social care teams help some of the most frail and vulnerable people every day, our Stronger Communities team is coordinating the community and voluntary sector response to the pandemic and supporting groups and individuals continuously – knocking on doors and keeping people safe. We care about the whole of North Yorkshire and our nationally acclaimed Trading Standards service takes it very personally when people come into North Yorkshire and rip people off! We will propose only what we can deliver on, and those proposals will be based on knowledge, experience and understanding of the needs of people and places everywhere in our county. This is something I feel incredibly passionate about, as you may be able to tell. But, here are a couple of very recent examples of how our staff go the extra mile every day to deliver you the very best services possible. From our social workers and care home staffto our voluntary sector support.

Please keep safe and thank you for playing your part for North Yorkshire.

Keeping in touch

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

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

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

The number of cases of COVID-19 in North Yorkshire continues to increase.  At 12th October, there have been 5,222 positive tests since 3rd March, with 1,422 new cases reported in the past two weeks.  Over the past week, the average number of new cases is approximately 116 cases per day. Work continues to ensure effective monitoring of all areas, with support for incidents being provided across a range of settings, which are reviewed daily.

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

Local COVID alert levels: Tier System

The new system of local COVID alert levels introduced by the Government came into place today (14th October) and replaces the current area-based restrictions. This new system aims to ensure that the right level of intervention is in place in the right areas to limit the transmission and spread of Coronavirus and aid effective management of outbreaks. There are three levels (or tiers) within the new system medium (1), high (2) and very high (3), with the decision to move a geographic location into a level being based on a number of factors including number of cases, rates of infection, patterns of transmission alongside other consideration such as numbers of Coronavirus-related hospital admissions. We are at level 1, medium.

Each level sets out restrictions about what you can and cannot do if you live, work or travel in each local COVID alert level. Details of the restrictions in each level and the current level in your area can be found here.

Working together towards recovery

Testing

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

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

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

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

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

  • Thursday 15 October - Whitby - Whitby Park and Ride, Whitby, YO21 1TL
  • Thursday 15 October - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Friday 16 October - Sherburn in Elmet - White Rose Sports Club, The Recreation Ground, Tadcaster Road, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6EL
  • Friday 16 October - Harrogate - The Hydro, Jenny Field Drive, Harrogate, HG1 2RP
  • Saturday 17 October - Skipton - Coach St car park, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 1LH
  • Saturday 17 October - Selby – South Entrance, Drax Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Sunday 18 October - Scarborough – Scarborough Park & Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough YO12 4LW
  • Sunday 18 October - Northallerton - Newby Wiske Hall, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL7 9HA
  • Sunday 18 October - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Sunday 18 October - Harrogate - Harrogate High School, Ainsty Road, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG1 4AP

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

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

Supporting our schools and childcare

The Government has announced some alterations to GCSE and A-level exams in summer next year, involving a slightly reduced curriculum content and delaying the exams by three weeks to take into account the disruption to education brought about by the pandemic.

While we understand there is still uncertainty, we welcome this announcement.

We will continue to follow Government guidance on exams and prepare and support our students and schools for their exams this academic year.

Our schools are working incredibly hard to get students to the point they need to be in their education including consideration of how to allocate their catch-up funding to support their pupils.

We are confident that our young people will be as prepared as any in the country when exams go ahead next summer.

North Yorkshire County Council is currently providing support to any settings in North Yorkshire where a positive case of coronavirus has been reported. The numbers of schools reporting positive cases remain low and in the vast majority of cases, this involves a very small number of cases. This is being managed by isolating those identified in close contact following the advice and guidance of Public Health England.

Throughout all this, we are pleased to report that attendance has remained strong in North Yorkshire and remains consistently above the national average.

Teamwork to support our residents

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information about help for you here.

Growing our local economy

LEP News

Job Support Scheme

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

New guidance on £9 billion Job Retention Bonus

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

Read the full update.

Self-isolation support payments

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

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

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

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

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

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

Small Business Leadership Programme and Peer Network Scheme

Access the Small Business Leadership Programme and Peer Network Scheme.

Ambitious businesses in York and North Yorkshire have the opportunity to come together and work collaboratively as part of our new Peer Networks programme: https://www.ynygrowthhub.com/resources/peer-networks-programme/

What industry placements look like in your sector:

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

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

Find out more and register here

Staying informed

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

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

Today, I am sorry to say that, despite the terrific efforts of many of you, in North Yorkshire we are now in a more serious position than last week. Infections of Covid-19 continue to rise across the county – as they do in many areas – and specifically in the north of England. We are, by no means, in the perilous position of some of our close neighbours, but, unfortunately, without an urgent, sustained and collective effort from everyone – we are heading that way.

The England 7-day average rate of infection per 100,000 people is 93.2. North Yorkshire’s is now 91.1. However, in areas such as Craven and particularly around the Skipton and south Craven border, the situation is above that at 136.5.

We suspect that the continued and worrying rise in cases in this area will result in the district going onto the Government’s watch list as an area of concern. Scarborough and Selby, which were the first parts of the county to go onto the watch list, are no longer seeing the highest level of spread. It is reasonable to assume that this is due to effective support and interventions by our public health team and wider local resilience forum partners, as well as a really positive and sustained response from residents and businesses there. I thank you for doing the right thing for your friends, family, neighbours and businesses and urge you to keep up that good work. To everyone right across North Yorkshire, I am asking you to redouble your effort. The next few days will be critical; we stand at a tipping point and only by playing our part as individuals in a concerted effort will we be able to step back from this precipice.

Across the county, our public health colleagues are dealing with 125 outbreaks and incidents across a whole range of settings. Where they fall within settings we have direct access to, the outbreak management plans are working very effectively in containing the virus. These include schools, care homes and workplaces. Where containment is far more complex, unfortunately, is also where the most frequent spread is taking place. This is within households and social interactions. We are also seeing infection carried into the county from surrounding areas where the rates are higher.

Please stay alert to the risks at all times. You may suffer only mild symptoms, but you may unknowingly give it to someone who is much more at risk from the more serious side-effects of Covid. They may become extremely poorly and, in some cases, they may die. Indeed, I am sorry to say that our NHS colleagues are now reporting increasing numbers of Covid patients in intensive care units in hospitals serving North Yorkshire and a number of those people have sadly died.

Please – let us not lose any more of our loved ones; let’s take this urgent call to action together and take the steps we know work. Wash hands, cover face, leave space.

I should touch on the steep rise in cases reported this week. You may have heard about the national issue involving thousands of positive test results being unreported due to a technical glitch. This national error has affected figures here, too, but more importantly it has meant that many people who may have been close contacts of those who tested positive were not contacted by the NHS Test and Trace team.   For those of you who were not aware of this, there is a government statement here which explains the glitch.

Understandably, many people have been keen to keep track of positive tests in their communities and we have responded to that need for information by publishing daily statistics on a ‘heat map’ on our social media platforms and by setting up this web page. If you would like to understand the position near you, please take a look.

North Yorkshire is a place of resilience and kindness and I know we can get through this together. Just this week we heard how small grants from our Stronger Communities team have been making a big difference to people struggling with communicating because they were visually impaired or deaf. This is an uplifting story of positivity, which I hope you will enjoy.

Finally, I will leave you with the words of our Director of Public Health for North Yorkshire, Dr Lincoln Sargeant, from a press conference today and please stay safe.

“As the infection rate rises, the chances of being in contact with someone who is infected are greater and the risks higher. It is inevitable that as the infection rate rises we will see infections introduced into communities where there are more vulnerable people, like care homes.  We will begin to see more hospitalisation of people with Covid and we will begin to report deaths.  York hospital has had its first Covid death for many weeks.

“We must not fall into complacency. We need to contain the infection, otherwise this will translate into more severe illness and death and we will begin to see the same patterns we saw in April.

“So we must carry on with those hands, face, space measures - keeping a two-metre distance when we can, washing our hands, wearing a facemask, even outside when we are in crowded areas. When people are being tested, it is also vitally important that they self-isolate and that they cooperate with the test and trace programme over their contacts. 

“This is how we will break the chain of transmission, by playing our part, by making sure that we don’t become a player in causing the spread.”

Keeping in touch

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

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

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus data

A public facing webpage providing an overview of North Yorkshire Coronavirus data is now available on our website. The overview provides information on the number of cases at county, district and local area level. At the 5th October, there had been 4,320 positive tests across North Yorkshire since 3rd March, with 528 new cases reported in the previous seven days. The weekly rolling average of new cases is approximately 36 cases per day.

Currently, the Scarborough and Selby districts remain on the Public Health England watch List as areas of concern but we have seen an overall increase in people testing positive for Covid-19 in North Yorkshire since the beginning of September. We continue to monitor all areas closely.

We are working with the district councils and our partner organisations to support incidents across a range of settings, and we review these daily. We are managing a number of small outbreaks across the county, although most coronavirus spread is currently linked to household and social settings.

PHE delayed reporting of COVID-19 cases

Public Health England announced on the 4th October that, due to a technical issue in the data load process that transfers COVID-19 positive lab results into reporting dashboards, 15,841 cases between 25 September and 2 October were not included in the reported daily COVID-19 cases. This issue did not affected people receiving their COVID-19 test results - all people who tested positive still received their COVID-19 test result in the normal way and all those who tested positive were advised to self-isolate. The NYCC Data Team is assessing the impact of this on North Yorkshire figures.

A PHE statement on the delayed reporting of COVID-19 cases can be found here.

COVID-19 Testing Availability

Availability of COVID-19 tests continues to be challenging; however, it is essential that anyone displaying symptoms of COVID-19 continues to try to book a test and self-isolates immediately. Tests slots are released throughout the day and so it is important to keep checking the booking portal. Details about how to access a test can be found here: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/book-coronavirus-covid-19-test

NHS COVID-19 App - Should I use the NHS COVID-19 app while I am at work?

It is important you use the app at all times, including while at work, except if you:

  • store your phone in a locker while you're working or are involved in a leisure activity, like swimming
  • are already protected by a Perspex (or equivalent) screen
  • are a health and care worker and are wearing medical grade PPE, such as a surgical mask, in a clinical setting

In most of these situations, you are already protected, so it is highly unlikely that you would catch the virus. If your phone is not with you, use the ‘pause’ function on the app so that the contact tracing part does not work. Or, you could switch your phone off. If you forget, you might get an alert because an infected person was near your phone when your phone was not with you. Read more about how and when to pause contact tracing

Working together towards recovery

Testing

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

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

We are aware of current issues with the availability of tests and laboratory capacity and we have raised our concerns at a national level.

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

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

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

  • Thursday 8 October - Whitby - Whitby Park and Ride, Whitby, YO21 1TL
  • Thursday 8 October - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Friday 9 October - Northallerton - Newby Wiske Hall, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL7 9HA
  • Friday 9 October - Sherburn in Elmet - White Rose Sports Club, The Recreation Ground, Tadcaster Road, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6EL
  • Saturday 10 October - Selby – South Entrance, Drax Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Saturday 10 October - Skipton - Coach St car park, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 1LH
  • Saturday 10 October - Harrogate - Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Sunday 11 October - Scarborough – Scarborough Park & Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough YO12 4LW
  • Sunday 11 October - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL

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

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

Supporting our schools and childcare

We are still supporting all educational settings, including post-16 education and early years settings, in North Yorkshire in their response to any confirmed cases of coronavirus and are pleased to say the number of cases within these establishments remain low.

In the vast majority of cases within schools, only a very small number of people are affected and only close contacts have had to isolate, instead of whole schools, classes or bubbles.

Overall school attendance in North Yorkshire remains good, despite the challenges presented by coronavirus. Attendance figures across the county were approximately 92 per cent last week, compared with a national average of 88 per cent.

It is important we continue to maintain high attendance; right now children and young people urgently need to be in school, continuing their education.

Schools have effective risk assessments in place which allow them to respond swiftly to any confirmed cases of coronavirus and which have been effectively preventing the virus spreading within schools. These risk assessments mean that on the whole, any cases of coronavirus in schools have been limited to one member of staff, or one pupil.

Teamwork to support our residents

Throughout lockdown and beyond, people in North Yorkshire have made an extraordinary effort to support their family, friends and neighbours.

There have been examples from every community across North Yorkshire of help and support provided when people need it.

Members of RVS Sight Loss, Yorkshire Coast and Ryedale Disability Forum and Scarboccia All Inclusive Sports been helping people, with sight or hearing loss, in Scarborough, Whitby, Filey, Pickering, Ryedale and Bridlington.

Antonio Mollica, a member of all the groups, said: “We’ve been in touch with our members and community since day one to make sure they didn’t feel isolated and were getting help with the things they needed. It was difficult at first in lockdown, when the supermarket shelves were empty and tensions were high. So, we began to think about how we could help our members who were visually impaired or deaf.”

Antonio approached the County Council’s Stronger Communities programme to seek funding to get IT kit to help members stay connected during lockdown, making sure those who were shielding and isolated had access to audiobooks, songs, jokes and voice-controlled calling to friends and family members.

Antonio, and other members of the community, looked at other measures to support the visually and hearing impaired community, including lanyards with cards that explained different disabilities, from sight and hearing loss to explaining why people might be exempt from wearing face coverings.

They also distributed lip-reading masks to members of the public working in places such as buses, shops and libraries, so people who are deaf could continue to lip read.

Antonio said: “From the start, we knew we had to help. All our groups have worked together to cover a large geographical area – we tried to reach out as far as we could and beyond. Things like lanyards really helped to raise awareness in the community, so our members could go out and avoid stigma for not wearing a mask. Our main message is everyone is in this together and no-one is left behind.”

With coronavirus cases rising, we encourage people to keep checking on friends or neighbours who might need a helping hand with shopping, collecting medication, or simply being there for a chat. We want to make sure everyone stays safe, so find advice on how to help safely here.

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

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

Growing our local economy

LEP News

LEP News: Online Popup Business School:

FREE online course: 16 – 20 November 10am – 3pm

York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub have partnered with the hugely popular PopUp Business School to help would-be start-ups in York & North Yorkshire to get your ideas off the ground this November and December.

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

Interested? Register your attendance via the PopUp Business School website.

Applications for free peer-to-peer support programme are now open

Peer Networks is a free national peer-to-peer programme for SME leaders that want to grow and develop their organisation for future success. ​

The York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub are working in partnership with the University of York to create diverse groups of individuals who can collaboratively work through common business issues. Through interactive action learning, participants will be able to discuss their challenges, gain and reflect on valuable feedback, and implement practical solutions to overcome them. ​

To be eligible, businesses need to have operated for over a year, have five or more employees and an annual turnover of at least £100,000. The scheme will close to applications on 26 October 2020 and places are limited. More information and details on how to apply can be found here.

One month to go

Join us on Friday 6 November for our annual conference.

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

The conference will start at 10am with keynote speaker, our chair, David Kerfoot MBE DL and followed by a live Q&A. Do you have a question you would like to put to David and our panel on the day? You can send through questions in advance to: enquiries@businessinspiredgrowth.com, or write them during the session via the event platform.

On the day, we will have three webinars of around an hour each. You can attend as many as you wish and no pre-booking for delegates is required. These promise to be lively, interactive sessions covering skills, circular economy, place and more.

There will also be an opportunity to visit our virtual marketplace, where you’ll be able to see more about the work of the LEP and some of our partners.

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

Learning in lockdown

Lockdown was a strange time for everyone, but it also gave us time to focus on ourselves and try new and different things. We asked people what they did during lockdown, whether this be learning a new language, a new skill, cooking from scratch, a new hobby or something that was different for them.

This week’s learning in lockdown story is from Paul Robinson, design lead at NYCC:

“How was it I became a YouTube and Instagram influencer during lockdown? OK, that’s a slight exaggeration, but I did create a YouTube channel, so only time will tell If I reach the heady heights of online stardom and social media fame, with offers to appear on Strictly Come Dancing or I’m a Celebrity…. We can but dream.

So why and how did this happen? Certainly not due to any online stardom itch that needed scratching, but more to do with my eldest son, Norman, and attempting to navigate a way of dealing with the pressures of lockdown.

Like many families throughout the country, juggling work and childcare can put a great deal of strain on the family unit; keeping young ones occupied at the best of times is tough enough. A few months into lockdown and it was visible that Norman was becoming more and more anxious. He was missing nursery friends (he’s 4 almost 5), grandparents and a solid routine.

After learning to ride his bike, exhausting all the games in the house and endless attempts trying to make spelling and counting fun, the options (and imagination) had run dry. What can we do together, is fun and will give him something to focus on? Lego- that was it! So a few small sets were purchased.

Did it work? Yes, better than expected. Not sure who enjoyed it more, even if sometimes we only managed a quick 45 minutes of building while Maurice, Norman’s younger brother had a nap. For that moment playing and building together erased the lockdown blues. From the first second we started to build we indeed became hooked and more sets had to be purchased, with a few special sets for myself. I mean, why not, you’re never too old for Lego, right?

How does YouTube fit in to this I hear you cry. Well, with our new found love of Lego we started watching Lego builds and Lego reviews on YouTube for some light entertainment without having to spend a fortune. Yes, some Lego sets cost the Earth!

One morning without thinking, I said ‘Norman, let’s make our own YouTube video!’ to which he replied ‘Can I dance and sing?’ ‘…I tell you what, I’ll do it and we can watch it together. Deal?’ He couldn’t be more excited.

But what had I done? I then had to figure out a way to make, edit and upload a video without any fuss. So a quick google and I figured I could do it all on my iPhone. Shoot the video, edit, add effects and upload. No need to transfer files and spend hours with complex editing software, it had to be quick and easy, time was already thin on the ground.

A few weeks later and success! A spare evening and one YouTube video was complete. Was it enjoyable? Did Norman enjoy watching it? His giggling and dancing around the room pointing at the TV shouting it was ‘our Lego’ was the seal of approval.

Since the first moment we became hooked on Lego we’ve spent many an enjoyable moment building an imaginary world without a care in the world and we’ll continue to spend many more precious moments with Lego in the future.

As for the YouTube channel, let’s say I haven’t dusted off my dancing shoes yet, or imagined eating bugs, but time will tell! Shameless plug and for anyone that’s interested, visit ‘The Everyday Cool Channel’ on YouTube.

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

In the week that the global death toll for Covid-19 passed one million, regrettably we are now also beginning to see admissions creeping up in the hospitals that serve North Yorkshire and it is with great sadness that I confirm the first covid death of the second wave, here. This is set against the background of increasing infection rates across North Yorkshire – as in many places nationally. We are studying the data carefully and can clearly see that the majority of cases can be linked back to household and social transmission. This is important, because what it also tells us is that our schools are safe places to be. That, in turn, is testament to all the hard work schools, colleges and childcare setting have put in to plan for a safe return for pupils. Learning is critical to every young person’s future prospects and it can only be positive to say that where we are seeing infection in these settings, the intervention mechanisms linked to our outbreak management plan are extremely effective in containing them. To put that in perspective – there are around 1,000 education and childcare settings in North Yorkshire and only one of them is currently closed due to Covid. Often these are single, isolated cases linked to a household or social interaction, which affect classes or staff largely due to the need to isolate if they are a close contact. School attendance here is good – around 87% of pupils are back. I hope this information will help to reassure parents and pupils about all the careful planning and support that is in place to keep everyone safe.

Equally, outbreaks in workplaces and business settings are well managed and less frequent.

The greatest areas of concern here currently are south Craven, particularly around the Skipton area, and Richmondshire, where there has been an increase in positive tests linked to the Catterick area. While in Craven the outbreaks are often amongst college and older school pupils; this is not generally linked to where the students learn but rather to their household or social activity. 

So, what can we do about infection being passed around in households and social settings? From our perspective, not a great deal more than we are, unfortunately – this is where we turn to you for your help. We must not risk everything we have achieved in North Yorkshire by letting our guard down. Social distancing and hand washing remain the best defences against Covid – with face coverings where required. We would like to go a little further than that to protect our schools, businesses and freedoms here – we are not waiting for more areas to go onto a watch list to step up our response. We would ask that you wear a facemask or covering in any areas where social distancing is difficult – even when outside. So, if you are in a narrow street or other busy area, please cover your face – be part of Team North Yorkshire and help keep our county open. Protect your friends and family and keep our High Streets and hospitality sector safe and open.

We will all need to work hard together if we are to avoid enforced national interventions, which may prevent us from being with our friends and family.  We have already taken the sad, but necessary, step of suspending care home visits through October, to protect our most frail residents, but we are working hard to ensure that doesn’t mean residents cannot go out to enjoy the autumn air safely. We have formed a working group with relatives and care providers to look at how we can offer contact between care home residents and their family. As soon as we can enable safe visits we will, and in the meantime our virtual visitor programme will be put in place to keep people in touch.

There has been good news for our vital community support organisations, which continue to do a sterling job across the county supporting people who need help. Thanks to a Defra grant we are able to give 26 organisations across North Yorkshire up to £10,000 to enable them to keep supplying food to people in their locality.

Read more about the Defra grants.

Finally, some really welcome news from our trading standards team. Thanks to a successful multiagency prosecution and The Proceeds of Crime Act, ten victims who were ripped off in a tarmac fraud are getting their money back! We take things very personally here and this is a really good result. Read the full trading standards story here.

Stay safe and well.

Keeping in touch

Our website has a dedicated area for all the latest COVID-19 related news.

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

Public Health and social care

The number of cases of COVID-19 in North Yorkshire continues to increase.  At 27th September, there had been 3,630 positive tests since 3rd March.  There have been 519 new cases reported in the past two weeks.  The weekly rolling average of new cases is 36 cases per day, but may be as high as 45 cases per day, allowing for incomplete data in recent days.

Scarborough and Selby Districts remain on the Public Health England Watch List as ‘areas of concern’. We continue to watch closely all districts to ensure that we adapt approaches across the county and allocate appropriate support and resources.   

As we approach the winter season, it is essential that everyone within all of our communities continue to be vigilant and follow the key principles to control the spread of the virus:

  • Hands – wash your hands regularly
  • Face - use a face covering when social distancing is not possible
  • Space - keep your distance from those not in your household

In addition, download the NHS Test and Trace app and if eligible please do consider getting the flu vaccine this year.

Care home visiting

North Yorkshire’s care homes and supported living schemes have been advised to limit routine visiting during October to protect residents as Covid-19 infection rates rise across the county.  This recommendation follows the call to arms issued by North Yorkshire’s Local Resilience Forum last week to “act now, save lives”.  Richard Webb, has written to care providers to advise that routine visiting to care homes should cease from October 1 for a month after which the situation will be reviewed.

Families and friends will still be able to visit loved ones who are at the end of their lives and essential visits by NHS and social care practitioners will still take place as long as  national rules around hand-washing, face masks, PPE, distancing and other requirements are followed.  Care homes will be encouraged to allow window visits for all residents so that family members, friends and residents can still see each other, alongside greater use of remote contact by telephone and other technology.  The County Council is also advising that care home residents can continue to make trips into the community, but are advising that these should, ideally, be outdoors to allow for social distancing and that, when out and about, they should wear face masks where possible and be extra vigilant.

Families and friends can also still visit people living in Extra care schemes, as these are self-contained apartments. Extra care providers are being advised to prepare for further potential restrictions and to enhance their Covid security, including the flow in and out of buildings, to reduce the risks.

The County Council has also reviewed its North Yorkshire additional COVID-19 payments to care providers and will be extending its current extra support into October. It is also advising that PPE will be provided nationally on a free basis to the care sector.

Working together towards recovery

Testing

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

We are aware of current issues with the availability of tests and laboratory capacity and we have raised our concerns at a national level.

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

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

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

  • Thursday 1 October - Whitby - Whitby Park and Ride, Whitby, YO21 1TL
  • Thursday 1 October - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4T
  • Friday 2 October - Northallerton - Newby Wiske Hall, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL7 9HA
  • Friday 2 October – Harrogate - Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Friday 2 October – Sherburn in Elmet - White Rose Sports Club, The Recreation Ground, Tadcaster Road, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6EL
  • Saturday 3 October - Skipton - Coach St car park, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 1LH
  • Saturday 3 October - Selby – South Entrance, Drax Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Sunday 4 October - Scarborough – Scarborough Park & Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough YO12 4LW

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

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

Supporting our schools and childcare

We’re pleased that the number of educational settings in North Yorkshire where a case of coronavirus has been confirmed remains very low. We are supporting not just our own schools in their coronavirus response, but also independent schools, academies, early years’ providers, Further Education settings and colleges. Of the hundreds of settings we are working with, we currently have 44 where a case of coronavirus has been confirmed.

On the whole, cases in schools tend to be limited to one pupil, or one member of staff and most of our actions are centred around close contact isolation, rather than closing whole schools or bubbles.

We are finding the risk assessments schools put in place before reopening in September are working well and have high levels of confidence that schools are safe places for children. It is vitally important that children and young people are in school, continuing their education and we are working hard to make sure everything is in place for this to happen.

Teamwork to support our residents

With a sharp increase in coronavirus cases, community support organisations and voluntary sector partners across North Yorkshire are preparing for a potential increase in demand. Communities are being encouraged to keep checking on those who might need a helping hand with shopping, collecting medication, or simply being there for a chat.

Age UK North Craven is one of North Yorkshire’s 23 community support organisations helping to coordinate the voluntary efforts in the area and ensuring people are properly signposted to the right support.

Manager Jonathan Kerr said: “A lot of our services went from being face to face to online and phone, and that has continued.”

Jonathan added when the Covid-19 crisis took hold, many voluntary groups in the area appeared. As a CSO, they took the role of supporting these groups to apply for funding but also signposted people, who needed support, to them. Their guidance included advice, managing volunteers, sourcing and supplying PPE and helping them with access to grants and other support.

Jonathan says the pandemic has identified many hidden needs in the community surrounding food poverty, adding: “We have a really successful food bank which has identified a lot of hidden need and people who flew under the radar. There are particular villages who needed food banks, and two more have been set up to meet this demand.”

Thanks to a Defra grant, the County Council has been able to allocate funding to organisations like Age UK North Craven so they can continue to help vulnerable people in the community get food and hot meals.

The funding comes after the Government made a provision of £63 million for local authorities across the country to help those who are struggling following the Covid-19 crisis. The County Council was given £530,000 from this fund to aid food providers, hardship payments, and benefits advice and support. Community organisations across the county including food banks, hot meal delivery, community kitchens and community fridges have also been given extra funding.

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

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

Find more information about coronavirus.

Growing our local economy

LEP News

LEP News: Test and trace NHS QR code

It is now a legal requirement to record contact details of customers, visitors and staff to a business premises and using QR codes can help you meet your obligations.

Businesses are being encouraged to have NHS QR code posters visible on entry so customers who have downloaded the new NHS COVID-19 app can use their smartphones to easily check-in. If you are already using your own QR system, you are being encouraged to switch to the NHS Test and Trace QR code.

Register your business for a unique QR code poster.

Get advice on how to handle customer data correctly.

Coronavirus loan schemes

The application deadline for all coronavirus loan schemes has been extended to 30 November. This includes the Bounce Back Loans, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans, Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loans and the Future Fund Scheme.

If you have borrowed under the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, you will be offered more time and/or greater flexibility over repayments. In addition, lenders have been enabled to offer Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme borrowers more time to make their repayments where needed.

Read the

PM’s plan to transform training and skills system

The PM yesterday set out plans to transform the training and skills system to help the country recover from coronavirus. The plans include a Lifetime Skills Guarantee to give adults the chance to take free college courses valued by employers and new entitlement to flexible loans to allow courses to be taken in segments, boosting opportunities to retrain.

Read the PM's speech about transforming training and skills system

Read the response to this news from our LEP’s Skills and Employability Chair, Sam Alexander.

This included an expansion of the Department for Education’s online learning platform, The Skills Toolkit where there are now more than 70 courses in digital, numeracy and employability or work-readiness available online and free of charge.

​​​SME and Kick-starting tourism grant funding update

Stage 1 applications for the SME and Kick-starting tourism grants will open on Wednesday 30 September at 10am.

The grants were announced by the government to help small and medium-sized businesses gain access to professional support, new equipment and technology to continue to deliver a business activity or diversify in response to COVID-19.

Due to the expected high demand for the grants, the closing date for Stage 1 applications is 10am on Monday 5 October 2020.

Currently, further details about Stage 1 SME and kick starting tourism are available here. The link to the application form will also be available via this page during the application window.

Upcoming business support via webinars

 Stay informed

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

So, here it is – the anticipated second wave of Coronavirus is with us and seeping into our communities at an unwelcome rate. We must all remain in the highest state of alert to prevent it shutting our county down, closing our schools and businesses and taking our freedoms once again.

In North Yorkshire, we are famous for our straight talking, no nonsense approach to life and our hearty welcome to visitors; for our world famous food and drink, outstanding hospitality offer and inspiring scenery.

With that in mind, I won’t hold back – now is not a moment for stepping around the issue. We must act right now – every one of us – this minute, and every minute to contain it and protect our most frail residents. Please speak to your friends, family, neighbours and work colleagues. Encourage them to adhere strictly to the hand washing, face covering and social distancing measures that we all know work. But they only work if we actually do them in a consistent way.  

One more ask of you too, please.  Today sees the launch of the new NHS Covid-19 App from the Department of Health and Social Care. The App is based on the Apple/Google privacy framework, and is designed to support contact tracing and make it easier to give meaningful details when checking into venues.  From today, designated venues in certain sectors are required by law to display an official NHS QR code poster on sites which, for us, include libraries.  The more people who download and use the App, the more effective it will be - thank you in advance for your help in uniting to as a team to stop the spread. Find out more about the app. You can find out more about the app.

It’s not all doom and gloom by any means, but don’t we all want to keep our way of life? Albeit it is changed for now. Parts of the county are faring better than others; the data changes all the time and our public health experts are examining that constantly and acting quickly with the venues and settings where outbreaks occur, to contain them. We are seeing transfer within households from younger people to their parents – some of those parents are inevitably taking the virus unknowingly into their workplaces – some of those workplaces are our care homes. Sadly, a small, but growing, number of care homes now have residents who are testing positive for Covid-19. We are all very aware of the cruel nature of Covid and how it targets vulnerable people without pity. Let’s pull together and protect them, protect our freedom, protect our businesses and protect our future together.

On the subject of bringing people together, I would like to invite you to join our libraries for an online celebration of National Poetry day next week. On Thursday, October 1, we will welcome Andy Croft, author of over 80 books and organiser of Ripon Poetry Festival. He will be reading his new collection and you can find out more about that here.

You may also be interested in the latest person to feature in our search for those Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughters who have made our county the wonderful place it is to live, work and visit.  Thomas Richardson was born in 1771 into somewhat humble beginnings. Hard work and dedication saw him help to establish the county as a great place to learn. His financial success benefitted not just the village of Great Ayton, but also the wider area as he invested his wealth back into the community. Representative of the Quaker values of community and equality, Richardson’s greatest legacy is supporting the education of the children of North Yorkshire.

In 1841, he contributed £5,000 of the £6,500 needed to buy the land to establish what was then called the North of England Agricultural School. Richardson’s donation meant the school was able to buy 74 acres of land, backing onto High Green in Great Ayton. Please do read this fascinating story, here, and I hope you will agree he is a wonderful example of someone who was made in North Yorkshire and used that to make the world a better place for many.

Read more about Thomas Richardson.

Please take care and stay safe.

Keeping in touch

Our website has a dedicated area for all the latest COVID-19 related news.

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

Public Health and social care

In line with the national picture, we have seen an overall increase in the number of cases of Covid-19 across North Yorkshire over the last few weeks. To date, there have been 3,331 cases and we are currently seeing around 30 new cases per day. Cases continue to be more prevalent in the younger and working age populations, with spread linked to extended time spent together within households and social settings.

On the 18th September, Scarborough District and Selby District were added to the Public Health England Watch List as ‘areas of concern’. We continue to closely monitor all Districts to ensure that we adapt approaches across the county and allocate appropriate support and resources. Residents living within ‘areas of concern’ are asked to:

  • Exercise extra vigilance in sticking rigorously to hand hygiene and social distancing guidance;
  • Use face coverings when leaving home where safe social distancing is not achievable and avoid crowds;
  • Stick to the ‘rule of six’;
  • Take extra care when leaving home if you have an underlying health condition or have been advised to shield;
  • If you have Covid symptoms, you must self-isolate and get a test;

If you do not have symptoms, do not get a test, unless directed to do so. Priority is being given to those with symptoms

As we approach the winter season, it is essential that everyone within all of our communities continue to be vigilant and follow the key principles to control the spread of the virus:

  • Hands – wash your hands regularly
  • Face - use a face covering when social distancing is not possible
  • Space - keep your distance from those not in your household

Protect your loved ones. Get the app.

As mentioned in the introduction to this bulletin, the NHS Test and Trace app launched today and is a key part of the country’s ongoing COVID-19 response and carries the key message of ‘Play your part in protecting your loved ones!’ If we can rapidly detect people who have recently come into close contact with a new COVID-19 case, we can take swift action to minimise transmission of the virus. From today, designated businesses and organisations, including hospitality, close contact services and leisure venues, will be legally required to log details of customers, visitors and staff for NHS Test and Trace and will be required to display official NHS QR code posters.

Find information on how to create a QR code.

The new NHSCOVID19 app can be downloaded from Google play store or Apple App

Working together towards recovery

Testing

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

We are aware of current issues with the availability of tests and laboratory capacity and we have raised our concerns at a national level.

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

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

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

  • Friday 25 September - Northallerton - Newby Wiske Hall, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL7 9HA
  • Friday 25 September – Harrogate - Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Friday 25 September – Sherburn in Elmet - White Rose Sports Club, The Recreation Ground, Tadcaster Road, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6EL
  • Saturday 26 September – Selby – South Entrance, Drax Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Sunday 27 September – Scarborough – Scarborough Park & Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough YO12 4LW
  • Monday 28 September - Skipton - Coach St car park, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 1LH
  • Monday 28 September – Northallerton - Newby Wiske Hall, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL7 9HA
  • Monday 28 September - Whitby - Whitby Park and Ride, Whitby, YO21 1TL
  • Tuesday 29 September - Thornton Le Dale - National Trust Car Park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Pickering, YO18 7RR
  • Tuesday 29 September – Harrogate - Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Tuesday 29 September – Sherburn in Elmet - White Rose Sports Club, The Recreation Ground, Tadcaster Road, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6EL 
  • Wednesday 30 September – Selby – South Entrance, Drax Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Wednesday 30 September – Scarborough – Scarborough Park & Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough YO12 4LW

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

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

Supporting our schools and childcare

Parents in North Yorkshire will now have received information from the County Council via their school on the steps to take if anyone in their household has suspected Covid 19 or a positive test for the virus. The flow chart information contains guidance on how long, and when, pupils or other members of their household need to self-isolate, when to return to school, what to do if your child is a confirmed contact of someone with the virus and other scenarios. Read a brief overview of the main points.

We hope the information will answer questions from parents unsure if they need to keep their child from school.

We are happy to report that confirmed instances of coronavirus in schools remain relatively low. 

Of the 1,000 settings across the county, including academies, independent schools, early years settings, colleges and other post-16 establishments, we currently have 31 settings with at least one case of coronavirus which we are supporting.

The county has a very high proportion of small schools and as most cases just one pupil or staff member, we do not wish to identify individual schools in the media. In the vast majority of cases, whole school closures will not be necessary, but owing to the large number of small schools in the county, closures may be necessary due to the small number of pupils on the school roll.

Parents should be confident that schools are safe places for children and that schools are taking immediate action when needed.

We encourage parents to speak to their local school if they have any worries, but presently children need to be in school every day unless the school informs them otherwise.

Teamwork to support our residents

From community support organisations coordinating a county wide volunteer effort, to people checking on friends and neighbours, the support offered by people across North Yorkshire has been a lifeline during the toughest of times. With a sharp rise in coronavirus cases, communities are being encouraged to keep checking on those who might need a helping hand. Voluntary organisations like Husthwaite Village Hall Committee sprang into action at the start of the pandemic offering help to those who needed it.

Co-chair Lynn Colton said: “We do have an ageing population here and those people in the past are the ones that we would have been helping.

“It might just have been seeing them out and about walking and checking they were okay and had support, but we also arranged a food delivery service where one of us would go and pick up shopping. We did the same for prescriptions too, which helped the doctor’s surgeries in the area as it meant not as many people going through. We continued the Orchard Village club with a two course meal delivered once a month, and a soup run once a week, delivering soup to 25 people in the village.

“We would also stay and speak to whoever we were delivering to in a socially distanced and safe way for as long as they needed us to, to make sure they were getting to see a friendly face too.”

Thanks to a Defra grant, the County Council has been able to allocate funding to many vital organisations like Husthwaite Village Hall Committee so they can continue to help some of the most vulnerable people in the community access food and hot meals.

The funding comes after the Government made a provision of £63 million to be distributed to local authorities across the country to help those who are struggling to afford food and essentials following the Covid-19 crisis. The County Council has been allocated £530,000 from this fund to aid food providers, hardship payments, and benefits advice and support.

Community organisations across the county including food banks, hot meal delivery, community kitchens and community fridges have been granted extra money to help people and families to access food and hot meals.

Lynn added: “The Defra funding has ensured we can commit to having these measures in place until at least next March, so people don’t have to worry about it and we can reassure them.”

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

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

Find more information about coronavirus.

Growing our local economy

LEP News

Buy Local

We have contacted all businesses registered on Buy Local regarding the new government legislation around maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace, which came into effect today (24 September 2020)

Designated venues in certain sectors will now be required by law to display an official NHS QR code poster at their venue.

Further information on sectors in scope of this legal requirement can be found on the gov.uk guidance. This will make it easier for customers with the app to check-in and allow NHS Test and Trace to alert users and provide them with public health advice in the event of a coronavirus outbreak linked to a venue.

Businesses and venues that are not currently expected to maintain visitor logs are encouraged to display official NHS QR codes if they have indoor areas where visitors are likely to congregate or sit-down in close contact for 15 minutes or more.  

By using the NHS QR code system, businesses will be helping to protect themselves and their customers from the impact of the virus.

LEP News: Job Support Scheme #WinterEconomyPlan

From 1 November, for the next six months, the Job Support Scheme will protect viable jobs in businesses who are facing lower demand over the winter months due to Covid-19.

Eligible employees must be working a minimum of 33% of their hours.

For remaining hours not worked, the government and employer pay 1/3 wages each. So employees working 33% of their hours will receive at least 77% of their pay.

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme will be extended to 30th April 2021 to support viable traders who are facing reduced demand over the winter months, covering 20 per cent of average monthly trading profits via a government grant.

Coronavirus Loan Schemes

The application deadline for all coronavirus loan schemes has been extended to 30 November ensuring even more businesses can benefit from government-backed support. This includes the Bounce Back Loans, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans, Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loans and the Future Fund Scheme.

More than one million businesses which have borrowed under the Bounce Back Loan Scheme will be offered the choice of more time and greater flexibility for their repayments. Lenders have been enabled to offer Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme borrowers more time to make their repayments where needed.

VAT Deferral

Businesses who deferred their VAT will no longer have to pay a lump sum at the end of March next year. They will have the option of splitting it into smaller, interest free payments over the course of 11 months - benefitting up to half a million businesses.

Any of the millions of self-assessed income taxpayers who need extra help, can also now extend their outstanding tax bill over 12 months from January.

Tourism & Hospitality VAT cut

To continue supporting over 150,000 businesses and protect 2.4 million jobs, the Government has extended the 15% VAT cut for the tourism and hospitality sectors to the end of March next year.

Financial support for lost income

A new package of support for those having to self-isolate and unable to work from home has been launched.

Support to prevent business evictions

Support has been extended to prevent business evictions until the end of 2020.

Choose Yorkshire! Building back tourism to be greener, fairer and stronger.

James Mason, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire gives his support to the vision of a carbon negative, greener, fairer and stronger economy in this month’s think piece for the Yorkshire Post.

Read the full article.

Jobs Fuse live online event: 29th September, National Careers Service

29th September, 12:00- 13:00

National Careers Service North Yorkshire and Yorkshire Coast Facebook page

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

 Stay informed

Learning in lockdown

Lockdown was a strange time for everyone, but it also gave some people time to focus on ourselves and try new and different things. We asked people what they did during lockdown, whether this be learning a new language, a new skill, cooking from scratch, a new hobby or something that was different for them.

Learning in lockdown has allowed people to adjust and spend time on things they otherwise may not have had chance to do.

This week’s learning in lockdown story features Stacey Arling, who is a customer service advisor at NYCC.

Throughout lockdown Stacey and her daughter Caitlin, age 7, learned a number of new things, more importantly they worked towards the “Blue Peter six badges of summer challenge”, which is a range of different tasks and challenges dependent on the colour/name of the badge.

Stacey said: “One subject was our environment and how we could do our bit to help it. We learnt a lot about local wildlife in our area and the impact littering can have on their habitats and their overall health and wellbeing.

“My daughter wanted to make a difference so we contacted our local council offices for some equipment and hit the streets to clean up our area. Afterwards, she made posters highlighting some of the dangers and using some of the facts and figures we had learnt about litter and local wildlife.

“Caitlin also applied for, and was awarded, her Green Blue Peter badge for this. We both learnt a great deal and had great fun doing it.

“We both felt very proud, especially seeing the difference it made as we walked around our estate. It made me feel especially proud to see my little girl showing such an interest in the environment and understanding that everyone has to play their part to make an impact.

We also both felt a renewed sense of responsibility and used that to educate others on how small simple things can have such a huge effect on the world around us. Plus receiving her badge made her feel extremely excited but also very grown up”

Throughout lockdown Caitlin applied for all six of the badges and has so far been awarded three of them.

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

This week unfortunately brings with it increasing concerns about the worrying rise in positive coronavirus tests in North Yorkshire.

In response to this situation, last night I chaired a meeting involving many very senior figures in a broad range of partner agencies to assess the latest data and direction and to discuss what action we should take – collectively.

I want to be clear that the actions we decide to take will have only one aim – to protect people, communities, schools and businesses from the impacts that we are seeing elsewhere in areas going back into lockdown to contain this virus.

I am telling you this to reassure you – that we are here and working hard together to manage the virus and to prevent it taking a hold of our lives once again.

So – we are stepping up our oversight and management once again and to do this we will reinstate what we call a ‘major incident’ status - we will be communicating some very important messages with you over the coming days and weeks. Your response to the ‘asks’ we put to you will be critical. Only your actions – the choices each and every one of you make in the days and weeks ahead – will turn the tide in the areas where we are seeing worry positive cases rise and help protect those where we are not. To be clear, we cannot do this without your support.

As I mentioned last week, the rise in positive tests in the Selby and Harrogate areas, as well as Scarborough, were being carefully monitored. We have watched these extremely carefully and examined the data daily and over the past week. I am sorry to say that positive tests in Harrogate remain a worry, but of particular concern is the rapid increase in Selby and Scarborough, specifically Whitby. Like you, we are extremely keen to avoid enforced lockdowns if that is possible. We desperately want our children to be able to attend school and other education settings so everything we ask, or action we take, will look to preserve their learning. It’s so important for their future prospects and for their mental health.

As a county – we also need to protect our economy and to do all we can to ensure our businesses are able to continue to stay open. Another lockdown, as the furlough scheme comes towards its end, could cost more jobs and will inevitably have a negative impact on businesses striving to recover from the body blow delivered by the first wave of Coronavirus.   

As things stand, the number of people being admitted to hospital is not escalating at the same rate as the positive tests. Largely this is due to the fact that it is a younger age group seeing cases grow. This age group may well be less vulnerable to the more serious symptoms, and therefore less likely to require hospital care. However, unfortunately we are also seeing a rise in the number of positive tests in our care settings – home to many of our most vulnerable residents. We are managing this, with the care sector, dynamically on a daily basis and a whole host of prevention and infection control measures are already in place. Our oversight of this issue across the sector will remain robust so that we can offer your parents and grandparents, friends and family, the best protection possible.

We are also heading towards winter months – this in itself bring its own pressures on the NHS, but we know that covid type viruses thrive in the colder temperatures.

When we put together the pieces of the jigsaw nationally, regionally and locally – it’s not hard to see the picture.

Sadly, we are indeed heading towards a second wave of coronavirus and we must take definitive and consistent action – every single one of us – to contain it here.  Of course there are rules and the police, councils and other relevant agencies will do our best to limit the spread by enforcing them where necessary – but wouldn’t it be altogether better if we just did our bit and stuck to them? Otherwise, we will all have to bear the consequences - and I don’t say that to finger wag. You have only to look elsewhere across Europe and the UK to see what can happen. Following the introduction of the new ‘rule of six’, I noted with interest the words of Harrogate hotelier Simon Cotton yesterday, when he talked in the local press about the potential impact of a lack of compliance with the covid rules as ‘nothing short of devastating’ he goes on to ‘urge people to think about the consequences of businesses having to shut their doors for a second time’ the article is here and I would urge you to read it. https://www.harrogateadvertiser.co.uk/business/consumer/harrogate-hotels-boss-issues-stark-warning-avoid-horrendous-and-devastating-second-lockdown-2970917

We are also aware of the current high profile issues nationally involving laboratory capacity to process covid swab tests. We have raised our concerns about this at a national level. While we promote the mobile testing sites across North Yorkshire and host information for the NHS on how to access tests and advice here, we do not control or manage the process or systems here. We continue to press for a resolution, as you would hope and expect, and understand capacity will be increased in the weeks to come, which is hopeful.

While we are reinvigorating our approach to the fight against covid in response to the latest data in North Yorkshire, we are also continuing to deliver the many services that we know matter a great deal to you. Recently we have had two successes in supporting people’s mental health – an area we know is particularly important following the extended lockdown period we all experienced earlier this year.  We have secured national funding for grassroots projects in North Yorkshire which promote good mental health. NHS England has awarded us £34,000 in a third year of funding for projects in the county which promote wellbeing and positive mental health. The aim of the funding is to support a national initiative to reduce suicide rates in England by ten per cent by 2020-21, with the statistics showing that, at some point in their lives, one in four people will experience mental health issues. You can read more on that here:

https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/funding-local-projects-improve-mental-health

In addition, a new hub has been launched to deliver mental health and suicide awareness training across North Yorkshire. Called ‘Headfirst’, it’s a new facility which aims to create healthy communities and workplaces across the county. There are more details on that here and I hope you will agree they are both important initiatives: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/new-training-hub-launched-improve-mental-health-and-wellbeing

Please take care and help make a difference in North Yorkshire to save lives, save jobs and protect our communities. Stick to the guidance, every day – thank you and stay safe.

Keeping in touch

NYCC’s website has a dedicated area for all the latest COVID-19 related news visit: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-advice-and-information

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

Update from Dr Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health

There have been 3075 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in North Yorkshire to date. Over the last few days we have seen increases of around 30 new cases per day, particularly in younger and working age groups. Most spread continues to be between people who spend extended time together in household and social settings. However, this will inevitably include individuals who work in local businesses (including care homes) or attend local schools, and so we are seeing an increase in cases associated with these settings. It is important to note that in the majority of cases the transmission is occurring outside of the settings themselves – schools, care homes and businesses have worked very hard to make premises COVID-secure.

