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

See our latest news round-up (bulletin).

28 July update

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

The last week has brought key developments for our county.

Firstly we were given the news that the Government has decided on a single unitary council for North Yorkshire meaning the county and district councils can begin to work together as one on the future delivery of public services. 

Never have we needed a unified approach and strong voice more than we do now as we strive to deliver better life chances for everyone here, while working hard with partners and businesses to drive post-Covid economic recovery.

It also allows us to deliver on our promise to empower local communities including town and parish councils and local groups and to work with them to develop plans and people focussed networks around our market towns. Local decision making and action will be a key feature of the new council.

Secondly, we now see Covid rates falling across North Yorkshire, as across England, so perhaps we can be forgiven for a bout of optimism.

After the past few weeks of soaring rates, our county is now in line with the lower England average. Though rates are still as high as they were at the peak of the pandemic last January and it is too early to tell if this is a sustained downward trend, rates do appear to be heading in the right direction.

That means of course that we should carry on with the good work. 

It is clear as you walk around the streets of North Yorkshire’s towns and villages that people are sticking with Covid-safety precautions to protect and respect others; they are wearing face masks, they are meeting outdoors whenever possible and they are keeping homes and work places well ventilated with open doors and windows. 

We can all continue to play our part by encouraging more of our younger people to do their bit too and get the vaccine – it remains the best protection against Covid-19 for all of us.  There are walk-in sites around the county to make this as easy as possible.

At our Local Resilience Forum press conference today, it was great to hear Charles Allen, a member of the team organising the Deer Shed Festival near Thirsk which starts on Friday, setting out the vast array of Covid protection measures being taken to keep the highly successful Deer Shed in this year’s national festival calendar - impressive and reassuring to see.

And as we allow ourselves to relax into summer, let’s keep safe in other ways. With the staycation market booming and the warm weather tempting people into the waters of our beautiful coastline, rivers and lakes, tragically there have been a spate of deaths around the country.

Tony Peel, station manager of North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue reminded everybody at our press conference of the current water safety campaign. He outlined the dos and don’ts of open water swimming including key advice never to swim alone, always take somebody with you; to check the conditions of the water before you enter - how cold the temperature, how strong the currents -   and if you are drinking alcohol, stay out of the water altogether.  Enjoy the waters, but take good care!

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

At 25 July 2021, there have been 41,942 positive tests since 3rd March 2020, with 2,000 new cases reported in the past week. The weekly rolling average of new cases is 286 cases per day, allowing for incomplete data in the most recent days. The 7-day rate for North Yorkshire is 376.2 cases per 100,000 people, higher than the England 7-day rate of 372.6.  Work continues to ensure effective monitoring of all areas, with support for incidents being provided across a range of settings, which are reviewed daily.

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

Testing Update

If anyone has symptoms, they must book a PCR test. Testing sites across 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 testing site locations and hosting information on how people with symptoms can book a test via the national government portal.

Find information about where you can get a PCR test on our website.

Everyone is encouraged to test themselves twice a week with home testing kits and report the results to NHS Test and Trace. You can order rapid lateral flow device (LFD) tests online or collect them from participating pharmacies.

Find out how to order or collect free LFD tests.

It remains vitally important that we continue with the key messages:

  • Get your first and second dose of the jab
  • Continue to think about the vulnerability of loved ones.
  • Outdoors is always safer than indoors.
  • Keep getting tested regularly, even without symptoms.
  • Continue to follow social distancing when out with friends and family, including work places, pubs, restaurants etc.
  • Hands. Face. Space. Fresh Air.

Supporting our schools and childcare

Our children’s services have been praised by Ofsted for the way it has supported North Yorkshire’s most vulnerable children during pandemic.

The inspectorate is currently looking into how England’s social care system has provided services and care for children and young people since the outbreak of Covid-19. In June, inspectors looked at North Yorkshire’s children’s services in a focused visit on help and protection.

It found that, despite the expected increase in the number of children being referred to local authorities during the pandemic, vulnerable children were protected and supported, stating that “vulnerable children received effective services from skilled and compassionate professionals that protects, helps and supports them.”

Our Children’s Services are currently rated Outstanding and the inspectors concluded that children’s services have “continued to develop positively since the last inspection”, with improved outcomes for most children and low numbers of children needing to be brought into care due to the extensive support and resources in place for families.

The outcome is testimony to the hard work of many individuals who work hard to make sure families are fully supported and children in North Yorkshire have the best possible outcomes, regardless of their circumstances. That includes everyone often behind the scenes who support our teams and our passionate and compassionate front line workers who have sat alongside families, often at their lowest ebb, throughout this pandemic.

Growing our local economy

LEP News: Rimla Akhtar OBE - Contribution to Diversity & Inclusion

Join the next Women In Business online event on the 28 July with a special speaker Rimla Akhtar OBE talking about her contribution to diversity and inclusion. Rimla is that rare individual who has lived global business and elite sport and in 2021 was awarded an OBE in addition to the MBE received in 2015. Find out more and register to attend the Women In Business online event.

Bioeconomy: how renewable resources can help the future of our planet

BioVale has been heavily involved in developing an online Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) for the University of York on the Bioeconomy: how renewable resources can help the future of our planet. This three-week course (starting from 26th July) will give participants an understanding on what a bioeconomy is and which sectors it includes. Find out more about Bioeconomy.

Keeping in touch

Keep up to date with Covid-19 news for North Yorkshire.

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

Previous bulletins - 2021

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

The coronavirus picture in North Yorkshire is stark.

The average number of Covid-19 cases is 570 per 100,000 people, the highest seen in the county, a significant rise on last week and above the England average of 520.

But in true Team North Yorkshire spirit, the message we hear time and again reflects our call for everyone to respect and protect themselves and others by continuing to wear face coverings where appropriate, understanding that some people still appreciate social distancing and sticking to  regular hand sanitising and washing.

Remember that this virus can affect all age groups and is felt across our communities.

Today we heard from Eva Hanchard, head girl at Thirsk School and Sixth Form College, which had to close this week because of isolating staff and pupils. Eva herself is recovering from Covid.

She spoke about the impact on school life, from the loneliness and isolation of remote learning to the cancellation of social and fundraising events.

Her advice to young people applies to us all: “Just because we’re allow to do what we want doesn’t mean we should, because it’s impossible to know who around you could have Covid. Your actions could affect a lot of people, even if you don’t realise. It’s important we keep up with mask wearing. It’s such an easy thing to do.”

Many businesses are retaining Covid measures. Carolyn Frank of the Federation of Small Businesses told us of the challenges businesses face, including debt, staff recruitment and rising costs, and how they need our support.

“There are a lot of challenges for business owners, so if they ask you to wear a mask or follow a one-way system, please respect them and help businesses to get through this,” she said.

David Moss, of the Wensleydale Heifer at West Witton, has kept measures in place. He surveyed 2,000 customers and found that while people were confident about going out they were wary of lifting safety measures.

“We are finding that the majority of guests are still wearing masks, still sanitising their hands,” said David. “We think at the moment it would be silly to do anything different to what we have been doing, which has kept staff and customers safe.”

Let’s all keep taking the basic precautions, and get both doses of the vaccine as soon as you’re eligible. Let’s respect and protect each other.

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

At 18 July 2021, there have been 39,553 positive tests since 3 March 2020, with 3,241 new cases reported in the past week. The weekly rolling average of new cases is 349 cases per day, allowing for incomplete data in the most recent days. The seven-day rate for North Yorkshire is 569.9 cases per 100,000 people, higher than the England seven-day rate of 520.4. Work continues to ensure effective monitoring of all areas, with support for incidents being provided across a range of settings, which are reviewed daily.

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

Testing Update

If anyone has symptoms, they must book a PCR test. Testing sites across 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 testing site locations and hosting information on how people with symptoms can book a test via the national government portal.

Find information about where you can get a PCR test on our website.

Everyone is encouraged to test themselves twice a week with home testing kits and report the results to NHS Test and Trace. You can order rapid lateral flow device (LFD) tests online or collect them from participating pharmacies.

Find out how to order or collect free LFD tests.

It remains vitally important that we continue with the key messages:

  • Get your first and second dose of the jab
  • Continue to think about the vulnerability of loved ones.
  • Outdoors is always safer than indoors.
  • Keep getting tested regularly, even without symptoms.
  • Continue to follow social distancing when out with friends and family, including work places, pubs, restaurants etc.
  • Hands. Face. Space. Fresh Air.

Working together towards recovery

Teamwork to support our residents

Some people are more at risk of becoming seriously ill from coronavirus than others, so we’re encouraging all North Yorkshire residents to continue being careful and considerate and to respect and protect each other. Thank you for sticking to the basics of hands, face, space and fresh air. You’re part of the Team North Yorkshire effort keeping our communities safe.

Government advice for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable is to continue taking extra precautions to protect themselves, such as meeting friends and family outside, using online deliveries for shopping or going at quieter times of the day.

Read the full guidance.

Lots of residents are nervous about going shopping or being around lots of people, and are still being supported by friends and family or in some cases volunteers.

For the last 17 months, we’ve been working alongside our partners with 23 community support organisations and the voluntary sector to provide a safety net of support during the pandemic. Thousands of volunteers have helped with shopping, collecting medication, walking pets, taking people to medical appointments and being there for a friendly chat.

If you need help with things like shopping, collecting medication or other essentials while you’re self-isolating, please contact family, friends, neighbours or groups you belong to and let them know how they can support you. If you don’t have anyone to lean on, you can contact our customer service centre on 01609 780780 seven days a week from 8am to 5:30pm.

Remember, if you’re contacted directly by NHS test and trace via phone or email, you legally have to self-isolate for the full 10-day period. If you get ‘pinged’ by the NHS test and trace app, you are strongly encouraged to self-isolate and the app helps you with the length of time you should isolate for.

Find information about the help available, including self-isolation support payments.

Supporting our schools and childcare

The majority of schools in North Yorkshire are now on their last week of term. It has been a challenging year for parents, pupils and staff and we would like to thank everyone for their tremendous contribution and hard work.

Many schools in the county have continued with their existing bubble systems for the remaining days of term. The Government recently issued new guidance, meaning school bubbles are no longer required and school assemblies can resume and children and young people can mix again at breaktimes and lunchtimes. This system will be in place in schools in the county from the start of the autumn term in September.

Face coverings will also no longer be mandatory in classrooms, communal areas in schools, or on school transport.

But school risk assessments will remain a legal requirement and appropriate safety measures are expected to remain in place in schools. This includes measures around hygiene, such as regular hand washing, good ventilation in classrooms and cleaning regimes in school buildings. The Government has also asked that schools retain their capacity for remote learning over the next academic year for self-isolating pupils.

Over the summer there will be a range of holiday club activities across the county, where children can learn new skills, stay active, healthy and socially connected. The holiday clubs have been funded by the Department for Education’s Holiday Activities and Food

Programme and are available to all families, with free admission to children in receipt of benefits-related free school meals. Every club will offer a hot meal or packed lunch each day.

The County Council has commissioned North Yorkshire Together, a partnership between Rural Arts, North Yorkshire Sport and North Yorkshire Youth to run the programme in the county, under the banner of FEAST North Yorkshire. Find more information about FEAST.

We would like to wish our school communities a well-earned break over summer.

Growing our local economy

LEP News: Getting York on track to attract new rail HQ

We are working with partners locally and in Government to make the case for bringing the Great British Railways headquarters to York.

Read Kevin Hollinrake MP in the Yorkshire Post on what makes York the perfect place.

Kickstart Scheme Success Stories

The Kickstart Scheme has been a boost to the morale and productivity of young people and businesses. Open to businesses of all sizes and sectors, the government-funded scheme opens up six-month placements for 16-24-year-olds, allowing them to gain valuable work experience, and allowing businesses to receive the support they need in unprecedented times.

Here are just a few of many York and North Yorkshire success stories that have come out of the Kickstart Scheme.

Keeping in touch

Keep up to date with Covid-19 news for North Yorkshire.

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

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

We’re entering a new phase in how we deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. The virus is still with us, so as we reach step 4 on the Government’s roadmap on Monday we each need to consider our approach to living with Covid in the coming weeks and months.

We’ll be appealing to that great Team North Yorkshire spirit that we have witnessed so clearly and in so many ways over the past 16 months to keep the county strong and resolute in its efforts to stop the spread of this illness.

The number of cases is rising. North Yorkshire’s average is 355 per 100,000 people, a little above the England average of 345. We are seeing more than 300 new cases in the county each day, the highest rate since 12 January. More than 80 Covid patients are in the main hospitals that serve the county, compared with 400-plus in January, but that number has doubled in five days.

Those numbers alone tell us that we need to continue to act responsibly.

I can sum up our approach in two words: respect and protect. We can show respect for and offer protection to ourselves and those around us by continuing to do the simple things.

Please continue to wear your face covering in crowded spaces outdoors or indoors.

Businesses and shops need to do all they can to protect their staff, as well as customers. They don’t want to have to close because staff are self-isolating, so wearing a facemask not only protects you, it protects other people and supports local business.

Likewise with social distancing, some people may not feel as confident as you, so giving them space is important. Regular hand washing and sticking to well-ventilated places remains important, too.

Above all else, it is crucial that you have your vaccination. Get your first jab as soon as you’re able – and make sure you get your second jab, too. That continues to be our best line of defence.

As the vaccination programme moves to younger people, our NHS colleagues are seeing greater use of walk-in and pop-up clinics. These take place across North Yorkshire and require no booking – just drop in.

Find a walk-in clinic near you.

We’ve come a long way and we’re making progress through the vaccine. There’s a way to go, but we’ve shown we can do this together. Stay strong, stay safe, and let’s stop the spread.

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

At 12 July 2021, there have been 36,405 positive tests since 3 March 2020, with 2,084 new cases reported in the past week. The weekly rolling average of new cases is 298 cases per day, allowing for incomplete data in the most recent days. The seven-day rate for North Yorkshire is 354.7 cases per 100,000 people, higher than the England seven-day rate of 345.1. Work continues to ensure effective monitoring of all areas, with support for incidents being provided across a range of settings, which are reviewed daily.

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

Testing Update

If anyone has symptoms, they must book a PCR test. Testing sites across 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 testing site locations and hosting information on how people with symptoms can book a test via the national government portal.

Find information about where you can get a PCR test on our website.

Everyone is encouraged to test themselves twice a week with home testing kits and report the results to NHS Test and Trace. You can order rapid lateral flow device (LFD) tests online or collect them from participating pharmacies.

Find out how to order or collect free LFD tests.

It remains vitally important that we continue with the key messages:

  • Get your first and second dose of the jab
  • Continue to think about the vulnerability of loved ones.
  • Outdoors is always safer than indoors.
  • Keep getting tested regularly, even without symptoms.
  • Continue to follow social distancing when out with friends and family, including work places, pubs, restaurants etc.
  • Hands. Face. Space. Fresh Air.

Supporting our school and childcare

It has been a difficult year, but school communities have managed to overcome the many challenges brought about by the pandemic. As this is the last week of term, we would like to wish school staff, governors, parents and children a really happy summer and thank them for pulling together to make sure the academic year passed with the least disruption possible.

Over the summer, a diverse holiday club programme is being rolled out across the county. Organisations will be providing a mixture of activities that help children to stay active, healthy and socially connected which will give them an opportunity to develop new skills and try new experiences.

The activities are available to all families and are free to those who receive benefits-related free school meals and will include a hot meal or packed lunch each day. Activities on offer include summer sports camps, sessions on growing and cooking vegetables, music, libraries activities, art, dance and drama sessions.

There will also be activities for families of children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), which will include day trips to North Yorkshire venues and attractions.

Funding for the scheme has come from the Department for Education’s Holiday Activities and Food Programme. The County Council has commissioned North Yorkshire Together, a partnership between Rural Arts, North Yorkshire Sport and North Yorkshire Youth to run the programme in the county, under the banner of FEAST North Yorkshire.

There is also food voucher help available for families in North Yorkshire who are likely to struggle with the additional cost of food and other essentials over the summer holidays.

The Covid Local Support Grant provides food voucher payments to parents and carers in receipt of free school meals, or other families impacted financially by the pandemic.

The Department for Work and Pensions has awarded the County Council grant funding of £1,350,900, which we have allocated to schools and academies and early years providers. Care leavers will also be eligible for food vouchers.

The vouchers amount to £75 to cover the length of the summer holiday.

Growing our local economy

Getting York on track to attract new rail HQ

We are working with partners locally and in Government to make the case for bringing the Great British Railways headquarters to York. Read Kevin Hollinrake MP in the Yorkshire Post on what makes York the perfect place.

BioYorkshire Survey

How would you like to see agritech and biotech SMEs and entrepreneurs supported in Yorkshire? Help BioYorkshire (a ten-year plan to cement the Yorkshire region as the UK’s centre of innovation and commercialisation in the bio-economy) map the opportunities, challenges and useful interventions by taking part in a short five-minute survey. Participants will go into a draw to win a bio-based goody bag.

Keeping in touch

Keep up to date with Covid-19 news for North Yorkshire.

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

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

To paraphrase one of sport’s most enduring quotes… don’t think it’s all over.

That applies to tonight’s semi-final between England and Denmark in the European Football Championships, of course, but also to how we might continue to approach the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the tournament so far, we’ve seen Gareth Southgate’s England play with care, control, confidence and, perhaps most of all, teamwork to progress to this stage.

If you’ll allow me to stretch the metaphor, these are qualities we can use in our daily lives to protect ourselves, families, friends and neighbours and tackle the spread of coronavirus.

The average number of cases in North Yorkshire is 259 per 100,000 people, slightly above the England average of 258. As we await a Government decision next week on whether the data supports a move to Step 4 of the road map from 19 July, let’s remember that Covid-19 has not gone away, so the precautions we have taken up till now remain important.

We do need to live with Covid. That will take time and we will all feel differently about it. Some may be confident, others worried, and we need to find a careful balance.

We can have confidence in the impact of the vaccination and the protection it gives, but need to be careful about how we work together in the next phase of the pandemic.

There will be many views, and people need to do what feels right for them while being mindful of loved ones and other people.

Face coverings, along with hand washing, meeting outdoors where possible and keeping places well ventilated, remain important tools to combat the spread of the virus, certainly until everyone is able to benefit from the same level of protection from the vaccine.

A final word on vaccination, and if you’ll indulge another football reference, it’s a game of two doses… It’s vital that everyone eligible gets the vaccine and that everyone gets both jabs. That will give you and those around you the greatest protection.

I hope that wordplay is more excruciating than anything England fans see on the pitch in tonight’s game. Please enjoy the football, do so safely, and let’s continue to look after ourselves and each other.

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

At 4 July 2021, there have been 33,819 positive tests since 3 March 2020, with 1,514 new cases reported in the past week. The weekly rolling average of new cases is 216 cases per day, allowing for incomplete data in the most recent days. The seven-day rate for North Yorkshire is 258.6 cases per 100,000 people, higher than the England seven-day rate of 257.9. Work continues to ensure effective monitoring of all areas, with support for incidents being provided across a range of settings, which are reviewed daily.

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

Testing Update

If anyone has symptoms, they must book a PCR test. Testing sites across 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 testing site locations and hosting information on how people with symptoms can book a test via the national government portal.

Find information about where you can get a PCR test on our website.

Everyone is encouraged to test themselves twice a week with home testing kits and report the results to NHS Test and Trace. You can order rapid lateral flow device (LFD) tests online or collect them from participating pharmacies.

Find out how to order or collect free LFD tests.

It remains vitally important that we continue with the key messages:

  • Get your first and second dose of the jab
  • Continue to think about the vulnerability of loved ones.
  • Outdoors is always safer than indoors.
  • Keep getting tested regularly, even without symptoms.
  • Continue to follow social distancing when out with friends and family, including work places, pubs, restaurants etc.
  • Hands. Face. Space. Fresh Air.

Supporting our school and childcare

Following the Government announcement this week, from July 19 the school bubble system will no longer be required, meaning schools assemblies can resume and children and young people can again mix at breaktimes and lunchtimes.

Most schools in North Yorkshire will not have begun their summer break by this date, but we have been told that schools can retain their existing bubble system until the end of term, if they wish.

The Government also announced that pupils, staff and visitors to schools will no longer have to wear face coverings after July 19 while in school classrooms or communal areas, or on school transport.

However, school risk assessments still remain a legal requirement and appropriate safety measures are expected to remain in place in schools. This includes measures around hygiene, such as regular hand washing, appropriate cleaning regimes in school buildings, good ventilation in classrooms and to follow public health advice on testing. Schools will also have outbreak management plans and can reinstate face masks and the bubble system for short periods in the event of an outbreak.

The Government announcement also specified that schools need to retain the capacity to provide remote education, which will cover the next academic year as well, in the event that there are large numbers of pupils self-isolating.

We currently have seven schools and early years settings closed in North Yorkshire.

Closures are not always due to confirmed cases in schools; some are due to operational reasons, where staff may be isolating while they wait for test results, or while a member of their family awaits results for suspected covid. We are confident schools are doing their best to keep closures to a minimum.

Throughout the past months, schools have managed to keep the balance between managing risks associated with covid and maintaining the focus on children’s education. We feel very strongly that staff, governors and pupils have all gone the extra mile in their different ways to make this year a success and ensure the least disruption to children’s education and we would like to thank them for their work.

Growing our local economy

LEP News: Peer Networks programme: Learn, share and grow

There has never been a more important time to invest in the future of your business. The Peer Networks programme allows you to do this by working with people who know business best – other business leaders.

Our professional facilitators will support you and your small cohort of fellow business leaders as you work together on important challenges, and the topics to be discussed, and come up with tangible solutions in a collaborative, non-competitive environment.

Find out more about the Peer Networks programme.

The Resource Efficient Business Programme

The Resource Efficient Business Programme (REBiz) offers advice and financial support to SMEs in York, Harrogate, Craven and Selby that are looking to reduce their energy usage, save water and cut waste. It can also help businesses in adopting circular business models, products and services.

The programme can provide eligible businesses hands on consultancy support to identify energy, waste, and water saving projects via fully funded resource efficiency audits. There is 40% capital support available for qualifying projects, up to a maximum total project value of £100,000. Examples of projects that can be supported with grant funding include: LED lighting, more efficient heating, compressor upgrades, insulation improvements, and variable speed drives.

Find out more about the circular economy.

Keeping in touch

Keep up to date with Covid-19 news for North Yorkshire.

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

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

As we watched over 40,000 triumphant and ecstatic football fans celebrate England’s victory over Germany at Wembley last night, it felt like a truly historic moment. Not only was the national team throwing off decades of defeat in the Euros, but there was a real sense that finally we were taking a big joyful step towards normal life, to being able to attend mass events and share memorable moments in the company of friends and family.

We are not there yet of course. The England team has to get beyond Saturday’s quarter finals and we must remember that we are still in step 3 of opening up society out of the Covid pandemic. Indeed with Covid rates rising rapidly everywhere, due to the highly transmissible Delta variant, the county’s Director of Public Health, Louise Wallace, was right to remind us at today’s press conference to continue to be cautious; continue to follow hands, face, space and fresh air guidelines; continue to get tested regularly, and to make sure we get vaccinated twice.  Walk-in and pop-up vaccination sites are now being set up around the county for people over 18 without the need to book.

Thankfully, the vaccine does seem to be having the desired impact.  Although cases are rising and the North Yorkshire average per 100,000 population now stands at 143.7 (England average 158.9) the number of those being hospitalised with the virus is significantly lower than in previous waves – 22 are in hospitals serving the North Yorkshire population, one down from last week.

So perhaps it is timely to say a big THANK YOU to all those who have helped bring us to this point over the past 16 months – some of the most challenging months in our history. Sunday (July 4th) is National Thank You Day and Monday (July 5th) is NHS, Social Care and Front Line Workers Day.  They give us the chance to pay tribute to all those great volunteers in our county who have helped to protect the vulnerable or have helped out with family, friends and neighbours.  We can also give thanks to all those colleagues in social care and the NHS who have pulled out all the stops to look after people on the Covid frontline.

We owe them all a huge debt of gratitude.

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

At 27 June 2021, there have been 32,188 positive tests since 3rd March 2020, with 1,420 new cases reported in the past two weeks. The weekly rolling average of new cases is 82 cases per day, allowing for incomplete data in the most recent days. The 7-day rate for North Yorkshire is 143.7 cases per 100,000 people, lower than the England 7-day rate of 158.9.  Work continues to ensure effective monitoring of all areas, with support for incidents being provided across a range of settings, which are reviewed daily.

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

Unlock Summer campaign

Our Unlock Summer campaign is under way. Residents can find it across the council’s social media channels, out on the county’s streets and in cafés and takeaways. The messages encourage people to carry on sticking to the rules to unlock the benefits of the next step in the Government’s road map. 

Let’s work together to unlock summer

Testing Update

If anyone has symptoms, they must book a PCR test. Testing sites across 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 testing site locations and hosting information on how people with symptoms can book a test via the national government portal.

Find information about where you can get a PCR test on our website.

Everyone is encouraged to test themselves twice a week with home testing kits and report the results to NHS Test and Trace. You can order rapid lateral flow device (LFD) tests online or collect them from participating pharmacies.

Find out how to order or collect free LFD tests.

It remains vitally important that we continue with the key messages:

  • Get your first and second dose of the jab
  • Continue to think about the vulnerability of loved ones.
  • Outdoors is always safer than indoors.
  • Keep getting tested regularly, even without symptoms.
  • Continue to follow social distancing when out with friends and family, including work places, pubs, restaurants etc.
  • Hands. Face. Space. Fresh Air.

Working together towards recovery

Remove a nude image shared online: new tool to empower children and young people

With North Yorkshire Safeguarding Children Partnership, we are promoting a new tool to help young people keep themselves safe online, as part of our work to support children and young people. 

The tool launched by Childline and The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), enables children and young people to report a nude image or video of themselves which has been shared online. The IWF can then take steps to remove it from the Internet. More information from the IWF can be found here and the Childline reporting tool, ‘Report Remove’, can be found here.

For anyone who supports or works with young people, please feel free to share details.

SEND services – tell us your views

With Parent Carer Voice, and local Clinical Commissioning groups, we are developing a joint strategy for North Yorkshire that covers education, health and care for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) up to the age of 25 years.

The strategy will be developed in partnership with children, young people, parents, carers and other key stakeholders, to establish a strategic vision for the future of SEND support in North Yorkshire.

We’re keen to hear from anyone who wants to share their experiences of SEND services ahead of a formal consultation in Autumn this year.

Anyone who wants to take part can:

If you would like to give feedback in another way, please get in touch.

NY Voice, our Youth Voice & Creative Engagement team, are also hosting events for young people on 8 and 15 July – email nyvoice@northyorks.gov.uk for more details.

Supporting our school and childcare

Families in North Yorkshire who are likely to struggle with the additional cost of food and other essentials over the summer holidays, may be eligible for food vouchers.

The Covid Local Support Grant provides supermarket vouchers to parent sand carers with children in receipt of free school meals, or other families impacted financially by the pandemic. Following a recent Government announcement, the scheme has been extended to cover the forthcoming school holidays.

We have received grant funding of £1,350,900 from the Department for Work and Pensions, which will be sent out to schools and early years providers early in July.

The funding is primarily for children in receipt of free school meals, to ensure they continue to have access to food while schools are closed.  Schools will have discretion to provide some vouchers to other families unable to cover the cost of essentials. Care leavers will also be eligible.

The vouchers amount to £75 to cover the length of the summer holiday.

A programme of healthy holiday activities will also be taking place in North Yorkshire over the summer break. Organisations offering sessions in everything from sports coaching, to creative and performing arts and cooking sessions have signed up to North Yorkshire’s FEAST holiday activities programme.

North Yorkshire County Council has commissioned North Yorkshire Together, a partnership between Rural Arts, North Yorkshire Sport and North Yorkshire Youth to oversee the diverse programme.

The holiday clubs will be available to all pupils in North Yorkshire, but will be free of charge to families eligible for free schools meals.

Overall attendance in schools in North Yorkshire remains above the national average. We currently have two secondary schools which have closed due to coronavirus and five early years providers, out of the hundreds of nurseries, child minders and other providers in North Yorkshire.  They are based in areas where background transmission rates are high in the community.

We continue to encourage students and their families to test twice a week at home. The lateral Flow tests are successfully helping us to identify children and staff who are asymptomatic. Participation in coronavirus home testing is entirely voluntary, but we would strongly encourage people to continue to test.

Keeping in touch

Keep up to date with Covid-19 news for North Yorkshire.

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

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

Our journey through this pandemic is a marathon, as I’m sure we all realise. We have about 16 months behind us and, unfortunately, probably another year or so ahead.

I thank the people of North Yorkshire again for their tremendous effort and sacrifice and encourage you to keep going as we work our way through this.

The situation in North Yorkshire is changing rapidly, as it is nationwide, and we must be prepared for further ups and downs. The average infection rate in the county is 81 per 100,000 people, a four-fold increase in three weeks.

Our response must remain the same – not only to follow the rules around hands, face, space and fresh air, but also to take up your vaccine. We have high levels of uptake in North Yorkshire. That’s great and it gives us protection. However, we need to go further. We need everyone who is offered the vaccine to take it up. Together we can work to unlock summer, but to unlock summer safely.

In Safeguarding Week, we heard at our press conference today from Evie Duarte, North Yorkshire Regional Manager of IDAS (Independent Domestic Abuse Services) about how the pandemic has affected victims of domestic abuse.

IDAS had seen the number of referrals in North Yorkshire double in 2020 to 10,000.

Isolation is a key tactic of perpetrators of domestic abuse to control their victims, and the pandemic presented an opportunity to isolate victims further under the pretext of protecting them. We can all look for the signs of domestic abuse. As well as physical signs, there are subtle signs, such as changes in behaviour or a loss of confidence.

“People who are subject to domestic abuse and violence are often unlikely to disclose unless they are asked,” said Evie, “so it is really important that we continue to talk about domestic abuse and ask people if they have been experiencing abuse.” Watch Evie’s press conference video.

We also know that there can be increases in domestic abuse during major sporting tournaments, such as the Euros, when people are drinking more.

Anyone can contact IDAS with their concerns on their helpline, 03000 110 110. Find out more on the IDAS website.

Finally, Saturday, 26 June, is Armed Forces Day. This is always an important day in the North Yorkshire calendar, but this year in particular I thank our armed forces for all their work in supporting essential services and local communities during the pandemic.

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

At 21 June 2021, there have been 31,338 positive tests since 3 March 2020, with 767 new cases reported in the past two weeks. The weekly rolling average of new cases is 50 cases per day, allowing for incomplete data in the most recent days. The seven-day rate for North Yorkshire is 80.9 cases per 100,000 people, lower than the England seven-day rate of 100.4. Work continues to ensure effective monitoring of all areas, with support for incidents being provided across a range of settings, which are reviewed daily.

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

Vaccination update

The Covid-19 vaccine rollout in England continues at pace, and has been extended further to include anyone aged 18 or over.

For further information visit Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination information.

England remains in Step 3

The government has announced a four-week pause at Step 3. Step 3 restrictions remain in place. It is expected that England will move to Step 4 on 19 July, though the data will be reviewed after two weeks in case the risks have reduced. The government will continue to monitor the data and the move to Step 4 will be confirmed one week in advance.

Some rules changed on 21 June in relation to:

  • Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies and wedding receptions or civil partnership celebrations.
  • Commemorative events following a death such as a wake, stone setting or ash scattering
  • Care home visits
  • Domestic residential visits for children 

 See full details of the changes.

It remains vitally important that we continue with the key messages:

  • Get your first and second dose of the jab
  • Continue to think about the vulnerability of loved ones.
  • Outdoors is always safer than indoors.
  • Keep getting tested regularly, even without symptoms.
  • Continue to follow social distancing when out with friends and family, including work places, pubs, restaurants etc.
  • Hands. Face. Space. Fresh Air.

Testing Update

If anyone has symptoms, they must book a PCR test. Testing sites across 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 testing site locations and hosting information on how people with symptoms can book a test via the national government portal.

Find information about where you can get a PCR test on our website.

Everyone is encouraged to test themselves twice a week with home testing kits and report the results to NHS Test and Trace. You can order rapid lateral flow device (LFD) tests online or collect them from participating pharmacies or testing sites.

Find out how to order or collect free LFD tests.

Working together towards recovery

SEND Strategy engagement

The Council, Parent Carer Voice and local clinical commissioning groups are seeking to develop a joint strategy for North Yorkshire that covers education, health and care for children and young people with SEND up to the age of 25 years.

In partnership with children, young people, parents, carers and other key stakeholders, we intend to establish a strategic vision for the future in North Yorkshire.

We’re keen to hear from anyone that wants to share their experiences of SEND services ahead of a formal consultation in autumn this year.

Starting next week, we are hosting online events for parent carers and professionals to give feedback. There will also be focus groups for young people, run by NY Voice, our youth voice and creative engagement team. An online survey will be live from 28 June, and there will be other ways to give feedback.

Find more information and book on to an event.

Supporting our schools and childcare

We would like to thank people in education and their households for taking part in the home swab tests for coronavirus. We have seen several cases where the lateral flow testing has picked up asymptomatic cases of coronavirus, which have acted as an early warning in education settings and prevented the virus spreading. We would encourage people to continue these lateral flow tests.

Sherburn High School is currently working closely with North Yorkshire County Council, Public Health England and the Department for Education, after the STAR Multi Academy Trust took the difficult decision to close the school temporarily due to positive coronavirus cases in both students and members of staff. The school will remain closed from Thursday, June 17, to Monday, June 28, and remote learning will be available for all students.

The school was made aware of a number of positive coronavirus cases last week and over the weekend as a result of routine lateral flow testing and since then more cases have been reported through PCR testing.

The health and wellbeing of all students, staff and members of the wider community, as well as the continuity of education and care for students not currently in school, remain the school’s priorities.

Growing our local economy

LEP News: York & North Yorkshire LEP Quarterly Skills Network

With the UK government's aim to slash emissions by 78% by 2035, what skills are needed in a sustainable future? After our first successful Quarterly Skills Forum in April, we are back to answer this question for skills partners and employers with a new theme for July: Emerging and Adapting Skills within a Greener Economy.

Sign up for Emerging and Adapting Skills within a Greener Economy.

5 July: Start your business today with our free online course

Do you want to start your own business, but are not sure where to begin, or have you started trading but need a guiding hand? The York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub has teamed up with Rebel Business School to offer free places on their acclaimed workshop to help you turn your dreams into a real business.

Over two weeks, the workshop explores a new topic every day, including how to start with no money, sales and marketing, legal, networking, and keeping motivated, as well as providing live business coaching. Find out more and how to secure your place here.

Keeping in touch

Keep up to date with Covid-19 news for North Yorkshire.

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

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

This week we find ourselves remaining on step 3 of the Government’s road map out of pandemic restrictions, with step 4 delayed for a month.

We can see the sense in this when we consider cases across North Yorkshire almost doubled in the last week to 45 per 100,000. While none of us wanted this delay, we must respond, as before, with confidence and care for each other.

Be confident in the vaccine. Please, when offered your first or second jab, take it. This is our best defence against Covid-19. Also keep practising the basics – hands, face, space and fresh air – which are vital in keeping us safe.

That said, we can still enjoy ourselves. Sunshine is here and so is the European Football Championship. England made a good start, as did Wales. Scotland less so, but let’s hope they progress.

If you watch the Euros in a bar, be Covid-safe and consider the staff, who are trying to keep us all safe, too. Let’s celebrate and support our businesses and visit the shops and businesses that go the extra mile to be Covid-safe.

The news that those over 21 can now get the jab reminds us of the impact of the pandemic on our young people. At our press conference today, we heard about work to support and to listen to them.

Caroline O’Neill of Community First Yorkshire shared research that revealed 76 per cent of young people feeling lonely during the pandemic. The organisation’s Stand Up To Youth Loneliness campaign, created in consultation with young people across the county, addresses the social isolation affecting young people.

David Watson, of North Yorkshire Sport, highlighted the North Yorkshire Together partnership’s FEAST project to provide holiday activities for children eligible for free school meals. As summer holidays approach, organisations interested in providing activities are invited to apply for funding.

We value young people’s views. The press conference heard from James Koppert, a youth voice and participation officer, about our support for young people through the pandemic and the role of our youth voice executive, which ensures we listen to young people.

This work with and for young people is another example of the community connections that will help us through the rest of this pandemic.

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

At 14 June 2021, there have been 30,781 positive tests since 3 March 2020, with 480 new cases reported in the past two weeks. The weekly rolling average of new cases is 34 cases per day, allowing for incomplete data in the most recent days. The seven-day rate for North Yorkshire is 45.1 cases per 100,000 people, lower than the England seven-day rate of 74.7. Work continues to ensure effective monitoring of all areas, with support for incidents being provided across a range of settings, which are reviewed daily.

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

Four-week delay to lifting of restrictions

The Government has announced the decision to delay the lifting of all legal restrictions on social contact by four weeks, from 21 June to 19 July. England will remain under Step 3 restrictions beyond 21 June, with the exception of weddings and wakes, which will be allowed to go ahead with more than 30 guests if social distancing is maintained.

Vaccination update

The Covid-19 vaccine rollout in England has been extended further to include the following groups:

  • people aged 21 and over
  • people who will turn 21 before 1 July 2021

Find further information on vaccination.

Testing Update

If anyone has symptoms, they must book a PCR test. Testing sites across 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 testing site locations and hosting information on how people with symptoms can book a test via the national government portal.

Find information about where you can get a PCR test on our website.

Everyone is encouraged to test themselves twice a week with home testing kits and report the results to NHS Test and Trace. You can order rapid lateral flow device (LFD) tests online or collect them from participating pharmacies or testing sites.

Find out how to order or collect free LFD tests.

With the lifting of restriction delayed until 19 July, it is vitally important that we continue with the key messages:

  • Get your first and second dose of the jab when it’s your turn.
  • Continue to think about the vulnerability of loved ones.
  • Outdoors is always safer than indoors.
  • Keep getting tested regularly, even without symptoms.
  • Continue to follow social distancing when out with friends and family, including work places, pubs, restaurants etc.

Hands. Face. Space. Fresh Air.

Working together towards recovery

Safeguarding Week 21 to 25 June 2021: LAST CHANCE to sign up for online sessions

A virtual, online conference will take place next week (Monday 21 and Friday 25 June), to mark Safeguarding Week 2021. Everybody has a part to play in keeping themselves, friends and family, employees and our wider community safe.

Partners from Safeguarding Adults Boards, Children’s Safeguarding Partnerships, Community Safety Partnerships across North Yorkshire, the City of York and East Riding have come together to develop an extensive programme of learning events, seminars and interactive sessions which all underpin this year’s theme, ‘Safeguarding is everybody’s business’.

As well as learning events for safeguarding professionals, there will be online sessions for which anyone is welcome to register. These cover a range of topics, including using online banking in safety (by North Yorkshire Police) and reducing loneliness and isolation (East Riding Safeguarding Adults Board, East Riding Council).

View the full conference programme and register

Read more about the safeguarding week conference here.

Loneliness Awareness Week

We are marking Loneliness Awareness Week, a national campaign hosted by the Marmalade Trust to get people talking about loneliness. For people of all ages, just having someone to talk to during long and lonely months of lockdown and shielding made all the difference.

Working alongside partners with the voluntary sector, the Team North Yorkshire effort coordinated through community support organisations has seen countless prescriptions collected, many cupboards stocked with food, telephone calls made to check in on people, library books supplied and meals delivered. Whatever duties they have performed, volunteers have been highly aware of the importance of their contact with residents even when it has been at a distance.

Find more information about Loneliness Awareness Week and the Marmalade Trust.

Find information about community groups and voluntary organisations in your area to increase your social connections.

Supporting our schools and childcare

We continue to have confidence that our schools remain safe places for children to learn and meet their additional needs. The use of lateral flow tests by pupils and families appears to be picking up asymptomatic cases early on and preventing the spread of the virus through schools, without the need for closing the school.

Organisations still have time to apply for a grant to deliver healthy holiday activities for young people in North Yorkshire this summer. A wide-ranging programme of sports coaching, creative and performing arts sessions and healthy eating are already set to be rolled out across the county for children and young people during the summer holidays.

We have commissioned North Yorkshire Together, a partnership between North Yorkshire Sport, Rural Arts and North Yorkshire Youth, to oversee a diverse programme of holiday activities.

North Yorkshire Together is inviting other organisations to join them in providing the FEAST holiday activities programme and is encouraging voluntary groups, sports coaching organisations, arts organisations, village hall groups and schools to apply for a grant to provide summer holiday activities.

The clubs will be available to all pupils in North Yorkshire, but will be free-of-charge to families eligible for free school meals and will include the provision of a meal during the session.

The funding for the programme has come from the Department for Education’s Holiday Activities and Food Programme. The activities must be a mix of engaging activities and also teach children about health and nutrition, as well as provide them with healthy food. North Yorkshire Together can support organisations to access healthy food options, if needed.

Any organisation interested in taking part needs to apply by June 7. Find information on applying and download an application form. If you have questions, email grants@northyorkshiretogether.co.uk

Growing our local economy

5 July: Start your business today with a free online course from the York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub

Do you want to start your own business, but are not sure where to begin? Have you started trading but need a guiding hand? The York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub has teamed up with Rebel Business School to offer free places on their acclaimed workshop to help you turn your dreams into a real business. Run over two weeks, the workshop explores a new topic every day, including how to start with no money, sales and marketing, legal, networking, and keeping motivated, as well as provides live business coaching.

Find out more and how to secure your place here.

York Business Week 2021

Businesses across the city are invited to provide feedback on what should be included in this year’s programme of events. Feedback will be invaluable in shaping this year’s programme.

Complete the York Business Week survey here.

Keeping in touch

Keep up to date with Covid-19 news for North Yorkshire.

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

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

This week we are raising awareness about the crucial role of carers across our county’s communities who day in day out carry out critical, often behind-the-scenes work to look after loved ones in their family, friends or neighbours. There are 60,000 carers in North Yorkshire, one in 10 of us, who carry out caring duties as part of their everyday lives. Support for carers is therefore a priority for us at the county council. Many carers have found themselves caring more than ever during the pandemic with emotional and practical support for loved ones, who became increasingly isolated.

At today’s North Yorkshire press conference, we heard the moving and powerful story of Christine who cares for her mum and who continued to do so through the pandemic and through her own breast cancer.

She described how her mum, who suffers from Alzheimer’s, deteriorated due to the isolation of the pandemic but is now improving as she receives visits from the wider family and trips out.

Christine found she needed to look after herself too, and she told us how she did Pilates and went on lots of walks and lost weight in order to maintain both her own health and caring duties.  Christine’s story is a reminder of how demanding life can be for carers and we have plans to extend the help available. We already provide funding for carers centres, sitting services, respite care and short-term breaks, but we are now teaming up with North Yorkshire Sport to help carers improve their own physical health as they tell us this is critical to their own sense of well-being.

We are also asking people to remain vigilant and continue to remember hands, face, space and fresh air as Covid infection rates increase across the county.  Although North Yorkshire’s rate is still well below the English average, numbers are rising as the highly transmissible Delta variant of Covid continues to push up cases. So we must all remain cautious, meet people outside where we can and avoid large crowds. Mindful of the upcoming Euros – let’s all be careful that we watch them in a Covid-safe way. And with a heat wave on the way this weekend let’s remember to use our sun cream, too, and remain safe in the sun!

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

At 6 June 2021, there have been 30,458 positive tests since 3 March 2020, with 274 new cases reported in the past two weeks. The weekly rolling average of new cases is 15 cases per day, allowing for incomplete data in the most recent days. The seven-day rate for North Yorkshire is 25.7 cases per 100,000 people, lower than the England seven-day rate of 47.1. Work continues to ensure effective monitoring of all areas, with support for incidents being provided across a range of settings, which are reviewed daily.

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

Testing Update

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.

Booking a coronavirus (Covid-19) test if you’ve got symptoms

Anyone who is showing coronavirus symptoms is eligible to book a test to find out if they have the virus. You can also book a test if you are self-isolating after being in contact with someone who has tested positive. 

Find further information on our website.

You can also book a test via this link.

People who don't have access to the internet, or who have difficulty with the digital portals, can call 119 to book their test.

Get a coronavirus (covid-19) test if you don't have symptoms

If you do not have symptoms, you are still encouraged to test yourself twice a week, using rapid lateral flow tests for you to conduct at home. There are several ways you can get a test. Find full information about tests if you don't have symptoms.

You should report every result to NHS Test and Trace on the same day as you take your test.

Important vaccination update

The Covid-19 vaccine rollout in England has been extended to under-30s for the first time, with everyone aged 25 or older now invited to book a jab. Find further information and book your jab.

As the roadmap continues to allow us to get back to normal, it is important that we remember the key messages:

  • Get your first and second dose of the jab when it is your turn.
  • Continue to think about the vulnerability of loved ones.
  • Outdoors is always safer than indoors.
  • Keep getting tested regularly, even without symptoms.
  • Continue to follow social distancing when out with friends and family, including work places, pubs, restaurants etc.
  • Hands. Face. Space. Fresh Air.

Let's keep going. Everyone can play their part... together, we can beat this.

Working together towards recovery

Safeguarding Week 21 to 25 June 2021: Sign up for virtual Safeguarding Week sessions

A virtual, online conference will take place between Monday 21 and Friday 25 June, to mark Safeguarding Week 2021. Everybody has a part to play in keeping themselves, friends and family, employees and our wider community safe.

Partners from Safeguarding Adults Boards, Children’s Safeguarding Partnerships, Community Safety Partnerships across North Yorkshire, the City of York and East Riding have come together to develop an extensive programme of learning events, seminars and interactive sessions which all underpin this year’s theme, ‘Safeguarding is everybody’s business’.

As well as learning events for safeguarding professionals, there are a number of online sessions during the week, for which anyone is welcome to register. These cover a range of topics, including using online banking in safety (by North Yorkshire Police) and reducing loneliness and isolation (East Riding Safeguarding Adults Board, East Riding Council).

View the full conference programme and register.  

Read more about the conference here.

Supporting our schools and childcare

We have now completed an extensive engagement on outdoor learning in North Yorkshire to gather the opinions of hundreds of adults, children, stakeholders and organisations on how it should look in the future.

The pandemic has had a significant financial impact on the County Council’s two residential sites at Bewerley Park in Nidderdale and East Barnby near Whitby, after they were closed in line with Government guidance in March 2020.

The review of the outdoor learning service is looking at bringing back the service after the pandemic in a way that places it on a sustainable footing, makes the best use of the sites and offers a range of facilities and experiences to schools, children and young people.

In recent weeks, we have engaged extensively with individuals and organisations. Questionnaires were sent to members of the public, staff and schools in North Yorkshire, as well as groups and schools situated outside of the county that use the centre. We also met parish councils and other groups, including staff groups, NY Sport, the Head Teachers Network and school governors. A user group involving representations from schools was also set up.

We had a high response to questionnaires and the engagement exercises and thank everyone who took the time to give their feedback.

The council also worked with nine schools in North Yorkshire on an art project to get them to draw up plans and illustrations of what they would like to see from outdoor learning. It resulted in more than 300 drawings, which have been included in the review.

Over the coming weeks, the results of the engagement will be used in helping draw up several different options for the future of the Outdoor Learning Service, which will then go before the executive for a decision in autumn.

Both sites are currently now open and 1,563 students from 71 schools will be using the sites this summer. In addition, 176 groups will be using the facilities for day activities. Both sites will remain open for the next academic year, while the review takes place.

Growing our local economy

LEP News: Working with partners to bid for a Greener, Fairer and Stronger future

Earlier this year, Government launched the UK Community Renewal Fund (CRF) for pilot projects that support local skills, employment, businesses and places. The response from our partners has been excellent, and has led to a range of innovative projects being submitted – both via ourselves, or direct by our partners – by the 13 May deadline to North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC). These projects build on our vision and strategy for a greener, fairer and stronger economy in York & North Yorkshire.

Chair of York & North Yorkshire LEP Helen Simpson OBE said, “It has been great to work with our partners and communities on the UK Community Renewal Funding bids – between us we have a clear understanding of what is needed at a local level and how we might make best use of the funding, so you have been key in this process.  We really appreciate all the time and effort that you have contributed to this, in challenging timescales, and are hopeful that the region will benefit significantly if we can secure a good share of CRF funding. We expect to hear the outcome of the NYCC final bid to Government later this summer and will let you know the outcome when we hear.”

Keeping in touch

Keep up to date with Covid-19 news for North Yorkshire.

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

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

Yesterday, for the first time since March last year, the UK recorded no deaths from Covid-19.

There will be more good days, and difficult ones, but we should hold on to this moment, while remembering the 1,166 people who have died from Covid-19 in North Yorkshire.

Currently, the county’s infection rate is 14 per 100,000 people, slightly under half the England average of 32 per 100,000. We could not have reached this point without the concerted effort we’ve seen across North Yorkshire.

In Volunteers Week, it’s fitting to recognise again the county’s thousands of volunteers. Since March 2020, community support organisation volunteers have given 125,000 hours. They are the lifeblood of many communities. They run support hubs, provide foodbanks, community fridges and pantries, help to run vaccination centres and look out for neighbours, family and friends.

At our weekly press conference, we heard from leaders of two community support organisations.

Gail Hall, of Reeth and District Community Transport, explained how the organisation redefined itself, from taking people to get what they needed, to getting it for them.

“It has been a rollercoaster, but the rollercoaster has only been ups,” she said. “We are indebted to the people that have so generously given their time. There is no present like time.”

Helen Flynn, of Nidderdale Plus Community Hub, spoke of the huge effort by Harrogate district’s six community support organisations to recruit hundreds of volunteers to support vaccination sites.

“These volunteers are absolutely brilliant,” she said. “They love doing the work.”

The new challenge for both organisations is to help people to regain confidence as restrictions ease.

Marie-Ann Jackson, head of our Stronger Communities programme, acknowledged that volunteers are doing the heavy lifting. “I can’t thank those volunteers enough,” she said. Our role, through Stronger Communities, is to support and enable those groups.

Finally, for anyone able to visit Harrogate, I recommend In Memoriam, an art installation on West Park Stray until Sunday. Luke Jerram’s work comprises flags made from hospital bed sheets that form a blue cross, acknowledging the NHS. As Harrogate International Festival chief executive Sharon Canavar says, it provides a space for people to consider the impact of the past 15 months.

Perhaps the milestone of a day with no Covid-19 deaths is an appropriate time for us all to contemplate what we have been through and refresh ourselves for the continued effort ahead.

Read more about North Yorkshire’s army of volunteers.

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

At 30 May 2021, there have been 30,278 positive tests since 3 March 2020, with 159 new cases reported in the past two weeks. The weekly rolling average of new cases is 10 cases per day, allowing for incomplete data in the most recent days. The seven-day rate for North Yorkshire is 13.4 cases per 100,000 people, lower than the England seven-day rate of 30.6. Work continues to ensure effective monitoring of all areas, with support for incidents being provided across a range of settings, which are reviewed daily.

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

Testing Update

If anyone has symptoms, they must book a PCR test. Testing sites across 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 testing site locations and hosting information on how people with symptoms can book a test via the national government portal.

Find information about where you can get a PCR test on our website.

Everyone is encouraged to test themselves twice a week with home testing kits and report the results to NHS Test and Trace. You can order rapid lateral flow device (LFD) tests online or collect them from participating pharmacies or testing sites.

Find out how to order or collect free LFD tests.

As the roadmap continues to allow us to get back to normal, it is important that we remember the key messages:

  • Get your first and second dose of the jab when it’s your turn. The latest ONS data shows that three out of four people now have anti-Covid antibodies, and for the over-50s it is over 90 per cent.
  • Continue to think about the vulnerability of loved ones.
  • Outdoors is always safer than indoors.
  • Keep getting tested regularly, even without symptoms.
  • Continue to follow social distancing when out with friends and family, including work places, pubs, restaurants etc.
  • Hands. Face. Space. Fresh Air.