On Monday 14th September, the Government introduced new legislation to limit the number of people you can meet socially to no more than 6 individuals, both indoors and outdoors. More information on meeting others safely is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-meeting-with-others-safely-social-distancing/coronavirus-covid-19-meeting-with-others-safely-social-distancing.

I am sure that everyone is aware there are challenges with access to swab testing across the UK, including in North Yorkshire. The limiting factor is with the capacity in national labs, rather than our ability to take swabs locally. We have fought very hard to maintain our access to Mobile Testing Units across the county, which we have so far managed to achieve. However, we do not have any control over how many slots are available to book on the national portal at each of the sites that we put on. I appreciate that this is very frustrating for people who are doing their best to follow the guidance for symptomatic individuals to isolate and access testing. The latest information available nationally is that lab capacity will be increased from the start of October – in the meantime we continue to look for local solutions to support testing for key workers in particular.

There are a number of events planned across the county over the next few weeks and months. We are working with partners to produce guidance on holding events safely. However, we are also in a position where we are seeing rapidly increasing numbers of new cases in various parts of the county (particularly Harrogate, Scarborough and Selby districts). We will monitor the level of COVID-19 in areas closely, as decisions about events proceeding may need to change at short notice in light of local infection rates.

Working together towards recovery

Testing

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

We are aware of current issues with the availability of tests and laboratory capacity and we have raised our concerns at a national level.

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

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

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

  • Thursday 17 September - Whitby - Whitby Park and Ride, Whitby, YO21 1TL
  • Thursday 17 September - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4T
  • Friday 18 September - Northallerton - Newby Wiske Hall, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL7 9HA
  • Friday 18 September – Harrogate - Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Saturday 19 September – Selby – South Entrance, Drax Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Sunday 20 September – Scarborough – Scarborough Park & Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough YO12 4LW
  • Monday 21 September - Skipton - Coach Street, Skipton, BD23 1LH
  • Monday 21 September – Northallerton - Newby Wiske Hall, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL7 9HA
  • Monday 21 September – Whitby - Whitby Park and Ride, Whitby, YO21 1TL
  • Tuesday 22 September - Sherburn in Elmet - White Rose Sports Club, The Recreation Ground, Tadcaster Road, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6EL
  • Tuesday 22 September – Harrogate - Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Wednesday 23 September - Scarborough - Scarborough Park & Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough YO12 4LW
  • Wednesday 23 September - Thornton Le Dale - National Trust Car Park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Pickering, North Yorkshire, YO18 7RR

Watch this video to find out what to expect and how to prepare for the test: https://youtu.be/QawyKwIIfKQ

See the latest dates and locations, find out more and how to book at www.northyorks.gov.uk/testing

Supporting our schools and childcare

Where we have had individual cases of coronavirus confirmed in a school, Public Health North Yorkshire and Children and Young Peoples Service have been working with the school individually to determine the best approach to take. 

Families are contacted if their child is a close contact of the person who has tested positive for coronavirus and needs to self-isolate. For those who haven’t been contacted by the school, their child is not a contact of the person and can continue attending as normal.

We are currently recommending schools follow the national guidance on the wearing of face coverings. The guidance allows headteachers to decide on their approach to the use of face masks in school.

The national guidance states that schools which teach pupils in Years 7 and above which are not under specific local restrictions will have the discretion to ask pupils to wear face coverings in areas outside the classroom where social distancing can’t be maintained. In areas where local lockdowns or other restrictions are in place, face coverings should be worn by teachers and pupils in communal spaces outside classrooms.

Primary school-aged children are not required to wear face coverings under the national guidance.

Teamwork to support our residents

People across the county continue to be supported by local volunteers through a network of community support organisations – with countless examples of neighbours looking out for each other.

Skipton resident Sarah Wilson has gone above and beyond to make life during Covid-19 that bit easier for her neighbours by helping with shopping and being there for a chat. She says it has been heart-warming to see residents come together and says the camaraderie shown by people has reduced her to tears on occasion.

Sarah is a member of Skipton Step into Action, a group working alongside the CSO response in North Yorkshire.

Sarah said: “The situation we have all found ourselves in has brought us together. People I am helping support now, I would probably never have met. Skipton is a friendly town and I have enjoyed being able to help. It has made me feel so humble and grateful at the same time. I think we have a lovely community here. People are looking out for their neighbours and those we only knew to nod to or smile at before the pandemic are now good friends.”

Each afternoon, weather permitting, Sarah and neighbour Bryan Robinson enjoy a chat over the garden fence.

Bryan, 83, added: “She goes and gets bits for me when I need them though sometimes the shopping list gets a bit long. I enjoy our chats in the sun. The neighbourhood is definitely closer than it was and people are looking out for each other and making sure they are safe”.

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

People can also find details of local voluntary and community groups offering support at www.northyorkshireconnect.org.uk

For more information go to www.northyorks.gov.uk/help-you-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Growing our local economy

LEP News

Online Business Start-Up Masterclass

FREE online course: 12 – 16 October & 9 – 13 November (over 4 days, 9:30am – 12:30pm)

York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub and Blue Orchid are hosting free online Master classes on how to set up and run a successful business in the first 12 months.

Visit the events page at www.ynygrowthhub.com for further details and to register.

Please share this opportunity with your networks using our communications pack here.

PAPI Innovation Workshops

PAPI have recently launched their October innovation workshops for SMEs in York, North Yorkshire and East Riding.

Taking place via Zoom on Thursday 8th October (day 1) and Tuesday 20th to Friday 23rd October (day 2), Dr Jo North of The Big Bang Partnership will once again lead these sessions, along with topic experts for day 2 of activity.

Businesses can register their interest through our Eventbrite page or via the PAPI website for further info. Alternatively they can email papi-project@york.ac.uk for further information.

ShopAppy offer passes 100 signups

Over 100 businesses in York & North Yorkshire have taken up our offer of 12-months fully funded membership to the online, community led shopping platform, ShopAppy.com.

Some new businesses registered on ShopAppy in our area have not validated their free offer. If you refer anyone to the scheme, make sure they sign up with us to get 12 months free.

If you have any questions you can contact us, the ShopAppy.com team or drop in to a virtual advice session on a Tuesday, which can be booked here.

New ESF Community Grants Applications

A new round of Community Grants funding is now available. To find out more about the funding criteria, eligibility and how to apply please follow this link - http://yourconsortium.org/projects/esf-community-grants/

Your Consortium will be specifically looking for projects that can be delivered and adapted to continue throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

Deadline for Applications is Friday 25th September at 2pm. 

NHS Test and Trace App launch

The NHS Test and Trace app will launch in England and Wales on 24 September.

Local businesses will be required to display NHS QR posters so visitors and customers can start checking in safely and securely to venues using the app. 

Businesses will have a clear duty to support NHS Test and Trace. From Friday 18 September, it will be mandatory for certain businesses to have a system to collect NHS Test and Trace data, which must be kept for 21 days.

Scale up Survey 2020

This is a crucial moment in which the UK’s scaling companies need to make their voice heard.

The Scaleup Survey is now in its seventh year and is an influential and important feedback mechanism. 

Access the survey Access the survey here  before the deadline for completion on 5 October 2020. 

Stay informed

Learning in lockdown

Lockdown was a strange time for everyone, but it also gave us time to focus on ourselves and try new and different things. We asked people what they did during lockdown, whether this be learning a new language, a new skill, cooking from scratch, a new hobby or even starting up a business from home.

Learning in lockdown has allowed people to adjust and spend time on things they otherwise may not have had chance to do.

This week’s learning in lockdown features the story from Sophia Wigglesworth, a social care coordinator from NYCC.

Sophia started gardening and growing her own food during lockdown.

“I started it because I have always had an interest in healthy eating and being outdoors, so I decided to mix the two together.

“During lockdown I have been lucky enough to have a garden and doing gardening really helps me to relax and take my mind off everything else

“Also I get a great sense of achievement when things grow. So far, I have grown potatoes, runner beans- which are still growing at about 9 feet high! And herbs and sugar snap peas.

“I have garlic, broccoli and cauliflower planted and lettuces waiting to be planted”

If you know of anyone who has spent their lockdown time learning then get in touch and email: Jessica.highfield@northyorks.gov.uk

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

Many of you, like me, will be watching very closely the rise in the number of positive tests for Covid-19 nationally. Here in North Yorkshire we continue to see regular outbreaks, which are being managed by the Test and Trace team. I am sorry to say that cases here continue to rise, too, particularly in areas including Selby, Scarborough, Whitby and Harrogate. While cases here remain lower than the national average, and are certainly nowhere near the levels seen in some other areas of Yorkshire or indeed in places such as Bolton – we must all take this very seriously to keep it that way.

As Chair of the North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum, which is at the forefront of managing impacts from Coronavirus here, I am monitoring daily the case rates and impacts. I am speaking very regularly to our Director of Public Health and, although we absolutely hope this won’t be necessary, we are making sure that appropriate plans are in place to manage further outbreaks, should they happen.

There can be no doubt we are at a pivotal moment with this virus as we approach the winter months, so I am making a direct appeal to everyone today. Please, play your part. For the sake of our parents, grandparents, the many vulnerable people trying to resume some level of freedom in the new norm – for the sake of our economy and businesses – please stick to the guidance and follow the simple precautions that we know work the best. I am going to repeat those here, because, although they are simple, their importance cannot be underestimated.

Wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds with soap and water or use hand sanitiser (particularly when leaving home or work and returning)

Keep a safe two-metre distance, meet outside where possible, avoid crowded places, do not meet up with anyone outside your home if you have Covid-19 symptoms

Take extra precautions if two metres isn’t possible – face coverings, avoiding face-to-face contact, try to stand or sit side by side.

Wear a face covering on public transport, in shops and in indoor public spaces

If you have Covid-19 symptoms, book a test immediately and self-isolate at home: visit www.northyorks.gov.uk/TestandTrace or call 119

Like many areas, we are pushing these messages hard. We have mobile digital screens touring communities, roadside signs and a constant stream of social media messages. Please help us keep North Yorkshire safe. One more point on testing. It is being widely covered in the media that nationally there are issues with testing capacity. Again, we can all play our part by alleviating some of this pressure. The testing programme is in place currently to support people who have symptoms and people in more vulnerable settings. We do hear that some people are regularly going to be tested, who don’t have symptoms, for their reassurance. While this is entirely understandable in many settings, we need to ensure we do use the testing system appropriately so that those people with symptoms can be quickly tested and the Test and Trace team can follow up positive tests to manage the spread. You can find out more on our website here: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-advice-and-information

Quite apart from the potentially very serious health impacts from the virus, the economy here is equally fighting hard to try to recover from the impact of lockdown. A second wave would be hard to bear for businesses, desperate to get back on their feet. We are doing all we can to help. One of the ways is via our free Buy Local directory, which matches local businesses to customers needing their goods and services. More than 750 North Yorkshire businesses have registered – if you have a business or know anyone who has, and they are Covid-secure, then please encourage them to make the most of this opportunity to join the growing number of business reaping the benefits of this free promotion. The latest case studies can be found here, including The Buck Inn at Thornton Watlass and Proper Pizzas of East Cowton: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/countys-local-business-directory-hits-750-sign-ups

We are also continuing to pursue devolution for North Yorkshire and York. I have said many times that the very significant sums of money and powers of local decision making that come with devolution would be a game-changer here. To be eligible, we are continuing to work on our proposal for a single, strong and sustainable council to service all of North Yorkshire. The abolition of the current two-tier system of districts and county councils are a requirement for devolution. As we develop our plan we are listening carefully to very many groups, sectors, partners and individuals. This morning we hosted a webinar with the community and voluntary sector and tomorrow we host one for business. If you have a business, please join us for a discussion about how this approach may benefit you. Businesses can learn more here: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/chance-businesses-hear-plans-countys-future

and sign up to join us here: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/local-government-reorganisation-and-devolution-north-yorkshire-webinar-smes

Everything is different now, isn’t it? Thousands of pupils are getting used to new ways of being back at school and no doubt also enjoying face-to-face learning again. School is essential, not just for their future prospects but for their wellbeing and mental health. Vast amounts of planning have been undertaken by schools to ensure they are safe and we continue to support them. We are also grateful to you as parents for supporting the need to get children back learning – thank you.

So there is a great deal going on. It continues to be a relentless year – testing us all in many ways. Don’t give up. We will get through this – I really mean that. Let’s show everyone just what North Yorkshire can do when everyone sticks together – Team North Yorkshire is strong and resilient! Please stay safe.

Keeping in touch

NYCC’s website has a dedicated area for all the latest COVID-19 related news visit: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-advice-and-information

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

Update from Dr Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health

There has been an increase in cases of Covid-19 across the UK over the last week, particularly among young adults. North Yorkshire has seen a similar rise, although the number of cases in the county remains lower than in neighbouring areas such as Middlesbrough and Leeds, who have recently been added to the Public Health England watch list.

Case numbers have increased in all North Yorkshire districts, but most particularly in Selby district, Harrogate district and Scarborough district (mostly around Whitby). The week from 1st to 7th September saw 129 new cases in North Yorkshire, including 28 in Harrogate district, 31 in Scarborough district and 36 in Selby district. The majority of recent infections appear to be among younger people under 30 years old. Most of the cases are spread within households and close social groups, although we are aware of a number of small outbreaks related to workplaces and the hospitality sector.

A crucial step in controlling the spread of the virus is for people to limit unnecessary interactions with others. Avoid socialising outside of your social bubbles. In going about daily activities remember to wash your hands frequently, observe social distancing guidance and wear face coverings where it is not possible to maintain 2m social distance. Social gatherings both indoors and outdoors should be limited to a maximum of 6 people.

Guidance for businesses

We have produced guidance for workplaces, communal accommodation, hospitality, leisure and tourism settings that covers both preventing COVID and also what actions to take and who to inform should any possible or confirmed cases be identified. For more information, please visit: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/covid-19-prevention-and-outbreak-support-settings.

Testing

Demand for testing has increased nationally in recent weeks. To manage the increase in demand, capacity at sites across the country has been adjusted. In North Yorkshire we continue to offer the same number of mobile testing sites during the week, although the number of bookable slots may be reduced. Slots will be open for booking from around 8pm the evening before for morning slots and 8am for afternoon slots.

Eligibility for testing has not changed – people who have COVID symptoms (one or more of a new continuous cough, fever or loss/change in sense of taste/smell) and key workers are encouraged to book tests through the national system. In North Yorkshire we have also continue to have access to locally-directed swabs we can use to support the investigation of outbreaks where needed, including in care homes and workplaces.

What happens if you have a positive test:

You must self-isolate for 10 days and members of your household must self-isolate for 14 days from when you started having symptoms. Self-isolation means remaining at home and not going outside for any reason.

You will be contacted by NHS test and Trace who will send you a text or email alert or call you with instructions of how to share details of people with you whom you have had close recent contact and places you have visited. You will be told this online via a secure website or you will be called by a contact tracer.

You will be sent a link to the NHS Test and Trace website and asked to create a confidential account where you can record details about recent close contacts. If you do not have internet access or if you don’t complete the online process, a contact tracer will phone you to gather this information.

When NHS Test and Trace contact people to advise them to self-isolate, they will not be told your identity.

Close contact means:

  • having face-to-face contact with someone less than one metre away, including when you wore a face covering;
  • spending more than 15 minutes within two metres of someone
  • travelling in a car or other small vehicle or close to someone on a plane.

If you need support while self-isolating and have no other support available, you should call the County Council’s customer services on 01609 780780.

Working together towards recovery

Testing

As part of the national testing programme for coronavirus, drive-through Mobile Testing Units, run by the Department for Health and Social care, will be operating in the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • Thursday 10 September - Whitby - Whitby Park and Ride, Whitby, YO21 1TL
  • Thursday 10 September - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4T
  • Friday 11 September - Northallerton - Newby Wiske Hall, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL7 9HA
  • Friday 11 September – Harrogate - Harrogate Old Education Offices, Ainsty Road, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG1 4AP
  • Saturday 12 September – Selby – South Entrance, Drax Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Sunday 13 September – Scarborough – Scarborough Park & Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough YO12 4LW
  • Monday 14 September - Skipton - Coach St car park, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 1LH
  • Monday 14 September – Northallerton - Newby Wiske Hall, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL7 9HA
  • Tuesday 15 September - Thornton Le Dale - National Trust Car Park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Pickering, YO18 7RR
  • Tuesday 15 September – Harrogate - Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Wednesday 16 September - Scarborough - Scarborough Park & Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough YO12 4LW

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

Watch this video to find out what to expect and how to prepare for the test: https://youtu.be/QawyKwIIfKQ

See the latest dates and locations, find out more and how to book at www.northyorks.gov.uk/testing

Supporting our schools and childcare

Schools have reopened to all year groups in North Yorkshire this week, with early indications showing pupils seem to be adapting well to the new routines.

Each teaching establishment has its own arrangements in place to limit interactions between pupils to their own teaching bubbles, as well as other hygiene measures. These have been based on a risk assessment template developed by the County Council in conjunction with headteachers and the unions.

Mill Hill Primary School in Northallerton was one of those schools which reopened yesterday. Headteacher Rebecca Bainbridge said: “The children have all been excited to get back and parents seem to be reassured by our systems and routines.  The children have all enjoyed seeing each other and sharing news and the teachers have been pleased to get back to a routine. 

“Our week is starting with having a good look at where all of the children are, so that we can ensure that everyone catches up to where they need to be.”

Teaching staff at schools in North Yorkshire are now assessing where pupils are in their learning and then planning the most appropriate catch-up education. For children and young people with any anxieties or mental health issues, extra support will be in place.

North Yorkshire County Council received a Government grant of £126,000 for Wellbeing for Education Return, to better equip schools and colleges to promote children and young people’s wellbeing, resilience and recovery in response to Covid-19.

As well as strengthening and building wellbeing and resilience, the grant aims to prevent the onset of mental health problems and ensures those with pre-existing or emerging difficulties access the right support.

Schools will receive training through the funding and local authorities can use the funding to appoint local experts to adapt the training for a local area, as well as provide ongoing advice and support until March 2021.

We would like to thanks parents headteachers, staff and governors for their hard work over the past few weeks in making sure their schools are as safe as possible ahead of the start of the new term.

Teamwork to support our residents

Organisations helping communities recover by supporting the most vulnerable and those facing hardship as a result of the coronavirus pandemic in North Yorkshire will receive extra funding to boost their efforts. The funding comes after the Government, through Defra’s Local Authorities Emergency Assistance Grant for Food and Essential Supplies, provided £63m to be distributed to local authorities across the country to help those who are struggling to afford food and essentials following the Covid-19 crisis.

The County Council has been allocated £530,000 from this fund to aid food providers, hardship payments, and benefits advice and support.

Twenty-four community organisations across the county, including food banks, hot meal delivery, community kitchens and community fridges, have been granted extra money to help people and families get food and hot meals, totalling around £175,000.

Many of these organisations have worked tirelessly to support the community throughout lockdown and beyond, from delivering prescriptions and food to simply being a friendly face.

Michelle Hayes is the director of Resurrected Bites in Harrogate, one of the organisations that will receive a grant. Michelle said: “We are anticipating that demand is going to grow as the furlough scheme winds down leading to more people being made redundant and facing food poverty whilst waiting for their Universal Credit payments to start.

“This money will enable us to continue to provide a high-quality service to those most in need and continue to provide free food packages to people who are struggling to access food from themselves.”

£80,000 has been granted to Citizens Advice Bureau North Yorkshire for increased support and financial advice, with the capacity to increase hours on their cross-county phone line. Funding has also been made available for people on low incomes through the provision of additional hardship payments from the North Yorkshire Local Resilience Fund, offering even more vital support for those people in our communities who have been hit hard by Covid-19.

These services, working alongside our 23 community support organisations, have already been providing invaluable support to thousands of people and families since the start of the pandemic in March and this will enable them to go even further.

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

People can also find details of local voluntary and community groups offering support at www.northyorkshireconnect.org.uk

For more information go to www.northyorks.gov.uk/help-you-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Growing our local economy

LEP News: ‘Bounce-back’ trade plan announced to help boost retail exports

This plan for the consumer and retail industry outlines new measures to boost exports and increase British retail firms’ readiness to sell overseas. It includes the creation of a Consumer and Retail Export Academy to help businesses export, via digital learning.

E-commerce will be at the heart of the plans, with measures tailored to help consumer and retail businesses develop international, multi-channel, e-commerce strategies fit for the changed retail environment. For more information, read here

National Apprenticeship Awards 2020 are now open for entries!

The National Apprenticeship Awards are an opportunity to showcase the apprentices, employers and champions who have gone above and beyond this past year.

Entries to the digital awards are open until 25 September 2020. It is free to enter the awards, and all entries must be made through the application website: appawards.co.uk

Free Apprenticeships Webinar for Employers this week

The Government Apprenticeship service is running an expert-led apprenticeship service webinar on Thursday 10 September 2020.

In the webinar, employers will find out:

  • what the incentive payments are
  • how and when they’ll get paid
  • how to apply using the apprenticeship service, including a step-by-step walkthrough

Sign up to the free apprenticeships webinar here.

Kickstart jobs scheme

The new Kickstart scheme in Great Britain is a £2 billion fund to create hundreds of thousands of high-quality six-month work placements aimed at those aged 16 to 24 who are on Universal Credit and are deemed to be at risk of long-term unemployment.

Funding available for each job will cover 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus the associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions.

To help smaller businesses, employers offering fewer than 30 placements will be asked to make a bid through an intermediary, such as a local authority or chamber of commerce, which will then bid for 30 or more placements as a combined bid from several businesses.  

Find out more here: http://bit.ly/kickstart-jobs

Businesses invited to give their views on local government reorganisation.

Events are being hosted by NYCC and the District and Borough councils to enable businesses to understand more about proposed local government changes.

North Yorkshire County Council Proposal:      

District & Borough Council Proposals:

York & North Yorkshire LEP and Growth Hub remain impartial to all proposals.

Register for the LEP annual conference

Registration for the York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership Annual Conference 2020 is now open.

The conference will focus on a Greener, Fairer, Stronger vision for economic recovery in the region and how we can work together to achieve this.

Hosted online, the programme will include speakers, webinars, Q&As and a marketplace full of inspiring content.

To access the conference website, attendees must register in advance here: https://ynylepannualconference2020.register-me.uk/

Stay informed

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

Here we are in September. The mornings are notably cooler and the evenings are drawing in. The leaves will soon start to mark the changing of the season. While we have much to be thankful for – our pandemic infection rates have been lower than many places and we have space and warm communities in which we can find our own comfort and wellbeing – sadly the changing of the season will not alter the challenges we continue to face.

For some of these the solution lies within our own control.  While you are out and about you may have seen some of the roadside messages around the continuing importance of taking simple precautions to minimise the risk of spreading Coronavirus. We have also worked with regional health colleagues and Government on messaging on vehicles which will be parked in key places around the county to remind people about how they can continue to play their part. We have come so far in North Yorkshire as a county. Your sacrifices during the height of the pandemic have been outstanding. We must stick to the guidance to avoid a second spike as we head into the colder months. While our infection rate remains lower than some, we are seeing outbreaks in communities across North Yorkshire. Our Test and Trace teams are doing a sterling job but they need your help. If we stick together as a team we can help keep the virus at bay – so let’s give it our continued focus and not let our concentration lapse. I think the new message is Hands, Face, and Space! But don’t forget if you have symptoms get a test. They are free and available at mobile sites across communities or online via our website here https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/book-coronavirus-covid-19-test We cannot return to the normality we love until the virus is at bay.

By doing this we will also support our businesses. The pandemic has delivered a shock wave to our economy and by helping to limit the virus’s spread we can help businesses here stay open and to create more jobs at a critical time. Many of you will understand that the Government’s furlough scheme is starting to pare back its support for businesses – ahead of its end in October.  In North Yorkshire there are still close to 85,000 people furloughed and we know that nationally just under a quarter of businesses may be considering reducing their staffing levels.

Collectively we can be dynamic in our response to this and pursue devolution and the money and power that goes with that – to ensure we are not left behind.  North Yorkshire County Council has approved the submission of plans to Government to invest £540m in fibre connectivity, £390m in transport links, £290m in market town centres, £215m in the bio-economy, £95m on housing, £50m on green energy and £10m in skills across the county over the coming years. These are our devolution asks which need to be submitted to Government very soon to ensure we don’t delay this huge opportunity.  I have spoken previously about the requirement to restructure local government here to be eligible and promised to keep you informed on progress. We continue to listen to and work with many partners and sectors to build our approach to this. Our focus is very much on maximising benefits to the public and businesses, while minimising disruption via a single, strong and sustainable new county council. As part of this we have made an absolute commitment to harness the power of devolution to unleash the power of communities which we know exists. We are working very closely with town and parish councils as we progress this as well as the community and voluntary sector and wider partner agencies. If you want to know more, please take a look here and there’s a have your say section if you would like to let us know your thoughts and ideas www.northyorks.gov.uk/StrongerTogether

Looking to next week, I am sure you can imagine, a great deal of work continues to ensure our schools can reopen safely to welcome back all pupils. Things will, of course, be a little different but I feel sure pupils and staff will adapt – as we all have over the past few months. One big part of that is how pupils will get there. Walking and cycling are being encouraged nationally and our pre-covid home to school transport network will be back in place for the start of the new school term. However, where some schools and colleges may be considering staggered times and bubbles, it is not possible for us to accommodate that.

The social distancing which is in place on public transport will not apply to home to school transport, as school buses and taxis will be carrying the same group of children on a regular basis. This approach is in line with Department for Education guidelines and is the most practical and workable solution. We will issue updated information as we get it, but we also have an ask to parents which is really important and there is more on that further down this bulletin. Please help keep everyone safe by reading it and ensuring your children are confident around how they can help. We are really looking forward to seeing everyone again in school and grateful for the support of schools and parents throughout a really difficult time.

Another sign of progress is the imminent start of work on the permanent repairs to the bridges destroyed during catastrophic flash flooding in the Yorkshire Dales in summer 2019. The structures at Cogden North and Cogden South bridges will be replaced with permanent bridges, beginning mid-September. On the evening the bridges collapsed, Swaledale saw a month of rain fall in just a few hours. For those caught up in the impact, it was devastating and the fightback nothing short of inspiring. We are proud to have worked with and alongside the communities as they have recovered. I hope you will share that sense of inspiration if you read the rest of this story further down the bulletin.

Please take care and stay safe in North Yorkshire.

Keeping in touch

NYCC’s website has a dedicated area for all the latest COVID-19 related news visit: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-advice-and-information

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

Update from Dr Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health

The number of new cases across North Yorkshire is currently around 5 per day.

We are supporting schools, colleges and universities in North Yorkshire for safe full opening (for more information see  https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/schools-and-childrens-services-during-coronavirus-covid-19).  The evidence on the impact of Covid-19 on children and young people is evolving. However, existing evidence from UK and international studies shows there is a very low rate of severe disease in children of primary and secondary school ages compared to adults, with the majority of children showing no or very mild symptoms of Covid-19. The evidence of the impact of Covid-19 on children and young people is set against a certainty of long-term harm to many children and young people from not attending school. There is an overwhelming need for children and young people to return to school now, not just so they can catch up with their missed studies and go on and fulfil their academic potential in the future, but also for their mental health, their wellbeing and their wider development.

Early identification and quickly managing cases and outbreaks of Covid-19 in schools is essential as part of our local response to Covid-19. We have given clear advice for pupils and staff not to attend school with symptoms, and getting promptly tested, advice on self-isolation, prompt reporting of suspected or confirmed cases of Covid-19 and local process for managing any potential outbreaks. We have access to local data on Covid-19 cases that help us to monitor potential cluster of cases or outbreaks. Schools have been operating in North Yorkshire before the summer holidays, and we have not seen any outbreaks despite identifying individual cases in a number of schools, 75% of cases in parents of pupils and 21% in staff. We have little evidence to suggest that transmission was school related in these cases.

Working together towards recovery

Testing

As part of the national testing programme for coronavirus, drive-through Mobile Testing Units, run by the Department for Health and Social Care, will be operating in the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • Thursday 3 September - Whitby - Whitby Park and Ride, Whitby, YO21 1TL
  • Thursday 3 September - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4T
  • Friday 4 September - Northallerton - Allertonshire School, Brompton Road, Northallerton, DL6 1ED
  • Friday 4 September – Harrogate - Harrogate Old Education Offices, Ainsty Road, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG1 4AP
  • Saturday 5 September – Selby – South Entrance, Drax Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Sunday 6 September – Scarborough – Scarborough Park & Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough YO12 4LW
  • Monday 7 September - Settle - Greenfoot Car Park, Lower Greenfoot, Settle, BD24 9RB
  • Monday 7 September – Northallerton - Newby Wiske Hall, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL7 9HA
  • Tuesday 8 September - Thornton Le Dale - National Trust Car Park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Pickering, YO18 7RR
  • Tuesday 8 September – Harrogate - Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB

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

Watch this video to find out what to expect and how to prepare for the test: https://youtu.be/QawyKwIIfKQ

Find out more and how to book at www.northyorks.gov.uk/testing

Work to begin on permanent repairs to bridges destroyed by floods

Permanent repairs to bridges destroyed during catastrophic flooding in the Yorkshire Dales in summer 2019 is about to start.

Both Cogden North bridge, on the B6270 Richmond to Grinton road, and Cogden South bridge on the C106 near Grinton Moor, will be replaced with permanent bridges, beginning on 14 September.

The night the bridges collapsed, Swaledale saw a month of rain fall in just one night. In the space of hours, land and property was destroyed and bridges washed away. Some residents were left standing with only the clothes they had on their backs.

But despite the adversity, the council and community pulled together to get a semblance of normality back as soon as they could.

The county council acted fast to build temporary roads at both the Cogden South and Cogden North bridges.

Geraldine Coates, chair of the Grinton and Ellerton Abbey Parish Council, recalls the floods.

She said: “The beck overflowed its banks and ran down the road, the road resembling a river bed with stones, boulders and debris. The following morning a lot of people came out to clear the road of debris to allow traffic to move about.

“The County Council acted very swiftly in the aftermath of the flood and had the temporary bridges up in record time, enabling communications to carry on as normal. 

“It is very good news that they are now following through and rebuilding the permanent structures in the original dales vernacular style.”

County Councillor Yvonne Peacock, member for the Upper Dales, said: “The bridges are part of a vital infrastructure in the Dales and it’s a positive step that work is starting on them.

“When the floods happened, the local community and county council reacted very quickly to a difficult situation – working together to find a solution. North Yorkshire County Council will continue to do that going forward.”

The work to rebuild the Cogden North bridge on the B6270 will begin on 14 September and is anticipated to be completed by 30 November. The B6270 will remain open during the reconstruction, but there will be some traffic management using two-way lights toward the end of the scheme, with a one-night road closure when the new bridge units are lifted into place.

The work to rebuild the Cogden South bridge is programmed to begin on 14 September and anticipated to be completed by 25 January 2021. There is very limited space for contractors to work safely and effectively while the road is open. Engineers have carefully considered the need to complete these works as quickly and safely as possible with the minimum of disruption. To achieve this, a full road closure will be required for the 16-week construction period.

Video: Cllr Peacock and Cllr Coates talk about the forthcoming work: https://youtu.be/AFJrfkXR_mo

Supporting our schools and childcare

The home to school transport network which was in place before lockdown, is to be put back in place for the start of the new school term, where circumstances allow.

Although social distancing is in place on public transport, this will not apply to dedicated home to school transport, as school buses and taxis will be carrying the same group of children on a regular basis and no members of the public travel with them

This approach is in line with Department for Education guidelines and is the most practical and workable solution, enabling us to transport all pupils to school.

We can also identify who was travelling on which vehicle so can comply with any contact tracing and isolation if necessary.

Parents and pupils are being asked to play their part in safety measures by making sure they;

  • Wash or sanitise their hands prior to boarding the transport service each morning
  • Queue at their designated bus stop/collection points in the usual orderly manner and take particular care not to make unnecessary contact with other pupils
  • Board the vehicle and sit on the furthest rear seat available and try and use the same seat and sit with the same group of pupils each day.
  • On the return journey home pupils should wash and or sanitise their hands at school and queue up. The last to get off the bus should go to the front of the queue, followed by those getting off first.
  • Based on Public Health England recommendations, we ask that all pupils, aged 11 and over wear a face covering provided by their parents, where individual needs allow it. This will ensure the safety of each pupil, the driver and other pupils travelling on the bus.
  • Where school transport is shared by children attending different schools we would ask that pupils sit together based on the school they are attending wherever possible. The guidance for dedicated education transport services also applies to those pupils who pay for a bus pass to travel on one of those services.

Where pupils entitled to free transport, travel on the public transport network they will be required to adhere to mandatory 1m social distancing and wear a face covering if they are 11 or over, unless they have a valid reason for exemption.

Requirements for pupils with a Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND);

  • Pupils who have a SEND requirement will be transported in the usual way by bus or taxi but any additional special arrangements as a result of COVID will be detailed in their individual risk assessment where relevant (e.g. pupils with a Health Care Plan requiring close contact intervention.) Parents, schools and transport providers should liaise to ensure that any special requirements over and above that, can be met wherever possible for these pupils.
  • Additional personal protective equipment (PPE) will need to be worn by some drivers and passenger assistants on contracts where a risk assessment for the pupils being transported states that it is necessary.
  • Where it is possible for them to do so, we advise pupils to use a face covering but it is understood that some pupils will not be able to do this due to the nature of their individual needs.

Schools have their own risk assessments in place ready for the start of the school term and parents with any questions can get in contact with their school to talk over any potential concerns they have.

Some schools will have staggered start times, which parents will now have been notified about, while many will have measures such as one-way systems in place, which will be explained to pupils as they arrive at school.

Most schools, such as Mill Hill Primary School, will be keeping children together in a bubble system throughout the day.

Rebecca Bainbridge, Headteacher of Mill Hill Primary, said they were working to make the school appear as familiar as possible for children when they returned next week.

Other than the tables being set out in rows facing forward - in line with Government advice - pupils will wash their hands at the sinks they would normally use and access their classrooms in the same way. But they will spend their day in a bubble of the same classmates, to avoid coming into contact with more than a few people during their school day.

All this week, Mrs Bainbridge is providing tours around the school for parents wanting information or reassurance about the measures which will be in place. She said: “We have decided that we will make measures such as regular hand washing in school and different break times our new normal.

“We have focused on keeping children in the same bubbles throughout the school day to minimise the risk of infection, so they won’t be mixing with different year groups or classes. Systems such as one-way systems created pinch points so separate entrances have been identified for different year groups keeping our bubbles completely separate.

“Keeping children in bubbles allows us to minimise the risk of them coming into contact with many other children and allows the school and classrooms to remain looking as normal as possible.”

Teamwork to support our residents

Volunteers have kept North Yorkshire going through these difficult times. In the Yorkshire Dales village of West Burton, 17 year old Luke Greenslade opened the local shop every day during the pandemic to make sure that members of the community had access to food. Luke had help from his brother Jack, 18, who organised fruit and veg orders, newspaper deliveries and supported their mum, Julie, to co-ordinate a shopping delivery service around villages from West Burton up to Gayle.

The shop was previously kept open by an elderly member of the community, but when Covid-19 hit the community, she needed to protect her health. The owner of the shop doesn’t live locally, so Luke stepped into the role.

Luke said: “I decided to help as I realised the majority of the village were high-risk individuals who, unless the shop was open, would find it difficult to get essentials such as bread, milk and eggs. I didn’t find it difficult to find the motivation, as I saw how important it could be for others. I did 107 consecutive days running the shop and delivering newspapers on weekdays before the shop was due to open and a friend of mine helped delivering newspapers on the weekend, too.”

Jack decided to help the volunteer efforts after his mum, Julie, arranged food deliveries for the village.

He said: “I decided to help because my mum was struggling with the volume of grocery deliveries she had to organise, which meant gathering the list of items, weighing each one, ensuring the price was correct and then the actual delivery. I want to say, though, many more people in the community have also gone out of their way to lend a hand!”

Julie, a project co-ordinator for A Good Life, part of the Upper Dales Community Partnership, one of the community support organisations helping the community through lockdown, said: “I’m incredibly proud of both Luke and Jack.

“We have a lot of young people who have helped out in the community, but that’s just what the Dales is all about. When you live somewhere rural, it’s even more important to stick together as a community and that’s exactly what we’ve done. The new owners of the village shop are in now and we wish them a warm welcome and hope they will be happy living in the Dales.”

Although life is getting back to normal, support is still there in every community where it’s needed. Those who need help with shopping, prescriptions and other essentials but don’t have anyone to call on, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780. The centre is open seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm.

People can also find details of local voluntary and community groups offering support at www.northyorkshireconnect.org.uk

For more information go to www.northyorks.gov.uk/help-you-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Growing our local economy

Buy Local: North Yorkshire’s local business directory gets 750 sign ups to help strengthen local economy

Buy Local, North Yorkshire’s small business directory, is celebrating 750 local suppliers signing up.

The county council launched the scheme at the start of the pandemic to help businesses link up with local people, matching customer needs to local suppliers during the crisis.

Using local businesses not only supported everyone during the height of the outbreak but it’s hoped it will also speed up post-pandemic economic recovery.

Leader of the Council, Cllr Carl Les, said: “Buying locally is incredibly important, now more than ever and the Buy Local directory makes it easier for local people to find what they need.

“We’d like to thank not just every business who signed up, but every single person who has used these businesses for their takeaways or weekly shop. It’s incredibly important.”

Vicki, the landlady of The Buck Inn for six years, is at the heart of her community.

She signed up to Buy Local and launched a food delivery service. So although her pub was physically closed, she was still providing a vital service to local people.

Now, Vicki has safely opened her doors once more.

She said: “I’ve had great support from day one from the locals – I’m lucky that it is very much a locals driven pub, we don’t have a shop in the village, we have a lovely village school and the church and the hall, but we don’t have anything else.

“During the pandemic, I couldn’t have just stayed shut.

“We have two brilliant guys who work for us, who wanted to earn money through the pandemic as college had ended and our two chefs, too, so I was able to keep them on doing the takeaway orders and we were able to furlough the rest of our staff during that time.”

Now regulars are flooding back in safely.

Vicki says

“When local people give you business, you have to see what you can do for them to give back. It’s a two-way system.”

People can find a wide range of goods and services and businesses can register, on Buy Local.

LEP News:

Employers encouraged to sign up for apprentice cash boost

Employers are invited to apply for generous cash incentives to help them take on new apprentices and get more people into work.

As part of the Government’s Plan for Jobs, employers are being offered £2,000 for each new apprentice they hire aged under 25, and £1,500 for each newly recruited apprentice aged 25 and over. This includes taking on an apprentice who has been made redundant.

Employers who want to take advantage of the offer can apply through the government’s digital apprenticeship service.

Kickstart Scheme opens for employer applications

The new £2billion Kickstart Scheme launches today with the aim of creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs for young people.

Under this scheme, employers can offer youngsters aged 16-24 who are claiming Universal Credit a six-month work placement.

The government will fund each “Kickstart” job - paying 100% of the age-relevant National Minimum Wage, National Insurance and pension contributions for 25 hours a week- and will also pay employers £1500 to set up support and training for people on a Kickstart placement.

To find out more about the scheme, employers should visit: gov.uk/kickstart

Young people can access the scheme through their Jobcentre Plus work coach.

The scheme, delivered by the Department for Work and Pensions will initially be open until December 2021.

Low income support for workers asked to self-isolate

People on low incomes who need to self-isolate and are unable to work from home in areas with high incidence of COVID-19 will benefit from a new payment scheme.

For more information, read here

Applications invited from business leaders to Chair LEP main board

have launched a campaign to recruit a new Chair for the main Board as the term of office for current Chair, David Kerfoot MBE DL, comes to an end next March.

Applications are invited from dynamic and experienced business leaders with drive, energy, and a passion for York and North Yorkshire and are open until Friday 2nd October.

 Speaking about the role, David said: “As Chair, you are able to make a real difference ‘on the ground’ and I look forward to seeing a new Chair take up the legacy and lead the LEP’s vision to build a greener, fairer and stronger economy for the region as we emerge from the pandemic.”

Further information is available and applications can be submitted at: www.ynylepchair.com

Stay informed

Creative lockdown ideas

Online music lessons

Our service has adapted to allow lessons to be taught online to pupils unable to attend school. We offer the full range of instruments, including brass, woodwind, strings, percussion, voice and keyboard. Lessons are delivered by specialist instrumental teachers over a secure connection.

We were among the first music service to pioneer this approach and are very experienced in it. For details, visit www.northyorkshiremusichub.co.uk or email MusicServiceTuitionRequests@northyorks.gov.uk

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

I was impressed to see that even yesterday’s torrential downpours didn’t appear to dampen North Yorkshire’s commitment to supporting businesses in the last week of the Government’s Eat Out to Help Out initiative. In true resilient style, despite that awful weather, I noted the queues outside Betty’s tea room in Northallerton, too – I feel sure that was a scene repeated across the county – so well done everyone who braved the weather to support their local businesses again. This has been a welcome scheme, which I am aware has benefitted not just our hospitality industry but also seen many people venture out to dine and socialise safely for the first time – an important step in our county’s return to the new norm.  If you haven’t yet made the most of the chance to visit your favourite restaurant or café under this deal, then there is tonight and then the Bank Holiday Monday to do so – a list of participating businesses can be found here and you can get up to £10 off your meal, so it’s well worth a go! https://www.gov.uk/guidance/get-a-discount-with-the-eat-out-to-help-out-scheme

Don’t forget, we have a free website providing an online directory for goods and services where you can find a growing range of Covid-compliant companies. Buy Local now has more than 750 businesses registered – see if you can find what you need and support the local economy here  https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local

On the subject of supporting businesses, our executive this week agreed to extend free parking in Knaresborough Market Place and Northallerton High Street to an hour, from 30 minutes. This will allow shoppers some extra time to support retailers and will be in place until December 31st. There’s more on this on the following link https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/free-parking-extension-comes-force-northallerton

The biggest return to the new norm coming up is, of course, the reopening of schools to all pupils.  In preparation for welcoming everyone back safely, a huge amount of work has been going on across a broad range of education settings from child minders and nurseries to primary and secondary schools.

This includes detailed risk assessments and individual pupil plans, which will minimise risks to pupils and staff while ensuring young people can get the education they need.

In many instances, pupils will be part of ‘teaching bubbles’, which involve pupils spending the day with the same group of people within school. We hope that understanding the thoughtful planning process which has been ongoing throughout the summer will give everyone confidence to help get pupils back to class. There is more further down the bulletin on this.

More positive news for the people of Ryedale is the refurbishment of Malton library, which gets under way next week. The investment will provide more modern and flexible space for visitors, including a new-look children’s section plus new books for all ages and a brand new IT and study area. All very welcome for local people, I am sure. There’s more on that here https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/malton-library-undergoes-refurbishment-improve-its-services

I also promised to keep you up to date on the latest on devolution and the changes to local government that are required to be eligible for a devolution deal. This is a fast-moving topic and we have been very busy. We are developing a proposal that we believe would deliver the strength needed to be able to respond to big challenges like the current pandemic, the major issue with the A19 flood damage and other significant impacts such as those experienced during the Dales flash floods last year. We are also absolutely committed to the concept of double devolution – under which powers and money would come from central government to local government and then on down to very local level, ensuring priorities are set in communities. Last week, 250 town and parish councillors attended our online seminar to discuss the ideas we have for localism and I am pleased to say the first meeting of the working group to take ideas forward and explore all thoughts will take place very soon. 

We are listening carefully to the views of people, groups, partners and organisations as we develop our proposal for a new single council for North Yorkshire. We would like to bring together the very best from the districts and county council and see them deliver best value and strengthened services in a much simpler format for everyone. We are aware the district councils are also working on a bid and look forward to that being in the public domain, too. You can find out more about our proposal and let us know your thoughts and suggestions here https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/stronger-together

Today saw another development in this area as Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen crossed the bridge at Croft-on-Tees to talk about the importance of a Mayoral Combined Authority for York and North Yorkshire. You can hear his words for yourself here about why it matters so much now https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/bridging-north-south-divide

While we are all getting used to the new norm we must not lose site of the fact that we are still in a pandemic which has taken tens of thousands of lives in this country alone. So my plea once more is that you all continue to play your part in containing the virus and prevent it taking a hold of our communities again.  It is down to every one of us to keep a safe distance, wash our hands and get a test if we have symptoms. Let’s look out for North Yorkshire and stick together to beat this.

Keeping in touch

NYCC’s website has a dedicated area for all the latest COVID-19 related news visit: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-advice-and-information

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

Update from Dr Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health

The number of new cases across North Yorkshire is currently around 3 per day. We have seen an increase in the number of people across the county accessing testing, but the number of tests that come back as positive remains below 1%. A significant proportion of recent cases have been linked to routine testing of care homes and staff, small outbreaks in workplaces/hospitality settings, or transmission within households. Although the number of cases remain lower in North Yorkshire than in some of our surrounding areas, it is still vitally important that people continue to follow advice on social distancing, frequent handwashing, and staying at home if you (or anyone you live with) has symptoms to prevent any wider spread of infection.

We are continuing to work to support COVID testing across the county. This includes both the roll out of regular antigen (swab) testing and offering antibody testing in care settings, plus supporting community access to testing through our Mobile Testing Units that continue to travel across the county. We are working to ensure that we continue to have accessible testing provision across the winter months and that our sites are suitable for winter use.

There have been several recent changes to the countries on the national travel corridor list that are exempt from the requirement to self-isolate for 14 days following arrival in the UK. From Saturday 22nd August, Austria, Croatia and Trinidad and Tobago were removed from the list – anyone returning from these countries should now complete 14 days of self-isolation as set out here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-travel-corridors. This applies to UK residents and to visitors of the UK. We would urge anyone who is travelling abroad to make yourself aware of the latest guidance before you go, and ensure you complete the full period of self-isolation on your return if you travel to a country that is not on the travel corridor list.

Working together towards recovery

Testing

As part of the national testing programme for coronavirus, drive-through Mobile Testing Units, run by the Department for Health and Social Care, will be operating in the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • Thursday 27 August - Whitby - Whitby Park and Ride, Whitby, YO21 1TL
  • Thursday 27 August - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4T
  • Friday 28 August - Northallerton - Allertonshire School, Brompton Road, Northallerton, DL6 1ED
  • Friday 28 August – Harrogate - Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Saturday 29 August – Selby – South Entrance, Drax Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Sunday 30 August – Scarborough – Scarborough Park & Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough YO12 4LW
  • Monday 31 August - Skipton - Coach St car park, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 1LH
  • Monday 31 August – Northallerton - Allertonshire School, Brompton Road, Northallerton, DL6 1ED
  • Tuesday 1 September - Thornton Le Dale - National Trust Car Park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Pickering, YO18 7RR
  • Tuesday 1 September – Harrogate - Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB

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

Watch this video to find out what to expect and how to prepare for the test: https://youtu.be/QawyKwIIfKQ

Find out more and how to book at www.northyorks.gov.uk/testing

Supporting our schools and childcare

We are looking forward to welcoming all pupils back to school from the week beginning September 7. We want to reassure parents, carers and pupils that schools, colleges, nurseries and child minders have all put a range of protective measures in place to reduce the risk and create a safe and welcoming environment for children and young people.

Schools have been working throughout the summer holidays on the measures which will allow them to reopen safely. They have planned individually how they will arrange children in bubbles to minimise contact, using risk assessment templates developed by the County Council in conjunction with head teachers and the unions.

Teaching bubbles, which involve pupils spending the day with the same group of people within school, are just some of the bespoke measures which will be employed by individual schools, depending on their site, student population and other factors.

They will also be using strategies including one-way systems, minimising movement around the school buildings and providing additional hygiene measures.

This may include adjustments to lesson and break timings during the day and lunchtime arrangements, and changes to start and finish times to minimise congestion around the school.

Additional hygiene and safety measures will also be in place on school transport. North Yorkshire County Council has prepared guidance for families, transport providers and schools to support the safe return to school transport.

The home to school transport network will be operating in the same way as it did previously and pick-up and drop-off times will largely remain the same.

Students who rely on public transport to reach school will need to observe the government guidelines in relation to the wearing of face coverings and the 1m social distancing rules.

Wherever possible, parents and pupils are being asked to think about alternative, sustainable ways of getting to school by walking, cycling or scooting, to reduce the number of people using public transport.

Teamwork to support our residents

As restrictions continue to ease, our community support organisations are helping people return to everyday activities such as shopping and meeting friends.

In Leyburn, a walking group is helping people get back on their feet and into the community. The group, run by volunteers, has started up again when members, who had been isolated during lockdown, were keen to get out and about. The group comes under Leyburn Arts and Community Centre, which is currently operating as a community support organisation.

Gill Mitchell, who manages the group admin, said as lockdown began to lift members got in touch to ask when the walks would be back on. She said: “Once lockdown began to ease, people started contacting us to ask when it was coming back.

“Some members live alone, are widows or widowers or don’t have family locally so have been very isolated during lockdown and both the social and exercise elements of the walks are important to them.”

Gill said they have devised a way to start the walks again safely. They head out in smaller groups led by keen walker Diana Jolland, ensuring they are socially distant and armed with hand sanitiser.

Gill added: “We’ve done four walks so far; we have four or five walks that we do regularly that are around three to five miles long. Everyone has welcomed the opportunity to get out and about and have a catch up with their friends after lockdown.”

She said: “It’s important for some of the people who go to have that companionship and to keep fit. Lockdown has been hard, especially for people living alone, so it’s good to get out again.”

Despite community support organisations shifting their focus to recovery, support is still there for people who need it. Those who need help with shopping, prescriptions and other essentials but don’t have anyone to call on, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780. The centre is open seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm.

People can also find details of local voluntary and community groups offering support at www.northyorkshireconnect.org.uk

For more information go to www.northyorks.gov.uk/help-you-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Social care and NHS services

The ‘Please give me space’ Distance Aware Initiative has been recently endorsed by the Department of Health and Social Care to help those who need support in getting others around them to maintain social distancing.

Visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/please-give-me-space-social-distancing-cards-or-badges  to see optional badges which can be carried to show that the carrier may have concerns or difficulties in maintaining social distancing.

They can be used on mobile phones along with print.

Growing our local economy

Free skills funding and Kickstart scheme webinar – 2 September

The government’s ‘plan for jobs’ has created additional funding opportunities to encourage businesses to provide new routes for young people into employment.

The York and North Yorkshire Growth Hub have partnered with the Education, Skills and Funding Agency (ESFA) to help businesses understand the options and the process involved for apprenticeships, T Levels, traineeships and the Kickstart scheme. The session will explore the opportunities in more detail and answer any questions that you may have.

For full details and to register, visit: https://www.ynygrowthhub.com/events/funding-opportunities-for-skills-training-and-the-kickstart-scheme/.

This webinar is delivered in partnership with Make It York and North Yorkshire County Council

DoE employer webinars for T levels

The Department for Education and Strategic Development Network (SDN) are hosting three webinars for employers looking at what industry placements look like in the following skill areas for the new T levels:

Education and Childcare: 10 Sept

Construction: 15 Sept

Digital: 23 Sept

Find out more and register here

DWP “A Good Place to Start” campaign

The Department for Work and Pensions have launched a new campaign.

‘A Good Place to Start’ aims to help jobseekers through the COVID-19 pandemic back into work, and put those businesses needing to recruit in touch with them. At the centre of the campaign are two websites, jobhelp which provides support to jobseekers including those starting out in their career, and employerhelp which provides links to business support and information, as well as help for those who need to recruit.

Employers are encouraged to post their vacancies on the free DWP Find a Job service. Help on how to do this can found here.

HMRC Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme reminder

From 1‌‌‌ ‌September, CJRS will pay 70% of usual wages up to a cap of £2,187.50 per month for the hours furloughed employees do not work.

Employers will still need to pay furloughed employees 80% of their usual wages for the hours they do not work, up to a cap of £2,500 per month and fund the difference between this and the CJRS grant themselves.

Employers will continue to pay furloughed employees’ National Insurance (NI) and pension contributions from their own funds.

Further guidance can be found here.

New support for disabled to work from home during pandemic

Those working from home or in the workplace with a disability will benefit from extra help, thanks to an extension of the Access to Work scheme, including support for special equipment, travel costs and mental health.

For more information, read here

Stay informed

Creative lockdown ideas

Online music lessons

Our service has adapted to allow lessons to be taught online to pupils unable to attend school. We offer the full range of instruments, including brass, woodwind, strings, percussion, voice and keyboard. Lessons are delivered by specialist instrumental teachers over a secure connection.

We were among the first music service to pioneer this approach and are very experienced in it. For details, visit www.northyorkshiremusichub.co.uk or email MusicServiceTuitionRequests@northyorks.gov.uk

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

A big well done to the thousands of pupils right across North Yorkshire celebrating their hard-earned GCSE results today!  I am delighted that the uncertainty is over for them and that they can now plan their futures with confidence. The coronavirus pandemic has had a massive impact on their education and school experience and we are extremely proud of the resilience pupils have shown in response. As a result of all this disruption, results given today are based on the results their teachers felt students would have achieved, if this summer’s exams had taken place. Those that received higher calculated grades from the exam boards have retained those as their final results. While Government isn’t allowing this year’s results to be used to judge school performance by organisations such as Ofsted and local authorities, the indications from feedback we have via schools suggests the county has received its usual high standard results!

North Yorkshire’s adult learners are also rightfully celebrating another year of excellent GCSE results. More than 600 adults signed up for a range of GCSE subjects and the results speak for themselves. You can read much more and hear from schools in Bedale, Selby and Ryedale here https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/after-months-uncertainty-students-celebrate-gcse-grades

I should also say that school leavers who received their A or AS level results last Thursday are also currently being reissued with their teacher-assessed grades, unless the standardised results they received from the exam boards were higher. This, of course, follows the Government and Ofqual announcement this week. BTEC results, which were also due today, are delayed following that national announcement yesterday and students will be notified when the re-graded results are due to be issued.

I would like to thank every single student for their commitment and patience through what’s been a really difficult time for them and their families. It’s also important to acknowledge the mammoth efforts made by our school staff right across North Yorkshire to support students and to help them get the results they deserve. I know there is very detailed and considerable effort still going on in schools to prepare for the start of the new term next month. I am grateful to all staff and volunteers for their hard work and professionalism. Thanks to this collective effort, our young people will not be disadvantaged in whatever they decide to do now.

I have previously promised to keep you informed of our thinking around the requirement from central government for us to get rid of the current district and county local council structure here to be eligible to bid for a devolution deal. We have been clear that we believe North Yorkshire should follow in the success of the many county-wide single councils already operating very effectively across England.

It is our firm belief that to be successful, a new single council for North Yorkshire would need to work closely and collaboratively with the people who know their areas at a very local level.

For that reason, it was a pleasure this week to host an online seminar for representatives of parish and town councils from across the county, to hear their questions and comments, to set out how we see the future of local government in North Yorkshire and to open a conversation to understand what town and parish councils would want from a new council - what could work better now and in the future.

It was extremely encouraging that more than 250 representatives joined us for this discussion to listen and respond to the presentation by myself and council leader Cllr Carl Les. We also hosted guests from the Cornwall Association of Local Councils as well as Falmouth Town Council. Falmouth took advantage of the opportunities offered by Cornwall Council, when Cornwall became a single council some years ago. The town council took on more responsibility for services such as leisure and tourism. Alongside these guests we were also fortunate to hear from Whitby Town Council.

Giving more powers to towns and parishes that want them through “double devolution” is central to our proposal. We are seeking more powers from the government, but we also want more powers and the money to support them to be devolved at very local level as well. This is about presenting opportunities and empowering town and parish councils to take up that opportunity. We want to bring people together to get things done at a local level and harness that community spirit that drives the most effective local improvements throughout North Yorkshire.

As a step towards this we have invited town and parish representatives to join a working group, which will look at the practical issues of making devolution and restructured local government work to best effect. I am pleased to say we have already had numerous people coming forward to offer their services. This is a very positive step.

As usual I would also like to shine a spotlight on some of the outstanding teamwork going on across the county at grassroots level that makes a big difference to people and their communities. This week we have the Dales showing how they can bounce back.  The Leyburn walkers are out and about again enjoying summer safely thanks to Leyburn Arts and Community Centre – one of the 23 community hubs set up by the County Council to support people during the pandemic. I would encourage you to learn more about how they are stepping out here https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/volunteer-walking-group-gets-people-back-their-feet-after-isolation-during-lockdown

I am also heartened by the strength shown by locals in Grinton – hit by three lots of floods and then the pandemic over the last 12 months! The Bridge Inn is not just a place for a pint and a chat – it’s a crucial community hub. It is a perfect example of Team North Yorkshire at its best and testament to what can be achieved when we work together at the most local level – as we do – every day.  Please do follow this Swaledale story of survival here: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/bridge-inn-working-together-put-pub-back-together

A brief mention of the importance of maintaining rigorous hand washing, social distancing and other precautions before I go. Cases of Covid-19 in the county remain low, but they are creeping up. It lies within our own power to prevent more outbreaks and to make sure our businesses can stay open. Please look after yourselves and your family – help keep our shops, cafes, restaurants and hotels open – please play your part in our economic recovery and take all necessary precautions to stop the spread.

Keeping in touch

NYCC’s website has a dedicated area for all the latest COVID-19 related news visit: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-advice-and-information

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

Update from Dr Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health

The number of new cases in the county is currently around 5 per day. Cases are generally linked to routine testing of care homes and staff, small outbreaks in workplaces/hospitality settings, or transmission within households. There has been an increase in cases in young adults (10-29-year-olds) in particular. Younger people are less likely to show symptoms or have severe illness from COVID. However, even if individuals have mild disease there is still the risk of spread to people who are more susceptible to severe illness and death. Although lockdown restrictions have been eased, individuals should still avoid large gatherings and maintain 2 metre social distancing from people outside their household.

The way that deaths from COVID-19 are being reported has changed. Previously all deaths of people who had tested positive for COVID-19 were included in figures, regardless of how long ago the test was carried out. This made sure that the number of deaths from COVID-19 was not underestimated. However, the main indicator has now changed to count deaths within 28 days of a first positive test (with a second indicator including anyone who has died within 60 days of a positive test if COVID-19 appears on the death certificate). These measures will be used across all parts of the UK.

Earlier this week it was announced that Public Health England will be replaced in 2021 by the National Institute for Health Protection, which will bring together PHE’s health protection function with NHS Test and Trace and the Joint Biosecurity Centre. Since PHE’s inception we have worked very closely with our local team in Yorkshire & The Humber who have always provided invaluable support, particularly during COVID. We are extremely grateful for the expertise they have provided to us and will continue to work together to tackle COVID-19 and other health protection issues through this transition period.

Working together towards recovery

Testing

As part of the national testing programme for coronavirus, drive-through Mobile Testing Units, run by the Department for Health and Social Care, will be operating in the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • Friday 21 August - Northallerton - Allertonshire School, Brompton Road, Northallerton, DL6 1ED
  • Friday 21 August – Harrogate - Harrogate Old Education Offices, Ainsty Road, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG1 4AP
  • Saturday 22 August – Selby – South Entrance, Drax Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Sunday 23 August – Scarborough – Scarborough Park & Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough YO12 4LW
  • Monday 24 August - Settle - Greenfoot Car Park, Lower Greenfoot, Settle, BD24 9RB
  • Monday 24 August - Northallerton - Allertonshire School, Brompton Road, Northallerton, DL6 1ED
  • Tuesday 25 August - Thornton Le Dale - National Trust Car Park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Pickering, YO18 7RR
  • Tuesday 25 August – Harrogate - Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB

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

Watch this video to find out what to expect and how to prepare for the test: https://youtu.be/QawyKwIIfKQ

Find out more and how to book at www.northyorks.gov.uk/testing

Supporting our schools and childcare

Today, students have received GCSE results from their schools which contain their final grades. These are the grades which schools had assessed for their students had this summer’s exams taken place, but students who received higher calculated grades from exam boards are able to retain those.

We know schools in North Yorkshire worked hard on producing assessed grades for their students, looking at the mock exam results and course work as well as non-assessed work such as homework and we hope students can now look forward to their future with confidence following all the uncertainty of the past few months.

The Principal of Selby High School, Nick Hinchliffe, said: “This has been such an unusual year and I’m so proud of how our students have dealt with the situation, and absolutely delighted to see so many smiling faces this morning as students celebrate their achievements. 

“I wish everybody the best of luck in the future.”  

School leavers who received their A or AS level results last Thursday are also currently being reissued with their teacher-assessed grades. If last week’s standardised result from the exam boards is higher, again, that will remain their grade.

The Government has removed temporary student number controls which had been introduced for the coming academic year, to ensure students can still progress to higher education, but schools in North Yorkshire will continue to provide support to A-level students in need of advice or support on their university applications.

North Yorkshire’s adult learners are also celebrating another year of excellent GCSE results. This is the eighth year that North Yorkshire County Council’s Adult Learning and Skills Service has offered a comprehensive range of GCSE English and maths courses, with more than 600 adult learners signing up for the free maths and English courses with the service every year.

In GCSE maths, an outstanding 95 per cent of learners achieved a grade 9 to 4, of which two achieved the highest possible grade 9.  Results for GCSE English saw a magnificent 100 per cent achieving a grade 9 to 4 of which two learners achieved a grade 8.

BTEC results have been delayed after exam board Pearson announced yesterday it would re-grade BTECs in line with GCSEs and A-levels after saying they had become concerned about potential unfairness in relation to the GCSE and A-level results. The grades were due to be issued today. Students will be notified when the re-graded results are due to be released.

School leavers who received their A or AS level results last Thursday are also currently being reissued with their teacher assessed grades. If last week’s standardised result from the exam boards is higher, again, that will remain their grade.

We thank students for their perseverance over what has been an unsettling few months and hope young people in North Yorkshire can now look ahead to embarking on the next steps in their life with some optimism.

Teamwork to support our residents

During the coronavirus pandemic, people across the county have been supported by an army of local volunteers. Almost 14,000 bags of shopping and more than 10,000 prescriptions have been delivered across North Yorkshire since March through the network of 23 community support organisations.

These community hubs up and down the county continue to help people with shopping and other essentials while also getting people eased back into normal day-to-day life with confidence. Phil Henderson, manager at the Stokesley and District Community Care Association, told us how they are supporting people back into everyday life after lockdown.

Phil said: “The CSO set up through North Yorkshire County Council has been very good for us, we slotted into it nicely and were already helping a lot of people.

“When lockdown started, a lot of our volunteers were over 70 so they stopped going out and about doing things like prescription deliveries – but 50 new people came forward and wanted to help, which was amazing.”

Phil added that as lockdown begins to lift, the focus will be on continuing to support members of the community who need it by building confidence in getting back outside.

He said: “Instead of just phoning people to talk, some of our volunteers have started doing visits in the garden. It’s not just about delivering things physically but helping with the confidence and loneliness side of things, too.”

Phil added that the most satisfying thing for him has been when teamwork means that everything slots into place and a job gets done – along with helping his community.

He said: “We’ve had an incredibly positive reaction to what we’ve been doing.”

There are also countless examples of neighbours looking out for each other. In Harrogate, Starbeck residents Anne and Michael Dennis knew their neighbours before the coronavirus outbreak, but lockdown brought the community closer together.

Anne, 78, said: “My neighbour, Alison, does my shopping on a Friday and if Mrs Kirkbright, who lives next door but-one, sees me trying to hang the washing out, she’s round in two minutes to do it for me. Mrs Gray and her husband also help. They’ve all been fantastic.”

Krista Gray has lived opposite Anne and Michael for over five years, she said: “We are all in this together, as much of a cliché as that is, we are. It’s a two-way thing. I love the conversations! The relationship has definitely gotten stronger and I don’t want it to just end if everything goes back to normal. I hope she knows that we will always be here for her.”

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

People can also find details of local voluntary and community groups offering support at www.northyorkshireconnect.org.uk

For more information go to www.northyorks.gov.uk/help-you-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Social care and NHS services

Although we now have very few cases of Covid-19 in care settings (six out of 235 settings) our work to support them continues.  We remain vigilant, particularly with winter coming and an increase in infections in some parts of the UK. 

We work closely with, and continue to monitor, all our care homes and record every Covid-19 infection so we can help a home to take swift action if an outbreak arises. 

From the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic we stepped up support for the 235 care homes and extra care housing schemes in North Yorkshire with a seven-day-a-week response with daily calls and support, including staffing, training, cleaning, help with PPE and testing for all care settings. This support continues.

Multi-agency meetings, involving senior managers from the county council and the NHS, also take place daily to consider the risks identified at specific locations and we have put in place any additional support that has been required.

This approach is a key part of managing the pandemic and protecting frail residents and keyworkers. It has resulted in North Yorkshire securing additional testing kits for care settings and taking rapid action to tackle poor quality (for example, working with CQC to ensure the rapid closure of two residential homes in Scarborough).

Where possible, the county council and the NHS have worked with care providers to go beyond the requirements set out by Government: for example, in designating quarantine beds across the county for people being discharged from hospital.

Our learning to date has been that:

  • Good multi-agency work is crucial, whether that is in a care home or a factory
  • Having a flying squad, for example our Quality Improvement Team, working with care providers has been essential
  • Risk stratification and constantly checking the numbers and trends has helped
  • Developing our own approach to testing – and asking Government for more local control – has helped
  • Webinars and e-bulletins have helped massively with training and awareness raising

In order to help manage future outbreaks we are working with NHS partners and care providers to 

  • Review what has been learned from the initial pandemic
  • Continue regular calls and support to care providers
  • Continue additional social care funding for providers
  • Review hospital discharge arrangements
  • Plan for a second wave and/or a severe winter

The County Council, the NHS and the care sector continue to work closely together to support and protect residents and care workers.

Growing our local economy

Buy Local:  For this pizza proprietor, buying local is more important than ever

During the Covid-19 pandemic, times have been hard for everyone. But some members of our community are determined to use teamwork and search for positives that can come out of this terrible situation.

One man who has done this is Mark Craggs, who owns Proper Pizzas.

Mark says if there’s one small good thing to come from the pandemic, he hopes it keeps people buying produce locally.

That’s why he signed up to Buy Local, North Yorkshire County Council’s directory of local businesses and services, all in one place to provide an easy way to search for whatever you need.

720 local businesses have signed up so far – Buy Local is a one-stop shop connecting businesses and customers.

Mark set up Proper Pizzas three years ago, converting a horsebox into a portable pizza parlour with a wood-fired oven with his wife, Emma.

He was expecting a busy year, having started taking bookings for weddings. But when Covid-19 hit, the weddings were postponed and Mark was forced to think about the future – but instead of worrying, it made him realise how lucky he is and the importance of buying locally.

He said: “I try to buy a lot of my produce locally. If we can get what we need from a local business, then we absolutely should.

“A lot of those places were open and had stuff in when the bigger supermarkets didn’t. We should all switch our attention to supporting our local community, because it’s important. If there’s one good thing to come out of this pandemic I hope it’s that, continuing to support local businesses.”

Proper Pizzas began after Mark struggled to get a takeaway pizza in his village, Pepper Arden near East Cowton, so began making his own. With a friend, this developed into converting the horsebox and selling pizzas at farmers’ markets plus doing takeaways, before starting to cater weddings and events.

He said: “We’ve basically had all our business wiped out for a year. At first people who had us booked for their wedding rescheduled to a date later in the year, then when it became clear that wouldn’t happen, next year.

“Obviously you do worry about these things, but looking at the key workers across North Yorkshire and the effort they’ve gone to during this pandemic, it does make me feel relieved and lucky.

“I like to look at it that my glass is always half full. That business isn’t lost, it’s just moved to next year and I do appreciate that. The business overall has given me a completely different pace of life.

“About three years ago, my wife lost her mother to cancer. It all happened quite suddenly, and that’s what made us decide to go for it. You don’t know what is around the corner.

“It’s gone from strength to strength, we practiced a lot making pizza at home first, too.”

Mark joined Buy Local to strengthen this sense of community and, ultimately, to be able to support other small businesses.

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

Mark and Proper Pizzas are currently located at Kiplin Hall while its tea rooms remain closed.

County Council Leader Cllr Carl Les said: “Buying local is something that should be heartily encouraged. Having a base of customers in a locality is something which shouldn’t be underestimated and provides help for the local economy.

“It’s fantastic that so many businesses have signed up to Buy Local. It’s a valuable resource which only increases in value the more shops and services we have on there.

“Business owners like Mark help to keep communities in North Yorkshire on their feet, provided with the vital things they need.”

People can find a wide range of goods and services and businesses can register, on Buy Local.

LEP News: New grants announced to boost recovery of small businesses

The are working with Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to administer two new grants – Kick-starting tourism and SME grant funding.

These will support SME businesses to access specialist advice to further mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 by building in resilience for the future or addressing potential new opportunities.

The schemes will open for applications in mid-September. However, businesses can register their interest via the following links to keep up to date and be notified as soon as they are open for applications:

Register your interest in the SME grant funding

Register your interest in the Kick-starting tourism scheme

To share this information with others, please use the Communications Pack here

Circular Yorkshire webinar: How your business can find value from food waste streams

  • Date: Wednesday 2 September 2020
  • Time: 15:00-16:00

In this webinar, businesses will explore how they can find new income streams, cut costs and improve their green credentials by creating value from food ‘waste’ streams. They can hear from those who have successfully turned waste into profit and from those who can offer funded support to help regional businesses to do the same.

This is organised by BioVale and the York and North Yorkshire LEP as part of this year’s  Circular Yorkshire Month campaign.

To register for this event, visit https://bit.ly/3gubiZB

To find out more about the Circular Yorkshire Month campaign, visit https://www.businessinspiredgrowth.com/newsletter-sign-up/

Queen’s Awards for Enterprise deadline

Applications are open until midday on 9 September 2020.

The annual awards recognise outstanding achievement by UK businesses in the categories of innovation, international trade, sustainable development and promoting opportunity through social mobility.

Winners have reported benefiting from worldwide recognition, increased commercial value, greater press coverage and a boost to staff morale. Fifteen businesses in Yorkshire and the Humber won awards this year, including four from North Yorkshire. For further details, visit www.gov.uk/queens-awards-for-enterprise 

Coronavirus business support webinars

To support businesses and the self-employed, HMRC has developed new webinars on the following topics:

  • Extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and flexible furloughing webinar – register here. 
  • Eat Out to Help Out scheme webinar – register here.
  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, Universal Credit and Child Benefit webinar –register here. 
  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme webinar - register here. 

On 17 August, the Government announced that applications opened for the second stage of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS). Those eligible will receive a government grant worth up to £6,570. Further information is available at: https://bit.ly/3iOHmrI

Stay informed

Creative lockdown ideas

Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughters – John Carr

A man whose legacy is threaded through North Yorkshire’s roads network is the latest subject of the Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughters campaign. The latest nominee is renowned Georgian architect John Carr. Carr served as the North and West Riding “bridgemaster”.

Read more about John Carr and Made in North Yorkshire at: www.northyorks.gov.uk/made-in-north-yorkshire

Online music lessons

Our service has adapted to allow lessons to be taught online to pupils unable to attend school. We offer the full range of instruments, including brass, woodwind, strings, percussion, voice and keyboard. Lessons are delivered by specialist instrumental teachers over a secure connection.

We were among the first music service to pioneer this approach and are very experienced in it. For details, visit www.northyorkshiremusichub.co.uk or email MusicServiceTuitionRequests@northyorks.gov.uk

Scavenger hunt at home

You may not be able to spend long enough outside to enjoy a scavenger hunt, but why not try one at home? https://www.thebigsmokeevents.com/the-stuck-at-home-scavenger-hunt

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

I don’t suppose many of us are surprised by the fact that the UK is in recession for the first time in more than a decade. Equally, while not wishing to be the voice of doom, you will be very aware of how hard North Yorkshire’s economy has been hit by the pandemic. 

The global outbreak has delivered an absolute shockwave that will be a hard graft to recover from – a huge collective effort will be required. It is all the more difficult given that we are still fighting the impacts of Covid-19 across the county. We are living, and working, in unprecedented times.

As you would expect, we are naturally worried about the latest unemployment figures and the fact that in North Yorkshire there are still 87,000 people who are furloughed. 

All the more reason then that we pull together as a county and do what we can to support businesses and jobs! It’s Shop Local Week so let’s get behind our retailers, cafés, pubs, restaurants and hotels and show them how passionately we feel about those high-quality goods and experiences we love on our doorsteps. Let’s join the growing throng of families enjoying the benefits of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, and let’s get safely back to our high streets and markets – boosting local trade. Together we can play our part in supporting our local economy and protecting jobs. We understand some people are returning to the new norm in life at different paces, so please don’t forget that you can access local businesses and services via our free Buy Local website here too www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local

As a County Council, we are working hard to do our bit. We are talking and listening to a really wide range of partners, businesses, community groups and organisations as we develop our business case for a new single council for North Yorkshire. We must reform local government here in order to be eligible for a devolution deal from Government. If you would like to read more about the background to this, please do so here: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/stronger-together

These discussions are critical – now more than ever. Because as we continue to battle the virus itself with our test and trace, public health and community group partners, we must also pursue with vigour our devolution bid work. Without that all-important ‘devo deal’ we will not be in the position we need to be to drive forward economic renewal for North Yorkshire.

So together with our colleagues in the City of York, that is exactly what we are doing. A great deal of hard work continues to ensure that our bid for devolution offers the county and Government the best possible option to drive that economic revival. The best possible chance to protect and create jobs here. The best opportunity to protect and enhance frontline services and of course – the best possible value for money.  

As we prepare our proposals, we do so based on a sound knowledge and understanding of the people and the communities we serve. We protect and educate the county’s children, we go into people’s homes to help them live longer, more fulfilling lives within their communities and we know every street! We look after them!

We are determined to deliver a stronger voice for everyone as part of this work. But how would we do this? Via 25 community networks consisting of businesses, local members and community groups and offering everyone a bigger say in what matters to them. Challenge and governance would be delivered via area committees and strengthened town and parish councils. There are nationally recognised models of success that prove the case – such as Durham’s here: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/north-yorkshire-single-council-plan-backed-empowering-local-communities

We have also now received confirmation from Government that our size is within the scope of their plans for devolution and you can read more on that here: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/minister-confirms-position-bid-keep-county-together

We are trying to outline our position, while also being open to challenge and discussion, because we want our case to be strong and sound.

Our focus is on getting the very best for the county. Simplifying things for the public, businesses and partners, strengthening services and local voices and saving on the waste that currently exists. That waste equates to tens of millions of pounds every year. We firmly believe that breaking up the county of North Yorkshire, splitting up nationally acclaimed services that protect our most vulnerable residents and continuing with wasteful duplication with multiple local councils is not in the best interests of revitalising the economy or delivering sustainable high-quality frontline services. 

Bids need to be agreed and submitted to Government over the coming weeks. They will be published and you will be able to examine them in full. National Government will decide which have merit and will take those forward for public consultation. I will keep you all informed of where we are in this process throughout.

Before I sign off this week, I just want to outline a little about tomorrow’s A-level results in North Yorkshire. The predicted grades which make up this year’s A-level results are the result of teacher calculations. So, teachers looking at mock exams, classwork and homework and then exam boards standardising the results. Last night the Government announced pupils in England could use the grades awarded from mock exams if they are unhappy with the ones awarded. Students can also request to resit the exams directly with their school. Schools will be on hand tomorrow to provide advice on the next steps for students, from university applications to information on apprenticeships, jobs or offer any other form of support needed. Good luck to all those who will have worked so hard!

Thank you for following our weekly bulletins and please do support your local businesses in any way you can. Big thanks also for working with us as part of Team North Yorkshire to keep the county safe. Courtesy of your collective and continued efforts we are doing well, compared to many other areas in fighting Coronavirus. That doesn’t mean we can drop our guard as we are managing outbreaks with health partners on a weekly basis. So keep up the good work and, as always, stay safe. 

Keeping in touch

NYCC’s website has a dedicated area for all the latest COVID-19 related news visit: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-advice-and-information

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

Update from Dr Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health

The number of new cases in the county is currently between 2 and 3 per day. As previously noted, some of these are linked to our testing of care homes residents and staff, but there continue to be some cases linked to a small number of outbreaks we are managing across the county. The virus has most definitely not gone away and we urge people to continue following advice on social distancing, frequent handwashing, and staying at home if you (or anyone you live with) has symptoms.

You will have seen in the news this week that NHS Test & Trace and Public Health England are planning to extend their working relationship with local authorities in order to reach more people testing positive and their contacts, to prevent further spread of COVID-19. This will involve NHS Test & Trace working more closely with public health teams to identify local solutions where the national system has been unable to contact individuals within a set time limit. Further details of the scheme are yet to be announced, but for North Yorkshire this should build on our existing relationship with PHE and our approach to contact tracing during outbreaks so far.

Although shielding has now been paused, support offered by NHS Volunteer Responders will continue until at least December 2020. Our local support will also continue for those who need it, co-ordinated via the customer service centre (01609 780780).

Since 8 August, face coverings have become mandatory in more public enclosed places – for a full list of locations see here: Face coverings: when to wear one and how to make your own. However, that doesn’t mean these are the only places where it is appropriate to use a face covering. With the holiday season and the sunny weather some parts of the county are seeing larger than usual crowds, including in outdoor spaces – while we urge everyone to maintain 2m social distancing, should this not be possible then wearing a face covering will help to decrease the risk of spreading COVID-19.

Working together towards recovery

Testing

As part of the national testing programme for coronavirus, drive-through Mobile Testing Units, run by the Department for Health and Social care, will be operating in the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • Thursday 13 August - Whitby - Whitby Park and Ride, Whitby, YO21 1TL
  • Thursday 13 August - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4T
  • Friday 14 August - Northallerton - Allertonshire School, Brompton Road, Northallerton, DL6 1ED
  • Friday 14 August – Harrogate - Harrogate Old Education Offices, Ainsty Road, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG1 4AP
  • Saturday 15 August – Selby – South Entrance, Drax Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Sunday 16 August – Scarborough – Scarborough Park & Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough YO12 4LW
  • Monday 17 August - Skipton - Coach St car park, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 1LH
  • Monday 17 August - Northallerton - Allertonshire School, Brompton Road, Northallerton, DL6 1ED
  • Tuesday 18 August - Thornton Le Dale - National Trust Car Park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Pickering, YO18 7RR
  • Tuesday 18 August – Harrogate - Harrogate Old Education Offices, Ainsty Road, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG1 4AP

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

Watch this video to find out what to expect and how to prepare for the test: https://youtu.be/QawyKwIIfKQ

Find out more and how to book at www.northyorks.gov.uk/testing

Supporting our schools and childcare

Schools are preparing to share their A-Level results with students tomorrow.

Following the cancellation of summer’s exams after the nation went into lockdown, this year’s results have been based on calculated grades.

The results were calculated based on teacher predictions of what students would have achieved if this year’s A-Level exams had gone ahead. For each student, teachers based their decision on a range of evidence, including non-exam assessments such as classwork, homework and mock exams before carrying out internal moderation processes and providing a rank order of students for exam boards. Exam boards then standardised the results based on a process decided with Ofqual, the government’s body for regulating exams following wide consultation. Yesterday evening, the Government announced pupils in England had the right to appeal to use the grades awarded from mock exam results if they are unhappy with the ones they have been awarded.

A-Level students can also request to sit their exams, which can be requested directly through their school between now and September 4 with exams taking place in the autumn term.

The Government has announced it will not hold schools and colleges to account on the basis of exams and assessment data from 2020 and this year’s results cannot be used by organisations such as Ofsted and local authorities to assess the performance or progress of schools and colleges. As a result, this year’s results from schools in North Yorkshire will not be collated by the County Council.

All children are expected to return to school from the week beginning September 7, in line with the Government’s intentions that schools will fully re-open and the full home-to-school transport networks will be back in operation.

Schools have planned individually how they will arrange children in bubbles to minimise contact, using risk assessment templates which have been developed by the local authority in conjunction with head teachers, and in consultation with unions. They have used strategies such as one-way systems, minimising movement around school buildings and additional hygiene measures and facilities. They may also include adjustments to timings in the school day, lunchtime arrangements and changes to start and finish times. Throughout the pandemic, schools have been provided with a named education adviser who has supported them and addressed any individual concerns over the safe opening of schools.

Outbreak procedures have been developed in conjunction with local Public Health colleagues and have been in place for some time. If a suspected outbreak were to occur in a school, then colleagues in Public Health will support schools on an individual basis and advise on actions which should be taken.

In conjunctions with headteachers, North Yorkshire has also produced guidance to support schools manage a range of potential lockdown restrictions through a series of scenario plans.

Teamwork to support our residents

With shielding now paused, North Yorkshire residents who remain vulnerable to coronavirus and continue to need assistance with shopping and other essentials are being helped by community support organisations (CSOs). Although the vast majority of the people who had been receiving Government food parcels and prescription deliveries are being supported by family and friends, for the small number who don’t have those networks the safety net of the CSOs is a lifeline.

Alan Kane has been shielding with wife Sue as they both have lung disease. He said: “We have managed and it has got easier, but knowing someone was looking out for us was marvellous and I’m very glad it’s continuing. Me and Sue have to shield because of our lung disease – if we catch anything, it could be incredibly dangerous.

“At first it was very hard not seeing anyone, especially the family and my grandchildren. But knowing we had the volunteer organisations behind us to help was incredibly reassuring and it still is.”

Alan and Sue have had their prescriptions delivered by volunteers throughout lockdown, but they also appreciated the time taken by volunteers to simply call and check they were okay.

“If one good thing has come out of this it’s how friendly people have been and how willing to help. The volunteers who helped me could have sat at home and not, but they’ve put themselves out there and keep doing so.”

Community support organisations and an army of more than 1,500 volunteers continue to support over 3,000 people every week with shopping, prescriptions and other essentials as well as helping people begin to build their confidence and regain some independence.

For people who have needed financial assistance to pay for food and household essentials, more than 800 Covid-19 support grant scheme awards have been made through the community support organisations since March. The majority of applicants have long-term health conditions or weakened immune systems.

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

People can also find details of local voluntary and community groups offering support at www.northyorkshireconnect.org.uk

For more information go to www.northyorks.gov.uk/help-you-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Social care and NHS services

Antibody testing

We are working with NHS acute trusts to roll out antibody testing for social care colleagues. Antibodies are proteins produced by the body in response to infections, including viruses such as SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). Antibodies can be produced in response to the virus itself (i.e. when the virus enters your body) or in response to vaccination.

Antibody tests look for antibodies in the blood, which means they are carried out by taking a blood sample rather than a swab. A positive test indicates that you have previously had the virus, even if you have not had symptoms.

For some infections, the presence of antibodies provides a degree of immunity against catching the disease (or having serious consequences of the disease) again. However, there is no evidence yet that the presence of antibodies to COVID-19 gives any immunity to prevent getting the disease again.

This means that even if individuals have a positive antibody test they should still consider themselves susceptible to catching and passing on the virus in the future. Individuals should not change their behaviour or work patterns on the basis of a positive test, nor should employers or others expect them to do so. Social distancing and handwashing guidance remain as important as for those people who have not developed an antibody response

PHE Services

An updated overview of Public Health services available during Coronavirus can be found here https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/public-health-services-during-coronavirus-covid-19 , services including are:

  • Health Visiting and School Nursing Services
  • Lifestyle Services e.g. Substance Misuse, Smoking, Sexual Health, Healthy Weight
  • NHS Health Check Programme
  • Warm and Well

PPE

Throughout the pandemic we have been supporting health and care settings around personal protective equipment (PPE), including access to emergency supplies through the Local Resilience Forum. The government is currently expanding access to the national PPE portal, which means more setting will be able to access PPE (and in greater quantities) than previously. For more information on who is able to access the portal, and the weekly stocks available, please see: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/ppe-portal-how-to-order-emergency-personal-protective-equipment.

Growing our local economy

Shop Local Week celebrates our local businesses

More than ever this year, we’ve all learned to appreciate and be proud of our local businesses in North Yorkshire, and do all we can to support them.

During the pandemic we set up www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local - our online marketplace offering free advertising for businesses who form a vital part of Team North Yorkshire. They offer a huge range of services and many of them have gone above and beyond to support their customers over the last few difficult months.

This week is Shop Local week, and we are proud to say that there are now 720 local businesses registered, from village stores to well-known North Yorkshire brands. Pages on the site have been viewed over 100,000 times since it was launched in April.

There’s never been a better time to show your support for local retailers and tradesmen, and there are countless examples of businesses adapting to serve their customers during Covid-19 – read more here.

If you’re a business owner, why not register today?

Customers – search on Buy Local for everything from florists and solicitors, to take-aways and builders!

www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local

LEP News: Online recruitment webinar

To respond to changing recruitment needs, have teamed up with Clare Hutchison from One to One Recruitment to deliver a one-hour recruitment workshop to help businesses better understand the virtual recruitment landscape and succeed in hiring superb talent.

This free webinar on the 25 August at 12:15pm with help to understand:

  • How candidates consider the job market
  • The types of skills and attributes you need
  • How you can support the candidates during a virtual recruitment process.

To register, visit here.

New apprentices support service

Government has announced a new online and telephone support service for apprentices who have lost their jobs during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Redundancy Support Service for Apprentices (ReSSA) aims to ensure apprentices can access local and national services to provide financial, legal, health and wellbeing support, and help them to find a new job should they need it.

The service’s website can be viewed here

Job Retention Bonus update

Further details of the Government’s new Job Retention Bonus have been unveiled by HMRC.

Businesses will receive a one-off payment of £1,000 for every previously furloughed employee if they are still employed at the end of January next year.

Small business leadership schemes

The government has provided £20m to support two new leadership programmes, helping small business leaders grow their companies in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic have been announced.

The Small Business Leadership Programme will focus on strengthening decision-makers’ leadership skills, whilst the Peer Networks Programme will focus on helping business owners improve their problem-solving skills, through a series of guided exercises.

West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce has announced several new webinars:Chamber of Commerce webinar series

  • Thursday 10 September; British Chambers of Commerce – In Conversation with Ambassador Woody Johnson, US Ambassador to the UK
  • Tuesday 22 September; British Chambers of Commerce – In Conversation with Andrew Bailey, Governor of the Bank of England

Details of these can be found here .

Office 'How to Return Safely' guide

A government film has been produced offering guidance on returning to the office safely. It can be watched at: https://bit.ly/OfficeGuideNorth

Stay informed

Government: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support

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

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

Creative lockdown ideas

Great North Yorkshire sons and daughters – Marie Hartley, Ella Pontefract & Joan Ingilby

A trio of women whose actions, passion and amazing talent led to the preservation of the rich heritage of the Yorkshire Dales are being celebrated in the Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughters campaign.

Marie Hartley, Ella Pontefract and, later, Joan Ingilby worked together for more than 75 years and were experts on the social history of the Dales. The women travelled across the county collecting stories, written material and artefacts, all of which they brought back to the cottage they shared at Askrigg in Wensleydale.

Read more about Marie Hartley, Ella Pontefract and Joan Ingilby and Made in North Yorkshire at: www.northyorks.gov.uk/made-in-north-yorkshire

Online music lessons

Our service has adapted to allow lessons to be taught online to pupils unable to attend school. We offer the full range of instruments, including brass, woodwind, strings, percussion, voice and keyboard. Lessons are delivered by specialist instrumental teachers over a secure connection.

We were among the first music service to pioneer this approach and are very experienced in it. For details, visit www.northyorkshiremusichub.co.uk or email MusicServiceTuitionRequests@northyorks.gov.uk

Scavenger hunt at home

You may not be able to spend long enough outside to enjoy a scavenger hunt but why not try one at home? https://www.thebigsmokeevents.com/the-stuck-at-home-scavenger-hunt

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

It’s a strange old world just now, isn’t it? Face masks or coverings are the new norm, hand sanitiser is available to use in many shops and restaurants, café’s etc, and one-way systems keep us safely apart. It’s truly commendable to see how the vast majority of us are just taking it in our stride and making the most of our slightly unusual new way of living and working.

In fact, to be honest, I bet I am not the only one who sometimes forgets what life was like before we had to take such precautions to protect ourselves and our loved ones. Our Test and Trace team are working regularly with health colleagues to help manage and close down the small number of outbreaks we are seeing and this approach is very effective here. However, we must exercise maximum caution because we can see that the virus continues to wreak havoc on communities where it is able to take hold again. Sadly, a number of our neighbours in the north of England are back in harsher degrees of lockdown and I am aware that this has resulted in some concern here in North Yorkshire. Please don’t forget our future is in our own hands, literally. So, please wash your hands regularly, carry hand sanitiser and stay at least 2 metres from people not in your household where you can. Where that’s not possible, take additional precautions, like wearing a face covering.  Now is not a moment to lose concentration; lives and livelihoods here continue to depend on us all playing our part. Thank you for playing yours.

It is without doubt, a critical moment for our economy too. Coronavirus has delivered a massive shock to so many of our businesses. Our world-renowned hospitality industry has been extremely hard hit and that’s continuing to have an impact on the very many people who depend financially on the visitor and hospitality industry, including their supply chains. The number of people furloughed in North Yorkshire is 85,000, the second highest in the north of England, behind Leeds. We will need to take some pretty dynamic action to drive our recovery from this. Our best chance of maximising renewed economic fortunes is to land a devolution deal. That’s a simple fact. Devolution will give us the money and local powers we need to supercharge investment in skills and job creation initiatives, superfast broadband and mobile connectivity and to build a better transport infrastructure. It means we can prioritise what matters here and make locally-led decisions on those. That’s incredibly important in a county like ours where there are many different communities spread out across a large geographic area – there isn’t a one size fits all – and devolution will mean much more power closer to people.

You may already be aware that to land a ‘devo deal’ we need to make big changes to local government here. That means the 8 councils currently delivering services to you must become one or two. Our position is very clear. One council is the only proposal that makes sense. It’s the only option that delivers maximum gain and least disruption. All the other options would split up the county, cause the biggest upheaval and deliver significantly less by way of savings. You may also have heard claims that a single council for North Yorkshire, serving all 610,000 residents, would be a ‘super council’. My response to that is that it would be a ‘super’ council, delivering best value and keeping our county together! However, any suggestion that our current county footprint would be unacceptable to Government can be scotched immediately. We have that in black and white from the minister himself, confirming the benefits of councils of scale and clarifying that our bid would be within the scope of Government’s ideas for unitary councils. 

Equally, you may hear claims that a new single council delivering all your services can not be local. Nonsense. You only need look at the success of our colleagues in Durham and Cornwall. Both have been single councils for more than a decade, delivered annual savings of between £20 and £25 million a year, maintained a strong financial footing, delivered high quality services and empowered communities. Our proposal would do likewise and strengthen local decision making, giving you a stronger voice. Through ‘double devolution’, we would pass on more powers, and the money to back them up, to those town and parish councils that wanted them. At least 25 community forums, covering market town areas, would offer residents, voluntary groups and businesses the platform to have their say and deliver on local priorities. Area committees would provide challenge to a new council, and oversight. We are carefully examining the success of other single councils to ensure all learning can benefit our proposal here.

I am aware that local government reorganisation is not the most scintillating conversation topic for everyone, but make no mistake, it is the only way to get the money and powers we need to renew the economy here and to be able to punch our weight regionally and nationally, so we need to get on with it.

Before I go, I would like to bring you some more inspiring stories of some of the people who have and continue to make North Yorkshire so special.  You may already have heard about our Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughters campaign. The latest to feature is a trio of women whose actions, passion and amazing talent led to the preservation of the rich heritage of the Yorkshire Dales.

Marie Hartley, Ella Pontefract and, later, Joan Ingilby worked together for more than 75 years and were experts on the social history of the Dales. The women travelled across the county collecting stories, written material and artefacts, all of which they brought back to the cottage they shared at Askrigg in Wensleydale.

Marie Hartley MBE, was born 29 September 1905 and was the author and co-author of 40 books documenting the social history of the Dales. There’s more on this story on the link below:

https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/women-devote-75-years-preserving-countys-rural-traditions

And here is another story of how a relatively small effort has made a big difference to a micro business trying hard to recover from the pandemic impact.  Just a week after the first birthday of the Old Post Office micro bar in Ingleton, it was forced to close as the UK went into lockdown. But, the support of North Yorkshire County Council highways team has eased the load and sparked a creative solution. An outdoor seating area means they can serve more customers and continue to provide a community spot for people in the small village to gather. It’s a tale of resilience and collaboration – typical of what we see going on across the county and there’s more on that here:

https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/post-office-pub-community-hub

Stay safe and look after yourselves.

Keeping in touch

NYCC’s website has a dedicated area for all the latest COVID-19 related news visit: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-advice-and-information

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

Update from Dr Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health

The number of new cases in the county is currently between 2 and 3 per day. Some of these are linked to our testing of care homes residents and staff but we do have small outbreaks from time to time in other settings. For example, we are working with Wensleydale Creamery where they have reported that five colleagues who work within their production area have tested positive for Covid-19. We have provided tests for all members of the production team and are awaiting the results. Measures are in place to contain the spread of the virus. There have been no cases detected at the separate Wensleydale Creamery Visitor Centre which remains fully open.