Let's keep going. Everyone can play their part... together, we can beat this.

Supporting our schools and childcare

In the final weeks before the half term holiday, North Yorkshire schools recorded good attendance across the county with over 90 per cent on average.

In addition, we have seen the number of Covid cases among staff and students reducing in line with the background rates across the county. In the final week of term we recorded seven confirmed cases among students and 83 suspected cases with all students taking precautionary measures; five confirmed cases among teachers and no suspected cases and six confirmed cases among teaching assistants and support staff and only three suspected cases.

We are tracking cases with extreme vigilance and welcome the fact that Covid safety measures and regular and frequent testing undertaken in schools seems to be paying off. As a consequence, Covid cases at the end of the school term were lower than at the start. We therefore look forward to a successful final term with high attendance.

Reminder: organisations interested in contributing to a wide-ranging programme of sports coaching, creative and performing arts sessions for children across North Yorkshire this summer have only until June 7 to apply to provide activities.

The funding for the programme has come from the Department for Education’s Holiday Activities and Food Programme, to provide holiday club places to children eligible for free school meals. The holiday clubs will involve engaging activities, including activities around health, nutrition and well-being, as well as provide children with healthy food.

We have commissioned North Yorkshire Together – a partnership between Rural Arts, North Yorkshire Sport and North Yorkshire Youth – to oversee the FEAST holiday activities programmes.

Voluntary groups, sports coaching organisations, existing holiday activity providers, arts organisations and schools can all apply for a grant to provide activities.

Find information on applying and download an application form.

Anyone with further questions can email grants@northyorkshiretogether.co.uk

Growing our local economy

LEP News: Local Skills Report and NEETs Research

We are proud to publish two reports that further our vision for York and North Yorkshire as a place where people are empowered to achieve their potential in a greener, fairer, stronger economy.

Sam Alexander, Chair of our Skills and Employability Board, said, “I am delighted to introduce this report, which we have produced in collaboration with local partners, other skills and advisory partnerships (SAPs) from across England and colleagues from the Department for Education. I would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to everyone for the invaluable insights and guidance they have given us over recent months.”

Read these reports along with all our latest skills research on the Skills page of our website.

Keeping in touch

Keep up to date with Covid-19 news for North Yorkshire.

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

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

The weather forecasters tell us that warmer weather is finally on its way at the back end of this week so as the Bank Holiday approaches we can look forward to getting out in the sunshine and enjoy society opening up.

We can all take confidence in the successful rollout of the vaccination programme and news that current Covid-19 vaccines are effective in reducing transmission and preventing serious illness from new variants of concern, such as the one which originated in India.

Thanks to the heroic efforts of our NHS colleagues and volunteers, 482,000 people across North Yorkshire and York have had their first jab and 312,000 have had their second.

But while we can be confident we must remain cautious while Covid is still circulating. We know how quickly things can change.

Covid rates in North Yorkshire at 12.8 per 100,000 are well below the England average of 23.4 and people across the county are demonstrating that they are willing to follow the basic but critical safety rules of hands, face, space and fresh air.

As summer months progress, hopefully there will be a whole range of exciting events across our county that people can attend and enjoy. We do not yet know what decisions the Government will take on lifting restrictions on June 21, but we do know that event’s organisers across North Yorkshire have been planning for every eventuality.

At today’s North Yorkshire Public Health press conference we heard how councils and emergency services have been working hard together in local Safety Advisory Groups (SAGs), offering specialist advice and guidance to events organisers to ensure all safety measures are in place.

It was great to hear from Janette Hugill, who is in charge of the Stokesley Show and the painstaking care her team is taking to ensure the show, planned for September, is Covid-safe. The team has been inundated with people who want a trade stand or to be in a craft marquee and competitors saying they can’t wait.

Please do look out for our Unlocking Summer campaign so we can all enjoy the days ahead with care and confidence.

Have a good – and safe – Bank Holiday.

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

At 23 May 2021, there have been 30,196 positive tests since 3 March 2020, with 171 new cases reported in the past two weeks. The weekly rolling average of new cases is 13 cases per day, allowing for incomplete data in the most recent days. The seven-day rate for North Yorkshire is 12.8 cases per 100,000 people, lower than the England seven-day rate of 23.4. Work continues to ensure effective monitoring of all areas, with support for incidents being provided across a range of settings, which are reviewed daily.

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

Testing Update

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.

Find information about where you can get a test on our website.

Book a test.

You can collect rapid lateral flow tests to conduct at home. You should test yourself twice a week using these kits, and report every result to NHS Test and Trace on the same day as you take your test. Find information about lateral flow testing.

Find where you can collect your free lateral flow test kits.

As the roadmap continues to allow us to get back to normal, it is important that we remember the key behaviours:

  • Continue to think about the vulnerability of loved ones.
  • Outdoors is always safer than indoors.
  • Keep getting tested regularly, even without symptoms.
  • Continue to follow social distancing when no with friends and families including work places, pubs, restaurants etc.
  • Hands. Face. Space. Fresh Air.

Let's keep going. Everyone can play their part... together, we can beat this.

Working together towards recovery

Supporting our residents

Next week is volunteers’ week (1-7 June), and we’re thanking the army of North Yorkshire residents who have helped keep our communities safe and vital council services going throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Volunteers bring a variety of skills, knowledge and expertise and we can’t thank them enough for their commitment, energy and enthusiasm.

Since last March, community support organisation volunteers have given more than 100,000 hours of their time, providing a lifeline for people without family, friends or neighbours to lean on. As restrictions have eased, volunteers are now shifting their focus to gradually building people’s confidence and many voluntary organisations and community groups are back up and running.

Volunteers have also played a crucial part in the rollout of NHS vaccinations. We would not be where we are now on the roadmap out of restrictions without volunteers. The last 15 months have been incredibly challenging for many people in many ways, but in North Yorkshire we can thank our incredible volunteers for helping to minimise the impact of coronavirus.

Volunteers also help to deliver other vital council services, including helping to manage and maintain public rights of way, promoting the council’s reduce, reuse and recycle waste reduction priorities and working with our archives team. Volunteers are also critical in keeping North Yorkshire libraries open and thriving. Last month, we deployed Ready for Anything volunteers who helped at the Covid test site set up in response to the rising infection rates in the Selby area.

Volunteer driver Harry Trotter joined the team at Stokesley and District Community Care after retiring, and more than 11 years later is still involved. During the pandemic, Harry helped to make sure people were able to get to medical appointments, and is looking forward to a return to more familiar duties. Harry said: “I miss the people. Pre-Covid, I tended to do every Friday to drive the bus around the villages to bring people into Stokesley for the market. People and communities are at the very heart of our organisation.”

Find volunteering opportunities in North Yorkshire on the Community First Yorkshire website.

North Yorkshire residents who need help and support, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780 seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm. People can also complete an online form to let us know what help they need.

Businesses’ care aims to reassure cautious customers

After pubs, bars and restaurants re-opened to indoor customers, North Yorkshire businesses have revealed the extent of the safety measures they have put in place both to meet the Government’s ‘roadmap’ rules and reassure those who may feel cautious about taking steps back towards normality. Owners and managers have put wide-ranging measures in place – from providing hand sanitiser to re-arranging the layout of their premises – to ensure customers enjoy their visits and stay safe.

The effort reflects the kindness and caring which has been a constant theme in North Yorkshire and provides reassurance to those who are cautious about returning to their old routines after more than a year of lockdown and shielding.

Read and hear what two North Yorkshire businesses have done to welcome customers back.

People urged to watch for signs of “hidden harm” among children and young people

Communities in North Yorkshire are being urged to be alert to changes in children and young people which could suggest they are suffering “hidden harm” or abuse.

As more meeting places, clubs and venues open up as further Covid-19 restrictions are eased, North Yorkshire’s Safeguarding Children Partnership is asking people to be their eyes and ears in the community and report any concerns they might have for children.

Pressures on families arising from periods of social isolation during the pandemic have increased the risk of mental and physical harm to children and young people, but these signs of harm have been harder to detect, due to the lack of usual face-to-face interaction.

NYSCP have produced a podcast explaining what hidden harm is.

Read more about the signs of hidden harm.

Supporting our schools and childcare

This summer holiday, a programme of sports coaching, creative and performing arts sessions for children will be taking place across North Yorkshire. Funding for the programme has come from the Department for Education’s Holiday Activities and Food Programme, to provide holiday club places to children eligible for free school meals. The holiday clubs will involve engaging activities, including activities around health and nutrition, as well as provide children with healthy food.

We have commissioned North Yorkshire Together – a partnership between Rural Arts, North Yorkshire Sport and North Yorkshire Youth – to oversee the FEAST holiday activities programmes.

Organisations are being invited to apply for a grant to provide holiday activities for the FEAST programme. Voluntary groups, sports coaching organisations, existing holiday activity providers, arts organisations and schools can all apply for a grant to provide activities.

The activities provided should enable children to be active during the school holiday and help develop resilience, character and wellbeing, along with their wider educational attainment, as well as prevent social isolation among children and teach them about health and nutrition. North Yorkshire Together can support organisations to access healthy food options if needed.

The holiday clubs will be available to all pupils, but will be free to families eligible for free schools meals.

Organisations interested in taking part needs to apply by June 7. Find information on applying and download an application form. If you have questions, email grants@northyorkshiretogether.co.uk

Growing our local economy

LEP News: New Business Board Chair appointed

Our new business board chair Sue Jefferson is confident the York and North Yorkshire economy will grow back and better, as it recovers from the impact of Covid-19.

Sue said: “Having been involved with the Board since 2018, I’ve valued the breadth of independent, experienced private sector members, bringing a diversity of thinking to our discussions. The agility and impact shown during this unprecedented time, the success stories already emerging and the important initiatives now rolling out, makes it an exciting time to chair the Business Board and see the region’s greener, fairer, stronger growth realised.”

Read more about the new business board chair.

Routemap to Carbon-Negative Business Roundtable

The Y&NY LEP are seeking representation from business support organisations and businesses themselves across all sectors to contribute to a regional plan for reaching negative carbon emissions. We are particularly interested in tourism and hospitality, food and drink, construction and professional services. The Routemap to Carbon-Negative Business Roundtable will be held on Wednesday 2 June, 10am to noon.

The session will focus on co-creating a plan for the greener future of York & North Yorkshire’s businesses.

If you have any questions about the session, contact Energy Programme Lead Katie Privett, katie.privett@businessinspiredgrowth.com

Keeping in touch

Keep up to date with Covid-19 news for North Yorkshire.

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

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

As we enjoy being able to meet family and friends in our own homes, dine out and visit local attractions following the latest easing of restrictions, the situation in North Yorkshire continues to improve. So we can be confident, but that must be confidence with care.

The infection rate in North Yorkshire is 17 per 100,000, below the England average of 21 per 100,000. In Selby, the rate is reducing from its recent high and the outbreak affecting the Clipper workplace appears to be settling.

A small number of cases of the Indian variant have been identified in the county, as elsewhere across the country. We are well prepared and our health partners are working to minimise the spread.

We can take advantage of opportunities afforded by this week’s easing with confidence, but I understand some people will be hesitant about venturing out after so long under restrictions.

For all of us to do so with confidence, we must all do so carefully. That means continuing to follow the simple precautions: hands, face, space and fresh air.

In addition, please get the vaccine when it’s your turn. If you’re eligible but haven’t had the jab for any reason, please book your slot. The vaccine is our best opportunity to protect ourselves, our families and communities, so please get both doses of yours.

On a lighter note, a guest at today’s North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum press conference was Graeme Farrah of Scarborough’s Sea Life Centre, who shared the insight that penguins at the attraction appeared to suffer social isolation. The penguins were used to having hundreds of guests around and one in particular, Rico, liked to peck customers’ shoes. But during the closure staff had to do team bonding with the birds because it was as if they were suffering from not having visitors. Hear more from Graeme.

Another guest, Laura Young, from our partner, North Yorkshire Sport, spoke about important work to support physical and mental health. Hear more from Laura and read about the work of North Yorkshire Sport.

Stay safe and look out for our Unlock Summer messages, which remind us all of the need to be careful.

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

At 16 May 2021, there have been 30,185 positive tests since 3 March 2020, with 241 new cases reported in the past two weeks. The weekly rolling average of new cases is 20 cases per day, allowing for incomplete data in the most recent days. The seven-day rate for North Yorkshire is 17 cases per 100,000 people, lower than the England seven-day rate of 21. Work continues to ensure effective monitoring of all areas, with support for incidents being provided across a range of settings, which are reviewed daily.

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

Testing Update

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.

Find information about where you can get a test.

Book a test.

You can also collect rapid lateral flow tests for you to conduct at home. You should test yourself twice a week using these kits, and report every result to NHS Test and Trace on the same day as you take your test. Find more information about lateral flow testing.

Find where you can collect your free lateral flow test kits.  

As the roadmap continues to allow us to get back to normal, it is important that we remember the key behaviours:

  • Continue to think about the vulnerability of loved ones.
  • Outdoors is always safer than indoors.
  • Keep getting tested regularly, even without symptoms.
  • Continue to follow social distancing when no with friends and families including work places, pubs, restaurants etc.
  • Hands. Face. Space. Fresh Air.

Tests for people with symptoms

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.

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

Find details of permanent testing sites and mobile testing units and how to book a test.

Tests for people who do not have symptoms

If you do not have symptoms, you can get tests to use at home in several ways:

Let's keep going. Everyone can play their part... together, we can beat this.

Supporting our schools and childcare

The Government has announced an extension of Scarborough’s Opportunity Areas funding for another year, as part of its levelling up agenda announced last night. Nationally, there will be an £18m expansion of the Opportunity Areas programme, which helps vulnerable young people from the most disadvantaged areas in the country.

The funding will allow us to embed the success we have already seen from the Opportunity Area status covering Filey, Scarborough and Whitby. This includes the successful recruitment of extra teaching and support staff into the area – which has seen an additional 240 posts filled – as well as early access to speech and language therapy for more than 6,000 children who have been screened and support put in place to improve their communication. It will allow us to continue to embed this successful work and will also help us to respond to the challenges created by the pandemic. We want to make sure we have additional, targeted support for students where they have been affected by disruption to their schooling over recent months and we will continue to help them settle back into schooling.

We invited secondary school heads in the Selby area to consider continuing with face coverings in the classroom for two extra weeks, beyond May 17, due to the high transmission levels seen in the Selby area in recent weeks. Head teachers have some discretion with that advice and, if background rates continue to fall, we expect that advice no longer to be needed after the half-term holiday.

We are continuing to engage with different organisations, groups and individuals on how our outdoor learning service should look in the future. The review of the service is looking at what the service should provide for the county’s young people; the facilities and experiences it makes available to schools, children and young people and the best use of the sites at Bewerley Park and East Barnby. The engagement with schools and other affected groups and individuals will continue until the end of May, before works begins on using the feedback and data to formulate several different options for the service.

Growing our local economy

LEP News: Learning at work week

This week marks Learning at Work Week, an annual campaign that aims to build learning cultures at work, and put a spotlight on the importance and benefits of continual learning and development. The York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub has free webinars, toolkits and information that you can utilise within your business, as well as support your staff to realise their potential. Read more about Learning at work week and access these resources.

Do you need a business mentor?

International Coaching Week runs from the 17 to 23 May, and is a global celebration of the value that professional coaching and mentoring can bring to your business. Whether it’s tightening up your business plan, navigating tax and insurance, or overcoming challenges, a mentor can help. They can ask the right questions to uncover the things you haven’t thought of, and help you push yourself to make your business the best success it can be. If you want to learn more, read the York and North Yorkshire Growth Hub’s new blog here.

Keeping in touch

Keep up to date with Covid-19 news for North Yorkshire.

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

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

A few days from now, we will reach another milestone in the Government’s road map out of the pandemic. From Monday, we’ll be able to meet family and friends in our homes again, albeit in limited numbers. We’ll be able to eat and drink indoors at cafés, restaurants and pubs, and more opportunities for exercise and entertainment will open up.

So there are good reasons to be optimistic and confident about the coming months. 

We can draw confidence from knowing that the average infection rate in North Yorkshire is currently 20 per 100,000, which is below the England average. We can take confidence from the high uptake for the vaccine and the increasing evidence of its effectiveness; from the high level of testing capacity available in the county; from the sterling work of health and social care services.

But we should temper this confidence with care. You may have seen or heard the messages of our Unlock Summer campaign, which is running across social media, in the local media, through businesses and on the streets of our towns. We have all worked so hard to reach this point and to put our county in a good position. That makes it all the more important that we continue to stick to the rules – especially the basics of hands, face, space and fresh air – so that we can unlock the next step on the road map and along with it a summer much more like the one we would hope to enjoy.

We should also exercise care and kindness towards others. While many of us are eager to embrace the opportunities offered from next Monday, we should be aware that some people – perhaps quite a few of us – will feel a little anxious at the prospect of society opening up again.

All of us, through our actions, can help to give people who feel that way the reassurance and confidence that will help them to re-enter everyday life fully.

This is Mental Health Awareness Week. No doubt the easing of restrictions will be a boon for many people’s mental health, but the flipside is the anxiety others may feel as the country opens up after they have been locked down or under restrictions for the best part of the past 12 months.

We were kindly joined at our weekly North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum press conference today by Jill Quinn, CEO of Dementia Forward, a North Yorkshire charity commissioned by us and clinical commissioning groups that supports more than 4,000 families.

Jill shared early findings from a survey the charity is running among those it supports. The survey began only on Tuesday, but within the first 24 hours received more than 100 responses. These revealed that while many felt ready to invite the charity’s staff back into their homes or to attend Dementia Forward groups when they restart, a significant proportion – 30% – had reservations about lockdown lifting and whether they were yet ready to start socialising.

Next week, in Dementia Action Week, one of the things the charity will be doing is handing out hidden disability sunflower lanyards. It feels these will come more into play as people venture back out. Jill believes many carers will feel the stress of taking their loved one out shopping or to a café.

She says we need to ask people to be kind, to be aware that we can’t treat everybody the same, and that for some the pace of return needs to be slower. You can hear more from Jill here.

As mentioned earlier, we have good testing capacity in the county. Some changes are being made to testing facilities, with two local testing sites closing. The site in Skipton had its last open day on Saturday and the site in Harrogate will close towards the end of this month. Both towns will be added to the mobile testing unit schedule to provide cover for PCR testing, with lateral flow tests available from pharmacies, some employers and for ordering for home delivery online or by calling 119. The local test site at Portholme Crescent car park in Selby has reverted to doing just PCR tests and will be open all day for this. We have had a temporary asymptomatic test site running in Selby offering support for lateral flow tests in response to the increased Covid rate in the district. This site has now closed, but we have the ability to set up further asymptomatic test sites in Selby or elsewhere, should they be needed. You can hear more from our public health consultant Dr Victoria Turner here.

Finally, please look out for our Unlock Summer messages and carry on doing what you’ve been doing to keep us on the road to a better summer. In the short term, the weather forecast suggests summer isn’t here yet, so it’s perhaps a good thing that we can eat out indoors from Monday. But when you do, stay safe, be careful and considerate and let’s help to give everyone the reassurance they need to enjoy our returning freedoms to the full.

Keeping in touch

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

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

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

At 9 May 2021, there have been 30,066 positive tests since 3 March 2020, with 263 new cases reported in the past two weeks. The weekly rolling average of new cases is 18 cases per day, allowing for incomplete data in the most recent days. The seven-day rate for North Yorkshire is 20.2 cases per 100,000 people, lower than the England seven-day rate of 21.7. Work continues to ensure effective monitoring of all areas, with support for incidents being provided across a range of settings, which are reviewed daily.

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

Coronavirus Update

The Prime Minister has confirmed that we are moving to Step 3 of the roadmap from 17 May; vaccine deployment has been successful, and evidence continues to show that vaccines are effective in reducing deaths and hospitalisation. However, social distancing remains a very important part of the fight against Covid, and will remain in shops, pubs, cafes and restaurants - plus business, medical and adult social care settings.

Summary of the changes from Monday 17 May

  • People can meet in groups of up to 30 outdoors.
  • Six people or two households can meet indoors, with overnight stays allowed.
  • Up to 30 people can attend weddings, receptions and other life events
  • Number of people who can attend a funeral no longer capped, but determined by the size of venue
  • Up to 30 allowed to attend a support group or parent-and-child group (not counting under-fives)
  • Care home residents allowed up to five named visitors, and more freedom for visits out of the home
  • Pubs, restaurants, bars and cafés are allowed to serve people indoors
  • Museums, cinemas, and children’s play areas can reopen
  • Theatres, concert halls, conference centres and sports stadiums can all reopen
  • Steam rooms and saunas may reopen
  • Hotels, hostels and B&Bs can reopen
  • Adult indoor group exercise classes can restart
  • Face coverings no longer recommended in secondary schools for pupils
  • All remaining university students eligible to return to in-person teaching
  • People will be able to travel abroad to green list countries without having to quarantine when they return.

For full information on all the latest changes, please visit gov.uk.

Can I hug my friends and family?

Yes, but people are being asked to be cautious, especially if the person you want to hug hasn't been vaccinated yet. The prime minister has said people should make their own choices when it comes to having close contact with friends and family, and has urged people to consider how vulnerable someone is when deciding whether to give them a hug.

Cautionary advice from the government

We currently remain on track for step 4 on 21 June, but cannot throw caution to the wind. There is no evidence yet that new strains are vaccine-resistant, but we must remain vigilant.

Remember:

  • Continue to think about the vulnerability of loved ones.
  • Outdoors is always safer than indoors.
  • Keep getting tested regularly, even without symptoms.
  • Continue to follow social distancing when not with friends and families, including work places, pubs, restaurants etc.
  • Hands. Face. Space. Fresh Air.

Let's keep going. Everyone can play their part... together, we can beat this.

Working together towards recovery

Testing

Everyone can now get coronavirus tests:

  • if you have symptoms you must self-isolate and book a test for people with symptoms
  • if you do not have symptoms you are encouraged to get tests to carry out at home twice a week

Tests for people with symptoms

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.

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

These permanent sites are open every day for testing between 8am and 1:30pm:

  • Harrogate - Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Scarborough - William Street Car Park, Scarborough. YO12 7PL
  • Northallerton – The Forum, Bullamore Road, Northallerton, DL6 1LP

These permanent sites are open 8am to 8pm every day, currently for administering tests only.

  • Malton - Wentworth Street Car Park, Wentworth Street, Malton, YO17 7JR
  • Catterick - Ypres Lines, Richmond Road, Catterick Garrison, DL9 3JF
  • Selby – Portholme Crescent Car Park, Selby, YO8 4YR

Mobile sites are open for testing from 9am to 3pm on the following days:

  • Thursday 13 May - Leyburn -  Harmby Road, Car Park, Leyburn, DL8 5EE
  • Thursday 13 May - Easingwold - Easingwold Town AFC, Stillington Road, Easingwold, York, YO61 3DZ
  • Thursday 13 May - Sherburn in Elmet - Pasture Way Car park, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6LY
  • Friday 14 May - Sherburn in Elmet - Pasture Way Car park, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6LY
  • Friday 14 May - Stokesley - Stokesley Sports Club, Broughton Road, Stokesley, Middlesbrough, TS9 5JG
  • Friday 14 May - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Saturday 15 May - Selby - South Entrance, Drax Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Saturday 15 May - Thornton Le Dale - North York Moors National Park Authority car park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Thornton Le Dale, Pickering, YO18 7RR
  • Saturday 15 May - Filey - Filey Country park, Church Cliff Drive, Filey, YO14 9ET
  • Sunday 16 May - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Sunday 16 May - Thirsk - Millgate Car Park, Marage Road, Thirsk, YO7 1PE

Tests for people who do not have symptoms

If you do not have symptoms, you can get tests to use at home in several ways:

Testing kits can be collected every day between 2:30pm and 8pm from the following permanent testing sites:

  • Harrogate - Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Scarborough - William Street Car Park, Scarborough. YO12 7PL
  • Northallerton – The Forum, Bullamore Road, Northallerton, DL6 1LP

Find more information and the latest dates and locations.

Supporting our schools and childcare

As further lockdown restrictions on businesses are set to lift and more parents return to work, Early Years providers in the county are working hard to help children settle back into childcare.

North Yorkshire’s nurseries, playgroups and child minders were an important part of the county’s pandemic response since entering lockdown last year and we would like to thank them for the hard work they put in. It enabled many parents in the county to take up key worker roles and provided important routine and safe care for the youngest children.

Now that ever more parents are returning to work, they have an equally important role in helping children get used to being around other faces again.

Nurseries such as Little Rainbows Nursery in Whitby are putting in place extra measures to help young children get used to being outside of the home and around other people again.

Owner Lydia Sythes, said: “When children came back we could tell they had spent a lot of time at home and many children had separation anxiety, as they had not had any interaction with anyone outside their home.

“We responded by increasing our settling-in practices, especially with our youngest of children. We took the lead on how confident the children were at being back in the nursery setting.

“We also made sure the children were cared for by the same members of staff during each session. Our children were looked after in smaller groups in a homely environment to make the children feel more comfortable instead of being in a big, overwhelming place with lots of new people.”

As parents continue to return to work, nurseries, child minders and playgroups are continuing with their safety and hygiene measures, supported by the County Council’s Early Years team, and distributing home testing kits for coronavirus to staff and families. They are also supporting the council’s distribution of holiday food vouchers for families who may be struggling to cover the cost of food or other essentials.

As half-term approaches, the Government has looked at the next step of the road map to recovery from the pandemic and has suggested the rules requiring face coverings to be worn in secondary schools can be relaxed over the coming weeks.

With the recent outbreak and coronavirus rates in Selby, we are looking at whether our advice to schools is to continue a little bit longer with the wearing of face coverings, until levels fall back down.

We will communicate that decision to local schools as soon as we are able.

Teamwork to support our residents

As we emerge from the isolation of lockdown, which has taken a huge toll on people’s mental health, connecting with others has never been more important. 

In Skipton, the Ground Yourself in Green project aims to help people gently re-acclimatise to familiar activities while enjoying life outdoors.

Skipton Step into Action, which was appointed as a community support organisation at the start of the pandemic, has linked up with the town's Incredible Edible group as well as Knaresborough-based Yorkshire Yoga and mindfulness tutors to offer a range of options for those in need of help.

The group is making use of Skipton's Aireville Park for many of its sessions, which include yoga and mindfulness each Thursday until September. They have also gained access to Incredible Edible flowerbeds and planters, providing access for those with mobility restrictions, while a Friday allotment session has also been organised, with a plot for those attending to grow their own.

The objective is to provide a range of support, which will benefit people with a variety of needs. It means, for example, carers can leave those with dementia to walk in the park with volunteers while they take a break for a mindfulness session to help their own mental wellbeing.

Funding for the current project is in place until September and it is hoped by that point people who want to return to normal activities like shopping or attending medical appointments – but now lack the confidence to do so – will find that situation gradually returning to normal.

Ground Yourself in Green’s Sarah Wilson said: “The objective is to slowly get people back out and to integrate them into society. Some may jump straight in but others may need weeks of building up. The feedback we have had has been amazing. It has been brilliant, just what we wanted, the community working together.”

Carla Finnigan is among those to benefit, enjoying yoga, the allotment and taking part in mindfulness sessions.

She got involved after learning of the project through Skipton Step into Action, which had been helping with her shopping during the pandemic.

Carla said: “It is a lovely group of people and it was a great idea to put these events on. It gives people hope.”

North Yorkshire residents who need help and support, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780 seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm. People can also complete an online form to let us know what help they need.

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

Find advice on how to help others safely and information about volunteering with a local organisation in your community.

Growing our local economy

LEP News: Every Mind Matters: Mental Health Awareness Week

Mental Health Awareness Week is this week. The LEP website has a range of resources that can help support you with your wellbeing or that of your employees.

The Government has created new assets and social copy you can use to mark this week. Find the Mental Health Awareness campaign toolkit here. 

EUSS: Monthly Statistics & Resources

You can now view and download the latest EU settlement scheme monthly statistics here.

As a reminder, the deadline for applications for the EU Settlement scheme is 30 June 2021.

A range of EUSS information is available to support applicants, including translated mainstream guidance and translated EUSS factsheets.

If your organisation is helping vulnerable EU citizens complete their EUSS application, the Delegation of the European Union to the United Kingdom can offer further legal advice, free of charge.

Support for those at risk of redundancy

Jobcentre Plus and the National Careers Service are holding an online advice session for people in North Yorkshire who have recently been made redundant or may be facing redundancy.

Despite the disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak, there are still jobs out there to apply for. This event will help you to start looking for a new job in case you are made redundant.

It will include advice on:

  • how to pitch your skills to employers
  • career opportunities in new sectors
  • tips on finding a job.

It will also provide guidance on support that may be available to you if you cannot find work.

This is a free online event available to people in North Yorkshire. It takes place on Thursday 20 May, from 11am to 12 noon. Sign up to the supporting those at risk of redundancy here.

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

This week, I am pleased to share some really hopeful news courtesy of the York and North Yorkshire Federation of Small Business. The organisation represents around four thousand businesses here and their most recent survey reveals that confidence in a bounce back from the pandemic is higher here than it is nationally! Nearly 50 per cent of the businesses involved in the survey also said they had plans to grow over the coming months. This is really positive, particularly given that many sectors are not able to reopen to capacity due to social distancing and other covid-secure measures. Speaking at our weekly media briefing today, Carolyn Frank, who is the Development Manager for the FSB in North Yorkshire, praised the resilience and creativity shown across many sectors and talked about the importance of the large number of independent retailers welcoming back customers in many of our market towns once more. Many are trading over longer hours and opening seven days to adapt their business to the restrictions in place. I was particularly pleased to hear about the new and exciting start-ups that are being born here during a time of unprecedented challenge. I also completely agree with Carolyn when she praises the loyalty of the people of North Yorkshire during a time of crisis. Your continuing support to help reignite our economy will be vital in helping us create new opportunities for skills and jobs as we emerge from the pandemic. We will be doing everything we can to ensure every chance to stimulate clean economic growth is supported here. In the words of Carolyn, many of our businesses ‘are going for it in a covid-secure way’ – let’s keep supporting them and help our special county back onto its feet. You can hear more from Carolyn here.

Today, the Covid rates in North Yorkshire stand at 26 per 100,000. That continues generally to reflect the England average, which stands at 22 per 100,000 over a seven-day average. We do have two areas above the national rate – one of which is Selby, which I discussed in some detail in this bulletin last week. This is largely linked to a workplace outbreak and is being very carefully managed by the affected business, Clipper, and a number of the agencies involved. Our director of public health has put additional measures in place, including more testing, to ensure this is contained and reduced effectively. All indications are that this multiagency approach is effective, but it is a reminder that we will all be living with covid for the foreseeable future and we must not forget the actions we know to be very effective in protecting ourselves. Washing our hands, keeping our distance, covering our face and letting fresh air in – together these remain a key aspect of our defence.

Of course, another is the hugely successful vaccination programme. As of today our wonderful NHS colleagues, supported by an army of volunteers, have successfully administered nearly 380,000 doses of the vaccine here in North Yorkshire. Take-up here remains good and, together with a robust testing programme, this is extremely important to our road map out of restrictions. Thank you to everyone who is supporting this and we are reassured that supply will be in place to ensure that we reach that target of offering all adults a first dose by the end of July. Together, all these measures will help us unlock summer and we are grateful for everyone’s support.

One of the topics where the pandemic has offered some opportunity is climate change. Fewer cars and less travel on the roads and a greater awareness of the value of the space and clean air across our communities. We are committed to taking on board all learning to support a green economic recovery here, and often it can be the cumulative value of smaller changes we all make that deliver lasting improvements. One small but important step may be to reuse and recycle more and that includes food waste. If, like me, you are a keen gardener looking to reduce CO2 emissions – and given its Compost Awareness Week – you may wish to take advantage of our cut-price compost bin offer. Find out a bit more about how to turn kitchen waste into great compost.

Finally, this week I would like to join my colleagues at the County Council in congratulating Harrogate Town on that fantastic achievement of lifting the FA Trophy on Monday. I absolutely agree that they are a great example of a community grassroots club doing really well at a national level. We have heard a great deal about the impact on people’s mental health of the three lockdowns and much about the vital part sport and physical activity can play in helping people’s health and wellbeing. Grassroots sports are springing back into life and your support remains vital. Not just as the events season approaches, but for our own good, too.

So do, please, get out and enjoy the county’s rich offer – safely! There is no better place to be, in my humble opinion!

Keeping in touch

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

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

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

At 2 May 2021, there have been 29,936 positive tests since 3 March 2020, with 327 new cases reported in the past two weeks. The weekly rolling average of new cases is 30 cases per day, allowing for incomplete data in the most recent days. The seven-day rate for North Yorkshire is 26.4 cases per 100,000 people, higher than the England seven-day rate of 22.4. Work continues to ensure effective monitoring of all areas, with support for incidents being provided across a range of settings, which are reviewed daily.

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

Events Update – help to unlock summer!

As we move through the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown, we see the gradual lifting of restrictions on events. From Step 1b (29 March) outdoor grassroots sport and outdoor socially distanced under-18 activities have been allowed to resume. From Steps 2-4, events organised by businesses, charitable organisations, sporting and public bodies will be permitted, providing that certain conditions are met. The guidance varies according to the type of event, and could include outdoor events, funfairs, performing arts or sports events. See full details of relevant dates and types of permitted events.

If you are organising an event

  • Follow all relevant Covid-secure guidance depending on the type of event, and complete a related risk assessment.
  • Ensure that organisers and attendees adhere to all legal requirements, including maintaining group sizes permitted by social contact restrictions at the relevant step in the roadmap and preventing mixing between groups, enforcing social distancing guidelines and mandating face coverings in indoor areas where required.
  • Ensure that all reasonable action has been taken to mitigate risk to public health.
  • In North Yorkshire, we require all event organisers to consider 14 key principles when producing all event plans and associated risk assessments. Further information, and details of who to contact if you are planning an event can be found here.

If you are planning to attend an event

  • Please follow all relevant guidance, and adhere to the messaging and instructions provided by the organisers.
  • “Know before you go” - do some research on the event, so you understand what measures will be in place and what will be required of you.
  • Remember ‘Hands. Face. Space. Fresh air’.
  • If you are unwell or are required to self-isolate, you must not attend the event.

Impact on local community

A comprehensive communications plan for all attendees and the local community reinforcing key principles for staging the event is vitally important. Organisers must consider how attendees get to the event, including the impact on and capacity of public transport, car parking (consideration whether more space is required as attendees should not be car sharing), impact on road network and emergency services. It is essential that event organisers engage with the local community to provide assurance that the event is taking place within the Covid requirements and the actual footprint of the event is also being managed.

Research into lifting restrictions on events

Over the spring, the government is running a scientific Events Research Programme, which includes a series of event pilots, using enhanced testing approaches and other measures, to run events with larger crowd sizes and reduced social distancing to evaluate the outcomes. The findings will help determine the approach to lifting restrictions on events. Depending on the outcome, and subject to the government’s four tests at all stages in the roadmap, the government hopes to be able to lift restrictions on these events and sectors as part of Step 4 (no earlier than 21 June).

We can all play our part. Covid is not over yet – stick to the rules to unlock the next level.

Working together towards recovery

Testing

Everyone can now get coronavirus tests:

  • if you have symptoms you must self-isolate and book a test for people with symptoms
  • if you do not have symptoms you are encouraged to get tests to carry out at home twice a week

Tests for people with symptoms

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.

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

Permanent sites are open every day for testing between 8am and 1:30pm:

  • Harrogate – Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Scarborough – William Street Car Park, Scarborough. YO12 7PL
  • Northallerton – The Forum, Bullamore Road, Northallerton, DL6 1LP
  • Skipton – Cavendish Street Car Park, Skipton, BD23 1RP

The following permanent sites are open 8am to 8pm every day, currently for administering tests only.

  • Malton - Wentworth Street Car Park, Wentworth Street, Malton, YO17 7JR
  • Catterick - Ypres Lines, Richmond Road, Catterick Garrison, DL9 3JF
  • Selby – Portholme Crescent Car Park, Selby, YO8 4YR

Mobile sites are open for testing from 9am to 3pm on the following days:

  • Thursday 6 May - Leyburn - Harmby Road, Car Park, Leyburn, DL8 5EE
  • Thursday 6 May - Easingwold - Easingwold Town AFC, Stillington Road, Easingwold, York, YO61 3DZ
  • Thursday 6 May - Sherburn in Elmet - Pasture Way Carpark, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6LY
  • Friday 7 May - Sherburn in Elmet - Pasture Way Carpark, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6LY
  • Friday 7 May - Stokesley - Stokesley Sports Club, Broughton Road, Stokesley, Middlesbrough, TS9 5JG
  • Friday 7 May - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Saturday 8 May - Selby - South Entrance, Drax Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Saturday 8 May - Thornton Le Dale - North York Moors National Park Authority car park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Thornton Le Dale, Pickering, YO18 7RR
  • Saturday 8 May - Filey - Filey Country Park, Church Cliff Drive, Filey, YO14 9ET
  • Sunday 9 May - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Sunday 9 May - Thirsk - Millgate Car Park, Marage Road, Thirsk, YO7 1PE

Tests for people who do not have symptoms

If you do not have symptoms, you can get tests to use at home in several ways:

Testing kits can be collected every day between 2:30pm and 8pm from the following permanent testing sites:

  • Harrogate – Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Scarborough – William Street Car Park, Scarborough. YO12 7PL
  • Northallerton – The Forum, Bullamore Road, Northallerton, DL6 1LP
  • Skipton – Cavendish Street Car Park, Skipton, BD23 1RP

Assisted testing in Selby

An additional testing site is available in Selby as part of measure to contain the workplace outbreak in the district. At this site, you can get an LFD test carried out by trained staff.

This site is for people who do not have symptoms. You do not need to book an appointment. The site is open from 9am to 4:30pm:

  • Selby - Union Lane, Selby, YO8 4BA

Find more information and the latest dates and locations.

Supporting our schools and childcare

Safety and hygiene procedures to prevent the spread of coronavirus remain in place in schools across North Yorkshire. The Government is set to review its current guidance at the end of this month, but we are not expecting a change to the current instructions to schools.

As long as we keep background rates low, we’re asking schools to keep up their good work. The measures are working very well and attendance at all our schools to remain high.

The food voucher scheme to help families cover the cost of food or other essentials, is set to continue this May half-term holiday.

We have received up to £338,000 of funding from the Department of Work and Pensions to ensure families in receipt of free school meals – and families who are struggling to provide food for children during the pandemic – can continue to cover the cost of food for children or other essentials such as utilities over the school holiday.

Funding has now been sent out to schools, including academies, early years providers, child minders and care leavers in North Yorkshire, so they can distribute supermarket vouchers to those eligible. The vouchers amount to £15 per child, for the week.

The Covid Local Grant scheme is a continuation of the Covid Winter Grant scheme, which has been used over previous school holidays. We anticipate the latest round of funding will benefit up to 20,000 individuals across the county.

Teamwork to support our residents

For over a year, the County Council has been working alongside our partners with 23 community support organisations and the voluntary sector to provide a safety net of support for people without family, friends or neighbours to lean on during the pandemic. Thousands of volunteers have helped with shopping, collecting medication, walking pets, taking people to medical appointments and being there for a friendly chat.

As restrictions have eased, community support organisations are now shifting their focus to gradually building people’s confidence as well as continuing to offer support to people who are self-isolating or limiting their social contact.

Reassuringly, calls to our customer service centre for Covid-related help and support are now below 50 a week, down from almost 450 last April. In recent weeks, there have been no calls requesting support over the weekend.

Since last March, more than 1,260 Covid-19 support grant scheme awards have also been made through the community support organisations, providing financial assistance to pay for food and household essentials during isolation. The majority of applicants have long-term health conditions or weakened immune systems and Scarborough is the district that has received the most awards to date. Food remains the primary award type received, though support for energy and utilities has increased since February. The scheme will be reviewed again in September.

North Yorkshire residents who need help and support, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780 seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm. People can also complete an online form to let us know what help they need.

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

Find advice on how to help others safely and information about volunteering with a local organisation in your community.

Growing our local economy

LEP News: Be a part of the York Community Stadium Leisure Complex!

City of York Council is currently developing signage to welcome fans, residents and visitors to the York Community Stadium Leisure Complex, with potential sites inside and outside the stadium building. Friends and fans of York are invited to submit their head and shoulders photo to mix with many others and create a community mosaic - the background to all the signs.

Be part of the stadium for free by uploading your photo on the We Are York website it’s quick and easy to do and you can upload up to 10 photos of you and your friends or family (making sure you have their consent first).

The deadline to get your image uploaded is 6 May 2021 at noon.

Circular Yorkshire: A Practical Guide to Increasing Efficiency and Productivity

If you want to create a more efficient business, become more environmentally responsible, save money and find new business opportunities, this is the webinar for you. The event will cover:

  • Internal Audits – why do them and what they can tell us?
  • Collaboration and Sharing – exploring all the options
  • Engaging Local Supply Chains
  • Right To Repair – the potential benefits to business

There will also be a Q&A session with your speaker, Erin Wheeler, Circular Economy Officer at York & North Yorkshire LEP.

Sign up to Circular Yorkshire.

Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Investment Readiness Programme – Meet the Funders event.

Meet the Funders has been designed to help early-stage SMEs to understand the full and diverse range of finance options available within the market that best support their growth plans.

This 12-hour mini-series will give access to bespoke finance and pitch deck preparation workshops along with one-to-one coaching to help you prepare for investment. All participants that complete the programme will have the opportunity to pitch your proposition to a network of angel, venture capital and corporate investors. 

The programme will be delivered across three cohorts. Dates for cohort 1 are as follows:

  • 12 May – Investment Landscape
  • 19 May – Pitch Deck Presentation
  • 3 June – Meet the Investors

Businesses can learn more and register for Meet the Funders event.

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

They say a week is a long time in politics and the last week has shown that it is a long time in the course of the Covid-19 pandemic as well.

For North Yorkshire, the last week has seen our Covid-19 infection rate per 100,000 population move rapidly from below the England average to above and the rate for Selby district more than double, moving move from 46.3 to 109.2 currently - placing it at the top of the national league. This shows very clearly how one outbreak can create significant turbulence and concern.

So although overall the situation is encouraging in that many of our districts show rates well below the national average, it is also volatile.

Selby is geographically located at the heart of the wider Yorkshire region, with extensive transport networks and lots of inward and outward travel to work so its Covid-19 infection rate is prone to that sort of turbulence, more than some other areas in North Yorkshire.

However, I think we can also take a great deal of reassurance from the swift action by all our partners -  the county council, Public Health England, Selby District Council and the Health and Safety Executive  - who have all been working hard together to carry out testing and supporting people to isolate to contain this outbreak. They have all been working closely and effectively with the logistics company Clipper, whose workforce in Selby has been significantly affected by the outbreak.

We are also doing lots of work to reinforce key prevention messages in the community such as schools and care settings and community centres to give wider information about support and prevention and help them manage any cases as and when they occur. We are also reaching out to different parts of the community, particularly where people’s first language may not be English.

Selby District Council has also been working with hospitality to ensure compliance with Covid-19 regulations, though improvements required have been minimal so far. So  we are all working together to make sure the outbreak is brought back under control and Selby continues to be a safe place.

Overall in our county, the signs are that everything is going in the right direction as we move along the road map out of lockdown. But we must continue to be cautious and careful in our daily lives.

We now have 23 people with Covid-19 in the four hospitals that serve North Yorkshire; five in intensive care, far fewer than only a few weeks ago. Nevertheless it is a reminder that Covid-19 can make people really poorly and it is really important that, even as the vaccination programme is rolling out successfully and progressing through the age bands, we must all continue to follow the Government guidance with regards to hands, face, space and fresh air and refrain from household mixing indoors.

It is good to see our children and young people back in full swing with their learning and socialising in schools, so important for their mental and physical health and we are pleased to say that in North Yorkshire school attendance remains high at 94 per cent.  We know that schools remain vigilant and robust on testing and risk assessments, so we can be confident that they will keep going to the end of the school year in this way.

Indeed there is much to look forward to with the coming May Bank Holiday, further unlocking later in the month and the summer ahead.

The growing popularity of North Yorkshire’s great National Parks and spectacular coastline, as a nation emerging from lockdown increasingly appreciates their beauty and the open space and the recreation they offer, presents many greatly-needed opportunities for the tourism sector and the growth of the Staycation market.

At this week’s North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum press conference, Carolyn Nicholl from Welcome to Yorkshire outlined some of the great initiatives to attract people to the area and to encourage them to enjoy our great county in a positive way.

There is, as she says, something for everybody here from camping to glamping, fantastic B & Bs to world-class hotels.  The fact so many film production companies are choosing North Yorkshire for filming, only serves to strengthen its global brand for hospitality and spectacular countryside - witness Tom Cruise in Levisham where the Mission Impossible film crew got the best welcome ever from the local population!

Carolyn gave us great insight into the ingenuity of our local businesses as they begin to open up. I particularly like the idea of the Yorkshire Hotel in Harrogate which has created a Dales scene in its car park for a Dales and Ale outdoor dining experience.

People seem to be lapping up the opportunity to get out and about again. According to Welcome to Yorkshire non-essential retail in Scarborough last week saw 97 per cent more than the average spend.

For those who want to enjoy exercise in the open air there is also the Yorkshire Cancer Research Tour de Walkshire campaign, inviting people to walk, run or cycle and raise funds for the charity.

Above all this is time for people to show that now more than ever they are willing to behave in a respectful and fair manner.

Michael Graham, Director of Park Services for the North Yorks Moors National Park said the national parks welcomed the large numbers of visitors who have arrived since lockdown restrictions have eased and he commended the “vast majority” for behaving responsibly and following Covid-19 safety guidelines as well as the countryside code .

But as we look ahead to the Bank Holiday we share his key messages – continue to show consideration for other visitors, residents, wildlife and farm animals. Bin your litter and if you can’t do that take it home. The same with dog poo. Avoid disturbing farm animals and wildlife; limit your camping to designated sites and not on verges or outside villages. Perhaps most importantly given an unseasonably dry April, do not light barbecues in the countryside. The vegetation currently is tinder dry.

Avoid tourist hotspots if you can and if you go somewhere and it is really busy, try to find somewhere else less busy – you might only have to go a few miles down the road to find a quieter place.

Most people are doing the right thing of course so we can look forward to a really positive summer ahead.

So enjoy the Bank Holiday and stay safe!

Keeping in touch

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

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

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

At 24th April 2021, there have been 29,759 positive tests since 3rd March 2020, with 333 new cases reported in the past two weeks. The weekly rolling average of new cases is 21 cases per day, allowing for incomplete data in the most recent days. The 7-day rate for North Yorkshire is 31.9 cases per 100,000 people, higher than the England 7-day rate of 24.6. Work continues to ensure effective monitoring of all areas, with support for incidents being provided across a range of settings, which are reviewed daily.

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

Coronavirus Update

North Yorkshire County Council continues to work closely with partner agencies, including district councils, PHE and the Health and Safety Executive, to ensure effective and timely monitoring across all areas of the county.  We have a range of support measures that can be provided, and work continues to protect North Yorkshire residents by ensuring local outbreaks are managed quickly and effectively. We take every measure possible to help contain the virus and limit any onward spread.

Roadmap out of lockdown

As part of the plan to bring the country out of lockdown, the UK is currently at Step 2 of the government's roadmap, which allowed outdoor hospitality to reopen in England as of April 12. From May 17, indoor hospitality will be allowed to reopen under Step 3, along with museums, cinemas and hotels. Additionally, two households will be able meet indoors for the first time since Christmas. 

However, the progress of the roadmap is predicated on 4 tests set by the government:

  • the vaccine deployment programme continues successfully
  • evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated
  • infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS
  • our assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new Variants of Concern

The success of the vaccination programme is one factor - but by no means the whole story.

We know that Covid-19 is still circulating among the population and rates can easily spike. With record numbers around the world, it’s very clear that the virus has not gone away. It has never been more important to continue to do our best to follow the rules. Please be extremely careful and keep following the regulations until it is safe to resume a more normal way of living – otherwise we risk all the sacrifices we have made so willingly over the last year, to be in vain.

Remember – remain vigilant! As lockdown eases, we MUST all make every effort to follow the guidance around hands, face, space and fresh air.  Comply with the COVID-Secure measures that remain in place. Meet outdoors when we can and keep letting fresh air in. Get tested when needed. Get vaccinated when offered. 

Covid is not over yet - but if we all continue to play our part, we will keep the Government’s roadmap on track to a more normal life for everyone.

Working together towards recovery

Testing

Everyone can now get coronavirus tests:

  • if you have symptoms you must self-isolate and book a test for people with symptoms
  • if you do not have symptoms you are encouraged to get tests to carry out at home twice a week

Tests for people with symptoms

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.

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

Permanent sites are open every day for testing between 8am and 1:30pm:

  • Harrogate – Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Scarborough – William Street Car Park, Scarborough. YO12 7PL
  • Northallerton – The Forum, Bullamore Road, Northallerton, DL6 1LP
  • Selby – Portholme Crescent Car Park, Selby, YO8 4YR
  • Skipton – Cavendish Street Car Park, Skipton, BD23 1RP

The new permanent sites at Malton and Catterick are open 8am to 8pm every day, currently for administering tests only.

  • Malton – Wentworth Street Car Park, Wentworth Street, Malton, YO17 7JR
  • Catterick – Ypres Lines, Richmond Road, Catterick Garrison, DL9 3JF

Mobile sites are open for testing from 9am to 3pm on the following days:

  • Thursday 29 April - Leyburn - Harmby Road, Car Park, Leyburn, DL8 5EE
  • Thursday 29 April - Easingwold - Easingwold Town AFC, Stillington Road, Easingwold, York, YO61 3DZ
  • Friday 30 April - Sherburn in Elmet - Pasture Way Carpark, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6LY
  • Friday 30 April - Stokesley - Stokesley Sports Club, Broughton Road, Stokesley, Middlesbrough, TS9 5JG
  • Friday 30 April - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Saturday 1 May - Selby - South Entrance, DRAX Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Saturday 1 May - Thornton Le Dale - North York Moors National Park Authority car park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Thornton Le Dale, Pickering, YO18 7RR
  • Saturday 1 May - Filey - Filey Country park, Church Cliff Drive, Filey, YO14 9ET
  • Sunday 2 May - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Sunday 2 May - Thirsk - Millgate Car Park, Marage Road, Thirsk, YO7 1PE

Tests for people who do not have symptoms

If you do not have symptoms, you can get tests to use at home in several ways:

Testing kits can be collected every day between 2:30pm and 8pm from the following permanent testing sites:

  • Harrogate – Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Scarborough – William Street Car Park, Scarborough. YO12 7PL
  • Northallerton – The Forum, Bullamore Road, Northallerton, DL6 1LP
  • Selby – Portholme Crescent Car Park, Selby, YO8 4YR
  • Skipton – Cavendish Street Car Park, Skipton, BD23 1RP

Find more information and the latest dates and locations.

Supporting our schools and childcare

Support to help low income families meet the cost of food for children will continue this May half-term.

The Covid Winter Grant Scheme provided food voucher payments to parents and carers hit financially by the pandemic, allowing them to provide children with essentials over the school break by helping meet the cost of food.

The scheme has now ended, but following a recent Government announcement, payments will continue this May half-term holiday, through the Department for Work and Pensions’ Covid Local Support Grant.

Later this week, the County Council will be allocating funding for the supermarket vouchers to schools, including academies, early years providers, child minders and care leavers in North Yorkshire. The vouchers amount to £15 per child, per week.

The scheme ensures children eligible for Free School Meals continue to have access to food during the school holidays and also gives schools discretion to provide help to other families in need, in recognition of the fact that some are newly struggling as a result of the pandemic on businesses and jobs. The scheme has been used successfully since the start of the Christmas break and has helped thousands of families across the county.