On the 1st of August, shielding was paused. This means that people who were defined as extremely clinically vulnerable, will no longer have to stay at home; they can start socialising with other people and go to work/school. However, it is still very important that, people who are extremely clinically vulnerable, are particularly vigilant about social distancing and frequent hand washing and limit the amount of people they come in contact with. The national Guidance on shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19 provides more information for people who have been shielding.

From the 8th of August, the use of face coverings will become mandatory in more public, enclosed places. At the moment, face coverings are mandatory in shops, supermarkets, post offices, banks, public transport and hospitals when attending as a visitor or outpatient. From the 8th of August, they will become mandatory in libraries, cinemas, theatres, museums and places of worship. A comprehensive list of places where face coverings will be mandatory can be found here: Face coverings: when to wear one and how to make your own.  

It is also worth to note that the isolation period for those who have symptoms of COVID-19 or have tested positive is now 10 days rather than 7 days that it was previously.

Working together towards recovery

Testing

As part of the national testing programme for coronavirus, drive-through Mobile Testing Units, managed by the Department for Health and Social care, will be operating in the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • Thursday 6 August - Whitby - Whitby Park and Ride, Whitby, YO21 1TL
  • Thursday 6 August - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4T
  • Friday 7 August- Northallerton - Allertonshire School, Brompton Road, Northallerton, DL6 1ED
  • Saturday 8 August – Selby – South Entrance, Drax Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Sunday 9 August – Scarborough – Scarborough Park & Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough YO12 4LW
  • Monday 10 - Northallerton - Allertonshire School, Brompton Road, Northallerton, DL6 1ED
  • Tuesday 11 - Thornton Le Dale - National Trust Car Park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Pickering, YO18 7RR
  • Tuesday 11 – Harrogate - Harrogate Old Education Offices, Ainsty Road, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG1 4AP

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

Watch this video to find out what to expect and how to prepare for the test: https://youtu.be/QawyKwIIfKQ

Find out more and how to book at www.northyorks.gov.uk/testing

Supporting our schools and childcare

September will mark an important move back towards normal life for many children and their families with the return to school for all year groups. The start of the new academic year will see work beginning on catching-up missed education and the opportunity for children and young people to have important contact with their peers, as well as the return of a traditional routine

Schools in North Yorkshire are currently finalising their risk assessments ahead of the full return to school for all year groups. There won’t be a one-size-fits-all approach to planning; school leaders are best placed to understand the needs of their school communities, but the County Council is providing support to schools in their decision-making. Parents will be notified in due course on the arrangements for home-to-school transport, but normal school transport arrangements will largely resume.

The County Council is also involved in planning for any potential local lockdown, which includes schools and how education will continue in the event of a local outbreak.

Teamwork to support our residents

Across the county, many residents have relied on the vital help of community support organisations and thousands of willing volunteers. Over the past few weeks, residents, who have been shielding since March, have been contacted to reassure them this help will continue despite the pause in shielding. Colleagues in our customer service centre have put alternative arrangements in place to make sure we are able to help those residents who still need support. Our partners at North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, the district councils and our own council staff have all been volunteering to check in on people. It’s been a huge team effort, and the reassurance of continues support has provided much comfort to those who are vulnerable.

Peter Murray, from Scarborough, suffers from COPD and asthma. He said: “I’ve been shielding since February but I got a letter from the NHS advising me to do it officially in March. The County Council has been fantastic and the volunteer who helped me was a really nice person – he deserves an award. Just polite, lovely to chat to. He always kept his distance from me but always made time to make sure I was alright.”

In Selby, Tina Whiteley was supported by volunteers as she entered the long recovery process from coronavirus. Tina, a mental health nurse who has asthma, contracted Covid-19 in March. Tina said: “When I came out of hospital I was shielding, which was hard because I was isolated. I physically couldn’t go out either because my blood oxygen levels were so low – walking to the kitchen to make a drink just about took it out of me. Getting up the stairs I had to go one step at a time.”

Tina realised she was running out of medication and had no-one available to collect her prescription for her. But a call from the council alerted her to the fact that support was available and she could get her medication delivered by a volunteer. She said: “They went and got my medication and brought it back. It’s simple but it helped me so much because I didn’t have to worry about it. When I found out they were there it was a big reassurance to me and I’m glad it’s carrying on.”

People who are self-isolating and need help with things like shopping and prescriptions, but don’t have anyone to call on, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780. Open seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm. People can also find details of local voluntary and community groups offering support at www.northyorkshireconnect.org.uk. For more information about support available go to www.northyorks.gov.uk/help-you-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

Social care and NHS services

Our Adult Weight Management Service is being seen as a vital route for residents to improve their health and lifestyle after Public Health England launched the national Better Health campaign.

In North Yorkshire, 61.3 per cent of adults in 2017/18 were overweight or obese, which is on par with the UK average. People living with obesity are twice as likely to be hospitalised with Covid-19.

Therefore, for many, the past few months have been a wake-up call and people are recognising that it is time to get back on track after gaining weight over a long period of time.

Our service, which is fundamental to the North Yorkshire Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives strategy, is free to eligible adults for up to 24 weeks and works to develop people’s self-esteem, confidence and motivation while giving practical advice and activity sessions to achieve 5 per cent weight loss at 12 weeks and sustain it at 24 weeks.

The service provides a tailored approach for each person who is referred. Throughout lockdown the service continued supporting clients but was unable to take on new people. However, most services are now once again accepting GP referrals and it is hoped that over the coming months there will be an increased offer.

We commission the service across North Yorkshire, though it is delivered by a different provider in each district.

Scarborough and Ryedale NHS Weight Management Service client Caroline Shepherdson has really enjoyed the remote service. She said: “The virtual group has kept me focused. I have been able to pick up valuable information and tips from my weekly catch-ups.”

Caroline continued: “I feel that we have received a personal service. You get a more focused experience and learn about individuals. I don’t feel that the power or focus has been lost because the meeting is online.”

Selby resident James Stone got involved with the programme after becoming a father for the first time and being fed up with feeling unhealthy. In Selby, the programme is called Move it to Lose it and is delivered by Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles at Selby Leisure Centre.

James said: “I have enjoyed taking control of my diet now that I understand more. It is nice being able to eat treats but in a controlled way that doesn’t feel too restricted. I started swimming much more when the leisure centre was open and have since been increasing my cycling during lockdown.

“I have managed to lose 22kg so far and I am now on the 12-week maintenance programme after achieving the target weight loss. I feel so much better for it and after struggling over the past six years to maintain my weight I am now glad to be able to control my diet.

“It’s an excellent programme and I have made new friendships and now support newcomers in feeling safe and welcome over Zoom calls and have recommended it to loads of people.”

Jo Hardiman, from Skipton, is full of praise for the programme and advisors Hannah Storey and Mark Hampton. In Craven, the service is called Healthy Lifestyles Weight Management Programme and is delivered by Craven District Council.

“I’m absolutely over the moon with the way the programme has worked for me,” said Jo. “I’ve tried to lose weight several times, but this is the only thing that’s worked for me. I’ve really enjoyed becoming much more active.

For more information on the Adult Weight Management Service, visit

https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/healthy-weight-and-eating-well

Growing our local economy

LEP News: £15.4m investment for York & North Yorkshire

Infrastructure schemes to benefit from £15.4m secured by York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership have been announced. Money has come from the Government’s Getting Building Fund, following a bid by the LEP in June which outlined a list of local projects capable of boosting economic recovery from COVID-19. Ten projects have now had funding approved and will receive a share of the £15.4m pot.

Government to refund council cost of keeping York Central project moving - as £77m confirmed

The Government will reimburse City of York Council for money it has committed to keep the York Central project moving forward. And the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has written to the council to confirm the arrangements for £77.1 million of essential funding for the scheme.

Reporting outbreaks of coronavirus

COVID-19 early outbreak management information has been created to make sure that people who run businesses or organisations:

  • Know how to recognise and report an incident of COVID-19; and 
  • Are aware of measures local health protection teams may advise in order to contain it.
  • In addition, 'action cards' have been developed to cover a range of businesses and organisations to provide specific advice on the issues each type of organisation may face now lockdown restrictions have been eased.

More small businesses to benefit from loans under CBILS

More small businesses can benefit from loans up to £5 million under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). Previously businesses which were classed as ‘undertakings in difficulty’ were unable to access CBILS because of EU rules. From today, businesses in this category and which have fewer than 50 employees and a turnover of less than £9 million can apply to CBILS.

Construction Talent Retention Scheme

The BEIS funded Construction Talent Retention Scheme is now live with an overarching aim to address a mass skills shortage in the sector. The scheme will specifically facilitate talent matching and employee loans on a temporary basis between business and supply re-deployment of staff at risk of redundancy from other sectors, given the overlapping competencies.  

Eat Out to Help Out

Many eateries across the region have signed up to take part in the Eat Out to Help Out scheme. Diners are encouraged to take advantage of this offer, where if eating-in, they can benefit from a 50% discount, up to a maximum of £10 per person, on food and non-alcoholic drinks, any Monday to Wednesday in August.

Stay informed

Government: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support

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

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

Creative lockdown idea

Online music lessons

Our service has adapted to allow lessons to be taught online to pupils unable to attend school. We offer the full range of instruments, including brass, woodwind, strings, percussion, voice and keyboard. Lessons are delivered by specialist instrumental teachers over a secure connection.

We were among the first music service to pioneer this approach and are very experienced in it. For details, visit www.northyorkshiremusichub.co.uk or email MusicServiceTuitionRequests@northyorks.gov.uk

Scavenger hunt at home

You may not be able to spend long enough outside to enjoy a scavenger hunt but why not try one at home? https://www.thebigsmokeevents.com/the-stuck-at-home-scavenger-hunt

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

It is a real joy to be able to start with some great news for families in Selby today. I am very pleased to be able to confirm that our plans for a Special Free School have taken a big step forward – with the announcement of the sponsor. The Wellspring Academy Trust has been selected by the Department for Education to take the school on and to deliver much needed support for families in the area who have children with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND). Currently, pupils with SEND in the area must travel for some distance to get the help and education they need – so this is really welcome news. We believe that every child should have the best possible opportunities in life and we are passionate about pursuing that goal – this school will make a really positive difference for many families in Selby. Helping some of our most vulnerable young people to enjoy school life as close as possible to where they live is at the heart of our approach. You can read more about the free school here  https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/special-school-selby-takes-major-step-forward

It’s also very nice to be able to talk about more great things you all continue to achieve during the pandemic. Take the ‘virtual’ community celebration taking place this Friday in the Esk Valley, for example.  Residents there continue to keep their spirits up and stay connected with all sorts of things like sharing exercise and music sessions and even virtual walks. You can read all about what they have been up to - and the terrific tale of North Yorkshire Moors National Park volunteer and assistant ranger, Jim Hall on the link just below. It’s a lovely story and just typical of the team spirit and selflessness we continue to see right across the county.

https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/community-celebrates-lockdown-triumphs

We have been keeping busy, too – as you would no doubt expect. I have talked previously about how government has told us that the only way to secure the substantial money and local powers that go with devolution is to get rid of the current local government structure here. In brief, that means the eight councils in existence becoming one or two. The order covers York and North Yorkshire and is a really important moment for everyone. We want the very best deal and the strongest, most sustainable public services for everyone. That’s why, yesterday, we made it clear we are working on a bid that will deliver that.

Ours will be the only bid that won’t break up North Yorkshire. The only bid that will deliver best value and annual savings to strengthen and protect services of around £25million pounds a year. It will offer you a stronger say in what matters in your area through what we are calling a ‘double devolution’ approach. By that, I mean we would hand on down the powers and money to those town and parish councils that wanted it, to deliver on your very local priorities. We would also give you a stronger voice through a network of community forums serving market town areas.

Ours is the only bid that will ensure that brand North Yorkshire, and all the values it stands for, stay intact and which respects our identified geography. And the only one which respects the integrity of the City of York, which is already a single tier council providing all services to its residents and businesses. Our bid also follows in the success of other single councils serving whole counties, such as our neighbours in Durham and colleagues in Cornwall. We have been researching their experience to learn from the very best of them and talking to them about the very significant financial savings and service improvements they have been able to deliver thanks to their scale and strength. This learning is important and extremely relevant here.

You can find out more about our proposal here  https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/north-yorkshire-kick-starts-unitary-bid-secure-devolution-deal

Signing off for this week, I cannot leave you without wishing you all happy Yorkshire Day for August the 1st.  I hope you spend it celebrating the very many wonderful things you have done and continue to achieve as part of that team. Our very own North Yorkshire Youth Choir have continued to work together virtually across the county, throughout lockdown, and have produced some really inspiring music. We are very grateful that they have let us use their beautiful rendition of ‘Song of the Sea’ as the theme for our ‘Thank You’ video to Team North Yorkshire.

They are an inspirational member of that team and we hope you enjoy their performance https://youtu.be/Et0Ak2l2sKc

Stay safe and well.

Keeping in touch

NYCC’s website has a dedicated area for all the latest COVID-19 related news visit: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-advice-and-information

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

Update from Dr Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health

Across the UK there have now been 300,692 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 up until 28th July, sadly with 45,878 COVID-associated deaths. To date, there have been 2,562 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across North Yorkshire – we are currently seeing an average of 2 new cases per day across the county. The infection rate in North Yorkshire remains lower than the national and Yorkshire & Humber average rates.

We continue to proactively work with businesses, accommodation settings and other organisations across the county to help keep them COVID-secure. It has been good to see so many people complying with the new guidance on face coverings, which are now mandatory in shops and supermarkets as well as on public transport. It is still advised to maintain 2 metre social distancing wherever possible, but using face coverings in crowded places and regular handwashing will help to minimise the risk of transmission. More information on face coverings is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own.

Testing and contact tracing remain key elements of both the national and local response to COVID-19. If you develop symptoms of coronavirus you should self-isolate at home (along with any other members of your household) and arrange to get tested as soon as possible by visiting www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or by ringing 119. If you test positive, you will be contacted by NHS Test & Trace and asked to provide information on who you have been in close contact with since 48 hours before your symptoms started. You may also be contacted by Test & Trace if you have been identified as a contact of someone who has COVID-19 – you will be asked to isolate at home for 14 days (as it can take up to 14 days for symptoms to appear). For more information visit: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-and-tracing/.

Working together towards recovery

Testing

As part of the national testing programme for coronavirus, drive-through Mobile Testing Units, run by the Department for Health and Social care, will be operating in the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • Thursday 30 July - Whitby - Whitby Park and Ride, Whitby, YO21 1TL
  • Thursday 30 July - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4T
  • Friday 31 July - Northallerton - Allertonshire School, Brompton Road, Northallerton, DL6 1ED
  • Saturday 1 August – Selby – South Entrance, Drax Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Sunday 2 August – Scarborough – Scarborough Park & Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough YO12 4LW
  • Monday 3 August - Northallerton - Allertonshire School, Brompton Road, Northallerton, DL6 1ED
  • Tuesday 4 August - Thornton Le Dale - National Trust Car Park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Pickering, YO18 7RR

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

Watch this video to find out what to expect and how to prepare for the test: https://youtu.be/QawyKwIIfKQ

Find out more and how to book at www.northyorks.gov.uk/testing

Visiting care home residents

We appreciate the benefits of seeing family for mental health and wellbeing during these difficult times, however this needs to be balanced with the risk of introducing COVID-19 into the care setting. Guidance has been shared with care providers for them to facilitate care home visits in a variety of ways, making sure measures are in place to keep residents and staff safe. Our in-house care homes are working on arrangements at each location with the intention of commencing visits from next week (3rd August). An Easy Read version will be ready to share by the end of this week.

Supporting our schools and childcare

The development of a special free school for the Selby area has taken a major step forward with the naming of the academy sponsor for the project. 

The opening of a special school has been widely supported locally and we made the successful bid for a free school to Government as it is an important part of our strategic plan for SEND provision in the county.

The Department for Education has now named the Wellspring Academy Trust as the sponsor to take on the school, which will meet a long-standing need of families in the area with children with special educational needs and disabilities.

At present, there is no special school in Selby, which means children and young people from the area who need special education have to travel to another part of North Yorkshire, often for long distances, or out of the county.

It will reduce travelling time and, therefore, the time children spend away from their home and community. There will also be greater opportunity to have health needs met locally, to be part of community events and developments and to prepare for adulthood in their own area.

We already work closely with the Wellspring Academy Trust on special education provision in the Harrogate area as it runs the Grove pupil referral unit in Harrogate and The Forest School, a special school in Knaresborough, and we look forward to developing a positive partnership in Selby.

The proposed school will cater for up to 100 pupils aged three to 19 and the Government expects that the school, which is one of 35 announced for England, will open after September 2022.

Work with the DfE, in respect of the site and the building, is developing but is in the early stages. The planning authority for the school will be Selby District Council. A planning application for the school will be submitted by the DfE’s consultant and the date for this has yet to be determined.

Grow and Learn

It is never too early to start talking, singing and reading to babies – that’s the message at the heart of ‘Grow and learn’ – our initiative to improve speech, language and communication in young children for when they start school.

Singing nursery rhymes and other songs, and chatting and reading to children are key ways of developing their early language.

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

“We’ve put together a summer activity calendar for parents and carers with children under four – you can get the whole family involved and keep everyone entertained!

“The activities in the calendar will promote play and opportunities for children to explore the world around them. This in turn supports their learning and development which will help them to be ready to start school.”

Find the calendar and more chat, read, sing and play ideas, plus information about how to join your local library at: www.northyorks.gov.uk/growandlearn 

Look out for Grow and Learn on @northyorkscc

Video of Song of the Sea: https://youtu.be/BwwGFHK5tV8.

Teamwork to support our residents

Community support organisations (CSOs) continue help people returning to carrying out ordinary tasks such as shopping for themselves. In Richmondshire, members of a walking group have started meeting in small numbers and setting off at timed intervals. Most of the members are over 70 and have been self-isolating. This step towards a return to ordinary life is a positive move forwards. For people who do still need support with shopping, prescriptions and other essentials, CSOs will still be there as part of Team North Yorkshire’s help for those who need it.

Although shielding pauses from August 1, and the national programme of food and prescription deliveries ends, we are making sure no-one slips through the cracks. Over the past few weeks we have been contacting residents, who have been shielding, to reassure them that alternative arrangements are in place for help with shopping and other essentials where this is required and a volunteer is deployed to carry out a door knock check if people can’t be contacted.

Alan Kane, has been shielding with his wife Sue as they both have lung disease. He says simply knowing the CSOs and the team of volunteers were there to help him was incredibly reassuring and made himself and Sue feel less alone during lockdown.

Alan said: “If we catch anything, it could be incredibly dangerous. At first it was very hard. But knowing we had the volunteer organisations behind us to help was incredibly reassuring and it still is.”

Alan and Sue have had their prescriptions delivered by volunteers throughout lockdown, but they also appreciated the time taken by the volunteers to simply call and check they were okay. He said: “We have managed and it has got easier, but knowing someone was looking out for us was marvellous and I’m very glad it’s continuing. If one good thing has come out of this, it’s how friendly people have been and how willing to help. The volunteers who helped me could have sat at home, but they’ve put themselves out there and keep doing so.”

People who are self-isolating and need help with shopping, prescriptions and other essentials but don’t have anyone to call on, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780. The centre is open seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm. People can also find details of local voluntary and community groups offering support at www.northyorkshireconnect.org.uk. For more information about support available go to www.northyorks.gov.uk/help-you-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

Growing our local economy

Local pub gives back to the community

North Yorkshire Buy Local (www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local) is the online marketplace set up by North Yorkshire County Council to help local businesses survive and thrive.

There are now over 700 businesses registered from across the county, forming a vital part of Team North Yorkshire by offering a huge range of services.

For Vicki Jowett, owner of The Buck Inn, a traditional country pub at the heart of Thornton Watlass near Ripon, being a community pub is about much more than serving quality food and drink to her customers. Now, and during lockdown, Vicki and her team have gone out of their way to support the local community, doing anything from shopping to providing an outdoor library.

Vicki has also found new customers through offering take-aways and deliveries, and well over 100 people viewed The Buck Inn on Buy Local.

Register your business and tell your network about the Buy Local market place today!

www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local

Please share our social media messages encouraging businesses to register, and directing the public to the site. Follow @northyorkscc on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

County Leader urges Freeport approval

The creation of a Freeport on Teesside could bring major employment benefits to North Yorkshire, the Leader of the County Council has told Chancellor of the Exchequer and Richmond (Yorks) MP Rishi Sunak.

In a letter to the Chancellor, Cllr Carl Les urges that Teesport be given Freeport status now.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen is leading a proposal to Government for a Freeport on the Tees. He believes it could create 32,000 jobs over 25 years. Much of North Yorkshire would be in commuting distance for these jobs, he says, and the benefits of the wider economic upturn would extend into North Yorkshire, for example supply chains operating from Stokesley and surrounding areas.

Cllr Les welcomes the forecast creation of jobs and a projection that a free zone could create £2bn of additional annual gross value added.

In his letter to the Chancellor, he writes: “Whilst there will be clear and obvious direct benefits for the Tees Valley, it is my firm belief that these will also be felt strongly in North Yorkshire.

“I am extremely encouraged by these projections and their potential positive impact in North Yorkshire. As you will understand, more than most, many of those living in North Yorkshire have jobs located in the Tees Valley and the boost a Freeport would provide for industries around the port and in the extensive supply chains would be a very welcome boost to jobs in the North Yorkshire area. As we emerge from the coronavirus pandemic, creating good-quality, well-paid jobs is going to be critical and this is an ideal opportunity to begin this progress.”

With this in mind, he urges the Chancellor to act now to grant Freeport status to Teesport, rather than to wait until other ports are ready to compete for the status, pointing out that Teesside is ready to go now and could begin to deliver benefits quickly.

Cllr Les says: “Once the criteria have been drawn up and have been set out, I believe that the awarding of Freeport status for Teesside could be accelerated as its proposal would comfortably meet the necessary demands. Once the other areas across the country reach the stage Teesside is currently at, they would compete for the remaining spots using the same criteria. By taking this approach, Government can accelerate this job creating policy in a fair and appropriate manner.

“As we navigate our way through this economic recovery, we cannot waste time and it seems logical to take this approach to the roll-out of Freeports.”

LEP News

York & North Yorkshire LEP’S annual report published

York and North Yorkshire’s emergence from the COVID-19 pandemic into a Greener, Fairer, Stronger economy is highlighted in the latest annual report from the regions’ Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

The report also reflects £220m of investment secured by the LEP across the region in infrastructure, business and skills and looks ahead to the area’s forthcoming recovery plan and Local Industrial Strategy.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme updates

The government has launched a new calculator to help employers with their next CJRS claims.  Employers can now also download a new template if claiming for 100 or more employees through the scheme.

NHS Test & Trace & Face Coverings in the workplace

Guidance on the NHS Test and Trace service for employers, businesses and workers has been updated this week to include a new section on collecting customer and visitor data and additional information on if a worker develops symptoms and orders a test. Updated guidance on wearing face coverings can be read here

Further business re-opening

Bowling alleys, indoor skating rinks, casinos, exhibition halls and conference centres are due to reopen from 1 August. For guidance, access here

Eat Out to Help Out

Establishments are now signing up to this scheme which offers diners discounts throughout August. The government is encouraging people to Eat Out to Help Out – look for the logo

FCO advises against non-essential travel to Spain and Islands

People arriving in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland from Spain (including islands) from 25 July 2020 will need to self-isolate for 2 weeks due to the increasing risk of COVID-19. Read here for full details.

Government’s push to promote better heath

PHE has launched the Better Health campaign to support people to live healthier lives and reduce their risk of serious illness, including COVID-19.

The government has also launched a £2bn programme to boost cycling and walking to embed the benefits of walking and cycling into how we live, work and get around.

Government’s UK Transition Business Toolkit

The government has launched a new campaign and toolkit - The UK’s new start: let’s get going - to help businesses prepare for the end of the transition period on 31st Dec 2020.

FastFutures Digital Skills   

A new digital and personal skills programme has been launched by FastFutures, targeting school leavers and looking to bridge the gap from education to employment. It will prioritise those from underrepresented groups.

Backed by businesses such as AstraZeneca, AO.com, Barclays, NHS, Tate and Lyle, the programme is free to learners and applications are open now until 13 August 2020.

Pay rises in public sector

Nearly 900,000 workers will benefit across the country, with teachers and doctors seeing the largest rise at 3.1% and 2.8% respectively recognising their efforts on the frontline during the battle against COVID-19.

For more information, visit: Pay rises for doctors, police and more in the public sector

Creative lockdown idea

Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughters – John Carr

A man whose legacy is threaded through North Yorkshire’s roads network is the latest subject of the Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughters campaign. The latest nominee is renowned Georgian architect John Carr. Carr served as the North and West Riding “bridgemaster”.

Read more about John Carr and Made in North Yorkshire at: www.northyorks.gov.uk/made-in-north-yorkshire

Online music lessons

Our service has adapted to allow lessons to be taught online to pupils unable to attend school. We offer the full range of instruments, including brass, woodwind, strings, percussion, voice and keyboard. Lessons are delivered by specialist instrumental teachers over a secure connection.

We were among the first music service to pioneer this approach and are very experienced in it. For details, visit www.northyorkshiremusichub.co.uk or email MusicServiceTuitionRequests@northyorks.gov.uk

Scavenger hunt at home

You may not be able to spend long enough outside to enjoy a scavenger hunt but why not try one at home? https://www.thebigsmokeevents.com/the-stuck-at-home-scavenger-hunt

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

I hope that many of you are enjoying some more relaxing family time as the school holidays start and we continue to see more of our shops, cafés, pubs, restaurants and other attractions reopen. There does appear to be a greater sense of confidence growing through our communities right across the county. We recognise that everyone is individual and has their own thoughts on what they feel comfortable with – but we are heartened by the very many businesses that are displaying their Covid-safe messages for customers and inviting people to enjoy their favourite haunts and pastimes once more.

Don’t get me wrong, it is absolutely right that we move forward with caution and that we stay alert to the risks of coronavirus because, as we know, it is still very much amongst us. So, we must continue to take the now familiar precautions like handwashing, keeping a safe distance and using face coverings where appropriate, but equally we can now support our local businesses and help them recover too. The experience may be different in this new norm – but the spirit and welcome we are famous for is still very much there and that is something of which we can all be proud. In North Yorkshire, we are renowned for our resilience, strength and honesty but, let’s not forget, our locally produced food and drink offer is pretty hard to beat; so, please support our businesses if you feel able. They have also had a tough time and many people have lost their jobs – together we can help drive our economic prosperity forward and do what we do best here, get on with things.

So, what have we been ‘getting on with’?

A lot! Our current focus is very much on continuing to work with you and our partners to drive forward economic recovery, alongside supporting those who still need our help during the pandemic. We think we are doing a good job but don’t take our word for it. We have just published our performance and you can make your own mind up. Alongside taking a leading role in fighting the many impacts on the county from Covid-19, we have successfully operated the high quality ‘business as usual’ services you expect. We have, for example, invested £10million in surface dressing roads with a further £6 million on repairing potholes. 

We have worked closely with Community Support Organisations since the start of lockdown to deliver help ensuring no one was alone. I will let you decide if you think the support we have given to some of our most vulnerable residents, is time and money well spent.

Our Stronger Communities team has:

  • Deployed on average 1,400 volunteers per week delivering 50,000 volunteer hours;
  • Supported 2,800 people per week;
  • Delivered 625 prescriptions per week;
  • Delivered 820 food shops per week;
  • Processed 703 Covid-19 grants for food or energy worth £66,675;
  • Responded to 38,200 contacts from the public; and
  • Welcomed 2,000 new library members.

Thank you to every single one of you who has given, and who continues to give, their time and energy to help us move forward together from the pandemic and I have every confidence we will come through this in the best possible shape thanks to your collective efforts.

You can read more about the work we have undertaken here https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/north-yorkshire-shows-evidence-high-performance-through-pandemic

You may also have seen some of the recent media coverage on the situation around devolution for North Yorkshire. You will be aware that this is the way we hope to secure substantial funds and powers to ensure that the priorities delivered here are the ones you actually want and need. The Government is now clear that to get our share of the money and powers we will have to end the current district and county structure of local government and ‘unitise’. We firmly believe a single council would serve you better by ending duplication and cutting red tape. As proven in other similar areas where this has happened – it would also save tens of millions of pounds a year. Money which could support stronger services and give you a much bigger say on decision-making and priorities at a more local level. How would we do that? Well, via community forums mapped to market town areas, stronger town and parish councils and empowered area committees. I am well aware this is what may be termed as a bit of a ‘dry’ subject, but it is critical to every one of you and our businesses. We don’t want to see North Yorkshire broken up and all the disruption to services and additional costs that would mean. We want to see the whole county grow and prosper together, playing to its strengths and punching its weight nationally. We will outline how we hope to see this in a public document which will be published in the coming weeks for our elected members to consider and which I would then hope we will formally submit to Government. It will then be for Government to consult on and make a decision.  

So, a lot still going on! There is no let up!

If you are fortunate enough to be able to enjoy some relaxing time just now, before I go, I just wanted to remind you that our online directory is free and full of activities for families and children over the summer holidays. I hope you find it helpful

https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/free-directory-help-parents-and-carers-find-holiday-activities-and-childcare

Keeping in touch

NYCC’s website has a dedicated area for all the latest COVID-19 related news visit: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-advice-and-information

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

Update from Dr Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health

World Health Organisation data shows that we have now passed 14 million confirmed cases globally, with over 607 thousand deaths across 216 countries, areas or territories.

At a national level, yesterday’s (21/07) Public Health England data show there have been 295,817 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the UK, with 45,422 COVID-associated deaths. To date, there have been 2,544 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across North Yorkshire (an increase of 11 since last week). The infection rate in North Yorkshire is lower than the national and Yorkshire & Humber average rates.

The number of people currently in hospital with COVID-19 continues to decrease slowly. There have been 542 COVID related deaths recorded in North Yorkshire, with an estimated 258 North Yorkshire residents having died in hospital to date from COVID-19. You can see the latest confirmed cases of coronavirus by area on the Government's website.

From this Friday (24th July), face coverings will become mandatory in shops and supermarkets across England. This will provide additional protection in situations where it is not possible to maintain 2 metre social distancing at all times (although this is still the recommended distance wherever possible). Regular handwashing remains very important, including when putting on and removing your face covering. More information on face coverings is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own.

If you develop symptoms of coronavirus you should self-isolate at home (along with any other members of your household) and arrange to get tested as soon as possible by visiting www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or by ringing 119. If you test positive, you will be contacted by NHS Test & Trace and asked to provide information on who you have been in close contact with since 48 hours before your symptoms started. You may also be contacted by Test & Trace if you have been identified as a contact of someone who has COVID-19 – you will be asked to isolate at home for 14 days (as it can take up to 14 days for symptoms to appear). For more information visit: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-and-tracing/.

Working together towards recovery

Testing

As part of the national testing programme for coronavirus, drive-through Mobile Testing Units, run by the Department for Health and Social care, will be operating in the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • Wednesday 22 July - Scarborough - Scarborough Park & Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough YO12 4LW
  • Wednesday 22 July- Harrogate - Hydro Leisure Centre, Jenny Field Drive, Harrogate HG1 2RP
  • Thursday 23 July - Whitby - Whitby Park and Ride, Whitby, YO21 1TL
  • Thursday 23 July - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4T
  • Friday 24 July - Northallerton - Allertonshire School, Brompton Road, Northallerton, DL6 1ED
  • Saturday 25 July – Selby – South Entrance, Drax Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Sunday 26 July – Scarborough – Scarborough Park & Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough YO12 4LW
  • Sunday 26 July – Harrogate - Harrogate Sports and Fitness Centre, Hookstone Wood Rd, Harrogate, HG2 8PN
  • Monday 27 July - Northallerton - Allertonshire School, Brompton Road, Northallerton, DL6 1ED
  • Tuesday 28 July - Thornton Le Dale - National Trust Car Park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Pickering, YO18 7RR

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

Find out more and how to book.

Upload ideas for cycling and walking improvements

As part of our ongoing commitment to support sustainable and active travel as the county recovers from the pandemic, we have launched an online form to allow the public to submit their suggestions for improvements to cycling and walking facilities.

Suggestions received will inform future funding bids by the authority.

The map-based submission form can be found at www.northyorks.gov.uk/socialdistancingandactivetravel People are asked to mark the location of their suggested improvement on a map and give details of the idea and why it would be helpful.

The move comes as we prepare our bid for a second tranche of funding, of up to £1,065,000, from the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Emergency Active Travel Fund. The bid must be submitted to the DfT by 7 August. The DfT’s guidance indicates that the focus of this round of funding is on providing for walking and cycling, providing an effective replacement for public transport and reallocating road space to pedestrians and cyclists. To be successful, any bid must meet the Government’s strict criteria. Any successful schemes must be delivered by 31 March 2021.

Chairman’s message of hope as he is re-elected

County Councillor Jim Clark was re-elected until next May at today’s full County Council meeting.

Continuing his office, Cllr Clark acknowledged the strength of the ordinary people of North Yorkshire, doing extraordinary things, along with health service employees, council staff and other key workers who have come to the forefront during the pandemic.

He said: “I want to thank all the people I had the pleasure of meeting as chairman in the first part of my year as chairman, especially the volunteers and carers, and all those who have stepped up to help their neighbours since the start of this pandemic. It goes to show that we are much better and stronger when we stand together.”

The new deputy chairman is Cllr Stuart Martin, who represents the Ripon South division.

Supporting our schools and childcare

Not many of us can hold a tune like members of the North Yorkshire County Youth Choir.

And despite not being in the same place, some of the young singers have managed to come together to perform, adapting to the “new normal”.

Singing socially-distant in their own homes, members of the choir performed and recorded a version of “Song of the Sea” to make up for the fact several of their live performances have been cancelled because of the pandemic.

Music service teacher Andrea Rhodes said the choir decided on the song for the virtual performance because originally it was meant to be part of a VE Day commemoration performance in Harrogate. The choir had been practising it throughout February but then the concert was cancelled along with a summer residential which the choir was also looking forward to; so although the virtual performance was a lot of work both students and staff have reaped the benefits.

Andrea sent the music out to choir members with a backing track sung by herself, with guitar and bass played by her son.

Then the singers donned their headsets and sung their part, which was then expertly mixed by Andrea’s son and a video put together by her husband.

The clip shows the young performers singing separately at home, but coming together as a real team, to create the melodic track. The video has had great feedback so far, so we hope the young people can feel proud of what they’ve achieved.

Andrea teaches music day to day for North Yorkshire and she’s had to adapt to instructing students virtually over video chat rather than visiting schools like she would before.

Our head of music service Ian Bangay said the videos made by all the County ensembles have been a lifeline for the students to express themselves. He also said the fact that the music service had continued through lockdown by moving all its teaching online had been hugely appreciated by families as it provided structure and a sense of normality to students learning from home.

Due to the constraints of Covid the music service will carry on teaching online in September but hopes to be back in schools and performing as ensembles as soon as possible.

Video of Song of the Sea: https://youtu.be/BwwGFHK5tV8.

Teamwork to support our residents

How we are adapting our service delivery during the pandemic

Support for people in isolation

Many people in North Yorkshire who have spent months self-isolating and shielding now need a helping hand with getting back into everyday activities. Community support organisations, who continue to be a vital element of Team North Yorkshire, will carry on helping those who need to limit their social contact and who will still need help getting food and medication.

Volunteers at Hambleton Community Action, one of 23 community organisations supporting people across the county, have adapted services to help those who feel ready to start venturing out. Chief Officer Liz Lockey said: “There’s been much talk about mental health but we have to remember that a lot of shielded people are elderly and have problems with their mobility. After months of staying indoors many have lost the confidence to go out. Our aim is to give people their independence back.

“We have been visiting people in their gardens or in groups of up to six at the park where everybody brings their own chairs and picnic. One lady was accompanied to walk up and down Northallerton high street after her doctor’s appointment to see how it had changed so she would have the confidence to go out on her own.

“With lockdown easing, volunteers are busy providing transport for hairdressing appointments and accompanying people shopping for the first time in months. We’ve had a few people tell us how they have missed going to the beach so hopefully we can soon offer day trips again.”

We are also continuing to contact people, who have been shielding, to give some reassurance that support will still be available after shielding is paused at the end of July. Colleagues in our customer service centre are supporting people to put alternative arrangements in place should they need it. If people cannot be contacted by telephone, one of our team’s volunteers will be deployed to carry out a door knock check. From 1 August, the Government is advising people to adopt strict social distancing rather than full shielding measures, and the national programme of food and prescription deliveries will stop. We know that most people have been supported by family, friends and neighbours while they have been shielding, but we want to reassure North Yorkshire residents that our support will continue for those who need it.

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

People can also find details of local voluntary and community groups offering support at www.northyorkshireconnect.org.uk

For more information about support available go to www.northyorks.gov.uk/help-you-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Social care and NHS services

We have transformed the way we work and carried on delivering strong services across all areas through one of the most challenging periods in our council’s history, our newly published quarterly performance report shows.

The monitoring report, which will go before the Executive next week, provides robust evidence of progress, even during the Covid-19 pandemic, towards delivering on our ambitions as a council to be pioneering in the provision of high performance, high value services.

Our flexible approach to services has enabled communities to support each other during this unprecedented period and enabled us to work at speed, reconfiguring our adult social care services to meet the Covid challenge and moving to a 24/7 operating model. Transformation on this scale would normally take six to twelve months but was achieved in three weeks at the peak of the pandemic. 

Responding to new Government guidance during the pandemic quickly and effectively has been central to our endeavours and the work of our community support organisations to help the shielded and the isolated and the positivity and willingness of our staff to be flexible as required has been the biggest contributing factor to what we have delivered over recent months.

In addition, County Council teams, led by Adult Social Care and Public Health and working closely with the NHS, community groups and with care providers have worked hard to:

  • Carry out daily support calls to 235 care homes;
  • Ensure adequate levels of personal protective equipment  is available;
  • Ensure Covid-19 related  assessments are  completed quickly;
  • Deliver support 7 days a week across 5 acute hospital trust areas to facilitate rapid and appropriate discharge of patients;
  • Establish the capacity to distribute up to 800 Covid-19 swab tests per day through 2 satellite testing sites in Scarborough and Harrogate and 2 mobile testing sites.

Our key objective remains to prevent, reduce or delay the transmission and/or outbreaks of Covid-19 in care homes and extra care schemes and we continue to work hard with all our partners in the NHS and care setting providers:

  • to keep people who use services and the workforce safe and well; 
  • ensure safe services to people who do not have Covid-19;
  • keep Covid-19 free settings shielded so that they remain Covid-19 free;
  • Prevent, contain and manage outbreaks  
  • Prevent and reduce deaths, where possible

Where there have been problems, we have taken local action (quarantine beds to ensure safer discharge from hospital, PPE supplies/training/guidance, satellite testing units for care homes, testing care setting residents under 65) ahead of national policy being clarified or changed.

Following a recent change in Government policy, care homes for people over 65 and those living with dementia are able to access whole home testing through a national portal. This is in the process of being rolled out and will include all care homes by the end of August. This will mean all residents of care homes are tested every 28 days and that care staff are tested every week. Until this programme is completely rolled out, we are able to support care settings needing additional whole home testing through our Satellite Testing Site capacity.

The current position is much improved but as the general population moves out of lockdown, there is a risk of an increase in infection rates. This poses an increased risk of infection in care homes. We are currently considering the Government guidance in visiting to care homes and want to get the balance right between protecting residents and offering them some type of normality.

In order to prevent and contain future outbreaks, we, along with our NHS partners are currently:

  • Reviewing what has been learned from the initial pandemic;
  • Continuing regular calls and support to care providers;
  • Continuing additional social care funding for providers;
  • Reviewing hospital discharge arrangements;
  • Planning for a second wave and/or a severe winter

We will continue to work closely together to support and protect residents and care workers.

Growing our local economy

Buy Local: Lewis and Cooper serves customers old and new

North Yorkshire Buy Local (www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local) is the online marketplace set up by North Yorkshire County Council to help local businesses survive and thrive.

There are now over 700 businesses registered, from across the county, forming a vital part of Team North Yorkshire by offering a huge range of services.

Even the well-known North Yorkshire brand Lewis and Cooper has seen the benefit of free advertising on the site.

The multi-award winning, independent, gourmet food store based in Northallerton, stayed open throughout lockdown, but, like many other retailers, also adapted their business to offer phone and collect, and home delivery. Home deliveries were so popular, not only did the company serve the local community, but also had high demand nationally!

Nearly 100 people viewed their profile page on the site during lockdown.

Their high street store is welcoming customers from far and wide as confidence grows and people come back on to the high street to shop.

Julie Oxley-Hoyle, Deli and Wine Manager in the Northallerton store, told us about how the team has pulled out all the stops to reassure customers.

“We’ve done our best to keep everybody safe. We’ve put in place all the measures that we have been asked to do. Everything is as clean as it can be. We’ve moved fixtures out of the way so there is plenty of space for people to move around and to browse.”

“We are getting really excited about seeing more people, and we hope that they’ll come and see us.”

Hear more from Julie here https://youtu.be/gy2SDON-Ut4

Register your business and tell your network about the Buy Local market place today!

www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local

Please share our social media messages encouraging businesses to register, and directing the public to the site. Follow @northyorkscc on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

LEP News: Local Highlights

Yorkshire & Humber Tourism Business Support Questionnaire

In order to aid the recovery of the tourism sector, a series of funding streams will soon be made available to provide support to businesses in the visitor economy.

Welcome to Yorkshire is working with the 4 LEP Growth Hubs & Local Enterprise Partnerships across Yorkshire and the Humber, to help identify the most valuable way this funding can be used, and what the most impactful and beneficial resources to businesses are at this time.

A survey has been created to give the opportunity for stakeholders to have their say on the support needed from the Growth Hubs. This closed at 9am Wednesday 22nd July and will be analysed promptly to determine conclusions.

York & North Yorkshire High Street Network Facebook Group

A new Facebook group has been launched. Hosted by the York & North Yorkshire LEP and Growth Hub in partnership with the Federation of Small Business (FSB), the focus is to build links between the regions high-street businesses, local authorities, networks and organisations to drive collaboration, creativity and prosperity across our region.

This group aims to promote creativity, share best practice and provide a channel through which problem- solving and collaboration can flourish.

 To join this group, go to https://www.facebook.com/groups/569966023702112  or search “York & North Yorkshire High Street Network”.  Please promote this with stakeholders so that a strong network can be created.

Call to shape ambitious decarbonisation pathways

The first part of a major study commissioned by the (LEP), has identified what needs to change to realise our regional ambition to be carbon neutral by 2034 and carbon negative by 2040. This is key to our regional recovery vision of creating a Greener, Fairer, Stronger economy and Local Industrial Strategy.

Stakeholders and business leaders are now being asked to contribute towards developing policy to implement the study findings.

A survey consultation process launched on 20th July 2020 and will be closing on 7th August, with partners invited to take part in sector-specific surveys. Following this, the York & North Yorkshire LEP will then be working further with partners to co-create an ambitious “Roadmap Towards Carbon Negative”. This will build upon our existing Local Energy Strategy and Circular Economy Strategy to provide a clear pathway to a carbon-negative York and North Yorkshire.

For more information on this project and to find out how to get involved, please visit https://www.businessinspiredgrowth.com/carbon-abatement-pathways/.

Eat Out to Help Out registration

Restaurants and other establishments serving food for on-premises consumption can now register for the Eat Out to Help Out scheme. You can register if your establishment:

  • Sells food for immediate consumption on the premises;
  • Provides its own dining area or shares a dining area with another establishment for eat-in meals; and
  • Was registered as a food business with the relevant local authority on or before 7 July.

For further details and to register, visit: https://bit.ly/EOHORegistration. Registration will close on 31 August.

Creative lockdown idea

Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughters – John Carr

A man whose legacy is threaded through North Yorkshire’s roads network is the latest subject of the Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughters campaign. The latest nominee is renowned Georgian architect John Carr. Carr served as the North and West Riding “bridgemaster”.

Read more about John Carr and Made in North Yorkshire at: www.northyorks.gov.uk/made-in-north-yorkshire

Online music lessons

Our service has adapted to allow lessons to be taught online to pupils unable to attend school. We offer the full range of instruments, including brass, woodwind, strings, percussion, voice and keyboard. Lessons are delivered by specialist instrumental teachers over a secure connection.

We were among the first music service to pioneer this approach and are very experienced in it.

For details, visit www.northyorkshiremusichub.co.uk or email MusicServiceTuitionRequests@northyorks.gov.uk

A message from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

What a time of rapid change we are experiencing. While we are all, clearly, still driving forward our county’s response to, and recovery from, the Coronavirus pandemic - it would be remiss not to acknowledge the news this week regarding devolution.

So, let’s start there. Devolution, or devo as many call it – what does that mean for us all here in North Yorkshire? Well, stripped back to the basics, it means the transfer of powers, funding and decision-making from central government to a much more local level.  That means much more say in deciding what local priorities are in many key areas. English devolution aims to address historic inequalities and ensure that people across the whole country enjoy the same opportunities and quality of life. Typically, a devo deal delivers an investment pot, to the successful area, worth hundreds of millions of pounds, paid in instalments over 30 years. Decision-making powers are transferred to cover important areas such as transport and infrastructure, skills, housing, planning and economic development. Basically, it enables much stronger local level ‘place shaping’ -  by that I mean using all those local decision-making powers to build a stronger economy and deliver better life chances for everyone, regardless of where they live.

We have been working with the City of York, and the seven district and borough councils in North Yorkshire, for some time to put together a bid for devolution. Last week, we were told by Government that, in order to be eligible to bid for a devo deal, we will need to reorganise local government in the area. This would mean an end to the two-tier system currently operating. In essence, the nine councils covering York and North Yorkshire would need to establish one, or two, unitary councils and these would deliver all the services to residents and businesses.  As we look to drive economic recovery, following the devastation of the Coronavirus pandemic, at the County Council we believe it is right to respond positively to that challenge from Government.

There has never been a more critical moment to take dynamic action than there is now to secure a sustainable and value-for-money local Government structure for this county. We believe there are opportunities linked to this requirement from Government – not just to bring the region a successful devolution deal – but to simplify access to services, ending duplication and cutting red tape, to strengthen our County’s voice at a national level lobbying for more money and to save many millions of pounds annually which can be ploughed back into front line services – ensuring they are viable for the future.

There is no current consensus on what a new local government structure will look like, but we will be seeking to protect the boundaries of our historic county and the global brand and value the words ‘North Yorkshire’ carry. The timeline from Government is very tight – with bids invited for this September – so, as we go forward on this journey we will keep you informed and listen carefully to your views. As we do this, please be reassured that we remain very much focussed on continuing to fight Covid-19, while delivering the high quality public services you expect from us and we will work with our partners to do just that.

I hope you will all now have seen some of the promotional activity around the NHS Test and Trace service. Here, this sees our Director of Public Health, working very closely with Public Health England, manage the county’s response to outbreaks wherever they happen. We need to be very clear on the fact that outbreaks will very likely continue to happen for many months to come.  We need to shut these down effectively when they do to minimise the opportunity for the virus to infect more people.   To do this, we need your help. So, if you have symptoms, please book a test and isolate. Only leave home to get the test – you can do this at one of the mobile test units across the county or book a test online and there’s more information here  https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19-testing

By doing this, you are continuing to play your part in protecting your family and friends from a virus which has taken the lives of more than 500 people in our county and many tens of thousands of people nationally. The infection rate here is declining, thank goodness, but at any point it could rise again if we are not extremely careful.  You have been amazing – I continue to be humbled by the collective efforts of Team North Yorkshire - and we are now dedicating this newsletter to that response with a Team North Yorkshire title.

Thank you and keep it up in the months ahead.

A message from Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health

World Health Organisation data shows that we have now passed 13 million confirmed cases globally, with over 572 thousand deaths across 216 countries, areas or territories.

At a national level, yesterday’s (14/07) Public Health England data show there have been 291,373 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the UK, with 44,968 COVID-associated deaths. To date, there have been 2533 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across North Yorkshire.

The number of people currently in hospital with COVID-19 continues to decrease slowly. There has been 1 death from COVID-19 reported across Airedale, Harrogate, South Tees and York NHS Trusts during the last week. An estimated 258 North Yorkshire residents have sadly died in hospitals to date from COVID-19. You can see the latest confirmed cases of coronavirus by area on the Government's website.

At the moment, there is an average of 2 new cases of COVID-19 identified per day across the County. It is encouraging that case numbers are currently so low, and this is thanks to all the hard work everyone has put in to make sure that individuals, communities, and workplaces are kept safe. In order to keep COVID under control, we need to keep going with the measures that have been so important over the last few months, including frequent handwashing, and social distancing with people outside your household or bubble.

If you develop symptoms of coronavirus you should self-isolate at home (along with any other members of your household) and arrange to get tested as soon as possible by visiting www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or by ringing 119. If you test positive, you will be contacted by NHS Test & Trace and asked to provide information on who you have been in close contact with since 48 hours before your symptoms started. You may also be contacted by Test & Trace if you have been identified as a contact of someone who has COVID-19 – you will be asked to isolate at home for 14 days (as it can take up to 14 days for symptoms to appear). For more information visit: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-and-tracing/.

North Yorkshire Horizons – Drug and Alcohol Service

Horizons has continued to provide clinically critical face-to-face appointments and interventions throughout the response phase, with other assessments, appointments and groups delivered by telephone and digital means. The service has reviewed their COVID-secure risk assessment process across all 5 hubs, overseen by their lead provider Humankind, and are now in a position to extend face-to-face appointments from Monday 6th July.

This extension is strictly by appointment only (with the exception of needle exchange which will continue to be offered on a socially distanced drop-in basis, including at Pharmacies), to ensure that those who most need face-to-face care can be prioritised. Psychosocial support will still be available via telephone and/ or digital means (where required). Horizons is reinforcing symptomatic, social distancing and test and trace messages and have updated their website accordingly, and they have issued a statement on social media.

For more details, please contact their Single Point of Contact on 01723 330730 or visit their website: https://www.nyhorizons.org.uk/index.php/2020/07/01/were-extending-face-to-face-appointments/  

Horizons and Catterick Garrison – successful in gaining British Army funding

A pilot scheme to help soldiers at Catterick Garrison recover from alcohol and gambling addictions has now been funded for two years by the army and could be extended to cover other military bases across the UK.

Planning for recovery

Testing

As part of the national testing programme for coronavirus, drive-through Mobile Testing Units, run by the Department for Health and Social care, will be operating in the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • Thursday 16 July - Whitby - Whitby Park and Ride, Whitby, YO21 1TL
  • Thursday 16 July - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4T
  • Friday 17 July - Northallerton - Allertonshire School, Brompton Road, Northallerton, DL6 1ED
  • Saturday 18 July - Selby - South Entrance, Drax Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Sunday 19 July - Scarborough - Scarborough Park & Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough YO12 4LW
  • Sunday 19 July - Harrogate - Hydro Leisure Centre, Jenny Field Drive, Harrogate HG1 2RP
  • Monday 20 July - Northallerton - Allertonshire School, Brompton Road, Northallerton, DL6 1ED
  • Tuesday 21 July - Thornton Le Dale - National Trust Car Park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Pickering, YO18 7RR

Before you attend you must book a test. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. Find out more and how to book at www.northyorks.gov.uk/testing

County libraries continue phased return

North Yorkshire libraries are continuing a phased return of services this week, with sessions on public computers being available to book in advance at some branches and the restart of the Home Library Service. Libraries managed by North Yorkshire County Council at Scarborough, Harrogate, Malton, Whitby, Pickering, Filey and Skipton are offering limited access to public computers. Ripon, Selby, Northallerton, Knaresborough and Richmond will follow on 20 July.

Computers are placed to allow for social distancing and will be cleaned between each use. The number of computers available at each library will be reduced and sessions may be limited to 45 minutes, so you will need to contact your library to check availability and book before visiting. There will be some variations at community-run libraries. Customers are encouraged to check the Facebook page or website of their local community library for further information about the services they are offering and opening times.

This follows the launch of the Select and Collect service, which enables customers to phone or email their library to request the type of books they want, then later collect a selection hand-picked by a member of the library team. Library customers can also use a “library takeaway” service, which offers specially selected book bundles to borrow. There is a menu to choose from each week with details on local library Facebook pages. People can also return books, but have until 1 September to return any items borrowed before lockdown without accruing fines. Returned books are quarantined for three days.

All details and updates can be found on the County Council’s website, www.northyorks.gov.uk/CovidLibraries Alternatively, if people have queries they can call their local library or the library helpline number, 01609 533878.

Schools and childcare

Our directory of holiday activities for children and childcare providers in the county has been launched to help parents returning to work as lockdown restrictions ease.

Independent providers offering summer holiday activities can add details of their sessions to the directory for free on North Yorkshire Connect, an online community listings for North Yorkshire. The directory also now incorporates details of more than 100 child minders, nurseries and other early years providers.

The directory can be found at; https://northyorkshireconnect.org.uk

Independent providers, offering school holiday activities in North Yorkshire, can have a free listing by visiting the website and clicking on the “sign up” icon.

We will soon be welcoming a new assistant director to Children and Young People’s Services. Amanda Newbold will take up the post of Assistant Director for Education and Skills. Amanda will be joining during a period of great change, as schools adapt to new circumstances brought about by the pandemic and prepare to welcome back students from all year groups in September. Amanda will be well prepared for any challenges this may present with her 20 year career in education. Whilst working as a Headteacher, she improved her school’s Ofsted performance from Requiring Improvement to Good, while also overseeing the relocation of her school to a new site.

Most recently, Amanda helped 87 per cent of schools in the city to be judged Good or Outstanding by Ofsted while at the City of Wolverhampton Council. She will be replacing Judith Kirk who will be retiring in August. Judith has signed up to complete a two-person English Channel relay in 2021. We wish her all the best and welcome her to Team North Yorkshire.

Social care, the NHS and Public Health Services

How we are adapting our service delivery during the pandemic

Robert Swindells works as part of one of the adult social care teams serving the Whitby area.

Like other frontline workers across the County, Robert has continued to work during the Covid-19 pandemic – but has adapted in a big way to a new, socially distanced way of doing his job as a social worker.

Robert said: “The biggest part of our job is about communication, as well as assessing people, so that has been very difficult not being able to do it face-to-face.

“It’s about gathering information, developing a plan and forming a solution, all done via good communication.

“Generally this has been done face-to-face, but the Covid situation has denied us that ability to meet with our customers

“We work with many people, including our older residents, those with disabilities, people with mental health problems and those who might be homeless or may have issues with substance abuse, be asylum seekers or have other issues in their lives where they need our advice and support.

“So it’s been incredibly important for me doing my job to adapt in the best way to deal with the broad range of lives I come into contact with because of my job.

Robert, who also undertakes specialist working around safeguarding and in assessing people’s mental capacity, explained he’s had to adapt to be able to speak to people in a way they understand, especially when some people may not use the technology some of us have become so familiar with, like video calling.

He added: “For me, it’s been about having more regular contact in smaller doses.

“A lot of people are feeling overwhelmed at the moment, so it’s important to take time for answers and responses to assess people appropriately.”

Robert added, it’s also been important to work even more closely with other colleagues both within NYCC and within the NHS – and says he believes this team work has been a positive to come out of the pandemic.

He said: “We’ve had to learn to communicate more efficiently across our own teams and the teams we work with and I hope we keep that when we move out of the Covid emergency.”

Support for people in isolation

Team work continues the vital support for people in isolation

Over 3,000 shielded people in North Yorkshire have relied on the Government food and prescription deliveries which will end on 31 July. To help prepare people, we are contacting those who have needed help and support. Our customer service centre will support people to put alternative arrangements in place should they need it and our support for people who do not have anyone else to call on will continue.

From 1 August, the Government is advising those people, who were previously shielded, to adopt strict social distancing, rather than full shielding measures. People who have been shielding will be able to visit shops and return to work provided that their workplace is Covid secure. Priority supermarket delivery slots will continue but anyone who hasn’t registered must do so before 17 July. More information can be found at www.northyorks.gov.uk/help-you-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Last week our customer service centre made 18 new referrals to community support organisations from incoming calls and 23 following the outbound call campaign to people on the shielded list.

Since March, in a vital team initiative, we have worked with district councils and 23 community organisations across North Yorkshire to coordinate the voluntary sector network in each locality. 3,178 people received help through community support organisations last week and many are helping people build their confidence as they begin to regain some independence. Meal delivery, food shopping and prescription collection continue to be the areas of highest demand.

Jean Madden, 82, lives in Danby and has been supported by volunteers through The Heather Hopper, a community minibus service which helps to connect older people living in the Esk Valley. When lockdown started, the bus stopped running but Linda Grout and daughter Liz put plans in place to make sure everyone was coping and quickly adapted to start delivering meals in partnership with the Eskdale Pub in Castleton. Jean said: “Social isolation can happen very easily in rural areas. Since I haven’t been able to go out Linda and Liz ring up and have a ‘check in’ with me. They have wonderful drivers and wonderful assistants. Jean said the weekly meals are much appreciated. “It’s a wonderful idea, we’re very lucky that it’s happening.”

Since March, 781 Covid-19 support grant scheme awards have been made through the community support organisations, providing financial assistance to pay for food and household essentials during isolation. 43% are repeat awards and the majority of applicants have long-term health conditions or weakened immune systems. There have been 445 awards in the Scarborough area followed by 108 in Selby and 64 in Hambleton.

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

People can also find details of local voluntary and community groups offering support at www.northyorkshireconnect.org.uk

For more information, including links to the main supermarkets for people who can shop safely for themselves, and a link to the Buy Local site, go to

www.northyorks.gov.uk/help-you-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Local economy

Buy Local – The pies have it as business beats lockdown

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

We’re urging all businesses, retailers and members of the hospitality industry to join the team by registering on the site to reach new customers and increase their visibility. On their Buy Local profile, businesses can outline the safety measures they have put in place to protect the public, and update their details to let customers know they are open and trading.

North Yorkshire pie maker, Vale of Mowbray – one of the over 700 businesses to register on Buy Local – continues to keep North Yorkshire fed with pies during the pandemic.

During lockdown, like many businesses in North Yorkshire, Vale of Mowbray demonstrated agility and resourcefulness by adapting to serve its communities. The company is known for its pork pies, but the core business of wholesale meat delivery all but disappeared at the start of lockdown. The team quickly set up an online meat delivery offer, and meatboxdeliveries.com was born.

Marketing and Events Manager Jason Crowe would recommend any North Yorkshire business looking to the future to register on Buy Local.

“I would strongly encourage people to register if they want to adapt or expand their business. They should get their name out there as much as they can, and if there are sources like Buy Local offering a free service then you can’t turn that down.” Read more at www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local

LEP News: Free leadership webinars for businesses

The York and North Yorkshire Growth Hub has teamed up with Michelle Mook of Pro-Development (UK) Limited to deliver a series of free leadership webinars.

During this series of one-hour webinars, Michelle will take us through ways in which we can lead our people in these current times. Full details and how to book your free place are available below:

Wednesday 22 July – Leading through change and adversity

Wednesday 29 July – Leading your team into recovery

Wednesday 5 August – Leading with purpose

These webinars are delivered in partnership with Make It York and North Yorkshire County Council.  Please feel free to share details of these events using this Communication Pack https://www.ynygrowthhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Free-leadership-webinars-Comms-Pack-07.07.20.docx

LinkedIn webinar

The York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub, in partnership with North Yorkshire County Council and Make It York, is hosting a session on LinkedIn. Working with Intandem Communications; this webinar is perfect for beginners as well as those already with a LinkedIn profile. For further details on this event on Thursday 30th July at 12;15pm, visit:  Using LinkedIn to expand your network and attract new opportunities

Watch on demand webinars

All York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub free webinars are recorded and will be available to watch again online via our website. Details of sessions currently available are provided below:

Knowledge transfer partnerships webinar

Delivered by the University of York, this new programme ­– the Management Knowledge Transfer Partnership (mKTP) – forms part of the existing £multi-million KTP Programme. The webinar will take place from 12:15 – 13.00 and businesses can register for free here.

A devolution deal for York & North Yorkshire

Announcements have been released regarding the first steps towards agreeing a York & North Yorkshire devolution proposal. The full statement is available here and on the LEP website https://www.businessinspiredgrowth.com/about-the-lep/devolution/.

NP11, the partnership that represents the 11 LEPs in the North, has launched the #NorthMeansBusiness campaign.

This will focus on showcasing the North as an innovative and resilient region. To get involved with this campaign, you can:

  • Tag @The_NP11 in relevant content that you want NP11 to engage with and share
  • Use #NorthMeansBusiness on content that is relevant to the NP11 campaign
  • Use #NorthernPowerhouse on content linked to the government agenda on the North

Or, please send in business innovation stories to tracy.blundell@businessinpsiredgrowth.com who can share them through the LEP communication channels.

National Highlights:  Face coverings to be worn in shops and supermarkets

The government has announced that the wearing of face masks will be mandatory in shops and supermarkets from 24 July. For further information on this, visit: Face coverings to be mandatory in shops and supermarkets from 24 July

Key re-opening dates: Further businesses are now able to open:

  • Outdoor pools and performing arts can now take place outdoors with a socially distanced audience present.
  • Beauticians, tattooists, spas, tanning salons and other close-contact services. Existing guidance on close contact services will be updated here: https://bit.ly/CV19CloseContactGuidance.
  • From Saturday 25th July- indoor gyms, swimming pools and sports facilities.
  • Further guidance on grassroots sport and gym/leisure facilities reopening can be found here: https://bit.ly/GymsLeisureReopening.
  • Full details of the re-opening statement can be found here: https://bit.ly/CSStatement

Updated guidance on government support schemes

  • Job Retention Bonus- This is a one-off payment of £1,000 to employers that have used the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) for each furloughed employee who remains continuously employed until 31‌‌‌ ‌January 2021. Employers will be able to claim the bonus from February 2021. 

More information about this scheme will be available by 31‌‌‌ ‌July and full guidance will be published in the autumn.

  • Eat Out to Help Out Scheme- during August, diners can get 50% off Monday to Wednesday on meals and non-alcoholic drinks, up to £10 per person, when eating at participating restaurants, bars, cafes and other establishments that have registered.

Establishments need to register to take part in this scheme- this can be done from 13 July 2020 and will close on 31st August. For more information, visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/get-more-information-about-the-eat-out-to-help-out-scheme/get-more-information-about-the-eat-out-to-help-out-scheme

  • VAT reduction – from 15‌‌‌ ‌July until 12‌‌‌ ‌January 2021, the UK government will cut VAT from 20% to 5% on any eat-in or hot takeaway food and drinks from restaurants, cafes and pubs, excluding alcohol. This VAT reduction also applies to all holiday accommodation in hotels, B&Bs, campsites and caravan sites, as well as attractions like cinemas, theme parks and zoos. For more information, read here 

Important dates on Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Employers need to claim by 31‌‌‌ ‌July for employees furloughed through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) for periods ending on or before 30‌‌‌ ‌June. From 1 August employers will no longer be able to use a CJRS grant to cover National Insurance (NI) and pension contributions for furloughed employees. Employers can submit August claims in advance, from 20‌‌‌ ‌July.

Free Recovery Advice for Business Scheme for Small Business

The Recovery Advice for Business scheme will give small firms access to free, one-to-one advice with an expert adviser to help them through the coronavirus pandemic and to prepare for long-term recovery. The platform is now live: https://bit.ly/EnterpriseNationSupport. 

Communications

NYCC’s website has a dedicated area for all the latest COVID-19 related news visit: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-advice-and-information

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

Advice on things to do

Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughters – John Carr

A man whose legacy is threaded through North Yorkshire’s roads network is the latest subject of the Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughters campaign. The latest nominee is renowned Georgian architect John Carr. Carr served as the North and West Riding “bridgemaster”.

Read more about John Carr and Made in North Yorkshire at: www.northyorks.gov.uk/made-in-north-yorkshire

Online music lessons

Our service has adapted to allow lessons to be taught online to pupils unable to attend school. We offer the full range of instruments, including brass, woodwind, strings, percussion, voice and keyboard. Up to 32 lessons a year are offered, with a guarantee of 28. Lessons are delivered by specialist instrumental teachers over a secure connection.

We were among the first music service to pioneer this approach and are very experienced in it. For details, visit www.northyorkshiremusichub.co.uk or email MusicServiceTuitionRequests@northyorks.gov.uk

A message from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

I wonder how many of you enjoyed a suitably socially-distanced catch-up with friends or family at one of the many wonderful hospitality businesses which were able to safely reopen over the weekend.  I was delighted to support our local Covid compliant pub and, although it will take some time for these vital businesses to recover, seeing people supporting them safely is a very positive step. I am pleased to say our police force colleagues reported very little by way of issues linked to the latest easement of the lockdown rules and I join them in thanking everyone who ventured out to enjoy some long-awaited downtime in a careful and considerate way.  

Who would have thought a few months ago that the little things, like a good chat over a pint in the local beer garden, would become so treasured! But, in truth, it’s often the little things that make a really big difference to us.  Take the heart-warming tale of retiring Clerk to the Parish Meeting, octogenarian Rob Cattle, from the conservation village of Lastingham in the National Park.  For years, an old concrete and post fence has plagued the otherwise picture postcard village. Thanks to some thoughtful work by our highways team, support from our local ward councillor and Rob’s campaigning – his last job, after 10 years in his voluntary role, was to see the railings finally go. Another victory for Team North Yorkshire and the community spirit we all share.  I would like to offer him my personal thanks for his decade of volunteering and making a different at grass roots level – where it counts every bit as much as the big ticket items. You can read more about Rob here https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/parish-clerk-80-gets-final-job-done-village-retiring

Another seemingly small gesture that is making a tremendous difference to some of our most vulnerable young people in Scarborough is our mobile ‘Youth Club in a Boot’ initiative. It’s just one of the successful ways our Children and Families Support Workers have kept in touch with young people throughout lockdown. While youth clubs haven’t been possible due to Covid rules, delivering these packs has helped support face-to-face contact and given children and young people the chance to talk to their support workers personally.  In between visits, support workers are able to keep contact virtually through video calling, phone calls or WhatsApp messaging. I am constantly impressed by, and grateful for, the innovations and determination of our staff as they battle to continue with so many vital services in the most difficult of times. See more on this here https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/mobile-youth-club-helps-children-stay-safe-and-well

Actually that brings me onto another bit of gratitude. Thank you to the 35 organisations and individuals who responded to our invitation to suggest improvements to our cycling and walking facilities. We asked for your help to prioritise healthy travel schemes to support our bid for up to £1.06million in the second tranche of the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Emergency Active Travel Fund. Our highways teams are now looking at these in detail to see which could be delivered and will come back to you all. 

These requests are alongside the work officers have already done to create the County Council’s local cycling and walking plans, which include schemes that are bid-ready for when suitable funding opportunities arise. There’s more information here which I hope you will find of interest. https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/cycling-and-walking-groups-be-invited-rank-improvement-ideas

We are also busy getting on with reopening and expanding other services to help the county return safely to the new norm. That includes our ever-popular libraries. Hot on the heels of the successful launch this week of our ‘Select and Collect’ service, which enables customers to pick up a selection of reads, hand-picked to match their tastes by a member of the library team, we are now offering some computer access again.

From this coming Monday, libraries managed by us in Scarborough, Harrogate, Malton, Whitby, Pickering, Filey and Skipton will offer limited access to public computers. Ripon, Selby, Northallerton, Knaresborough and Richmond will follow suit on 20 July. Appropriate social distancing will be in place alongside other changes to keep you and our staff and volunteers safe – but it’s another good sign that I know will be welcomed by many people. If you want for details just click here https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/computers-and-home-delivery-libraries-continue-phased-return

So, lots going on but much still to do! Our Test and Trace team continues to support Public Health England and the NHS to manage and contain Covid-19 outbreaks across the county and infection rates continue to slow. While this is very welcome, the virus is most certainly not gone so please continue with hand washing, safe distancing and getting a test if you have symptoms. Let’s keep working together to bring our beautiful county back to where it needs to be. Thanks again for everything you are doing.

A message from Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health

World Health Organisation data shows that we have now passed 11.5 million confirmed cases globally, with over 537 thousand deaths across 216 countries, areas or territories.

At a national level, yesterday’s (07/07) Public Health England data show there were 286,349 lab-confirmed cases in the UK – this is lower than the figure reported last week following removal of duplicates across Pillar 1 and Pillar 2 testing.

Nationally, there have been 44,391 COVID-associated deaths. To date, there have been 2,517 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across North Yorkshire – this number has also changed since last week to include positive tests identified through both Pillar 1 and Pillar 2 (previously just Pillar 1 was reported). Pillar 1 tests are swab tests arranged through the NHS (e.g. in hospitals), and Pillar 2 tests are swab tests arranged through commercial partners (e.g. at Regional Test Centres, Mobile Testing Units and home testing kits). You can see the latest confirmed cases of coronavirus by area on the Government's website. 

The number of people currently in hospital with COVID-19 continues to decrease slowly. There have been no additional deaths from COVID-19 reported across Airedale, Harrogate, South Tees and York NHS Trusts during the last week, with the overall total staying at 656 (of whom an estimated 256 will be North Yorkshire residents).

Since publishing the North Yorkshire COVID-19 Outbreak Control Plan on 26th June, we continue to put in place the prevention and control measures set out in the plan. This includes working with partners to support education settings, care providers, workplaces and communities to prevent outbreaks of coronavirus and quickly control them when they occur. You can find our Outbreak Control Plan here: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/our-outbreak-plan

In the aftermath of the Leicester local lockdown, considerably more data is being shared between national and local government, with daily monitoring of key triggers points including cases, rates of infection, Covid-related hospital admissions and NHS111 calls. At this stage, North Yorkshire’s position is that our infection rates are much lower than Leicester, Bradford, Barnsley and other areas that have been highlighted nationally. However, events move rapidly and we need to remain vigilant, follow the rules on a safe easing of lockdown and continue to take personal responsibility (washing hands, keeping a distance of 1 metre plus, etc) as well as working in partnership with communities and across agencies.

Since 4th July, changes have been made to national guidance, particularly around the re-opening of hospitality and leisure facilities and meeting other households. For more information on these changes see: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do

Good conversations

Good Conversations skills training, supports frontline workers to Make Every Contact Count (MECC). It builds confidence, knowledge and skills required for good conversations in these very challenging times. The course has been designed for frontline workers who are in direct contact with the public, who wish to develop or sharpen their conversational skills, and who want to improve their knowledge of basic health and wellbeing advice and where to signpost people for further help.

The target audience includes workers who have been re-directed to respond to COVID19, and new volunteers who have come forward to help. Wide-ranging tasks delivered by these workers, include: telephoning to check on vulnerable residents; arranging food parcels and prescriptions; connecting to befriending activities and signposting people, coping with bereavement, to appropriate services.

Contact with the public is now frequently over the telephone. Face-to-face contact must be at a safe, and unusual, social distance. COVID19 has meant that many more frontline workers are having to deal with issues that matter to people (and that can impact mental health) that are outside of their comfort zone.

A link to the webinar platform Zoom will be provided around a week before the webinar commences:

Planning for recovery

Testing

As part of the national testing programme for coronavirus, drive-through Mobile Testing Units, run by the Department for Health and Social care, will be operating in the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • Thursday 9 July - Whitby - Whitby Park and Ride, Whitby, YO21 1TL
  • Thursday 9 July - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4T
  • Friday 10 July - Northallerton - Allertonshire School, Brompton Road, Northallerton, DL6 1ED
  • Saturday 11 July - Selby – South Entrance, Drax Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Sunday 12 July - Scarborough - Scarborough Park & Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough YO12 4LW
  • Sunday 12 - July - Harrogate - Hydro Leisure Centre, Jenny Field Drive, Harrogate HG1 2RP
  • Monday 13 July - Northallerton - Allertonshire School, Brompton Road, Northallerton, DL6 1ED
  • Tuesday 14 July - Thornton Le Dale - National Trust Car Park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Pickering, YO18 7RR

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

Find out more and how to book at www.northyorks.gov.uk/testing

NYnet delivers connectivity boost to rural schools

High-speed connectivity provider NYnet, which is wholly owned by the County Council, is working to deliver gigabit-capable broadband connections to more than 20 rural primary schools in North Yorkshire as part of the Government’s commitment to improve internet infrastructure in rural and remote areas.

The Rural Gigabit Connectivity (RGC) programme is a multi-million pound initiative created by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), in conjunction with the Department for Education (DfE) and local authorities. 

Schools already connected under the programme have greatly benefitted from significantly improved broadband speeds of up to 100Mbps, and now have the capability to be further upgraded to 1Gbps in the future.

During the lockdown, schools have found that the significantly faster broadband speeds are enabling teachers to work remotely, take part in video conferencing and plan and set lessons.

Tockwith Church of England Primary Academy is among the schools chosen to be part of the programme. NYnet, in conjunction with North Yorkshire Education Services, has worked with Openreach to connect the school. 

Justin Reeve, Head Teacher of Tockwith Primary School, said: “We are delighted to be part of the RGC programme provided by NYnet. At Tockwith, we have always embraced technological advances, but the internet speed has always been a limiting factor for us – not any more. We currently have 165 Chromebooks in the school, so the new broadband connection will have a significant impact for us.”

Active travel

Cycling and walking groups are to be invited to prioritise active travel schemes that have been put forward, following an appeal to the public.

The County Council asked organisations and individuals to suggest improvements to cycling and walking infrastructure as it prepared to bid for up to £1.06m in the second tranche of the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Emergency Active Travel Fund as part of the national recovery from the pandemic.

The authority received about 35 requests from all over the county. Its highway teams have been assessing the requests to understand their delivery and feasibility. As soon as this is done, the council will share details with appropriate groups and ask them to rank schemes from highest to lowest priority. The groups’ responses will be considered as the council prepares its funding bid.

These requests are alongside work officers have already done to create Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans, which include schemes that are bid-ready for when suitable funding opportunities arise.

The County Council also confirmed that it will press ahead with the full package of work submitted in its tranche one bid to the Emergency Active Travel Fund to encourage social distancing, facilitate walking and cycling and stimulate the economy as North Yorkshire emerges from lockdown. The DfT’s gave the authority £133,000 – half the possible maximum – in that first tranche bid, but the County Council intends to supplement the DfT funding to ensure it delivers all the measures in its bid.

The County Council is awaiting formal guidance on the requirements for the second tranche submission.

Phased return of libraries

Libraries will continue the phased return of services next week, with sessions on public computers being bookable at some branches and the restart of the Home Library Service.

This follows the launch this week of a Select and Collect service, which enables customers to phone or email their library to request the type of books they want, then later collect a selection hand-picked by the library team.

From 13 July, County Council-managed libraries at Scarborough, Harrogate, Malton, Whitby, Pickering, Filey and Skipton will offer limited access to public computers. Ripon, Selby, Northallerton, Knaresborough and Richmond will follow suit on 20 July.

Social distancing measures mean fewer computers will be available, so people must call or email their library to book. Community-managed libraries also offer computer facilities. People should check with their local library to see what arrangements are in place.

Also restarting from 13 July, is the Home Library Service. Before lockdown, this volunteer service was delivering books to more than 1,600 people. To allow for social distancing, books will be placed on the doorstep rather than carried inside. To sign up for this service, visit www.northyorks.gov.uk/home-library-service or call your local library.

The aim is, that from the end of July, customers will be able to browse and pick their own books.

Details can be found at www.northyorks.gov.uk/CovidLibraries alternatively, people can call their local library or 01609 533878.

Schools and childcare

As the Government announced recently, schools will be fully re-open for all pupils in September. Children and Young People’s Services had already begun working with headteachers on scenario planning, to cover a number of eventualities for the start of the September term, including full reopening, further closures as a result of another spike and partial opening with blended home learning. This scenario planning will finish in case it is required for the future, but the focus is now on full re-opening.

Our directory for childcare which will, we hope, support parents and carers for the summer holidays has now been published; https://northyorkshireconnect.org.uk/ we are also adding details of summer holiday activities from independent providers to this county-wide directory and a variety of organisations providing support over this period.

Our music service has always been a shining light for the county, and the lengths it has gone to during lockdown to keep music teaching and learning and performance alive for children and young people is yet more proof that it is ahead of the game nationally.

Our music service was one of the first to pioneer online music lessons and we are now delivering 1,100 a week – a remarkable feat.

The pandemic led to a series of cancellations of major events planned by the service – the VE Day concert with 450 pupils from across the county at the Harrogate Convention Centre; the County Youth Orchestra & Choir residential courses and the Big Band Tour to Northern Ireland.  Disappointed, but undeterred, the music service got pupils to make videos of themselves singing “We’ll Meet Again” and the “White Cliffs of Dover” which were made into a virtual choir performance to commemorate VE Day, recordings which got nearly 50,000 viewings. 

In addition, the County Youth Orchestra has been involved in making a Guide to the Symphony Orchestra for primary children to learn about different instruments, how a symphony orchestra works and to hear the orchestra play together.

As part of the guide, section leaders of the orchestra recorded themselves talking about their experiences of learning to play an instrument and playing in the orchestra. 

All orchestra members have also recorded themselves playing the Radetsky March by Johann Strauss Snr with all recordings brought together in a video for streaming this month. A powerful learning tool and a great achievement all round.

Social care, the NHS and Public Health Services

We are currently looking very carefully at the implications of the Department for Health and Social Care’s next stage of the testing strategy for adult social care, which is being rolled out.

This next stage is based on advice from SAGE (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies) and Public Health England and evidence from the initial round of whole home testing and the results from our Vivaldi surveillance survey, which showed that many residents who tested positive for Covid-19 were not symptomatic. The DHSC has seen this as a significant milestone.

Retesting helps to prevent and control outbreaks in care homes and means steps can be taken to reduce the spread of the virus.

This next stage includes weekly testing of staff and testing of residents every 28 days in all care homes without outbreaks. Bank, agency and visiting staff such as social workers and Allied Health Professionals working in care homes are to be included in the weekly staff tests in care homes. 

This approach balances the need for regular testing of staff, who will potentially be more exposed to the virus with the fact that regular testing can be difficult and distressing for some residents. We are therefore giving very detailed consideration to the most effective and ethical way of testing our residents and staff. 

Initially the priority will be care homes for the over 65s and those with dementia because these homes were the first to receive whole home testing in the initial round of testing and based on SAGE and PHE advice.

Our Director of Public Health is being sent a list of care homes eligible for this first wave of retesting. Retesting will be expanded to the remaining adult care homes from early August.

The DHSC will review this strategy in September, taking into account prevalence levels in the community and local settings and the latest evidence. Based on this, the frequency of testing may be adjusted. 

We are heartened by the fact our work to support care homes during the Covid-19 pandemic with daily calls, staff training, deep cleaning and the mapping of outbreaks has brought the number of North Yorkshire care homes with Covid-19 outbreaks, of less than 14 days, down to eight out of a total of 67 homes that have had laboratory confirmed outbreaks.

This further development with regards to regular whole-home testing will mean that in the long term our care homes will be better protected. We have developed very close, positive work with our care home settings over these difficult months and no doubt we will work together on the best way forward to meet the challenges of carrying out this regular testing strategy.

Support for people in isolation

People who are shielding as a result of Covid-19 are now able to create a support bubble with another household if they live alone or they are a single parent. Those who have been shielding can also meet up to five other people outdoors while maintaining strict social distancing.

From 1 August, the national programme of food and prescription deliveries will end and the Government is advising people who are shielding to adopt strict social distancing, rather than full shielding measures. People who have been shielding will also be able to visit shops and return to work provided that their workplace is Covid secure. Priority supermarket delivery slots will continue but anyone who hasn’t registered must do so before 17 July. More information can be found at www.northyorks.gov.uk/help-you-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Of the 24,700 people shielding in North Yorkshire, more than 3,000 have relied on Government food and prescription deliveries while they stayed at home to protect themselves from coronavirus. We are contacting those people who have needed help and support over the last three months to help them prepare for the end of July.

So far, more than 140 people have been identified as needing help with food and prescriptions from August onwards. The customer service centre will help people who have been shielding put alternative arrangements in place, if they need it, and our support for people who do not have anyone else to call on will continue.

In Harrogate, volunteer Margaret Currie has been helping 47-year-old Loraine Wood who has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Loraine said “Margaret has been wonderful! Dropping food round and collecting prescriptions for me. She rings me up and I can have a chat with her. She’s an absolute sweetheart and is always there if I need anything.”

Community support organisations (CSOs) will continue to help people who have no one else to call on while they are isolating and throughout June CSO volunteers collected 2,804 prescriptions and delivered 3,668 lots of shopping. Other types of support include telephone befriending calls, pet care, organising meal deliveries and helping people continue their hobbies by delivering supplies. Many CSOs are also beginning to provide support for people to build their confidence by organising small, socially distanced gatherings and accompanied shopping trips.

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

People can also find details of local voluntary and community groups offering support at www.northyorkshireconnect.org.uk

For more information, including links to the main supermarkets for people who can shop safely for themselves, and a link to the Buy Local site, go to www.northyorks.gov.uk/help-you-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Local economy

Buy Local – Door to door switch helps butcher meet the challenge of lockdown

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

With non-essential retailers and hospitality businesses now re-opened, we’re urging them to register on the site to reach new customers and increase their visibility. Buy Local also allows all businesses to outline the safety measures they have put in place to protect the public. Businesses can also update their details if they are already registered to let customers know they are open and trading.

This week, we got back in touch with James Knox, owner of Yorkshire Dales Meat. We spoke to James back in April when he admitted things were tough. Much of his wholesale revenue had vanished overnight, so he started doing doorstep deliveries to the public and quickly reached a whole new audience on Buy Local.

Now, James has opened Mill Close Farm Shop, and is continuing with click and collect and deliveries.  He said ‘Everyone is impacted in some way shape or form – everyone is in a similar boat, having to think on their feet, be agile and try to survive.’

Read more at www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local

Please share our social media messages encouraging businesses to register, and directing the public to the site. Follow @northyorkscc on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

LEP News: Local Highlights

Free leadership webinars for businesses

Covid-19 has caused unprecedented changes to the way in which many of us work, with minimal time for teams to prepare. To help overcome the challenges that this may have brought, the has teamed up with Michelle Mook of Pro-Development (UK) Limited to deliver a series of free leadership webinars.

During this series of one-hour webinars, Michelle will take us through ways in which we can lead our people in these current times. She will provide insights into what engages a team and how to bring out the very best in each and every one of them to help individuals, teams and the business flourish.

Full details and how to book your free place are available below:

These webinars are delivered in partnership with Make It York and North Yorkshire County Council.  Please feel free to share details of these events using this Communication Pack https://www.ynygrowthhub.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Free-leadership-webinars-Comms-Pack-07.07.20.docx

Social media support for business

The final session of the current series of webinars is tomorrow, hosted by York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub, in partnership with North Yorkshire County Council and Make It York.

Working with York PR and marketing agency Intandem Communications, this series of webinars have been popular so far.

Details of tomorrow’s session are below. Look out for further updates as there will be others scheduled.

Growing your social media presence- 9 July, 12:15-13:00, https://www.ynygrowthhub.com/events/social-media-growing-your-social-media-presence/

Circular Yorkshire master class for business

The University of York, in partnership with York & North Yorkshire LEP, is holding a series of master class events for business as part of this year’s Circular Yorkshire 2020 campaign.

These webinar events will look broadly at how shifting to a circular economy can help businesses as they recover post COVID-19.

The next event on Wednesday 15 July 2020, 4pm to 5pm will be led by Gavin Milligan from Green Knight Sustainability Consulting and will look at risks and mitigation in the agri-food system, and the role of circular economy principles in increasing the resilience of individual businesses within the overall system.

For further information and to book, visit https://www.york.ac.uk/management/events/2020/gavin-milligan-15-july/ 

If you are an individual, business, local authority or community group who would like to know more about Circular Yorkshire 2020 campaign, please sign up here or contact Katie Thomas on Katie.Thomas@businessinspiredgrowth.com

Support Love Local Business campaign

The York Press is running a six-week campaign called “Love Local Business” to promote businesses and shops in our communities as they get back on their feet post COVID-19 and start to recover.

The campaign highlights the amazing efforts of our businesses, in adapting to the challenges brought about by the crisis and encourages readers to support local shops and services.

We support this campaign and encourage all partners and stakeholders to promote this message as we join together to make our economy Greener, Fairer and Stronger through its recovery and beyond.

National highlights: “Plan For Jobs” to help Britain bounce back

The Chancellor today set out a ‘Plan for Jobs’ that will drive the UK’s recovery post COVID-19.

As the UK enters the second phase in its recovery, the Chancellor’s plan is designed to support jobs by focussing on skills and young people, create jobs with investment in shovel-ready projects and greening our infrastructure, and protect jobs through a VAT cut for the hospitality sector and a landmark Eat Out to Help Out discount scheme for diners.

For more information on this, visit https://www.gov.uk/government/news/rishis-plan-for-jobs-will-help-britain-bounce-back

Government announces £10 million for small businesses to kick-start tourism

Communities that depend on tourism will receive a major boost from a new £10 million Kick-starting Tourism Package, which will give small businesses in tourist destinations grants of up to £5,000 to help them adapt their businesses following the coronavirus pandemic.

Funding will be allocated via Local Growth Hubs based on how much of their employment base is linked to tourism and hospitality businesses. This means that coastal and rural areas like ours– with a bigger proportion of their economy focused on tourism, hospitality and allied sectors, will get a larger share of the funds

For more information, visit: Government announces £10 million for small businesses to kickstart tourism

Cultural and heritage organisations to receive £1.57 billion support package

The government announced earlier this week that Britain’s globally renowned arts, culture and heritage industries will receive a £1.57 billion rescue package to help weather the impact of coronavirus.

Thousands of organisations across a range of sectors including the performing arts and theatres, heritage, historic palaces, museums, galleries, live music and independent cinema will be able to access emergency grants and loans. For more information, read here.

Staying informed

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

Communications

NYCC’s website has a dedicated area for all the latest COVID-19 related news visit: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-advice-and-information

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

Advice on things to do

Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughters – John Carr “bridgemaster”

A man whose legacy is threaded through North Yorkshire’s roads network is the latest subject of the Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughters campaign.

The latest nominee is renowned Georgian architect John Carr. Carr served as the North and West Riding “bridgemaster”, and built or altered more than sixty bridges across North Yorkshire, alongside hundreds of extravagant halls and buildings that have made North Yorkshire’s architectural heritage what it is today.

Read more about John Carr and Made in North Yorkshire at: www.northyorks.gov.uk/made-in-north-yorkshire

Online music lessons

Our service has adapted to allow lessons to be taught online to pupils unable to attend school. We offer the full range of instruments, including brass, woodwind, strings, percussion, voice and keyboard

Up to 32 lessons a year are offered, with a guarantee of 28. Lessons are delivered by specialist instrumental teachers over a secure connection.

We were among the first music service to pioneer this approach and are very experienced in it.

For details, visit www.northyorkshiremusichub.co.uk or email MusicServiceTuitionRequests@northyorks.gov.uk

Tour from home

Google arts and culture has lots to offer for those staying at home, it’s somewhat a “holiday from home”. You can explore collections, artworks and places from over 80 countries as well as stepping inside the Natural History Museum, London, Sydney Opera House and many more: https://artsandculture.google.com/

Summer Reading Challenge

The Summer Reading Challenge has gone digital. The challenge is open to children aged four to 11 and the theme is the Silly Squad, so children are invited to read anything that makes them happy – a comic, joke book, poetry, fiction or non-fiction, in digital or print, an e-book borrowed from the library or what they already have at home.

Children can sign up for free at summerreadingchallenge.org.uk, where they will find brilliant book suggestions, super silly activities, quizzes, videos, games, a place to keep track of their books and rewards to unlock along the way.

Last year, almost 10,000 children took the challenge in North Yorkshire though local libraries. The county’s library service has a huge selection of children’s e-books and e-audiobooks that are free to borrow at northyorks.gov.uk/digital-library, so we hope to encourage just as many children to join in this year.

Library members just need their library card and PIN to download books. If you are not a member, call 01609 533878 to join for free.

A message from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

I can barely believe it is July the 1st today. Time during a pandemic feels so different, doesn’t it? I have heard so many people over the past few weeks, particularly perhaps as we emerge from our lockdown, asking where spring went! 

Our journey, as a county, through Coronavirus continues to deliver us many tough challenges but, thanks to our collective effort which includes every one of you, we are stepping into the next phase as safely as possible.

I am sure many people will be looking forward to enjoying a catch up with friends and family over the coming days and weeks as our café’s, bars, restaurants and hotels reopen. This is a huge moment for us in North Yorkshire – where our welcome, locally sourced high quality food and outstanding views are world famous. Tens of thousands of jobs depend on our visitor and hospitality sectors, here, and this sector is worth around £1.9billion to the county’s economy. We will all have missed the pleasure of not having to cook or wash dishes and of relaxing in pretty pub gardens with our friends.

A huge amount of positive work continues by many of our hospitality businesses to reassure customers of the extensive measures they are taking to protect them and staff from the virus. As a County Council, our highways teams have been out and about assisting these efforts and creating new spaces, where possible, to support them. For example, in Harrogate, where our area highways manager, Melisa Burnham, undertook a tour of some local businesses to understand the pressures they face in reopening and to find out how best to help them. There is more on that work here

https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/supporting-hospitality-businesses-reopen-safely

So, please support our county’s businesses and help them to recover from this pandemic safely. Enjoy some time with friends and family and play your part in supporting everyone to remain safe by making sure you understand what to expect in this new world before you get there. 

There are some tips here which will help us all to stay safe while enjoying our new found freedoms and of course while helping our economy to move forward:

  • Check in advance – will the pub/bar/restaurant be open?
  • Are they operating a booking system?
  • Please drink sensibly and respect local residents and bar staff;
  • Book transport home;
  • Remember face covering for public transport;
  • Wherever possible, stay 2 metres apart – it’s 10 times safer than 1 metre with no other protection.

Another positive sign of progress this week is the staged reopening of some of our library services. Many of you have been making the most of our terrific online library during lockdown and that service, of course, continues – but – from July the 6th customers will be able to take advantage of a free ‘Select and Collect’ service. You can call or email your local library and tell us the sort of books you like and we will hand-pick a selection. We are also offering a new library ‘takeaway’ service, which offers specially selected book bundles to borrow. There will be a menu to choose from each week with something for all ages. Details will be on local library Facebook pages. As always the safety of our customers, volunteers and staff will be our primary concern and, so, books will be quarantined when they are returned. If you want to know more about that just follow the link. https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/countys-libraries-begin-phased-return

Finally, July is usually when many of us are enjoying, or looking forward to, our summer holidays and, for the vast majority of us this year, that will look very different. Staycations are more popular than ever and is there anywhere more beautiful to enjoy some rest and relaxation than North Yorkshire? Please support your local businesses and enjoy our wonderful county. Stay safe and don’t let the virus get us back in its grip again. It remains critical that, if you have symptoms, you book a test and isolate. The Test and Trace experts will contact you if the test is positive and advise you on what to do. We are here if you have no one around you to help while you are isolating. No one is alone.  

In our county we have shown what we can do if we work together. Stick with that Team North Yorkshire spirit and help us recover safely by continuing to play your part to minimise the spread. Thank you.

A message from Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health

World Health Organisation data shows that we have now passed 10 million confirmed cases globally, with over 507 thousand deaths across 216 countries, areas or territories.

At a national level, yesterday’s (30/06) Public Health England data show there were 306,210 lab-confirmed cases in the UK, with 43,730 COVID-associated deaths. To date, there have been 1354 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as part of Pillar 1 testing across North Yorkshire. You can see the latest confirmed cases of coronavirus by area on the Government's website. 

The number of people currently in hospital with COVID-19 continues to decrease slowly. Sadly, there have been 656 deaths from COVID-19 across Airedale, Harrogate, South Tees and York NHS Trusts to date, of whom an estimated 256 will be North Yorkshire residents. The number of deaths from COVID-19 each week continues to decrease.

On Friday, we published the North Yorkshire COVID-19 Outbreak Control Plan, alongside an Executive Summary and an Easy Read version, on the NYCC website. The plan outlines how we will respond with our partners to identify and manage outbreaks of COVID-19 to limit their spread and impact. 

It also sets out how we will focus on preventing infection in the first place, through ongoing engagement with our communities and providing information and guidance to reduce the risk of spreading the infection. It is a dynamic plan which we will continue to develop and refine in line with national policy and local circumstances.

You can find our Outbreak Control Plan here: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/our-outbreak-plan

Planning for recovery

Testing

As part of the national testing programme for coronavirus, drive-through Mobile Testing Units, run by the Department for Health and Social care, will be operating in the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • 3 July - Northallerton - Allertonshire School, Brompton Road, Northallerton, DL6 1ED
  • 3 July - Whitby - Whitby Park and Ride, Whitby, YO21 1TL
  • 4 July - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4T
  • 4 July - Selby - Drax Social Club, Main Road, Selby, YO8 8PJ
  • 5 July - Scarborough - Scarborough Park & Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough YO12 4LW
  • 5 July - Harrogate - Hydro Leisure Centre, Jenny Field Drive, Harrogate HG1 2RP

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

Find out more and how to book at: www.northyorks.gov.uk/testing

County libraries to begin a phased return

Libraries across the county closed in March as lockdown began to combat the spread of Covid-19. Following the relaxation of restrictions, libraries will reopen in stages and, to begin with, visits will be by appointment only.