Schools and families are continuing to take part in home testing for coronavirus using Lateral Flow Tests provided to pupils. Schools are also successfully continuing with their safety measures, including social distancing, increased hygiene measures and ventilating classrooms and other spaces. The system is working well and attendance at primary and secondary schools in North Yorkshire remains high, at 94 per cent to 95 per cent. 

Teamwork to support our residents

At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Community Works was appointed as the support hub for Thirsk and surrounding areas. As restrictions have eased, the charity has slowly reintroduced events and activities with a renewed focus on building people’s confidence alongside continued help and support.

Abigail Homer, Chief Executive at Community Works, said: “We still have people that are not wanting to leave the house, but that number is dropping every week.

“The idea is that there are small groups that meet weekly, following Covid guidance of course. The groups are themed, so there are some that are in our workshops where people have been making items to sell in the shop. There’s a group fixing up bikes. There’s a group where people meet up for a coffee and a chat. A quiz group. Lots of different groups to meet as many needs as possible.

“Some of our members are really anxious and still need that support. Then there are others who think it’s all over, but we always reinforce the message that people still need to wash their hands, wear face coverings and keep their distance. People have been desperate to start socialising, but in a safe way. It’s been such a long time.

“The feedback from people has been incredibly positive, they tell us that they don’t know what they would have done without us. It’s really helped reduce some of their anxieties and take away their worries. It’s made a big difference.

“For our volunteers that have been able to come back, being able to offer their support again has been a lifeline for them as well. I think a lot of the new volunteers that joined will stay with us too. We’ve all been through an incredible experience together.”

North Yorkshire residents without local support networks who need help with shopping and other essentials, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780 seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm. People can also complete an online form to let us know what help they need.

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

Find advice on how to help others safely and information about volunteering with a local organisation in your community.

Growing our local economy

LEP News: Sustainability support for businesses

Last week marked Earth Day 2021 where people around the world unite to focus on climate action to ‘Restore Our Earth’. Through the work of the , the ambition is to be the UK’s first carbon negative region.

If you want to increase sustainability in your business, we have created our . Whether you are looking to save money, attract new customers or create new revenue streams, these guides provide practical tips and advice that can help you get started.

York Top 100 Business Report

The York Press's latest edition of the York Top 100 Business Report was published this week, showcasing the city's biggest success stories. This annual report was produced by The Press, York St John University's Business School and Make it York to showcase a definitive and comprehensive list of York's most significant employers. Find out more about the York Top 100 Business Report

Skills Support for the Workforce brochure launched

Skills Support for the Workforce have launched a new brochure on its website, making it easier to find out about the free courses and support available for employers through the programme. Please click on the link to access the publication along with the employer enquiry form: Brochures - SSW Funding Unit

Business Funding Roadshow for York based businesses

Join PAPI & Make It York along with other businesses in the York area to find out what grant funding and business support is currently available.

This online event will alert SMEs (under 250 employees and who operate predominantly B2B) to the wide range of business support available to help your business innovate and grow.

Organised by PAPI and in partnership with Make It York the event will provide you with a single point of contact to enable you to access tailored support which is right for your business.

Sign up to Business Funding Roadshow.

Make It York: Connect over Coffee

Connect over Coffee offers you the space to network, exchange ideas, find support and discuss business challenges.

5th May – Do you find yourself feeling uncomfortable at your desk and experiencing aches in various parts of your body? You can relieve those pains! Come and take part in a mini session with Sarah Owen, Pilates Specialist and Personal Trainer, from Perfecting Pilates who can show you what exercises you can do to mobilise your muscles that will leave you energised for the rest of the day!

19th May – It’s all about the networking! This meeting will focus on making connections for your business, so you will have the opportunity to take part in a lot more Zoom breakout rooms than usual!

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

Who would have thought the prospect of a haircut would become so looked forward to! I am one of the lucky cohort to have managed to get an appointment and what a pleasure it was to feel a bit more normal again. It is such a joy to see North Yorkshire bursting back to life. Like many of you, I am buoyed by the sound of laughter as people enjoy our market towns and villages again, loving our wonderful outdoor dining options, shopping in our local businesses. Spring has well and truly sprung – the sun is up and things are beginning to feel hopeful again. So, a hearty thank you to you all for everything you have sacrificed to get us to this point. Without your sterling efforts, we would most certainly not be in this position.

We are about half way through the road map out of the pandemic – there’s a long way to go but so far so good. I am hoping some of you will start to see and hear our Unlock Summer campaign over the coming days and weeks. It’s designed to help us all remember how we have won these freedoms and what we need to continue to do to keep them coming. Reports from our colleagues at North Yorkshire police confirm how respectful and thoughtful the vast majority of people are being as they enjoy the longer days and outdoor socialising more. We are also hearing lots of positive news from the hospitality settings that have been able to reopen their outdoor areas. The Hotel Manager of West Park Hotel in Harrogate has spoken of welcoming two thousand outdoor guests since restrictions eased – that’s fantastic to hear. Perhaps not so fantastic though for the member of staff who clocked up 26 miles in one day serving meals and drinks to guests! You can hear more Anthony Blundell. Well done to all those businesses and settings reopening safely and thank you for all the terrific care you are taking to keep staff and customers safe. It is much appreciated.

We are also hearing a great deal about a predicted boom in the staycation market – partly linked to the obvious issues around international travel just now – but also because the pandemic has helped us reconnect with our local communities. We are understandably looking to explore from our doorsteps and in doing so discovering all sorts we may not have known, I am sure. For example, did you know you can now ‘wakeboard’ in North Yorkshire? In truth, I am not entirely sure I know what that is or indeed how I would get on with it – but I am very sure lots of people will raise an eyebrow at that and plenty of folk will be keen to try it. On our weekly media briefing today we heard about the work that has been going on at the North Yorkshire Water Park. Based at Wykeham near Scarborough, during the latest lockdown, the park managers have been busy making more than £900,000 of improvements and expanding their offer to residents and visitors, including training staff on the new water feature! We are truly blessed in North Yorkshire with the wonderful mix of culture, landscapes and heritage but equally we are full of surprises, and if we can take one positive from this whole Covid-19 experience it is surely that we live in a special place, full of very special people and have many things we can explore and enjoy right here. I hope you will find this video with Gareth Davies, the park’s general manager, as interesting as I did. It’s a great account of how our businesses are investing and being innovative in the face of such great challenges.

I am pleased to report that our libraries are loving seeing you all again and our schools are buzzing with pupils back learning again following the Easter break. Attendance at schools is up to pre-pandemic levels at around 93%. Positive cases of Covid-19 remain very few and far between and staff and pupils are greatly benefitting from their return.

This week we are also reopening our records office for research. Another small step toward that goal of normality. From April 27, people will be able to book to access the archives again – I know this is hugely valued by many people, so it’s lovely to be able to welcome you back. You can find out a bit more and how to book here.

So, a lot to be grateful for and a much greater sense of freedom in our lives. Our position with regards to Covid-19 cases is encouraging, but this virus is volatile so please keep going Team North Yorkshire and stay safe.

Keeping in touch

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

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

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

At 18 April 2021, there have been 29,585 positive tests since 3 March 2020, with 277 new cases reported in the past two weeks. The weekly rolling average of new cases is 21 cases per day, allowing for incomplete data in the most recent days. The seven-day rate for North Yorkshire is 25.7 cases per 100,000 people, higher than the England seven-day rate of 24.1. Work continues to ensure effective monitoring of all areas, with support for incidents being provided across a range of settings, which are reviewed daily.

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

Coronavirus Update

Nine in ten pharmacies across England are now distributing free rapid lateral flow tests for people to collect and use at home.

Rapid, regular testing is now available to everyone in England and the new Pharmacy Collect service provides an additional route to regular testing, making it as easy as possible for people without COVID-19 symptoms to access testing twice a week.

The Pharmacy Collect service is available to anyone aged 18 or older without symptoms, who is able to visit a participating local pharmacy and collect a box of seven rapid tests to use twice a week at home.

Alongside the rollout of the vaccine, testing will form a crucial part of everyday life as parts of society reopen. Around one in three people with coronavirus doesn’t have symptoms, which means they can spread the virus without knowing it. Regular testing continues to play a critical role in stopping the spread of the virus and breaking the chains of transmission.

An online checker has launched so you can find your nearest pharmacy offering free rapid test kits.

New analysis by NHS Test and Trace shows lateral flow (LFD) tests to have a specificity of at least 99.9%. This means that for every 1,000 lateral flow tests carried out, there is fewer than one false positive result. All positive results from LFD tests must be followed up with a confirmatory PCR test within 72 hours. Confirmatory PCR testing will also mean variants of concern are detected more quickly.

If testing at home, individuals will need to register their results online or by calling 119, even if they get a negative result. They should self-isolate if they get a positive result and order a confirmatory PCR test online or by calling 119.

Please note that anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 (high temperature, new continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of taste or smell) should book a PCR test online or by calling 119.

You can also get help to register and take the test for people who are visually impaired. You can have a live video call with specially trained NHS Test and Trace staff to help you register and take a home coronavirus test, or you can download the free Be My Eyes app.

We must all remember that COVID-19 remains a part of our lives, and to help stop the spread of coronavirus, we all need to:

  • carry on with ‘hands, face, space and fresh air’;
  • comply with the COVID-secure measures that remain in place at different stages;
  • meet outdoors when we can and keep letting in fresh air;
  • get tested when needed;
  • get vaccinated when offered.

If we all continue to play our part, we will be that bit closer to a future that is more familiar.

Working together towards recovery

Testing

Everyone can now get coronavirus tests:

  • if you have symptoms you must self-isolate and book a test for people with symptoms
  • if you do not have symptoms you are encouraged to get tests to carry out at home twice a week

Tests for people with symptoms

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.

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

Permanent sites are open every day for testing between 8am and 1:30pm:

  • Harrogate – Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Scarborough – William Street Car Park, Scarborough. YO12 7PL
  • Northallerton – The Forum, Bullamore Road, Northallerton, DL6 1LP
  • Selby – Portholme Crescent Car Park, Selby, YO8 4YR
  • Skipton – Cavendish Street Car Park, Skipton, BD23 1RP

The new permanent sites at Malton and Catterick are open 8am to 8pm every day, currently for administering tests only.

  • Malton – Wentworth Street Car Park, Wentworth Street, Malton, YO17 7JR
  • Catterick – Ypres Lines, Richmond Road, Catterick Garrison, DL9 3JF

Mobile sites are open for testing from 9am to 3pm on the following days:

  • Thursday 22 April - Leyburn - Harmby Road, Car Park, Leyburn, DL8 5EE
  • Thursday 22 April - Easingwold - Easingwold Town AFC, Stillington Road, Easingwold, York, YO61 3DZ
  • Friday 23 April - Sherburn in Elmet - Pasture Way Carpark, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6LY
  • Friday 23 April - Stokesley - Stokesley Sports Club, Broughton Road, Stokesley, Middlesbrough, TS9 5JG
  • Friday 23 April - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Saturday 24 April - Selby - South Entrance, DRAX Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Saturday 24 April - Thornton Le Dale - North York Moors National Park Authority car park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Thornton Le Dale, Pickering, YO18 7RR
  • Saturday 24 April - Filey - Filey Country park, Church Cliff Drive, Filey, YO14 9ET
  • Sunday 25 April - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Sunday 25 April - Thirsk - Millgate Car Park, Marage Road, Thirsk, YO7 1PE

Tests for people who do not have symptoms

If you do not have symptoms, you can get tests to use at home in several ways:

Testing kits can be collected every day between 2:30pm and 8pm from the following permanent testing sites:

  • Harrogate – Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Scarborough – William Street Car Park, Scarborough. YO12 7PL
  • Northallerton – The Forum, Bullamore Road, Northallerton, DL6 1LP
  • Selby – Portholme Crescent Car Park, Selby, YO8 4YR
  • Skipton – Cavendish Street Car Park, Skipton, BD23 1RP

Testing kits can also be collected between 9am and 3pm from our mobile distribution unit, which will be at the following locations in the coming days:

  • Thursday 22 April - Reeth - Reeth Green, B6270, Reeth, Richmond, DL11 6SY

Find more information and the latest dates and locations.

Supporting our schools and childcare

We’re pleased to say that the return to school following the Easter break has gone very well and attendance in schools is now almost at levels seen before the pandemic, with average attendance at 93 per cent across all schools in the county, which is excellent news for schools, pupils and families.

We are also pleased to report that of the 1,100 educational settings in North Yorkshire, including schools, academies, colleges and early years providers, we have just 32 pupils or staff who have tested positive for coronavirus. These figures cover the last 28 days.

The fact that the overwhelming majority of pupils in North Yorkshire are now back in school is great news for children and young people, not just for their education and learning, but also their wellbeing and emotional development.

Teamwork to support our residents

Prior to the pandemic, people of all ages living in and around Leyburn were able to take part in a number of activities and community events. As the restrictions are gradually lifted, the community support organisation for the area has launched their Community Restart programme to address concerns about a lack of confidence among people who have had limited social contact for over a year.

The aim of the programme is to encourage groups and individuals to organise community activities within the relevant Covid restrictions and get the community ‘out and active’. Volunteers from the CSO are engaging with parish councils in the surrounding area, faith leaders, pubs, clubs and leaders of other groups. Volunteers will encourage people to start thinking about what events and activities they could safely organise in their area. As events and activities start to be introduced, residents will be encouraged to take part through local promotion and publicity. Befriending volunteers will also chat to the people they support about the programme.

David Poole is Treasurer at Leyburn Arts and Community Centre, the community support organisation for the area. David said: “The confidence bit is the first part we addressed so people could see that there was life outside the bubble they’ve been in for some time. That’s where the Community Restart programme fitted in.

“We wanted all of the organisations in the area to input what’s happening from coffee mornings to yoga classes. People will see there’s lots of activities going on to build their confidence. As they say, it’s fine to win the war but then you have to win the peace.”

North Yorkshire residents without local support networks who need help with shopping and other essentials, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780 seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm. People can also complete an online form to let us know what help they need.

To find local businesses offering food deliveries and takeaways, go to the Buy Local directory. People can also find details of other local voluntary and community groups offering support.

Find advice on how to help others safely and information about volunteering with a local organisation in your community.

Growing our local economy

LEP News: How diverse businesses have outperformed their peers – and can again

Helen Simpson, new York & North Yorkshire LEP Chair, talks in the Yorkshire Post about how diverse businesses have outperformed their peers – and can again.

Government launches consultation to create new flexible apprenticeships

A consultation has launched seeking views on how new flexi-job apprenticeship schemes could be run. Apprenticeships are at least 12 months long, so some sectors with flexible employment patterns and short-term roles, such as agriculture, construction and creative sectors including TV, film and theatre production, find it challenging to create enough opportunities.

Announced by the Chancellor in the Budget, the new flexi-job apprenticeship schemes would enable an apprentice to work across a range of projects and with different employers to gain the full skills and experience they need to complete their programme.

For more information, visit Consultation launched to create new flexible apprenticeships.

Hambleton Business Week 2021 and opening of C4DI Northallerton digital hub

The Hambleton Business Week 2021, organised by Hambleton District Council, will be held virtually from 11 to 13 May. The official launch of the C4DI Northallerton hub will take place as part of this event on Monday, 11 May.

The £2.3m digital hub, part funded by the Local Growth Fund secured from the York & North Yorkshire LEP, is based at the Treadmills development in Northallerton and will focus on helping tech companies grow and traditional businesses innovate within the agriculture, food processing and digital sector. See more information on the The Hambleton Business Week 2021 launch.

The 2021 business conference continues on 12 May to focus on growing the local economy through digital technology, supporting high streets, market towns as well as those traditional businesses within the district. Keynote speaker Kate Hardcastle MBE will talk about the Digital High Street and will be joined by other speakers, Amanda Lindsay from Human Resources Consultancy, 2hbr and Matthew Hopkinson from Didobi, Founder Director of the Local Data Company.

Thursday, 13 May, is aimed at traditional businesses and will showcase support from the LEP on the circular economy and sustainable supply chain – and include how agritech plays a part in traditional businesses.

You can find out more about the speakers, agenda for the week and sign up for the event.

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

As we continue the national week of mourning following the death of Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, it feels right to put on record our thanks to a man who leaves a remarkable legacy of public service, not only within his role in the Royal Family but also in the Royal Navy during the Second World War. 

Prince Philip was a leading member of that remarkable generation who fought for our freedoms, built our NHS and, sadly, who in the last year, have been most impacted by Covid-19.

I wanted to take this opportunity to reflect on some of the things that Prince Philip felt very strongly about during his life and which are really important as we help each other through the current pandemic, too: the power of volunteering and the importance of fresh air and exercise.

That spirit of volunteering and helping others, alongside outdoor exploration and appreciation, are at the heart of The Duke of Edinburgh Awards, which have enriched the lives of many young people here in North Yorkshire, as they have elsewhere. We remain extremely grateful for the many ways Prince Philip has touched our lives through his dedication to public service.

This week has been a critical one in the Government’s road map out of the pandemic. On Monday, we saw the easement of some restrictions allowing the reopening of outdoor hospitality, more shops, gyms, hairdressers and beauty therapy businesses and so on. As a result, our communities and high streets have blossomed in the spring sunshine. It is heart-warming and so welcome to see communities becoming more lively and vibrant again – there is a sense of relief and excitement that we have managed to get to this point. It’s an achievement you should all be extremely proud of. Your collective efforts over an extended and most challenging period of time have delivered us some of those freedoms we have missed. We can now enjoy the company of others in more outdoors places and shop safely in our high streets. Every day sees more progress in the steps towards recovery and we must continue to nurture this delicate balance. The virus has not gone, but you have played your part in suppressing it. So, to everyone who has stuck to the rules, taken up the offer of a vaccination and supported their local businesses during the three lockdowns – North Yorkshire thanks you and your selfless team spirit.

Our Covid-19 transmission rates in North Yorkshire are, overall, below the England average and the lowest we have seen for six months. However, they remain higher than we saw here last summer and, as I write, surge testing is under way in areas of south London where the South African variant of the virus has been found.

So, to keep us on the right path, next week we will launch a campaign across North Yorkshire called Unlock Summer. We hope you will support this as an individual, a business, a school, organisation or community. Because by following the messages, which come straight from our Director of Public Health, that is exactly what we hope to do together – Unlock Summer. By working together to unlock the next steps we will help avoid a third wave of coronavirus and keep those hard-earned freedoms. So please look out for the Unlock Summer messages in our high streets and retail centres, listen out for the radio adverts, which are voiced by local people from across North Yorkshire, help to share the posts across your social media feeds. Most of all, please stick to the hands, face, space and let fresh air in rules. I have absolute confidence in our Team North Yorkshire strength and focus to see this through together.

Along with those simple actions we can all continue to take, testing and vaccination continue to be at the heart of the route out of the pandemic and I am pleased to say vaccination take-up remains good here. More than 247,000 people in the county have had a first dose and 57,000 have received a second one. But, if you are one of the 35,000 people who have been offered a dose and not taken it for whatever reason, please do get advice and support from our NHS colleagues. They are clear they do not want anyone left behind and they are there waiting to understand how they can help you get that all-important vaccine. Meanwhile, the second phase is now also under way here – with people in their late forties being contacted and we saw the first use of the Moderna vaccine in the county yesterday. This is a programme to be proud of and we applaud our NHS colleagues and the many volunteers here, making it such a resounding success.

There is a great deal of information here on local testing availability, too, so please do take a look and find out how to access tests if you have symptoms and also how to get the free lateral flow tests now available to everyone without symptoms to help support the return to normality.

We all probably know by now that the virus finds it much harder to spread outdoors, particularly when we keep a safe space from others, and in many ways the lockdowns have helped us to reconnect to our communities and where we live. We understand that being able to enjoy all forms of exercise are important, so that’s why we are currently asking you to help us work with partners across the county to see how we can support you to become or stay active. I would really welcome your thoughts on the consultation.

Finally, there are just a few days left to take part in the Government’s consultation on how local services should be delivered in York and North Yorkshire in the future. Please don’t miss the chance to have your say.

Two proposals are being consulted on. North Yorkshire County Council has proposed a single unitary council on the footprint of the existing North Yorkshire boundary, which would operate alongside the City of York as a separate unitary council. This proposal has been supported by the City of York Council.  

There is also an alternative model put forward by six of the seven district councils within North Yorkshire for an east/west option, which would divide North Yorkshire and York into two; with York forming part of the East side of the two new unitary authorities. Both proposals are available to view on this link, which will also take you to the consultation if you would like to take part before it closes on April 19.

Keeping in touch

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

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

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

At 10 April 2021, there have been 29,394 positive tests since 3 March 2020, with 294 new cases reported in the past two weeks. The weekly rolling average of new cases is 23 cases per day, allowing for incomplete data in the most recent days. The seven-day rate for North Yorkshire is 20.2 cases per 100,000 people, which remains below the England seven-day rate. Work continues to ensure effective monitoring of all areas, with support for incidents being provided across a range of settings, which are reviewed daily.

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

Coronavirus vaccination update and Frequently Asked Questions.

People aged 45 or over in England are now invited to get a Covid jab, to join the 32 million others in having a vaccine. Those booking appointments need to have two doses and the NHS asks individuals to book both appointments at the same time, with the second occurring 11 to 12 weeks after the first dose. You can book your appointments here: Book a coronavirus vaccination - NHS. Despite an expected dip in vaccine supply in April, the government says the country is still on track to offer a first dose to all adults by the end of July, with a third vaccine, Moderna, currently being rolled out in the UK.

Why will under-30s be offered an alternative to the AstraZeneca vaccine?

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) says the benefit still far outweighs any risk for the vast majority of adults, despite reports of the extremely rare adverse events of bloods clots and low platelet counts following vaccination with the first dose of the AstraZeneca.  However, the government has stated it will follow the updated advice, which sets out that, as a precaution, it is preferable for people under the age of 30 with no underlying health conditions to be offered an alternative vaccine where possible, once they are eligible.

Will the vaccine protect me?

The COVID-19 vaccination will reduce the chance of you suffering from COVID-19. It may take a week or two for your body to build up some protection from the first dose of vaccine. The vaccine has been shown to be effective and no safety concerns were seen in studies of more than 20,000 people. Like all medicines, no vaccine is completely effective – some people may still get COVID-19 despite having a vaccination, but it should be less severe.

What are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine?

Like all medicines, COVID-19 vaccines can cause side effects. Most of these are mild and short-term, and not everyone gets them. Common side effects include a painful arm, feeling tired, headache, general aches and mild flu-like symptoms. However, these symptoms are normal and are a sign that your body is building immunity. These symptoms normally last less than a week. Read further details about the side effects.

Do the COVID-19 vaccines contain any animal products?

The MHRA has confirmed that the COVID vaccines do not contain any components of animal origin, including pork, gelatine and eggs.

What if I have allergies, should I get the vaccine?

The COVID vaccines do not contain any common allergens like eggs, shellfish or penicillin. However, a small number of people have had an allergic reaction to the Pfizer vaccine (11 cases per million doses). As a result, people with a history of severe allergies resulting in anaphylaxis should talk to their doctor or vaccination team who may advise you to have the AstraZeneca vaccine, and/or you may be vaccinated in a special facility that can look after you should you suffer a reaction.

If I’ve already had COVID-19 do I still need to have the vaccine?

Yes! If you have a confirmed case of COVID-19 you should wait at least four weeks after you had symptoms (or four weeks since your positive test if you didn’t have any symptoms) and until you have recovered from your COVID-19 infection, before having the vaccine.

I’ve had the flu vaccine, why do I need the COVID-19 vaccine?

The flu vaccine does not protect you from COVID-19. If you are eligible for both vaccines, you should have them both.

After I’ve had the vaccine will I still need to follow all of the infection prevention and control advice?

Yes! No vaccine is 100% effective, and it will take a few weeks for your body to build up protection. While the approved vaccines provide protection to a vaccinated person from becoming seriously ill from COVID-19, we do not yet know if they prevent someone from passing on the virus to others. To continue to protect yourself, your family, friends and colleagues you should follow the general advice at work, at home and when you are out and about:

  • practise social distancing
  • wear a face mask
  • wash your hands carefully and frequently
  • follow the current guidance

Working together towards recovery

Testing

Everyone can now get coronavirus tests:

  • if you have symptoms you must self-isolate and book a test for people with symptoms
  • if you do not have symptoms you are encouraged to get tests to carry out at home twice a week

Tests for people with symptoms

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.

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

Permanent sites are open every day for testing between 8am and 1:30pm:

  • Harrogate – Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Scarborough – William Street Car Park, Scarborough. YO12 7PL
  • Northallerton – The Forum, Bullamore Road, Northallerton, DL6 1LP
  • Selby – Portholme Crescent Car Park, Selby, YO8 4YR
  • Skipton – Cavendish Street Car Park, Skipton, BD23 1RP

The new permanent sites at Malton and Catterick are open 8am to 8pm every day, currently for administering tests only.

  • Malton – Wentworth Street Car Park, Wentworth Street, Malton, YO17 7JR
  • Catterick – Ypres Lines, Richmond Road, Catterick Garrison, DL9 3JF

Mobile sites are open for testing from 9am to 3pm on the following days:

  • Thursday 15 April – Leyburn - Harmby Road, Car Park, Leyburn, DL8 5EE
  • Thursday 15 April – Easingwold - Easingwold Town AFC, Stillington Road, Easingwold, York, YO61 3DZ
  • Friday 16 April – Sherburn in Elmet - Pasture Way Carpark, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6LY
  • Friday 16 April – Stokesley - Stokesley Sports Club, Broughton Road, Stokesley, Middlesbrough, TS9 5JG
  • Friday 16 April – Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Saturday 17 April – Selby - South Entrance, DRAX Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Saturday 17 April – Thornton Le Dale - North York Moors National Park Authority car park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Thornton Le Dale, Pickering, YO18 7RR
  • Saturday 17 April – Filey - Filey Country park, Church Cliff Drive, Filey, YO14 9ET
  • Sunday 18 April – Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Sunday 18 April – Thirsk - Millgate Car Park, Marage Road, Thirsk, YO7 1PE

Tests for people who do not have symptoms

If you do not have symptoms, you can get tests to use at home in several ways:

Testing kits can be collected every day between 2:30pm and 8pm from the following permanent testing sites:

  • Harrogate – Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Scarborough – William Street Car Park, Scarborough. YO12 7PL
  • Northallerton – The Forum, Bullamore Road, Northallerton, DL6 1LP
  • Selby – Portholme Crescent Car Park, Selby, YO8 4YR
  • Skipton – Cavendish Street Car Park, Skipton, BD23 1RP

Testing kits can also be collected between 9am and 3pm from our mobile distribution unit, which will be at the following locations in the coming days:

  • Thursday 15 April – Settle - Greenfoot Car Park, Settle, BD24 9RW
  • Friday 16 April – Thornton Le Dale - North York Moors National Park Authority car park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Thornton Le Dale, Pickering, YO18 7RR
  • Saturday 17 April – Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Sunday 18 April – Filey - Filey Country park, Church Cliff Drive, Filey, YO14 9ET

Find more information and the latest dates and locations.

Supporting our schools and childcare

We are continuing with our extensive engagement on the future of outdoor learning in North Yorkshire, which will take into account the views of schools, teachers, young people, members of the public and other organisations.

The pandemic has had a significant financial impact on the County Council’s two residential sites at Bewerley Park in Nidderdale and East Barnby near Whitby, which has resulted in the service losing the majority of its £2.25m annual income since March 2020, when the Government issued guidance to close outdoor activity centres. The closure has resulted in the service losing nearly £1m over the last financial year, 2020 to 2021.

The buildings on the two estates, which were built as temporary structures many decades ago, are also in need of considerable investment.

The review will determine what North Yorkshire’s outdoor learning service should look like in the future, what services and facilities people think the service should provide for the county’s young people, when and how.

The County Council is currently engaging with individuals and organisations with an interest in outdoor learning services, including young people and other North Yorkshire residents who contacted the council after the review was announced to share their opinions, along with existing outdoor learning staff and other stakeholders.

A user group is being set up, along with a project board.

A questionnaire is also being sent to all schools in North Yorkshire, include primary, secondary, special schools and Pupil Referral Services to establish if and how they use the Outdoor Learning Service, any barriers to providing outdoor learning and how important it is for different Key Stage groups, child development and the curriculum.

Secondary and college students are continuing to test at home twice a week during term time and we anticipate continuing with the high take-up of tests which we experienced in schools prior to Easter.

The Department for Education will be reviewing the current arrangements for the use of voluntary face coverings in schools and other arrangements in place for schools at the May half-term.

Teamwork to support our residents

Volunteers have come forward in their thousands to help those in need across the county since the start of the pandemic. Yet some organisations have existed thanks to people getting involved in their own communities for many decades.

One area where people have happily been giving their time is community transport, with Boroughbridge Community Care (BCC) helping people to get out and about, access services and see friends and family since 1974.

In normal times, BCC would take people on days out to the coast and other places of interest. However, when lockdown came into force, all day trips came to an abrupt halt.

The team evaluated what they could do to continue offering transport to medical appointments. Karen Parker, general manager at the charity said: “We installed screens around drivers and gave them full PPE, including face shields, masks and hand sanitiser.”

When Covid vaccinations began, the organisation linked up with Church Lane doctor’s surgery to ensure those who were offered vaccinations were also able to get there.

Karen said: “Normally we have 100-plus volunteers, but when lockdown came, all volunteers over 70 were stood down.

“It brought in a much younger demographic and I think we will retain a lot of those. They are finding it really rewarding.”

Nic Holmes, from Upper Dunsforth, has been a volunteer for six years and a trustee for four.

Nic said: “In normal times I’ve taken the minibus to Lindisfarne, Whitby, Skegness, Holy Island. These day trips are usually for the elderly with no other form of transport. Most of the enjoyment seems to be sitting on the bus with their mates.”

Clive Wilson, 89, lives in Kirby Hill near Boroughbridge. A former volunteer driver himself, he knows first-hand the value of the service the charity provides.

Clive said: “I go to York Hospital for treatment for macular degeneration and they literally take me from front door to front door. It is a superb service and we are so lucky to have it in Boroughbridge.”

Maggie Fink, 86, used to go on the various day trips BCC offered.

She said the service allows her to maintain her independence: “I’ve had several appointments during lockdown. They pick me up, wait for me until the appointment is finished and take me home again. I think they are very special.”

North Yorkshire residents without local support networks who need help with shopping and other essentials, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780 seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm. People can also complete an online form to let us know what help they need.

Growing our local economy

Buy Local: Support local businesses as they re-open

As lockdown eases, Buy Local is building on its role as a great way for businesses serving North Yorkshire to reach new customers.

Some of the businesses registered on the site who re-opened this week spoke to us about how they have adapted during the last year, and their hopes for the future. Alex Smith, owner of The Treatment Rooms in Harrogate, Sam Spence, owner of Crafts of Thirsk, and Karen Mortimer of Sandside Café in Sandsend told us their stories. Read more and listen here: County’s Buy Local site marks first year as more businesses reopen.

Search and shop on Buy Local and tell your friends to do the same! If you know anyone that owns a business, please encourage them to register – anyone can set up a profile, no matter what line of business they are in.

Please like and share our campaign to support businesses on @northyorkscc.

LEP News: Intelligence Update

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

The report shares business sentiments around lockdown easing, COVID passports and government support.

Labour Market Analysis 2021

We are delighted to announce today the publication of the York and North Yorkshire Labour Market Analysis – LMA 2021.

This analysis builds on the first LMA we produced in 2019. It is informed by the most recent data available on education, training and employment and also considers the current and likely impact of Covid-19 on the demand for and supply of skills.

This analysis explores our regional strengths and the challenges we face alongside recommendations to support us in meeting our ambitions as set out in our post COVID-19 recovery vision –  “Greener, Fairer, Stronger” and our Skills Strategy 2021-2026.

You can access the Executive Summary here and the full report here.

What businesses need to know about COVID restrictions easing

We have summarised what businesses need to know about COVID restrictions easing in a new blog post on the Growth Hub website.

Please share on Twitter or share on LinkedIn.

Watch again – supporting the return to work webinar

With an increasing number of businesses reopening, you may be looking at how best to support your employees’ wellbeing as they return to the workplace. This webinar from the University of York aims to help managers with practical tools and support staff through change, and is available to watch on demand.

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

‘If I can get through this surely we can get through anything.’ I open today with these words from business owner Alex Smith who took over her company, The Treatment Rooms in Harrogate, just 12 months before the pandemic struck. This morning Alex joined some other North Yorkshire businesses at our weekly Covid-19 media briefing to talk about the huge challenges they have had to overcome over the last year and their excitement at being able to reopen again from April 12.

Like so many businesses, Alex’s beauty therapy company had to adapt quickly to survive. She has had to take a business reliant on face-to-face close contact services to an online-only presence during three lockdowns. Like so many of the county’s innovators, Alex has done everything she can to keep her customers close and her business afloat. Small businesses like Alex’s are the life-blood of North Yorkshire’s economy and I am humbled by her mammoth efforts, determination and humanity. Not only has she adapted her services to do what she can to trade online, but in the height of lockdown she used her once-a-day exercise session to cycle round delivering products to clients who couldn’t get out – even picking up essential shopping on the way for those really stuck. Alex epitomises the Team North Yorkshire spirit we have seen repeatedly over the pandemic right across the county and is one of hundreds of local businesses registered on our free Buy Local business directory, which is a year old this week. On behalf of the county council, I would like to wish Alex and all the other businesses able to reopen again from Monday (April 12) the very best of luck. You can watch more of Alex’s story here and I am sure you will find much of what she says resonates with your own experiences.

If you are a North Yorkshire business operating, in a covid-secure way – and you haven’t registered on Buy Local, then you can read about the experiences of a host of businesses that have and learn about the benefits on the link below. Many businesses and residents have found the free directory hugely helpful and we will continue to provide it as we emerge from the pandemic.

If you are looking to support local companies, you can browse them here by category – accommodation, food suppliers, professional services, property services, retail and there is even a section on getting around! There are hundreds of companies and services on offer.

But businesses like Alex’s can only reopen thanks to the sacrifices and commitment of the hundreds of thousands of people in North Yorkshire who continue to play their part to limit the spread of the virus. So let’s not forget the huge efforts you have made to support local firms and to pave the way for the successful road map out of lockdown. Every face covering, every day at home, every time you have kept your distance – every time you put others first – that collective effort has and is making the difference that means the county can reopen safely. Thank you.

On that note, many of you love our libraries and many of you have been making the most of their online offer. I am delighted to say that our wonderful staff and volunteers are also preparing to welcome you back. Safeguards will be in place, of course, but in just a few days’ time you will be able browse for books once more.

As our libraries prepare to say hello, I wanted to extend my personal good wishes and thanks to a very special person – as we say a fond farewell to Hilary Musgrave. As one of our longest-serving social workers, Hilary has helped improve the lives of countless foster children over almost four decades in North Yorkshire and is now going to enjoy a well-earned retirement. Much of her long career has been spent working in the Knaresborough and Skipton areas and you can read more about her wonderful public service.

You may already be aware that national Government is currently consulting on how local services should be delivered in North Yorkshire and York in the future. We are proposing a single new council for everyone in North Yorkshire and there is an alternative proposal by some of the district councils for an east/west model. Both are available to view on this link, which will also take you to the consultation if you would like to have your say.

North Yorkshire is a special place and Monday is a very important day for many businesses and residents here, so let’s keep going, keep safe and unlock summer.

Keeping in touch

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

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

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

At 4 April, there have been 29,368 positive tests since 3 March, 2020, with 411 new cases reported in the past two weeks. The weekly rolling average of new cases is 32 cases per day, allowing for incomplete data in the most recent days. The seven-day rate for North Yorkshire is 30.6 per 100,000 people, which remains below the England seven-day rate. 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.

Coronavirus Update

On Monday, the Prime Minister announced that restrictions would be lifted from Monday 12 April as we enter step 2 of the roadmap outlined in the COVID-19 Response- Spring 2021 guidance. Although non-essential retail, personal care facilities and indoor sports and leisure facilities will reopen, it is important to note that unless a specific exemption exists, these must only be attended/used in line with the wider social contact limits at this stage – as a single household or bubble indoors; or in a group of up to six people or two households outdoors.

Non-essential retail will reopen. This will include but not be limited to:

  • clothing stores and tailors
  • charity and antique shops
  • homeware and carpet stores
  • showrooms (such as for vehicles as well as kitchens and bathrooms)
  • electronic goods and mobile phone shops
  • florists and plant nurseries
  • retail travel agents
  • photography stores
  • remaining auction houses and markets
  • tobacco and vape stores
  • betting shops (subject to additional COVID-secure measures, such as limiting the use of gaming machines).
  • car washes (except for automatic car washes that are already open)

Personal care facilities and close contact services will reopen. This will include:

  • hair, beauty and nail salons
  • body and skin piercing services
  • tattoo studios
  • spas and massage centres (except for steam rooms and saunas)
  • holistic therapy (including acupuncture, homeopathy, and reflexology)
  • tanning salons

Indoor sports and leisure facilities will reopen. This will include at:

  • gyms and leisure centres
  • sports courts
  • swimming pools
  • dance studios and fitness centres
  • driving and shooting ranges
  • riding arenas
  • archery venues
  • climbing wall centres

Self-contained holiday accommodation in which all facilities (including for sleeping, catering, bathing, and indoor lobbies and corridors for entry and exit) are restricted to exclusive use of a single household/support bubble will reopen.

Outdoor areas at hospitality venues (cafes, restaurants, bars, pubs, social clubs, including in members’ clubs) can reopen, including for takeaway alcohol. Some venues may wish to erect outdoor shelters. To be considered ‘outdoors’, shelters, marquees and other structures can have a roof but need to have at least 50% of the area of their walls open at all times while in use. These venues may allow customers to use toilets located inside.

At any premises serving alcohol, customers will be required to order, be served and eat/drink while seated (“table service”). Venues will be prohibited from providing smoking equipment, such as shisha pipes, for use on the premises.

Outdoor attractions will reopen at:

  • adventure parks and activities
  • animal attractions (such as at zoos, safari parks and aquariums)
  • drive-in events, such as for cinemas, theatres, and other performances.
  • film studios
  • funfairs and fairgrounds
  • model villages
  • museums and galleries
  • skating rinks
  • theme parks
  • trampolining parks
  • water and aqua parks

Public buildings, such as community halls and centres, and libraries, can reopen.

Test and Trace Requirements

From Monday 12 April, venues in hospitality, the tourism and leisure industry, close contact services, community centres and village halls must:

  • ask every customer or visitor (over the age of 16) to provide their name and contact details
  • keep a record of all staff working on their premises and shift times on a given day and their contact details
  • keep these records of customers, visitors and staff for 21 days and provide data to NHS Test and Trace if requested
  • display an official NHS QR code poster so that customers and visitors can ‘check in’ using the NHS COVID-19 app as an alternative to providing their contact details
  • adhere to General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)

Please note this is a change to the previous guidance and all persons entering these premises will be required to provide information, not just one person from the group.

Hospitality venues have additional requirements and must also take reasonable steps to refuse entry to anyone who refuses to participate. This requirement applies to any establishment that provides an on-site service and to any events that take place on its premises. It does not apply where services are taken off-site immediately, for example, a food or drink outlet that only provides takeaways. If a business offers a mixture of a sit-in and takeaway service, contact information needs only to be sought for customers who are dining in.

By maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors, and displaying an official NHS QR poster, you will help NHS Test and Trace to identify and notify people who may have been exposed to the virus. Find further test and trace guidance.

Working together towards recovery

Testing

There are two types of tests available at testing sites:

  • tests for people with symptoms
  • tests if you live or work with a nursery/school/college student

Find more information and the latest dates and locations.

Tests for people with symptoms

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.

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

Permanent sites are open every day for testing between 8am and 1:30pm:

  • Harrogate – Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Scarborough – William Street Car Park, Scarborough. YO12 7PL
  • Northallerton – The Forum, Bullamore Road, Northallerton, DL6 1LP
  • Selby – Portholme Crescent Car Park, Selby, YO8 4YR
  • Skipton – Cavendish Street Car Park, Skipton, BD23 1RP

A permanent site at Malton is open 8am to 8pm every day, currently for administering tests only.

  • Malton – Wentworth Street Car Park, Wentworth Street, Malton, YO17 7JR

Mobile sites are open for testing from 9am to 3pm on the following days:

  • Thursday 8 April - Leyburn - Harmby Road, Car Park, Leyburn, DL8 5EE
  • Thursday 8 April - Easingwold - Easingwold Town AFC, Stillington Road, Easingwold, York, YO61 3DZ
  • Friday 9 April - Sherburn in Elmet - Pasture Way Carpark, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6LY
  • Friday 9 April - Stokesley - Stokesley Sports Club, Broughton Road, Stokesley, Middlesbrough, TS9 5JG
  • Friday 9 April - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Saturday 10 April - Selby - South Entrance, DRAX Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Saturday 10 April - Thornton Le Dale - North York Moors National Park Authority car park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Thornton Le Dale, Pickering, YO18 7RR
  • Saturday 10 April - Filey - Filey Country park, Church Cliff Drive, Filey, YO14 9ET
  • Sunday 11 April - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Sunday 11 April - Thirsk - Millgate Car Park, Marage Road, Thirsk, YO7 1PE

Tests if you live or work with a nursery/school/college student

If you live, work or are in a support bubble with nursery, primary or secondary school pupils or college students you should carry out lateral flow device tests at home twice a week. Tests can be collected from locations across North Yorkshire.

Testing kits can be collected every day between 2:30pm and 8pm from the following permanent testing sites:

  • Harrogate – Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Scarborough – William Street Car Park, Scarborough. YO12 7PL
  • Northallerton – The Forum, Bullamore Road, Northallerton, DL6 1LP
  • Selby – Portholme Crescent Car Park, Selby, YO8 4YR
  • Skipton – Cavendish Street Car Park, Skipton, BD23 1RP

Testing kits can also be collected between 9am and 3pm from our mobile distribution unit, which will be at the following locations in the coming days:

  • Thursday 8 April - Filey - Filey Country park, Church Cliff Drive, Filey, YO14 9ET
  • Friday 9 April - Reeth - Reeth Green, B6270, Reeth, Richmond, DL11 6SY
  • Saturday 10 April - Grassington - Hebden Rd, Grassington, Skipton, BD23 5LB
  • Sunday 11 April - Thornton Le Dale - North York Moors National Park Authority car park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Thornton Le Dale, Pickering, YO18 7RR

Supporting our schools and childcare

We’re pleased to say that attendance at primary and secondary schools in North Yorkshire remained high before the start of the Easter break, and secondary and college students settled into a routine of lateral flow testing for the virus.

There were more than 100,000 lateral flow tests carried out across schools during the first few weeks of the return to face-to-face teaching, which thankfully returned only 26 positive cases. Those pupils who tested positive for coronavirus were isolated at home before returning to the class, which successfully prevented the spread of the virus within schools.

Secondary and college students are now using the rapid swab tests at home, twice a week, to test for covid. There has been a high take-up of tests, which should give schools, families and pupils confidence in the system.

The Department for Education will be reviewing the current arrangements for the use of voluntary face coverings in schools and other advice in place for schools at the May half-term.

Teamwork to support our residents

As well as the volunteers supporting North Yorkshire residents with shopping and other essentials during the pandemic, community transport drivers have also played a vital role in keeping people connected.

For the team at Stokesley and District Community Care Association, providing access to affordable transport was disrupted by the impact of coronavirus. Some of the volunteer drivers were over 70, some trips had to stop and new demands emerged.

But the community transport scheme, which has also acted as the community support organisation for the area, has not only coped with those challenges – it is now expecting a bright future as the pandemic hopefully subsides.

As it became clear some people needed shopping deliveries and prescription collections, some drivers turned their attention to those duties and others came along to swell the ranks.

Manager Phil Henderson explained: “We had a number of people back from university, others who were furloughed and some who just wanted to help. Most are still with us and we are hoping to keep them, post-pandemic.”

Covid vaccination appointments have become another important element of the organisation’s work and the minibuses have been used for appointment trips.

Volunteer driver Harry Trotter took up the role after retiring and more than 11 years later is still involved: “I enjoy it, that’s the reason I do it,” he said.

“Pre-Covid, I tended to do a day every Friday to drive the bus around the villages to bring people into Stokesley for the market, shopping trips. There were elderly people who would have never got there without this type of transport,” he said.

The pandemic brought those services to a halt, but Harry has continued to drive the bus, taking residents for medical appointments on an individual basis, with the size of the vehicle allowing for easy social distancing.

He is looking forward to the potential of returning to more familiar duties and said: “I miss the people. People and communities are at the very heart of our organisation.”

North Yorkshire residents without local support networks who need help with shopping and other essentials, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780 seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm. People can also complete an online form to let us know what help they need.

To find local businesses offering food deliveries and takeaways, go to the Buy Local directory. People can also find details of other local voluntary and community groups offering support.

Find advice on how to help others safely and information about volunteering with a local organisation in your community.

Growing our local economy

LEP News: York & North Yorkshire Routemap to Carbon-Negative Roundtables

In York and North Yorkshire, we have the ambition to be carbon-neutral by 2034 and carbon-negative by 2040. We’re now working with regional stakeholders and experts to collaboratively develop a route map to set out clear policy, programmes, and demonstrator projects and enabling activities to reach our ambitious carbon-reduction goals.

We’re holding a series of roundtables for senior level representatives of local organisations and experts to shape and agree the key actions:

What Is The Circular Economy?

A sustainable approach to business. As the effects of climate change become clearer, how do we find a balance that is both good for business and good for the planet? The circular economy offers a simple model that can be adapted across sectors and supply chains to help businesses flourish while reducing their impact on the environment.

Our Circular Economy Officer, Erin Wheeler, explains the sustainable approach to business in a blog for Cooper King Distillery, the North Yorkshire-based distillers of England's first carbon negative gin.

Further info can be found at York and North Yorkshire Growth Hub

Circular Malton showcases business benefits of sustainability

At the end of February, Circular Malton hosted an event in partnership with the York & North Yorkshire LEP to help businesses identify profit opportunities while reducing their carbon footprint.

Organised by Sue Jefferson, co-founder of Circular Malton, this event showcased the practical benefits of becoming more sustainable in business, and how businesses can get started with their circular economy journey.

For those who couldn’t attend or if you would like to watch this again, please find a link to the Circular Mlaton showcase business benefits of sustainability video.

This week we take the first steps along the road out of lockdown and as we head into Easter we can begin to enjoy our first freedoms from some restrictions and enjoy the company of friends and family in a garden or on a walk for the first time for many months. We all need the fillip to our mental and physical health that fresh air and exercise in the great outdoors can bring. It has been a hard, dark winter and the brighter, lighter, longer days of spring bring a real sense of hope as Covid infections fall to low rates not seen since last September and as the vaccination programme continues apace.

We can begin to look forward to a summer of further easing of restrictions and to the opening up and revival of retail and hospitality, which contribute so much to our county and its visitor economy.

North Yorkshire’s Covid infection rate is now consistently below the national and regional average and at levels last seen in mid-September; and only 14 out of 235 care homes and extra care schemes with one or more cases (in January we had up to 80). With schools re-opening successfully, another testing facility open in Malton and with home testing progressing rapidly and due to be expanded after Easter, we must reflect on the huge amount of work and cooperation and sacrifice this has entailed across the county. 

I want to thank each and every one of you for your help in getting us to the good place we are in now, as we take these first steps out of lockdown. This has been a massive effort by Team North Yorkshire: our 600,000 fellow residents, the County and District Councils, North Yorkshire Police, our NHS colleagues, volunteers, businesses and many others.

However, it is crucial we now proceed with care and caution. 

As we approach Easter, I want to invoke the words of Aretha Franklin, because today is all about R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Respect.

Respect for yourself, respect for others and respect for communities right across North Yorkshire.

And that respect means us all being careful as we enjoy some newly-restored freedoms.

So:

  • Make the most of fresh air and exercise – if you can, walk, cycle, run or simply sit outdoors;
  • Meet others outdoors, as long as you keep to the rule of six or two households. Strictly no mixing indoors;
  • Continue to work from home if you can;
  • Minimise travel wherever possible and avoid staying away from home overnight unless you are part of a support bubble;
  • Plan ahead – how far do you really need to travel? Have you got enough fuel in the car? Remember that public toilets and cafes are likely to be closed;

Hands, face, space and fresh air – that’s what we all need to remember.

And when it comes to space, North Yorkshire has more space than any other part of England. In order to make the best use of it, it’s probably a good idea to plan ahead and explore some of the less visited, quieter but equally beautiful places our wonderful county has to offer. We are blessed with two National Parks and they are ready to welcome all our visitors and have plenty of information and guidance on their websites about great places to visit that are less well known so people can discover the quiet places and avoid the crowded ones.

https://www.northyorkmoors.org.uk/

https://www.yorkshiredales.org.uk/

Many of our neighbouring authorities in other parts of Yorkshire, in Durham and on Teesside, all have great places to visit also. So if you live there, there are still plenty of places to visit on the doorstep. 

Wherever we visit for well-earned outdoor recreation, we must remember to treat other people’s communities as we would wish our own community to be treated. It’s all about RESPECT. Litter is the scourge of the countryside, so people need to bin it or take their litter back home with them when out and about. Many families during lockdown have acquired a dog for company but with the lambing season upon us and the presence of ground-nesting birds across the countryside, people need to remember as they venture forth, to keep their dog on a lead. It’s all about taking responsibility for the wellbeing of our great county, for its people, its landscape and all its creatures.

And while we enjoy some new-found freedom we can also take comfort from the enormously impressive vaccination roll-out and the fact that 410,000 people across North Yorkshire and York have now had their first vaccine and 48,000 have now had a second dose. There is a vaccine for everyone and the county is on course to meet all of the Government’s vaccination targets, so that by July all adults over 18 will have had their Covid jab. 

The vaccination take-up so far in North Yorkshire has been impressive at 88.5 per cent. However, 47,000 are still to take up their vaccine offer and so we would ask friends, neighbours and family to encourage each and every one of them to get vaccinated soon as possible. The NHS is also working with us to improve further the take-up among care staff, to support the county’s homeless to get vaccinated, to improve take-up among our Eastern European and traveller communities and to help those where travel costs are a barrier to getting the vaccine. 

It is only by pressing on with the vaccination programme and sticking to the roadmap regulations, that we have a chance of getting ahead of this deadly virus. We have sacrificed too much over the past year to fall down at these last hurdles.

So let’s look forward and especially to the opening up on 12 April of retail and hospitality and to that first pint or glass of wine in a pub garden or a coffee or a meal at a pavement café with friends and family. Carolyn Frank, North Yorkshire’s development manager for the Federation of Small Business, painted a vivid picture at our North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum press conference today of the very tough time the past year has been for our small businesses in retail and hospitality and the toll on traders’ mental health. She also spoke of the ingenuity and courage of our business community and the many adventurous independent start-ups that have found new ways of attracting customers. With the staycation market expected to have a boom summer, she feels many of the county’s businesses are in a good position to make the most of new opportunities. So let’s go out and support them as much as we can. 

We will soon be celebrating the first anniversary of our Buy Local campaign and website https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local that has given a platform to North Yorkshire’s fantastic independent traders during the course of the pandemic. Long may it continue. We have many exciting developments to look forward to.

Enjoy the days.  Keep safe.

Keeping in touch

NYCC’s website has a dedicated area for all the latest news, see link below:

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

Public Health & Social Care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

At 28 March, there have been 29,195 positive tests since 3 March 2020, with 527 new cases reported in the past two weeks. The weekly rolling average of new cases is 37 cases per day, allowing for incomplete data in the most recent days. The seven-day rate for North Yorkshire is 43.7 per 100,000 people, which remains below the England seven-day rate. 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: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-data.

Coronavirus Update

Workplaces can now order free rapid lateral flow tests to test your employees twice a week in the workplace using this link.

If you have 10 or more employees, from early April you’ll be able to order tests for your employees to collect from their workplace and use at home twice a week. You can do this if you cannot provide testing in the workplace.