From Monday 6 July, customers will be able to take advantage of a free Select and Collect service. They will be able to call or email their local library to request the kind of books they like. A member of the library team will hand-pick a selection that meets the customer’s request, then contact the customer to arrange a convenient time for them to collect the books from the library entrance.
 
Regular library user Sophie Drury-Bradey is looking forward to being able to borrow books again.  She said: “We love our local library in Scarborough town centre. As a family, we’ve always found it so welcoming and relaxed. I often take my three-year-old son, Wallace, to the children’s section and the staff are always so helpful with his unique interests – for instance when he was obsessed with sausages the librarian helped us find six different books all about them! My son was thrilled and I was pleased, too, as it gave him a reason to enjoy story time at home. 
 
“During lockdown we’ve gradually worked our way through the books we have at home. Currently, the obsession is diggers – and we’ve got stuck reading one particular digger book called Dig, Dig, Digging every single night and many times! My son loves it, but I’m desperate for the library to reopen so we can find some different books on diggers!”
 
Customers who have been waiting patiently for libraries reopening can also enjoy a new “library takeaway” service, which offers specially selected book bundles to borrow. All books will be quarantined when they are returned.
 
Library members with items on loan from before lockdown do not need to hurry to return them. The loan period has been extended to 1 September, so no fines are accruing.
 
The aim is to open further services over the coming weeks, starting with bookable access to libraries’ public computers, followed by a return to browsing with social distancing in place. Only when restrictions are eased sufficiently will libraries reopen their public toilets, desks and tables for public use and café areas.
 
The Select and Collect system will be run at the 11 libraries managed by the County Council. Most community-managed libraries will follow suit but some will take a slightly different approach. More information including opening times and contact details can be found online at www.northyorks.gov.uk/covidlibraries and individual library Facebook pages. Alternatively, if people have any queries they can call their local library or the library helpline number on 01609 533878.

The digital library service, which has been very popular during the lockdown period is still available for people to use www.northyorks.gov.uk/digital-library

Birth registration service resumes

The birth registration service across North Yorkshire is now open to all births, regardless of the date. All register offices across the county have now reopened with new rules in place to maintain social distancing and to impose extra hygiene measures. Register offices are working by appointment only.

For further details please visit www.northyorks.gov.uk/birth

Video at https://youtu.be/Mf3xeJW8UzE

Schools and childcare

More than 5,000 statutory, face-to-face visits to families, children and young people in North Yorkshire have been carried out in the county since lockdown conditions were imposed.

Children and Families Support Workers have conducted the visits to support families, keep children safe and ensure issues of harm aren’t hidden from services. Throughout lockdown this work has become vital as children have been unable to use services such as youth clubs which they would normally attend.

As a result, support workers have put a huge amount of work into ensuring this work continues and have managed to achieve more than 5,200 visits in person since lockdown conditions began.

Children and Young People’s Services have worked with 295 private holiday activity providers to put together a comprehensive directory of all the summer activities on offer for school-aged children over the holidays. A directory of all the activities will be published on North Yorkshire County Council’s main website, www.northyorks.gov.uk before the start of the summer holidays. Digital copies of the directory will also be sent to schools and published on their websites where possible.

An eight-year-old pupil with Whitely and Eggborough Community School has managed to raise £400 for the NHS with a project she began in the Easter holidays. Izzy Harwood set up a fundraising page with her mother’s help in April and began to make bracelets in return for donations to the NHS.

Izzy had been telling her class on Google Classroom what she had been up to over the Easter holidays and mentioned about raising money in the message.

Her mum, Nicky Harwood, said: “Her school teacher then shared this with all the other school teachers who found the fundraising page. The response was overwhelming for Izzy as she then received lots more orders and some really lovely messages.

“She got quicker at making them too.

“We are really proud of her, coming up with the idea to raise money off her own back and then doing it herself. She’s been fitting it in around home schooling as well.”

Izzy, who has been doing home learning since the pandemic began, said: “I wanted to do something to help the people who were helping others during the pandemic.”

Social care, the NHS and Public Health Services

North Yorkshire County Council, along with NHS North Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group and the Care Quality Commission has worked with two care homes in Scarborough following concerns about residents.

Everyone living at Elsinor and Grosvenor Hall have now been safely relocated.

Richard Webb, North Yorkshire County Council’s Director for Health and Adult Social Care, said: “Safeguarding people who live in North Yorkshire’s care homes is among our most urgent priorities, and we are being especially vigilant during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We, NHS North Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group colleagues and care regulator the Care Quality Commission are working with two care homes in Scarborough, operated by the same provider, following concerns about the quality of care provided to residents in each home.

“Covid-19 has not caused these problems directly. However, the daily calls and interventions we put in place with all care homes have highlighted the problems at Elsinor and Grosvenor Hall. Grosvenor Hall was closed by the provider last week and residents have been moved to new homes.

“We and the CCG wrote earlier this week to Elsinor residents and their families to tell them that due to concerns about the quality of care everyone would be offered a new assessment to see whether their needs were being met and to consider moves to new homes.

“We and the CCG have given significant practical support, help and advice to the provider in recent weeks, but the homes have failed to implement the required changes.

“On Wednesday (24 June), we began contacting residents and families to tell them that we were so concerned about the care provided at Elsinor that we would be looking to move all residents to new homes within the next week.

“Moving people from their current home is always a last resort and we do not do so lightly. However, this provider has failed to improve services, despite considerable help and support.”

The approach to managing the next stage of the pandemic in North Yorkshire was outlined in a detailed plan published on June 26.

The County Council’s Covid-19 Outbreak Control Plan outlines how local knowledge, experience and expertise will be used to prevent outbreaks and manage the virus over time as part of the national Test and Trace programme.

Led by North Yorkshire County Council’s Director of Public Health, the approach will see public health experts work with the public, businesses, the NHS, Public Health England, local government partners and the community and voluntary sector.

Together they will work to support individuals, communities, businesses, education and care homes settings to understand how to prevent outbreaks via good hygiene and social distancing measures. Equally, it sets out how the county will respond when outbreaks occur and the measures necessary to control them.

The Director of Public Health for North Yorkshire is Dr Lincoln Sargeant. Launching the plan, he said: “Our plan outlines how we will respond, with our partners, to work effectively and at speed to manage outbreaks to help prevent any wider spread.

“It ensures there are clear protocols in place to respond wherever they might happen and outlines how we will focus on preventing infection in the first place through good education and guidance.

“As part of the NHS national Test and Trace programme the outcome will be that we can support the county, its residents, businesses, work force and visitors to return to normal life safely.

The plan in North Yorkshire is overseen by an Outbreak Management Advisory Board, chaired by the County Council’s Leader, Cllr Carl Les: “In North Yorkshire the collective effort to manage the terrible impacts of the coronavirus pandemic has been outstanding. Without the public response to support hand washing and social distancing measures over a prolonged period of time there can be little doubt that more loved ones would have been lost.

“It has hit us all hard personally, financially and emotionally and we want to now take the necessary steps in this next phase, to help get rid of it.

“And – everyone has their part to play. As the lockdown lifts further next week these principles are absolutely critical, so please wash your hands thoroughly and regularly, keep a safe distance from others and use face coverings and follow all the other guidance if two metres distance is not possible.

“We want to be clear this is the latest aspect of our commitment to reassure people that we continue to be here with you leading the fight to control coronavirus in North Yorkshire and helping everyone to Stay Safe.”

Support for people in isolation

Since March, the County Council has been working alongside district councils with 23 community organisations across North Yorkshire to coordinate the voluntary sector network in each locality. These hubs have been a single point of contact within the community for those in need of help. More than 1,500 volunteers have been helping thousands of people every week with shopping, collecting prescriptions or just having someone to talk to.

For the County Council’s Living Well team based in Whitby, the support provided by Coast and Vale Community Action (CaVCA) has been invaluable. Victoria Poole, Living Well coordinator, said: “They have been nothing short of phenomenal. They have contacted the clients within an hour of our referral and to date have provided numerous shopping vouchers, have arranged volunteers to complete shopping trips and collect medication. But they have also gone above and beyond and arranged for dogs to be walked and gardens to be mowed. They have supported a client to hospital with her 12-year-old son, to receive news about a recent cancer diagnosis, ensuring that both the client and her son were matched with a very supportive volunteer. Nothing has ever been too much trouble and they are so approachable and passionate about finding solutions to best suit the client. They have remained in contact with us and the client and provided continued support for the Whitby community.”

From Monday 6 July, people who are shielding because they are clinically extremely vulnerable to being hospitalised as a result of Covid-19, will be able to create a support bubble with another household if they live alone or they are a single parent. Those who have been shielding will also be able to meet up to five other people outdoors whist maintaining strict social distancing.

From 1 August, the Government is advising people to adopt strict social distancing, rather than full shielding measures, and the national programme of food and prescription deliveries will end. People who have been shielding will be able to visit shops and return to work from August 1 provided that their workplace is Covid secure. Priority supermarket delivery slots will continue for people who are shielding but anyone who hasn’t registered online must do so before 17 July.

We are currently contacting those people on the shielding list, who have needed help and support over the last three months, to help them prepare for the end of July and put alternative arrangements in place should they need it. Our support for people who do not have anyone else to call on will continue.

Since March over 700 Covid-19 support grant scheme awards have also been made through the community support organisations, providing financial assistance to pay for food and household essentials during isolation. The majority of applicants have long-term health conditions or weakened immune systems.

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

People can also find details of local voluntary and community groups offering support at www.northyorkshireconnect.org.uk

For more information, including links to the main supermarkets for people who can shop safely for themselves, and a link to the Buy Local site, go to www.northyorks.gov.uk/help-you-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Local economy

Buy Local – Online card venture sees increased web traffic

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

With many non-essential retailers now re-opened and more hospitality businesses opening this weekend, we’re urging them to register on the site to share their plans with customers and increase their visibility. The Buy Local site also allows all businesses to outline the safety measures they have put in place to protect the public.

We spoke to Charlotte Gale, a professional photographer from Knaresborough, during lock down. She updated us last week on how things are going. Registering her online greeting card business www.pictur-esque.com on Buy Local resulted in increased traffic to her site and new customers placing orders with her.

Read more at www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local

Please share our social media messages encouraging businesses to register, and directing the public to the site. Follow @northyorkscc on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Supporting hospitality businesses to reopen safely

As the hospitality and tourism industry prepares to reopen, we are doing everything we can to support cafés, bars and pubs who are seeking to use some of the public highway to facilitate trade.

The hospitality industry in North Yorkshire employs thousands of people and adds more than £920m annually to the county’s economy.

In Harrogate, our highways team has been visiting businesses to understand the pressures of reopening and to find out how best to support them.

Jim Mossman, co-founder of the Cold Bath Brewing Co and representative of Harrogate BID, said: “I’m delighted to say that we are engaged on behalf of the BID with NYCC. We are looking at how we can move forward with pedestrianised zones compatible for food and drink businesses. We want to create a cosmopolitan and European-style zone where we can affect our trade and be transformational in terms of saving jobs and businesses.”

We would like people who feel they need our support to come forward and speak to their local highways office.

LEP News: New Deal for Britain

Yesterday, the Prime Minister announced a “New Deal” which will bring forward £5bn of capital investment projects, supporting jobs and the economic recovery, including:

  • £1.5bn this year for hospital maintenance, eradicating mental health dormitories, enabling hospital building, and improving A&E capacity. This will improve patient care, make sure NHS hospitals can deliver world-leading services and reduce the risk of coronavirus infections.
  • £100m this year for 29 projects in our road network to get Britain moving, from bridge repairs in Sandwell to boosting the quality of the A15 in the Humber region. Plus £10m for development work to unblock the Manchester rail bottleneck, which will begin this year.
  • Over £1bn to fund the first 50 projects of a new, ten-year school rebuilding programme, starting from 2020-21. These projects will be confirmed in the autumn, and construction on the first sites will begin from September 2021.
  • £560m and £200m for repairs and upgrades to schools and FE colleges respectively this year.
  • £142m for digital upgrades and maintenance to around 100 courts this year, £83m for maintenance of prisons and youth offender facilities, and £60m for temporary prison places, creating thousands of new jobs.
  • £900m for a range of ‘shovel ready’ local growth projects in England over the course of this year and next, as well as £96m to accelerate investment in town centres and high streets through the Towns Fund this year. This will provide all 101 towns selected for town deals with £500k-£1m to spend on projects such as improvements to parks, high streets, and transport.

Please find the full speech here: https://bit.ly/PMBuildSpeech

£200 million Sustainable Innovation Fund launched

The government’s Sustainable Innovation Fund will be open to companies across all parts of the UK who need urgent financial support to keep their cutting-edge projects and ideas alive.

In a move to support people across the country to establish more ‘climate-positive’ behaviours, businesses and start-ups could also make use of the circa £200 million fund to develop smart sustainability-focused projects – from apps encouraging people to cut down their food waste to sustainable biodegradable packaging.

The Sustainable Innovation Fund will help power the UK’s economic recovery and develop new sustainable opportunities for businesses in any sector following the coronavirus pandemic, while helping the UK meet its ambitions to cut carbon emissions to net zero by 2050. For more information, read here

York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub business support

The York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub, in partnership with North Yorkshire County Council and Make It York, have teamed up with York PR and marketing agency Intandem Communications to deliver a series of webinars which have proven very popular so far.

The 45-minute lunchtime sessions are designed to give an introduction to a range of topics from getting set up and creating great content, through to advertising and analytics. For details of the last 2 sessions and to sign up, see below:

Local Authority Webinar to kick-start Circular Yorkshire 2020

As part of this year’s Circular Yorkshire 2020 campaign, we will be hosting a Circular Economy webinar series for Local Authority stakeholders. The first of these “How can local authorities benefit from the circular economy?” Will take place on 9 July and provide a deep dive into the circular economy – what it is and how the principles can be used to achieve carbon-neutral targets and support economic recovery post COVID-19. 

Speakers will include: Katie Thomas, Senior Strategy Manager – Low Carbon & Environment at York & North Yorkshire LEP; Ashima Sukhdev, Government & Cities Programme Lead at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation; Mita Patel, Sustainability Programme Officer at Brighton & Hove City Council and Rebecca Ricketts, Senior Projects Manager at Glasgow Chamber of Commerce (Circular Glasgow). For more information and to sign up, visit here.

If you are an individual, business, local authority or community group who would like to know more about Circular Yorkshire 2020 campaign, please sign up here or contact Katie Thomas on Katie.Thomas@businessinspiredgrowth.com

Staying informed

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

Communications

NYCC’s website has a dedicated area for all the latest COVID-19 related news visit: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-advice-and-information

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

Advice on things to do

Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughters – John Carr “bridgemaster”

A man whose legacy is threaded through North Yorkshire’s roads network is the latest subject of the Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughters campaign.

Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughters is a North Yorkshire County Council project to highlight and celebrate figures from the past who were immensely influential on the county’s history and heritage. It draws on County Record Office archives and the work of local history groups.

The latest nominee is renowned Georgian architect John Carr. Carr served as the North and West Riding “bridgemaster”, and built or altered more than sixty bridges across North Yorkshire, alongside hundreds of extravagant halls and buildings that have made North Yorkshire’s architectural heritage what it is today.

Read more about John Carr and Made in North Yorkshire at: www.northyorks.gov.uk/made-in-north-yorkshire

Online music lessons

Online lessons being offered by our County Music Service are going really well, delivering more than 1,100 lessons each week, but the service can accommodate more pupils.

Our service has adapted to allow lessons to be taught online to pupils unable to attend school. We offer the full range of instruments, including brass, woodwind, strings, percussion, voice and keyboard

Up to 32 lessons a year are offered, with a guarantee of 28. Lessons are delivered by specialist instrumental teachers over a secure connection.

We were among the first music service to pioneer this approach and are very experienced in it.

For details, visit www.northyorkshiremusichub.co.uk or email MusicServiceTuitionRequests@northyorks.gov.uk

Tour from home

Google arts and culture has lots to offer for those staying at home, it’s somewhat a “holiday from home”. You can explore collections, artworks and places from over 80 countries as well as stepping inside the Natural History Museum, London, Sydney Opera House and many more: https://artsandculture.google.com/

Summer Reading Challenge

The Summer Reading Challenge has gone digital. The challenge is open to children aged four to 11 and the theme is the Silly Squad, so children are invited to read anything that makes them happy – a comic, joke book, poetry, fiction or non-fiction, in digital or print, an e-book borrowed from the library or what they already have at home.

Children can sign up for free at summerreadingchallenge.org.uk, where they will find brilliant book suggestions, super silly activities, quizzes, videos, games, a place to keep track of their books and rewards to unlock along the way.

Last year, almost 10,000 children took the challenge in North Yorkshire though local libraries. The county’s library service has a huge selection of children’s e-books and e-audiobooks that are free to borrow at northyorks.gov.uk/digital-library, so we hope to encourage just as many children to join in this year.

Library members just need their library card and PIN to download books. If you are not a member, call 01609 533878 to join for free.

A message from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

This week has seen the most extensive national announcements around new freedoms since North Yorkshire - along with the rest of England – went into lockdown.

On Friday, it will be 100 days since the start of lockdown and I doubt I am alone in the sentiment that it feels longer than that since we were living fairly normal lives – albeit with a degree of caution about what lay ahead.

For some time, we have been emerging from the height of the pandemic and trying hard to establish some structure in the new norm. New ways of shopping, socialising, working and learning that will help us return to normality safely.

Now we face another huge moment – as the hospitality industry – something our county is rightly famous for, prepares to reopen from the 4th of July. This is incredibly important for North Yorkshire which has a big role to play in the sector. Across Yorkshire, tourism is worth £9 billion a year and employs 225,000 people. The Prime Minister’s announcement around the review of the 2 metre rule will certainly mean that more businesses in the county feel able to open – albeit there are caveats around the measures they must take to reopen safely. Understandably – after so many months of being told to keep at least 2 metres apart – this review is prompting much debate so I have discussed this with our director of public health in some detail to understand the difference.

Firstly, it’s important to remember that Coronavirus is very much alive and remains a real threat. It hasn’t suddenly changed its behaviour or mutated into something whereby it’s suddenly safe to halve the distance we keep from others. But, equally, no one is saying that – the review is not a licence to ignore safe distancing – in fact, the announcement came with a number of references to the importance of the scenario in which it is considered safe to be one metre plus from others as long as other measures are put in place to limit the transmission of the virus. These include things like wearing a face covering, installing screens, making sure people face away from each other and providing extra handwashing facilities etc.

So, it is really important in this instance to understand what is meant by a safe distance. With the above measures, and any other appropriate guidance followed, the one metre plus rule will allow many businesses hardest hit and many people desperate for some freedom – to enjoy those things safely.

However, please don’t forget the general advice remains that where possible you should continue to stay 2 metres apart. This is particularly important when you are indoors – where we know the risks are greater.

When facing someone – without additional protective measures – at 1 metre you are ten times more likely to be infected by someone with Covid-19. So, please continue to stay focussed, because the weeks and months ahead will almost certainly see regular small outbreaks in the county that we will be working with partners to manage and close down quickly.

With that in mind – this Friday is also the day we will publish our Outbreak Management Plan.

This outlines how we will respond with our partners to work effectively and at speed to help close down outbreaks to prevent any wider spread. It ensures there are thorough plans in place to respond to outbreaks wherever they might happen and how we will focus on preventing infection in the first place through good education and guidance. It supports helping the county and communities, businesses and people to return to normal life safely and as soon as possible. I hope you will find it of reassurance that we continue to be here with you, leading the battle to eliminate Coronavirus in North Yorkshire and to help you to Stay Safe.

Our Test and Trace programme sees us working with the NHS and Public Health England in support of this.

I would also like to reassure our shielded residents – particularly those who need help getting food and medication that our support will still be available when the national programme stops at the end of July. Despite the Government announcement that the national programme of food parcels and prescription deliveries will end on July 31, we are clear we will continue this support for those who need it. This offer is also available to anyone who needs short term help and has no one else to turn to if they are isolating because they, or someone else in their household, has symptoms. No one in North Yorkshire must feel alone. Our Director of Resources, Gary Fielding, explains more on that, here https://youtu.be/548RtlQtuuo and there is also more further down the bulletin.

This Saturday is Armed Forces Day and, in North Yorkshire, we know very well the importance of our relationship with our colleagues in the forces. Never more so, perhaps, than now – when they continue to support us in our frontline response to Coronavirus – with testing services and logistics. There is more on that important relationship here https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/celebrate-our-heroes-home-armed-forces-day

It is also the day many people globally would be celebrating LGBT Pride and, while these two important moments will be marked differently this year, due to the pandemic, the values they represent remain every bit as important to us. Our Rainbow Flag will fly from Friday throughout the weekend and the following week there will be virtual celebrations involving some of our libraries including a zoom session run by North Yorkshire Youth. You will be able to find out more about those on our website later this week.

As always stay safe and keep up your great work.

A message from Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health

World Health Organisation data shows that we have now passed 9 million confirmed cases globally, with over 473 thousand deaths across 216 countries, areas or territories.

At a national level, yesterday’s (23/06) Public Health England data show there were 306,210 lab-confirmed cases in the UK, with 42,927 COVID-associated deaths. To date, there have been 1,350 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as part of Pillar 1 testing across North Yorkshire.

The number of people currently in hospital with COVID-19 continues to decrease slowly. Sadly, there have been 653 deaths from COVID-19 across Airedale, Harrogate, South Tees and York NHS Trusts to date, of whom an estimated 255 will be North Yorkshire residents. The number of deaths from COVID-19 each week continues to decrease.

This week, the government has downgraded the national COVID-19 alert level from 4 to 3. This is good news as it means that we are no longer considered to have a high or rising level of transmission. However, Level 3 still means that the virus is in general circulation – it has certainly not gone away. We have been able to get to this point thanks to everyone’s efforts to support social distancing, regular handwashing and self-isolation. The only way we are going to continue to decrease the COVID-19 risk level down to level 2, and eventually level 1, is if we all continue to follow these measures. You can see the latest confirmed cases of coronavirus by area on the Government's website. 

Contact tracing will be a key part of preventing further spread of COVID-19. Anyone with symptoms should self-isolate in line with government guidance, and access swab testing via an appropriate route (see gov.uk website or call 119 for more details). Anyone with a positive test result will be followed up by the NHS Test and Trace system - for more information see https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-test-and-trace-how-it-works.

Planning for recovery

Testing

As part of the national testing programme for coronavirus, drive-through Mobile Testing Units, run by the Department for Health and Social care, will be operating in locations across the County over the coming days - usually between 11am and 3pm. Before you attend you must book a test. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. 

Find out more about dates and locations, as well as how to book at www.northyorks.gov.uk/testing

Schools and childcare

Following Boris Johnson’s announcement on the relaxation of the 2m social distancing rule to 1m, the County Council and school leaders are now studying the implications for school transport and how schools will welcome pupils back in September.

School leaders and staff are also now looking at the most appropriate form of catch-up education for their pupils.  On Friday (June 19) a one-off, £650m financial package was announced by the Government for primary and secondary schools in England to tackle the impact of lost teaching time from September. There will not be a one-size-fits-all approach to catch-up education, with schools making their decisions based on the needs of their pupils, the availability of teaching staff and other considerations.

The County Council and North Yorkshire’s schools are committed to making sure no child’s education loses out as a result of the pandemic and we will be working very hard to make sure we get every pupil to where they need to be in their academic progress.

With many parents and carers in the county now returning to work as the summer approaches and more lockdown measures are relaxed, independent holiday clubs and activities should be resuming where possible.

The Government announced on Friday (June 19) that organisations offering holiday clubs and activities for children over the summer holidays should be able to open, as long as they run protective measures in place at the time such as social distancing and hygiene rules.

Social care, the NHS and Public Health Services

Extra Care

North Yorkshire’s flagship Extra Care schemes are set to reopen their doors and accept new tenants after closing them to new occupants in March at the start of lockdown.

Extra Care gives older people the opportunity to live in homes they can afford, in the heart of their own community but with care and support, according to need, seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

The county council has 23 schemes providing over 1,200 units of supported accommodation across North Yorkshire – and all have been closed to new tenants during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

On May 21st, as part of the easing of lockdown measures, the Government announced that people could move house should they wish to do so. Extra Care schemes fall under this guidance as they comprise developments of individual apartments.

As Extra Care remains a key part of how people are supported to live independently in North Yorkshire, the reopening of schemes is an important step in supporting people currently living in the community who may require the additional care and security that Extra Care can provide, as well as supporting people leaving hospital.

However, as Extra Care settings are home for North Yorkshire residents who may be particularly vulnerable and potentially exposed to outbreaks of Covid-19, we maintain that Extra Care residents and schemes should continue to be shielded as much as possible with outside contact minimised at all times.

For that reason, we have been working intensively with our Extra Care providers, Public Health and our own Extra Care team both to keep Extra Care settings safe for current residents but also to create clear guidance on the steps to be taken in accepting new tenants.

These steps include the requirement that people are tested for Covid before they move to Extra Care. They also include guidance on how to carry out safely any necessary refurbishments on units that become empty to get them ready for new occupancy; safely carry out multi-agency assessments of people who are eligible to move to Extra Care; the signing of tenancies; and guidance on moving people into their new home, ensuring their own safety and that of other tenants in what is a close community setting.

If, of course, there are confirmed cases of Covid in an Extra Care setting – and there are none currently - then the take-up of new tenancies into that setting would be suspended until any outbreak was cleared.

We will continue to work closely with all our Extra Care providers as they take these important steps to support people who want to move into these facilities in the weeks and months ahead.

Support for people in isolation

More than 3,000 people in North Yorkshire who are clinically extremely vulnerable to being hospitalised as a result of COVID-19 have relied on Government food and prescription deliveries while they stayed at home to protect themselves from coronavirus.

The County Council will continue to offer support to residents, who need help getting food and medication, following the Government announcement that the national programme of food parcel and prescription deliveries to these people will end on July 31. Of the 24,700 people shielding in North Yorkshire, around 12% have needed support.

For the last three months Maureen has been getting help with shopping and prescriptions from Boroughbridge and District Community Care, one of the community support organisations who are part of the voluntary sector network helping people across North Yorkshire during coronavirus.

Maureen said: “They have been absolutely brilliant, truly. I have some very good friends who are like family to me and they keep checking that I’m ok, but many of them are in the same situation. I would’ve been really stuck without the support. I’ve been shielding since March after receiving my letter so the help with getting the medication I need and shopping has just been superb.”

Over the next six weeks we will be contacting those people on the shielding list to help them prepare for the end of July and put alternative methods of support in place should they need it. Since March, the County Council has worked with district councils and 23 community organisations across North Yorkshire to coordinate the voluntary sector network in each locality, providing a safety net of support.

The number of active community support organisation volunteers has remained steady at 1,418, and 4,016 people received help and support last week. Of the 54 people in Ryedale currently receiving telephone befriending phone calls, 18 would like to transfer to a longer-term service. Ryedale Carers Support will transfer those people across to the My Neighbourhood Service, which connects communities and provides support to people who may be isolated, lonely or in need of extra help.

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

For more information, including links to the main supermarkets for people who can shop safely for themselves, and a link to the Buy Local site, go to www.northyorks.gov.uk/help-you-during-coronavirus-covid-19

People can also find details of local voluntary and community groups offering support at www.northyorkshireconnect.org.uk

Local economy

Buy Local

Buy Local - Villagers’ mask-making efforts help their community shop stay safe

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

There are now over 650 businesses registered on the site, many of whom have had to re-model themselves during the coronavirus outbreak and are now adapting again as lockdown restrictions ease.

With many retailers re-opening to the public last week, we’re urging them to register on the site to let as many customers as possible know their doors are open. The Buy Local site also allows all businesses to outline the safety measures they have put in place to protect the public.

Church Fenton Community Shop is run by an army of volunteers from the surrounding area. Throughout lockdown, they have seen many villagers doing their weekly shop rather than using it for emergencies. They have been operating a delivery service for those self-isolating or vulnerable.

With more people venturing into the shop now, a dedicated team of sewing bees have been making face coverings in a bid to help protect customers and volunteers.

Read more at www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local

Please share our social media messages encouraging businesses to register, and directing the public to the site. Follow @northyorkscc on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

‘Help at home’ project launched

We’re launching an innovative approach to providing more flexible care for people in their homes while supporting local people who want to create or expand a business in Ryedale.

As an increasing number of people need care and support in Ryedale’s villages, the “help at home” project aims to increase the number of small care providers to develop a diverse range of support to complement existing services.

It’s an opportunity for people who run a small business and are looking to diversify and those who are considering a career in the caring sector.

Our health and adult services are behind the scheme, which is being managed on our behalf by Community Catalysts, a North Yorkshire-based community enterprise.

To learn more, contact Kathy Peacock at kathy.peacock@communitycatalysts.co.uk or phone 07503 800094. More details: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/project-supports-local-people-help-other-local-people

LEP News: Economy set to open further

Yesterday, the government set out further changes to lockdown measures in England to enable people to see more of their friends and family, help businesses get back on their feet and get people back in their jobs.

From Saturday 4 July, it was announced that:

  • Pubs, restaurants and hairdressers will be able to reopen, providing they adhere to COVID Secure guidelines - updated guidance for all workplace settings can be found here: https://bit.ly/sectorsocialdist
  • Two households will be able to meet up in any setting with social distancing measures - updated guidance on social distancing can be found here: https://bit.ly/SDUpdated
  • People can now enjoy staycations in England with the reopening of accommodation sites - guidance on opening up the visitor economy can also be found here: https://bit.ly/sectorsocialdist

In order to begin restoring the arts and cultural sector, some leisure facilities and tourist attractions may also reopen, if they can do so safely – this includes outdoor gyms and playgrounds, cinemas, museums, galleries, theme parks and arcades, as well as libraries, social clubs, places of worship and community centres - guidance on opening up the visitor economy can also be found here: https://bit.ly/sectorsocialdist

Regarding the two metre rule, where it is not possible to stay two metres apart, guidance will allow people to keep a social distance of ‘one metre plus’. This means staying one metre apart, plus mitigations which reduce the risk of transmission. 

The full press release is here: https://bit.ly/PMPressNotice

New shared vision of economic recovery for York & North Yorkshire launched

This vision- Greener, Fairer and Stronger- and accompanying narrative was launched on Monday. We hope this will motivate and inspire the region to come together, overcome challenge and take this unique moment in time as an opportunity for transformational change.

The vision will drive the direction of policy and investment decisions as we address the economic impacts of COVID 19 in a way that will accelerate us towards the priorities laid out in our Local Industrial Strategy. It will also influence key sector recovery plans such as retail and tourism.

You can see the full vision and accompanying narrative here:

https://www.businessinspiredgrowth.com/covid-19-economic-recovery/

A communications pack to help share the region’s vision is here: https://www.businessinspiredgrowth.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Greener-Fairer-Stronger-Communications-Pack.pdf

Welcome to Yorkshire launch recovery vision for the region’s tourism sector

Welcome to Yorkshire, has launched details of a collaborative recovery plan to ‘Reopen, Recover and Rebuild’ Yorkshire’s £9bn tourism economy.

As the county’s destination marketing organisation, Welcome to Yorkshire has worked with the county’s local authorities, national parks, LEPs, many businesses and tourism representatives on this plan with the aim of preserving our much-loved attractions, locations and businesses whilst keeping interest high in Yorkshire as a visitor destination.

As part of this plan, a new Yorkshire Gift Card has been launched to encourage spend within the county.

For further details, read:  FULL REPORT (Download) & SUMMARY REPORT (Download) - yorkshire.com/recoveryplan.

Staying informed

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

Communications

NYCC’s website has a dedicated area for all the latest COVID-19 related news visit: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-advice-and-information

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

Advice on things to do

Online music lessons

Online lessons being offered by our County Music Service are going really well, delivering more than 1,100 lessons each week, but the service can accommodate more pupils.

Our service has adapted to allow lessons to be taught online to pupils unable to attend school. We offer the full range of instruments, including brass, woodwind, strings, percussion, voice and keyboard

Up to 32 lessons a year are offered, with a guarantee of 28. Lessons are delivered by specialist instrumental teachers over a secure connection.

We were among the first music service to pioneer this approach and are very experienced in it.

For details, visit www.northyorkshiremusichub.co.uk or email MusicServiceTuitionRequests@northyorks.gov.uk

Summer Reading Challenge

The Summer Reading Challenge has gone digital. The challenge is open to children aged four to 11 and the theme is the Silly Squad, so children are invited to read anything that makes them happy – a comic, joke book, poetry, fiction or non-fiction, in digital or print, an e-book borrowed from the library or what they already have at home.

Children can sign up for free at summerreadingchallenge.org.uk, where they will find brilliant book suggestions, super silly activities, quizzes, videos, games, a place to keep track of their books and rewards to unlock along the way.

Last year, almost 10,000 children took the challenge in North Yorkshire though local libraries. The county’s library service has a huge selection of children’s e-books and e-audiobooks that are free to borrow at northyorks.gov.uk/digital-library, so we hope to encourage just as many children to join in this year.

Library members just need their library card and PIN to download books. If you are not a member, call 01609 533878 to join for free.

Have a read: Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughters – Bridget Talbot

Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughters is a North Yorkshire County Council project to highlight and celebrate figures from the past who were immensely influential within the county. It draws on County Record Office archives and the work of local history groups.

The latest nominee is Miss Bridget Elizabeth Talbot, the last owner of Kiplin Hall, near Scorton. She spent her life channelling her energy, innovative mind-set and influence into addressing injustices.

Read more about Miss Bridget Talbot and Made in North Yorkshire at: www.northyorks.gov.uk/made-in-north-yorkshire

Enjoy the fresh air with some gardening

With all the amazing weather we have had recently, why not turn your hand to gardening? Many recent studies have shown the benefits of gardening for our mental health, especially during lockdown where many of us are isolated from friends and family. Visit https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/health-and-wellbeing for more information and tips on gardening.

Cook up a storm at home

Many of our favourite restaurants are unfortunately closed, if you’re bored of eating the same things and need some inspiration visit https://tasty.co for amazing recipes and ideas.

A message from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

In North Yorkshire we are continuing to make good progress in our recovery and it is clear as a county we are working hard, collectively, to emerge from this incredibly difficult period in our history in the best possible shape. As individuals, communities, businesses, groups, organisations, local government bodies and emergency services – we can all be really proud of our continuing efforts to protect our loved ones and support our county’s journey safely back to the new norm. To ensure this good progress continues, it’s important that Team North Yorkshire remains focussed and not just for a few weeks, but for many months in all probability.  Coronavirus is retreating, but not disappearing, and is still very much alive and thriving in some parts of the world. Let’s not forget that the pandemic here, which has sadly taken more than 40,000 lives, began just a few short months ago with around 1,300 cases. So, what can we do to play our part now in this new phase of fighting the virus?

The facts regarding infection control are very clear. Prevention is our biggest weapon here - the hand washing and social distancing the vast majority of us continue to practice, remain critical as part of our daily lives wherever we are.  The use of face coverings in more confined places will continue to help us protect others and, of course, for others to protect us. Put bluntly, if we don’t get it – we can’t spread it – so let’s carry on doing our bit.

Then there’s the best way to manage outbreaks when they do inevitably happen – despite everyone’s best efforts. This virus will continue to pop up across the county and, where it does, we will have really robust outbreak management plans in place to lead the local response where needed and to support the NHS Test and Trace programme. Knowing where the virus is, is vital and that’s where you can really play your part. If you have symptoms, it is absolutely crucial you book a test and isolate immediately with your household. Then – if your test is positive – you will receive an alert from the NHS team.

Please do check the message carefully to make sure you avoid the scammers out there. NHS England advises that any telephone call or text will come from one verified NHS number: 0300 013 5000 and it will provide you with a unique ID number which you can use on the NHS Test and Trace website.  Please remember that effective rapid testing is key to infection management which is why we have put such a focus on resolving those issues in North Yorkshire. Find out more about how you can get a test here www.northyorks.gov.uk/testing

On the subject of testing, I am sure many of you will have been aware of what was a really difficult and challenging position in many care settings regarding Covid-19. Home to many of our most vulnerable residents, the lack of rapid testing facilities was complicating our considerable efforts to support care homes and extra care settings with their outbreak management plans. I have good news on both fronts, here. We have, this week, launched our bespoke approach to supporting testing in these settings with a satellite facility in Scarborough providing a ‘collections and drop-off’ point for testing kits, which are being distributed across the east and north of the county by some of our highways teams. In the south, we are fortunate to have good support on this from our neighbours in Bradford via their satellite. Together – alongside our management plan with these settings – this new approach will mean we can protect more of the people who need it the most in the future. There is more on this approach on our website

https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/steping-fight-against-covid-19-testing-station-care-homes

We are also working behind the scenes with the Department of Health and Social Care on another pilot which we hope will support the county’s Test and Trace programme and I hope to be able to tell you more about that next week.

Our focus is to work effectively with our partners to help North Yorkshire return to normality safely. And that’s not just about testing – vital though that is – it’s also about giving people the confidence to get on with their lives in our new norm. Across the county we are taking steps to support that and today we closed the road in Northallerton to facilitate social distancing around the popular outdoor market. You can see how some of those visiting and trading felt about the efforts via this link: https://youtu.be/EaM3sciJ0Ec

We are also listening to our youngest residents as we continue to expand our school provision. Secondary schools are joining primary schools in reopening to particular years and groups of pupils and here’s how Hutton Rudby Year 6 pupils are spreading the word on staying safe at school https://youtu.be/_BSvNdaybLY

In finishing today, please accept the points of advice in the spirit they are intended which is to continue to look out for each other and to work together towards our new norm.  Remember if you have symptoms – book a test – follow the advice you are given carefully – protect North Yorkshire and carry on playing your part. On behalf of the county council and North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum – which continues to lead the response and recovery in our county – I would like to offer our hearty thanks for everything you are doing to Stay Safe in North Yorkshire.

A message from Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health

World Health Organisation data shows that we have now passed 8 million confirmed cases globally, with over 439 thousand deaths across 216 countries, areas or territories.

At a national level, yesterday’s (16/06) Public Health England data show there were 298,136 lab-confirmed cases in the UK, with 41,969 COVID-associated deaths. To date, there have been 1340 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as part of Pillar 1 testing across North Yorkshire. 

The number of people currently in hospital with COVID-19 continues to decrease slowly. Sadly, there have been 644 deaths from COVID-19 across Airedale, Harrogate, South Tees and York NHS Trusts to date, of whom an estimated 250 will be North Yorkshire residents. The number of deaths from COVID-19 each week continues to decrease. You can see the latest confirmed cases of coronavirus by area on the Government's website. 

Yesterday we held the first meeting of the Outbreak Management Advisory Board, which is the new member-led group overseeing the North Yorkshire Outbreak Control Plan. The Plan itself is well under way, and we continue to work with Public Health England on how we link in to the Test & Trace system.

For more information on NHS Test & Trace see https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-test-and-trace-how-it-works.

Time to Test – HIV prevention

The #TimeToTest campaign, which launched last week, is a bid to maximise the current social distancing situation to identify everyone who has undiagnosed HIV. This is so they can start treatment early, improve their health, and prevent them from passing on HIV to anyone else.

NHS England have pulled together the following information briefing, and initial assets, to summarise this campaign and it includes links to the free home testing that is available through PHE: https://www.hivpreventionengland.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Time-to-Test-Campaign-Information-Briefing.pdf

Planning for recovery

Testing

As part of the national testing programme for coronavirus, drive-through Mobile Testing Units, run by the Department for Health and Social care, will be operating in the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • 18 June - Settle - Greenfoot Car Park, Ingfield Lane, Settle, BD24 9RW
  • 19 June - Northallerton - Allertonshire School Car Park, Brompton Road, DL6 1ED
  • 19 June - Whitby - Whitby Park and Ride, Guisborough Rd, Whitby, YO21 1TL

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

Find out more and how to book at www.northyorks.gov.uk/testing  

All HWRCs to reopen this week

This week, Harrogate Stonefall household waste recycling centre will reopen and the mobile HWRCs will return to North Yorkshire.

After a phased return, Harrogate Stonefall and the mobile sites are the final household waste recycling centres to reopen after they were all shut down in March. All household waste and recycling centres will be open with social distancing measures in place.

Current restrictions remain in force: no trailers, commercial or charity waste; only one person out of the vehicle where possible; only bring what you can manage yourself as staff are unable to help unload; keep two metres apart to protect yourself and others and wash your hands at home before and after visiting the site.

Hand sanitising facilities at sites are limited, so people are advised to wear gloves on site and are reminded to wash their hands before and after attending an HWRC.

Full details can be found at www.northyorks.gov.uk/CovidHWRC

Cold callers alert as lockdown eases

North Yorkshire residents are being reminded not to deal with cold callers offering property repairs and gardening work.

The warning comes from our trading standards service and North Yorkshire Police as Covid-19 lockdown restrictions start to be eased and concerns rise about doorstep callers taking advantage of the changes to exploit vulnerable residents.

These offenders are always on the lookout for opportunities to defraud the elderly and vulnerable, but their ability to do so has been curtailed due to the lockdown. We are concerned that they will soon be back out cold calling vulnerable residents and trying to persuade them to have roofing, driveway, pressure washing, gardening and other work undertaken.

The message is clear. Residents should not deal with doorstep callers.

Doorstep traders can be reported to Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133, or to the police on 101, or 999 in emergencies.

Dispose of PPE safely

As more of us use personal protective equipment, including disposable face masks, gloves and wipes and tissues, we are reminding people how important it is to dispose of these items correctly.

Disposable, used, face coverings, gloves, tissues and wipes cannot be recycled. These should be disposed of in your general waste.

If you or anybody in your household is experiencing symptoms of coronavirus, you should take extra precautions when disposing of any personal waste.

It should be stored securely in disposable rubbish bags. These should be placed into another bag, tied securely and kept outside for at least 72 hours before being put in the general rubbish bin, outside your house.

For further information on disposing of PPE correctly, watch our video: https://youtu.be/ACafUluQibA

Schools and childcare

Secondary schools this week began to welcome back Year 10 and Year 12 students after having put in place risk assessments and measures to ensure students can remain safe in school.

They include Wensleydale School, where head, Julia Polley, said they had brought in a raft of amendments. She said: “As students start coming back, we’ve done all the risk assessments and identified areas which needed amending. So, for example, all students can come in wearing non-school uniform, so they don’t need to worry about washing uniform quickly for the next day. The school day has been shortened to 10am to 2pm and students can’t bring anything in with them apart from lunch in a disposable wrapping.”

Julia says they have measures in place such as social distancing everywhere, hand sanitiser stations and staff remaining within the same social bubble of students throughout.

She added: “I’m really proud the students have engaged and taken on the challenge in such a way. They’ve all been absolutely amazing.”

Thirsk School and Sixth Form College prepared for the logistical and educational challenges with measures such as floor markings in areas students will be travelling through, class bubbles of no more than ten students who stay in classroom all day.

The curriculum is catering to all students, with a tailored approach for each student, depending on how much work they’ve done over lockdown, to get everyone to a similar level.

Primary schools in North Yorkshire are continuing to report an increased number of pupils attending. Katie Smith, Headteacher at Thornton-in-Craven Community Primary and Nursery School reopened for Nursery, Reception, Year One and Year Six after remaining open for key worker children at a school hub during lockdown.

She said the benefits of children returning have been huge for everyone – students and staff alike.

She said: “It’s so wonderful to hear laughing in every classroom again. School is important for pupils in so many ways...obviously for learning, but at the moment a huge focus has been on well-being, social interaction and routine."

We are also now two weeks into the wider opening of early years’ provision in response to the Government’s request for early years’ providers to welcome back those needing childcare from June. We have three-quarters of early years’ providers in North Yorkshire currently open and anticipate the demand for childcare places will continue to increase over the coming weeks as more parents return to work.

Social care, the NHS and Public Health Services

The North Yorkshire Outbreak Management Advisory Board met for the first time yesterday (Tuesday) in order to discuss the roll-out of the Government’s Test and Trace system at a local level. The role of the board is to provide local democratic ownership and oversight of the Test and Trace programme and the local outbreak management plan, which is led by the Director of Public Health. Members of the Board include Leaders of the County Council and the 7 borough and district councils (or their representatives), NHS, business, voluntary sector, schools, Health Watch and other representatives.

North Yorkshire has stepped up the fight against Covid-19 with testing stations for care homes. A satellite testing unit to serve care homes in the east of the county started operating from Scarborough last Friday, with the capacity of up to 500 testing swabs per day. This marks a significant step forward in the fight against Covid-19 in the county’s care settings to improve radically the speed and quantity of testing and turnaround in results. It complements testing provision for care settings in the western side of North Yorkshire which already operates from a satellite site in Bradford.

The Scarborough testing site was negotiated and agreed with the Department for Health and Social Care by the North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum.

This latest development follows major changes to the county council’s social care services and a whole raft of measures for care settings undertaken in partnership with the care sector (supported by the Independent Care Group umbrella organisation), along with the Care Quality Commission and the NHS, to tackle the impact of the virus and to keep people safe and well.

Mike Padgham, Chair of the Independent Care Group and Managing Director of social care provider St Cecilia’s in Scarborough said: “The setting up of the satellite testing station for the sector in Scarborough is extremely welcome and a big step forward in the fight against the virus. The joint working with the county council is invaluable for care providers as we tackle the impact of coronavirus.

“It is sometimes a challenge to explain the measures we are taking as care providers but our aim has always been to do our best for our own residents and staff and to play our part in supporting our hospitals and caring for those with Covid-19 in this area.”

Measures taken by the county council, NHS partners and the care sector since the outbreak of Covid-19 in North Yorkshire include:

  • Each home in North Yorkshire receiving a daily call from a county council care home contact officer with a welfare checklist. Homes experiencing problems are supported by a care home liaison officer who channels resources to meet requirements such as support on HR, staffing and recruitment, help with sourcing PPE, infection control, zoning of care homes, cohorting of staff and residents, safe hospital discharge, clinical advice, registered manager support and more;
  • Stepping up support to the care sector, putting in place a 7 day/week response team within the county council’s Quality & Monitoring Service;
  • Establishing a daily Gold Group between the Chief Nurses of the 3 NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups, Adult Social Care Assistant Directors and the North Yorkshire Director of Public Health and Public Health Consultants to review care home hotspots and to target assistance, interventions and support (including PPE and testing)
  • Commissioning additional bed capacity from independent sector providers to provide additional beds for people who might need them, either in response to Covid or for other urgent reasons; and to provide “quarantine” beds, around the County, for people whose Covid status has not been confirmed
  • Following Government guidance at all times and taking a careful and considered approach to risk: on care homes, on homecare and on use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
  • In line with Government guidance, where the county council has commissioned extra beds from care homes, asking homes to admit people with a potential Covid diagnosis but only if people can be kept safe by the provision of zoned areas and cohorting residents;
  • Some care homes have not been funded for additional beds as they were not in a position to be able to zone or cohort their services or residents;
  • The county council has challenged hospital discharges where there have been concerns about safety and suitability;
  • The county council and ICG have contributed to the Ethics Committee discussions that have been led by NHS partners including issues such as admissions to care homes and end of life care.

A way forward is being considered urgently for adults with disabilities and their families after the charity, Henshaws, which provides a range of educational, day support and residential services, has announced it will be withdrawing from its day, and supported living, services.

The County Council has been working with Henshaws in recent months to address operational and financial difficulties the charity has faced with its Harrogate Home Support service (which includes supported living, community support and personal care). The Council has been offering support to the charity to map out sustainable provision for these vital services.

Henshaws is a much-loved part of the community in the Knaresborough and Harrogate areas for its services for people with sight loss and other disabilities.  More recently in common with many other charities, it has faced the service and financial consequences caused by Covid-19.

The Centre, which caters for 160 people, many of whom have been attending the centre for many years, has been closed for both art makers and visitors since before lockdown but the charity has announced in recent days that it will not now re-open.

Richard Webb, North Yorkshire County Council Director of Health and Adult Services said: “We were surprised and disappointed to hear this news. Henshaws is much-valued by many people and, along with the other councils that fund people to use their services, we would have expected to have been involved in early discussions about this kind of momentous decision. We will work with the charity and with people who use the Arts and Craft centre, and their families, to see what might be possible in the future.”

Harrogate Home Support includes 10 supported living properties in Harrogate, with capacity for 25 people, with 16 currently funded by the county council and the rest by other local councils. The service also provides community support to 11 people of which the county council funds 4 people. 

Families have now been notified of Henshaws’ intention to withdraw from the service and the County Council has also written to families to reassure them that it will work with them to find a sustainable solution for the people who are resident in supported living.

Support for people in isolation

Since the last bulletin, we have written to more than 6,800 people in North Yorkshire who are on the national shielding list, to give some reassurance that our support will continue for those who need help with food, medication and other essentials. The Government will carry out the next review of shielding measures this week and will then write to people on the shielded list, with advice and information about the next steps and the support that will be available following the review.

Anyone at higher risk from coronavirus remains vulnerable and should still stay at home as much as possible. Current Government advice for anyone who is shielding to protect themselves from Covid-19 is not to go shopping, attend gatherings or visit other people’s homes. Community support organisations will continue to help people who have no one else to call on while they are isolating and we will also carry on with telephone welfare checks, in partnership with district councils, to make sure people have support in place.

Incoming calls to the county council customer service centre are now largely requests for information, with fewer than 100 new referrals to community support organisations (CSOs) last week. The number of people being helped by the CSOs has remained steady at around 3,800 each week for the last four weeks, with volunteers contributing 3,553 hours to help people in their communities. 1,316 meals have also been delivered across North Yorkshire in the last week, with the community support organisation for North Craven in particular seeing demand for their meal delivery service increasing.

Along with collection and delivery of shopping and medicines, books and magazines and materials to support hobbies, support from CSOs has also included regular social contact via telephone, FaceTime, Skype or other methods. Community support organisations in Northallerton and Reeth are also now starting to organise some socially distanced face-to-face contact in outside spaces.

For lots of people, just having someone to talk to has been a lifeline during coronavirus and many North Yorkshire befriending services have adapted from face-to-face visits to a phone call. This week we have marked Loneliness Awareness Week, a national campaign aimed at combatting loneliness. It’s estimated that 2 million people in the UK over the age of 75 live alone and half of those can go an entire month without speaking to another person.

Last week community support organisations carried out 1,034 telephone check-ins and 756 befriending calls to people who are lonely and isolated. Particularly when the population has been in lockdown, the effects of loneliness can be even more profound.

Marjorie Walsh was keen to continue her involvement as a volunteer carer with the Ryedale Voluntary Carers group – whilst also staying at home in Thornton le Dale to protect herself from coronavirus.

Marjorie said: “Normally I visit a lady in Pickering who doesn’t get out a lot. We tend to go for a ride round then we choose somewhere to stop to have tea and cake on our way home. At the moment I phone her regularly instead and we have a good chat, but it is obviously not the same. She does miss the contact but understands the need for the isolation, as I do. Another lady and I have a good old chat a couple of times a week; she’s on her own and because of underlying health issues she needs to isolate herself. We happily chatter away for quite a long time. I wanted to continue to do something if I could but obviously shopping for people wasn’t really an option for me, so I was quite happy to do something else. When it all started the main concern initially for people was making sure they could get food and essentials, then once that settled down and time went on, I think a lot of people on their own started to feel quite lonely.”

Marjorie is confident that North Yorkshire communities will continue to support each other long after the Covid-19 has gone.

She added: “We are lucky that we have family close by that can help us with shopping and things but we are constantly getting updates of things that are available to us locally which I’ve found really helpful. I think the response has just been tremendous.”

Since March, 577 Covid-19 support grant scheme awards have been made through the community support organisations, providing financial assistance to pay for food and household essentials during isolation. Around 30% are repeat awards and the majority (80%) of applicants have long-term health conditions or weakened immune systems (42%). 17% are unemployed and 9% are waiting for a benefit claim. There have been 307 awards in the Scarborough area.

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

For more information, including links to the main supermarkets for people who can shop safely for themselves, and a link to the Buy Local site, go to www.northyorks.gov.uk/help-you-during-coronavirus-covid-19

People can also find details of local voluntary and community groups offering support at www.northyorkshireconnect.org.uk

Local economy

Buy Local

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

There are now over 650 businesses registered on the site, many of whom have had to re-model themselves during the coronavirus outbreak and are now adapting again as lock down restrictions ease.

With many retailers re-opening to the public this week, we’re urging them to register on the site to let as many customers as possible know their doors are open. The Buy Local site also allows all businesses to outline the safety measures they have put in place to protect the public.

Matthew and Andrea, who own The Dale Stores in Birstwith near Harrogate, adapted their business and signed up to Buy Local.

“Being able to help people has been really terrific and has given us a real sense of purpose,” said Matthew. The village store began putting together orders for collection and delivery in the nearby area. They launched a system whereby customers who are vulnerable or self-isolating are able to place orders either on the telephone or via an Internet order form.

The Dale Stores is a traditional village shop with limited space, so Matthew is making changes ready for when they re-open “We have had screens fitted at the till point in readiness and plan to adopt a “two customers at a time” policy. Once we have reorganised the kitchen into an order fulfilment room, we will be able to allow shoppers in properly and safely.

Read more at www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local

Please share our social media messages encouraging businesses to register, and directing the public to the site. Follow @northyorkscc on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

LEP News: York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub launch additional business support

The Growth Hub has launched a number of free webinars for businesses to provide them with a range of support. This includes those detailed below.

Free webinar: Converting to take away and delivery during COVID-19

For businesses such as restaurants, cafes or pubs looking to offer takeaway, or delivery, and wanting to maximise this opportunity, the York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub in partnership with North Yorkshire County Council and Make It York is hosting a free webinar.

Expert advice will be given on how to successfully adapt business models, make the most of digital technology and ensure regulation compliance.

The webinar will take place on Monday 22 June 12:15 – 1:00 pm. For more details and links to sign up, see below:

Social media support for business

The York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub, in partnership with North Yorkshire County Council and Make It York, has also teamed up with York PR and marketing agency Intandem Communications to deliver three free webinars.

The sessions are designed to give an introduction to a range of topics from getting set up and creating great social media content, through to advertising and analytics. For more details and to sign up, see below.

Mastering the basics: 25 June, 12:15-13:00 

Planning and creating great content: 2 July, 12:15-13:00 

Growing your social media presence- 9 July, 12:15-13:00 

ShopAppy offer extended to cover all of York and North Yorkshire.

The York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub has invested in a community- led shopping platform, ShopAppy.com, allowing local businesses to have free 12-month subscriptions to the site.

Launched last month, it initially targeted businesses from 10 towns. The 10 towns are: Selby, Tadcaster, Harrogate, Knaresborough, Malton & Norton, Richmond, Leyburn, Stokesley, Thirsk and Easingwold.

Now, businesses from elsewhere in York and North Yorkshire can take up the offer too. The first 50 businesses to sign up from outside these towns can also benefit from free 12-month subscriptions, worth £240 each. For further information, go to link to press release.

Grow Yorkshire launch free online trading offer for farmers

Free subscriptions are being offered to help York and North Yorkshire farmers sell their produce direct to shoppers online and to also connect them to retailers. The 12 month subscriptions, worth £240 each, allow access to community led shopping platform, ShopAppy.com.

The offer is led by Grow Yorkshire – a collaboration of farming, food businesses and research organisations coordinated by the York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

ShopAppy.com features a directory of towns. Farmers eligible for the offer, from the York & North Yorkshire areas, would showcase their produce on the webpage of the town closest to them.  Funding for the free subscriptions has been provided by the York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub.

Farmers interested in taking up the free offer can contact ShopAppy to register interest by emailing info@shopappy.com or visit the site at www.shopappy.com . For further information, go to Link to press release and comms pack.

Promoting Government guidance on re-opening: Updated working safely guidance 

Guidance to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic has been updated to reflect industry feedback, guidance on Test & Trace, guidance on safer travel and to provide guidance on managing security risks.

The full guidance can be found here: https://bit.ly/CV19WorkingSafely.

The Cabinet Office has shared the following video to show how retailers are keeping customers and staff safe. We would appreciate you retweeting on your own channels where possible: https://bit.ly/How2GuideTweet.

Marketing Materials available to promote wearing face coverings

From Monday 15th June, wearing face coverings is now mandatory on all public transport.    

To help support this change, HM Government has created a range of new marketing materials available on the Campaign Resource Centre. These include PostersSocial Media and  Additional Social Media assets.

Staying informed

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

Communications

NYCC’s website has a dedicated area for all the latest COVID-19 related news visit: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-advice-and-information

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

Advice on things to do

Online music lessons

Online lessons being offered by our County Music Service are going really well, delivering more than 1,100 lessons each week, but the service can accommodate more pupils.

Our service has adapted to allow lessons to be taught online to pupils unable to attend school. We offer the full range of instruments, including brass, woodwind, strings, percussion, voice and keyboard

Up to 32 lessons a year are offered, with a guarantee of 28. Lessons are delivered by specialist instrumental teachers over a secure connection.

We were among the first music service to pioneer this approach and are very experienced in it.

For details, visit www.northyorkshiremusichub.co.uk or email MusicServiceTuitionRequests@northyorks.gov.uk

Summer Reading Challenge

The Summer Reading Challenge has gone digital. The challenge is open to children aged four to 11 and the theme is the Silly Squad, so children are invited to read anything that makes them happy – a comic, joke book, poetry, fiction or non-fiction, in digital or print, an e-book borrowed from the library or what they already have at home.

Children can sign up for free at summerreadingchallenge.org.uk, where they will find brilliant book suggestions, super silly activities, quizzes, videos, games, a place to keep track of their books and rewards to unlock along the way.

Last year, almost 10,000 children took the challenge in North Yorkshire though local libraries. The county’s library service has a huge selection of children’s e-books and e-audiobooks that are free to borrow at northyorks.gov.uk/digital-library, so we hope to encourage just as many children to join in this year.

Library members just need their library card and PIN to download books. If you are not a member, call 01609 533878 to join for free.

Have a read: Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughters – Bridget Talbot

Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughters is a North Yorkshire County Council project to highlight and celebrate figures from the past who were immensely influential within the county. It draws on County Record Office archives and the work of local history groups.

The latest nominee is Miss Bridget Elizabeth Talbot, the last owner of Kiplin Hall, near Scorton. She spent her life channelling her energy, innovative mind-set and influence into addressing injustices.

Read more about Miss Bridget Talbot and Made in North Yorkshire at: www.northyorks.gov.uk/made-in-north-yorkshire

Enjoy the fresh air with some gardening

With all the amazing weather we have had recently, why not turn your hand to gardening? Many recent studies have shown the benefits of gardening for our mental health, especially during lockdown where many of us are isolated from friends and family. Visit https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/health-and-wellbeing for more information and tips on gardening.

Cook up a storm at home

Many of our favourite restaurants are unfortunately closed, if you’re bored of eating the same things and need some inspiration visit https://tasty.co for amazing recipes and ideas.

Go to the aquarium

Although they’re closed to the public, Monterey Bay Aquarium has added a number of live cams to let you keep an eye on the jellyfish, kelp forest, coral reef, and even the penguins, completely free: https://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals/live-cams

A message from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

The weather is not the only thing which has changed considerably in the past few days.

Since then, we have seen many national announcements which will bring about very significant easements to the previous lockdown rules over the coming days. Many of our primary schools continue to expand their pupil numbers – some are reaching capacity, given the need for these settings to adhere to the public health guidance on social distancing and hygiene. Our highways teams continue to progress significant work with partner agencies to understand the potential impacts from the reopening of non-essential shops across our communities from next week and to see how we might support social distancing on the high streets and elsewhere.

We have learned there will now be a review by Government of those people placed on their shielded list. This is due next week.  At the start of the outbreak, those are the people who were advised to stay inside for at least 12 weeks because they were most clinically vulnerable to being hospitalised if they developed Covid-19. There are currently more than 24,000 people on the shielded list in North Yorkshire and around 3,500 of those have been receiving nationally organised support with things like essential food and medical supplies. We have been supporting the wider community piece, with thousands of regular outbound calls via our customer service team to ensure no one in our county is alone during this global crisis. Since the start of the lockdown, we have been working with 23 Community Support Organisations and an army of volunteers to deliver welfare checks, food and medicines and we have just extended that arrangement for another 3 months. Despite the easements to the lockdown and progress towards the new norm – we will continue to support those people who need it the most to ensure they are not more vulnerable during this very early period of the road to recovery. You will find more on that, here https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/support-isolated-and-shielded-continues

Looking ahead, one of the most significant weapons we have in our battle against this virus is the newly launched test and trace service. In North Yorkshire, the County Council is at the heart of this and we are finalising our Outbreak Management Plan as I write. Our Director of Public Health, Dr Lincoln Sargeant, is taking a lead role and is supported by our Public Health Consultants. Our role will be to support the NHS system in ensuring that when we are notified of an outbreak we have the right resources, skills set, plans, processes and powers (if necessary) to respond rapidly. We have worked incredibly hard to ensure we are well positioned for this. Next week we hope to trial a pilot testing initiative with the Department of Health and Social Care which could enable us to offer broad ranging workforce testing capability. This will be massively important in tracing the virus through employment and other settings where groups of people may share work space, transport or even living accommodation. Tracking and tracing people who are established as close contacts of those who test positive, supporting them while they self-isolate and getting them access to timely swab tests - this is a big logistical challenge but we are up for it and ready for this next stage.

You all have a big part to play in this latest stage of the fight. Regular and thorough hand washing and social distancing remain the best deterrents but, if test and trace is to work and we are to beat this virus, we need you to book a test if you have symptoms. If you have any of the symptoms associated with Covid-19 such as a new and persistent cough, a temperature or changes to your sense of smell or taste, it’s absolutely vital you book a test and self-isolate. If you are contacted by the Test and Trace Team, please follow their instructions carefully.  There are a variety of ways to book a test; there are home test kits, a regional centre near York and regular mobile testing units visiting communities across the county. There is good capacity at the sites so please take a look at the information here so you are aware what to do if you, or someone in your household, has symptoms:

https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19-test-sites-north-yorkshire

By booking a test and self-isolating, you will be doing your critical bit for Team North Yorkshire and helping our wonderful county return to normality safely. It’s so important for our lifestyle and economy that we stick together to beat Coronavirus.

I will leave you with that thought and ask you to stay safe. We will bring you updates on all these important projects as they progress so please keep an eye on our social media feeds and website. Thank you for your help.

A message from Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health

World Health Organisation data shows that we have now passed 7.1 million confirmed cases globally, with over 407 thousand deaths across 216 countries, areas or territories.

At a national level, yesterday’s (09/06) Public Health England data show there were 289,140 lab-confirmed cases in the UK, with 40,883 COVID-associated deaths. To date, there have been 1,327 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as part of Pillar 1 testing across North Yorkshire. You can see the latest confirmed cases of coronavirus by area on the Government's website. 

The number of people currently in hospital with COVID-19 continues to decrease slowly. Sadly, there have been 637 deaths from COVID-19 across Airedale, Harrogate, South Tees and York NHS Trusts to date, of whom an estimated 244 will be North Yorkshire residents. The number of deaths from COVID-19 each week continues to decrease.

The NHS Test and Trace programme has been running for almost two weeks. Anyone who receives a positive swab test result will be contacted by the Test & Trace system – for more information see https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-test-and-trace-how-it-works.

The NYCC Outbreak Control Plan is taking shape. We are building on our work with care homes to increase the support given to schools, workplaces and other settings around preventing and managing outbreaks. This work will be overseen by a Member-led advisory Board, who will hold their first meeting next week.

Planning for recovery

Testing

As part of the national testing programme for coronavirus, drive-through Mobile Testing Units, run by the Department for Health and Social care, will be operating in the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • 12 June - Whitby - Whitby Park and Ride, Guisborough Rd, Whitby, YO21 1TL
  • 12 to 13 June - Northallerton - Allertonshire School, Brompton Road, DL6 1ED
  • 13 June - Selby - Drax Social Club, Main Road, Selby, YO8 8PJ
  • 13 June - Settle -  Greenfoot Car Park, Ingfield Lane, Settle, BD24 9RW

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

Find out more and how to book at www.northyorks.gov.uk/testing

Free advice for businesses

New businesses and those that are diversifying as a result of the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic are being urged to make sure they take the right advice before committing their time and money.

To support the economic recovery from the pandemic, North Yorkshire Trading Standards service is currently offering all its advice services free to any businesses, with particular focus on those that are starting up or changing the products or services they sell as a result of Covid-19. A specialist team can provide advice on all aspects of trading standards law. 

The aim is to offer as much support as possible to businesses at this time. Anyone planning to start or diversify a business needs to consider such things as product safety regulations and their responsibilities as a manufacturer or importer. Our Trading Standards team can help business people to understand and meet the requirements.

Businesses can contact the team on 01609 780780 or at business.advice@northyorks.gov.uk. Information about product safety, including imports, can be found at www.northyorks.gov.uk/product-safety

Free resources for business in online library

With business start-ups in mind, North Yorkshire’s library service has recently invested in COBRA (the Complete Business Reference Adviser), a free online business reference resource with a wealth of easy to find, practical information.

COBRA provides access to reports, guides and more than 4,000 factsheets. This includes:

  • Business opportunity profiles, short reports on more than 600 business types;
  • Factsheets covering all aspects of starting a business;
  • Sector guides;
  • Local area profiles, identifying sources of support in the region, down to district level within North Yorkshire;
  • A business legal library; and
  • A calendar of upcoming business events.

COBRA can be found at www.northyorks.gov.uk/libraries-online-information-resources. All customers need to do is input their library card number and PIN. To join the library or get a PIN number, call 01609 533878

Schools and childcare

The Government has this week released new guidelines on the full reopening of primary schools, announcing they will be given more flexibility on whether or not to admit more pupils over the next few weeks. A total of 268 of North Yorkshire’s 300 primary schools have now reopened to reception, Year 1 and Year 6 pupils since June 1, in addition to vulnerable children and the children of key workers who were already attending. We are now supporting schools in their individual decisions on whether to reopen to more pupils prior to the school summer holidays.

We have had positive feedback from primary schools which have already reopened, which have found their arrangements have worked well and children have settled back into school quickly.

One of those to reopen last week was Whitley and Eggborough Community Primary School, which has adapted to the new conditions by putting in place activities classes where tasks can be done in groups but alone, providing each child with a pack of resources such as pencils, whiteboards, pens and using resources which can be washed on a regular basis.

Children have been in bubbles, including family groups, so there’s no crossover in each bubble with children or staff and yellow footprints in the school playground remind children to social distance.

Head Sarah Langridge said the number of children returning to school increased as the week went on.

Sarah added the teachers have adapted to the new circumstances and are all aware of the emotional side of the pandemic and how it might affect their students, which has been the primary focus in the early days of the return of each year group.

Secondary schools will be opening from June 15 to allow students in key year groups – Year 10 and Year 12 – to have contact with teachers as they study for exams they will sit next year. Only a quarter of each of those two year groups will be in school at a time.

We have so far been allocated 830 laptops from the Government to distribute to children and young people in the county who have a social worker, to help with their studies, and are currently waiting to place orders for a further 119 laptops or 4G routers for eligible young people in Year 10.

We have extended the deadline for schools to tell us how many laptops they need for eligible pupils from Monday (June 8), until Friday (June 12). Laptops for children with social workers are expected to arrive later this week and we will be distributing them in stages over the next couple of weeks once the devices are ready. The Government will be announcing soon when we can place orders for laptops for Year 10 pupils.

Social care, the NHS and Public Health Services

As part of our support for care homes, extra care facilities and supported living during the Covid-19 pandemic we moved ahead of government guidance to create new care teams to make daily calls to check on any outbreaks and to give back-up support and channel resources on issues such as staffing and recruitment, help with sourcing PPE, infection control, zoning of care homes, cohorting of staff and residents, safe hospital discharge, clinical advice, registered manager support and more.  These teams have been working at full tilt over the past month and thankfully this is leading to reductions in Covid-related deaths in our care settings.  In another best practice development to aid rapid and efficient testing processes to reduce outbreaks further, we hope we have reached agreement with the Department for Health and Social Care to establish a satellite testing unit for the care sector in Scarborough. Once operational this will give the sector access to up to 500 testing swabs a day and a more rapid turnaround in results.  This site will serve the east of our large county and complement the testing service for the care sector in the west which is based in Bradford.

Visitor arrangements for care settings

We appreciate that these are difficult times and people really want to see family and loved ones in care settings.  However, we are still trying to manage transmission and outbreaks of Covid-19 within care settings and communities in North Yorkshire, so we need to continue with existing arrangements for the meantime. This means that only essential visitors can go into care settings e.g. carers and families providing end of life support, health staff, and essential contractors. Care settings must also ensure that all essential visitors adhere to infection control policies and confirm that they are not displaying any symptoms associated with COVID-19 - including a temperature and/or new and persistent cough or loss of smell or taste.

We are actively encouraging care settings to use electronic devices or social media to help to make sure that people can keep in contact with their loved ones and we have delivered a number of these devices to care homes.

We will continue to review the situation in the light of national guidance and local arrangements, and we will work jointly with care sector representatives and the regulator to prepare for further easing of the visiting restrictions, in accordance with Government direction.

PPE

Our operational guidance on PPE to support social care staff during the outbreak has also been cited as good practice by the Local Government Association https://www.local.gov.uk/covid-19-adult-social-care-commissioning-practice-resource Our guidance is intended to help with local interpretation of government guidelines and outlines clear steps for social care staff to take across a range of scenarios in community and social care settings as well as the types of PPE that might be used. A 4-stage flowchart covers self-assessment, initial risk-assessment, PPE requirements and specific requirements for facilities with sustained disease transmission.

Support for people in isolation

Over the next few days, people in North Yorkshire who are shielding to protect themselves from COVID-19, and need help getting food and medication, will receive a letter from North Yorkshire County Council giving them reassurance that our support will continue.

Anyone at higher risk from coronavirus remains vulnerable and should still stay at home as much as possible. Although people who are being shielded are now able to go outside once a day for fresh air and exercise, Government advice for anyone in this group is not to go shopping, attend gatherings or visit other people’s homes.

Our network of community support organisations will continue to help people, who have no one else to call on, with shopping, picking up prescriptions and other essentials. We will also continue to carry out telephone welfare checks, in partnership with district councils, to make sure people have support in place.

The Government has scheduled to carry out the next review of shielding measures in England during the week beginning June 15. They will then write to people, on the shielded list, with advice and information about the next steps and the support that will be available following the review.

Michelle Sherriff has been shielding to protect herself from coronavirus. Michelle said: “I have mixed feelings about the changes. I’m shielding because I have asthma, diabetes and take immunosuppressant medication. What worries me about leaving home isn’t so much who you’re going to meet, it’s who they’ve been in contact with and have they got it. That’s what scares me.”

During isolation Michelle has been helped by volunteers through Hambleton Community Action, one of 23 community support organisations helping people across the county. Community support organisations (CSOs), and the partners they are working alongside, continue to make sure that nobody in North Yorkshire feels alone or is left without food, medicines or other essential supplies.

Michelle added: “They have been amazing, I cannot believe what they do. People are giving their time to help others. I have a friend next door, and she does little bits of shopping for me, but it was too heavy for her. She was struggling and isn’t in good health. When I contacted them the lady said to write a list out, then they came and took the list, did all my shopping, then you just pay over the phone. They have been absolutely amazing.”

Throughout May CSO volunteers collected 3,445 prescriptions and delivered 5,129 lots of shopping, providing a lifeline to people in North Yorkshire during this challenging time. Other types of support include telephone befriending calls, pet care, organising meal deliveries and helping people continue their hobbies by delivering supplies.

Gill Sayer volunteers with Ripon Community House, another community support organisation helping people across the county. Despite shielding to protect herself from coronavirus, Gill has been working on plans for a meal delivery service.

Gill said: “When you volunteer you realise there is a lot of goodness out there. It gives you a sense of wellbeing. People were falling over themselves to help friends and neighbours here. People in need had help coming from every direction. It’s been a positive situation in the very darkest of times.”

The Covid-19 support grant scheme is also providing much needed reassurance to people in need of financial assistance to pay for food and household essentials during isolation. 512 grants have been approved since March and awarded to eligible applicants through the community support organisations. The majority of people receiving these grants have long-term health conditions or weakened immune systems and the average amount awarded is under £100.

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

For more information, including links to the main supermarkets for people who can shop safely for themselves, and a link to the Buy Local site, go to www.northyorks.gov.uk/help-you-during-coronavirus-covid-19

People can also find details of local voluntary and community groups offering support at www.northyorkshireconnect.org.uk

Local economy

Buy Local

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

There are now 642 businesses registered on the site, many of whom have adapted their ways of working and found new avenues to trade during the coronavirus outbreak.

During the pandemic, many businesses have also gone out of their way to support their local community.

Stuart’s Foods in Scarborough found new audiences on Buy Local when they opened up their wholesale food business to take online orders from the public.

Damian Howarth, Managing Director said “We started to help those who are self-isolating and in the vulnerable category,”

“I was under no illusions – the general public will buy where it’s easiest, in a supermarket they can get everything they want; it’s easy and convenient. However, even though more shops are re-opening we have new customers who are buying products, and some who are placing repeat orders.”

Read more about Stuart’s Foods and Buy Local here www.northyork.gov.uk/buy-local

We’re urging all businesses to register on the site - especially if they are re-opening next week - to let as many customers as possible know their doors are open. The site also allows businesses to outline the safety measures they have in place to protect the public.

Please share our social media messages encouraging businesses to register, and directing the public to the site. Follow @northyorkscc on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

LEP News: Re-opening of retail businesses

All non-essential retail including shops selling clothes, shoes, toys, furniture, books, and electronics, plus tailors, auction houses, photography studios, and indoor markets can reopen from 15 June if they follow the COVID-19 secure guidelines.

Businesses can access guidance on this by signing up to BEIS free webinars here

As high streets and businesses start to re-open in York & North Yorkshire, this will present a number of challenges for both them and their customers.  We want to support these businesses through this process and have developed a Communications Pack which includes some key messages that would be helpful to promote at this time, as well as signpost to further useful information.

The messages focus on 3 key themes:

  1. SAFE- we want to support businesses and residents to work together and take responsibility as individuals to practice social distancing and safety precautions relating to COVID19
  2. KIND- we want to promote community spirit and cohesion – bring an optimistic tone to the reopening of the high street.
  3. LOCAL- we want to encourage residents to continue the local shopping campaigns they’ve developed during COVID-19 and to support their local high-street

You can access this Communications Pack here and we encourage you to share this with your wider business networks.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Important Dates

Note key dates below relating to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).

  • The scheme will close to anyone who hasn’t been furloughed for 3 weeks by 30 June, so employers will only be able to claim for employees after that if they have been furloughed for a full three-week period at any time before the end of June.
  • If employers intend to furlough an employee who hasn’t been furloughed before, they will need to agree that with them and start their period of furlough on or before 10 June – TODAY is the last day on which someone who has never been furloughed before can start a period of furlough and qualify for the scheme – this ensures the minimum three-week period is complete by 30 June.
  • Employers will then have until 31 July to make a claim for any periods of furlough up until 30 June – this applies to both employees furloughed for the first time and those you have previously furloughed and claimed for.

Regarding the future of the scheme, HMRC will publish on 12th June full guidance on all future scheme changes and this will include a programme of webinars.

Employer guidance for Test and Trace service

HM Government has now launched the Test and Trace service to help reduce the spread of coronavirus and save lives. Full details and guidance for employers can be found here: https://bit.ly/testandtracenorth.

Staying informed

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

Communications

NYCC’s website has a dedicated area for all the latest COVID-19 related news visit: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-advice-and-information

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

Advice on things to do

Summer Reading Challenge

The Summer Reading Challenge has gone digital. The challenge is open to children aged four to 11 and the theme is the Silly Squad, so children are invited to read anything that makes them happy – a comic, joke book, poetry, fiction or non-fiction, in digital or print, an e-book borrowed from the library or what they already have at home.

Children can sign up for free at summerreadingchallenge.org.uk, where they will find brilliant book suggestions, super silly activities, quizzes, videos, games, a place to keep track of their books and rewards to unlock along the way.

Last year, almost 10,000 children took the challenge in North Yorkshire though local libraries. The county’s library service has a huge selection of children’s e-books and e-audiobooks that are free to borrow at northyorks.gov.uk/digital-library, so we hope to encourage just as many children to join in this year.

Library members just need their library card and PIN to download books. If you are not a member, call 01609 533878 to join for free.

Have a read: Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughters – Bridget Talbot

Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughters is a North Yorkshire County Council project to highlight and celebrate figures from the past who were immensely influential within the county. It draws on County Record Office archives and the work of local history groups.

The latest nominee is Miss Bridget Elizabeth Talbot, the last owner of Kiplin Hall, near Scorton. She spent her life channelling her energy, innovative mind-set and influence into addressing injustices.

Read more about Miss Bridget Talbot and Made in North Yorkshire at: www.northyorks.gov.uk/made-in-north-yorkshire

Host a games night

Organising a games night is a sure-fire way to keep the whole family or your friendship group entertained this weekend. Here's a few tips...

  • Play a good old game of charades
  • Assign someone the 'happy hour host' and ask them to give a live cocktail/ cooking master class
  • Get one person to mute themselves and mime phrases and see who can read their lips the best
  • Ask guests to submit a surprising fact about themselves beforehand and see who can guess which fact correlates to which person on the Zoom
  • Play a good old game of Bingo. Ask everyone to mock up their own Bingo card based on a Google template and use this number generator to kick things off.

Enjoy the fresh air with some gardening

With all the amazing weather we have had recently, why not turn your hand to gardening? Many recent studies have shown the benefits of gardening for our mental health, especially during lockdown where many of us are isolated from friends and family. Visit https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/health-and-wellbeing for more information and tips on gardening.

Cook up a storm at home

Many of our favourite restaurants are unfortunately closed, if you’re bored of eating the same things and need some inspiration visit https://tasty.co for amazing recipes and ideas.

Go to the aquarium

Although they’re closed to the public, Monterey Bay Aquarium has added a number of live cams to let you keep an eye on the jellyfish, kelp forest, coral reef, and even the penguins, completely free: https://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals/live-cams

A message from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

We are edging slowly but surely towards being able to provide the sort of hearty North Yorkshire welcome people expect in our beautiful county – but everything hangs very carefully in the balance and we all hold the key to success – individually and collectively.

As well as being the Chief Executive of the County Council, I chair North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum – the partnership which is tasked with fighting the impacts of Covid-19 in our county, which includes York.  I receive daily updates on infection and death rates, consider these with directors of public health, police gold command and our district colleagues. We establish the most effective actions we can collectively take and how we can work with you all to protect people and communities. Sadly, over the past few days the huge collective effort of Team North Yorkshire has been somewhat marred by some really thoughtless and even dangerous behaviour. Speeding on highways, tombstoning into open water, drinking in makeshift beer gardens, gathering in crowds, disregard for social distancing, piles of litter left on verges and scattered through beauty spots.

We are at a very delicate point in our management of Covid-19 in North Yorkshire and York and only you can help us continue to save lives. Without your support, the virus has a fighting chance of a new surge and we could lose more people we love and have to wait even longer to see those we cannot see yet.

Please, please protect yourselves and your children, brothers, sisters, mums, dads, grans and grandads. Stay at least 2 metres apart at all times from anyone you don’t live with. Wash your hands thoroughly and regularly with soap and warm water or, if that’s not possible, use hand sanitiser. Avoid crowds and think ahead to limit the spread. Please take your litter home. What we do now will dictate what happens next in this pandemic and you have worked so hard. Thank you for your support.

124 of our primary schools have now increased their pupil capacity and that expansion of education services will continue through other schools over the coming days as they implement the risk assessment action plans needed to keep staff and pupils safe. Early indications are that for those pupils who are returning this is a positive experience and many will be delighted to see their friends and teachers again.  Plans are well underway, too, to expand secondary school provision from mid-June. Schools have bespoke plans and they will be in touch with parents directly. However, there is good information available here, including how to book school transport given social distancing   https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/schools-and-childrens-services-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Our support for Care Homes continues to pay dividends and new infection rates are reducing. Our efforts to secure reliable and consistent access to swabs to facilitate faster testing, continue. And we very much hope to see a resolution to the delays which put pressure on these settings which are home to many of our most vulnerable residents and no doubt many of your loved ones. 

Testing remains key in the fight against this virus and this week has seen the expansion of the Government’s test and trace scheme. This approach relies on people with symptoms getting tests so that anyone who may also have been infected can be found and asked to take a test.  If the outbreak is in a particular setting, this approach can very effectively facilitate a mini lockdown to control the spread of Covid-19 and track it down; closing off its prospects of wider infection. If we get this right, together we will lead the charge out of this in much better shape for the future.  Information on how to book a test is available here along with details of the current mobile testing units which have good capacity and are spread across the county    https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19-test-sites-north-yorkshire

With retail premises reopening, we are also working, at a very local level, to put in mitigation, where that is possible and appropriate, to help facilitate social distancing in shopping areas. It’s important to say that some streets and pavements may not lend themselves to a really managed approach and so you will need to be very aware of your own personal space to ensure you take the necessary steps to protect yourselves. I am sure the prospect of being able to visit shops again is very welcome to many of you. Social distancing changes on the highway can be found here https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/social-distancing-measures

On the subject of shopping, a real positive from all of this is the success of Buy Local – more and more people are supporting their local stores and shops during this difficult time. The website we set up has more than 600 businesses and traders now registered – providing residents and other businesses with a terrific go-to place for everything from food to electrical repairs. We very much hope that the ethos of buying local quality goods will continue in the future.

Before I go, I would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to read and share our Covid-19 bulletins. From this week, they will be reduce to one per week. Generally, we will issue them on a Wednesday afternoon but we will increase the number and/or change the issue day as appropriate if there are important things to be said.

Stay safe in North Yorkshire everyone.

A message from Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health

Current World Health Organisation data shows that we have now passed 6.1 million confirmed cases globally, with over 373 thousand deaths across 216 countries, areas or territories.

At a national level, yesterday’s (01/06) Public Health England data show there were 276,332 lab-confirmed cases in the UK, with 39,045 COVID-associated deaths. The national number of deaths now includes deaths of people who had tested positive under the Pillar 2 route (e.g. community testing), which has added to the total since the previous bulletin. To date, there have been 1,304 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across North Yorkshire.

You can see the latest confirmed cases of coronavirus by area on the Government's website. 

The number of people currently in hospital with COVID-19 continues to decrease slowly. Sadly, there have been 610 deaths from COVID-19 across Airedale, Harrogate, South Tees and York NHS Trusts to date, of whom an estimated 236 will be North Yorkshire residents.

We are continuing to develop our local COVID-19 outbreak control plan to work alongside the NHS Test and Trace programme. We also continue to support schools as they start to reopen across the county.

In light of the recent good weather and change in lockdown rules I would like to remind everyone that the need to maintain social distancing with people outside of your own household and wash your hands regularly still remains. Although the number of new cases of COVID-19 in North Yorkshire has decreased the risk has not gone away – I am very grateful for everyone’s efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19 so far, and these measures remain as important now as they ever have been.

Planning for recovery

Testing

As part of the national testing programme for coronavirus, drive-through Mobile Testing Units, run by the Department for Health and Social care, will be operating in the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • 3 June - Scarborough - Scarborough Park and Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough, YO12 4LW
  • 3 June - Harrogate - Hydro Leisure Centre, Jenny Field Drive, Harrogate, HG1 2RP
  • 4 June - Leyburn - Tennants Auctioneers Car Park, Harmby Road, Leyburn, DL8 5SG
  • 4 June - Northallerton - Civic Centre, Stonecross, Northallerton, DL6 2UU

Before you attend you must book a test. There are two ways to do this depending on which testing group you are part of. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. 

Anyone in the country who is showing coronavirus symptoms can register at http://www.nhs.uk/coronavirus

People who don't have access to the internet, or who have difficulty with the digital portals, can ring the new 119 service to book their test.

Essential workers and members of their household can register at: www.gov.uk/apply-coronavirus-test-essential-workers

You can see the full list of essential workers at: www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested

Schools and childcare

Opening of schools

By the end of next week at least half of all North Yorkshire’s primary schools will have reopened. A total of 124 primary schools are reopening this week, with 24 to reopen next week. We are currently working with all remaining primary schools to confirm opening dates.

Schools which have confirmed their opening dates can be found here; https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/schools-and-childrens-services-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Primaries which have opened their doors this week to key year groups have completed risk assessments and adapted school sites and their daily routines to keep children’s health and wellbeing at the forefront. 

They include Easingwold Primary School, which reopened yesterday.

Rigorous planning and creative ideas on how to keep students both happy and safe meant their first day back ran as smoothly as possible, according to acting head, Alison Cottrell.

Alison said in order to ensure the school is a safe, welcoming environment for children to be, she created action plans and put together Q&A leaflets for both parents and children so they know what to expect.

She said: “I wanted to answer as many questions as possible for parents and for children so they weren’t coming in blind.

“The one for children made it clear the school is still here for them, it had pictures of our students from key worker families completing hand washing protocol and showed things like the painted markings on the playground which children can use safely.

“We’ve planned the entire day, from using separate entrances and exits to cleaning throughout and having two adults in every classroom to ensure that happens.”

Alison added they have eased back into learning in a supportive, light way.

She said: “The first week of learning will be very light – we don’t want to go rushing straight back in. We are starting by touching up on key skills like mental maths, timetables, handwriting, to ease students back in.

“We have a big focus on practical things so children can work independently in a socially distant and safe way and also a large focus on PHSCE to enable children to talk about their experiences.”

Alison added they’ve put together creative packs for younger children to ensure they don’t miss out on anything, too.

She added: “Yesterday (Monday) went really smoothly, children were so excited – but everyone stuck to the rules and everyone did their absolute best. It’s a step towards normality.”

Five initial sets of PPE have been distributed to the majority of schools to ensure they have supplies in place as they begin wider re-opening. Schools which have not received or collected their initial PPE, can collect them from their local district hub. Further supplies can be ordered from suppliers YPO. We have produced a 30 minute, online training session on PPE which can be accessed by school staff via; https://breeze.northyorks.gov.uk/pe1ash2qrdfe/

Social care, the NHS and Public Health Services

We remain at a critical stage in the management of the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on the care sector as we continue to see infections and deaths. Our care market resilience plan, which was sent to the Department for Health and Social Care last week, is now published on our website: www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/north-yorkshire-covid-19-care-market-resilience We have been ahead in implementing this plan for some weeks, working at speed with the care sector and with individual homes to take the necessary action to support residents and to halt any further spread of the virus.

As part of this approach, we have received North Yorkshire’s share of the national £600m infection control fund - £8.4m – based on this strong monitoring and control partnership between ourselves and the care sector. 75% of this sum will go out to care homes in two waves. The first wave (c£3m) going out in the next few days and we’ve written to providers over the weekend. The remaining 25% is allocated at our discretion and we are currently working through the options.

Next week is Carers Week and a chance to celebrate and give thanks for the work and commitment and love of the 60,000 people across North Yorkshire – one in ten of us - who are carers for family members or friends. It’s a chance to acknowledge what carers do and that, during the Covid-19 pandemic, many are providing more care than they have ever done before. The carers resource organisations we fund to support carers across the county, are running a number of great events next week including a selfie and words campaign where carers and the people who support them have sent in selfies with words for publication which describe the strengths all carers have. 

Adult and young carers are also being been encouraged to send in stories and poems which express their experiences as carers. In Harrogate and Craven, where the carer’s resource centre had planned a 25k walk to celebrate its 25th anniversary, staff and carers are being encouraged to join in and do this virtually as part of their daily exercise.

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

This help continues through our one point of contact – our customer service centre on 01609 780780 - open seven days a week from 8am to 5.30pm for people, who are without other help, to call. Carers can also ring this number if they have any questions about the wellbeing of the person they are looking after and any other care they are receiving.  More information can be found at https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19-community-support

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

Support available for carers - video link: https://youtu.be/umPwH_hYhPQ

Throughout the pandemic, our key workers across the county have pulled together to forge a front line fight against the virus. Janet Ramwell, Vicky Guy and Danusia Wenhryniuk in Craven are no exception.

The trio would normally share an office in Settle meaning they were just a conversation away from sharing any problems or troubles they had.

But, working in the pandemic has changed this, meaning they have to support each other in different ways through different kinds of challenges.

Vicky, a Social Care Assessor, said: “Before the pandemic, we wouldn’t be doing as much hands on work within the community but we are now.

“For us, it’s all about working together to plug gaps. We don’t want anyone to slip through the cracks.

“We are still doing our standard day-to-day job, but in all that, we are trying to keep people out of hospital as that has been a focus in the pandemic.

“We’ve had to be creative and provide hands-on care ourselves at times.

Danusia, also a Social Care Assessor, added: “It has been quite a change. Very occasionally we would do hands-on work, but all the things like shopping and delivering prescriptions – we are doing that now.

“New guidance and paperwork comes out all the time, and we’ve had to take that on and work through it remotely without the support of each other physically.”

Vicky added: “We’ve always had that feeling of helping each other; it’s just more IT based now.”

For the team, one of the most important things is people in the community knowing they are there to help.

Janet, a Social Care Co-ordinator, said: “Everyone knows our faces and our numbers and hopefully can now call on us if they need to.”

Support for people in isolation

1-7 June is volunteers’ week; this is the national event recognising the contribution made by the millions of people who volunteer in the UK. Volunteers in North Yorkshire have been helping thousands of people, who are isolating across the county, every week during the COVID-19 pandemic with shopping, collecting prescriptions or just by being there for a chat. There are also many examples of neighbours looking out for each other and an army of volunteers who have formed groups where they live. During volunteers’ week, we will be celebrating the selfless acts of kindness that have made a huge difference to people.

John Walker would normally be out and about volunteering with our countryside service. Instead, he’s helping with the Bedale COVID-19 Mutual Aid Group as part of the helpline team. John said: “Beyond the many tragedies that coronavirus has brought, it has been heart-warming to see communities come together to help each other locally. I think everyone’s lives have changed forever and our world has changed completely. It’s shown us how much we need to work together.”

Pete Stentiford owns the Witching Post pub at Egton. Since lockdown started Pete has been volunteering with Coast and Vale Community Action. When he saw how one resident was struggling with their garden, Pete contacted Jack Reeves at TNC Landscapes who volunteered to help. Pete said: “I deliver to this lady who is quite poorly. I said I have a couple of friends that can come and she was really pleased. It looked much nicer when we finished and it was definitely a team effort.”

Jo Laking from Coast and Vale Community Action added: “Pete really does go the extra mile and he’s just brilliant. He’s been helping us and doing other things in the community where he lives. I think the generosity of the volunteers is just overwhelming. They’re not just doing shopping or collecting a prescription, they’re taking the time to talk to people and offering that extra bit of support. Lockdown has not been a pleasant experience but I think it’s really brought out the best in people.”

For North Yorkshire residents who are being shielded and need help getting food and medication, the County Council will continue to offer support. Despite some changes to lockdown restrictions, anyone at higher risk from coronavirus remains vulnerable and should still stay at home as much as possible.

Although people who are being shielded are now able to go outside once a day for fresh air and exercise, Government advice for anyone in this group is not to go shopping, attend gatherings or visit other people’s homes. Maintaining strict social distancing at this delicate stage in the COVID-19 pandemic is critical, especially for people who are at higher risk. That also includes people with underlying health conditions, including heart disease and diabetes, anyone over the age of 70 and women who are pregnant.

Community support organisations (CSOs) and the partners they are working alongside continue to help people in their communities while they are isolating. Those who need help with shopping, prescriptions and other essentials but don’t have anyone to call on, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780. The centre is open seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm.

For more information, including links to the main supermarkets for people who can shop safely for themselves, and a link to the Buy Local site, go to www.northyorks.gov.uk/help-you-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Local economy

LEP News: Self-Employment Support Scheme extended

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme is being extended to August. 

Those eligible under the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will be able to claim a second and final grant in August. The grant will be worth 70% of average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering three months’ worth of profits, and capped at £6,570 in total. Full details of the announcement can be found here - https://bit.ly/CJRS_SEISSUpdate .

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme extension details confirmed

Last Friday, further details were released on the extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). A new factsheet for this scheme can be found here

The 3 main changes to the scheme are:

From 1‌‌ July 2020, the scheme will be made more flexible to enable employers to bring previously furloughed employees back part time and still receive a grant for the time when they are not working.

From 1‌‌ August 2020, employers will have to start contributing to the wage costs of paying their furloughed staff and this employer contribution will gradually increase in September and October.

  • In August, the government will continue to pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 but employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions – for the average claim, this represents 5% of the gross employment costs that they would have incurred if the employee had not been furloughed
  • In September, the government will pay 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,187.50 for the hours the employee does not work – employers will pay ER NICs, pension contributions and 10% of wages to make up 80% of the total up to a cap of £2,500
  • In October, the government will pay 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875 for the hours the employee does not work – employers will pay ER NICs, pension contributions and 20% of wages to make up 80% of the total up to a cap of £2,500

The scheme will close to new entrants from 30‌‌ June.

Government to publish code of practice with commercial sector in boost to high street

High street businesses and landlords are set to benefit from a new code of practice, which is in development to provide them with clarity and reassurance over rent payments.