You must register by 11:59pm on 12 April 2021. If your business is closed or you cannot provide tests now, you should still register so you can order tests in the future.

You can register to order tests if:

  • your business is registered in England
  • your employees cannot work from home

Your employees can also find out if they can get a rapid lateral flow test from a local test site instead.

Please note that you should not use this service if you or your employees have symptoms. Anyone with symptoms should order a PCR test and stay at home.

29 March: What’s changed?

From 29 March, we entered step 1b of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown. Some of the rules on what you can and cannot do changed on 29 March. However, many restrictions remain in place. You must not socialise indoors with anyone you do not live with or have formed a support bubble with. You should continue to work from home if you can and minimise the number of journeys you make where possible. You should get a test and follow the stay at home guidance if you have COVID-19 symptoms.

You can read the ‘COVID-19 Response - spring 2021 (roadmap)’ for more information on the roadmap out of lockdown in England. It is underpinned by law.

From 29 March:

  • you can meet outdoors either in a group of six (from any number of households), or in a group of any size from up to two households (a household can include an existing support bubble, if eligible)
  • you can take part in formally organised outdoor sports with any number of people (outdoor sports venues and facilities will be able to reopen)
  • childcare and supervised activities are allowed outdoors for all children
  • formally organised parent and child groups can take place outdoors for up to 15 attendees. Children under five will not be counted in this number

Keeping yourself and others safe

As we begin to lift lockdown, it is more important than ever that we continue to follow the guidance to keep ourselves and those around us safe:

  • Keep two metres apart from people not in your household or bubble.
  • Clean your hands carefully and regularly and especially when you enter your home, or after you have used public transport, or touched any surface that may have been touched by others.
  • Wear a clean face covering whenever you are in a crowded space and in public indoor spaces including shops, places of worship and on public transport (unless you are exempt).
  • Self-isolate and get tested if you develop any of the symptoms of Covid-19 (a high temperature, a new continuous cough, a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste), even if your symptoms are mild.
  • Self-isolate if someone in your household or bubble develops symptoms or tests positive for Covid-19, or if you are asked to self-isolate because you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive.
  • If you have been vaccinated against Covid-19, you may still be able to spread Covid-19 to others so you still need to follow this guidance.

Working Together Towards Recovery

There are two types of tests available at testing sites:

  • tests for people with symptoms
  • tests if you live or work with a nursery/school/college student

Find more information and the latest dates and locations at www.northyorks.gov.uk/testing

Tests for people with symptoms

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.

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

All permanent sites, except the new Malton site, are open every day for testing between 8am and 1:30pm:

  • Harrogate - Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Scarborough - William Street Car Park, Scarborough. YO12 7PL
  • Northallerton – The Forum, Bullamore Road, Northallerton, DL6 1LP
  • Selby – Portholme Crescent Car Park, Selby, YO8 4YR
  • Skipton - Cavendish Street Car Park, Skipton, BD23 1RP

From Friday 2 April, the new permanent site at Malton is open 8am to 8pm every day:

  • Malton - Wentworth Street Car Park, Wentworth Street, Malton, YO17 7JR

Mobile sites are open for testing from 9am to 3pm on the following days:

  • Thursday 1 April - Whitby - Whitby Marina Car Park, Langbourne Road, Whitby, YO21 1YW
  • Thursday 1 April - Leyburn - Harmby Road, Car Park, Leyburn, DL8 5EE
  • Friday 2 April - Sherburn in Elmet - Pasture Way Carpark, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6LY
  • Friday 2 April - Stokesley - Stokesley Sports Club, Broughton Road, Stokesley, Middlesbrough, TS9 5JG
  • Friday 2 April - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Saturday 3 April - Selby - South Entrance, DRAX Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Saturday 3 April - Settle - Greenfoot Car Park, Settle, BD24 9RW
  • Saturday 3 April - Filey - Filey Country park, Church Cliff Drive, Filey, YO14 9ET
  • Saturday 3 April - Thornton Le Dale - North York Moors National Park Authority car park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Thornton Le Dale, Pickering, YO18 7RR
  • Sunday 4 April - Scarborough - Scarborough Park and Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough, YO12 4LW
  • Sunday 4 April - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Sunday 4 April - Thirsk - Millgate Car Park, Marage Road, Thirsk, YO7 1PE

Tests if you live or work with a nursery/school/college student

If you live, work or are in a support bubble with nursery, primary or secondary school pupils or college students you should carry out lateral flow device tests at home twice a week. Tests can be collected from locations across North Yorkshire.

Testing kits can be collected every day between 2:30pm and 8pm from the following permanent testing sites:

  • Harrogate - Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Scarborough - William Street Car Park, Scarborough. YO12 7PL
  • Northallerton – The Forum, Bullamore Road, Northallerton, DL6 1LP
  • Selby – Portholme Crescent Car Park, Selby, YO8 4YR
  • Skipton - Cavendish Street Car Park, Skipton, BD23 1RP

Testing kits can also be collected between 9am and 3pm from our mobile distribution unit which will be at the following locations in the coming days:

  • Thursday 1 April - Settle - Greenfoot Car Park, Settle, BD24 9RW
  • Friday 2 April - Reeth - Reeth Green, B6270, Reeth, Richmond DL11 6SY
  • Saturday 3 April - Grassington - Hebden Rd, Grassington, Skipton, BD23 5LB
  • Sunday 4 April - Whitby - Whitby Park and Ride, Whitby, YO21 1TL

Supporting Our Schools and Childcare

We’d like to thank families and businesses in Catterick Garrison for generously donating more than 400 Easter eggs to children and young people in the county who receive welfare support from the council. 

The 1st Battalion, the Yorkshire Regiment in Catterick Garrison delivered the eggs to County Hall and we have now distributed them to children and young people who receive welfare support from our Children’s Services.

Capt Lofty Simpson-Worboys, from the battalion’s unit welfare office which co-ordinated the collection, said: “With the support of our military families and two local shops within the Garrison – Aldi and Poundland – we were able to collect more than 400 chocolate eggs and other confectionary.

“To our delight this means every child needing support from the local authority in North Yorkshire will receive a treat on Easter Sunday.

“As the local family regiment we are always keen to support our community where we can, meeting new groups and individuals across the county opens up new relationships and opportunities for everyone in the future.”

Families on low incomes, or who are struggling due to the pandemic, will now have received supermarket vouchers worth £15 per child, per week, plus an additional one-off voucher of up to £20 to help meet the increased cost of food and other household bills for families during the school holidays.

Children in receipt of free school meals have also received FEAST holiday activity packs this Easter holiday. FEAST is a partnership between the County Council, working with North Yorkshire Sport, North Yorkshire Youth and Rural Arts, working as North Yorkshire Together.

The FEAST packs are funded from the Department for Education’s Holiday Activities and Food programme in response to the increased pressure school holidays can bring to many families due to the increased cost of food and childcare.  

The packs contain ideas and resources for physical activities, materials for creative projects and an activity booklet, which includes recipes for affordable, healthy meals which families can make together and ideas for arts activities.

Max May, Director and CEO at Rural Arts, based in Thirsk, said: “We’re thrilled to continue our work with North Yorkshire County Council and North Yorkshire Together partners on FEAST.

“Creativity is an important part of young people’s development, and access to it is a fundamental human right. We’re glad to be part of a team making sure that over 11,000 young people across North Yorkshire receive free creative resources to support and engage them over the Easter break. We’re also thrilled to provide free access to our extensive range of online creative workshops on our North Yorkshire Together website.”

All children and families can access the activities online, along with Rural Arts’ online creative workshops at www.northyorkshiretogether.co.uk/feast,

Teamwork to support our residents

Team North Yorkshire volunteers will be on standby to offer their help over the bank holiday weekend, while many of the community support organisations take a well-earned break. Our customer service centre will continue to take calls as part of our ongoing Covid response.

One year on since the start of the first lockdown, community support organisations have been reflecting on the last 12 months.

Helen Flynn, Executive Director at Nidderdale Plus, said: “It was odd at the time, when they were talking about France going into lockdown and Spain going into lockdown. But really quickly we were in a lockdown as well. You forget now because all the supermarkets have upped their game. But at the time it was just impossible to get an online delivery. I remember going to try and book a slot for someone and I was 14,000 and something in the queue.

“The feeling we had was that we just had to act really, really quickly to get our arms around our communities. It was really helpful that North Yorkshire County Council appointed us as a community support organisation, because that gave us the ability to properly resource our Covid effort right at the beginning.”

During the first lockdown, the Nidderdale CSO had around 450 volunteers helping people in what is a highly rural area.

Helen added: “I feel that we’ve learned so much about our communities. It will definitely stand us in good stead going forward.

“What I’m most proud of is how the team have really stepped up. The suite of skills we’ve developed in the process has just been amazing. The way the staff and volunteers have been so ready to respond to the challenge and just got on with it has been remarkable.”

Although shielding ends tomorrow, many people who are clinically extremely vulnerable may still need help with shopping and other essentials. Our support will continue despite the lifting of some restrictions, whether that’s helping people who have been shielding or supporting anyone who is asked to self-isolate after testing positive for Covid-19 or being contacted by NHS Test and Trace.

North Yorkshire residents without local support networks who need help with shopping and other essentials, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780 seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm. People can also complete an online form to let us know what help they need at www.northyorks.gov.uk/covidhelp.

To find local businesses offering food deliveries and takeaways, go to the Buy Local directory at www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local. People can also find details of other local voluntary and community groups offering support at www.northyorkshireconnect.org.uk.

Find advice on how to help others safely and information about volunteering with a local organisation in your community at www.northyorks.gov.uk/helpingduringcovid

Growing our local economy

LEP News: Programme expands to offer free rapid home testing

Home testing is now available for businesses with more than 10 employees who cannot offer on-site testing. The deadline to register interest (for free offer) has also been extended from 31 March to 12 April. ​​​​​A tweet about this can be found here, and an Instagram post is here.
​​​​To find out more and register click here

Department for International Trade (DIT) Internationalisation Fund

SMEs across York and North Yorkshire that are looking to expand into new international markets can now apply for up to £9,000 of matched funding from the new Department for International Trade (DIT) Internationalisation Fund.

The funding is available to support businesses with market research, IP advice, translation services, international social media/SEO, trade fairs, independent market visits, consultancy and other international commercial services.

Head to our website to find out more and for details of how to apply: https://www.ynygrowthhub.com/how-we-can-help/import-export/

Free Mental Health Service

The Vale of York CCG has commissioned Qwell, a free, safe and anonymous mental health and wellbeing service for adults. There are no waiting lists, no referrals and no thresholds are required to access the service. 

They are also hosting an ‘Introduction to QWELL’ session for professionals to get a greater understanding of the support available on Thursday, 1 April, 4pm to 5pm. 

If you would like to register, please follow the link here

The Redundancy Support Service for Apprentices

The Redundancy Support Service for Apprentices (ReSSA), launched by the Department for Education, provides clear, accessible advice and guidance to apprentices following redundancy, while supporting their next steps. It will help redundant apprentices to identify new apprenticeship and employment opportunities, and, where they are eligible, complete their current apprenticeship.

The Department for Education are asking if you would be able to support redundant apprentices by sharing details of any apprenticeship vacancies you have.

If you would like to recruit a redundant apprentice or offer new apprenticeship opportunities, please visit Hiring an apprentice who has been made redundant 

If you are aware of any apprentices who have been made redundant please encourage them to visit Facing redundancy during your apprenticeship

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

I am sure many of us were standing on our doorsteps last night with candles and torches, taking a few moments to stand and reflect on the past year we have all been through and of those who have lost their lives to Covid 19. I am sure many of us joined the millions up and down the land who held a minute’s silence yesterday at midday. If we had been told this time last year how our lives would be totally changed by the pandemic, that 12 months on we would still be in lockdown and how many people would go on to die of coronavirus, we would have found it hard to believe.

Our county, as our nation, has gone through so much during this time. People have lost their jobs, their way of life, they have been separated from friends and family and many have been bereaved. The pandemic has taken its toll on mental health, on the education of children and young people, on business, on so many freedoms we previously took for granted.

The suffering has been great, but the way that friends, neighbours, and communities have pulled together to help each other has been great, too. Nowhere else is quite like North Yorkshire for team work, and across our market towns and villages, dales and moors many, many people, from refuse workers to teachers, care workers to highways staff backed by thousands of volunteers, have come together in a huge collective effort to make sure people are safe, have necessary help, have access to teaching and learning, medication, food and social contact. 

Over the last 12 months, Team North Yorkshire has put in more than 100,000 volunteer hours and 50,000 calls to check people are OK. An impressive record of dedication to the needs of others among countless other acts of kindness.

I want to say a big thank you to everybody.

At our North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum press conference yesterday, held especially for the Day of Reflection, we heard many stories of people from the front line and from our community support partners who have pulled out all the stops to help the sick and the lonely and vulnerable.  

We heard from Dr Matt Shepherd, a consultant in emergency medicine and acting Chief Operating Officer and Clinical Director at Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, of the great flexibility and commitment shown by hospital doctors and nurses and NHS community teams in preventing the NHS from becoming overwhelmed, even during the most difficult second and third waves of the pandemic.

We heard how our staff working in social care moved into a 24/7 operation to support hospital discharge and safety in North Yorkshire’s care settings. We heard from Helen Flynn, Executive Director of Nidderdale Plus, how community support organisations like hers with their thousands of volunteers, rose to the challenge of supporting people isolated by the pandemic and are committed to continuing to support people and develop community resilience as society unlocks.

We must remember our businesses which repurposed their operations to make face masks and hand sanitiser or sent out take-away food to care homes to cheer up staff and residents. 

Of course, we have to take our hats off to people like Jim McDermott, who spoke to our media colleagues yesterday about how, when the pandemic struck, his touring schedule as a drummer for the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, with Kylie Minogue and other bands like Simple Minds came to a grinding halt. But, instead of putting his feet up, he decided to do his bit for the community and took up a job as a relief domestic assistant at Ashfield, one of our care homes in Skipton. He described the experience as “humbling” and “a privilege,” particularly in witnessing “the way everyone mucked in, got on with things and try to keep people smiling”.

He went on to say: “I’ve played all over the world - Wembley Stadium, Broadway, everything - but working this year and helping with the staff and the residents has just been one of the best moments actually of my life.”

Not many people have a glittering career like Jim, but many like Jim have made a huge step-change during the last year to make the time to help others. We have all been changed by the pandemic.

And as we now look forward to a summer of increased freedoms we would do well to think of the words of Nick Moxon, a resident at Disability Action Yorkshire’s home on Claro Road, Harrogate, chair of Harrogate and District Disability forum and chair of a care home visiting task group we set up last year. Nick paid tribute at the press conference to care workers’ dedication to keeping their residents safe and still smiling during the pandemic. He regarded their commitment as “humbling”. He also described the great moment on March 8 when care home visiting by family and friends started up again and he was able to hold his mum’s hand for the first time for months. What a moment that must have been.

But Nick also talked about how people in his care home are now getting tired, how they need to see friends and go outside and have those freedoms again.

So we all now have a part to play in making sure those freedoms can happen. We must not forget that the road map to unlocking is dependent on data, not dates and we must all do our bit every step of the way. We must proceed with caution in order to keep those infection rates coming down. We need to stick to the basics of washing hands, wearing face masks, keeping our social distance and while we can enjoy the outdoors together in groups, during the whole of April we must refrain from mixing indoors.

We also need to take up our offer of a vaccine when the offer is made. More than 375,000 people in North Yorkshire and York have now had their first vaccination – almost half of the population and most of those over 50 and with underlying health conditions and nearly 30,000 have had their second dose. We are reassured that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is safe, gives protection and reduces transmission and so for our own sake and for the sake of others we should take up the offer.

Let’s continue to pull together as Team North Yorkshire.

Please stay safe.

Keeping in touch

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

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

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

At 15 March, there have been 28,946 positive tests since 3 March 2020, with 559 new cases reported in the past two weeks. The weekly rolling average of new cases is 45 cases per day, allowing for incomplete data in the most recent days. The seven-day rate for North Yorkshire is 44 per 100,000 people, which remains below the England seven-day rate. 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.

Coronavirus update

Coronavirus remains a serious threat across the country and we are still in a national lockdown. Some of the rules on what you can and cannot do changed on 8 March as part of the government’s road map out of the Coronavirus pandemic COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021. You must still stay at home, leaving only where permitted by law, and continue to follow the national guidance. However, restrictions will begin to ease from 29 March.

Changes on 29 March

The following changes will come into force from 29 March:

Social contact

The evidence shows that it is safer for people to meet outdoors rather than indoors. This is why from 29 March, when most schools start to break up for the Easter holidays, outdoor gatherings (including in private gardens) of either six people (the Rule of 6) or two households will also be allowed, making it easier for friends and families to meet outside.

Business and activities

Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis and basketball courts, and open-air swimming pools, will also be allowed to reopen, and people will be able to take part in formally organised outdoor sports.

Travel

The ‘stay at home’ rule will end on 29 March but many restrictions will remain in place. People should continue to work from home where they can and minimise the number of journeys they make where possible, avoiding travel at the busiest times and routes. Travel abroad will continue to be prohibited, other than for a small number of permitted reasons. Holidays abroad will not be allowed, given it will remain important to manage the risk of imported variants and protect the vaccination programme. The government has launched a new taskforce to review global travel, which will report on 12 April.

Staying vigilant

The virus has been with us for over a year now, and we are all perhaps feeling demotivated about following recommended behaviour to protect ourselves and others from the virus. At this crucial time, it is even more important to look after ourselves and those around us. Some suggestions are:

  • Think about how you complied with the rules in the first few months, and remind yourself of the basics – social distancing, maintaining hand hygiene and wearing a face covering.
  • Stay up to date on trustworthy facts about COVID-19 but avoid information overload by choosing two or three trusted sources and check them only once or twice each day.
  • Take care of yourself by engaging in daily activities that build your physical and emotional strength, and remember that the COVID-19 pandemic will not last forever.
  • Remember that COVID-19 safety protocols aren’t just about protecting yourself – they’re meant to keep everyone safe. Think about risks that may be created for others, and commit to keeping everyone safe. Encourage friends and family that may be struggling to stick with the rules to keep going.

By staying vigilant as we start to lift lockdown we will protect others, continue to drive down infection rates, reduce the pressure on our NHS and move closer to a more normal way of life.

Working together towards recovery

Testing

There are three types of testing available:

  • tests for people with symptoms
  • tests if you live or work with a nursery/school/college student
  • workplace testing

Find more information and the latest dates and locations.

Tests for people with symptoms

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.

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

Permanent sites are open every day for testing between 8am and 11:30am:

Tests for people with symptoms

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.

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

Permanent sites are open every day for testing between 8am and 11:30am:

  • Harrogate – Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Scarborough – William Street Car Park, Scarborough. YO12 7PL
  • Northallerton – The Forum, Bullamore Road, Northallerton, DL6 1LP
  • Selby – Portholme Crescent Car Park, Selby, YO8 4YR
  • Skipton – Cavendish Street Car Park, Skipton, BD23 1RP

Mobile sites are open for testing from 9am to 3pm on the following days:

  • Thursday 25 March - Whitby - Whitby Marina Car Park, Langbourne Road, Whitby, YO21 1YW
  • Thursday 25 March - Malton - Wentworth Street Car Park, Smithson Ct, Malton, YO17 7BQ
  • Thursday 25 March - Leyburn - Harmby Road, Car Park, Leyburn, DL8 5EE
  • Friday 26 March - Sherburn in Elmet - Pasture Way Carpark, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6LY
  • Friday 26 March - Stokesley - Stokesley Sports Club, Broughton Road, Stokesley, Middlesbrough, TS9 5JG
  • Friday 26 March - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Saturday 27 March - Selby - South Entrance, DRAX Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Saturday 27 March - Settle - Greenfoot Car Park, Settle, BD24 9RW
  • Saturday 27 March - Filey - Filey Country park, Church Cliff Drive, Filey, YO14 9ET
  • Saturday 27 March - Thornton Le Dale - North York Moors National Park Authority car park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Thornton Le Dale, Pickering, YO18 7RR
  • Sunday 28 March - Scarborough - Scarborough Park and Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough, YO12 4LW
  • Sunday 28 March - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Sunday 28 March - Thirsk - Millgate Car Park, Marage Road, Thirsk, YO7 1PE

Tests if you live or work with a nursery/school/college student

If you live, work or are in a support bubble with nursery, primary or secondary school pupils or college students you should carry out lateral flow device tests at home twice a week. Tests can be collected from locations across North Yorkshire.

Testing kits can be collected every day between 1pm and 8pm from the following permanent testing sites:

  • Harrogate – Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Scarborough – William Street Car Park, Scarborough. YO12 7PL
  • Northallerton – The Forum, Bullamore Road, Northallerton, DL6 1LP
  • Selby – Portholme Crescent Car Park, Selby, YO8 4YR
  • Skipton – Cavendish Street Car Park, Skipton, BD23 1RP

Testing kits can also be collected between 9am and 3pm from our mobile distribution unit, which will be at the following locations in the coming days:

  • Thursday 25 March – Stokesley – Stokesley Sports Club, Broughton Road, Stokesley, Middlesbrough, TS9 5JG
  • Friday 26 March – Easingwold – Easingwold Town AFC, Stillington Road, Easingwold, York, YO61 3DZ
  • Saturday 27 March – Malton – Wentworth Street Car Park, Smithson Ct, Malton, YO17 7BQ
  • Sunday 28 March – Whitby – Whitby Park and Ride, Whitby, YO21 1TL

Workplace testing

All businesses registered in England are eligible to apply to join the national workplace rapid testing programme if employees cannot work from home. But they must register before 31 March.

You can register for workplace testing.

Businesses will be provided with all the information they need to plan and deliver their testing programme, along with promotional materials.

For more information, please contact p-and-psector@dhsc.gov.uk

Supporting our schools and childcare

We are making sure families can continue to provide the essentials for children this Easter holiday, as we continue to provide food voucher payments.

Parents and carers who are struggling financially due to the pandemic, or are on low incomes, will receive supermarket vouchers worth £15 per child per week, plus an additional one-off voucher of up to £20 through the Covid Winter Grant Scheme. The one-off payments are designed to meet the increased cost of food and other household bills for families during the school holidays.

We are also launching North Yorkshire FEAST, a holiday activities and food programme for children in receipt of free school meals over the Easter holidays. Run in conjunction with North Yorkshire Youth, North Yorkshire Sport and Rural Arts, we will be providing children on low incomes with activity packs for the holidays. It is hoped that over the summer holidays, face-to-face activities will be run, with a focus on healthy food and physical activities.

The packs are funded from the Department for Education’s Holiday Activities and Food programme in response to the increased pressure school holidays can bring to many families due to the increased cost of food and childcare for families.

Richard Linsley, Headteacher of Alverton Community Primary School in Northallerton, said: “We know the food vouchers have really helped families balance their budgets over the holidays during the difficult times brought about by the pandemic. So we’re delighted to be able to offer the vouchers again.

“The children will be delighted with their activity packs. The ideas for activities will be really useful over this lockdown holiday and they contain plenty of resources to keep children active and engaged.”

All families across North Yorkshire can access the school holiday activity ideas online.

Teamwork to support our residents

One year on from the first national lockdown, the county has reflected on the tremendous resilience, commitment and community spirit of those living and working in North Yorkshire. Since last March, volunteers have given an incredible 110,000 hours of their time. Delivering shopping, medication and other essentials as well as making more than 56,000 befriending calls and telephone check-ins.

Gail Hall from Reeth and district community transport said: “So many volunteers came forward. We just couldn’t keep up with it. On the very first afternoon we were set up. We had papers on the wall with the days of the week. We sat there and waited for the first phone call to come in.

“I just feel so proud and humbled of our achievements, especially the dedication of those that have made it all happen. We’ve brought a community together, which can only accurately be measured by the compassionate action of its members. We hope to make it even stronger and closer, physically and mentally. I think life is full of challenges. Challenges are what makes life interesting, but overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.

“Volunteers have never been so well respected. My volunteers have said they get just as much out of it as the person they’re helping. It hasn’t taken much, just a little bit of kindness.”

As part of the roadmap to end coronavirus restrictions in England, people who are clinically extremely vulnerable are no longer advised to shield from 1 April and will receive a letter from the Government with updated advice. Since shielding measures were reintroduced in January, cases of Covid-19 have fallen considerably across all parts of the country and over 22 million people have had at least one dose of the vaccine.

Although people will no longer be advised to shield, Government advice is to take extra care while the virus is still spreading in our communities and continue to follow the rules that are in place for everyone during the pandemic.

Many people who have been shielding may still need help with shopping and other essentials. Our support will continue despite the lifting of some restrictions, whether that’s helping people who are asked to self-isolate after testing positive for Covid-19 or being contacted by NHS Test and Trace, or supporting North Yorkshire residents who are clinically extremely vulnerable.

North Yorkshire residents without local support networks who need help with shopping and other essentials, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780 seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm. People can also complete an online form to let us know what help they need.

To find local businesses offering food deliveries and takeaways, go to the Buy Local directory. People can also find details of other local voluntary and community groups offering support.

Find advice on how to help others safely and information about volunteering with a local organisation in your community.

Growing our local economy

LEP News: Changes at the top for Local Enterprise Partnership

At a challenging yet pivotal time for our region’s economy, we are hugely excited to welcome Helen Simpson OBE into post as our new LEP Chair.

Helen, who has held senior roles at BT, brings a wealth of experience in leadership through change, digital innovation, business growth and community development and also chairs Broadacres Housing Association. Helen is the first female chair of the LEP’s main board.

Read the full story here

Alongside the appointment of Helen Simpson as LEP chair, today we welcome a host of new board members who bring with them valuable business insight, a drive for innovation and a passion to ensure that our region has a strong story to capture every opportunity for UK Government and private sector investment. Meet our new board members

Leadership Webinar Series: Empowering your team – learning to delegate and let go

30 March, noon

Designed for business owners and managers, this webinar, hosted by leadership expert Michelle Mook, will help leaders to consider what gets in the way of delegation and how important it is to empower the team to deliver on your behalf.

Empowering your team Booking link.

Connect. Develop. Achieve Programme

A free programme that aims to support women in the workplace, who are looking to develop their skills or qualifications. This can be to support their current role, develop their personal skills or progress into another role.

If you require further information or wish to sign up to the programme, email anna-mae@nybep.org.uk, call 07852 939061 or visit Connect, Develop, Achieve | NYBEP

Low-carbon support for businesses

Join Aura Innovation Centre for a free bite-sized breakfast event designed to keep you up-to-date on low-carbon and green energy solutions for your business.

For more information, go to Building back greener: What does it all mean?

Ignite Founders Challenge

Are you at the start of your venture journey? Now is the time to challenge yourself and put your founding team and idea in front of one of the world’s most successful start-up environments. Take on the Ignite Founders’ Challenge this spring with Cambridge Judge Business School’s Entrepreneurship Centre.

To find out more email support@businessinspiredgrowth.com

We recognise businesses are under pressure for time, so our aim is to collate the best, latest news and share this with you.

For information on the latest government support, visit: Financial support for businesses during coronavirus (COVID-19) - GOV.UK

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

Freedom is something we all value and every day feels like a small but steady step towards us all regaining some of those things we have missed over the past weeks in our third national lockdown. 

I say steady because Covid-19 is very much still here among us. A sobering thought is that in our county alone we have now lost 1,129 loved ones to this hideous virus – 13 in the last week alone. Every one of these people has a life story. Every one of them did not expect to be taken from their families in this way and every one of them is a reason for us all to do everything we can, individually and collectively, to help North Yorkshire recover.

As we all know, a critical aspect of our route out of lockdown and pandemic is the vaccination programme and that’s a terrific success here in North Yorkshire – as it is across the country. Our NHS colleagues are doing a sterling job and I have been speaking to them on a very regular basis about this in my role as chair of the local resilience forum, which is at the forefront of fighting Covid impacts here in North Yorkshire.

There is a huge sense of pride in the smooth running of the vaccination programme here which is supported by so many of you as volunteers. And it’s really important that we remain confident in this programme and that we stick with the science and experts on this. We have heard over the last 24 hours concerns raised around the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and discussions around any link with blood clots. So, having discussed this matter with the NHS here, I want to be really clear on their advice. Safety is their number one priority. The evidence available does NOT suggest there is a link. There is no evidence that there are more blood clots than would normally be expected at all. So, please, when you are invited, take up the vaccination and if you have any questions or concerns just ask the health professionals when you go along for your appointment and I am sure they will reiterate the safety message I am passing on. The vaccine may well save your life or that of someone you love – the benefits of having the vaccine are great. I had mine this week and experienced only very minor side effects – nothing of note, to be honest. I do, however, feel relieved and grateful to have received it and to be playing my part in helping North Yorkshire out of lockdown and towards recovery. Our NHS colleagues are committed to leaving no-one behind, so keep that confidence in their tremendous work and please do book your vaccine when you receive the invitation. The NHS is also now piloting a text alert system, so you may get a text, a letter, a call or an email – however you are contacted, booking is free and easy.

Speaking of pilots, I am pleased to share with you the news that the county council has been successful in its bid to support easier local access to community home testing kits. North Yorkshire has many very rural communities and throughout this pandemic we have been at the forefront nationally of trying to make access to testing as close to home and simple as possible for residents. This week we believe we are the first area in the country to launch a mobile community collect service. This means that eligible people – at the moment the households and bubbles of pupils, students and staff at schools, nurseries and colleges – can collect home testing kits from a mobile drop off point – reducing the need to travel. There is more on this initiative here and you can find out more about local testing and where the community collection bus will be calling.

Together, vaccination and testing programmes are at the heart of our road map out of lockdown and into a safer world. We have come so far and that Team North Yorkshire spirit is without doubt going to be how we will keep moving forward safely. We must do everything possible to avoid a third wave, as we are sadly seeing in Italy currently. So please take up your vaccine invite and keep going North Yorkshire.

Next week sees the 12-month anniversary of the first lockdown and we will be joining in a national day of reflection to mark that on Tuesday 23 March. The event is spearheaded by the charity Marie Curie, to reflect on our collective loss, support those who have been bereaved, and hope for a brighter future. We will also be reflecting on and celebrating the collective efforts of our colleagues, partners and communities.

Finally, can I just once again just remind you that the Government is currently consulting on the future of local Government in York and North Yorkshire. There are two proposals. The county council believes that it is important to keep the strong brand of North Yorkshire intact, to ensure that we have the strongest possible services available for the public and to retain the identity of the City of York as it is. This is set out in our proposal for a new single council for the whole of North Yorkshire. The alternative option has been put forward by some of the district councils and outlines how the county would be split into east and west, the east side incorporating the City of York. Both proposals are available to view on this consultation link.

Thank you for everything you are doing and please stay safe. 

Keeping in touch

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

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

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

At 15 March, there have been 28,657 positive tests since 3 March, with 472 new cases reported in the past two weeks. The weekly rolling average of new cases is 40 cases per day, allowing for incomplete data in the most recent days. The seven-day rate for North Yorkshire is 46.0 per 100,000 people, which remains below the England seven-day rate. 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.

Coronavirus remains a serious threat across the country and we are still in a national lockdown. Some of the rules on what you can and cannot do changed on 8 March as part of the government’s road map out of the coronavirus pandemic COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021. You must still stay at home, leaving only where permitted by law, and continue to follow the national guidance. 

Staying local

For many, sticking to the rules can become harder the longer the rules are in place. With the vaccination rollout continuing at pace, it can be tempting to think we can relax a little. But this is a crucial moment in our battle against the virus, and we must continue to follow the national guidelines. Staying home and taking our daily exercise locally remain two of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of the virus and help protect the NHS. So ask yourself if you really need to make that journey, or can you change your plans and stay closer to home. Doing everything we can at this critical time will help to prevent delays to our road map out of the pandemic.

Continuing to respect ‘Hands, Face, Space’ is also very important – washing hands frequently and as soon as you come in from the outside, wearing a face covering in all applicable settings and staying two metres away from people outside of your household wherever possible. Do not mix if unwell.

Staying vigilant

The virus has been with us for over a year now, and we are all perhaps feeling demotivated about following recommended behaviours to protect ourselves and others from the virus, or in other words, ‘pandemic fatigue’. At this crucial time, it’s even more important to look after ourselves and those around us. Remember that ‘pandemic fatigue’ is a normal feeling – and you’re not the only person feeling it. Finding effective ways to tackle this fatigue can be difficult. Some suggestions are:

Think about how you complied with the rules in the first few months, and remind yourself of the basics – social distancing, hand washing and wearing a mask.

Stay up to date on trustworthy facts about COVID-19 but avoid information overload by choosing two or three trusted sources and check them only once or twice each day.

Take care of yourself by engaging in daily activities that build your physical and emotional strength, and remember that the Covid pandemic will not last forever.

Remember that COVID-19 safety protocols aren’t just about protecting yourself – they’re meant to keep everyone safe. Think about risks that may be created for others, and commit to keeping everyone safe. Encourage friends and family that may be struggling to stick with the rules to keep going.

Remember – by staying vigilant we will protect others, continue to drive down infection rates, reduce the pressure on our NHS and move closer to a more normal way of life.

Working together towards recovery

Testing

There are three types of testing available:

  • tests for people with symptoms
  • tests if you live or work with a nursery/school/college student
  • workplace testing

Find more information and the latest dates and locations.

Tests for people with symptoms

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.

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

Permanent sites are open every day for testing between 8am and 11:30am:

  • Harrogate - Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Scarborough - William Street Car Park, Scarborough. YO12 7PL
  • Northallerton – The Forum, Bullamore Road, Northallerton, DL6 1LP
  • Selby – Portholme Crescent Car Park, Selby, YO8 4YR
  • Skipton - Cavendish Street Car Park, Skipton, BD23 1RP

Mobile sites are open for testing from 9am to 3pm on the following days:

  • Thursday 18 March - Whitby - Whitby Marina Car Park, Langbourne Road, Whitby, YO21 1YW
  • Thursday 18 March - Malton - Wentworth Street Car Park, Smithson Ct, Malton, YO17 7BQ
  • Thursday 18 March - Leyburn - Harmby Road, Car Park, Leyburn, DL8 5EE
  • Friday 19 March - Sherburn in Elmet - Pasture Way Carpark, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6LY
  • Friday 19 March - Stokesley - Stokesley Sports Club, Broughton Road, Stokesley, Middlesbrough, TS9 5JG
  • Friday 19 March - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Saturday 20 March - Selby - South Entrance, DRAX Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Saturday 20 March - Settle - Greenfoot Car Park, Settle, BD24 9RW
  • Saturday 20 March - Filey - Filey Country park, Church Cliff Drive, Filey, YO14 9ET
  • Saturday 20 March - Thornton Le Dale - North York Moors National Park Authority car park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Thornton Le Dale, Pickering, YO18 7RR
  • Sunday 21 March - Scarborough - Scarborough Park and Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough, YO12 4LW
  • Sunday 21 March - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Sunday 21 March - Thirsk - Millgate Car Park, Marage Road, Thirsk, YO7 1PE
  • Monday 22 March - Selby - South Entrance, DRAX Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Monday 22 March - Whitby - Whitby Marina Car Park, Langbourne Road, Whitby, YO21 1YW
  • Monday 22 March - Malton - Wentworth Street Car Park, Smithson Ct, Malton, YO17 7BQ
  • Monday 22 March - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Tuesday 23 March - Sherburn in Elmet - Pasture Way Carpark, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6LY
  • Tuesday 23 March - Stokesley - Stokesley Sports Club, Broughton Road, Stokesley, Middlesbrough, TS9 5JG
  • Tuesday 23 March - Thornton Le Dale - North York Moors National Park Authority car park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Thornton Le Dale, Pickering, YO18 7RR
  • Tuesday 23 March - Catterick - Catterick Race Course, Catterick Bridge, Richmondshire, North Yorkshire, DL10 7PE
  • Wednesday 24 March - Easingwold - Easingwold Town AFC, Stillington Road, Easingwold, York, YO61 3DZ
  • Wednesday 24 March - Ripon - Coach Park, 3 Moss Arcade, Ripon, HG4 1AG
  • Wednesday 24 March - Catterick - Catterick Race Course, Catterick Bridge, Richmondshire, North Yorkshire, DL10 7PE
  • Thursday 25 March - Whitby - Whitby Marina Car Park, Langbourne Road, Whitby, YO21 1YW
  • Thursday 25 March - Malton - Wentworth Street Car Park, Smithson Ct, Malton, YO17 7BQ
  • Thursday 25 March - Leyburn - Harmby Road, Car Park, Leyburn, DL8 5EE
  • Friday 26 March - Sherburn in Elmet - Pasture Way Carpark, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6LY
  • Friday 26 March - Stokesley - Stokesley Sports Club, Broughton Road, Stokesley, Middlesbrough, TS9 5JG
  • Friday 26 March - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Saturday 27 March - Selby - South Entrance, DRAX Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Saturday 27 March - Settle - Greenfoot Car Park, Settle, BD24 9RW
  • Saturday 27 March - Filey - Filey Country park, Church Cliff Drive, Filey, YO14 9ET
  • Saturday 27 March - Thornton Le Dale - North York Moors National Park Authority car park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Thornton Le Dale, Pickering, YO18 7RR
  • Sunday 28 March - Scarborough - Scarborough Park and Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough, YO12 4LW
  • Sunday 28 March - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Sunday 28 March - Thirsk - Millgate Car Park, Marage Road, Thirsk, YO7 1PE

Tests if you live or work with a nursery/school/college student

If you live, work or are in a support bubble with nursery, primary or secondary school pupils or college students you should carry out lateral flow device tests at home twice a week. Tests can be collected from locations across North Yorkshire.

Testing kits can be collected every day between 1pm and 8pm from the following permanent testing sites:

  • Harrogate - Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Scarborough - William Street Car Park, Scarborough. YO12 7PL
  • Northallerton – The Forum, Bullamore Road, Northallerton, DL6 1LP
  • Selby – Portholme Crescent Car Park, Selby, YO8 4YR
  • Skipton - Cavendish Street Car Park, Skipton, BD23 1RP

Testing kits can also be collected between 9am and 3pm from our mobile distribution unit, which will be at the following locations in the coming days:

  • Thursday 18 March - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Friday 19 March - Settle - Greenfoot Car Park, Settle, BD24 9RW
  • Saturday 20 March - Malton - Wentworth Street Car Park, Smithson Ct, Malton, YO17 7BQ
  • Sunday 21 March - Whitby - Whitby Park and Ride, Whitby, YO21 1TL

Workplace testing

All businesses registered in England are eligible to apply to join the national workplace rapid testing programme if employees cannot work from home. But they must register before 31 March.

You can register for workplace testing.

Businesses will be provided with all the information they need to plan and deliver their testing programme, along with promotional materials.

For more information, please contact p-and-psector@dhsc.gov.uk

Supporting our schools and childcare

We’re very pleased to say that the vast majority of school-age children are now in school, accessing learning and taking another step towards returning to normal life.

Overall, 94 per cent of pupils were attending school last week in North Yorkshire, with 98 per cent of primary-aged children and 90 per cent of secondary-aged pupils back in the classroom.

Covid testing in schools is going very well, with schools reporting back to us that they have found lateral flow testing quite straightforward and it has been quick to get children through the testing process. Some schools have now done all three lateral flow tests and have moved to home testing this week, while others will be ready to move to home testing by the end of the week.

It has been an overwhelmingly positive return to school these past couple of weeks. Headteachers and colleagues in primary and secondary schools have all reported that children are very happy to be back and staff are very pleased to have them back in their classrooms.

Schools are now spending their time trying to understand where pupils are in their learning and making plans to make sure the recovery curriculum is effective.

Teamwork to support our residents

Coronavirus restrictions may have left some people with time on their hands, but in Husthwaite one teenager has been busier than ever. Rory Watt is a cooking enthusiast who likes to spend time in the kitchen and has been making soup for elderly neighbours throughout the pandemic.

Rory’s contribution to village life is part of an initiative involving many residents, who joined the Husthwaite Community Action Group after it was set up by the parish council and village hall committee.

Wide-ranging work has been done over the last year to help isolated and vulnerable residents, with shopping runs, prescription collections, dog walking, a social club, distributing meals during lockdown, and even art projects to occupy residents.

Lynn Colton, who serves on the village hall committee and has been instrumental in setting up the action group, said that funding and support from the county council had removed a financial burden and meant those receiving help could be assured the costs had been covered.

The grant has also allowed the group to buy the equipment it needs, like containers for Rory’s soup and other meals provided by volunteers, which will all remain available when the lockdown is over, meaning the social and support groups which remain in the village will have more flexibility in what they can do to support people.

The action group’s aim has been to engage as many people as possible, make sure everyone has access to telephone numbers they can call for assistance and, where possible, to have contact points with villagers they already know.

North Yorkshire residents without local support networks who need help with shopping and other essentials, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780 seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm. People can also complete an online form to let us know what help they need.

To find local businesses offering food deliveries and takeaways, go to the Buy Local directory. People can also find details of other local voluntary and community groups offering support.

Find advice on how to help others safely and information about volunteering with a local organisation in your community.

Growing our local economy

Have your say on plans to improve travel in Skipton, Selby and Harrogate

Survey Closing 24 March

If you live, work or study in Harrogate, Selby or Skipton make sure you have your say on early stage proposals for changes to the town centres.

The proposals are about creating new entrances to railway stations, new public spaces linking stations to town centres and better access to education and employment sites.

We’ve secured £31m for three separate projects from the Department for Transport’s Transforming Cities Fund. This investment is now more important than ever to boost North Yorkshire’s economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

You can view and listen to recordings of the virtual drop-in sessions that took place recently on the link below.

Read more about the proposals for each town centre and complete the survey.

The survey closes on 24 March 2021.

LEP News: A farewell message from David Kerfoot MBE DL, Chair of York & North Yorkshire LEP

After 10 years as a board member, serving the last three years as LEP chair, David A Kerfoot MBE DL stood down earlier this week at his final board meeting with York and North Yorkshire LEP.

David has also written a personal letter to all businesses across the region. Read the full letter here.

£20 million SME Brexit Support Fund opens for applications

Smaller businesses can from 15 March 2021 apply for grants of up to £2,000 to help them adapt to new customs and tax rules when trading with the EU. An article has been published on GOV.UK.

More information about the SME Brexit Support Fund, including details of how to apply, can be found on GOV.UK.

York-based firm takes regional lead in national engagement movement

Local business owner Michelle Mook of Pro-Development in York, has been appointed to the role of Area Ambassador for Engage for Success Yorkshire and the Humber and is excited to be hosting their launch event on the 21 April 2021.

Places can be booked on Eventbrit.

Workplace testing

Workplace testing is now available to all businesses, including those with fewer than 50 employees. The workplace testing scheme will remain free until the end of June.

More details about Workplace testing.

Happy High Streets: Sustainability - Shaping the better normal

Discover customer trends, policy changes and tips on sustainability for high streets, towns and cities to build a better future. Join Dr Jackie Mulligan and expert panel for this free webinar on Thursday 18 March at 10am.

Book Happy High Streets: Sustainability - Shaping the better normal

BEIS event: Your business journey to Net Zero

In conjunction with the NP11 group of Northern Local Enterprise Partnerships, BEIS are hosting an event on Friday 19 March to provide SMEs with insights from other businesses about how to achieve their low-carbon goals.

Please use this link to register for the Your business journey to Net Zero event.

AD: Venture Support

  • 18 March, 12:15-2pm: How to Win Customers
  • 23 March, 12:15-2pm: Social Media Business Club

Find out more about the Venture Support

Kada Research workshop:

National Cyber Security Centre - Cyber Security Webinar:

DFE webinars for businesses considering offering students industry placements:

  • 23 March: Business administration roles
  • 25 March: Legal, finance and accounting roles
  • 30 March: Health and science roles

These sessions are free of charge. Businesses can find out more about webinars for businesses considering students industry placements and register here.

Our York & North Yorkshire LEP webinars

Social Media Series – Growing your social media presence - 18 March, noon

In partnership with York-based Intandem Communications, this webinar will guide attendees through how to build their social media audience and discuss how to use adverts and analytics to measure performance.

Book Growing your social media presence.

Wellbeing Series: Supporting return to work - 19 March, 1pm

In partnership with the University of York, this webinar will introduce a return-to-work toolkit for managers and team members that will enable them to coach colleagues effectively through change.

Book Supporting return to work

Social Media Series: Using LinkedIn to expand your network and attract new opportunities - 25 March, noon

LinkedIn can be a powerful platform for attracting new clients and business opportunities. Join digital marketing experts Intandem Communications to learn how to make the most of this professional networking tool.

Booking Using LinkedIn to expand your network and attract new opportunities

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

Spring is in the air, lighter days are on their way and we can sense the relief that there is also light at the end of a very long Covid tunnel.

This week we reach the first milestone in the Government’s road map out of lockdown, so there is much to celebrate. Our schools opened fully on Monday and although the return of students will be staggered in our secondary schools it is a real delight to see pictures of primary children back in the classroom and playing together and being with their teachers. Preliminary data shows that attendance in North Yorkshire’s primary schools is as high as 97 per cent, so they have got off to a flying start. Such high attendance rates show how much confidence our families have in our schools and in the safety measures that have been put in place and the high value they place on the quality of teaching and learning provided. If nothing else, months of home learning has taught many of us how hard our teachers have to work to create such high standards of education in North Yorkshire.

Above all, I want to say a huge thank you to the great service we have seen from our school staff.  Schools in North Yorkshire have been open throughout the pandemic for vulnerable children and young people and the children of key workers and staff have worked tirelessly to adapt to the many changes that have taken place to cope with the fall-out from Covid-19 in the last year on teaching and learning across our county. Staff have had to adapt to online teaching, different arrangements for assessment, they have had to give support to the mental health of their pupils and to families. In recent weeks, they have had to put in a huge amount of work to get schools ready for the return of pupils and for the system of lateral flow testing for Covid that has had to be put in place. It has been a real roller coaster, but we are proud of each and every one of them.

Julia Polley, the headteacher of Wensleydale School and Sixth Form Centre, who spoke today to our North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum press conference, illustrated so well the massive effort involved. She explained that by the end of next week her students will have been tested for Covid with lateral flow tests three times, with all that information then uploaded onto the NHS reporting systems. She explained how every student has a seating plan to aid test and trace, that there is hand sanitiser on every floor, that students will be required to wear face masks in corridors and that there is a one-way system in and out of every classroom. She said that during the whole of the pandemic the school had only had seven positive cases and that she is super confident that with the support of everybody – staff, students, parents and our officers, her school will continue to be a safe place. She has been on car park attendance while her students have been arriving for testing this week and what she is hearing from every one of them about coming back to school: “I can’t wait, miss”. Those words say it all.

We also have to pay tribute to staff and providers of care settings who we are working with to enable care residents from this week to enjoy long-awaited face-to-face indoor visits safely from family and friends – so vital to their physical and mental well-being. Again, a huge amount of work in terms of risk assessments and hygiene regimes as well as the creation of designated visiting areas is taking place to enable this to happen safely. But we join providers, their staff, residents and families in welcoming this crucial first step in the road map.

Today’s Google doodle reminds us of the work of Dr Wu Lien-teh, a Chinese-Malaysian epidemiologist who more than 100 years ago created a surgical face covering, widely believed to be the forerunner of those which we use today and which have proved so crucial in stemming the transmission of Covid infection. To celebrate this achievement, Google dedicated its Doodle to Wu on the doctor’s 142nd birthday. Wu was the first student of Chinese descent to study at Cambridge University and was credited with bringing pneumonic plague in North Western China under control with the creation of a mask made of cotton and gauze to filter the air people inhaled. Under his leadership and direction, the authorities also established quarantine stations, and the disinfecting of buildings, so that the 1910 plague was eradicated within months.

We must therefore also give thanks to our scientists and researchers who have created an effective Covid-19 vaccine in an historically short period of time so that with the vaccination roll-out and the rules and regulations of lockdown, Covid infection rates are now falling markedly. The North Yorkshire rate per 100,000 people now stands at 39, below the England and regional average. We have further to go, but this is a great achievement. More than 300,000 people across North Yorkshire and York have now being vaccinated and we are on course to have all those over the age of 50 and with underlying health condition vaccinated by 15 April.

It only remains for us to play our part alongside our scientists, teachers, care staff, doctors and nurses, volunteers and the many people who have helped in the fight against Covid. We must play our part by sticking to the rules, staying local, washing hands, wearing facemasks when we leave our homes, and keeping a two-metre social distance. We must remember that the road out of lockdown depends on data, not dates. If we want to go forwards we need to remain vigilant and stick to the rules.

How hard would it be, now we can see that light at the end of the tunnel, to have to go backwards because we became complacent and let down our guard. It doesn’t bear thinking about.

Keeping in touch

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

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

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

At 7 March 2021, there have been 28,364 positive tests since 3 March 2020, with 565 new cases reported in the past two weeks. The weekly rolling average of new cases is 41 cases per day, allowing for incomplete data in the most recent days. The seven-day rate for North Yorkshire is 41.1 per 100,000 people, which remains below the England seven-day rate. 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.

Coronavirus Update

About one in three people with coronavirus do not have symptoms, but can still pass it on to others. Regular testing of people without symptoms is important to help stop the virus spreading and protect your loved ones. As lockdown restrictions gradually ease we all need to play our part to help to protect each other. The following groups in England have access to regular rapid lateral flow testing:

  • secondary school pupils
  • primary and secondary school staff
  • households, childcare and support bubbles of primary and secondary-age pupils
  • households, childcare and support bubbles of primary and secondary staff

Primary school pupils are not being asked to test at this time.

Further information about the use of lateral flow testing of households and bubbles of school pupils and staff can be found here.

Return to school

We hope that this week’s return to school has gone smoothly everyone across North Yorkshire. We thank you for everything you have done during the pandemic, which is why we can now start to come out of lockdown in a safe and steady way. As you can see, the rates of Covid-19 across our county are falling steadily, but we still need to do as much as we can to keep the numbers down to prevent any future lockdowns.

Students attending secondary school, college and special schools will be provided with quick swab tests in school before they fully return to the classroom, designed to identify asymptomatic cases of coronavirus and provide additional reassure for pupils, parents and staff. The quick swab tests are voluntary and no young person will be tested without informed consent from their parent or carer. The swab tests are designed to limit the spread of the virus by helping identify asymptomatic cases, as almost a third of all positive coronavirus cases include people without symptoms. After three initial onsite tests, it is anticipated that students in Year 7 and above will be provided with home testing kits for coronavirus tests to be carried out at home twice a week.

Teaching staff at both primary and secondary schools will be provided with kits to carry out twice weekly coronavirus tests at home.

Children and young people will not be given the coronavirus swab tests without the consent of their parents or carers. The tests are voluntary, and pupils will not be prevented from receiving face-to-face education if they are not tested, but the results should provide families, pupils and staff with added reassurance as students return to school.

Our chance to make a positive change to the way our children travel to school in North Yorkshire

We’re encouraging parents and carers to rethink the school run, and think about how we can make it fun, safe and healthy. We have a chance to make a positive change to the way our children travel to school in North Yorkshire.

The government has released information and guidance on sustainable transport for journeys between home and school, and other education settings. This is in line with current requirements to adhere to coronavirus restrictions and guidelines. In response to this, we’re working on the development and delivery of a schools Travel Demand Management scheme, which includes a communications plan and a range of measures, all aimed at helping to support the safe return to school

As part of this, and the Open North Yorkshire sustainable travel project, we will be engaging with residents and education settings across North Yorkshire, and sharing key messages, to ensure that school journeys can run as smoothly as possible. We will also:

  • Encourage and support schools to develop their own travel plans to promote active travel on the school run
  • Help parents, carers and students to think about more sustainable and active transport modes, where possible, for the school run
  • Consider a range of measures and initiatives to encourage parents and carers to rethink the school run to make it fun, safe and healthy

Lockdown and coronavirus have presented us all with significant challenges, but we have also seen that residents in North Yorkshire have made lots of positive changes, particularly in terms of transport and travel. Residents have rediscovered the benefits of walking and cycling for more journeys in their local area, and we’ve seen reduced traffic and congestion. We’re hoping to keep some of these positive changes, and help residents to save time, save money and get fitter through more active and sustainable travel, particularly for the school run.

To find out more, and keep up to date with top tips and advice for the school run, you can follow the Open North Yorkshire Facebook page.

Working together towards recovery

Testing

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Every day - Harrogate - Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Every day - Scarborough - William Street Car Park, Scarborough. YO12 7PL
  • Every day - Northallerton – The Forum, Bullamore Road, Northallerton, DL6 1LP
  • Every day - Selby – Portholme Crescent Car Park, Selby, YO8 4YR
  • Every day - Skipton - Cavendish Street Car Park, Skipton, BD23 1RP
  • Thursday 11 March - Whitby - Whitby Marina Car Park, Langbourne Road, Whitby, YO21 1YW
  • Thursday 11 March - Malton - Wentworth Street Car Park, Smithson Ct, Malton, YO17 7BQ
  • Thursday 11 March - Leyburn - Harmby Road, Car Park, Leyburn, DL8 5EE
  • Friday 12 March - Sherburn in Elmet - Pasture Way Car Park, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6LY
  • Friday 12 March - Stokesley - Stokesley Sports Club, Broughton Road, Stokesley, Middlesbrough, TS9 5JG
  • Friday 12 March - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Saturday 13 March - Selby - South Entrance, DRAX Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Saturday 13 March - Settle - Greenfoot Car Park, Settle, BD24 9RW
  • Saturday 13 March - Filey - Filey Country park, Church Cliff Drive, Filey, YO14 9ET
  • Saturday 13 March - Thornton Le Dale - North York Moors National Park Authority car park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Thornton Le Dale, Pickering, YO18 7RR
  • Sunday 14 March - Scarborough - Scarborough Park and Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough, YO12 4LW
  • Sunday 14 March - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Sunday 14 March - Thirsk - Millgate Car Park, Marage Road, Thirsk, YO7 1PE

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

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

Supporting our schools and childcare

This week we are delighted to welcome children back to the classroom. The response has been fantastic and we’re pleased to see children at school learning, playing and being with their friends and teachers again.

Attendance at primary school is 97 per cent, which is confirmation of parents’ confidence in schools across the county.

Many secondary schools this week began testing their rapid testing of pupils for coronavirus ahead of the majority of school year groups being fully back in the classroom by March 15.

The lateral flow tests are optional, but in place in all secondary schools and colleges in North Yorkshire. They’re an additional safety measure in addition to schools’ existing safety measures, such as bubble systems, extra ventilation in classrooms, staggered breaks and regular hand washing. So far the swab tests have been taken up by more than 80 per cent of students in schools, which is an encouraging figure.

The Wensleydale School and Sixth Form is one of those secondary schools testing all students this week.

Headteacher Julia Polley said they have so far tested 98 per cent of all their students at least once and by the end of next week all students will have been tested on three separate occasions in school. Pupils have also been in to see the other safety measures in place and how the return to face-to-face teaching would be managed ahead of their return.

“We have had a lot of good support from parents, even those who are nervous about testing are on board, because they and all our students desperately want to come back to school,” she added.

“All of our staff have gone through Lateral Flow Testing since lockdown started in January. We’re doing the right thing and taking precautions very, very seriously and making sure everyone is safe.”

Julia Polley has been in the school car park to greet every single student arriving for testing.

“I can say hand on heart they want to get back to school,” said added.

“They’ve said hello to me in the car park and that they can’t wait to return. They are a bit tired of online learning and want to get back into class.

“I’m indebted to my staff. They have all gone above and beyond over the last year and I’m really, really grateful to them.”

Teamwork to support our residents

Over the last two weeks, we have been contacting North Yorkshire residents who have recently been added to the national shielding list and making sure they have support in place. People who are shielding should not attend work, school, college or university and only leave home for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential until March 31 at the earliest. For those people who do need help with shopping, prescriptions and other essentials, community support organisations and the voluntary groups they are working alongside continue to provide a lifeline.

Sleights resident Jill Broadley is clinically extremely vulnerable and has been shielding since last March. Despite being at high risk of severe illness from Covid herself, she’s found ways to help as a telephone befriender and calls seven people twice a week to check they are okay and to see if they need anything.

Jill said: “Chatting I can do in abundance. There’s always plenty to talk about. If they need something, I phone the hospital and the doctors for them. I can help them to get a prescription. If they need anything from the shop I can get someone to get it. I like to do it. I’m not well myself and it gives me an incentive to try and be right on those days. I feel like I’m putting something back.”

Enid Saddler, 84, is one of the ladies on Jill’s call list. She said: “I think Revival North Yorkshire are marvellous, I’m a new kid on the block, I’ve only been here since December 2019 and I’ve been overwhelmed by the care and help I’ve been given. There is nothing they won’t do to help out, it’s a lovely feeling.

“It’s a lovely communal village, everybody is genuinely concerned about the next person, it’s like one big family and the surgery is second to none. Jill is a super woman. She goes out of her way to help people who are stuck. I am so very grateful that they are there.”

Norma Carrick added: “Jill calls twice a week, which is brilliant. She keeps her eye on us all. I spend a lot of time on my own and to have that voice on the other end of the phone is lovely.”

North Yorkshire residents without local support networks who need help with shopping and other essentials, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780 seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm. People can also complete an online form to let us know what help they need.

To find local businesses offering food deliveries and takeaways, go to the Buy Local directory. People can also find details of other local voluntary and community groups offering support.

Find advice on how to help others safely and information about volunteering with a local organisation in your community.

Growing our local economy

LEP News: £1m Aspire2lead project aiming to boost women in the workforce

On International Women’s Day (Monday 8 March), the York & North Yorkshire LEP launched a £1m project to boost women in the workforce. In partnership with The Opportunity Centre, part of Aspire-igen Group, Yorkshire In Business and Beyond 2030, the scheme aims to help SMEs and individuals in employment or self-employment with leadership and entrepreneurial training, return to work support including bespoke careers guidance, and networking and ambassador opportunities.

To find out more about £1m Aspire2lead project.

Happy High Streets: Sustainability - Shaping the better normal

Discover customer trends, policy changes and tips on sustainability for high streets, towns and cities to build a better future. Join Dr Jackie Mulligan and expert panel for this FREE Webinar event on Thursday 18 March at 10am.

The panel includes Dr Rae Ritchie, eco-columnist for Woman and Home magazine, Vivienne King, Chair of The Shopkeepers Campaign and Erin Wheeler, part of the Circular Yorkshire team at York North Yorkshire LEP.

BEIS event: Your business journey to Net Zero

In conjunction with the NP11 group of Northern Local Enterprise Partnerships, BEIS are hosting a series of regionally focused events targeting small businesses, to provide them with insights from other businesses and suggest practical tips to help achieve their low-carbon goals.

The next event is taking place on Friday 19 March and will have a northern focus, featuring speakers and businesses from across the region as well as some national speakers.

Please use this link to register for the BEIS event

DFE webinars for businesses considering offering students industry placements

At the end of March, the Strategic Development Network will be hosting several free webinar sessions with the DFE looking at industry placements that are applicable across a broad range of industries:

  • Business administration roles - Tues, 23 March
  • Legal, finance and accounting roles - Thurs, 25 March
  • Health and science roles - Tues, 30 March

Each session will give businesses the chance to hear from others who are already hosting placements in these roles, how industry placement students might contribute to workforce development in the current circumstances, and the support now available.

You can find out more and register here.

York & North Yorkshire LEP/ Growth Hub upcoming webinars:

Leadership: How dialling up curiosity can transform your leadership

16 March, noon

Booking link for the How dialling up curiosity can transform your leadership event.

Online bookings: Can you really compete with the online travel agents?

16 March, 11am

This final webinar in the visitor economy series will help tourism businesses to understand what makes online travel agents (OTAs) so successful, and how they may be able to compete.

Booking link for online bookings.

Social Media Series – Growing your social media presence

18 March, noon

Booking link for Growing your social media presence event.

Wellbeing Series: Supporting return to work

19 March, 1pm

In partnership with the University of York, this webinar will introduce a return-to-work toolkit for managers and team members that will enable them to effectively coach colleagues through change.

Following this webinar, delegates will know how to:

Booking link for Supporting return to work.

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

We find ourselves in a bit of an odd place this week. With the road map out of lockdown before us and an extremely successful vaccination programme on our side, we should all be looking forward to a return to those freedoms for which we have made so many sacrifices. To seeing our loved ones, booking our staycations, eating out and exploring again.

On the one hand, we are seeing Covid-19 transmission rates continue to reduce slowly across North Yorkshire – which is clearly good news. However, on the other, we have seen the number of fines the county’s police have had to issue to people breaching the lockdown rules rocket by almost a third over the last week. As a result, this week a record 255 fines have been issued in the force area, 119 to local residents and 136 to visitors. Of those, 127 were issued on the coast. In a single incident last weekend each of the 20 people attending a house party was handed an £800 fine!   And I am sure many of us felt complete disbelief at the pictures of the family camped precariously on the cliff edge near Staithes.

So what’s going, on we may rightly ask ourselves! Two days of a taste of spring last weekend saw some truly awful behaviour by some people who clearly knew better, and increased numbers of other people interpreting the road map not as something to aspire to, but a route to drive down now.

Many of you will know that at the forefront of the fight against Covid here is North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum (NYLRF), of which I am chair. Each week, the NYLRF hosts a media briefing at which the NHS and police join our director of public health, health and adult services and education leads to outline where we are and appeal for help in sharing important messages. These are very well supported by the press in North Yorkshire and today we were joined by a safer neighbourhoods sergeant from the front line in Scarborough. The sergeant spoke of the apparent mix of misinterpretation of the lockdown rules and road map out, some genuine misunderstanding and some plain disregard in some instances. In one incident, a group of six people from Leeds travelled to the coast for fish and chips, in another nine people travelled from Hull to Filey for a barbecue in a car park and in another a police safety camera clocked a car being driven at 126mph. When this sergeant stopped the car, he was told the male driver had travelled from Harrogate to York to collect a friend before they headed – at some considerable speed – to the coast! I am sure you will agree all of these examples are completely unacceptable and they put in jeopardy the incredible hard work the vast majority of the people of North Yorkshire have put in.

So, to be clear to all those flouting the rules and risking our route out, we remain in LOCKDOWN. Stay at Home is still the message – the gradual and cautious easing of some restrictions is not an instant free for all. We want desperately to see the data allow us to hit those date milestones so we can welcome the world back to North Yorkshire’s fantastic hospitality sector and see our loved ones again. But the situation remains delicate, so I implore you to do the right thing for your friends and family and keep going, keep sticking to the rules. Because hard though it is… every day at home, every hand washed, every face covered, every trip not taken… is making a difference. As an LRF we will continue to do everything within our reach and powers to support the county back to recovery and to respond appropriately to those whose behaviour puts that at risk.

The first major milestone is the reopening of schools to all pupils and our schools are hugely excited to welcome everyone back. They have been open throughout the pandemic for the children of key workers and vulnerable youngsters, but there is a real sense of joy among staff and pupils to all be together again. As you would expect and hope, very detailed safety plans have been put in place including lateral flow testing (where appropriate), staggered start and break times, one-way systems and so on. This week, I was hugely impressed with the passion of Matthew Kelley, the head of Hutton Rudby Primary School. He describes children as “the heartbeat of all schools” and his passion and commitment are typical of all our school staff, teachers and support teams. You can hear more from Matthew here and I am sure you will find him both reassuring and inspiring.

I share the delight at seeing all pupils back, as I am sure many parents who have been supporting young people through this difficult time while they have been learning at home do! So, on behalf of everyone at the county council, I thank every parent, every pupil, every teacher, every member of the schools support teams and every volunteer making all this possible. Team North Yorkshire spirit through and through – we are immensely proud of your collective efforts.

Before I go today, I also wanted to say thank you to 17-year-old Jasmin Brown from Hawes, who has become the youngest person to give evidence to North Yorkshire’s Rural Commissioners. Jasmin spoke eloquently about the challenges facing young people in very rural communities around access to transport, further education and work experience. You can read more about the latest evidence session and the work of the Rural Commission.

As I sign off, I just want to mention the national Government consultation, which is under way, on how local government services might be delivered in the future here. There are two proposals before the Secretary of State and you can read both and have your say if you would like to here.

That’s it from me for this week. Please do stay safe.

Keeping in touch

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

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

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

At 28 February 2021, there have been 28,118 positive tests since 3 March 2020, with 835 new cases reported in the past two weeks. The weekly rolling average of new cases is 69 per day, allowing for incomplete data in the most recent days. The seven-day rate for North Yorkshire is 62.3 per 100,000 people, which remains below the England seven-day rate. 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.

Coronavirus Update

About 1 in 3 people with coronavirus do not have symptoms but can still pass it on to others. Regular testing of people without symptoms is important to help stop the virus spreading and protect your loved ones. As lockdown restrictions gradually ease we all need to play our part to help protect each other. As our schools head back on 8 March, the following people in England will have access to regular rapid lateral flow testing made available to them:

  • secondary school pupils
  • primary and secondary school staff
  • households, childcare and support bubbles of primary and secondary-age pupils
  • households, childcare and support bubbles of primary and secondary staff

Primary school pupils will not be asked to test at this time.

How to get a rapid lateral flow test: Community Collect

In order to support wider access to routine lateral flow testing, the government has introduced a new component of the community testing programme called Community Collect. This is a service by which people will be able to collect batches of test kits from designated sites to use to test at home twice a week.

For North Yorkshire we have had confirmation that all of our local test sites have been part of this roll-out and essentially are now sites with dual testing functions – in the mornings up until 12 noon they will continue to be symptomatic testing facilities, whereas in the afternoons from 1.30pm to 7pm they will instead function as collection points for lateral flow kits.

In terms of current eligibility for community collect, households with primary school, secondary school and college age children, including childcare and support bubbles, can test themselves twice every week at home. Households, childcare and support bubbles of primary, secondary and college staff can also be tested. Twice-weekly testing will also be offered to adults working in the wider school community, such as bus drivers and after school club leaders.

For people in these groups who are unable to access rapid testing through Community Collect or any other existing route (such as through their employers) there is a new government portal for requesting lateral flow tests that can be delivered to your home.

At the moment, both Community Collect and the home delivery route are only open to the above groups. However, we understand that as we progress with the national road map access to Community Collect sites will be broadened to include wider cohorts of people, too. We also expect more collection sites will be developed over the next month, with a national ambition to deliver through pharmacies as well by the end of March.

Further information about the use of lateral flow testing of households and bubbles of school pupils and staff can be found here.

Although our schools and colleges are returning on 8 March, we are not yet back to normal. England is still in a national lockdown and we all need to stay at home and follow the “hands, face, space” guidance as much as possible. Further information about the current lockdown guidance 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 the most can be prioritised.

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

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

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

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

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

Supporting our schools and childcare

Secondary and special schools and colleges now all have arrangements in place for swab testing pupils for coronavirus before they all fully return to school on March 15. How, and when, the tests happens will vary from school to school and parents will hear directly from their school about the date their child will be tested and can return to the classroom for face-to-face teaching.

Early years and nursery staff have now been added to the Department for Education testing programme directly and are being provided with home testing kits for rapid swab testing.

The national swab testing programme does not include younger children and primary schools are on course to provide all pupils with a warm welcome back to the classroom from March 8.

Hygiene measures, such as hand washing, bubble arrangements and social distancing remain in place. In line with the latest Government guidance, face coverings will also be worn in the classroom. Although they are not mandatory, wearing masks is now strongly recommended.

We would like to thank schools for all their work in recent weeks and over the course of the last year in keeping schools open and making sure they are places where students feel safe and happy. It has involved a lot of planning and hard work and we are very grateful for their co-operation.

We will soon be letting people know the timeline for engagement on the future of North Yorkshire’s Outdoor Learning Service. The pandemic has had a significant financial impact on our two residential sites at Bewerley Park and East Barnby, which has resulted in the service losing the majority of its £2.25m annual income since March 2020, when the Government issued guidance to close outdoor activity centres.

Now the service has forecast a deficit of £984,000 by the end of the financial year for 2020-21. This situation, coupled with a need for significant re-investment in the building facilities, means we will be taking this opportunity to review outdoor residential education.

The review will determine what the requirements and benefits are for children and young people in North Yorkshire and match this to a model designed to meet those needs in the long-term.

We are establishing a number of consultations with different organisations and individuals involved, including schools, outdoor learning staff, individual members of the public and other stakeholders. They include a user group who will come together as part of the review, a project board, including the chair of the user group.

A questionnaire will also be sent to all schools in North Yorkshire, include primary, secondary, special schools and pupil referral services to establish if and how they use the Outdoor Learning Service, any barriers to providing outdoor learning and how important it is for different Key Stage groups, child development and the curriculum.

Teamwork to support our residents

Community support organisations and the voluntary sector partners they are working alongside continue to help North Yorkshire residents in a variety of ways.

Jill Burdis volunteers through Reeth and District Community Transport, carrying out shopping runs and working in the office to co-ordinate calls and their response. Her initial offer had been to step in for two or three weeks, but the tally is now approaching 50 and Jill has no expectation of stepping back anytime soon.

A new job for the minibus has been transporting residents for coronavirus vaccinations and other medical appointments – with the vehicle able to safely carry two passengers at a time under current restrictions. A range of “buddy” teams have also been established, with “house buddies” on standby to help with simple necessities like changing light bulbs and smoke alarm batteries, “back yard buddies” for the outdoor jobs like shoveling coal or de-icing paths.

Jill said: “We have such good volunteers, now there are over 50 of them clocking up about 170 hours per week, this is keeping things going and they step up to offer assistance as and when we need them and never turn down a request. What I have really liked is that as time has gone by, we have got to know people so well they have become friends and you care for them as you would your own family.”

The service has been highly praised by Joan Graveson, 88, who was widowed last year and was approached with the offer of help.

“They asked what I needed for shopping and everything else, it was a very positive approach,” she said. “They have expanded their services magnificently.”

Between lockdowns she attended meals organised through the group and said: “A stroke of genius was them asking me to make soup.

“They had the imagination to know that the way of pulling me in was to give me something to do. They are exceptional. They have been an important part in my recovery, because they have shown I can make a contribution.”

North Yorkshire residents without local support networks who need help with shopping and other essentials, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780 seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm. People can also complete an online form to let us know what help they need at www.northyorks.gov.uk/covidhelp.

To find local businesses offering food deliveries and takeaways, go to the Buy Local directory. People can also find details of other local voluntary and community groups offering support.

Find advice on how to help others safely and information about volunteering with a local organisation in your community.

Growing our local economy

Buy local: Settle for nothing but the best for local businesses

When estate agents crunched information from more than 1,000 locations in England to find the best, Settle was number eight in their national top ten.

One detail researchers may not have realised is the benefit of the Buy Local website, which is a boost to both shoppers and those running independent businesses in the area.

While that is not limited to Settle – it was set up across North Yorkshire as part of the response to the coronavirus pandemic – the town has embraced the idea with enthusiasm, with a baker’s dozen of businesses signed up.

Buy Local makes life easier for shoppers who can put in orders in the knowledge they are getting high-quality goods and services from trusted businesses – while helping to ensure those traders are able to endure the financial pressures lockdowns have brought for many.

The County Council launched the scheme as the pandemic began to unfold early last year and it has proved to be an enormous success. There are now nearly 900 businesses registered on the site.

While vaccinations and reducing infection rates for coronavirus are providing real hope that a return to normal life could be on the horizon, Buy Local could have longer-term benefits.

It will have helped to ensure businesses have survived, maintaining choice for customers and helping to secure the economic prosperity of communities.

One Settle business that signed up to Buy Local is Settle Country Store, which sells goods ranging from outdoor clothing to hardware, pet food and equestrian products.

Manager David Elms said: “We try and cater for our customers’ individual needs and we’ve always done that, even before Covid.”

The shop is part of the Settle Coal Company and has been trading for around three years. David believes the Buy Local website helps to alert potential customers to what they have to offer.

“I think it’s a benefit because a lot of people don’t know that businesses exist,” he said. “It amazes me the amount of people who don’t know the companies that are in their area.

“That’s where the Buy Local site works really well, because it’s just literally local businesses.”

One of North Yorkshire County Council’s public health consultants, Dr Victoria Turner, grew up in Settle and said: “This is a wonderful area for many, many reasons but many of the features which make the area so appealing are shared with other communities across the county.

“That is very true of Buy Local, which has been a real success both here in Settle and across the wider community.

“On a practical level, it benefits both customers and businesses, but it also demonstrates that Team North Yorkshire spirit, people coming together and showing responsibility and kindness for each other.”

North Yorkshire leader Cllr Carl Les said: “Introducing Buy Local was one of our many responses to the pandemic and the problems it created. The fact that so many businesses have signed up demonstrates the desire among our traders to serve their communities.

“It is encouraging that residents have supported the scheme and, while it may have provided a real assistance to them during the coronavirus period, the hope is that it will have also made some people more aware of the fantastic businesses in their neighbourhoods.”

Buy Local allows customers to find businesses and place orders online and the website has been widely praised by companies that have signed up.

Hear from David about how registering on Buy Local has provided a boost here.

Have your say on £31m plans to improve travel in Skipton, Selby and Harrogate

Brand new entrances to railway stations, new public spaces linking the station to the town centre and better access to education and employment sites are all included in detailed proposals to transform the area around the railway station in three North Yorkshire towns.

North Yorkshire County Council, Harrogate Borough Council, Craven District Council, Selby District Council and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) have succeeded in a bid to secure a total of £31m for three separate projects in Harrogate, Selby and Skipton town centres from the Department for Transport’s Transforming Cities Fund (TCF).

In each town, a major package of investment will improve opportunities for sustainable travel and link transport hubs with centres of education and employment – all essential to getting back on track after the Covid-19 pandemic. This is a once in a generation chance to totally redesign parts of the town centres, with investment that will help to fire up the engine on the journey to recovery.

These transformational projects are scheduled to be completed by 2023.

We want to know what you think about the early stage proposals and we’d like as many people, businesses and organisations as possible to take part.

Read more here.

Read the proposals, attend an event, and complete the online survey about Skipton, Selby or Harrogate.

Join an online event: Online events about the schemes are taking place next week as follows:

  • Harrogate project: 10 March
  • Skipton project: 11 March
  • Selby project: 12 March.

All will start at 6pm. Find out how to join.

LEP News: Budget announcement

Today’s budget announcement included several measures to extend the COVID business support as well as a few key headline investments in our region. The full document can be found here.

Kickstart Scheme update

It is now easier for employers of all sizes to benefit from joining the Kickstart Scheme - the limit which previously required employers to create a minimum of 30 vacancies in order to apply directly has now been removed.

Additional resources from employers are available on gov.uk:

Upcoming business webinars

Celebrating the work of entrepreneurial female leaders: The future of our city, our region

8 March, 1pm

In partnership with the University of York on International Women’s Day, this free webinar will showcase the stories and experience of five inspirational women, their entrepreneurial journey and their reflections on how times of economic and social change could make entrepreneurship more accessible for the next generation of women.

Celebrating the work of entrepreneurial female leaders booking link

Leadership Series: Building resilience and supporting team wellbeing, 9 March, noon

Ideal for business leaders and HR professionals, this online session with Michelle Mook will provide tools and techniques to build resilience and increase positivity within teams.

Building resilience and supporting team wellbeing booking link

Start-Up Business Basics Series: How much? - The Art and Science of Pricing Your Product, 10 March, noon

In partnership with business coach Gareth Allen, this webinar will provide guidance on cost-based pricing, calculating costs before deciding an appropriate margin and how to price during a recession.

Start-Up Business Basics Series booking link.

Social Media Series – Planning and creating great content, 11 March, noon

In this webinar, digital marketing experts Intandem Communications will focus on how you can create and plan great social media content for your business. This webinar is ideal for those who are looking to further their social media skills.

Planning and creating great content booking link.

Local Highlights

National Highlights: Trading with the EU

E-Commerce Elevenses

The Department for International Trade (DIT) are running virtual ‘meet-ups’ with experts in website development, digital marketing and e-marketplaces.

The events for York businesses are taking place on the following dates:

  • 16 March 2021 @ 11am – Website Development
  • 17 March 2021 @ 11am – Digital Advertising and Marketplaces

To register E-Commerce Elevenses.

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

This feels like a big week for our county with two major Government announcements, which no doubt will have long-term implications for the way we live and work in North Yorkshire.

The first is the Prime Minister’s road map out of lockdown and Covid-19 restrictions, which Boris Johnson set out on Monday.

The second is the announcement by Secretary of State RT Hon Robert Jenrick MP that the consultation on local government reorganisation in North Yorkshire begins this week.  There are two proposals on the table and the opportunity for residents, businesses, voluntary organisations and statutory bodies to give their views and feed into the Government’s decision making begins now.

So by mid-summer we can hope for two things. The first is that with the majority of adults vaccinated and Covid infection rates dramatically reduced we can return to some kind of normality, socialise with friends and family and our shops and hospitality and other businesses can open up and start to get back on their feet. In the immediate future, we can look forward to all our children returning to school on March 8 and our schools are busy getting ready to open their doors to teaching and learning for all pupils.  We want to thank our teachers and school staff for all their hard work in keeping schools open for the children of key workers during lockdown, for supporting home learning and for all the preparation needed for the regular testing of staff and secondary age pupils once schools are fully open. It is has been and remains a mammoth task.

The second hope is that following consultation, the Government will decide on a form of unitary government for the county later in the summer.  We can then move forward with simpler, stronger organisation for delivering excellent services, underpinned by local action and greater accountability. This takes us much closer to a devolution deal with all the power and money that goes with it for North Yorkshire and York – critical to levelling up for our rural region and to our recovery from the ravages of Covid-19.

So there is much to look forward to but also a great deal to do before we reach sunnier times. 

Although Covid infection rates are falling significantly in North Yorkshire, and are below the national and regional average, in nearly every district they are still three to four times higher than they were last September when Selby and Scarborough were put on the Government watch list.

Although we might be thinking about summer holidays and planning for when we can be together once again with friends and family and for social events beyond June, we must remember that the speed at which we come out of lockdown will depend on data not dates. It’s been a very long winter of restrictions, but we have to give it one last push and keep going. We must carry on, therefore, with all the social distancing and safety measures, wearing masks, washing hands, staying local and not mixing indoors to get the rate down as much as we can. 

The vaccination roll-out is progressing very well across the county and again we must give thanks to the many volunteers who are part of Team North Yorkshire and are helping to make this happen as smoothly and efficiently as possible.  We also welcome the fact that the Government has opened up its national booking line to make it easier for frontline social care workers to get a vaccine and we are appealing to all who work in care settings to book a jab as soon as possible. 

The situation, however, is undoubtedly improving and if we continue to make good progress we can look forward to slowly unlocking - good news indeed for our retailers and the hospitality trade and the many other businesses so important to our beautiful county and its visitor economy.

The ability of our county to recover from Covid will be boosted by simpler, dynamic unitary government and future devolution.

Westminster has said we must get rid of two-tier local government in North Yorkshire and replace it with unitary councils. This will unlock the door to a devolution deal as a combined mayoral authority and all the money and powers that go with it.

The Government this week begins a consultation on how vital services such as adult social care, children’s services, roads and transport, planning and waste management will be delivered in North Yorkshire. There are two options open for consultation.

The county council proposes a single council for the whole county. We believe this would build on the county’s strengths and identity to give a powerful voice, speaking up regionally and nationally for North Yorkshire.

Six of the seven district councils propose splitting the county in two, east and west. You can read both proposals here.

Our proposal is for a new single council that will unite the whole county and provide a strong, powerful voice in the North. It will work in close partnership with the City of York, which gives full backing to this deal. It will accelerate recovery, avoid unnecessary costs and the disruption of key services at a time when they are needed most.

Six things you need to know about our proposal:

A single new North Yorkshire Council will:

  • be a strong voice in the North, speaking out nationally for rural and coastal communities
  • bring together the best services for residents and businesses, make them even better and save money by reducing duplication
  • keep the county and nationally acclaimed services together at a critical time rather than breaking them in two, causing seismic disruption
  • unite North Yorkshire to operate at scale and sustainably, driving recovery from the pandemic, rather than creating two competing councils
  • create a revolution in localism so communities have the funding and power to take action on what matters to them most in their area
  • protect and build on the strong identity and global brand of North Yorkshire and what makes our county so great

We need to pull together, not spilt apart, and operate at scale to face all the many challenges ahead. 

So it’s been a momentous week and we have a lot to do. We believe that as we ease out of lockdown and look to opening up everyday life and our economy again, local government reorganisation into a strong single council for North Yorkshire, unlocking devolution, is the right way to help our county move forward.

Keeping in touch

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

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

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

At 21 February 2021, there have been 27,756 positive tests since 3 March 2020, with 1,032 new cases reported in the past two weeks. The weekly rolling average of new cases is 78 cases per day, allowing for incomplete data in the most recent days. The seven-day rate for North Yorkshire is 84.3 per 100,000 people, which remains below the England seven-day rate. 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.

Coronavirus Update

In Monday’s press conference, the Prime Minister outlined a four-step road map out of the current national lockdown. There will be a minimum of five weeks between each step: four weeks for the scientific data to reflect changes and for these to be analysed; followed by one week’s advance notice of further easements. For now, we all need to stay at home as much as possible. The full plan can be found here.

Step One

Priority is to ensure that all children and students return safely to face-to-face education in all schools and colleges from 8 March. Childcare and children’s supervised activities can also resume.

People will be allowed to leave home for recreation and exercise outdoors with their household or support bubble, or with one person from outside their household. Care home residents will also be allowed one regular visitor.

From 29 March, when most schools start to break up for the Easter holidays, outdoor gatherings (including in private gardens) of either six people (the Rule of Six) or two households will also be allowed.

Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis and basketball courts and open-air swimming pools will also be allowed to reopen, and people will be able to take part in formally organised outdoor sports.

The ‘stay at home’ rule will end on 29 March, but many restrictions will remain. People should continue to work from home where possible and minimise journeys. Travel abroad will remain prohibited, other than for a small number of permitted exceptions.

Step Two

Step 2 will see the opening of non-essential retail; personal care premises such as hairdressers and nail salons; and public buildings, including libraries and community centres.

Indoor leisure facilities such as gyms will also reopen (but only for use by people on their own or in household groups); as will most outdoor attractions and settings, including outdoor hospitality venues, zoos, theme parks, etc. Self-contained accommodation, such as campsites and holiday lets, where indoor facilities are not shared with other households, can also reopen.

Hospitality venues will be allowed to serve people outdoors and there will be no need for customers to order a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks and no curfew, although customers must order, eat and drink while seated (table service). Wider social contact rules will still apply in all these settings to prevent indoor mixing between different households.

Funerals can continue with up to 30 mourners. The number of people able to attend weddings, receptions and commemorative events such as wakes will rise to 15.

Step Three

As part of Step 3, the Government will look to continue easing limits on seeing friends and family wherever possible, allowing people to decide on the appropriate level of risk for their circumstances.

This means most legal restrictions on meeting others outdoors will be lifted - although gatherings of over 30 people will remain illegal. Indoors, the Rule of Six or two households will apply - it will be kept under review whether it is safe to increase this. By no later than Step 3, advice will also be updated on social distancing between friends and family.

Most businesses in all but the highest risk sectors will be able to reopen. In all sectors, Covid-secure guidance will remain in place and businesses may not cater for groups bigger than the legal limits.

Indoor hospitality will reopen. As in Step 2, venues will not have to serve a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks, nor will there be a curfew. Customers will, however, still have to order, eat and drink while seated.

Other indoor locations to open up in Step 3 include indoor entertainment venues such as cinemas and children’s play areas; the rest of the accommodation sector, including hotels, hostels and B&Bs; and indoor adult group sports and exercise classes.

The Government will also allow some larger performances and sporting events in indoor venues with a capacity of 1,000 people or half-full (whichever is a lower number), and in outdoor venues with a capacity of 4,000 people or half-full (whichever is a lower number).

In the largest outdoor seated venues, where crowds can be spread out, up to 10,000 people will be able to attend (or a quarter-full, whichever is lower).

Up to 30 people will be able to attend weddings, receptions and wakes, as well as funerals. This limit will also apply to other types of significant life events, including bar mitzvahs and christenings.

Step Four

By Step 4 the Government expects to be in a position to remove all legal limits on social contact.

It hopes to reopen remaining premises, including nightclubs, and ease the restrictions on large events and performances that apply in Step 3.

This will be subject to the results of a scientific Events Research Programme to test the outcome of certain pilot events through the spring and summer, where it will trial the use of testing and other techniques to cut the risk of infection. The same Events Research Programme will guide decisions on whether all limits can be removed on weddings and other life events.

As we move through each of these phases in the roadmap, we must all remember that Covid-19 remains a part of our lives. As we progress through the steps, we must:

  • carry on with ‘hands, face, space’;
  • comply with the Covid-secure measures that remain in place at different stages;
  • meet outdoors when we can and keep letting fresh air in;
  • get tested when needed;
  • get vaccinated when offered.

If we all continue to play our part, we will be that bit closer to a future that is more familiar.

Working together towards recovery

Testing

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Every day - Harrogate - Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Every day - Scarborough - William Street Car Park, Scarborough. YO12 7PL
  • Every day - Northallerton – The Forum, Bullamore Road, Northallerton, DL6 1LP
  • Every day - Selby – Portholme Crescent Car Park, Selby, YO8 4YR
  • Every day - Skipton - Cavendish Street Car Park, Skipton, BD23 1RP
  • Thursday 25 February - Whitby - Whitby Marina Car Park, Langbourne Road, Whitby, YO21 1YW
  • Thursday 25 February - Malton - Wentworth Street Car Park, Smithson Ct, Malton,YO17 7BQ
  • Thursday 25 February - Leyburn - Harmby Road, Car Park, Leyburn, DL8 5EE
  • Friday 26 February - Sherburn in Elmet - Pasture Way Carpark, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6LY
  • Friday 26 February - Stokesley - Stokesley Sports Club, Broughton Road, Stokesley, Middlesbrough, TS9 5JG
  • Friday 26 February - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Saturday 27 February - Selby - South Entrance, DRAX Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Saturday 27 February - Settle - Greenfoot Car Park, Settle, BD24 9RW
  • Saturday 27 February - Filey - Filey Country Park, Church Cliff Drive, Filey, YO14 9ET
  • Saturday 27 February - Thornton Le Dale - North York Moors National Park Authority car park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Thornton Le Dale, Pickering, YO18 7RR
  • Sunday 28 February - Scarborough - Scarborough Park and Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough, YO12 4LW
  • Sunday 28 February - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Sunday 28 February - Thirsk - Millgate Car Park, Marage Road, Thirsk,YO7 1PE

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

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

Supporting our schools and childcare

Schools in North Yorkshire are now preparing to welcome back all students to the classroom next month. Secondary and special schools and colleges will have a staggered return from March 8, to allow students to be tested at least once for coronavirus before they return to school by March 15.

How, and when, the tests happens will vary from school to school, depending on factors such as the size of the school, the different available spaces for testing and transport arrangements for getting children in and out of school for the tests.

The tests are voluntary, and pupils will not be prevented from receiving face-to-face education if they are not tested, but they should provide families, pupils and staff with added reassurance as students return to school. They are designed to be an additional safety measure to the updated risk assessments and measures already in place in the county’s schools, including teaching children in bubbles, good ventilation, social distancing and frequent hand washing.

Parents will hear from their school over the coming days about the date that their child can return to school. 

There are no national plans to test younger, primary-aged pupils for coronavirus in school and they will be back in school from March 8. Wrap-around care in the form of after-school and before-school clubs is also expected to resume.

New Government guidance also recommends that students of secondary school-age and above wear face coverings in lessons, as well as communal spaces, but this will not apply in situations where wearing a face covering would impact on the ability to take part in exercise or strenuous activity, for example PE lessons.

We’ve spoken to headteachers and staff across the county and know they are all keen to welcome children back into school again. We also know that many pupils want to be back in the classroom again, learning, meeting their teachers and socialising with their friends and we’ll make sure that happens in a safe and calm manner.

Teamwork to support our residents

Up to 14,000 people in North Yorkshire will receive a letter from the NHS this week, advising that they are at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus and asking them to start following national shielding guidance until 31 March at the earliest. People who are shielding should not attend work, school, college or university and avoid visiting shops or pharmacies, only leaving home for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential. We will be contacting people who have been added to the shielding list to make sure they have support in place.

North Yorkshire residents who are being asked to shield can also complete a form online to let us know how we can help and a link to the Government guidance. As well as specific health conditions, other factors that are known to increase a person’s risk of becoming seriously ill from Covid include ethnicity, weight, age and prescribed medications. If people have any questions or concerns about why they have been asked to shield they should contact their GP.

This week we will also see our Salt of the Earth campaign switch to Team North Yorkshire. In January 2020 when we launched Salt of the Earth to celebrate the power of kindness, we could not have foreseen what the impact of a global pandemic would be or just how much communities would need to pull together. One positive to come from this crisis is that incredible Team North Yorkshire response. People have reached out to support their neighbours and a network of volunteers have helped us to create a safety net of support for anyone without family or friends to lean on. Since January last year, we’ve shared almost 80 stories of people making a difference in their communities, inspiring others to get involved and showing people that it’s okay to ask for help. We’ll continue to celebrate that kindness through our Team North Yorkshire campaign throughout the year. Look out for stories online, in the press, on the radio and social media.

People without local support networks who need help with shopping and other essentials, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact our customer service centre on 01609 780780 seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm. People can also find details of other local voluntary and community groups offering support.

We’re urging people to keep checking on neighbours and those in their communities who might need help and support. Find advice on how to help safely and information about volunteering with a local organisation in your community.

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

Growing our local economy

Have your say on £31m plans to improve travel in Skipton, Selby and Harrogate

Brand new entrances to railway stations, new public spaces linking the station to the town centre and better access to education and employment sites are all included in detailed proposals to transform the area around the railway station in three North Yorkshire towns.

North Yorkshire County Council, Harrogate Borough Council, Craven District Council, Selby District Council and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) have succeeded in a bid to secure a total of £31m for three separate projects in Harrogate, Selby and Skipton town centres from the Department for Transport’s Transforming Cities Fund (TCF).

In each town, a major package of investment will improve opportunities for sustainable travel and link transport hubs with centres of education and employment – all essential to getting back on track after the Covid-19 pandemic. This is a once in a generation chance to totally redesign parts of the town centres, with investment that will help to fire up the engine on the journey to recovery.

These transformational projects are scheduled to be completed by 2023.

We want to know what you think about the early stage proposals and we’d like as many people, businesses and organisations as possible to take part.

Read more here.

Read the proposals, attend an event, and complete the online survey about Skipton, Selby or Harrogate.

LEP News: COVID Business Support

In his road map announcement on Monday, the Prime Minister indicated that an update on business support packages would be included in the Chancellor’s Budget announcement on Wednesday, 3 March.

As things stand, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough) is available until 30 April 2021 and the Coronavirus Loan Schemes are available until 31 March 2021.
Use this link to find financial support schemes businesses may be eligible for.

National Love Local Day – business nominations

Businesses in York and North Yorkshire have been nominated as most loved as part of national Love Local Day. The event recognises the UK’s most loved local businesses as well as those most loved within their local and wider areas. The event has been championed by ShopAppy.com – a digital platform and shop local campaign. Read the nominations.

The York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub is offering eligible businesses 12 months fully funded membership to ShopAppy.com – find out more here.

Upcoming webinars:

Celebrating the work of entrepreneurial female leaders: The future of our city, our region: 8 March, 1pm

In partnership with the University of York and delivered by five speakers, this free webinar will showcase the stories and experience of five inspirational women, their entrepreneurial journey and their reflections on how times of economic and social change could make entrepreneurship more accessible for the next generation of women.

In this webinar, delegates will learn:

  • How to make entrepreneurship more accessible for the next generation
  • How accessible entrepreneurship could provide new opportunities for all

The future of our city, our region booking.

Leadership Series: Building resilience and supporting team wellbeing: 9 March, noon

Ideal for business leaders and HR professionals, this online session with Michelle Mook will provide tools and techniques to build resilience and increase positivity within teams.

In this workshop, attendees will learn:

  • Importance of your own resilience and wellbeing
  • Ways to boost both your and your team’s resilience
  • Ideas for looking after your own and your team’s wellbeing

Building resilience and supporting team wellbeing booking link.

Start-Up Business Basics Series: How much? - The Art and Science of Pricing Your Product

10 March, noon

In partnership with business coach, Gareth Allen, this webinar will provide guidance on cost-based pricing, calculating costs before deciding an appropriate margin and how to price during a recession.

This one-hour webinar will help delegates to answer the following questions:

  • What is your pricing policy?
  • What is your margin?
  • Do you have different tiers of product / service?
  • Where are you positioned in your market?

The Art and Science of Pricing Your Product booking link.

Social Media Series – Planning and creating great content: 11 March, noon

In this webinar, digital marketing experts Intandem Communications will focus on how you can create and plan great social media content for your business. This webinar is ideal for those who are looking to further their social media skills.

Delegates will learn:

  • the type of content for each platform including style and tone of voice
  • how to use hashtags, emojis, video, photography etc.
  • the kinds of things you could talk about and sources of inspiration
  • creating a content calendar
  • how to positively deal with negative feedback

Planning and creating great content booking link.

February 17 update

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

We have made it to half-term, the worst of the weather has passed at least for now, and we have a ray of light on the covid front, so I want to thank every resident, family and business in North Yorkshire for their sterling efforts, patience and resolve.

Today we have the welcome news that the rate of infection in the county as a whole is the lowest it has been since October last year, and whilst we are not out of the woods, I want to salute that achievement in what is without doubt a difficult time.

This journey we are making together as part of Team North Yorkshire is testing our bodies and minds, but the spirit our county is famous for is undaunted and now there is light ahead. The vaccination programme here in North Yorkshire is further cause for hope. Thanks to the huge effort by our NHS colleagues and many wonderful volunteers, it is progressing at pace. The initial four priority groups have been vaccinated and the programme is now moving into its next phase. Groups five and six are people over 65 or anyone considered to have a medical vulnerability which leaves them more at risk of developing the serious symptoms. If you are in these two groups, you can expect to be contacted by your GP surgery when it is your turn. I would encourage you to take this opportunity unless there is a reason you cannot. The success of this initiative is absolutely critical as part of our road map out of lockdown so that we can be together again and see our businesses and communities thrive once more.

Please forgive me for repeating a message from last week, but it is so important. If you were in the first four groups and you initially decided not to have the vaccination BUT you have changed your mind – it’s NOT too late. Please use the national system to book yourself in.

Equally, if you don’t have access to the internet you can call 119 and book in over the phone.

The NHS in North Yorkshire is clear they do not want anyone left behind.

So, there is more to do, the rates need to come down further but your efforts are not going unnoticed and those few people still breaking the rules are paying the price – at least financially. Two people on the coast were hit in the pocket twice in one night last weekend. Once for a gathering in a town centre and again a few hours later when they were caught at a house party. While we applaud the efforts of the vast majority – it’s also right we repeat the words of our police colleagues today who are out there trying hard to protect us all. Blatant breaches of the health protection regulations will not be tolerated. If you come to North Yorkshire without a permitted reason, or break the rules here, expect to encounter a police officer and expect enforcement. 

Like you, we await the Prime Minister’s announcement on Monday regarding how we will move as a nation, out of the lockdown. We are confident our schools will be ready to reopen and we will support them to do so at the appropriate time. I would like to pay tribute now to our head teachers, teaching staff, support staff, parents, pupils and governors for everything they have done so far during this pandemic to support learning and stay connected. As part of that support can I also say a big thank you to everyone who has donated us their unwanted laptops and tablets. Our tech teams are busy wiping them and reconditioning them to get them out to families most in need. If you have any items like this you don’t need and would like to help someone else, please donate them to us – there is a wealth of information on how here.

Before I go, I just wanted to mention the upcoming Government consultation on how local government should be delivered in the future for York and North Yorkshire, which we believe will start next week. Ending the county and district, or two-tier system which exists currently, is a prerequisite to pave the way for a devolution deal and a mayoral-led combined authority. Never has there been a more important time to ensure that our county remains united and strong to drive economic recovery and opportunity for everyone. The alternative proposal seeks to split the county into a West North Yorkshire and East North Yorkshire and York arrangement. The City of York is already a single or unitary council and is clear it does not want to be part of that proposal. We believe North Yorkshire is stronger together and we have worked very closely with York to bring forward proposals we believe benefit all communities. Here are six things you need to know about our proposal

A single new North Yorkshire Council will:

Unite North Yorkshire for better and integrated services.

Be a strong voice in the north, speaking out nationally for rural and coastal communities.

Protect and build on the global North Yorkshire brand.

Deliver maximum savings and maximum benefits, operating excellent services at scale for businesses and people across the county.

Keep the county and its services together at a critical time rather than breaking them in two, causing seismic disruption.

Drive a revolution in localism by empowering communities.

There is much more information here on our proposal and our supporters.

Until next week, please stay safe.

Keeping in touch

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

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

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

At 14 February 2021, there have been 27,230 positive tests since 3 March 2020, with 1,275 new cases reported in the past two weeks. The weekly rolling average of new cases is 103 cases per day, allowing for incomplete data in the most recent days. The seven-day rate for North Yorkshire is 98.5 per 100,000 people, which remains below the England seven-day rate. 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.

Coronavirus update

Right now, COVID-19 vaccines are being rolled out at pace across the UK. People from priority groups are being vaccinated every day and the aim to vaccinate 15 million of the most vulnerable people by mid-February has now been met. For more information about how the priority list has been organised and the role of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), please visit this link.

What role does a vaccine play in ending the pandemic?

Effective vaccines are a vital part of ending the COVID-19 pandemic. Through vaccination, we can stop those most at risk from getting the virus, meaning a reduction in hospitalisations and fewer deaths. However, a vaccine is not a ‘silver bullet’ and won’t stop the pandemic immediately.

It will take time and a continued combination of all the things we know help reduce spread, such as social distancing and washing hands, a vaccine and a deeper understanding of the virus that only comes with time. Better treatments will help reduce deaths in hospitals.

How does a vaccine work?

Vaccines contain either a weakened or dead version of the virus, or a part of the virus, which cannot harm the recipient.

When we receive a vaccine, it stimulates our immune system to produce antibodies like it would if we were infected with the actual virus. These antibodies remain in our body so if we are exposed to the virus in future, we can quickly fight off the disease before we become ill. For more information, please refer to this video.

What about COVID-19 variants?

We are continuing efforts to understand the effect of the variants on vaccine efficacy and there is currently no evidence to suggest that vaccines will be ineffective.

We know that the vaccines currently in use are likely to have at least 50% protection against the variant first identified in South Africa, which is very encouraging. This is equivalent to flu vaccination.

We will learn more about this as the population is studied in South Africa throughout their vaccination programme.

There are a number of studies taking place at the moment, including an AstraZeneca trial taking place in South Africa, and we will continue to monitor the situation. 

Why are we now leaving up to 12 weeks between doses of the vaccine?

Both the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine provide high levels of efficacy after the first dose. By giving as many people as possible the first dose of the vaccine, we are giving a greater number of people significant protection from the virus at a greater pace. This protects those who are most vulnerable and likely to suffer the worst effects of COVID-19. Simply put, every time we vaccinate someone for a second time, we are not vaccinating someone for the first time.

Why is it important to keep following the rules once you have been vaccinated?

The information we have so far on the vaccines in use are that they are highly effective. However, they are not 100% effective, so there is still a chance you can get infected with COVID-19, but it’s highly likely to be much less severe.

We don’t yet know if the vaccines stop you from passing the virus onto other, so while they will offer significant protection to the individual, you could still pass on COVID-19 to someone who has not been vaccinated. It is therefore important that even if you are vaccinated, you continue to follow the national guidelines to keep others safe and that if you are asked to or someone in your household has symptoms or tests positive, you still self-isolate.

Working together towards recovery

Testing

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

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

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

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

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

  • Every day - Harrogate - Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Every day - Scarborough - William Street Car Park, Scarborough. YO12 7PL
  • Every day - Northallerton – The Forum, Bullamore Road, Northallerton, DL6 1LP
  • Every day - Selby – Portholme Crescent Car Park, Selby, YO8 4YR
  • Every day - Skipton - Cavendish Street Car Park, Skipton, BD23 1RP
  • Thursday 18 February - Whitby - Whitby Marina Car Park, Langbourne Road, Whitby, YO21 1YW
  • Thursday 18 February - Malton - Wentworth Street Car Park, Smithson Ct, Malton,YO17 7BQ
  • Thursday 18 February - Leyburn - Harmby Road, Car Park, Leyburn, DL8 5EE
  • Friday 19 February - Sherburn in Elmet - Pasture Way Carpark, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6LY
  • Friday 19 February - Stokesley - Stokesley Sports Club, Broughton Road, Stokesley, Middlesbrough, TS9 5JG
  • Friday 19 February - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Saturday 20 February - Selby - South Entrance, DRAX Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Saturday 20 February - Settle - Greenfoot Car Park, Settle, BD24 9RW
  • Saturday 20 February - Filey - Filey Country park, Church Cliff Drive, Filey, YO14 9ET
  • Saturday 20 February - Thornton Le Dale - North York Moors National Park Authority car park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Thornton Le Dale, Pickering, YO18 7RR
  • Sunday 21 February - Scarborough - Scarborough Park and Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough, YO12 4LW
  • Sunday 21 February - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Sunday 21 February - Thirsk - Millgate Car Park, Marage Road, Thirsk,YO7 1PE

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

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

Supporting our schools and childcare

This week is half term for schools. We ended last week with little snow disruption so the majority of schools remained open to vulnerable children and children of critical workers. We have seen 19% attendance, which translates to around 6% in our secondary schools and around 26% in primary schools.

We have had a really positive start with the Reboot North Yorkshire scheme, which aims to donate unwanted laptops, tablets and smartphones for children who are remote learning and socially isolated adults who do not have regular IT access. I would encourage anybody with spare hardware to get in touch as we can make use of it. Please visit the website.

We are awaiting next week’s announcement from the Prime Minister. Previously, the PM stated that schools will commence reopening from March 8, but the circumstances and what happens from there is speculation. However, I am confident our schools will do whatever is required of them as we all want to welcome children back into classrooms to enjoy learning with their friends once more.

Teamwork to support our residents

Many of the community support organisations helping people during the pandemic close over weekends and bank holidays to give their regular volunteers a rest, but any urgent requests that come in during these times are picked up by our Team North Yorkshire volunteers. More than 100 people who would normally be volunteering with other council services such as waste prevention and countryside access signed up to be available and are providing a fantastic and much-valued resource as part of our response to Covid-19.

Tony Dyer has been volunteering for a variety of services for more than 30 years, and when the pandemic hit felt he could put his skills to good use to support people in need.

Tony said: “It makes you feel good yourself. A small thing, such as getting shopping, is a major thing for someone else. One day, hopefully, someone will do it for me, but in the meantime it makes you feel better that you contributed to society. This situation is nobody’s fault and no-one wanted it, but we have got to deal with it and we have got to help each other. If you look back and think yeah I did a good job it makes you feel better.”

Heather Perkins is another member of Team North Yorkshire. Heather helped those in need in her village by picking up prescriptions, food shopping and keeping her neighbours spirits up. During Christmas, Heather and other volunteers set up window decorations across the village to spread positivity. Heather said: “I live in quite a rural area, but people are very isolated. If you feel you’re doing something, you feel like you’re making a difference.”

Heather added: “I think volunteering is a good thing. This country would grind to a halt without volunteers. Volunteering is the backbone of this country and Covid has brought it to the frontline for most people. I think everyone should do some volunteering, because it helps your own spirits as well as others.”