A working group has been established by the government with the commercial rental sector to develop a code which encourages fair and transparent discussions between landlords and tenants over rental payments during the coronavirus pandemic and guidance on rent arrear payments and treatment of sub-letter and suppliers. This will enable collaboration and cooperation within the sector and help ensure no one part of the chain shoulders the full burden of payment.

For more details, visit Government to publish code of practice with commercial sector in boost to high street

York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub launch new SME support programme

To help businesses recover and build resilience, the York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub has launched it’s free ‘From Adversity to Recovery’ mentorship programme designed to support SMEs who would benefit from free mentorship to help them build back from adversity and have a critical friend to help to move their business forward with resilience built in.

Businesses will also receive a range of relevant resources to appraise their business, plan for the future and support any application for finance. These will include:

  • business plan template
  • bank-ready cash flow forecast
  • personal survival budget planner

To find out more and to apply, visit: https://www.ynygrowthhub.com/resources/covid-19-support-programme-from-adversity-to-recovery/

Celebrating Volunteers Week 2020

Covid-19 has turned our world upside down, making volunteers in our communities key workers.

To celebrate Volunteers Week 2020 which runs from 1-7th June, we thank all volunteers for keeping our communities going and, sharing her experience, is Leah Furniss, Development Officer at Community First Yorkshire and Volunteer for the Two Ridings Community Foundation. Please read her blog:  https://www.businessinspiredgrowth.com/news/is-volunteering-selfish/

Staying informed

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

Communications

NYCC’s website has a dedicated area for all the latest COVID-19 related news visit: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-advice-and-information

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

Advice on things to do

Have a read: Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughters – Bridget Talbot

Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughters is a North Yorkshire County Council project to highlight and celebrate figures from the past who were immensely influential within the county. It draws on County Record Office archives and the work of local history groups.

The latest nominee is Miss Bridget Elizabeth Talbot, the last owner of Kiplin Hall, near Scorton. She spent her life channelling her energy, innovative mind-set and influence into addressing injustices.

Read more about Miss Bridget Talbot and Made in North Yorkshire at: www.northyorks.gov.uk/made-in-north-yorkshire

Host a games night

Organising a games night is a sure-fire way to keep the whole family or your friendship group entertained this weekend. Here's a few tips...

  • Play a good old game of charades
  • Assign someone the 'happy hour host' and ask them to give a live cocktail/cooking master class
  • Get one person to mute themselves and mime phrases and see who can read their lips the best
  • Ask guests to submit a surprising fact about themselves beforehand and see who can guess which fact correlates to which person on the Zoom
  • Play a good old game of Bingo. Ask everyone to mock up their own Bingo card based on a Google template and use this number generator to kick things off.

Enjoy the fresh air with some gardening

With all the amazing weather we have had recently, why not turn your hand to gardening? Many recent studies have shown the benefits of gardening for our mental health, especially during lockdown where many of us are isolated from friends and family. Visit https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/health-and-wellbeing for more information and tips on gardening.

Cook up a storm at home

Many of our favourite restaurants are unfortunately closed, if you’re bored of eating the same things and need some inspiration visit https://tasty.co for amazing recipes and ideas.

Go to the aquarium

Although they’re closed to the public, Monterey Bay Aquarium has added a number of live cams to let you keep an eye on the jellyfish, kelp forest, coral reef, and even the penguins, completely free: https://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals/live-cams

A message from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

With another glorious weather forecast for the weekend ahead, at the risk of repeating myself, we need to continue to emphasize the message that we should all ‘think ahead to limit the spread’. Now that we can drive further and have an increased amount of physical freedom, it gives us more scope than ever to find space to relax and exercise away from potential crowds and, therefore, away from the risk of inadvertently contracting or spreading the virus which remains amongst us. With further relaxation to the lockdown rules due to come into play next week, I would ask you to, please, make sure you stick to the very simple, but proven to be effective, measures of staying two metres apart and washing your hands frequently and thoroughly.

A particular issue that is always present in summer months but is, perhaps, more of a potential danger during lengthy periods of good weather and the current lockdown, is the temptation to cool off in rivers, reservoirs and the sea. We know that most people behaved responsibly during the last sunny weekend and avoided busy areas but some large groups did gather to swim and drink in places like the Threshfield Quarry lagoon near Skipton in the Yorkshire Dales and Richmondshire Falls on the River Swale.

We have over 100 scenic and beautiful reservoirs that we want walkers, cyclists, runners, picnic-goers and others to enjoy this summer within the agreed guidelines but we really need people to obey the signs and not swim in them. Open water may look tempting to cool off in warmer weather but they can be full of hidden dangers, including submerged items and vegetation that you can get caught up in. It’s also likely to be much colder that you expect - some reservoirs have temperatures as low as 12ºC, which is colder than rivers in summer time and they are much deeper with depths of up to 50m. Although they have fewer currents than rivers, there are still underwater currents generated by pipework, which is an invisible danger. Even strong swimmers can be affected by cold water shock. So, please, if you are spending time near water this weekend, make sure you read all the local safety information.

Monday will see a big step forward towards the new normal as we see many of our primary schools reopen their doors, with new social-distancing in place, to children in reception, Year 1 and Year 6. Each school has carried out a risk assessment to plan bespoke safety measures. So far 110 primary schools in North Yorkshire – just over a third - have confirmed they will be opening on Monday, June 1 and an additional 24 primary schools are planning to open from June 8; other schools are initially opening so staff can plan how teaching will take place in their individual settings with social distancing rules in place.

Schools in North Yorkshire are using a variety of approaches to make sure that the children’s well-being and safety is protected as an absolute priority.  In some schools, children will be taught in small “bubbles” –spending the day with the same, small group of other children and teacher, who stay separate from other bubbles in school. Teaching tools, toys, surfaces and any other items that the children will touch will all be sanitised with everybody continuing to do regular hand-washing.

Schools are working to make sure that the children are properly settled in and that they feel secure and ready to begin formal learning again.  We do encourage parents to send their children to school but those who decide to keep them at home won’t be penalised.

We are working with all other primary schools towards their reopening in the coming weeks. Secondary schools will be opening from June 15 to allow students in key year groups – Year 10 and Year 12 – to have contact with teachers as they study for exams they will sit next year.

So, a busy time for all of us and, while we work at such pace, I will finish this message as I started, with a strong reminder that we mustn’t forget how essential it is that we all continue to follow the 2 metre social distancing rule. If you are bored with hearing that from me, why not take a couple of minutes to hear it from five-year-old, Henry Sangster, from Richmond Methodist Primary School which will be re-opening on Monday. If Henry can get his two-year-old sister to comply instantly, I’m sure we can all do the same! Thank you, Henry – you have a bright future ahead of you!  https://youtu.be/iRaoP3W3h7s

A message from Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health

Current World Health Organisation data shows that we have now passed 5.5 million confirmed cases globally, with over 353 thousand deaths across 216 countries, areas or territories.

At a national level, yesterday’s (28/05) Public Health England data show there were 269,127 lab-confirmed cases in the UK, with 37,837 COVID-associated deaths. To date, there have been 1286 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across North Yorkshire.

The number of people currently in hospital with COVID-19 continues to decrease slowly. Sadly, there have been 598 deaths from COVID-19 across Airedale, Harrogate, South Tees and York NHS Trusts to date, of whom an estimated 231 will be North Yorkshire residents.

Since the last bulletin the government has announced the start of the new NHS Test and Trace programme. The test and trace service is one strand of the overall approach for management of COVID-19 outbreaks. Whilst the core contact tracing elements will be managed by the regional and local teams of NHS Test and Trace, there is a significant role for local authorities and partners to support the overall programme. As part of this we are developing a COVID-19 Outbreak Control Plan, which builds on our recent work with care homes to help prevent and manage outbreaks in a wider range of settings.

Staying Active

PHE and Sport England have released an Active at Home booklet aimed at older people. It offers guidance and exercises to do at home, to keep strong and steady, as well as prevent further decline in mental and physical health.

The booklet can be downloaded via the campaign resource centre: https://campaignresources.phe.gov.uk/resources/campaigns/50-resource-ordering/resources/5118  (there is also access to a print friendly version)

If printing isn’t available, hard copies can be ordered on the following link:  https://sabrinapal.wufoo.com/forms/active-at-home-booklet-order-form/

World No Tobacco Day

31 May marks World No Tobacco Day and we are promoting the benefits of quitting smoking and the services and support available.

Quitting smoking reduces your risk of illness, disability or death caused by cancer, heart or lung disease. It will protect the health of the people around you by reducing their exposure to second-hand smoke and will also save you money – the average smoker saves £150 a month when they quit.

Early in the Covid-19 pandemic smokers were advised in the #QuitforCovid campaign that stopping smoking could be one of the best things they could do.

Covid-19 is a respiratory condition affecting the lungs and airways, often causing a cough and shortness of breath. Smoking weakens the immune system and damages the lungs, meaning smokers are more likely to get complications if they get ill and will recover more slowly.

The County Council’s public health grant funds Living Well Smokefree to help smokers who wish to stop. It provides personalised, one-to-one support over six to 12 weeks. The service is operating remotely throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

To access the Living Well Smokefree service visit https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/stopping-smoking call 01609797272 or email stop.smoking@northyorks.gov.uk

Planning for recovery

County prepares for safe reopening of our high streets

As Covid-19 lockdown restrictions are relaxed, we are putting measures in place in preparation for the safe reopening of many of North Yorkshire’s high street businesses in June.

Our highways teams are working with partners in district and borough councils, the police and the national parks to help businesses to open safely and to enable residents to shop with confidence.

To keep the public and businesses informed with up to date details of the steps being taken, we have created dedicated web pages at www.northyorks.gov.uk/socialdistancing

Measures can include putting out cones that will temporarily remove some on-street parking spaces and temporary road closures to make it easier for pedestrians to observe social distancing to tackle the spread of Covid-19. Some such measures have already been seen over recent weeks, particularly on bank holidays, in some of North Yorkshire’s busier towns.

National guidance to avoid the use of public transport where possible has also meant that people have chosen to use more active travel measures such as walking and cycling and the measures will look to build on this where possible.

People can also contact us with any questions about highways-related social distancing measures at www.northyorks.gov.uk/socialdistancing

Testing

As part of the national testing programme for coronavirus, drive-through Mobile Testing Units, run by the Department for Health and Social care, will be operating in the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • 30 May - Leyburn - Tennants Auctioneers Car Park, Harmby Road, Leyburn, DL8 5SG
  • 30 May - Settle - Greenfoot Car Park, Ingfield Lane, Settle, BD24 9RW
  • 30 to 31 May - Drax - Drax Social Club, Main Road, Selby, YO8 8PJ
  • 31 May - Harrogate - Hydro Leisure Centre, Jenny Field Drive, Harrogate, HG1 2RP
  • 31 May - Scarborough - Scarborough Park and Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough, YO12 4LW

Before you attend you must book a test. There are two ways to do this depending on which testing group you are part of. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. 

Anyone in the country who is showing coronavirus symptoms can register at http://www.nhs.uk/coronavirus

People who don't have access to the internet, or who have difficulty with the digital portals, can ring the new 119 service to book their test.

Essential workers and members of their household can register at: www.gov.uk/apply-coronavirus-test-essential-workers

You can see the full list of essential workers at: www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested

Schools and childcare

We have been working closely with head teachers, governing bodies and teaching unions on the reopening of schools, which the Government has said can take place from June 1 the earliest for certain year groups.

All schools have carried out a risk assessment to plan safety measures for their specific circumstances and decide whether they can open safely.

Just over a third of primary schools – 110 - will be opening their doors to children in key year groups the week beginning Monday, June 1 and a further 24 will be accepting children back the following week. We are working with the remainder of other primary schools towards their reopening in the coming weeks.

Secondary schools will be opening from June 15 to allow students in key year groups – Year 10 and Year 12 – to have contact with teachers as they study for exams they will sit next year.

Schools are using a variety of approaches to ensure the safety and wellbeing of children in school, including staggered times for parents dropping-off and collecting children from school, one-way corridors and regular disinfecting of surfaces and items which are handled by children.

Some schools will be teaching in small groups of about five children, who will remain with each other – and the same teacher – for the rest of term, but won’t come into contact with other “bubbles”. There will be a strong emphasis in schools on helping children feel settled and secure in the new routine.

During the lockdown, we had provided weekend and bank holiday childcare provision via hubs, which have been mainly based in local schools.

As schools are being asked by the government to begin re-opening to key year groups from the Monday, June 1 at the earliest, the hubs will close after today, May 29, so those schools can be cleaned ahead of the reopening. The increased numbers of children likely to return to schools from June 1 onwards means we will be unable to sustain the hubs beyond this date, but alternative arrangements have been found for the small number of children affected by this.

The latest information on home to school transport can be found at: www.northyorks.gov.uk/schoolsupdate

Social care, the NHS and Public Health Services

We are now undertaking critical work to implement the Government’s Covid-19 Outbreak Plan which includes systems for contact testing and tracing. The primary objectives of the Test and Trace service will be to control the Covid-19 rate of reproduction (R), reduce the spread of infection and save lives, and in doing so help to return life to as normal as possible, for as many people as possible, in a way that is safe, protects our health and care systems and releases our economy.

Achieving these objectives will require a co-ordinated effort from local and national government, the NHS, GPs, businesses and employers, voluntary organisations and other community partners, and the general public.  Local planning and response will be an essential part of the Test and Trace service, and we have a central role to play in the identification and management of infection through the development of a local outbreak control plan. 

£300m in national government funding will be provided to local authorities in England to develop and action their plans to reduce the spread of the virus in their area – we await what our share will be.

We already have experience across North Yorkshire of local outbreak management and during the pandemic, we have put in place targeted work already to support care homes.  Test and trace will now encompass key themes which include schools, work places, people who may be vulnerable because of their health or social circumstances. The good practice we have already established within the LRF area in the provision of community support for vulnerable people during the national lockdown must be incorporated into the management of any local lockdowns.

There is need for a national steer on how to implement potentially controversial measures such as local lockdowns, if they were ever to be needed, and the extent of local lockdown powers and enforcement. Working pro-actively with the public will be an important part of the programme. Likewise, there will be an important role for democratic accountability and, in line with other councils, we are looking at how we might establish an Elected Member-led, multi-agency Outbreak Management/Health Protection Board for the duration of the Test and Trace programme in North Yorkshire.

It is crucial to realise that a test and trace system, no matter how well implemented, is not enough on its own to contain the coronavirus pandemic. Without vigilance in maintaining social distancing rules and the regular washing of hands, the test and trace system is unlikely to be as effective as it needs to be: 2 metres means 2 metres!

We have also today sent our care market resilience plan to the Department for Health and Social Care.  We anticipated the DHSC would require local authorities to step up support for the care home sector in managing Covid-19 outbreaks and have been implementing our plan for some weeks. Although there are still, sadly, outbreaks in our care homes, we are working at speed with the care sector and with individual homes to take the necessary action to support residents and to halt any further spread of the virus. As a result of this the number of homes affected and number of cases of people with the virus is reducing slowly. As part of this approach, we are about to receive North Yorkshire’s share of the national £600m infection control fund and are writing to care home providers from today to confirm their allocations from the first wave of that national funding.

From day one we  have been providing practical support to care providers, including help with staffing and HR, help with safe hospital discharges, advice on infection control and a dedicated email address for advice and support: But as a result of a new service set up to implement the plan we have been working in close partnership with the Independent Care Group (ICG), which represents most care providers in North Yorkshire, and NHS colleagues, as well as Public Health England (PHE), which is leading nationally on Covid-19, and the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which is the regulator for care providers.

We created new care teams to spearhead this enhanced service and each home in North Yorkshire is receiving a daily call from a care home contact officer with a welfare checklist. They find out from each setting how they are coping and if they have any issues related to Covid-19 and whether they need additional support from the Council or the NHS.  Homes experiencing problems are then supported by a care home liaison officer who will channel resources to meet requirements such as support on HR, staffing and recruitment, reducing agency usage if possible, help with sourcing PPE, infection control, zoning of care homes, cohorting of staff and residents, safe hospital discharge, clinical advice, registered manager support and more. This work is proving effective and is constantly being refined.

Support for people in isolation

Volunteers have been helping thousands of North Yorkshire residents every week during the COVID-19 pandemic. There are also countless examples of neighbours looking out for each other and an army of volunteers who have formed groups where they live. During Volunteers Week (1-7 June), we will be celebrating the selfless acts of kindness that have made a huge difference to people across the county.

Mick Hawes helps to run a football team in Sherburn, Selby. When players volunteered to donate their subs to help people in the community, Mick and others were invited to join the Sherburn Coronavirus Aid Group. Mick said: “We had a number of people willing to support us with vans doing deliveries, leaflet dropping and running errands. Also the befriending scheme, meals on wheels and other kinds of general support. It’s been a massive team effort. I think we get tied up with the negative stuff that goes on in the world. We forget that there are some wonderful folk and when the chips are down people are willing to roll up their sleeves. Some of the offers of support and the lengths people have gone to have been nothing short of remarkable.”

Many people are advised to remain at home, for now, despite some changes to lockdown restrictions. That includes people with underlying health conditions, including heart disease and diabetes, anyone over the age of 70 and women who are pregnant. For people who are being shielded to protect themselves from coronavirus, current Government advice is to stay at home until 30 June at the earliest.

Community support organisations (CSOs) and their partners continue to help people in their communities while they are isolating. Volunteers have been crucial in making sure that nobody is left without essential supplies including medication, with 2,818 prescriptions being collected in the last four weeks by CSO volunteers, and many other people helping their neighbours by picking up medication.

Keith Davy is volunteering with Hambleton Community Action and has been delivering prescriptions to people who are unable to leave home. Keith said: “It’s quite rewarding to drop off some tablets, see if they’re ok and have a little natter, obviously from a safe distance. You get to meet all ranges of people and I love just helping. I was volunteering already, even before coronavirus kicked in. I retired from the army after a long career and needed something to do so I thought I’d give back to the local community by volunteering.”

Those in need of help, who don’t have anyone else to call on, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, should contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780. The centre is open seven days a week 8am-5:30pm.

For more information, including links to the main supermarkets for people who can shop safely for themselves, and a link to the Buy Local site, go to www.northyorks.gov.uk/help-you-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Local economy

Buy Local

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

There are almost 600 businesses registered on the site, many of whom have been forced to adapt their ways of working and find new avenues to trade during the coronavirus outbreak.

Out of the Box! in Richmond, a self-serve eco-friendly food shop, started to take orders and offer a collection service, which has been invaluable for the community.

Loyal Out of the Box! shopper, Angela said “It can be difficult setting up a new business and I feel it is important to support them or we could lose them.  I hope those customers who have discovered this great little store during lockdown will continue to support them afterwards.”

In this testing time for independent businesses, Buy Local is here to encourage people to continue to shop locally after restrictions are eased.

Read more about Out of the box! and Buy Local here www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local

Please share our social media messages encouraging businesses to register, and directing the public to the site. Follow @northyorkscc on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

LEP News: New NHS Test and Trace service launched

The government has launched the new NHS Test and Trace service across England. 

Anyone who now tests positive for coronavirus will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and will need to share information about their recent interactions.

To support this service, the Department for Health & Social Care has developed a package of materials, including guidance for employers and employees. For more information, visit: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-test-and-trace-workplace-guidance

Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme open

The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme is now live for small and medium-sized employers (fewer than 250 employees) to recover Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) payments they have made to their employees.

Full guidance can be found here: https://bit.ly/SSPRebateScheme 

ESFA Latest Update

The latest update from the ESFA can be found here .

This includes published guidance about COVID-19 in educational settings for staff, parents and carers, pupils and students and guidance on the apprenticeship service about COVID-19.

York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub Business Support

Free ShopAppy.com membership

Last week, we announced that we would be offering twelve months free ShopAppy membership to businesses in and around ten towns across North Yorkshire.

This has had a great response in those areas and we are looking at ways to extend the scheme further.

More information about the offer and eligibility is available at our website. If you are a business located outside of the ten towns, please still get in contact as there are other ways you can benefit and support that is available.

Managing Cash Flow in a Crisis webinar – watch on demand

At the start of the month, we teamed up with the ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales) to give practical advice about how you can manage you cash during this crisis, as well as put systems in place for the future. You can now watch the webinar free and on demand.

The 45-minute webinar covers:

  • Strategies for effective cash flow management in a time of crisis from ICAEW member Tom Bottomley
  • Details of the free support and mentorship that businesses can access.

Staying informed

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

Communications

NYCC’s website has a dedicated area for all the latest COVID-19 related news visit: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-advice-and-information

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

Advice on things to do

LGBTQ+ writing competition

North Yorkshire Libraries has launched an LGBTQ+ writing competition accessible to anyone, including NYCC staff, with the goal of promoting positive mental health during these trying times as well as generally being something nice and enjoyable to do! It may be of particular interest to professionals working with LGBTQ+ individuals/groups, as well as those who engage with young adults/teenagers.

Here is a link to the post where you can find more information: https://www.facebook.com/nycclibraries/posts/10157525005797153

Write a play or short film

Try out a free screenwriting course to learn the ropes and (hopefully) catapult you into stardom after your first film is made: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/screenwriting

Joy of painting

403 episodes of the timeless Joy of Painting have been added to YouTube so you can listen to his soothing tones while you paint happy little trees and enjoy the beauty of imperfections: https://www.youtube.com/user/BobRossInc/videos  

Visit the MoMA

A huge number of art galleries and museums around the world have digitised their collections and are now offering free virtual tours: https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/moma-the-museum-of-modern-art?hl=en

Go to 500 other museums or galleries

Google’s arts and culture collection has virtual tours of 500 attractions around the world, including national galleries from around the world, individual artist museums, and even the Eiffel Tower: https://artsandculture.google.com/partner?hl=en

Go to the aquarium

Although they’re closed to the public, Monterey Bay Aquarium have added a number of live cams to let you keep an eye on the jellyfish, kelp forest, coral reef, and even the penguins, completely free https://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals/live-cams

A message from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

Well, the late May Bank Holiday was busy, as expected, but the vast majority of people appear to have enjoyed the beautiful weather, particularly yesterday, in an organised and thoughtful way. There were issues in certain hot spots – Osmotherley, in particular, was extremely busy with too many cars parked thoughtlessly. Unfortunately, police, supported by our highways team had to intervene and close the road to support the local community and manage the situation. So, thank you to the many people who explored our open spaces with respect and, to the tiny minority who didn’t – please think ahead to limit the spread and avoid busy places. If you turn up somewhere and there is clearly nowhere safe or appropriate to park, don’t add to the issue – please go somewhere else. It’s a huge county - there are very many beautiful places to go. We are grateful for your support in this matter. I am also aware that a number of fines were issued by the police at Osmotherley due to the parking issues – so, if you aren’t thoughtful you might take a parking ticket away with you.

Many of you will no doubt be looking forward to life returning to the new norm.  The new norm will be different for everyone depending on your circumstances. Wherever you are returning to work, there will be new measures and arrangements in place to protect you, your colleagues and your customers and we are no different. The County Council continues to operate a mix of remote and home working as well as front line teams in health and social care, safeguarding and education. We are reviewing carefully which teams may benefit from a careful return to office space and looking to learn from all the extremely good practice the increased use of technology across the workforce has delivered. There are many new IT products and systems supporting us to continue to be effective in delivering quality services despite the Covid-19 pandemic. We will ensure we don’t lose sight of that as we look ahead.

Schools across North Yorkshire continue to map out how they will expand their provision. 200 of them have been operating throughout the lockdown period to provide child care for the children of key workers as well as vulnerable young people. Some will be able to accommodate the phased reopening more easily than others. We anticipate a phased approach to this over a period of days and weeks, rather than a catch-all position from June 1. It’s important for the safety of staff and pupils that schools consider the full range of arrangements including school transport – where social distancing will also have a major impact – catering and, of course, classroom and recreation areas. How schools manage all of these changes will differ based on the building design and many other factors. Each school has an individual risk assessment plan in place or in development and will make contact with parents directly themselves.  We are supporting all our schools as well as academies with some emergency PPE sets in case they should need them, at any point, via the LRF supply.

I am pleased to say the very significant, and proactive, service of our health and social care teams working very closely with all 235 care home and extra care facilities in the county is having a positive impact on protecting our most vulnerable residents. Daily calls to every home, clear escalation and outbreak management processes and good working relationships across agencies are all playing their part.  The number and rate of infections in care settings is very slowly plateauing but we remain very much focussed on this vital piece of work.

Following yesterday’s Government announcement, we will also be working through how we can support the retail sector and broader non-essential shops to reopen. Our role will be largely to consider whether any temporary pavement and highways changes would support the social distancing guidance and offer the public a more comfortable shopping experience – particularly in areas expected to be busier or where pavements and streets are narrow. We will work with our district colleagues as well as business organisations on this important area.

We continue to work with the Department of Health and Social Care to support the mobile testing units serving the county. These offer a really useful opportunity for anyone aged five or over with symptoms to get tested for Covid-19. You can find out more about the locations and how to book here: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19-test-sites-north-yorkshire

We are also awaiting further information on how our public health team will support the Test and Trace approach announced by Government late last week. We stand ready to respond positively to this key area and to continue to play our part in supporting the county.

So, lots of change but still some way to go. We will be proactive in our communications regarding the work we are doing. In closing, a gentle reminder that thorough and regular hand washing and social distancing remain two of the most powerful measures we can take to protect ourselves. Stay safe.

A message from Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health

Current World Health Organisation data shows that we have now passed 5.3 million confirmed cases globally, with over 342 thousand deaths across 216 countries, areas or territories.

At a national level, yesterday’s (25/05) Public Health England data show there were 261,184 lab-confirmed cases in the UK, with 36,914 COVID-associated deaths. To date, there have been 1272 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across North Yorkshire.

The number of people currently in hospital with COVID-19 continues to decrease slowly. Sadly, there have been 586 deaths from COVID-19 across Airedale, Harrogate, South Tees and York NHS Trusts to date, of whom an estimated 225 will be North Yorkshire residents.

We continue to support care homes on outbreak management, and will look to expand this to other areas e.g. schools as part of developing our local plans to link in with the government’s forthcoming contact tracing strategy. We are also supporting schools and other educational settings with their efforts to support them to open safely on the 1st of June for more pupils.

Child Safety Week

Child Safety Week is the flagship annual campaign run by the Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT). The campaign aims to bring together individuals and organisations around the country to promote safety messages to families in a fun and engaging way.

This year’s campaign runs from Monday 1st June – Sunday 7th June, with the theme “Safety Makes Sense!”  In response to COVID-19, the emphasis will be on social media to reach as many families as possible.

Although rates of hospital admission in North Yorkshire caused by unintentional injuries in children are relatively stable, they are significantly worse than the England average and our closest statistical neighbours – and the gap is widening.

Injuries are preventable and we can do something about it – supporting Child Safety Week by sharing campaign messages with families and communities across the County is one of the actions we are taking to help address the issue locally.

For more information please contact: helen.goddard@northyorks.gov.uk

Planning for recovery

Testing

As part of the national testing programme for coronavirus, drive-through Mobile Testing Units, run by the Department for Health and Social care, will be operating in the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • 27 May - Scarborough - Seamer Park and Ride site, YO12 4LW
  • 27 May - Harrogate - Hydro Leisure Centre, Jenny Field Drive, Harrogate, HG1 2RP
  • 28 May - Northallerton - Civic Centre, Stonecross, Northallerton, DL6 2UU
  • 28 May - Pickering - Flamingo Land, Kirby Misperton Rd, Kirby Misperton, YO17 6UX

Before you attend, you must book a test. There are two ways to do this depending on which testing group you are part of. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. 

Everyone in the country aged 5 and over who is showing coronavirus symptoms can register at http://www.nhs.uk/coronavirus

People who don't have access to the internet, or who have difficulty with the digital portals, can ring the new 119 service to book their test.

Essential workers and members of their household can register at: www.gov.uk/apply-coronavirus-test-essential-workers

You can see the full list of essential workers at: www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested

Schools and childcare

Schools

We are now finalising arrangements for the schools which will be looking to open from June 1. Some will be opening that week, some at a later date, and some have yet to finalise their plans, but we would like to thank all school leaders, teachers and the wider school community for the considerable work they are doing on this; it has brought with it some difficult challenges and every school or early years setting faces its own individual set of circumstances when deciding how best to do this and we are fully supporting them in this and the decision they reach for their school.

We will also continue to work closely with the teaching unions and consult with them as we move forward.

Children and Young People’s Services are providing an initial set of PPE to every school to ensure they have some initial supplies when beginning wider opening to pupils. Information about the arrangements for delivery or collection of PPE from supply hubs has now been sent out to all schools.

Care leavers

Our care leavers have received a special treat to keep their spirits up during the Covid-19 crisis. This week, speakers and headphones were donated by Amazon, adding to the 300 goody bags delivered to young people over the past two weeks.

The speakers and headphones are part of Amazon’s Small Acts of Kindness programme, aimed at bringing surprises to those in need during difficult times. The goody bags received by the young people were funded by our County Councillors and are full of treats such as chocolate, toiletries and practical items such as hand sanitiser.

Feedback on the gifts includes: “Thank you so much … and everyone else at the team - really made me smile.

“You guys are super stars and don't get enough credit or appreciation for it. Thank you for working through all of this madness to make our lives a little better. So much love.”

Cllr Janet Sanderson, our Executive Member for Children’s Services said the gifts were a boost for care leavers in these difficult times and the delivery of headphones and speakers “will help them get through the lockdown.”

Children and Families

Julie Duffy is a family group conference co-ordinator for our Children and Families Service. She’s one of eight in her team and her area is Hambleton and Richmond.

Recently Julie’s hard work across a weekend meant that two twin boys were homed with their aunties rather than going into foster care – a better result for everyone. Julie has been working tirelessly to adapt to unprecedented circumstances during the pandemic – her main form of communication, face-to-face, has been taken away.

Julie said: “We had an urgent case, a family who were about to be homeless on the Monday. I got the call on the Friday.

“Generally, I would go to see people face-to-face; working that way you can determine in an instant the person’s reaction.

“But with the virus we have to find other ways of communicating. We used mediation and negotiation and got two maternal aunties to provide accommodation to a boy each.

“Those boys slept soundly from Monday onwards.

“If we hadn’t placed them, they would have needed foster care so it was a really good outcome.”

Julie said everyone around her is working incredibly hard to make things run as smoothly as possible for families across the county.

She said: “The IT department is on hand to help with the new technology, social workers are always at the end of the phone.

“We use mediation negotiation, telephone, email and Skype.

 “Under these circumstances this has highlighted the strengths of working proactively with families.

“It’s a joint effort completely.

“It’s not always been easy, sometimes if we are speaking with grandparents they don’t have a mobile let alone video calling, so we have to do it over the landline.

“It means listening so carefully to pick out key words which might give us clues on how they are feeling.

“We always try and work around the family.”

Social care, the NHS and Public Health Services

Our services continue to work on a mix of responses to Covid-19 and to people’s other needs.

Daily calls to care homes, and subsequent support interventions, are a major part of the current work programme. In line with Government expectations, a draft Covid-19 care market resilience plan is being prepared for submission to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) on 29th May. This sets out priorities and actions for supporting the care sector, including the actions which have already been put in place ahead of the Government setting out its requirements.

We, along with our NHS partners, are in ongoing discussions with the Department for Health and Social Care to improve the response from the national care home testing programme, so that more tests can be offered and turnaround times improved. We now have a local agreement with Bradford and Craven CCG for additional test-kits to be made available to care homes in North Yorkshire. This has resulted in some test-kits being available above and beyond the national programme.

We have just received confirmation of the details of the Government’s £600m Infection Control Fund for care homes. Subject to the State Aid paragraphs being satisfactory, we will be sharing the initial tranche of this funding (as set out by Government) with care providers as soon as possible.

Work is underway locally and regionally to respond to the Government’s announcement last Friday of the development of a national contact tracing programme. At a local level, this programme will be led by Directors of Public Health.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/300-million-additional-funding-for-local-authorities-to-support-new-test-and-trace-service

Support for people in isolation

For the past four weeks we have organised door knock checks for some North Yorkshire residents to make sure they have the help and support they need while in isolation. This includes delivering a leaflet with the County Council’s customer service centre number and a copy of the Yorkshire Post newspaper. Last weekend, council staff volunteered to check on over 1,000 people in areas including Ripon, Skipton, Selby, Pickering and Malton. The welfare checks are in addition to telephone calls, which we're carrying out with district councils, to people who are extremely vulnerable and being shielded to protect themselves from coronavirus. Despite some changes to lockdown restrictions, Government advice for people being shielded is to stay at home until 30 June at the earliest.

Helen Skews, a library supervisor based in Malton, said: “I wanted to help out and deliver at least some reading material, so, on a blustery Saturday, and enlisting the help of a teenage daughter, I called on nearly 40 Ryedale residents. The response was wonderful, everyone was so pleased to know that they were not forgotten about, to have a chat and receive a free newspaper.  Quite a few were very keen for something new to read and one lady had run out of puzzles to do and was thrilled at the prospect of more! All in all, it was a Saturday well spent.”

Community support organisations (CSOs), and the partners they are working alongside, continue to make sure that nobody in North Yorkshire feels alone or is left without food, medicines or other essential supplies. A new hot meal delivery service has been set up in South Craven, with 65 meals delivered in the first week, and, in Richmondshire, a jigsaw swap has been launched. In Hambleton, experienced volunteers are acting as mentors to support new members of the team.

Over 4,000 people received helped from the community support organisations during the week ending 15th May.

Joanna Chambers lives in Marton and is currently shielding to protect her son, William. During lockdown, Joanna has been volunteering by making regular befriending calls to others who are self-isolating through the community support organisation in Ryedale. Joanna said: “It is something that I get a lot from, too, and it’s good to have someone else to speak to and to feel I’m helping. It's been a real joy to learn about their lives and also really rewarding to be able to help organise for essential items to be delivered when they have been stuck. My befriending experience has been so positive as I have been able to reach out to people I would never have met before, at a time when I felt particularly isolated and unable to take positive action due to my own shielding situation.”

Those in need of help, who don’t have anyone else to call on, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, should contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780. The centre is open seven days a week 8am-5:30pm.

For more information, including links to the main supermarkets for people who can shop safely for themselves, and a link to the Buy Local site, go to www.northyorks.gov.uk/help-you-during-coronavirus-covid-19

Local economy

LEP News: New timeline for retail to reopen in June

Many high street shops, department stores and shopping centres across England are set to reopen next month once they are COVID-19 secure and can show customers will be kept safe, the Prime Minister confirmed yesterday.

Outdoor markets and car showrooms will be able to reopen from 1 June, as soon as they are able to meet the COVID-19 secure guidelines to protect shoppers and workers.

All other non-essential retail including shops selling clothes, shoes, toys, furniture, books, and electronics, plus tailors, auction houses, photography studios, and indoor markets, will be expected to be able to reopen from 15 June if the Government’s five tests are met and they follow the COVID-19 secure guidelines, giving them three weeks to prepare.

Businesses will only be able to open from these dates once they have completed a risk assessment, in consultation with trade union representatives or workers, and are confident they are managing the risks. They must have taken the necessary steps to become COVID-19 secure in line with the current Health and Safety legislation.

Updated COVID-secure guidelines are being published for people who work in, or run, shops, branches, and stores, after consultation with businesses, union leaders, Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive.

The updated guidance takes into account the best practice demonstrated by the many retailers which have been allowed to remain open and have applied social distancing measures in store. Measures that shops should consider include placing a poster in their windows to demonstrate awareness of the guidance and commitment to safety measures, storing returned items for 72 hours before putting them back out on the shop floor, placing protective coverings on large items touched by the public such as beds or sofas, and frequent cleaning of objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, including self-checkouts, trolleys, coffee machines and betting terminals, for example.

As per the government’s roadmap, hairdressers, nail bars and beauty salons, and the hospitality sector, remain closed, because the risk of transmission in these environments is higher where long periods of person to person contact is required.

Free webinar, hosted by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy:

Thursday 28 May, 11am: Shops and branches – Guidance for people who run shops, branches, stores or similar environments.

Full details of upcoming webinars can be found here: https://bit.ly/BEISWebinars

New measures announced to “keep passengers safe now and level up for the future”.

New funding to protect and increase transport services, level up infrastructure and regenerate local economies after the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has been announced. This includes:

  • Additional funding to increase frequency and capacity of bus, tram and light rail services, to help people travel safely.
  • Further investment in railways to regenerate local economies and level up Britain.
  • Preferred route announced for £1 billion upgrade to major road link which runs across Northern Powerhouse, from Teesside to Cumbria.

A further £283 million has been made available to increase the number of bus and light rail services as quickly as possible so that people who need to travel, including critical workers in the NHS, can do so safely.

The Transport Secretary has also laid out further plans to transform the country’s transport infrastructure to help the country ‘build out’ of COVID-19, supporting the nation’s economy, and delivering on the government’s key agenda of levelling up the country.

Ten bids have also been announced today to receive a share of a £500,000 Restoring Your Railway ‘Ideas Fund’ to develop proposals to build or reopen railway lines and stations, including those closed following the Beeching cuts of the 1960s. MPs and local authorities were invited to bid for a share of the fund to help reconnect communities across the country, levelling up opportunities for people in isolated areas by increasing their access to jobs and training which will be crucial as the country recovers from coronavirus.

The government also has announced the preferred route for the £1 billion A66 Transpennine upgrade, which will provide vital improvements to a key regional link which helps to connect Glasgow and Edinburgh with Leeds, Sheffield and Norwich, improving journey times, reliability and resilience for communities across the North. The new scheme will dual the 5 remaining single carriageway sections of the route and upgrade key junctions, speeding up journeys, easing congestion and boosting growth. The road is an important link across the Pennines and is a key connection used on routes between ports around the country, meaning that the wider UK economy will benefit from improvements and faster journeys.

To support people to choose alternatives to public transport, a series of measures are being rolled out to encourage more people to cycle instead, including:

  • Allocating local authorities a share of £225 million, announced earlier this month, to create pop-up and permanent cycle lanes and reallocate road space
  • Amending laws to reduce red tape and halve the time it takes for councils to get these schemes up and running
  • Committing £25 million from the emergency active travel fund to help people get their bikes repaired so that they can get back to cycling
  • Investing £2.5 million to provide 1,180 cycle parking spaces at 30 railway stations across England to help encourage people to incorporate cycling as part of a longer journey. For further details read here

Staying informed

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

Communications

NYCC’s website has a dedicated area for all the latest COVID-19 related news visit: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-advice-and-information

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

Advice on things to do

LGBTQ+ writing competition

North Yorkshire Libraries has just launched an LGBTQ+ writing competition accessible to anyone, including NYCC staff, with the goal of promoting positive mental health during these trying times as well as generally being something nice and enjoyable to do! It may be of particular interest to professionals working with LGBTQ+ individuals/groups, as well as those who engage with young adults/teenagers.

Here is a link to the post where you can find more information: https://www.facebook.com/nycclibraries/posts/10157525005797153

Write a play or short film

Try out a free screenwriting course to learn the ropes and (hopefully) catapult you into stardom after your first film is made: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/screenwriting

Joy of painting

403 episodes of the timeless Joy of Painting have been added to YouTube so you can listen to his soothing tones while you paint happy little trees and enjoy the beauty of imperfections: https://www.youtube.com/user/BobRossInc/videos  

Visit the MoMA

A huge number of art galleries and museums around the world have digitised their collections and are now offering free virtual tours: https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/moma-the-museum-of-modern-art?hl=en

Go to 500 other museums or galleries

Google’s arts and culture collection has virtual tours of 500 attractions around the world, including national galleries from around the world, individual artist museums, and even the Eiffel Tower: https://artsandculture.google.com/partner?hl=en

Go to the aquarium

Although they’re closed to the public, Monterey Bay Aquarium have added a number of live cams to let you keep an eye on the jellyfish, kelp forest, coral reef, and even the penguins, completely free https://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals/live-cams

A message from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

On the eve of the second of May’s Bank Holidays many of you will be looking forward to a little peace in a somewhat chaotic world. Although we are learning to carve out a new norm for our lives, there remains very little that could be seen under any other circumstances as business as usual.

The weather, albeit today is very blustery, continues to facilitate us enjoying the unlimited time outdoors the easement of the lockdown allows. The fact that people can exercise for as long as they like and drive to open spaces for that will no doubt have helped considerably people with families and limited garden space. The outdoors is a cure for many things. A place to exercise, unburden the mind, play with the kids, walk the dog. But while you are making the most of the county’s wonderful green hills and dales, coastal walks and public rights of way, please remember the pandemic remains very much with us. While we are seeing cases in North Yorkshire very slowly decline, we are still seeing new cases, and sadly more deaths all too regularly. Remember you may not have any symptoms that you are aware of, but you may accidentally take it back to someone who becomes very seriously ill. Now is not the time for complacency, so please play your part.

Our ask is that you “Think ahead to limit the spread”. In my role as Chair of the multiagency command which is leading the fight against Covid-19 In York and North Yorkshire we are doing our best to support you. However, you can help too by sticking rigidly to the social distancing and hand washing guidance and thinking carefully about where you might go and walk or run etc. Remember most shops remain closed, including the majority of cafés and restaurants. It’s crucial you avoid crowds to limit the spread and remember that hygiene facilities will be limited. Those that are open will almost certainly be busy and social distancing may be tricky. If you arrive somewhere and it’s busy – please go somewhere else. Don’t risk it. Have a plan B and a plan C. It will be less stressful and will help you protect yourself and your family.

To support all your good work our highways teams have been reviewing the impact of the mitigation they put in place across some of the places where an influx of visitors would have been particularly challenging regarding staying at least 2 metres apart at all times. This weekend we will again close Foreshore Road, Royal Albert Drive and Marine Drive in Scarborough and there will be several parking suspensions across the Borough to try to enable social distancing. There will also be cones in places across Harrogate and Knaresborough. Please respect these closures and suspensions because we are putting them in place for everyone’s safety.

A major piece of work for the County Council continues to be around protecting our most vulnerable people. The shielding effort is going very well – thanks in part to the many volunteers in North Yorkshire giving their time to take provisions to people isolating or just calling them to make sure they don’t feel isolated. We are now also working with a number of supermarkets to help other vulnerable people secure priority food delivery slots. There are 235 care home and extra care setting in the county – which has a growing ageing population. Residents in these settings are particularly at risk and our health and adult services, public health and NHS colleagues continue to undertake daily calls with each venue. Helping with a broad range of practical measures and interventions that help to stop infection from spreading or even better – from coming into the setting in the first place. A key part of this good work is around testing for Covid-19 in care homes. This has been extremely complex and taken time to navigate. I am pleased to say that today I believe we have made a breakthrough on this that will help us test these setting more rapidly and regularly and I very much hope – play a big part in the latest fight against this virus. I hope to be able to say more on this next week. We have also set up a number of step down facilities to make sure that when people are discharged from hospital into community settings that there are safe places to send them where they can get the care they need, while also ensuring they are Covid-19 free before being admitted to wider community care facilities.  This was positively recognised by the Member of Parliament for Harrogate, Knaresborough and Boroughbridge Andrew Jones, this week at The House of Commons

So we have come a long way – there is much to do – but we will get through it and North Yorkshire will be different but it will also still be the very special place we know it to be. Remember - play your part and think ahead to limit the spread.

A message from Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health

Current World Health Organization data shows that we have now passed 4.9 million confirmed cases globally, with over 320 thousand deaths across 216 countries, areas or territories.

At a national level, yesterday’s (21/05) Public Health England data show there were 250,908 lab-confirmed cases in the UK, with 36,042 COVID-associated deaths. To date, there have been 1262 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across North Yorkshire.

The number of people currently in hospital with COVID-19 continues to decrease slowly. Sadly, there have been 574 deaths from COVID-19 across Airedale, Harrogate, South Tees and York NHS Trusts to date, of whom an estimated 220 will be North Yorkshire residents.

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

We are also supporting schools and other educational settings with their efforts to support them to open safely on the 1st of June for more pupils. Work is ongoing internally to prepare for the safe reopening of some of our front-facing services when this will be appropriate and in accordance with national guidance.

Covid-19 testing

As part of the national testing programme for coronavirus, drive-through Mobile Testing Units, run by the Department for Health and Social care, will be operating in the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • 23 May – Harrogate – The Hydro, HG1 2RP
  • 23 May – Pickering – Flamingo Land, YO17 6UX
  • 24 May – Settle – Greenfoot/rugby club car park, BD24 9RW
  • 24 May – Selby – Drax Social Club, YO8 8PJ
  • 24 May – Scarborough - Park and Ride Seamer Road (A64)

Before you attend you must book a test. There are two ways to do this depending on which testing group you are part of. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. 

Everyone in the country aged 5 and over who is showing coronavirus symptoms can register at http://www.nhs.uk/coronavirus

People who don't have access to the internet, or who have difficulty with the digital portals, can ring the new 119 service to book their test.

Essential workers and members of their household can register at: www.gov.uk/apply-coronavirus-test-essential-workers

You can see the full list of essential workers at: www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested

No health without mental health: why this matters now more than ever. 

Difficult emotions in the face of Coronavirus are a natural and widespread reaction and, for most, will recede with time. That does not make dealing with this easy. Having good mental health helps us relax more, achieve more and enjoy our lives more. 

Mental Health Awareness week helps to promote and reiterate the importance of good mental health for everyone. Practical tips to help you look after your mental health and wellbeing are available www.nhs.co.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/

Planning for recovery

Household waste recycling centres opening times return to normal

Following the successful reopening of 19 of North Yorkshire’s 20 household waste recycling centres (HWRCs) earlier this month, the majority of the sites are now reverting to their normal opening hours.

The HWRCs have been open seven days a week, including Wednesdays, when they would normally close, for a temporary period to help clear the backlog of waste that accumulated in people’s homes during the lockdown.

Now, 18 of the sites will revert to their normal opening hours and days of 08:30am to 5pm six days a week and will close on Wednesdays from 27 May.

This change back to normal opening times will apply to all sites except West Harrogate, which will continue to be open seven days a week as a further temporary measure while the Harrogate Stonefall site remains closed. Harrogate Stonefall and all mobile HWRCs remain closed for safety reasons.

Schools and childcare

Schools across North Yorkshire will get support with reopening

We are following the guidance from the Government and advising schools to prepare to be open from June 1 at the earliest.

Some schools may be ready to follow Government advice to allow them to open from that date, but many will have staggered dates and approaches depending on their individual circumstances.

Each school will be required to undertake a risk assessment in order to plan appropriate safety measures for their specific circumstances. This is to ensure each school can decide whether they can open safely.

These risk assessments will also inform the County Council if there are any schools in the county which cannot implement appropriate safety measures. The council will work with schools, head teachers and the unions to support each school and the decision to open by the head teacher and governing body.

Home to school transport

We know that some children who will be attending school from June 1 will be relying on their usual home to school transport. We are currently arranging travel for pupils already entitled to home to school transport where we have advance notice, but demand for the service 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