North Yorkshire residents without local support networks who need help with shopping and other essentials, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780 seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm. People can also complete an online form to let us know what help they need

To find local businesses offering food deliveries and takeaways in your area, go to the Buy Local directory. People can also find details of other local voluntary and community groups offering support.

We’re urging people to keep checking on neighbours and those in their communities who might need help and support. Find advice on how to help safely and information about volunteering with a local organisation in your community.

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

Growing our local economy

LEP News: Digital investment will help rural areas reach their potential

A £3m investment has been approved to provide digital technology to support recovery and growth for communities and businesses across North Yorkshire.

North Yorkshire County Council will implement three projects to enhance connectivity, particularly in rural areas, following the award of funding from the York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership as part of its allocation from the Government’s Getting Building Fund.

Read more about digital investment.

Mental Health Support for Businesses

As a business owner in 2021 you’re busy caring about your own family, your colleagues and your supply chain. The best way to take care of them is to take care of yourself.

Feel Real York is here to show you that it’s okay not to be superhuman and to talk honestly and openly about your mental health and difficult emotions.

Talk to your peer networks, colleagues, or organisations like FSB or Chamber of Commerce.

Our upcoming webinars

Leadership Series: Is emotional intelligence important in leadership?: 24 February, 12 noon Join employee engagement expert Michelle Mook for a free one-hour webinar in which she will explain why emotional intelligence is key to creating high-performing teams and building relationships with individuals.

Delegates will learn

  • A model of emotional intelligence
  • Tools and techniques to use to develop emotional intelligence, including empathy and interpersonal relationships
  • Ideas to apply personal strategies for development

Leadership series Booking link.

Visitor Economy Series: How to create and convert traffic for your website: 25 February, 11am

In this interactive workshop, Susan Briggs, Director of The Tourism Network, will help tourism businesses to understand how to create and convert website traffic into real customers that decide to visit or book.

Delegates will learn:

  • The three main ways anyone will find your website
  • Visitors – what’s in their minds and how can you influence them
  • How to improve the words on your website so search engines find you and visitors love you
  • The two most important steps to converting lookers into bookers

How to create and convert traffic for your website booking link.

Creative lockdown ideas

The virtual zoo tours are back at Chester Zoo. They have been going live on their Facebook & YouTube pages for a whole day of amazing animal antics. Packed full of fantastic facts, it’s the perfect way to learn, all from the comfort of your own home.

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

Today we start with another sombre milestone. The latest figures, published yesterday, which take us to the first anniversary of the pandemic in this country, showed that 1,006 people have sadly died from Covid in North Yorkshire in the past year. 539 people have sadly died in hospital. 387 have died in care homes.

Behind the numbers are life stories and memories and love. I hope you will join me in remembering those 1,006 people. We must not let this sacrifice and loss be in vain – we have 1,006 very good reasons to keep following the rules and to do everything we can to drive the infection rates down.

Those infection rates are reducing but very slowly and we are still seeing more than 100 new cases a day across the county – which is too high. Unfortunately, we continue to see new cases among the most frail of the county’s residents too, with 77 care settings with one or more positive case and four with large outbreaks.

It’s really hard – this lockdown does feel like a real slog. We do not have the benefit of those long warm days of last spring and we may well be feeling weary from the restrictions we must live our lives under. I am sure you will also share my frustration at the news that last weekend was the busiest for our police colleagues of any since the start of this national lockdown in our force area of York and North Yorkshire!  Just shy of 170 fines were issued across the area with nearly 100 of those to residents – unbelievably of those 71 were for indoor gatherings – the very conditions in which we know the virus thrives. Included in these fines were two pubs, which opened and served alcohol to groups playing pool or watching the rugby. There was also a group of 11 visitors who travelled from Manchester to visit Whitby Abbey. I cannot stress enough the risks of taking such actions. One in three people carry Covid-19 with no symptoms. The fact that you feel fine doesn’t mean you can’t spread it. As half-term approaches I know many families will be struggling with what to do to entertain children not at school or involved in remote learning. It may be tempting to mix with friends or head to the coast or dales. Please don’t – the risk is not worth taking. Think of the 1,006 people who have paid the ultimate sacrifice and please keep going, keep sticking to the rules, keep protecting your family and your community.

There is real hope via the vaccination programme and from next week, our NHS colleagues here will start to implement the next stage of their programme. Having nearly completed the first dose vaccines for the first four groups from over-80s to those over 70 and/or designated as extremely clinically vulnerable – the wider vaccination roll-out will commence. By way of a reminder, if you are in one of those groups and haven’t been offered a vaccine or you declined and have changed your mind, then you are invited to book a slot by calling 119 or online.

A huge thank you must go to all the NHS staff and the many volunteers who are making sure this programme is hitting its targets and saving lives. More than 175,000 first doses have been administered across North Yorkshire and every one helps us head towards recovery and out of lockdown.

When we can start to resume a more normal life again I am sure that job opportunities will be particularly high on our list of priorities. Yesterday, Government launched a recruitment drive to health and social care roles. We welcome that and indeed, we have our own recruitment programme offering a wide range of employment opportunities called Make Care Matter. We have all seen and read many wonderful stories of how people across health and social care sectors have been saving lives, changing lives and protecting our most frail residents. If you feel inspired, why not have a look here and see if there is an opportunity for you to join the 17,000 people working in the sector in the county as part of Team North Yorkshire, making a difference where you live.

Speaking of inspiring people, I was heartened to hear of some of the excellent work being done by our military children’s champions this week. These unique roles provide extra care and support to the children of our many armed service families in the county. They are talking to children to understand the impact of the pandemic on them and the replies they received are heart-warming and poignant. Find out more about their work.

I am immensely proud of everyone in our children’s services, which have been independently rated as outstanding, and of our health and adult services – nationally acclaimed for their innovation in helping people live better and more independent lives. Never have these services and these teams been more tested than over the last year and yet they rise time and again to the challenge.

Our highways teams continue to battle the winter weather and to support the NHS to keep the vaccination centres open and the covid testing sites accessible.

In the weeks ahead, we will see the Government’s consultation on how public services should be delivered in North Yorkshire and York – to ensure they are the strongest they can be for the future. It’s a significant change that will pave the way for the devolution of powers and money from Whitehall to our own region. I hope you share my passion for keeping North Yorkshire together as a single county and protecting the outstanding services the county delivers to you and with you, whatever the world throws at us. The alternative proposal would split the county in half, break up those strong services and see the greatest disruption at a critical time. We have pledged to drive a revolution in empowering your communities to lead on what matters most to you and which would deliver you a greater say in decision making to drive post pandemic recovery.

There cannot have been a more important time to have a single voice for North Yorkshire and to protect what we know and love. If you would like to find out more, please read about our proposal.

Until next week, please take care and please keep going for North Yorkshire – there is light to head towards.

Keeping in touch

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

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

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

At 7 February, there have been 26,644 positive tests since 3 March, with 1,678 new cases reported in the past two weeks. The weekly rolling average of new cases is 128 cases per day, allowing for incomplete data in the most recent days. The 7-day rate for North Yorkshire is 126.7 per 100,000 people, which remains below the England 7-day rate. 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.

Coronavirus Update

We are fast approaching February half-term, and after a very tough winter we are all looking forward to nicer weather and brighter days, but right now we are in a very important moment of the pandemic.

We are seeing the vaccine roll-out happen at great pace and more than 12 million people have now received their COVID-19 jab. It is also very encouraging to see infection rates start to fall. This is mainly driven by the current lockdown and social distancing. However, the drop in positive cases will take longer to filter through to the number of deaths and hospitals are still under huge pressure.

Staying local

We are still in a national lockdown and the rule to stay at home remains in place, including over the February half-term break. There is no doubt that it is tough, but as lots of people may have time off and children have a break from school work, it’s really important that we all stay local, do not travel around the country and don’t mix households. Travelling to second homes or holiday homes is still not permitted.

Staying home and taking our daily exercise locally remain two of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of the virus and help protect the NHS. Continuing to respect ‘Hands, Face, Space’ is also very important - washing hands frequently and as soon as you come in from the outside, wearing a face covering in all applicable settings and staying two metres away from people outside of your household wherever possible. Do not mix if unwell.

Staying vigilant

We are living through a life-altering event and we are all dealing with new and in many cases difficult ways of working, living and educating our children plus really missing our family and friends. While there is certainly news to be positive about, it doesn’t make the reality of the pandemic any easier and it may become more tempting as we come out of the dark, cold winter months to get out and about and venture further from home.

The more we resist this and stick to those stay at home rules the more we will see further improvements. It is important to look after ourselves and those around us in these very difficult times and by remaining vigilant we will protect people from catching the virus, we will drive down infection rates, reduce some of the pressure on our NHS and move closer to a more normal way of life.

Working together towards recovery

Testing

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Every day - Harrogate - Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Every day - Scarborough - William Street Car Park, Scarborough. YO12 7PL
  • Every day - Northallerton – The Forum, Bullamore Road, Northallerton, DL6 1LP
  • Every day - Selby – Portholme Crescent Car Park, Selby, YO8 4YR
  • Every day - Skipton - Cavendish Street Car Park, Skipton, BD23 1RP
  • Thursday 11 February - Whitby - Whitby Marina Car Park, Langbourne Road, Whitby, YO21 1YW
  • Thursday 11 February - Malton - Wentworth Street Car Park, Smithson Ct, Malton, YO17 7BQ
  • Thursday 11 February - Leyburn - Harmby Road Parking, Harmby Road, Leyburn, DL8 5EE
  • Friday 12 February - Sherburn in Elmet -  Pasture Way Carpark, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6LY
  • Friday 12 February - Stokesley - Stokesley Sports Club, Broughton Road, Stokesley, Middlesbrough, TS9 5JG
  • Friday 12 February - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Saturday 13 February - Selby - South Entrance, DRAX Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Saturday 13 February - Settle - Greenfoot Car Park, Settle, BD24 9RW
  • Saturday 13 February - Filey - Filey Country Park, Church Cliff Drive, Filey, YO14 9ET
  • Saturday 13 February - Thornton Le Dale - National Trust Car Park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Thornton Le Dale, Pickering, YO18 7RR
  • Sunday 14 February -  Scarborough - Scarborough Park and Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough, YO12 4LW
  • Sunday 14 February -  Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Sunday 14 February -  Thirsk - Millgate Car Park, Marage Road, Thirsk, YO7 1PE

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

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

Supporting our schools and childcare

Families on low incomes, or struggling financially due to the pandemic in North Yorkshire are set to receive continued support this half-term in the form of supermarket vouchers.

The Covid Winter Grant Scheme provides food voucher payments to ensure parents and carers hit hard by the pandemic can continue to provide children with essentials by helping meet the cost of food during the school holidays. Care leavers are also being provided with the vouchers.

This time vouchers, worth £15 per child, per week, will be reaching 17,000 children and young people in North Yorkshire. We really appreciate the support of schools, academies, nurseries and colleges in helping us distribute the vouchers.

The scheme was rolled out successfully over the Christmas holidays, when vouchers were distributed to 17,000 young people in North Yorkshire.

The scheme ensures children eligible for free school meals continue to have access to food during the school holidays and also gives schools discretion to provide help to other families in need, in recognition of the fact that some are newly struggling as a result of the pandemic on businesses and jobs.

Alison Woodward, head of Riverside School in Tadcaster, said: “The voucher scheme we have opted to use within our Trust was particularly useful as it has enabled our families to balance out their budgets and make independent choices – this is really important as some families feel that they have little control over the current situation.

“We were also extremely pleased to receive some discretionary amounts for families that we work with and we know these are our more vulnerable households at this time.

“Many of these families have not had regular incomes for months, haven’t been able to work or have seen their own businesses simply fold in the lockdown periods.

“This has had a devastating impact on both the parent and children’s mental health and our pastoral teams are very busy working together with our families to support them and make sure that they have enough resources to cope, whether that be financial or emotional.

“The capacity to be able to shop and have regular food for the family has been very important and will continue to be during subsequent holiday periods while safety restrictions are in place.”

Following the Prime Minister’s comments that he hoped schools could reopen from Monday, March 8, we are awaiting further confirmation from the Government on the anticipated reopening date. It is expected there will be two weeks’ notice prior to schools opening and we will work with education settings to support them in a smooth and safe return to the classroom.

Teamwork to support our residents

North Yorkshire residents who continue to need help can be reassured that support put in place last March will carry on even after the current national lockdown is lifted. Community support organisations and the voluntary sector partners they are working alongside continue to provide a lifeline during these challenging times.

Thanks to a DEFRA grant, the County Council has been able to allocate funding to a number of community groups so they can help some of the most vulnerable people in the community access food and hot meals.

An initiative launched in Ryedale is helping families cook together and save money during lockdown. Helping Hampers – a project launched by Scarborough and Ryedale Carers Resource and delivered in partnership with North Yorkshire County Council and Community Smart CIC – will see cookery boxes delivered to families containing everything needed to cook nutritious home cooked meals, including all the ingredients required, recipe cards and instructions.

Claire Robinson, Business Development Manager and project lead from Scarborough and Ryedale Carers Resource, part of the community support organisation network, said: “Scarborough and Ryedale Carers Resource is thrilled to launch Helping Hampers. The idea behind the initiative is to encourage the families receiving the boxes to get together and cook with the kids, making something nutritious and delicious.”

Simone Wilkinson, NYCC Practice and Development Officer, Early Help, added: “This is a fantastic partnership project that will make a big difference to families who are finding it hard at the moment.”

The project will source fresh ingredients from local independent businesses, encouraging people to buy local, supplemented by ingredients from the Community Smart food warehouse. Volunteers will deliver the hampers.

Recipes included have been devised and tested by Ryedale Community Kitchen chef Rob Hillary, who has provided easy-to-follow instructions for each meal, along with hints and tips on adapting the recipes to provide more variety and cut costs on ingredients for families on a tight budget.

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

To find local businesses offering food deliveries and takeaways in your area, go to the Buy Local directory. People can also find details of other local voluntary and community groups offering support.

We’re urging people to keep checking on neighbours and those in their communities who might need help and support. Find advice on how to help safely and information about volunteering with a local organisation in your community.

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

Growing our local economy

LEP News: York & North Yorkshire LEP supports businesses during National Apprenticeship Week 2021

Working in partnership with the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) and businesses Aviva and Ellis Patents, the York & North Yorkshire LEP hosted an online event to showcase how apprenticeships can help businesses grow and become resilient.

The LEP has also updated its employers’ apprenticeship toolkit.

Details of some partner events can be accessed here.

York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub continues to support businesses through the lockdown

The Growth Hub’s ShopAppy.com initiative continues to support consumer-led businesses to remain trading through the current shutdown. Alongside subsidising membership to the platform, it is raising awareness of the importance of buying local through additional advertising, as well as investing in additional training for business to enhance their digital skills in the areas of social media and online marketing.

To date, the webinar programme has also delivered 50 webinars to more than 1,000 attendees on a range of current business-related topics, including leadership, marketing, finance, Brexit, wellbeing, starting up and leadership. The current programme continues until the end of March.

Visitor Economy Series: Understanding Your Market – Unlocking the potential of your business: 11 February, 12 noon

John Gallery, managing director of Great Potential Marketing, is hosting an online event to help businesses identify their target markets and share ideas on how to reach them.

Understanding Your Market booking link.

Free Business Support Workshops from our network

Selby District Council is offering a range of free workshops and webinars to support retail, tourism and hospitality businesses in Selby district.

See the full programme.

In partnership with Biskit Ltd, Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is delivering free 90-minute online workshops looking at how you can maximise potential and achieve better outcomes for your business. You can find out more about the sessions available and book your place here.

Flexible repayment options announced for Bounce Back Loan borrowers

The Chancellor has announced repayment flexibilities for Bounce Back Loan borrowers, with the ability to tailor payments according to individual circumstances.

For more information about Flexible repayment options announced for Bounce Back Loans

BEIS Webinars

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has published a series of short, on-demand videos covering 18 topics, including importing and exporting, rules of origin, audit and accounting. Register now to access the BEIS Webinars.

HMRC Webinars

HMRC are hosting live webinars this week:

Subsidised low-carbon retrofit training for unemployed builders and contractors

The Centre for Sustainable Energy’s low-carbon home retrofit project, Futureproof, has 50 heavily subsidised places on its online training course on whole house retrofit for unemployed builders and contractors.

You can apply and pay for the subsidised low-carbon retrofit training on The Green Register’s website.

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

Today I would like to start by remembering the 108,000 people who have lost their lives in this country, the millions around the world who have done likewise and the 963 people who have sadly died in North Yorkshire due to COVID-19. Once again, over the last week alone the county has lost another 46 people to this really horrible virus.

I am extremely sorry to have to confirm that we have lost our first county council officer colleague this week and our thoughts and condolences go to their family and friends at this time.

On behalf of North Yorkshire County Council, I would like also to remember Captain Sir Tom Moore, a Yorkshire legend, who captured the hearts of the nation. He did so much to raise not just many millions of pounds for the NHS and NHS charities but also to motivate others to do likewise and to inspire people to find a way through these toughest of times.

This is so very important – now more than ever – as we have also now seen the first confirmed cases of the South African variant of COVID-19 here in North Yorkshire.  

The news was announced this morning by our Director of Public Health, Louise Wallace, who said:

“Today I can confirm that North Yorkshire has its first confirmed cases of the South African variant of COVID-19. This involves two cases linked to international travel. These cases are NOT linked to community transmission, as is the position in the high profile news coverage we will all be aware of nationally.

“These two cases are in the Scarborough borough area.

“The people involved have done all of the right things since returning home from abroad and self-isolated in line with the guidance. As such, there is NOT considered to be any community risk associated with them and we will NOT therefore be sharing any additional information about them. We would ask you to support Public Health England’s request to protect the identity of the people involved.

“At this time, we are not aware of any community cases of the South African Variant of COVID-19 in North Yorkshire. It is however, the case that there are a number of variants of the virus in circulation at any time – by their nature viruses evolve and so it is absolutely vital that everyone continues to stick to the national lockdown rules. We must all stay at home, making essential journeys only and maintaining social distancing at all times, wearing face coverings where advised.”

So please keep going North Yorkshire. Keep playing your part. It is so tough for everyone but we are right here with you every step of the way. You will hopefully have received a letter signed by myself and Louise Wallace over the last two weeks about COVID-19. The purpose of this is to make sure that no one here is alone in this unprecedented crisis. Indeed this has helped identify a number of people who needed help and now have that.

This feels an appropriate moment to pause and thank the thousands of you who are still regularly helping friends and neighbours and who have been for the best part of a year. We are incredibly grateful to every single one of you in Team North Yorkshire still delivering food, picking up prescriptions, walking dogs, staying in touch with people who may feel lonely and keeping the county going. Keep going North Yorkshire – it is a slog there is no doubt – but we will get through this.

The vaccination programme is advancing well and gives us real hope. Almost all, if not all, people over 80 and care home residents have already had, or been offered, a first dose. Sadly, the number of care homes and settings with cases or outbreaks is still too high with 77 of the total of 235 having single cases or outbreaks.   Together with the backdrop of new variants being highlighted nationally, it all points back to the need for us all to keep sticking to the lockdown restrictions rigorously.

To that end North Yorkshire Police colleagues will be supporting the vast majority of you who, despite the sacrifices you must make, are doing the right thing. Where people are not doing so, the police were clear today they will enforce the regulations. In fact they are increasing their visibility in areas of the county where people are still leaving home without a good reason and even hosting parties indoors in some cases. Once again, last weekend the force issued 143 fixed penalty notices, that’s up significantly on the previous weekend. As many as 86 of those were issued to residents and 57 were issued to visitors. So, rest assured those who put others at risk will feel the force of the law. 

I wanted also to ask you all for your help to support a new campaign we have launched to help reuse unwanted laptops and get them to families most in need to help them with studies. Under the Reboot North Yorkshire programme we will collect unwanted tech and wipe it clean and revamp it for new use. There is a shortage of laptops nationally so reusing all and any with life left in them will be a big help. You can find out more about it here.

Until next week, please continue to look after yourselves and your neighbours and stay safe.

Keeping in touch

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

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

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

At 31st January, there have been 25,889 positive tests since 3rd March, with 2,161 new cases reported in the past two weeks. The weekly rolling average of new cases is 150 cases per day, allowing for incomplete data in the most recent days. The 7-day rate for North Yorkshire is 163.9 per 100,000 people, which remains below the England 7-day rate. Work continues to ensure effective monitoring of all areas, with support for incidents being provided across a range of settings, which are reviewed daily.

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

Mental Wellbeing during the Covid-19 pandemic

Children and young people across the UK have had their lives turned upside down by the pandemic, mental wellbeing has suffered and many are struggling to cope. Extra support for those who need it has never been more important.

Child Mental Health Week is taking place on 1-7 February 2021, with a theme of ‘Express Yourself’.

Expressing yourself is about finding ways to share feelings, thoughts, or ideas, through creativity, such as art, music, writing and poetry, dance and drama, photography and film, and doing activities that make you feel good.

There is a wealth of free resources available for parents, carers, schools and youth groups, which will help children and young people to explore what it means to Express Yourself. All of the ideas can be adapted for use in school, for home-schooling, online lessons or independent learning. 

Further support is also available at The Go-To, the home of wellbeing and mental health for young people in North Yorkshire. Find more information.

There has never been a more critical time to talk about mental health for everyone, as the challenges brought by Covid-19 continue to affect us all. Research shows that since the start of the pandemic there has been an increase in a range of mental health conditions for adults, from low wellbeing, sleep problems and anxiety to depression. But there are things that people can do to support their mental health and wellbeing at this time. 

The Public Health England campaign Better Health - Every Mind Matters is there to support the nation’s mental wellbeing with the encouragement that “When things aren’t so good out there, make inside feel better”. The campaign is aimed at adults, but weighted towards those most at risk of mental health problems, with the key message of encouraging people to create a free NHS-approved ‘Mind Plan’. Based on your answers to 5 quick questions, the plan provides simple ideas on how to start making positive changes and improve your mental wellbeing. Find out more about the campaign and how to create a plan by visiting https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters.

Vaccination advice

The roll out of the Covid-19 vaccine continues at pace, with the aim of offering a first vaccine to everyone in the most vulnerable groups by the middle of February. The programme will aim to expand so all adults can be vaccinated by the autumn.

Remember - even if you've had the COVID-19 vaccine, you must continue to:

  • Follow national restrictions.
  • Follow social distancing guidance.
  • Wear a face covering in places where it's hard to stay away from other people.

Find help and support available during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Working together towards recovery

Testing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Supporting our schools and childcare

Families on low incomes, or struggling financially due to the pandemic in North Yorkshire will receive continued support over the half-term through the Covid Winter Grant Scheme.

The county council, schools, nurseries and colleges have joined forces to distribute food vouchers.

The Covid Winter Grant Scheme provides food voucher payments to ensure parents and carers hit hard by the pandemic can continue to provide the essentials, by helping meet the cost of food during the school holidays.

The scheme was rolled out successfully over Christmas, when approximately 17,000 vouchers were distributed to parents in North Yorkshire within four weeks of the national initiative being announced.

The supermarket vouchers were distributed with the help of schools, academies, early years settings and post-16 colleges. The County Council also provided vouchers to care leavers.

Schools were given funding not just to those in receipt of Free School Meals, but other families who they had identified as being in need, in recognition of the fact that some families are finding themselves newly struggling as a result of the pandemic.

The County Council is currently allocating further grant funding to schools, academies, care leavers, nurseries and other education settings before the start of the February half-term holiday.

Any families not eligible for Free School Meals who are struggling financially can apply to the North Yorkshire Local Assistance Fund, which makes emergency awards for food or utility vouchers. The County Council has increased its award entitlement for emergency provision for a temporary period to help those hit hardest by the pandemic.

Find out more information on the NYLAF.

Teamwork to support our residents

Less than a year after it formed in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Skipton Step into Action (SSIA) has been awarded charitable status thanks to the tireless work of volunteers. Since March the team at SSIA have been helping people with shopping, collecting prescriptions and other everyday tasks, working alongside the community support organisation for the area. Most recently, volunteers from the SSIS team have stepped in at Skipton General Hospital vaccination clinics.

Local County Councillor Andy Solloway is a trustee and volunteer coordinator for SSIA. He said: “We are over the moon to become a registered charity which opens up new funding opportunities. Our passion to provide the best possible support to local people drives a commitment to continually evolve and to utilise the skills, knowledge, connections and enthusiasm of the volunteers for the benefit of the community.”

With help from the County Council’s stronger communities team SSIA have been able to part fund a project manager and invest in equipment and technology to improve communications with volunteers.

Project Manager Charlotte McKeown said: “Stronger Communities have offered invaluable support from the outset and have played an integral role in our opportunity to ultimately register as a charity. I can’t thank them enough.” 

SSIA has assisted in school meal deliveries and its Christmas elves scheme was well supported by businesses and local people who donated presents to vulnerable families. They now offer a befriending service which can include one-to-one help with shopping, technology, having a cup of tea and a chat, accompanied walks or just a phone call.

Befriending volunteer Sarah said: “Helping people who are lonely and isolated is very rewarding. It’s great to know you are making a difference to people’s wellbeing throughout these difficult times.”

Andy Solloway added: “The pandemic has caused so many residents to feel isolated and lonely – particularly for those who were struggling in the first place.”

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

To find local businesses offering food deliveries and takeaways in your area, go to the Buy Local directory. People can also find details of other local voluntary and community groups offering support.

We are urging people to keep checking on neighbours and those in their communities who might need help and support. Find advice on how to help safely and information about volunteering with a local organisation in your community.

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

Growing our local economy

Buy Local: North Yorkshire businesses praised for Covid-safe trading 

Businesses in North Yorkshire are being praised for following the lockdown rules and continuing to trade in a Covid-safe way.

Many are offering Covid-safe delivery or collection during lockdown, and bending over backwards to help their communities.

Whatever you need, whether it’s a plumber or a box of veg, search for it on Buy Local.

More than 850 businesses serving the county are registered on the site.

County Council Leader Cllr Carl Les said: “We would like to thank those businesses who are continuing to trade in the constraints of lockdown to keep themselves and the public safe. Many are providing a lifeline for isolated residents by delivering services or goods to their doors.

“We realise that this is an extremely difficult time but it’s important both businesses and customers continue to follow the rules so we can fight this virus together.

“That’s why we encourage all eligible traders and businesses to register with Buy Local to help us to create a comprehensive one-stop shop for residents. There has probably never been a more important time to support local businesses.”

Louise Wallace, North Yorkshire’s Director of Public Health, added: “We know how difficult this lockdown is for our local businesses and we are grateful to all who have continued to trade in a Covid-secure way. Although the Covid infection rate in the county is falling, it is still very high compared to what it was in the summer and we cannot afford to be complacent. With the new transmissible variant everywhere in our county it wouldn’t take much flouting of the rules to send the rate shooting back up again. This costs lives.

“The more we follow the regulations of staying at home and not mixing socially, of keeping local, maintaining a social distance, wearing face masks and washing hands regularly, the quicker the rate will fall and the quicker we can come out of lockdown. That is the way forward for all of us.

“There is light at the end of the tunnel with the vaccination roll-out so we all just have to keep going and do our bit and follow the regulations. Buy Local is a great and safe way of supporting the businesses on your doorstep through this challenging time.”

Neil and Judith, owners of Spring House Farm Shop on the Bedale to Northallerton road (A684), signed up to Buy Local.

Neil said: “When customers started to rely on us we had to adapt to the new circumstances and began offering a collection service whereby people would pay over the phone. We have seen new customers use the shop, some from further afield, and have grown a base of loyal supporters.”

The farm shop began selling take away hot food, including Sunday lunches, and, due to the increase in demand, even stocks cleaning products and hand sanitiser. They went out of their way to source what people were requesting. Such Covid-secure customer-friendly trading has won them an entry in the national 2021 Farm Shop & Deli Awards.

If you own a business, register now on Buy Local.

It is quick, easy and free to set up a profile. If you know someone who owns a business, tell them about Buy Local. Follow @northyorkscc on social media and look out for Buy Local updates.

LEP News: York & North Yorkshire Intelligence Update on COVID-19 and Brexit Transition

The latest regional intelligence update is now available with contributions by representatives from County & District Councils, businesses organisations (such as the Chamber, FSB & CBI), key high street organisations (i.e. local BIDs) and DIT.

The report can be accessed here.

Call for local SMEs to benefit from ‘green’ business support

The York and North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has launched a business support programme to help local businesses make significant cost savings, whilst also saving the planet.

The Grow Greener programme has been specifically developed for SMEs in York and North Yorkshire with the aim of helping them to reduce their costs and energy consumption, whilst also helping them to lower their carbon footprint.

The programme is free to take part in, with 20 places available. Interested businesses need to register by Monday 22nd February.

SMEs who trade business-to-business (B2B) excluding those in agriculture can take advantage of the Resource Efficient Business programme, or REBiz, set up by York & North Yorkshire LEP and West Yorkshire Combined Authority. REBiz can help businesses reduce energy usage and cut down waste. Find out more about REBiz.

​​Top courses for businesses affected by Covid-19

Skills Support for the Workforce (SSW) have released details of the top five most popular SSW courses that businesses have accessed during Covid-19:

  1. Industrial Environment Awareness
  2. Digital Promotion and Social Media
  3. Leadership and Management
  4. Awareness of Mental Health Problems
  5. Business Improvement Techniques

Find out more info about courses or to book a skills need assessment,

Upcoming York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub business support webinars

York & North Yorkshire LEP launch 5 year Skills Plan

The York & North Yorkshire LEP recently hosted its largest ever skills conference to present the new ‘Plan for Skills 2021-2026’.

The skills vision for the region in the next five years is that people are empowered to achieve their potential in a greener, fairer, stronger economy. Access the recording of the full session to find out more.

Brexit update: DIT ‘How To’ Videos

The Department of International Trade has produced videos for two online tools. Check How to Export Goods and  Trade with the UK.  

HMRC Support

HMRC is running a series of webinars for traders in the UK  

It has produced a playlist of videos outlining the new trading processes and requirements from 1 January 2021. 

BPT Toolkit

The Government’s Business Partnerships Team has produced a toolkit available here to help businesses take action on the new rules and encourage others in their sectors and supply chains to do so as well.

Virtual e-Commerce Elevenses

For businesses looking to get ahead in online selling to overseas markets, join the Department of International Trade for a virtual discussion with industry experts in e-Commerce, e-Marketplaces and Digital Marketing.

For North Yorkshire businesses, these will be on 16 & 17 March. Register for Virtual e-Commerce Elevenses.

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

If ever there was a time to take stock and reflect on the ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic on our communities, this is it. This week we pass the grim milestone of 100,000 deaths from Covid in the UK, one of the highest death rates in the world.  More than 100,000 people have lost their lives to this deadly virus in the last year and even more - many more people - are affected by grief and loss of a loved one. In North Yorkshire in the last 12 months, 917 people have lost their lives to Covid. We have come on a very long and difficult journey since the first two people in the UK were reported with the virus in York last January.

But this is also a week where we can see the light in the darkness growing ever brighter as the nation pushes ahead with the vaccination programme and lockdown brings the infection rate down. Here in North Yorkshire and York, more than 126,000 of our most vulnerable residents, those aged over 80 and in care homes as well as care home staff, have now been vaccinated – one sixth of the population. Residents and staff in all of the county’s 235 residential care settings, apart from those settings with outbreaks and individuals with Covid or recovering from the virus, have been offered the vaccine. We have new mass vaccination sites coming on stream over the course of this week and next at Ripon racecourse and Scarborough rugby club and some of our residents in the west of our county will be given the option of getting vaccinated at the large site in West Yorkshire being set up at Elland Road. Also, despite reports of vaccines being diverted from Yorkshire to other areas in the country that are lagging behind with the roll-out and despite concerning reports about a block on vaccine exports from Europe, we continue to expect that our North Yorkshire roll-out programme remains on track. This is a huge achievement and I wish to thank all our NHS colleagues and social care teams and all our volunteers across the county who have worked so hard to make this happen and continue to work hard as the vaccination programme progresses.

We continue to support those who are isolated by the pandemic and need help, working with our 23 partner community support organisations. This week a letter from the county council is dropping into the letterboxes of every household in North Yorkshire setting out the support that is available for people who are alone and vulnerable and shielding.

And while our most vulnerable residents wait for their vaccines, our trading standards teams are ready to give support and raise awareness about people becoming prey to scammers offering fake vaccines and tests and who might get a scam email or call in the future. Trading standards wishes to remind people that the Covid vaccine is free and administered by the NHS, which would never ask for personal or bank details in exchange for getting a vaccine. Also, for people who need to pay for a test because they must travel for work purposes, the gov.uk website s the best place to find reputable private providers.  Anybody who fears they may have been the victim of such scams should contact Action Fraud: 0300 123 2040  

I must thank the vast majority of people who have complied with lockdown rules as the infection rate shows signs of falling. There is evidence from North Yorkshire Police that more people are complying, though there are still those who do not think the rules apply to them, like the couple who travelled more than 100 miles for a roast dinner. Last week, the police issued 87 fixed penalty notices, compared to 134 the week before.

The North Yorkshire rate for people infected with Covid per 100,000 population is 208 – significantly below the England average of 369. The county’s rates vary with Selby and Richmondshire showing the highest rates (256 and 248 respectively) to Scarborough at 113.  However, compared to summer months these rates are still high and this is no time for complacency. The death toll is a grim reminder that we must stick to the rules of staying home, wearing face masks, keeping a social distance and washing hands regularly. The background rate for Covid is still comparatively high and it is too soon to say that we have turned a corner; that this is a sustainable downward trend. With the highly transmissible variant of the virus now in every part of North Yorkshire, it would not take much for infection rates to shoot back up again. The vast majority of our population is still susceptible to contracting Covid.

And we must not forget that while infection rates are falling now, the death rate continues to rise and our hospitals and clinical staff remain under enormous pressure. There are 504 patients with Covid in the four hospitals for York and North Yorkshire, an increase of 33 from last week and the highest we have ever had. As many as 61 are in intensive care. And we still have one or more cases of Covid in 87 of our care settings, not as high as last spring, but 11 up on last week. We continue to work in partnership with care providers with training, reviews and advice in the 24/7 effort to get cases and outbreaks down as quickly as possible.

Our schools remain open for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers with attendance overall at 18 per cent. We know only too well how difficult it is for children and young people to be confined to learning at home without their teachers and peers and the opportunities for activities and play and all the things that enrich learning and contribute to well-being and lively minds. We continue to wait for clarity from the Government on school re-opening, but in the meantime we continue to work with our schools to give training and support to teachers about maintaining the welfare and well-being of children and we have increased the number of vulnerable children attending schools. We wish to thank all our teaching and support staff, who are doing such a fantastic job, and parents, who are working under great pressure to continue with home schooling.

Finally, I wish to give you an update on our roads and how the network is coping after Storm Christophe and days of icy conditions. Our highways teams worked around the clock to keep the county on the move and minimise the impact of flooding due to the storm which hit the county after days of snow and which has been followed by rapidly falling temperatures and widespread ice across the region.

River levels are dropping, but some roads remain closed and monitoring and inspection of roads and bridges continues before reopening. A pumping operation continues in Norton, Malton and Old Malton. Near Selby, floodwater overtopped the A19, which is currently closed for reconstruction. The main issue arising from Storm Christoph is the level of the ground water as rain fell on saturated ground. With more rain forecast for parts of the county this week we are keeping a close eye on the highways network and areas susceptible to flooding and ask people to stay at home as much as possible. If you have to go out on the road, continue to drive with extreme caution and do not go past road closure signs or drive through floodwater. 

Find the latest information on road closures.

Keeping in touch

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

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

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

At 24 January, there have been 24,829 positive tests since 3 March, with 2,999 new cases reported in the past two weeks. The weekly rolling average of new cases is 228 cases per day, allowing for incomplete data in the most recent days. The seven-day rate for North Yorkshire is 222.1 per 100,000 people, which remains below the England seven-day rate. 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.

Coronavirus Update

The national lockdown is still in force, and after passing the 100,000 deaths yesterday, it is still more important than ever that we all stick to the rules. Cases may be decreasing, but we are urging you to continue to remember the basics and when you leave home, act like you've got it, as anyone can spread it. You must stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.

The gov.uk website has the detail on what this means for you. Staying at home and avoiding contact with anyone you do not live with (even other family members or your friends) is the best way of stopping the spread of the virus.

You are allowed to leave home only to:

  • shop for essentials for your household or a vulnerable person/people you are helping, and this should done be as locally as possible 
  • go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot work from home 
  • exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person. This should be limited to once per day and you should stay local 
  • meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one 
  • seek medical help or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse) 
  • attend education or childcare, for anyone who is eligible.

If you live alone, or you are a single parent who lives only with your children, you can meet one other household without social distancing. This is called a support bubble. 

Not everyone meets the criteria for a support bubble. You can check if you do on the government website.

Vaccination Update

The roll out of the Covid-19 vaccine is being run nationally by the health service. Find out more on the NHS website.

Help if you are clinically extremely vulnerable is still available. If you have been declared clinically extremely vulnerable  and can't get help from family or friends, you should register for assistance with things like getting food and prescriptions. For more information on support available in North Yorkshire.

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
  • Every day - Scarborough - William Street Car Park, Scarborough. YO12 7PL
  • Every day - Northallerton – The Forum, Bullamore Road, Northallerton, DL6 1LP
  • Every day - Selby – Portholme Crescent Car Park, Selby, YO8 4YR
  • Every day - Skipton - Cavendish Street Car Park, Skipton, BD23 1RP
  • Thursday 28 January - Whitby - Whitby Marina car park, Langbourne Road, Whitby, YO21 1YW
  • Thursday 28 January - Malton - Wentworth Street car park, Smithson Ct, Malton, YO17 7BQ
  • Thursday 28 January - Leyburn - Harmby Road Parking, Harmby road, Leyburn, DL8 5EE
  • Friday 29 January - Sherburn in Elmet -  Pasture Way car park, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6LY
  • Friday 29 January - Stokesley - Stokesley Sports Club, Broughton Road, Stokesley, Middlesbrough, TS9 5JG
  • Friday 29 January - Richmond - Round Howe car park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Saturday 30 January - Selby - South Entrance, DRAX Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Saturday 30 January - Settle - Greenfoot car park, Settle, BD24 9RW
  • Saturday 30 January - Filey - Filey Country Park, Church Cliff Drive, Filey, YO14 9ET
  • Saturday 30 January - Thornton Le Dale - National Trust car park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Thornton Le Dale, Pickering, YO18 7RR
  • Sunday 31 January - Scarborough - Scarborough Park and Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough, YO12 4LW
  • Sunday 31 January - Richmond - Round Howe car park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Sunday 31 January - Thirsk - Millgate car park, Marage Road, Thirsk, YO7 1PE

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

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

Supporting our schools and childcare

Coronavirus testing in schools

Swab tests for coronavirus are now being introduced to schools in North Yorkshire, as part of a national Government scheme.

The tests will allow teaching staff in primary and secondary schools, colleges and nurseries to test themselves for covid twice a week.

Young people in Year 7 and above at secondary schools, special schools and colleges will also receive the tests in school. But younger children in primary school will not be tested.

Primary schools and nurseries are being provided with the Lateral Flow testing kits this week, which will be used at home and provide results within 30 minutes.

Secondary schools will be providing tests for children of key workers and vulnerable students who are currently attending school, as well as staff. The tests are voluntary and no child or young person will be tested without consent from their parent or carer. Pupils will not be prevented from receiving face-to-face education if they are not tested.

The idea of the initiative is to provide an added layer of protection for schools, in addition to the safety measures and risk assessments already put in place at each individual school.

The council is providing schools with support and advice for schools. We recently held a webinar for headteachers on the introduction of the tests and once they are up and running will be holding drop-in sessions to answer any further questions or provide more support. We are also matching schools who do not have enough staff to carry out the testing with volunteers and will also help those lacking a space suitable for testing find a suitable, alternative site for testing.

Teamwork to support our residents

Richard Blackshaw didn’t let the recent winter weather stop him from delivering essential prescriptions to Harrogate residents who are shielding. Richard has been volunteering with Harrogate and District Community Action, one of 23 community support organisations helping people across North Yorkshire, since last March.

Richard said: “We had a good six inches of snow on one of the days. Driving would have been quite perilous. One collection was a mile away and the other was half a mile, so I thought I’d just walk. The people I delivered to were both very pleased. I even built a snowman on the way back home!”

Before the Covid pandemic began, Richard volunteered with the Woodland Trust and other local groups.

He added: “It’s given me something to do. I’d normally be very active with running, football and golf but, of course, I haven’t got those things for now. It gets me out of the house. It’s nice seeing people and I’m doing some good.

“I’ve mainly done prescriptions collections and there are half a dozen people who I help regularly. I do a little bit of shopping aided by my wife, because she’s a much better shopper than I am, knowing what to get if something isn’t available.

“People have been very, very grateful for the support with things like getting groceries or prescriptions and being able to get what they need, but also for the contact as well. It takes that worry away that someone is there to help.”

Lizzie Hughes, Project Development Worker at Harrogate and District Community Action (HADCA), said: “Richard has been volunteering with us since the very start of the pandemic and helps on a weekly basis to get food and prescriptions delivered to people across Harrogate. He’s always very willing and carries out his volunteering in such a cheerful way. He wouldn’t let something like snow stop him from helping out!”

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

To find local businesses offering food deliveries and takeaways in your area, go to the Buy Local directory. People can also find details of other local voluntary and community groups offering support.

We are urging people to keep checking on neighbours and those in their communities who might need help and support. Find advice on how to help safely and information about volunteering with a local organisation in your community.

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

Growing our local economy

Buy local: Think local in lockdown to support the county’s businesses

Residents of North Yorkshire are being encouraged to help themselves and to support the county’s businesses by taking advantage of goods and services being offered by local shops and traders during the lockdown.

We must all stay at home at the moment except for essential journeys, and many businesses that serve North Yorkshire are able to help by offering Covid-safe local collection or delivery, with many ready to deliver services and shopping directly to customers.

The Buy Local website was developed by North Yorkshire County Council last year at the start of the first lockdown specifically to bring together local customers with county businesses. More than 850 businesses serving North Yorkshire have already signed up to the site. Customers can search Buy Local for a wide range of goods and services, from groceries to a plumber.

County Council Leader Cllr Carl Les said: “While we all follow the lockdown rules by staying at home, lots of great North Yorkshire businesses are standing by to deliver services and goods to your door.

“There has probably never been a more important time to support local businesses. I would encourage you to shop locally to support jobs and the economy at this difficult time. Please look at our Buy Local website for details of businesses in your area.

“If you are looking for food deliveries, find them on Buy Local. Many farm shops, butchers, grocers and village shops are stepping up to provide essential supplies to those that need them.

“Making small changes to our shopping habits can go a long way to helping to keep local businesses alive so that they can survive and prosper after lockdown. Our local supply chains are essential to support our local communities and high streets.”

Sharon Davis is founder of Dales PR and Marketing and Dales Business Women networking group and recommends Buy Local to both shoppers and businesses.

“Even though many businesses can’t trade as they normally would, there are many who are selling in alternate ways, be that a takeaway service, online, vouchers, online consultations,” she said. “This might be the lifeline that keeps them going and local support is more important now than ever.

“When buying something, stop and think of local businesses who supply the same service. Also, are you able to buy a voucher now from a small business and give it as a gift to a loved one later in the year? The Buy Local website is an ideal resource for finding new local businesses. With more than 850 listed, you’re bound to find many selling goods and services you need.

“If you’re a business, then please do use this resource as you never know, you may get a few sales through it and every single penny counts right now.”

Sharon’s call to residents to shop locally can be viewed on the our YouTube channel.

If you own a business, register on Buy Local to help you to reach new audiences. It is quick, easy and free to set up and the site is promoted through the county council’s social media channels, @northyorkscc. If you know someone who owns a business, tell them about Buy Local. Hear more from Sharon on why businesses should sign up.

LEP News: Love Local Day

Love Local Day is a ShopAppy initiative centred on sharing the love of all things local - find full details about ShopAppy.

The campaign encourages places to showcase local businesses, promote their importance and encourages shopping local. The campaign culminates on 14 February with a selection of nominated business receiving a gift (locally bought, of course!) as a token of appreciation from their communities.

Tell your favourite shop or business how much you love them.

Upcoming business support webinars

As part of our ongoing webinar programme, there are several events taking place this week. For more details and information on how to book, use the links below:

BREXIT TRANSITION UPDATE: EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement Analysis

The West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce has published a summary of the key points from the new UK-EU Trade deal from a business perspective.

Short video explainers

The Business Department has launched a series of on-demand videos to help you familiarise yourself with the new rules and the actions you should take. There are 18 topics, including importing and exporting, trade, data, and audit and accounting.

Webinars

A collection of webinars for businesses that trade with the EU can be accessed here
 
The following live webinars are taking place within the next week: 

Case Studies - Exporting and Importing

The Border Protocol Delivery Group (BPDG) has produced a series of case studies that showcase end-to-end scenarios for businesses exporting and importing goods between GB and the EU under the new rules. 
 
These include importing and exporting the following goods: 

  • mechanical parts
  • textiles
  • fish
  • plants
  • auto parts 
  • alcoholic drinks 

The case studies can be viewed here.

Get in contact for additional Brexit support

If you have used the government’s business checker tool and you require further information or additional support with the steps that your business needs to take, please use the contact form or email brexit@businessinspiredgrowth.com

York & North Yorkshire LEP National Apprenticeship Week Webinar

As part of National Apprenticeship Week (8-14 Feb), the LEP is hosting a session for businesses to find out about funding opportunities and to have a wider discussion about taking on an apprentice.

Businesses needed to help region’s young people

Could you or someone from your business volunteer as an Enterprise Adviser (EA) and partner with a local secondary school or college to support them in the development and implementation of their careers strategy, ensuring all students are prepared and inspired for the fast-changing world of work?  

As well as helping others, this opportunity could improve your personal and professional development. Now, more than ever, young people need our support. Find out more about helping the region's young people.

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

Is it any wonder the great British public end up talking about the weather a lot? It is January, so perhaps the snow late last week and over the weekend, ice and freezing temperatures and now the seemingly relentless rain are not entirely a surprise. But, given the pandemic, they also feel even less welcome than usual.

The current lockdown ‘stay at home’ message continues to result in significant reductions in traffic on the highways and that in itself led to some challenges for us during the worst of the snow and ice. The grit and salt with which we treat the highways depend on traffic travelling over them to be at their most effective. The lack of vehicles meant that those making essential journeys had to be extra careful. Our gritters were out continuously. Particularly challenging was Sutton Bank, as you can imagine, where our ploughs and gritters were flat out.

And now we have the rain – lots of it, courtesy of Storm Christoph! While we aren’t expecting any widespread flooding across the county, there will be a lot of surface water on the highways and in some areas there may be occasional road closures. In case it should be needed, we are also working with partners to be prepared for the worst and you can read more about that here. It includes some information on how covid-secure local level evacuation plans are in place, should they be required.

Our highways crews and contractors work extremely hard to keep roads open, whatever the weather, and are out and about as I write, inspecting routes and impacts from the seemingly endless rain. I would like to thank each and every one of them for doing so in some pretty awful conditions lately.

Where the conditions do have an impact, you can find information here along with advice on how to be prepared, just in case.

The weather is sadly not our only challenge. While we are seeing some early indications that the transmission rate for Covid-19 here is beginning to reduce, the figures are volatile and the clear message from the NHS in York and North Yorkshire is that we are not yet at the peak for hospital admissions.

I have mentioned before that there is a lag of 10 to 14 days, more in some cases, between someone testing positive for covid and that person requiring hospital care, if they develop the more serious symptoms. Today, the latest data shows that there are 471 people in the hospitals serving our area needing treatment for covid. That is an increase of 84 patients in just a week and a staggering 169 more people than were admitted in the first wave back in spring last year. There are more than 50 people in our hospitals right now in intensive care. Each one of those people has a family desperately hoping for good news. Each one is being treated by NHS staff selflessly battling on in extremely difficult conditions, wearing full PPE and often working long, exhausting shifts fighting to save people to send them back to their loved ones.

We understand that the third lockdown is hard and we are incredibly grateful for the vast majority of people in North Yorkshire sticking to the rules. We fully appreciate how heart-breaking it must be when you see the tiny minority of people flouting them as though they don’t apply to them. However, please be reassured that our colleagues in the police are out and about to keep you safe and to deal with those who think the rules are optional. Despite all the appeals, even last weekend North Yorkshire Police had to hand out 79 fines to people who had left home and travelled without a reasonable excuse, decided to have a get-together indoors or broken another covid-related regulation. On one occasion, a car full of people had travelled 160 miles for a non-essential journey and when stopped police colleagues found someone in the boot! There is a full list of the breaches and fines issued here.

But this tiny minority of rule breakers is not representative of the spirit and resilience of North Yorkshire folk or the tens of thousands of acts of kindness and neighbourliness going on all day everyday throughout this pandemic here. So to everyone who has, and is continuing to, contact someone who might be lonely to have a chat with them, walk a neighbour’s dog who may be shielding so they don’t have to go out, dropped off prescriptions or shopping for someone, been a friendly face and offered a smile – we thank you. Team North Yorkshire has a spirit that won’t be broken and that is exactly how we will come out the other side of this together.

When we do get through this, there will be other very significant challenges that will continue to require a strong and focussed approach. Driving post-pandemic economic recovery, supporting job retention and creation, helping high streets, market towns and communities to recover and ensuring that our young people particularly have the best possible chances in life. We have not forgotten these vital matters and we continue to progress our bid for devolution and the powers and money that come with that and which will make a massive difference in the recovery process. We remain completely committed to protecting North Yorkshire and its future and we believe, now more than ever, the opportunities linked to devolution and a mayoral-led combined authority should not be delayed. That is exactly why we are pushing ahead with our proposals to deliver that for every person in North Yorkshire.

Please stay safe and well and continue to play your part, as you have done for so long. Thank you.

Keeping in touch

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

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

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

At 17 January, there have been 23,502 positive tests since 3 March, with 4,085 new cases reported in the past two weeks. The weekly rolling average of new cases is 313 cases per day, allowing for incomplete data in the most recent days. The seven-day rate for North Yorkshire is 311.3 per 100,000 people, which remains below the England seven-day rate. 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.

COVID-19 Vaccination FAQs:

Why should I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Vaccines are the way out of this pandemic. They save millions of lives worldwide and are safer now than ever before. Any vaccine must first go through a rigorous testing and development process and be shown to meet strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness, before it can be given to the public. It is strongly recommended that all frontline social care workers who can receive a vaccine choose to take it. Getting vaccinated will help protect you and the people you care for from becoming seriously ill from Covid-19, so you can continue to be there for their family, friends and the people you care for.

I’m worried that the vaccines aren’t safe.

The vaccines approved for use in the UK have met strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness set out by the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). Any coronavirus vaccine must go through all the clinical trials and safety checks all other licensed medicines go through. The vaccine has been shown to be effective and no safety concerns were seen in studies of more than 20,000 people. No long-term complications have been reported.

Will the vaccine protect me?

The Covid-19 vaccination will reduce the chance of you suffering from Covid-19 disease. It may take a week or two for your body to build up some protection from the first dose of vaccine. The vaccine has been shown to be effective and no safety concerns were seen in studies of more than 20,000 people. Like all medicines, no vaccine is completely effective – some people may still get Covid-19 despite having a vaccination, but this should be less severe.

Will the vaccine protect those I care for?

The evidence on whether Covid-19 vaccination reduces the chance of you passing on the virus is less clear. Most vaccines reduce the overall risk of infection, but some vaccinated people may get mild or asymptomatic infection and therefore be able to pass the virus on. It is highly likely that any infection in a vaccinated person will be less severe and that viral shedding will be shortened. We therefore expect that once vaccinated, you will be less likely to pass infection to your friends, family and to the people that you care for.

What are the side effects of the Covid-19 vaccine?

Like all medicines, Covid-19 vaccines can cause side effects. Most of these are mild and short-term, and not everyone gets them. Common side effects include a painful arm, feeling tired, headache, general aches and mild flu-like symptoms. However, these symptoms are normal and are a sign that your body is building immunity. These symptoms normally last less than a week. Read further details of these symptoms.

Can the Covid-19 vaccine give you Covid-19?

The vaccine does not contain a live virus so you cannot catch Covid-19 from the vaccine. However, it is possible to have caught Covid-19 and not realise you have the symptoms until after your vaccination appointment. Although a mild fever can occur within a day or two of vaccination, if you have any other Covid-19 symptoms (new continuous cough, high temperature, a loss of/change to sense of taste or smell), or your fever lasts longer, stay at home and arrange to have a test. You should continue to follow guidance on wearing PPE, hand washing using soap and water or hand sanitizer, as well as other protective measures.

Can I refuse a particular vaccine?

Not currently. All vaccines given by the NHS have been approved by the MHRA, so people should be assured that they are safe and effective. All three of the vaccines available offer more protection than not receiving a vaccine. The NHS has no say over which vaccine they are given to administer.

After I’ve had the vaccine will I still need to follow all the infection prevention and control advice?

Yes. No vaccine is 100% effective, and it will take a few weeks for your body to build up protection. While the approved vaccines provide protection to a vaccinated person from becoming seriously ill from Covid-19, we do not yet know if they prevent someone from passing on the virus to others.

All staff will still need to follow the guidance in your workplace, including wearing the correct personal protection equipment and taking part in any screening programmes. To continue to protect yourself, your residents, your family, friends and colleagues you should follow the general advice at work, at home and when you are out and about:

  • practise social distancing
  • wear a face mask
  • wash your hands carefully and frequently
  • follow the current guidance

I am a vegetarian, can I have the Covid-19 vaccine?

The MHRA has confirmed that the Covid-19 vaccines do not contain any components of animal origin, including pork, gelatine and eggs.

I’m Muslim, can I have the vaccine?

The British Islamic Medical Association recommends that the Covid-19 vaccines that are currently available in the UK for eligible individuals in Muslim communities. Further information from the British Islamic Medical Association can be found here.

If I’ve already had Covid-19, why do I still need to have the vaccine?

If you have a confirmed case of Covid-19 you should wait at least four weeks after you had symptoms, or four weeks since your positive test if you didn’t have any symptoms, and until you have recovered from your Covid-19 infection, before having the vaccine. You may not have developed enough of an immune response to protect you against a subsequent Covid-19 infection. It is also unknown how long any immunity may last. A recent study demonstrated that naturally acquired immunity as a result of past infections provides some immunity, but this immunity is a lower level and for a shorter time than if they have been vaccinated.

I’m pregnant, should I still have the vaccine?

There is no known risk with giving inactivated virus or bacterial vaccines or toxoids during pregnancy or whilst breast-feeding. However, the Covid-19 vaccines have not yet been tested in pregnant women, so it has been advised that until more information is available, pregnant women should not routinely have these vaccines. As a matter of caution, Covid-19 vaccine is therefore not routinely advised in pregnancy but there are some circumstances in which the potential benefits of vaccination are particularly important for pregnant women. This may include women who are at very high risk of catching the infection or those with certain medical conditions that put them at high risk of suffering serious complications from Covid-19 infection. In such circumstances, a woman may choose to have Covid-19 vaccine in pregnancy following a discussion with her doctor or nurse.

If a Covid-19 vaccine is given to a pregnant woman, she should be reassured that the vaccine does not contain live SARS-CoV-2 virus and therefore cannot cause Covid-19 infection in her or in her baby. Some Covid-19 vaccines contain a different harmless virus to help deliver the vaccine – whilst this virus is live, it cannot reproduce and so will not cause infection in a pregnant woman or her baby.

What if I find out I’m pregnant after having the vaccine?

If you find out that you are pregnant after you have had the vaccine, don’t worry. The vaccines do not contain organisms that multiply in the body, so they cannot cause Covid-19 infection in your unborn baby. As they have done for other vaccines, PHE is establishing a monitoring system to follow up women who are vaccinated in pregnancy to help reassure women as time goes on.

Working together towards recovery

Testing

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Every day - Harrogate - Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Every day - Scarborough - William Street Car Park, Scarborough. YO12 7PL
  • Every day - Northallerton – The Forum, Bullamore Road, Northallerton, DL6 1LP
  • Every day - Selby – Portholme Crescent Car Park, Selby, YO8 4YR
  • Every day - Skipton - Cavendish Street Car Park, Skipton, BD23 1RP
  • Thursday 21 January - Whitby - Whitby Marina Car Park, Langbourne Road, Whitby, YO21 1YW
  • Thursday 21 January - Malton - Wentworth Street Car Park, Smithson Ct, Malton, YO17 7BQ
  • Thursday 21 January - Leyburn - Harmby Road Parking, Harmby road, Leyburn, DL8 5EE
  • Friday 22 January - Sherburn in Elmet -  Pasture Way Carpark, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6LY
  • Friday 22 January - Stokesley - Stokesley Sports Club, Broughton Road, Stokesley, Middlesbrough, TS9 5JG
  • Friday 22 January - Richmond - Round Howe car park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Saturday 23 January - Selby - South Entrance, DRAX Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Saturday 23 January - Settle - Greenfoot Car Park, Settle, BD24 9RW
  • Saturday 23 January - Filey - Filey Country Park, Church Cliff Drive, Filey, YO14 9ET
  • Saturday 23 January - Thornton Le Dale - National Trust Car Park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Thornton Le Dale, Pickering, YO18 7RR
  • Sunday 24 January - Scarborough - Scarborough Park and Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough, YO12 4LW
  • Sunday 24 January - Richmond - Round Howe car park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Sunday 24 January - Thirsk - Millgate Car Park, Marage Road, Thirsk, YO7 1PE

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

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

Supporting our schools and childcare

Schools and academies in North Yorkshire have now been invited to place orders directly with the Department for Education for more laptops, tablets or modems to access the internet.

They can apply for devices for children in Years 3 to 11 who do not have access to a laptop or tablet in their home, or who only have a mobile phone to work on. Children are also eligible if they have to work on a device shared with more than one other family member in their home.

Parents, carers and pupils cannot apply for laptops or modems through the Government scheme themselves and should contact their school if they are in need of a device.

In the meantime, children who cannot access learning online can attend school for face-to-face teaching.

We know that there are some schools still waiting for digital devices. We have completed a digital survey across all our schools in North Yorkshire to ascertain need. As a follow-up, we are encouraging our schools to ensure that they apply for their Department for Education entitlement of digital devices and we currently exploring ways of providing further support.

To ensure children are working safely online, Children and Young People’s Service have issued a model guidance policy for remote learning for all schools.

The vast majority of families of pupils eligible for free school meals were provided with supermarket vouchers when lockdown began.

Schools in North Yorkshire are free to make their own decisions on whether to use a voucher scheme to distribute food hampers to those children who are eligible, or make different arrangements.

Most schools in North Yorkshire chose to provide parents with supermarket vouchers, to the value of £15 per child, per week.

We know that many families have seen their incomes hit hard by the pandemic and are putting as much support in place as possible to help people through these difficult times.

During the February half term, this support will continue to be provided to families via the Covid Winter Grant scheme, which also provides supermarket vouchers to families who need them.

Any families not eligible for free school meals who are struggling financially can apply to the North Yorkshire Local Assistance Fund, which makes emergency awards for food or utility vouchers. The County Council has increased its award entitlement for emergency provision for a temporary period to help those hit hardest by the pandemic.

Teamwork to support our residents

During the current national lockdown people who are clinically extremely vulnerable and at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus are being asked to shield again. While people are shielding they must stay at home as much as possible and limit their contact with others. Support is available for anyone who is shielding and needs help with shopping or other everyday tasks, through the network of community support organisations. To make sure people have support in place while they are shielding we are contacting anyone who needed help during the March or November lockdowns.

All North Yorkshire residents who need help can be reassured that support put in place last March will carry on throughout the months ahead, even after the current national lockdown is lifted.

Malcolm and Hazel Boyes were left with a greater need for help than many when the pandemic struck. Malcolm, 78, was diagnosed with cancer seven years ago and as a result was advised to self-isolate at his home in Norton while Hazel, 76, has Parkinson’s. Their circumstances were made more difficult because they have no children or family in the area.

Malcolm and Hazel contacted the County Council and were put in touch with the Ryedale community support organisation headed up locally by Scarborough and Ryedale Carers Resource and Ryedale Carers Support.

They were allocated a volunteer who took on their weekly shopping runs. When that volunteer was able to return to full-time work she had to give up the role and volunteer Jenny Potter took over.

Hazel said: “Jenny has been brilliant. Malcolm makes a shopping list on the computer and sends it every week. She is very, very helpful and asks that if there is anything else we need, to let her know.”

The Boyes have praised Jenny’s commitment, which has allowed them to stay at home while shielding.

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

To find local businesses offering food deliveries and takeaways in your area, go to the Buy Local directory. People can also find details of other local voluntary and community groups offering support.

We’re urging people to keep checking on neighbours and those in their communities who might need help and support, particularly during the bad weather. Find advice on how to help safely and information about volunteering with a local organisation in your community.

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

Growing our local economy

Buy Local – Northallerton therapist continues to treat customers virtually with Buy Local support

As the third lockdown is in full swing, looking after the mental health of ourselves and others is more important than ever.

Tapping therapist Justine Forrest holds appointments at Northallerton Wellness Centre but was forced to turn all attention to virtual methods during the pandemic.

Justine is one of more than 850 businesses to register on North Yorkshire Buy Local, our free online marketplace promoting the services of those that can continue under Covid-19 restrictions.

Justine specialises in Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), also known as tapping. This method helps release anxiety or phobia and teaches a practical tool to calm your body’s physical response to panic, stress and worry.

Having launched her business in April 2019, Justine was offering appointments in Northallerton when restrictions allowed. She has always offered Skype or Zoom appointments.

Justine, who is a representative for Hambleton Federation of Small Businesses, joined Buy Local to increase awareness and enhance her online marketing.

“It was very easy to sign up and it’s a great place for people to go and find those businesses that are still operating,” said Justine. “I’m able to include links to my website, social media channels and details of how to get in touch.

“This last year has taught us that taking care of our mental health is more important than ever. Unfortunately, a lot of people are suffering from isolation, anxiety and grief in silence. It’s important to showcase my business on Buy Local to show that help is available.

“Lockdown has been difficult as some people prefer face-to-face appointments and I loved working at the Centre. Having said that, many people find it easier to have virtual appointments due to their long working days or if they have far to travel.”

Justine is used to dealing with a variety of issues, including phobias, panic attacks, weight management and PTSD.

“The positive news of a vaccine is playing on all of our minds and I’ve seen that in my line of work,” added Justine. “Recently I’ve been increasingly treating needle phobias and the anxiety around that. This support has been vital for so many people.”

Please support local businesses like Justine’s now during lockdown and into the future - they need it more than ever. Have a look at the Buy Local website for details of businesses in your area.

Businesses can register and advertise free – just go to the site and click ‘register your businesses – over 850 businesses already have!

The site is advertised on @northyorkscc social media, getting your name in front of 55,000 followers and our residents’ newsletter, NY Now, is emailed to almost 40,000 residents in North Yorkshire.

If you know someone who owns a business, tell him or her about Buy Local – it’s quick and easy to set up a profile.

LEP News: Business Grants for York Businesses

York’s businesses will be among the first in the country to get the latest lockdown grants as the amount of coronavirus business relief distributed by the council tops £140m.

City of York Council has also published proposals that could extend grant support to even more York businesses. Hundreds of York business can expect payments by 20 January after the council issued another £14.5m of grants, including one-off top-up payments of between £4,000 and £9,000 for retail, leisure and hospitality businesses.

This means that the council has processed all payments for businesses it knows are eligible for Local or Lockdown Restrictions Grants until 15 February, the Government’s first review date of the current lockdown. The council hopes to complete the Additional Restrictions Grant payments next week. For more information visit the York City Council website

Grow your business internationally

The Department for International Trade (DIT) is partnering with up to 100 MPs across the UK for a three-part series of online sessions for local businesses. These webinars will give you guidance to help grow your business internationally, providing information about the support available and discussing how to take advantage of the UK’s new trade agreements. All sessions are chaired by local MPs and include a Q&A session.

In North Yorkshire, the next event is Harrogate and Knaresborough - hosted by Andrew Jones MP - 12 February, 2pm-3pm.

Find out if your constituency is involved and to register for the series.

Business leaders sought for board positions

Business leaders are being sought to help drive forward the York & North Yorkshire economy.

The York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership is seeking leaders for several board positions. Successful applicants will play a key role in the LEP’s work.

The LEP is keen to see applicants who represent key sectors, such as manufacturing, food manufacturing, bio economy, Agri-tech, construction and visitor economy, or businesses using circular business models. Positions are open on the main board, skills board and business board.

The closing date for applications is Sunday 14 February. A board recruitment pack is available on the LEP website. To request an informal discussion about the role, please email enquiries@businessinspiredgrowth.com

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

9 February, 12:30pm

To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week 2021, the York & North Yorkshire LEP invites you to attend a free webinar event to learn how businesses, both small and large, can benefit from apprenticeships.

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

Register for the How businesses can leverage apprenticeships to build their future beyond Covid event.

Big Energy Saving Week

This week is Big Energy Saving Week, which is a national campaign to encourage people to save energy, money and the environment through everyday actions.

As part of Circular Yorkshire month last November, the York & North Yorkshire LEP and Growth Hub worked with partners including CBI, FSB and Chamber of Commerce to produce some helpful e-guides looking at how SMEs can profit from becoming more circular and sustainable.

SMEs can download the Energy e-guide free here.

It’s full of practical advice about how businesses can save money and cut their carbon emissions.

Previous bulletins - 2020

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

Today I ask everyone to remember one number – 841.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you. 

Keeping in touch

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

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

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Those aged 50 to 64 will be offered it later.

Clinical conditions list:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Working together towards recovery

Testing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Supporting our schools and childcare

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

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

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

Teamwork to support our residents

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Growing our local economy

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

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

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

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

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

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

9 February, 12:30pm

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

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

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

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

During this webinar, you will learn:

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

Book Business Basics Series: Know Your Numbers.

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

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

Attendees will be taught:

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

Book Wellbeing Series: None of us is superhuman.

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

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

In this one-hour webinar, you will gain:

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

Book Start-Up Business Basics Series: Cash is King

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

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

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

You can contact us online.

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

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

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

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

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

Please stay safe and keep well.

Keeping in touch

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

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

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

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

 

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

National Lockdown

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Working together towards recovery

Testing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Supporting our schools and childcare

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

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

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

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

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

Teamwork to support our residents

Supporting our residents

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Libraries maintain vital links during lockdown

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Growing our local economy

LEP News: National Lockdown

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

Check if your business or venue must close.

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

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

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

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

Read more about lockdown grants.

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

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

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

Read the full statement.

EU Transition

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

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

Actions for businesses

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

Business checker tool

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

Staying informed

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

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keeping in touch

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

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

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

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

 

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

Making a Christmas bubble with friends and family

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meeting your Christmas bubble indoors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Working together towards recovery

Children and Families service – Christmas packs

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

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

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

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

Testing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Supporting our schools and childcare

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

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

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

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

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

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

Teamwork to support our residents

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Growing our local economy

LEP News: Coronavirus Business Support Schemes Extended

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

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

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

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

Read more about the Job Retention Scheme.

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

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

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

York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub Webinars

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

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

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

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

In the first master class session you will learn:

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

Book Branding Master class.

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

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

In this one-hour workshop, you will learn:

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

Book Leadership Series

Staying informed

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

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keeping in touch

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

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

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

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

 

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

Change in Self-Isolation Guidance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Working together towards recovery

Testing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Supporting our schools and childcare

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

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

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

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

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

Teamwork to support our residents

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Growing our local economy

Buy Local: Shopping local isn’t just for Christmas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Time is running out

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

HMRC has published guidance on: 

DEFRA has updated guidance for UK businesses on:  

Loan Fee Fraud

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

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

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

View the FCA’s Financial Services register.

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

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

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

View more details about Kickstart.

DfE's National Skills Fund Announcement

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

Level 3 adult offer

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

Skills boot camps

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

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

Staying informed

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

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keeping in touch

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

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

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire hands on the baton for public health leadership

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

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

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

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

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

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

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

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

 

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

Guidance for the Festive Period

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

Between 23 and 27 December:

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

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

Christmas markets and shopping (including Boxing Day sales)

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

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

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

Attending events, including performances and Christmas lighting ceremonies

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

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

Carol singing

Carol singing is allowed to take place.

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

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

Door to door performances

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

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

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

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

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

Vaccinations and testing

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

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

Be careful and be kind at Christmas

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

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

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

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

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

Working together towards recovery

Skipton local testing site to open at weekend

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

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

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

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

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

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

Testing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Supporting our schools and childcare

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

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

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

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

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

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

Teamwork to support our residents

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Growing our local economy

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

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

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

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

Search Buy Local and make your Christmas shopping count.

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

LEP News: Major rail project completed

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

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

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

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

Read the full story here.

York & North Yorkshire Intelligence Update

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

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

FSB issues ‘Small Business Christmas’ rallying cry

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

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

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

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

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

In this free webinar, Thrive Law will cover:

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

Book Employment law changes you need to be aware of.

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

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

In this one-hour workshop, you will learn:

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

Book Communicating with Impact.

Staying informed

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

Creative lockdown ideas

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

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

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keeping in touch

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

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

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

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

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

North Yorkshire is now in Tier 2 (High alert)

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

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

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

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

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

Working together towards recovery

Testing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Skipton local testing sites opening date set

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

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

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

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

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

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

Supporting our schools and childcare

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Teamwork to support our residents

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Growing our local economy

Small business Saturday

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

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

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

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

LEP News: Additional Restrictions Grant

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

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

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

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

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

EU Transition booking link.

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

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

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

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

8 December, noon

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

Reshape your Business for a Recession booking link.

COVID-19 financial support highlights

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

See detail on these schemes.

Government spending review

Read the full spending review.

Key highlights for businesses:

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

Staying informed

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

Creative lockdown ideas

Christmas carol singing lessons for families

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

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

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

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

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

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you and please stay safe everyone.

Keeping in touch

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

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

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

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

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

Local Restriction Tiers

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

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

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

Tier 1: Medium alert

Find Information and advice on tier 1: medium alert.

Tier 2: High Alert

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

Tier 3: Very High Alert

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

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

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

Working together towards recovery

Testing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Supporting our schools and childcare

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

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

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

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

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

Teamwork to support our residents

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Growing our local economy

LEP News: Today’s Spending Review

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

Read the full spending review story.

PM statement on the COVID-19 Winter Plan

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

Key points:

Tiers toughened

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

Hospitality changes

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

Tier allocation

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

Christmas

Reducing the risk of COVID-19 in the workplace

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

City of York Council launches additional restrictions grants scheme

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

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

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

Business support webinars this week

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

#FeelRealYork encourages increased openness about emotional health

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

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

Read here for more information and to access the resources.

Staying informed

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

Creative lockdown ideas

Christmas carol singing lessons for families

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

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

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

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

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

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Take care and please stay safe.

Keeping in touch

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

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

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

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

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

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

Scarborough

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

Community Engagement

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

Enforcement

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

Communications

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

Testing

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

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

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

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

More information can be found here.

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

Working together towards recovery

Testing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Supporting our schools and childcare

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Teamwork to support our residents

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Growing our local economy

Buy Local: Help us tell businesses about FREE online advertising

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

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

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

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

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

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

Many businesses can apply now for grants covering:

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

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

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

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

Extension to Takeaway services

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

Business update from Education and Skills Funding Agency

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

Get more information about the Education and Skills Funding Agency.

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

LEP Annual Conference 2020

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

Staying informed

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

Creative lockdown ideas

Christmas carol singing lessons for families

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

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keeping in touch

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

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

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

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

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

Mental health in lockdown

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

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

What can help my mental health and wellbeing during lockdown?

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

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

Want to know more? Here are some useful links:

Working together towards recovery

Testing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Library services

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Supporting our schools and childcare

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

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

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

Teamwork to support our residents

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

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

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

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

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

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

Growing our local economy

Thinking of Christmas? Think of North Yorkshire businesses first

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

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

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

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

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

Sign up or search.

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

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

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

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

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

Find out more and register for the webinars.

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

  • Tuesday 17 November, noon

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

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

Visit here for more details and to book your place

Annual Conference 2020 – Thank you

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

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

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

Feedback

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

Creative lockdown ideas

Christmas carol singing lessons for families

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

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

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

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

Our hospitality, retail and many other sectors have worked incredibly hard to protect us. I know many will diversify again and offer takeaways and online goods and services. The run-up to Christmas if a critical time for many hotels, restaurants and shops. It is also a time when we hope desperately to be allowed to be with our loved ones. The more we stick to the rules, the greater the chance of us being able to be together again and to enjoy our high streets, market towns and villages again.

Tonight there is a real risk that some people may see lockdown eve and bonfire night as a last chance to gather for a while. Some may be tempted to break the rule of six. This morning I heard the police gold commander for the county’s response to Covid describe this evening as “mischief night”. They will be increasing their presence across the county as a result. Please show restraint and don’t forget there are pretty hefty fines for breaking those Covid rules.

While we will miss not being able to be with friends, we also have an opportunity to help before us. To pursue those small acts of kindness that we do so well here and which make a big difference to others. Checking on neighbours, particularly those who are alone or isolated. Shopping for others when we shop for ourselves. Telephoning people to keep in touch. Using FaceTime, Skype, WhatsApp – a myriad of other ways to stay in touch. While we will be closely following national guidance to protect our most frail residents, those in care settings, we will also be ensuring we find creative ways to help them see loved ones, virtually or face-to-face where that is safe and possible.

The other thing we can do is to buy local when we are shopping online over the coming weeks. We can look to local businesses, and there are hundreds of great local businesses and retailers registers on our Buy local directory. There are also Covid-secure services advertised here, so it is a great place to start for whatever you need: food deliveries, Christmas presents or trades people. Pleased do look close to home first.

I have also been talking to you for many weeks about the need to change the current two-tier structure of county and district councils to pave the way for a mayoral-led combined authority here with devolution as the prize. This morning our proposal for a single new council to deliver all your services took an important step forward. County councillors, many of whom are also district councillors, voted overwhelmingly to submit our bid to government. As a result, we shall do so next week. This is important in making sure that Government can consider all bids on their merits side by side and make an informed decision on which ministers feel offer the county and its residents and businesses the best possible outcomes in the future.

Finally, I would like to invite you to join children from across the county to share with them a virtual remembrance service. We may not be able to be together physically this year, but we can still pay our respects and remember. Our children’s champions have worked with children of armed forces personnel and the service, which is usually at Ripon Cathedral, with be online this year. Please join us if you can.

Please stay safe and look after your neighbours at this important time.

Keeping in touch

Our website has a dedicated area for all the latest news, see links below:

Follow us on social media: @northyorkscc on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

The number of cases of COVID-19 in North Yorkshire continues to increase.  At 1 November, there have been 8,425 positive tests since 3 March, with 2,221 new cases reported in the past two weeks.  Over the past week, the average number of new cases is approximately 161 cases per day. Work continues to ensure effective monitoring of all areas, with support for incidents being provided across a range of settings, which are reviewed daily. The North Yorkshire rate for COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population is currently lower than both the England and Yorkshire & Humber rates.

Further information on North Yorkshire data provided at county, district and local area level can be found here.

Local Contact Tracing

From Thursday, 5 November, North Yorkshire County Council will be undertaking local contact tracing. If the national Test and Trace system is unable to contact a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 and provide details to the national online system within 24 hours, this will be handed to the local contact tracing team for follow up.

Local contact tracing calls will be undertaken by trained staff in the County Council’s Customer Resource Centre, who will provide a seven-day-a-week service (9am-5pm Mon-Fri and 10am-1pm Sat-Sun). Residents will be contacted on an 01609 number and spoken to by a member of the Customer Support team on behalf of public health, who will provide specialist support where needed through the public health hub.

Callers will never ask residents to:

  • dial a premium number
  • make any form of payment
  • provide bank account details
  • provide passwords or PIN numbers
  • disclose any personal or medical information
  • download any software

Working together towards recovery

Testing

Testing sites in North Yorkshire, as elsewhere in England, are operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care and private contractors employed by them. We try to help the department by promoting the mobile testing site locations and hosting information on how people with symptoms can book a test via the national government portal. We do not manage the national booking system or laboratory testing process.

Indications are that lab testing capacity is improving but, if you are unable to book a test at a local site straight away, please keep checking as availability varies during the day.

We are also supporting the Department in asking the public only to get a test if they are directed to do so by NHS Test and Trace or other NHS services – OR – if they have symptoms, to ensure that those people who need tests the most can be prioritised.

Before you attend you must book a test. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. 

Testing sites operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care will be running at the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • Every day - Harrogate - Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Thursday 5 November - Whitby - Whitby Park and Ride, Whitby, YO21 1TL
  • Thursday 5 November - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Friday 6 November - Sherburn in Elmet - White Rose Sports Club, The Recreation Ground, Tadcaster Road, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6EL
  • Friday 6 November - Thornton Le Dale - National Trust Car Park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Pickering,
    North Yorkshire, YO18 7RR
  • Friday 6 November - Northallerton - Newby Wiske Hall, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL7 9HA
  • Saturday 7 November - Selby - South Entrance, DRAX Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Saturday 7 November - Skipton - Coach St car park, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 1LH
  • Sunday 8 November - Scarborough - Scarborough Park and Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough, YO12 4LW
  • Sunday 8 November - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL

Watch this video to find out what to expect and how to prepare for the test.

See the latest dates and locations, find out more and how to book.

Join county’s service children for online Remembrance service

People in North Yorkshire are being invited to share in an online service of Remembrance involving school children from across the county.

Each year, North Yorkshire County Council’s service children’s champions, who work with the children of armed forces personnel and their families, organise an extremely well-attended Service to Remember at Ripon Cathedral for the county’s service children.

This year, the service cannot be held in the cathedral because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Instead, it has gone online. The online service is led by the Dean of Ripon, the Very Rev John Dobson, and has contributions from schools across North Yorkshire, the Army, RAF, local civic leaders and veterans. 

Service children’s champion Jess Greenhalgh said: “We are taking advantage of this unusual situation and inviting as many people as possible to join us for our Service to Remember. All schools in North Yorkshire are invited to view the service on Friday, 6 November, the day we would have all been in the cathedral together.”

The theme this year is Heroes, to reflect not only war heroes, but the heroes of this past year – the keyworkers. The service children of North Yorkshire have contributed artwork and poems to the service, detailing their own personal heroes.

The service can be viewed.

Supporting our schools and childcare

School attendance at the start of the new term has remained high and is currently more than 90 per cent, which is well above the national average.

We’re very pleased that schools in North Yorkshire have maintained this high attendance rate; it’s vitally important children remain in education and schools and that parents remain reassured that schools are safe environments.

We’re continuing to work with schools and other education settings to make sure we continue to take swift and robust action where we have cases of covid. We currently have just four settings closed and 15 partial closures of classes or group bubbles. This is out of approximately 1,000 educational settings from nurseries to post-16 education and colleges which we are currently supporting.

From this month, schools can access support for children and young people most affected by school closures during the coronavirus outbreak, through the Government’s National Tutoring Programme. To register an interest in joining the programme, schools can visit the National Tutoring Programme website. There is also a webinar for schools on Thursday, November 5, which will provide an introduction to the programme and details on how schools can get involved. 

Teamwork to support our residents

Today we are writing to people in North Yorkshire who are clinically extremely vulnerable and at higher risk of serious illness from coronavirus to give some reassurance that support is still there in every community where it’s needed. Since March, we have been working with 23 community organisations across North Yorkshire to coordinate volunteer and community support in each area, ensuring everyone who needs help has someone they can call on.

These hubs have been a single point of contact within the community, pulling together other organisations in the area to provide a safety net of support which will be there for people during the November lockdown and beyond. More than 1,500 volunteers have been helping thousands of people every week with almost 23,000 bags of shopping, over 22,000 hot meals and more than 13,000 prescriptions delivered up and down the county since April.

In addition, they have also been calling people every week to check on their general health and wellbeing as well as carrying our other activities to support people during the lockdown. Over 14,000 welfare calls and over 17,000 befriending calls have been made since the start of the pandemic. Between them, CSO volunteers have clocked up over 65,000 volunteering hours.

Over the coming weeks people who need support with shopping, prescriptions, caring for pets and other essentials are encouraged to contact family, friends, neighbours or groups they belong to. North Yorkshire residents without those local networks, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780. The centre is open seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm. Find details of other local voluntary and community groups offering support. To find local businesses offering food deliveries and takeaways in your area, go to the Buy Local directory.

We’re also urging people to keep checking on neighbours and people in their communities who might need help and support during the lockdown. Find advice on how to help safely.

Read more information about the help available, including a link to the latest Government advice for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable.

Growing our local economy

LEP News: Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Following the Prime Minister's announcement on further restrictions, the UK-wide Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be extended until December covering 80% of employees’ wages.

Read more about the job retention scheme

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme Grant Extension opens for applications from 14 December.

Read more details about the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

Coronavirus Loan Scheme updates

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) provides financial support to smaller businesses affected by coronavirus (COVID-19). The government guarantees 80% of the finance to the lender and pays interest and any fees for the first 12 months. The scheme is open until 31 January 2021.

The Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) enables smaller businesses to access finance more quickly during the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme is open to applications until 31 January 2021.

Free platform subscription to help sell your produce online during lockdown

With the Government’s announcement of a second lockdown from Thursday, 5 November, the impact on high street retail in the lead up to Christmas will be significant. The York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub continues to offer free subscriptions to the community-led shopping platform, ShopAppy. The platform can help high street retailers sell their produce online.

More information about how to sign up to ShopAppy can be found here.

York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub offer with Too Good to Go gets even better!

Too Good to Go work with thousands of food businesses in the UK and through their app, connect consumers with businesses who have surplus food to sell at the end of a day, saving businesses money and food being thrown away.

By simply registering here Too Good To Go will waive their annual administration fee for the first year for 50 businesses to join the platform. On top of this, those businesses that register also receive a free personal membership to Welcome to Yorkshire (worth £25) which includes a tree planting on their behalf.

Circular Economy: 6 Benefits to Business E-guides launched for SMEs

Being sustainable and circular makes good business sense.

Employees, shareholders and customers want businesses to make this change that can also positively affect the bottom line. There are some simple steps that a business can take, including rethinking waste, looking at energy use, reviewing supply chains and finding inventive ways to keep materials in use for longer.

The six e-guides launched for the start of Circular Yorkshire Month and developed with FSB, CBI and West and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce give immediate, cost-effective actions that businesses can take now. In addition, they provide details about how businesses can access further support to help achieve medium to longer term goals.

Download the guides to see how businesses can benefit.

REMINDER: York & North Yorkshire LEP Annual Conference

The LEP is holding its annual conference on Friday, 6 November, from 10am.

Register for the York and North Yorkshire LEP Annual Conference.

Staying informed

As always, we are keen to promote the following as main sources of business support information:

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

Unfortunately, the infection rates for Covid-19 across the county continue to rise. An inevitable and sad consequence of that is that we are seeing growing positive tests among the frailest residents in North Yorkshire, those living in the county’s care settings.  Despite robust outbreak management plans, we now have more than 55 care homes out of a total of 233 with single cases or outbreaks, and three of those now have a very difficult situation with wider scale infection. This is a serious matter, as you will understand.

Alongside this we have transmissions continuing to rise across the county, and I am afraid to say much of this spread lies outside of our direct control, because it is taking place within people’s homes and social settings. We are also surrounded by counties and regions in higher levels of restrictions than we are. Together all of these issues mean we are literally remaining in tier one – the lowest level of intervention – by a thread.

If we are to have any chance at all of staying in this tier, and to give us all the best chance of being able to be with our loved ones at Christmas, we need to step up and stand together as a county and we will explain this in more detail over the coming days. In my role as Chair of North Yorkshire’s Local Resilience Forum, I am regularly asked when all this will end. The answer is unfortunately not as straightforward as the question.  In truth, we will need to adapt the way we live for many more months.  There is much talk of vaccines, let’s hope that one becomes widely available, and that it is effective. There is certainly cause for hope and the treatments for people who end up in hospital have also improved, which is positive. Testing and lab capacity are also improving and we are extremely successful in North Yorkshire at securing new options for testing across communities.

We appreciate more people are finding they need a little bit of extra help too, in these difficult times. In response, we can offer some aid to those most in need through our North Yorkshire Local Assistance Fund. At the start of the pandemic we allocated an extra £1million for this fund to pay for things like food and utility vouchers.   Government supplemented this with an extra £150,000. We have also donated more than £200,000 to a variety of charities supplying food, including food banks and hot meal deliveries. If you need help you can learn more about what’s available and how to apply here. Alternatively, to find details of food supply charities near you, you can call our customer service centre, which currently opens seven days a week from 8am to 5.30pm, on 01609 780780. No one in North Yorkshire should feel alone.

While we know that Covid-19 is having a big impact on the way we like to live we should also feel fortunate to be a county of such resilience and determination to overcome whatever the world throws at us. I am constantly inspired by the way North Yorkshire folk just get on with things. Today is no exception.  Take 10-year-old Elise, and Harry, who is four! They are leading the way this week on creating rainbow pumpkins for a village Hallowe’en trail near Thirsk, instead of trick or treating. You can see their wonderful artwork and read more about their covid-safe adventures here.

The other big-ticket item I have promised to keep you informed on is our proposal to pave the way for a mayoral-led combined authority and a strong devolution deal for North Yorkshire. This week we published our bid to restructure local government to support the road to that ultimate prize. We have written our proposal based on experience and understanding built on having delivered high-quality services to everyone in North Yorkshire for many decades. We believe for every household in the county we have the potential to save up to £185 a year to plough back into the services that matter to you. Over five years this equates to a total potential saving worth £252 million. It would be negligent not to pursue this. Alongside this, we also have detailed and ambitious plans to drive a revolution in empowering residents and businesses to have a much bigger say in what matters to them. I am grateful to the very many people and organisations, businesses and groups that have taken the time to help us write this report. You can read more about it here.

Look after yourselves and stay safe. I will bring you more news on all of these points in the days ahead.

Keeping in touch

Our website has a dedicated area for all the latest news, see links below:

Follow us on social media: @northyorkscc on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

The number of cases of COVID-19 in North Yorkshire continues to increase.  At 25th October, there have been 7,047 positive tests since 3rd March, with 1,716 new cases reported in the past two weeks. Over the past week, the average number of new cases is approximately 121 cases per day. Work continues to ensure effective monitoring of all areas, with support for incidents being provided across a range of settings, which are reviewed daily.

Further information on North Yorkshire data provided at county, district and local area level can be found here.

Self-Isolation and Close Contacts

It is important that everyone plays their part in preventing the spread of the virus, one vital measure that we know is effective is self-isolation. Self-isolation is not the same as social distancing, it means not leaving your home, because you could be at greater risk of passing COVID-19 on to others. 

Individuals should self-isolate if:

  • you have any COVID-19 symptoms (the symptoms are a new continuous cough, a high temperature or a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell)
  • you or someone in your household is waiting for a test result
  • you or someone in your household tests positive for COVID-19
  • you are notified by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app because you have been in close contact with someone who has the virus.

Guidance on how long to self-isolate include:

  • You must isolate immediately for 10 days if you have any coronavirus symptoms, do not wait for a test or a test result before starting your self-isolation.
  • If someone in your household has the virus, you need to self-isolate for 14 days from the point that household member first developed symptoms.
  • If you have been identified as the close contact of someone outside your household who has the virus, you need to self-isolate until 14 days after your last contact with them.

The 14-day period is used, because you are at risk of developing COVID-19 for 14 days. Even if you never develop symptoms, you can still be infected and pass the virus on without knowing it. If you do have a negative test during this time, you still need to self-isolate for the full period. This is because you could still develop COVID-19 and pass it on to other people. It is important that everyone understands that a negative test result during your self-isolation does NOT mean you can stop self-isolating early. You could put other people at risk of catching the virus if you do.

A close contact is a person who has been close to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 anytime from two days before the person was symptomatic up to 10 days from onset of symptoms, this is when they are infectious to others. For example, a contact can be:

  • people who spend significant time in the same household as a person who has tested positive for COVID-19
  • sexual partners
  • a person who has had face-to-face contact (within one metre), with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, including:
    • being coughed on
    • having a face-to-face conversation within one metre
    • having skin-to-skin physical contact, or
    • contact within one metre for one minute or longer without face-to-face contact
  • a person who has been within 2 metres of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 for more than 15 minutes
  • a person who has travelled in a small vehicle with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or in a large vehicle or plane near someone who has tested positive for COVID-19

The full Government guidance on self-isolation can be found here.

Self-isolation can be challenging. There is a range of support available for individuals that need to self-isolate.

Working together towards recovery

Testing

Testing sites in North Yorkshire, as elsewhere in England, are operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care and private contractors employed by them. We try to help the department by promoting the Mobile Testing Site locations and hosting information on how people with symptoms can book a test via the national government portal. We do not manage the national booking system or laboratory testing process.

Indications are that lab testing capacity is improving but, if you are unable to book a test at a local site straight away, please keep checking as availability varies during the day.

We are also supporting the Department in asking the public only to get a test if they are directed to do so by NHS Test and Trace or other NHS services – OR – if they have symptoms, to ensure that those people who need tests the most can be prioritised.

Before you attend you must book a test. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. 

Testing sites operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care will be running at the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • Every day - Harrogate - Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Thursday 29 October - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Thursday 29 October - Whitby - Whitby Park and Ride, Whitby, YO21 1TL
  • Friday 30 October - Sherburn in Elmet - White Rose Sports Club, The Recreation Ground, Tadcaster Road, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6EL
  • Friday 30 October - Thornton Le Dale - National Trust Car Park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Pickering,
    North Yorkshire, YO18 7RR
  • Friday 30 October - Northallerton - Newby Wiske Hall, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL7 9HA
  • Saturday 31 October - Selby - South Entrance, DRAX Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Saturday 31 October - Skipton - Coach St car park, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 1LH
  • Sunday 1 November - Scarborough - Scarborough Park and Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough, YO12 4LW
  • Sunday 1 November - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL

Watch this video to find out what to expect and how to prepare for the test.

See the latest dates and locations, find out more and how to book.

North Yorkshire launches pilot to get children school-ready

It is never too early to start talking, singing and reading to babies – that is the message at the heart of a North Yorkshire project to improve speech, language and communication in young children for when they start school.

A child who is unable to communicate properly with its peers or teachers can become frustrated and challenging in his or her behaviour. For this reason the County Council has begun an ambitious pilot programme to improve early language development and tackle school readiness in North Yorkshire.

The pilot, called Grow and Learn, is taking place in East Whitby and Ryedale over the next year.  It will involve a range of targeted interventions by the County Council and its partners in health and early years provision such as nurseries and baby and toddler groups who will work with communities and families.

The pilot is built around the idea of the whole community contributing to a child’s progress and supporting them to be school-ready.  Singing nursery rhymes and other songs, chatting and reading to children away from the distractions of television and phones are key ways of developing their early language.

“These don’t have to be done at a set time – they can be done any time to fit in with daily living”, said Ruth Little, who has been appointed School Readiness Co-ordinator. 

“Chatting with children on the way to nursery, or while making a meal or playing ‘I spy’ on the bus or in the car, sharing a picture book, singing to your bump in ante-natal classes – all contribute to a child’s language development. It’s never too early to start and can involve the whole community and wider family networks.”

The Book Trust has also provided North Yorkshire County Council Library Service with free resources for children aged 0 to 5, including board and picture books, rhyme sheets and Make Your Own Pet Star craft, to add to their existing collection of books suitable for babies and very young children. Registrars are also now auto-enrolling babies with the library during birth registration.

Get ideas on fun, free activities which can be done at home to help get children school ready.

Also look out for the Grow and Learn North Yorkshire County Council social media campaign.

Supporting our schools and childcare

We would like to encourage everyone to stay safe while celebrating Hallowe’en or Bonfire Night during the school half-tem. 

We want families and others to enjoy social time, but still protect yourself and others by not meeting in groups of more than six indoors or outdoors when seeing people you do not live with, or who are not part of your bubble, to protect yourselves and others. We also want people to carry on adhering to the “Hands. Face. Space” guidance outside of schools and workplaces. This applies to play dates, leisure activities and supervised activities and entertainment for young people.

Families and communities in North Yorkshire have been putting their creativity into action to come up with alternatives to trick and treating this Hallowe’en. A number of communities have already started creating some creative and eye-catching pumpkin trails and outdoor Halloween displays, to help children and young people celebrate the event.

Teamwork to support our residents

With a continued increase in coronavirus cases across the county, and the risk of further restrictions, community support organisations and the voluntary sector partners they are working alongside are preparing for a potential increase in demand. Communities are also being encouraged to keep checking on those who might need a helping hand with shopping, collecting medication, or simply being there for a chat.

In the Esk Valley, Revival North Yorkshire has become a lifeline for around 130 residents working in partnership with the Whitby CSO. Director Debbie Swales said: “Nothing we do would be possible without our volunteers. People making one phone call are just as important as those who go out and do the shopping.”

Val Rowe, a retired teacher from Sleights, is one of the volunteers making a difference in her community. She said: “Debbie is a really special person, she thinks outside the box. She doesn’t just think about prescriptions or how to get food, she thinks about everything in a broad sense because she cares about people. She won’t leave any stone unturned until she finds a way that person can be supported.”

When lockdown started, Val became a telephone befriender, and as restrictions have eased, she has also been able to have socially distanced visits with people in their gardens.

She said: “I’ve just started delivering Fish and Chips from Eskdale Fisheries in Sleights. I love doing it. I’ve learnt so much about people. I do quite a bit of volunteer work, but this is my favourite.”

People who are self-isolating and need support with shopping, prescriptions and other essentials but don’t have anyone to call on, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780. The centre is open seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm.

People can also find details of local voluntary and community groups offering support.

For more information about help for you here.

Growing our local economy

LEP News:

Job Support Scheme

The Job Support Scheme will be expanded to support businesses across the UK required to close their premises due to coronavirus restrictions. The government will pay two thirds of employees’ salaries to protect jobs over the coming months and cash grants for businesses required to close in local lockdowns will be increased to up to £3,000 per month.

New guidance on £9 billion Job Retention Bonus

Further information is available on how businesses can claim the government’s Job Retention Bonus, with millions set to benefit from the £9 billion package.

Read the full Job Retention Bonus update

Self-isolation support payments

Eligible employees who are required to self-isolate by the Government’s Test and Track scheme, will be able to apply for one-off payments to support them through the 14-day quarantine period.

The scheme is open to eligible self-employed people who can prove they are unable to work while self-isolating.

Business Secretary urges businesses to prepare for the end of the transition period

Businesses need to take action now to prepare for the UK’s new start on 1 January 2021.

A series of online webinars have been organised by BEIS throughout October. Businesses can sign-up to attend these on Workcast.

Businesses can find out about what actions they will need to take, by visiting GOV.UK and using the checker tool.

Small Business Leadership Programme and Peer Network Scheme

Access the Small Business Leadership Programme and Peer Network Scheme.

Ambitious businesses in York and North Yorkshire have the opportunity to come together and work collaboratively as part of our new Peer Networks programme.

What industry placements look like in your sector

Industry placements can be a great way for businesses to develop and grow new talent. The Department for Education and SDN are hosting webinars for employers looking at what industry placements look like in the following skill areas:

  • Health and Science (22 Oct)
  • Legal, Finance and Accounting (27 Oct)
  • Engineering and Manufacturing (3 Nov)
  • Business and Administration (9 Nov)
  • Agriculture, Environment and Animal Care (8 Dec)
  • Creative and Design (17 Dec)

Find out more and register for a webinar.

Process and Product Innovation (PAPI) York

PAPI are delivering online workshops to help businesses optimise commercial, innovation and entrepreneurial capabilities.

Discover more about PAPI.

Ad:Venture | Extensive online programme until December

Ad:Venture’s business events offer a host of benefits to SME business owners with teaching from the likes of Leeds Trinity University and Knights PLC. Eligibility applies. Find out more about Ad:Venture's business.

REMINDER: LEP Annual Conference

Join us on Friday 6 November for our annual conference.

Held online, the conference will focus on a Greener, Fairer, Stronger vision for reshaping the York & North Yorkshire economy and how we can work together to achieve this.

To be able to access the conference website, you will need to register in advance here

Staying informed

As always, we are keen to promote the following as main sources of business support information:

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

Coronavirus is now the largest pandemic on record and is the leading cause of deaths worldwide with more than 35 million cases and sadly over one million deaths recorded.

That is a sobering thought. 

In North Yorkshire, our average rates continue to track just below the England average and are roughly half those of Yorkshire and Humber. As I have said many times, that is due to the actions you take every day. That Team North Yorkshire spirit means we remain in tier 1 – also known as medium. However, we know how quickly positions can change and we have a number of areas currently close to and one above the England average. In Selby, the latest figure for a rolling seven-day average is 179 with the England average 169. In recent weeks, we have seen the highest stats in Harrogate and Craven. The numbers are volatile; partly because of the lower population levels in many areas and partly because a single outbreak can have a considerable impact. I am telling you all of this not to alarm you, but to focus the mind and to ensure that you are aware of the need for continuing vigilance.

This is particularly important as we head into the half-term school holidays next week. I hope many of you will have planned nice things to do with your families. We must try to continue to enjoy our beautiful county and to support its rich array of shops, cafes and restaurants. While doing so, we need to stay alert to the risks and take the simple actions that we know protect us and our loved ones. So, please, while you are out and about keep washing your hands and using the hand sanitisers in businesses, wear a face covering where advised indoors and outdoors where it’s difficult to keep a safe distance from people you don’t live with. And don’t forget the rule of six, of course.  We should not lose sight of the huge effort made by our hospitality and retail businesses to put in place a raft of measures to protect you and their staff and these are very successful. In fact, there is very little transmission in these settings as a result of that huge and positive effort. The majority of cases can be tracked back to households and socialising too closely with other people. If we are to stay out of additional measures this is where we need to make the changes. Only you can make that difference, so that is my ask of you today. Enjoy a Covid-safe half-term! There are even some top tips for a safe Halloween here on our website, too. Trick or treat may be out this year but how about a pumpkin trail?

If you fancy something more home-based, don’t forget our libraries have a great online offer and the latest addition is thanks to Skipton. Our library there has teamed up with East Riding to join in on the What Was Here digital heritage trail. You can sit in the comfort of your armchair and take an online historical tour. Read more about the trail here.

On a separate subject entirely, many of you have been following our position regarding the best way to land a strong devolution deal for North Yorkshire. As part of that, we have been invited to submit a proposal for how local services would be delivered by a new single and sustainable council to replace the current two-tier structure and pave the way for a mayoral-led combined authority with York. The district councils are also working on a bid, which splits North Yorkshire in half on an east/west basis. We will be publishing our plan in detail next week and you will be able to read it. Ahead of that, I wanted to thank the many people, businesses, groups and organisations that have taken the time to help us develop the details. We are extremely grateful for your time and thoughts. It is a very big deal and we know how much strong local services mean to you all. Our bid document will reflect all of that feedback and all of those ideas. I will talk to you more about that next week.

Until then stay safe and enjoy half-term.

Keeping in touch

Our website has a dedicated area for all the latest news, see links below:

Follow us on social media: @northyorkscc on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

The number of cases of Covid-19 in North Yorkshire continues to increase. At 18 October, there have been 5,970 positive tests since 3 March, with 1,470 new cases reported in the past two weeks. Over the past week, the average number of new cases is approximately 91 per day. Work continues to ensure effective monitoring of all areas, with support for incidents being provided across a range of settings, which are reviewed daily.

Further information on North Yorkshire data provided at county, district and local area level can be found here.

Events Guidance

Staying safe and protecting others when wanting to take part in local events and celebrations is one of the Covid-19 challenges faced by individuals, families and communities. However, we know from the North Yorkshire Covid-19 data that a key source of infection spread occurs within households and through social interactions. It is important that anyone attending local events remains vigilant and follows the principles of Hands, Face, Space. Advice about how to enjoy Halloween safely has been issued by the North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum (NYLRF), including suggestions for alternative Halloween activities:

  • Be creative: create a pumpkin trail where you live so everyone can join in without knocking on doors.
  • Be active: get dressed up and take a walk around your neighbourhood to see homes decorated for Halloween.
  • Be virtual: consider an online party with decorations, fancy dress and themed food. Play Hallowe’en games, bake Hallowe’en treats or tell spooky stories.
  • Be social: take pictures of your spooky costumes and activities to share on social media.
  • Be colourful: dress up the outside of your house with Halloween decorations for you and your neighbours to enjoy.
  • Be treat-wise: buy your own sweets to give to your children so they don’t miss out.
  • Be bright: if you carve a pumpkin, use a battery-powered light inside it to reduce the risk of fire.

More detail on enjoying Halloween can be found here.

The North Yorkshire County Council Public Health team continues to work closely with district colleagues and event organisers to ensure that local events have been risk assessed and appropriate measures taken where needed. Guidance for local event organisers can be found here.

 

Working together towards recovery

Testing

Testing sites in North Yorkshire, as elsewhere in England, are operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care and private contractors employed by them. We try to help the Department by promoting the Mobile Testing Site locations and hosting information on how people with symptoms can book a test via the national government portal. We do not manage the national booking system or laboratory testing process.

Indications are that lab testing capacity is improving but, if you are unable to book a test at a local site straight away, please keep checking as availability varies during the day.

We are also supporting the Department in asking the public to get a test only if they are directed to do so by NHS Test and Trace or other NHS services – OR – if they have symptoms, to ensure that those people who need tests the most can be prioritised.

Before you attend, you must book a test. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. 

Testing sites operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care will be running at the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • Every day - Harrogate - Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Thursday 22 October - Whitby - Whitby Park and Ride, Whitby, YO21 1TL
  • Thursday 22 October - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Friday 23 October - Northallerton - Newby Wiske Hall, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL7 9HA
  • Friday 23 October - Sherburn in Elmet - White Rose Sports Club, The Recreation Ground, Tadcaster Road, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6EL
  • Friday 23 October - Thornton Le Dale - National Trust Car Park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Pickering, North Yorkshire, YO18 7RR
  • Saturday 24 October - Skipton - Coach St car park, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 1LH
  • Saturday 24 October - Selby - South Entrance, Drax Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Sunday 25 October - Scarborough - Scarborough Park and Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough, YO12 4LW
  • Sunday 25 October - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL

Watch this video to find out what to expect and how to prepare for the test.

See the latest dates and locations, find out more and how to book.

Supporting our schools and childcare

As we move into the half-term holidays and Halloween we want to get the balance right between protecting people and reducing the spread of the virus and making sure families and children enjoy themselves.

We want people to have that social time, but it’s important that we help families and children remember the rules and know that they apply every day, not just in school, but on other occasions such as Halloween.

It’s important that people remember not to meet in groups of more than six indoors or outdoors when seeing people you do not live with, or who are not part of your support bubble, to protect yourselves and others. This applies to play dates, leisure activities and get-togethers.

Other times to be vigilant are when attending clubs and activities such as dance classes or football training, or other supervised activities for young people. Make sure you continue to social distance when arriving or leaving out-of-school groups, use face masks when in crowded places and shops and remember to wash your hands regularly.

North Yorkshire Youth have been carrying out some voluntary work in Scarborough, going out on to the streets to speak to young people and handing out free face masks. As a local authority, we’re continuing to work with schools and other settings to make sure they’re ready to open again after half-term.

Pupil attendance in North Yorkshire’s schools still remains high and is currently at 2 per cent above the national average.

At the present time, we have cases of coronavirus at 94 settings out of 1,100 settings, including local authority, academy and independent schools, early years settings, colleges and post-16 education. In the vast majority of cases this involves one or two pupils or staff members and only close contacts have had needed to self-isolate.

Teamwork to support our residents

Since March, Harrogate and District Community Action (HADCA) has been working alongside Ripon Community House as part of the community support organisation network helping people through the coronavirus pandemic. One of their volunteers, Stewart Webb, has made the transition from volunteer driver to Harrogate Easier Living Project (HELP) volunteer.

Anna Woollven, HELP Project Development Worker, said: “Stewart has been volunteering with our service for the last two years. Up until March, he was helping people get to medical appointments, make essential trips and other journeys as one of our volunteer drivers. We reshaped our services to also offer shopping, prescription collections, errand running and telephone befriending.

“Stewart was one of the first to sign up to help in this new capacity as a ‘Here to HELP’ volunteer. He has been an absolute stalwart throughout. In the early days when people were struggling to obtain food supplies, he helped set up and coordinate food boxes. As well as assistance on a practical level, Stewart has been keeping a friendly eye on some of his regular clients and flagged up any concerns to us. For example, where he feels clients might enjoy a befriending call. We are extremely grateful to Stewart, and all our other volunteers, for giving their time and support to help other people.”

Stewart said: “I lost my wife 11 years ago and I was getting bored. I went to Age Concern and asked what I could do and somebody said ‘we’d like you to come and be one of our car drivers’. That was about two and a half years ago. When Covid hit, we came to a full stop. There was no handbook. No rules. We had to start from scratch.

“It can be very rewarding and helps keep me occupied. People feel awkward sometimes and struggle to accept support, having a sense of humour can help. We’re a bit like a tree really, if we can’t help, we have branches and we know someone who can.”

As the number of coronavirus cases across the county continues to increase, community support organisations and the voluntary sector partners they are working alongside are preparing for a potential increase in demand.

People who are self-isolating and need support with shopping, prescriptions and other essentials but don’t have anyone to call on, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780. The centre is open seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm. People can also find details of local voluntary and community groups offering support.

For more information about help for you here.

Communities are also being encouraged to keep checking on family, friends and neighbours who might need a helping hand with shopping, collecting medication, or simply being there for a chat.

Growing our local economy

LEP News: Local business support for those in Tier 2

York is now in the Tier 2/High Risk category. The York & North Yorkshire LEP and Growth Hub are here to provide assistance and support to these businesses and others across the region.

We continue to lobby government for more financial support for the businesses impacted, as do many from across the North.

Bounce Back Loans and Coronavirus Interruption Loans are schemes that are both still open. Nearly 17,000 loans have been granted across our region, amounting to £643.6m. Get more information about the Bounce Back Loans and Coronavirus Interruption Loans.

Reminder: The York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub continues to offer eligible businesses 12-months fully funded membership to the online, community-led shopping platform, ShopAppy.com. Find more information about membership here.

Local Covid Alert Levels

The Government's Covid regulations () have come into force in England.

The launch of a new Postcode Checker  enables people to find out quickly the Covid alert level in the areas that they live and work.

Chamber to explore future skills needs

The West & North Yorkshire Chamber in partnership with West Yorkshire Learning Providers is conducting research into future skills needs for businesses across the region.

A short survey can be completed here.

How can your business benefit from the circular economy?

  • FREE webinar: 2 November, 12 noon

To celebrate the start of Circular Yorkshire month, businesses are invited to attend a free webinar that will explore practical steps to help businesses benefit from the circular economy.

All attendees will be given access to our new Circular Economy: 6 Benefits to Business e-guides, developed with the FSB, CBI and West and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce. These are full of practical advice and information about making simple changes within your business.

Register here

How businesses need to prepare for EU exit

Letters are going out to VAT-registered businesses from HMRC to highlight actions that are required to continue to trade with the EU from 1 January 2021.

Read how businesses need to prepare for EU exit here.

The Government is committed to helping businesses to get ready for the end of the Transition Period on 31 December 2020.

​​​​​​Government launches Export Growth Plan to help business

The Government has launched an Export Growth Plan to help businesses in England build back better following the pandemic.

Film & TV Production Restart Scheme is now open

A £500 million scheme to cover Covid-related insurance costs is now live.

Screen productions struggling to restart due to a lack of coronavirus-related insurance will now get the go-ahead, as the Government-backed Film and TV Production Restart Scheme formally launches.

 

Staying informed

As always, we are keen to promote the following as main sources of business support information:

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

It has been a busy week and there is much to update you on! I will start with our fight against the impacts of coronavirus in North Yorkshire and with a hearty thank you to everyone for their significant efforts to keep us out of wider lockdown measures.

Today, Government has confirmed that North Yorkshire and York remain in the new Tier 1 level of restrictions. That puts us in line with the majority of the country – although we should not forget that we are surrounded by many areas under far tighter interventions and with stricter rules.

Thanks to your collective effort over recent weeks, we are seeing the previously surging infection rates stabilise in a number of areas, and outbreaks in many settings are effectively managed. Our schools now have 92% attendance – this, I hope, is due to the faith parents have in our education system and our teachers’ ability to provide safe learning environments for pupils. We are extremely grateful for that support.

Our businesses have responded immediately and with diligence to the requirements of national government around providing safe environments for staff and customers. Many people have downloaded the NHS app to help support faster contact tracing where someone you have been close to has tested positive for Covid-19.

There is a long road to travel as we fight the devastating impacts of this virus, but I hope this serves as an incentive for us all to carry on our good work and bring others with us on this journey. There will almost certainly be dark days ahead, we know that, but if you keep up your effort, we will get through this in better shape.

Looking at the latest data, it is clear from North Yorkshire’s Director of Public Health, Dr Lincoln Sargeant, that the most difficult area for us to tackle the spread of infection is within households and their social interactions – and it’s to there that the majority of the spread can be tracked. Understanding that is helpful for a number of reasons. Firstly, because it should give us all confidence to continue to attend or support our education and childcare settings, to carry on supporting our businesses and to go about our daily lives in a safe way. Also, because if we accept that fact, we know exactly what we must do to keep on top of it. Wash our hands, keep our distance, cover our faces and stick to the rule of six. You have proven once again how willing you are to make the necessary sacrifices. Please, stay part of Team North Yorkshire and keep making that difference.

Some more positive news is that two new permanent testing sites are to open shortly. One in Harrogate and one in Scarborough. There is more detail on those sites here.

Our Public Health consultants tell us that testing capacity across the county remains good. That is a crucial piece of the jigsaw in battling Covid-19. So, if you have symptoms, please book a test and if a site in North Yorkshire is not immediately available on the national portal then please keep trying. We know that slots are updated regularly throughout the day, so it is worth persevering!

The other big-ticket item I want to talk about is the subject of how local government is organised here. Many of you will be aware that there are currently nine councils across North Yorkshire and York delivering your local services. You may also have seen some of the media coverage over the past few months about all of this. In brief, not only is this system duplicative but it is also expensive. Both ourselves and the district councils have been developing proposals to change that here.

Understandably, when nine councils are to become two, there are differences of opinion. The thing we all have in common is that both proposals have independently identified tens of millions of pounds in waste that could, and we believe should, be used to shore up crucial frontline services – critical and nationally recognised services that we deliver, such as children’s services including safeguarding, health and social care services and so on. We have spent the past months listening very carefully to you, our partners in health and the emergency services, town and parish councils, the community and voluntary sector, employers and wider businesses, unions and, of course, our younger generation. We have undertaken surveys, polls, focus groups, webinars and very many briefings to listen and build the strongest possible case for everyone in North Yorkshire. We believe that a single, strong and sustainable council – serving every single one of you – delivering the best possible public services and lobbying for North Yorkshire nationally with a single voice – is the strongest option. On Friday evening, all of these nine councils (including the City of York) received an invitation from the Secretary of State to prepare to submit their proposals and I want to do everything possible to ensure I keep you informed of progress. 

It is our view, and shared by many, that only a single council for North Yorkshire can deliver in the toughest of times, protecting excellent services we already deliver, encompassing the very best from each district council – and working extremely closely at grassroots level in communities to ensure that your voice is strengthened as part of this. We appreciate the district councils do not share our view and I am sure you will hear much on that. However, our proposal retains the strengths and scale that are important in delivering key countywide services, while also being resilient enough to take the lead in emergencies such as flooding and the current pandemic. We are home to public health, health and social care, schools and childcare services and, of course, the resilience and emergencies team. We deliver many of the life-giving and life-changing services you need on your journey, but equally we deliver at hyper-local level all day every day in your community. Our safeguarding and health and social care teams help some of the most frail and vulnerable people every day, our Stronger Communities team is coordinating the community and voluntary sector response to the pandemic and supporting groups and individuals continuously – knocking on doors and keeping people safe. We care about the whole of North Yorkshire and our nationally acclaimed Trading Standards service takes it very personally when people come into North Yorkshire and rip people off! We will propose only what we can deliver on, and those proposals will be based on knowledge, experience and understanding of the needs of people and places everywhere in our county. This is something I feel incredibly passionate about, as you may be able to tell. But, here are a couple of very recent examples of how our staff go the extra mile every day to deliver you the very best services possible. From our social workers and care home staffto our voluntary sector support.

Please keep safe and thank you for playing your part for North Yorkshire.

Keeping in touch

Our website has a dedicated area for all the latest news, see links below:

Follow us on social media: @northyorkscc on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus Data

The number of cases of COVID-19 in North Yorkshire continues to increase.  At 12th October, there have been 5,222 positive tests since 3rd March, with 1,422 new cases reported in the past two weeks.  Over the past week, the average number of new cases is approximately 116 cases per day. Work continues to ensure effective monitoring of all areas, with support for incidents being provided across a range of settings, which are reviewed daily.

Further information on North Yorkshire data provided at county, district and local area level can be found here.

Local COVID alert levels: Tier System

The new system of local COVID alert levels introduced by the Government came into place today (14th October) and replaces the current area-based restrictions. This new system aims to ensure that the right level of intervention is in place in the right areas to limit the transmission and spread of Coronavirus and aid effective management of outbreaks. There are three levels (or tiers) within the new system medium (1), high (2) and very high (3), with the decision to move a geographic location into a level being based on a number of factors including number of cases, rates of infection, patterns of transmission alongside other consideration such as numbers of Coronavirus-related hospital admissions. We are at level 1, medium.

Each level sets out restrictions about what you can and cannot do if you live, work or travel in each local COVID alert level. Details of the restrictions in each level and the current level in your area can be found here.

Working together towards recovery

Testing

Testing sites in North Yorkshire, as elsewhere in England, are operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care and private contractors employed by them. We try to help the Department by promoting the Mobile Testing Site locations and hosting information on how people with symptoms can book a test via the national government portal. We do not manage the national booking system or laboratory testing process.

Indications are that lab testing capacity is improving, but if you are unable to book a test at a local site straight away, please keep checking as availability varies during the day.

We are also supporting the Department in asking the public only to get a test if they are directed to do so by NHS Test and Trace or other NHS services – or if they have symptoms – to ensure that those people who need tests most can be prioritised.

Before you attend, you must book a test. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. 

Testing sites operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care will be running at the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • Thursday 15 October - Whitby - Whitby Park and Ride, Whitby, YO21 1TL
  • Thursday 15 October - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Friday 16 October - Sherburn in Elmet - White Rose Sports Club, The Recreation Ground, Tadcaster Road, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6EL
  • Friday 16 October - Harrogate - The Hydro, Jenny Field Drive, Harrogate, HG1 2RP
  • Saturday 17 October - Skipton - Coach St car park, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 1LH
  • Saturday 17 October - Selby – South Entrance, Drax Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Sunday 18 October - Scarborough – Scarborough Park & Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough YO12 4LW
  • Sunday 18 October - Northallerton - Newby Wiske Hall, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL7 9HA
  • Sunday 18 October - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Sunday 18 October - Harrogate - Harrogate High School, Ainsty Road, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, HG1 4AP

Watch this video to find out what to expect and how to prepare for the test.

See the latest dates and locations, find out more and how to book.

Supporting our schools and childcare

The Government has announced some alterations to GCSE and A-level exams in summer next year, involving a slightly reduced curriculum content and delaying the exams by three weeks to take into account the disruption to education brought about by the pandemic.

While we understand there is still uncertainty, we welcome this announcement.

We will continue to follow Government guidance on exams and prepare and support our students and schools for their exams this academic year.

Our schools are working incredibly hard to get students to the point they need to be in their education including consideration of how to allocate their catch-up funding to support their pupils.

We are confident that our young people will be as prepared as any in the country when exams go ahead next summer.

North Yorkshire County Council is currently providing support to any settings in North Yorkshire where a positive case of coronavirus has been reported. The numbers of schools reporting positive cases remain low and in the vast majority of cases, this involves a very small number of cases. This is being managed by isolating those identified in close contact following the advice and guidance of Public Health England.

Throughout all this, we are pleased to report that attendance has remained strong in North Yorkshire and remains consistently above the national average.

Teamwork to support our residents

With an increase in coronavirus cases across the county, and the risk of further restrictions, community support organisations and the voluntary sector partners are preparing for an increase in demand. Communities are being encouraged to keep checking on those who might need a helping hand with shopping, collecting medication, or simply being there for a chat.

In the Esk Valley, Revival North Yorkshire has become a lifeline for around 130 residents working in partnership with the Whitby CSO. Director Debbie Swales said: “Nothing we do would be possible without our volunteers. People making one phone call are just as important as those who go out and do the shopping.”

Val Rowe, a retired teacher from Sleights, is one of the volunteers making a difference in her community. She said: “Debbie is a really special person, she thinks outside the box. She doesn’t just think about prescriptions or how to get food, she thinks about everything in a broad sense because she cares about people. She won’t leave any stone unturned until she finds a way that person can be supported.”

When lockdown started, Val became a telephone befriender, and as restrictions have eased, she has been able to have socially distanced visits with people in their gardens.

She said: “I’ve just started delivering fish and chips from Eskdale Fisheries in Sleights. I love doing it. I’ve learnt so much about people. I do quite a bit of volunteer work, but this is my favourite.”

People who are self-isolating and need support with shopping, prescriptions and other essentials but don’t have anyone to call on, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780. The centre is open seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm.

People can also find details of local voluntary and community groups offering support.

For more information about help for you here.

Growing our local economy

LEP News

Job Support Scheme

The Job Support Scheme will be expanded to support businesses across the UK required to close their premises due to coronavirus restrictions. The government will pay two thirds of employees’ salaries to protect jobs over the coming months and cash grants for businesses required to close in local lockdowns will be increased to up to £3,000 per month.

New guidance on £9 billion Job Retention Bonus

Further information is available on how businesses can claim the government’s Job Retention Bonus, with millions set to benefit from the £9 billion package.

Read the full update.

Self-isolation support payments

Eligible employees who are required to self-isolate by the Government’s Test and Track scheme, will be able to apply for one-off payments to support them through the 14-day quarantine period.

The scheme is open to eligible self-employed people who can prove they are unable to work while self-isolating.

Business Secretary urges businesses to prepare for the end of the transition period

Businesses need to take action now to prepare for the UK’s new start on 1 January 2021.

A series of online webinars have been organised by BEIS throughout October. Businesses can sign-up to attend these on Workcast.

Businesses can find out about what actions they will need to take, by visiting GOV.UK and using the checker tool.

Small Business Leadership Programme and Peer Network Scheme

Access the Small Business Leadership Programme and Peer Network Scheme.

Ambitious businesses in York and North Yorkshire have the opportunity to come together and work collaboratively as part of our new Peer Networks programme: https://www.ynygrowthhub.com/resources/peer-networks-programme/

What industry placements look like in your sector:

Industry placements can be a great way for businesses to develop and grow new talent. The Department for Education and SDN are hosting webinars for employers looking at what industry placements look like in the following skill areas:

  • Health and Science (22 Oct)
  • Legal, Finance and Accounting (27 Oct)
  • Engineering and Manufacturing (3 Nov)
  • Business and Administration (9 Nov)
  • Agriculture, Environment and Animal Care (8 Dec)
  • Creative and Design (17 Dec)

Find out more and register here

Staying informed

As always, we are keen to promote the following as main sources of business support information:

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

Today, I am sorry to say that, despite the terrific efforts of many of you, in North Yorkshire we are now in a more serious position than last week. Infections of Covid-19 continue to rise across the county – as they do in many areas – and specifically in the north of England. We are, by no means, in the perilous position of some of our close neighbours, but, unfortunately, without an urgent, sustained and collective effort from everyone – we are heading that way.

The England 7-day average rate of infection per 100,000 people is 93.2. North Yorkshire’s is now 91.1. However, in areas such as Craven and particularly around the Skipton and south Craven border, the situation is above that at 136.5.

We suspect that the continued and worrying rise in cases in this area will result in the district going onto the Government’s watch list as an area of concern. Scarborough and Selby, which were the first parts of the county to go onto the watch list, are no longer seeing the highest level of spread. It is reasonable to assume that this is due to effective support and interventions by our public health team and wider local resilience forum partners, as well as a really positive and sustained response from residents and businesses there. I thank you for doing the right thing for your friends, family, neighbours and businesses and urge you to keep up that good work. To everyone right across North Yorkshire, I am asking you to redouble your effort. The next few days will be critical; we stand at a tipping point and only by playing our part as individuals in a concerted effort will we be able to step back from this precipice.

Across the county, our public health colleagues are dealing with 125 outbreaks and incidents across a whole range of settings. Where they fall within settings we have direct access to, the outbreak management plans are working very effectively in containing the virus. These include schools, care homes and workplaces. Where containment is far more complex, unfortunately, is also where the most frequent spread is taking place. This is within households and social interactions. We are also seeing infection carried into the county from surrounding areas where the rates are higher.

Please stay alert to the risks at all times. You may suffer only mild symptoms, but you may unknowingly give it to someone who is much more at risk from the more serious side-effects of Covid. They may become extremely poorly and, in some cases, they may die. Indeed, I am sorry to say that our NHS colleagues are now reporting increasing numbers of Covid patients in intensive care units in hospitals serving North Yorkshire and a number of those people have sadly died.

Please – let us not lose any more of our loved ones; let’s take this urgent call to action together and take the steps we know work. Wash hands, cover face, leave space.

I should touch on the steep rise in cases reported this week. You may have heard about the national issue involving thousands of positive test results being unreported due to a technical glitch. This national error has affected figures here, too, but more importantly it has meant that many people who may have been close contacts of those who tested positive were not contacted by the NHS Test and Trace team.   For those of you who were not aware of this, there is a government statement here which explains the glitch.

Understandably, many people have been keen to keep track of positive tests in their communities and we have responded to that need for information by publishing daily statistics on a ‘heat map’ on our social media platforms and by setting up this web page. If you would like to understand the position near you, please take a look.

North Yorkshire is a place of resilience and kindness and I know we can get through this together. Just this week we heard how small grants from our Stronger Communities team have been making a big difference to people struggling with communicating because they were visually impaired or deaf. This is an uplifting story of positivity, which I hope you will enjoy.

Finally, I will leave you with the words of our Director of Public Health for North Yorkshire, Dr Lincoln Sargeant, from a press conference today and please stay safe.

“As the infection rate rises, the chances of being in contact with someone who is infected are greater and the risks higher. It is inevitable that as the infection rate rises we will see infections introduced into communities where there are more vulnerable people, like care homes.  We will begin to see more hospitalisation of people with Covid and we will begin to report deaths.  York hospital has had its first Covid death for many weeks.

“We must not fall into complacency. We need to contain the infection, otherwise this will translate into more severe illness and death and we will begin to see the same patterns we saw in April.

“So we must carry on with those hands, face, space measures - keeping a two-metre distance when we can, washing our hands, wearing a facemask, even outside when we are in crowded areas. When people are being tested, it is also vitally important that they self-isolate and that they cooperate with the test and trace programme over their contacts. 

“This is how we will break the chain of transmission, by playing our part, by making sure that we don’t become a player in causing the spread.”

Keeping in touch

Our website has a dedicated area for all the latest news, see links below:

Follow us on social media: @northyorkscc on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Public Health and social care

North Yorkshire Coronavirus data

A public facing webpage providing an overview of North Yorkshire Coronavirus data is now available on our website. The overview provides information on the number of cases at county, district and local area level. At the 5th October, there had been 4,320 positive tests across North Yorkshire since 3rd March, with 528 new cases reported in the previous seven days. The weekly rolling average of new cases is approximately 36 cases per day.

Currently, the Scarborough and Selby districts remain on the Public Health England watch List as areas of concern but we have seen an overall increase in people testing positive for Covid-19 in North Yorkshire since the beginning of September. We continue to monitor all areas closely.

We are working with the district councils and our partner organisations to support incidents across a range of settings, and we review these daily. We are managing a number of small outbreaks across the county, although most coronavirus spread is currently linked to household and social settings.

PHE delayed reporting of COVID-19 cases

Public Health England announced on the 4th October that, due to a technical issue in the data load process that transfers COVID-19 positive lab results into reporting dashboards, 15,841 cases between 25 September and 2 October were not included in the reported daily COVID-19 cases. This issue did not affected people receiving their COVID-19 test results - all people who tested positive still received their COVID-19 test result in the normal way and all those who tested positive were advised to self-isolate. The NYCC Data Team is assessing the impact of this on North Yorkshire figures.

A PHE statement on the delayed reporting of COVID-19 cases can be found here.

COVID-19 Testing Availability

Availability of COVID-19 tests continues to be challenging; however, it is essential that anyone displaying symptoms of COVID-19 continues to try to book a test and self-isolates immediately. Tests slots are released throughout the day and so it is important to keep checking the booking portal. Details about how to access a test can be found here: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/book-coronavirus-covid-19-test

NHS COVID-19 App - Should I use the NHS COVID-19 app while I am at work?

It is important you use the app at all times, including while at work, except if you:

  • store your phone in a locker while you're working or are involved in a leisure activity, like swimming
  • are already protected by a Perspex (or equivalent) screen
  • are a health and care worker and are wearing medical grade PPE, such as a surgical mask, in a clinical setting

In most of these situations, you are already protected, so it is highly unlikely that you would catch the virus. If your phone is not with you, use the ‘pause’ function on the app so that the contact tracing part does not work. Or, you could switch your phone off. If you forget, you might get an alert because an infected person was near your phone when your phone was not with you. Read more about how and when to pause contact tracing

Working together towards recovery

Testing

Testing sites in North Yorkshire, as elsewhere in England, are operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care and private contractors employed by them. We try to help the department by promoting the Mobile Testing Site locations and hosting information on how people with symptoms can book a test via the national government portal. 

We do not manage the national booking system or laboratory testing process.

We are aware of current issues with the availability of tests and laboratory capacity and we have raised our concerns at a national level.

We are also supporting the Department in asking the public only to get a test if they are directed to do so by NHS Test and Trace or other NHS services – OR – if they have symptoms, to ensure that those people who need tests the most can be prioritised.

Before you attend, you must book a test. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. 

Testing sites operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care will be running at the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • Thursday 8 October - Whitby - Whitby Park and Ride, Whitby, YO21 1TL
  • Thursday 8 October - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL
  • Friday 9 October - Northallerton - Newby Wiske Hall, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL7 9HA
  • Friday 9 October - Sherburn in Elmet - White Rose Sports Club, The Recreation Ground, Tadcaster Road, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6EL
  • Saturday 10 October - Selby – South Entrance, Drax Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Saturday 10 October - Skipton - Coach St car park, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 1LH
  • Saturday 10 October - Harrogate - Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Sunday 11 October - Scarborough – Scarborough Park & Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough YO12 4LW
  • Sunday 11 October - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4TL

Watch this video to find out what to expect and how to prepare for the test.

See the latest dates and locations, find out more and how to book.

Supporting our schools and childcare

We are still supporting all educational settings, including post-16 education and early years settings, in North Yorkshire in their response to any confirmed cases of coronavirus and are pleased to say the number of cases within these establishments remain low.

In the vast majority of cases within schools, only a very small number of people are affected and only close contacts have had to isolate, instead of whole schools, classes or bubbles.

Overall school attendance in North Yorkshire remains good, despite the challenges presented by coronavirus. Attendance figures across the county were approximately 92 per cent last week, compared with a national average of 88 per cent.

It is important we continue to maintain high attendance; right now children and young people urgently need to be in school, continuing their education.

Schools have effective risk assessments in place which allow them to respond swiftly to any confirmed cases of coronavirus and which have been effectively preventing the virus spreading within schools. These risk assessments mean that on the whole, any cases of coronavirus in schools have been limited to one member of staff, or one pupil.

Teamwork to support our residents

Throughout lockdown and beyond, people in North Yorkshire have made an extraordinary effort to support their family, friends and neighbours.

There have been examples from every community across North Yorkshire of help and support provided when people need it.

Members of RVS Sight Loss, Yorkshire Coast and Ryedale Disability Forum and Scarboccia All Inclusive Sports been helping people, with sight or hearing loss, in Scarborough, Whitby, Filey, Pickering, Ryedale and Bridlington.

Antonio Mollica, a member of all the groups, said: “We’ve been in touch with our members and community since day one to make sure they didn’t feel isolated and were getting help with the things they needed. It was difficult at first in lockdown, when the supermarket shelves were empty and tensions were high. So, we began to think about how we could help our members who were visually impaired or deaf.”

Antonio approached the County Council’s Stronger Communities programme to seek funding to get IT kit to help members stay connected during lockdown, making sure those who were shielding and isolated had access to audiobooks, songs, jokes and voice-controlled calling to friends and family members.

Antonio, and other members of the community, looked at other measures to support the visually and hearing impaired community, including lanyards with cards that explained different disabilities, from sight and hearing loss to explaining why people might be exempt from wearing face coverings.

They also distributed lip-reading masks to members of the public working in places such as buses, shops and libraries, so people who are deaf could continue to lip read.

Antonio said: “From the start, we knew we had to help. All our groups have worked together to cover a large geographical area – we tried to reach out as far as we could and beyond. Things like lanyards really helped to raise awareness in the community, so our members could go out and avoid stigma for not wearing a mask. Our main message is everyone is in this together and no-one is left behind.”

With coronavirus cases rising, we encourage people to keep checking on friends or neighbours who might need a helping hand with shopping, collecting medication, or simply being there for a chat. We want to make sure everyone stays safe, so find advice on how to help safely here.

Those who are self-isolating and need support with shopping, prescriptions and other essentials but don’t have anyone to call on, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780. The centre is open seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm.

People can also find details of local voluntary and community groups offering support.

Growing our local economy

LEP News

LEP News: Online Popup Business School:

FREE online course: 16 – 20 November 10am – 3pm

York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub have partnered with the hugely popular PopUp Business School to help would-be start-ups in York & North Yorkshire to get your ideas off the ground this November and December.

Designed to inspire people and help them find the confidence to try their ideas, the PopUp Business School is aimed at everyone, from those with no cash and no business experience to fledgling start-ups that need guidance to keep on track.

Interested? Register your attendance via the PopUp Business School website.

Applications for free peer-to-peer support programme are now open

Peer Networks is a free national peer-to-peer programme for SME leaders that want to grow and develop their organisation for future success. ​

The York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub are working in partnership with the University of York to create diverse groups of individuals who can collaboratively work through common business issues. Through interactive action learning, participants will be able to discuss their challenges, gain and reflect on valuable feedback, and implement practical solutions to overcome them. ​

To be eligible, businesses need to have operated for over a year, have five or more employees and an annual turnover of at least £100,000. The scheme will close to applications on 26 October 2020 and places are limited. More information and details on how to apply can be found here.

One month to go

Join us on Friday 6 November for our annual conference.

Held online for the first time, the conference will focus on a Greener, Fairer, Stronger vision for reshaping the York & North Yorkshire economy and how we can work together to achieve this.

The conference will start at 10am with keynote speaker, our chair, David Kerfoot MBE DL and followed by a live Q&A. Do you have a question you would like to put to David and our panel on the day? You can send through questions in advance to: enquiries@businessinspiredgrowth.com, or write them during the session via the event platform.

On the day, we will have three webinars of around an hour each. You can attend as many as you wish and no pre-booking for delegates is required. These promise to be lively, interactive sessions covering skills, circular economy, place and more.

There will also be an opportunity to visit our virtual marketplace, where you’ll be able to see more about the work of the LEP and some of our partners.

To be able to access the conference website, you will need to register in advance.

Learning in lockdown

Lockdown was a strange time for everyone, but it also gave us time to focus on ourselves and try new and different things. We asked people what they did during lockdown, whether this be learning a new language, a new skill, cooking from scratch, a new hobby or something that was different for them.

This week’s learning in lockdown story is from Paul Robinson, design lead at NYCC:

“How was it I became a YouTube and Instagram influencer during lockdown? OK, that’s a slight exaggeration, but I did create a YouTube channel, so only time will tell If I reach the heady heights of online stardom and social media fame, with offers to appear on Strictly Come Dancing or I’m a Celebrity…. We can but dream.

So why and how did this happen? Certainly not due to any online stardom itch that needed scratching, but more to do with my eldest son, Norman, and attempting to navigate a way of dealing with the pressures of lockdown.

Like many families throughout the country, juggling work and childcare can put a great deal of strain on the family unit; keeping young ones occupied at the best of times is tough enough. A few months into lockdown and it was visible that Norman was becoming more and more anxious. He was missing nursery friends (he’s 4 almost 5), grandparents and a solid routine.

After learning to ride his bike, exhausting all the games in the house and endless attempts trying to make spelling and counting fun, the options (and imagination) had run dry. What can we do together, is fun and will give him something to focus on? Lego- that was it! So a few small sets were purchased.

Did it work? Yes, better than expected. Not sure who enjoyed it more, even if sometimes we only managed a quick 45 minutes of building while Maurice, Norman’s younger brother had a nap. For that moment playing and building together erased the lockdown blues. From the first second we started to build we indeed became hooked and more sets had to be purchased, with a few special sets for myself. I mean, why not, you’re never too old for Lego, right?

How does YouTube fit in to this I hear you cry. Well, with our new found love of Lego we started watching Lego builds and Lego reviews on YouTube for some light entertainment without having to spend a fortune. Yes, some Lego sets cost the Earth!

One morning without thinking, I said ‘Norman, let’s make our own YouTube video!’ to which he replied ‘Can I dance and sing?’ ‘…I tell you what, I’ll do it and we can watch it together. Deal?’ He couldn’t be more excited.

But what had I done? I then had to figure out a way to make, edit and upload a video without any fuss. So a quick google and I figured I could do it all on my iPhone. Shoot the video, edit, add effects and upload. No need to transfer files and spend hours with complex editing software, it had to be quick and easy, time was already thin on the ground.

A few weeks later and success! A spare evening and one YouTube video was complete. Was it enjoyable? Did Norman enjoy watching it? His giggling and dancing around the room pointing at the TV shouting it was ‘our Lego’ was the seal of approval.

Since the first moment we became hooked on Lego we’ve spent many an enjoyable moment building an imaginary world without a care in the world and we’ll continue to spend many more precious moments with Lego in the future.

As for the YouTube channel, let’s say I haven’t dusted off my dancing shoes yet, or imagined eating bugs, but time will tell! Shameless plug and for anyone that’s interested, visit ‘The Everyday Cool Channel’ on YouTube.

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

In the week that the global death toll for Covid-19 passed one million, regrettably we are now also beginning to see admissions creeping up in the hospitals that serve North Yorkshire and it is with great sadness that I confirm the first covid death of the second wave, here. This is set against the background of increasing infection rates across North Yorkshire – as in many places nationally. We are studying the data carefully and can clearly see that the majority of cases can be linked back to household and social transmission. This is important, because what it also tells us is that our schools are safe places to be. That, in turn, is testament to all the hard work schools, colleges and childcare setting have put in to plan for a safe return for pupils. Learning is critical to every young person’s future prospects and it can only be positive to say that where we are seeing infection in these settings, the intervention mechanisms linked to our outbreak management plan are extremely effective in containing them. To put that in perspective – there are around 1,000 education and childcare settings in North Yorkshire and only one of them is currently closed due to Covid. Often these are single, isolated cases linked to a household or social interaction, which affect classes or staff largely due to the need to isolate if they are a close contact. School attendance here is good – around 87% of pupils are back. I hope this information will help to reassure parents and pupils about all the careful planning and support that is in place to keep everyone safe.

Equally, outbreaks in workplaces and business settings are well managed and less frequent.

The greatest areas of concern here currently are south Craven, particularly around the Skipton area, and Richmondshire, where there has been an increase in positive tests linked to the Catterick area. While in Craven the outbreaks are often amongst college and older school pupils; this is not generally linked to where the students learn but rather to their household or social activity. 

So, what can we do about infection being passed around in households and social settings? From our perspective, not a great deal more than we are, unfortunately – this is where we turn to you for your help. We must not risk everything we have achieved in North Yorkshire by letting our guard down. Social distancing and hand washing remain the best defences against Covid – with face coverings where required. We would like to go a little further than that to protect our schools, businesses and freedoms here – we are not waiting for more areas to go onto a watch list to step up our response. We would ask that you wear a facemask or covering in any areas where social distancing is difficult – even when outside. So, if you are in a narrow street or other busy area, please cover your face – be part of Team North Yorkshire and help keep our county open. Protect your friends and family and keep our High Streets and hospitality sector safe and open.

We will all need to work hard together if we are to avoid enforced national interventions, which may prevent us from being with our friends and family.  We have already taken the sad, but necessary, step of suspending care home visits through October, to protect our most frail residents, but we are working hard to ensure that doesn’t mean residents cannot go out to enjoy the autumn air safely. We have formed a working group with relatives and care providers to look at how we can offer contact between care home residents and their family. As soon as we can enable safe visits we will, and in the meantime our virtual visitor programme will be put in place to keep people in touch.

There has been good news for our vital community support organisations, which continue to do a sterling job across the county supporting people who need help. Thanks to a Defra grant we are able to give 26 organisations across North Yorkshire up to £10,000 to enable them to keep supplying food to people in their locality.

Read more about the Defra grants.

Finally, some really welcome news from our trading standards team. Thanks to a successful multiagency prosecution and The Proceeds of Crime Act, ten victims who were ripped off in a tarmac fraud are getting their money back! We take things very personally here and this is a really good result. Read the full trading standards story here.

Stay safe and well.

Keeping in touch

Our website has a dedicated area for all the latest COVID-19 related news.

Follow us on social media: @northyorkscc on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Public Health and social care

The number of cases of COVID-19 in North Yorkshire continues to increase.  At 27th September, there had been 3,630 positive tests since 3rd March.  There have been 519 new cases reported in the past two weeks.  The weekly rolling average of new cases is 36 cases per day, but may be as high as 45 cases per day, allowing for incomplete data in recent days.

Scarborough and Selby Districts remain on the Public Health England Watch List as ‘areas of concern’. We continue to watch closely all districts to ensure that we adapt approaches across the county and allocate appropriate support and resources.   

As we approach the winter season, it is essential that everyone within all of our communities continue to be vigilant and follow the key principles to control the spread of the virus:

  • Hands – wash your hands regularly
  • Face - use a face covering when social distancing is not possible
  • Space - keep your distance from those not in your household

In addition, download the NHS Test and Trace app and if eligible please do consider getting the flu vaccine this year.

Care home visiting

North Yorkshire’s care homes and supported living schemes have been advised to limit routine visiting during October to protect residents as Covid-19 infection rates rise across the county.  This recommendation follows the call to arms issued by North Yorkshire’s Local Resilience Forum last week to “act now, save lives”.  Richard Webb, has written to care providers to advise that routine visiting to care homes should cease from October 1 for a month after which the situation will be reviewed.

Families and friends will still be able to visit loved ones who are at the end of their lives and essential visits by NHS and social care practitioners will still take place as long as  national rules around hand-washing, face masks, PPE, distancing and other requirements are followed.  Care homes will be encouraged to allow window visits for all residents so that family members, friends and residents can still see each other, alongside greater use of remote contact by telephone and other technology.  The County Council is also advising that care home residents can continue to make trips into the community, but are advising that these should, ideally, be outdoors to allow for social distancing and that, when out and about, they should wear face masks where possible and be extra vigilant.

Families and friends can also still visit people living in Extra care schemes, as these are self-contained apartments. Extra care providers are being advised to prepare for further potential restrictions and to enhance their Covid security, including the flow in and out of buildings, to reduce the risks.

The County Council has also reviewed its North Yorkshire additional COVID-19 payments to care providers and will be extending its current extra support into October. It is also advising that PPE will be provided nationally on a free basis to the care sector.

Working together towards recovery

Testing

Testing sites in North Yorkshire, as elsewhere in England, are operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care and private contractors employed by them. We try to help the department by promoting the Mobile Testing Site locations and hosting information on how people with symptoms can book a test via the national government portal. We do not manage the national booking system or laboratory testing process.

We are aware of current issues with the availability of tests and laboratory capacity and we have raised our concerns at a national level.

We are also supporting the Department in asking the public only to get a test if they are directed to do so by NHS Test and Trace or other NHS services – OR – if they have symptoms, to ensure that those people who need tests the most can be prioritised.

Before you attend you must book a test. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. 

Testing sites operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care will be running at the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • Thursday 1 October - Whitby - Whitby Park and Ride, Whitby, YO21 1TL
  • Thursday 1 October - Richmond - Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4T
  • Friday 2 October - Northallerton - Newby Wiske Hall, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL7 9HA
  • Friday 2 October – Harrogate - Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Friday 2 October – Sherburn in Elmet - White Rose Sports Club, The Recreation Ground, Tadcaster Road, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6EL
  • Saturday 3 October - Skipton - Coach St car park, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 1LH
  • Saturday 3 October - Selby – South Entrance, Drax Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Sunday 4 October - Scarborough – Scarborough Park & Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough YO12 4LW

Watch this video to find out what to expect and how to prepare for the test.

See the latest dates and locations, find out more and how to book.

Supporting our schools and childcare

We’re pleased that the number of educational settings in North Yorkshire where a case of coronavirus has been confirmed remains very low. We are supporting not just our own schools in their coronavirus response, but also independent schools, academies, early years’ providers, Further Education settings and colleges. Of the hundreds of settings we are working with, we currently have 44 where a case of coronavirus has been confirmed.

On the whole, cases in schools tend to be limited to one pupil, or one member of staff and most of our actions are centred around close contact isolation, rather than closing whole schools or bubbles.

We are finding the risk assessments schools put in place before reopening in September are working well and have high levels of confidence that schools are safe places for children. It is vitally important that children and young people are in school, continuing their education and we are working hard to make sure everything is in place for this to happen.

Teamwork to support our residents

With a sharp increase in coronavirus cases, community support organisations and voluntary sector partners across North Yorkshire are preparing for a potential increase in demand. Communities are being encouraged to keep checking on those who might need a helping hand with shopping, collecting medication, or simply being there for a chat.

Age UK North Craven is one of North Yorkshire’s 23 community support organisations helping to coordinate the voluntary efforts in the area and ensuring people are properly signposted to the right support.

Manager Jonathan Kerr said: “A lot of our services went from being face to face to online and phone, and that has continued.”

Jonathan added when the Covid-19 crisis took hold, many voluntary groups in the area appeared. As a CSO, they took the role of supporting these groups to apply for funding but also signposted people, who needed support, to them. Their guidance included advice, managing volunteers, sourcing and supplying PPE and helping them with access to grants and other support.

Jonathan says the pandemic has identified many hidden needs in the community surrounding food poverty, adding: “We have a really successful food bank which has identified a lot of hidden need and people who flew under the radar. There are particular villages who needed food banks, and two more have been set up to meet this demand.”

Thanks to a Defra grant, the County Council has been able to allocate funding to organisations like Age UK North Craven so they can continue to help vulnerable people in the community get food and hot meals.

The funding comes after the Government made a provision of £63 million for local authorities across the country to help those who are struggling following the Covid-19 crisis. The County Council was given £530,000 from this fund to aid food providers, hardship payments, and benefits advice and support. Community organisations across the county including food banks, hot meal delivery, community kitchens and community fridges have also been given extra funding.

Help is still available where it’s needed. People who are self-isolating and need support with shopping, prescriptions and other essentials but don’t have anyone to call on, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780. The centre is open seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm.

People can also find details of local voluntary and community groups offering support.

Find more information about coronavirus.

Growing our local economy

LEP News

LEP News: Test and trace NHS QR code

It is now a legal requirement to record contact details of customers, visitors and staff to a business premises and using QR codes can help you meet your obligations.

Businesses are being encouraged to have NHS QR code posters visible on entry so customers who have downloaded the new NHS COVID-19 app can use their smartphones to easily check-in. If you are already using your own QR system, you are being encouraged to switch to the NHS Test and Trace QR code.

Register your business for a unique QR code poster.

Get advice on how to handle customer data correctly.

Coronavirus loan schemes

The application deadline for all coronavirus loan schemes has been extended to 30 November. This includes the Bounce Back Loans, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans, Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loans and the Future Fund Scheme.

If you have borrowed under the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, you will be offered more time and/or greater flexibility over repayments. In addition, lenders have been enabled to offer Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme borrowers more time to make their repayments where needed.

Read the

PM’s plan to transform training and skills system

The PM yesterday set out plans to transform the training and skills system to help the country recover from coronavirus. The plans include a Lifetime Skills Guarantee to give adults the chance to take free college courses valued by employers and new entitlement to flexible loans to allow courses to be taken in segments, boosting opportunities to retrain.

Read the PM's speech about transforming training and skills system

Read the response to this news from our LEP’s Skills and Employability Chair, Sam Alexander.

This included an expansion of the Department for Education’s online learning platform, The Skills Toolkit where there are now more than 70 courses in digital, numeracy and employability or work-readiness available online and free of charge.

​​​SME and Kick-starting tourism grant funding update

Stage 1 applications for the SME and Kick-starting tourism grants will open on Wednesday 30 September at 10am.

The grants were announced by the government to help small and medium-sized businesses gain access to professional support, new equipment and technology to continue to deliver a business activity or diversify in response to COVID-19.

Due to the expected high demand for the grants, the closing date for Stage 1 applications is 10am on Monday 5 October 2020.

Currently, further details about Stage 1 SME and kick starting tourism are available here. The link to the application form will also be available via this page during the application window.

Upcoming business support via webinars

 Stay informed

Welcome from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

So, here it is – the anticipated second wave of Coronavirus is with us and seeping into our communities at an unwelcome rate. We must all remain in the highest state of alert to prevent it shutting our county down, closing our schools and businesses and taking our freedoms once again.

In North Yorkshire, we are famous for our straight talking, no nonsense approach to life and our hearty welcome to visitors; for our world famous food and drink, outstanding hospitality offer and inspiring scenery.

With that in mind, I won’t hold back – now is not a moment for stepping around the issue. We must act right now – every one of us – this minute, and every minute to contain it and protect our most frail residents. Please speak to your friends, family, neighbours and work colleagues. Encourage them to adhere strictly to the hand washing, face covering and social distancing measures that we all know work. But they only work if we actually do them in a consistent way.  

One more ask of you too, please.  Today sees the launch of the new NHS Covid-19 App from the Department of Health and Social Care. The App is based on the Apple/Google privacy framework, and is designed to support contact tracing and make it easier to give meaningful details when checking into venues.  From today, designated venues in certain sectors are required by law to display an official NHS QR code poster on sites which, for us, include libraries.  The more people who download and use the App, the more effective it will be - thank you in advance for your help in uniting to as a team to stop the spread. Find out more about the app. You can find out more about the app.

It’s not all doom and gloom by any means, but don’t we all want to keep our way of life? Albeit it is changed for now. Parts of the county are faring better than others; the data changes all the time and our public health experts are examining that constantly and acting quickly with the venues and settings where outbreaks occur, to contain them. We are seeing transfer within households from younger people to their parents – some of those parents are inevitably taking the virus unknowingly into their workplaces – some of those workplaces are our care homes. Sadly, a small, but growing, number of care homes now have residents who are testing positive for Covid-19. We are all very aware of the cruel nature of Covid and how it targets vulnerable people without pity. Let’s pull together and protect them, protect our freedom, protect our businesses and protect our future together.

On the subject of bringing people together, I would like to invite you to join our libraries for an online celebration of National Poetry day next week. On Thursday, October 1, we will welcome Andy Croft, author of over 80 books and organiser of Ripon Poetry Festival. He will be reading his new collection and you can find out more about that here.

You may also be interested in the latest person to feature in our search for those Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughters who have made our county the wonderful place it is to live, work and visit.  Thomas Richardson was born in 1771 into somewhat humble beginnings. Hard work and dedication saw him help to establish the county as a great place to learn. His financial success benefitted not just the village of Great Ayton, but also the wider area as he invested his wealth back into the community. Representative of the Quaker values of community and equality, Richardson’s greatest legacy is supporting the education of the children of North Yorkshire.

In 1841, he contributed £5,000 of the £6,500 needed to buy the land to establish what was then called the North of England Agricultural School. Richardson’s donation meant the school was able to buy 74 acres of land, backing onto High Green in Great Ayton. Please do read this fascinating story, here, and I hope you will agree he is a wonderful example of someone who was made in North Yorkshire and used that to make the world a better place for many.

Read more about Thomas Richardson.

Please take care and stay safe.

Keeping in touch

Our website has a dedicated area for all the latest COVID-19 related news.

Follow us on social media: @northyorkscc on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Public Health and social care

In line with the national picture, we have seen an overall increase in the number of cases of Covid-19 across North Yorkshire over the last few weeks. To date, there have been 3,331 cases and we are currently seeing around 30 new cases per day. Cases continue to be more prevalent in the younger and working age populations, with spread linked to extended time spent together within households and social settings.

On the 18th September, Scarborough District and Selby District were added to the Public Health England Watch List as ‘areas of concern’. We continue to closely monitor all Districts to ensure that we adapt approaches across the county and allocate appropriate support and resources. Residents living within ‘areas of concern’ are asked to:

  • Exercise extra vigilance in sticking rigorously to hand hygiene and social distancing guidance;
  • Use face coverings when leaving home where safe social distancing is not achievable and avoid crowds;
  • Stick to the ‘rule of six’;
  • Take extra care when leaving home if you have an underlying health condition or have been advised to shield;
  • If you have Covid symptoms, you must self-isolate and get a test;

If you do not have symptoms, do not get a test, unless directed to do so. Priority is being given to those with symptoms

As we approach the winter season, it is essential that everyone within all of our communities continue to be vigilant and follow the key principles to control the spread of the virus:

  • Hands – wash your hands regularly
  • Face - use a face covering when social distancing is not possible
  • Space - keep your distance from those not in your household

Protect your loved ones. Get the app.

As mentioned in the introduction to this bulletin, the NHS Test and Trace app launched today and is a key part of the country’s ongoing COVID-19 response and carries the key message of ‘Play your part in protecting your loved ones!’ If we can rapidly detect people who have recently come into close contact with a new COVID-19 case, we can take swift action to minimise transmission of the virus. From today, designated businesses and organisations, including hospitality, close contact services and leisure venues, will be legally required to log details of customers, visitors and staff for NHS Test and Trace and will be required to display official NHS QR code posters.

Find information on how to create a QR code.

The new NHSCOVID19 app can be downloaded from Google play store or Apple App

Working together towards recovery

Testing

Testing sites in North Yorkshire, as elsewhere in England, are operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care and private contractors employed by them. We try to help the department by promoting the Mobile Testing Site locations and hosting information on how people with symptoms can book a test via the national government portal. We do not manage the national booking system or laboratory testing process.

We are aware of current issues with the availability of tests and laboratory capacity and we have raised our concerns at a national level.

We are also supporting the Department in asking the public only to get a test if they are directed to do so by NHS Test and Trace or other NHS services – OR – if they have symptoms, to ensure that those people who need tests the most can be prioritised.

Before you attend you must book a test. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before. 

Testing sites operated and managed by the Department of Health and Social Care will be running at the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • Friday 25 September - Northallerton - Newby Wiske Hall, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL7 9HA
  • Friday 25 September – Harrogate - Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Friday 25 September – Sherburn in Elmet - White Rose Sports Club, The Recreation Ground, Tadcaster Road, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6EL
  • Saturday 26 September – Selby – South Entrance, Drax Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Sunday 27 September – Scarborough – Scarborough Park & Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough YO12 4LW
  • Monday 28 September - Skipton - Coach St car park, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 1LH
  • Monday 28 September – Northallerton - Newby Wiske Hall, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL7 9HA
  • Monday 28 September - Whitby - Whitby Park and Ride, Whitby, YO21 1TL
  • Tuesday 29 September - Thornton Le Dale - National Trust Car Park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Pickering, YO18 7RR
  • Tuesday 29 September – Harrogate - Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
  • Tuesday 29 September – Sherburn in Elmet - White Rose Sports Club, The Recreation Ground, Tadcaster Road, Sherburn in Elmet, LS25 6EL 
  • Wednesday 30 September – Selby – South Entrance, Drax Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
  • Wednesday 30 September – Scarborough – Scarborough Park & Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough YO12 4LW

Watch this video to find out what to expect and how to prepare for the test.

See the latest dates and locations, find out more and how to book.

Supporting our schools and childcare

Parents in North Yorkshire will now have received information from the County Council via their school on the steps to take if anyone in their household has suspected Covid 19 or a positive test for the virus. The flow chart information contains guidance on how long, and when, pupils or other members of their household need to self-isolate, when to return to school, what to do if your child is a confirmed contact of someone with the virus and other scenarios. Read a brief overview of the main points.

We hope the information will answer questions from parents unsure if they need to keep their child from school.

We are happy to report that confirmed instances of coronavirus in schools remain relatively low. 

Of the 1,000 settings across the county, including academies, independent schools, early years settings, colleges and other post-16 establishments, we currently have 31 settings with at least one case of coronavirus which we are supporting.

The county has a very high proportion of small schools and as most cases just one pupil or staff member, we do not wish to identify individual schools in the media. In the vast majority of cases, whole school closures will not be necessary, but owing to the large number of small schools in the county, closures may be necessary due to the small number of pupils on the school roll.

Parents should be confident that schools are safe places for children and that schools are taking immediate action when needed.

We encourage parents to speak to their local school if they have any worries, but presently children need to be in school every day unless the school informs them otherwise.

Teamwork to support our residents

From community support organisations coordinating a county wide volunteer effort, to people checking on friends and neighbours, the support offered by people across North Yorkshire has been a lifeline during the toughest of times. With a sharp rise in coronavirus cases, communities are being encouraged to keep checking on those who might need a helping hand. Voluntary organisations like Husthwaite Village Hall Committee sprang into action at the start of the pandemic offering help to those who needed it.

Co-chair Lynn Colton said: “We do have an ageing population here and those people in the past are the ones that we would have been helping.

“It might just have been seeing them out and about walking and checking they were okay and had support, but we also arranged a food delivery service where one of us would go and pick up shopping. We did the same for prescriptions too, which helped the doctor’s surgeries in the area as it meant not as many people going through. We continued the Orchard Village club with a two course meal delivered once a month, and a soup run once a week, delivering soup to 25 people in the village.

“We would also stay and speak to whoever we were delivering to in a socially distanced and safe way for as long as they needed us to, to make sure they were getting to see a friendly face too.”

Thanks to a Defra grant, the County Council has been able to allocate funding to many vital organisations like Husthwaite Village Hall Committee so they can continue to help some of the most vulnerable people in the community access food and hot meals.

The funding comes after the Government made a provision of £63 million to be distributed to local authorities across the country to help those who are struggling to afford food and essentials following the Covid-19 crisis. The County Council has been allocated £530,000 from this fund to aid food providers, hardship payments, and benefits advice and support.

Community organisations across the county including food banks, hot meal delivery, community kitchens and community fridges have been granted extra money to help people and families to access food and hot meals.

Lynn added: “The Defra funding has ensured we can commit to having these measures in place until at least next March, so people don’t have to worry about it and we can reassure them.”

People who are self-isolating and need support with shopping, prescriptions and other essentials but don’t have anyone to call on, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780. The centre is open seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm.

People can also find details of local voluntary and community groups offering support.

Find more information about coronavirus.

Growing our