In North Yorkshire, we are unparalleled in our ability to look out for our neighbours and friends, and the county council thanks you for this, write Chief Executive Richard Flinton and Council Leader Cllr Carl Les.
But these are unprecedented times for all of us and it is critical that we do even more to pull together to get through the current crisis.
We need to follow all the government guidance about staying at home as well as using our gumption to make sure that physical/social distancing becomes an effective step, helping the NHS to save lives and also being a key way of safely supporting potentially vulnerable family and friends.
We must protect people who are over 70 and/or who have underlying health problems and who are being asked by the Government to shield themselves until the end of June. If this applies to you, or you are in a position to help someone who fits this description, then you should:
- Firstly, seek support from your family and friends and make arrangements for them to support you with things like groceries and medication. Arrange for them to leave provisions in an agreed safe place outside your home.
- If you have no close family and friends, seek support from any club, social or faith group to which you belong, and try to set up the support above.
- If you have no-one with whom to make these arrangements, we will make sure you are provided for and protected. We are working with community support organisations that can help with shopping for essential supplies or collecting prescriptions and, if you have tried the options above without success, you can call our customer service centre on 01609 780780 and you will be put in touch with your nearest community support organisation. We urge you to make every effort to set up your own arrangements before using this service so that we can concentrate on those that need it most.
We are working with district councils and 23 community organisations the length and breadth of the county who will work with the voluntary sector in their locality to help those who have no other source of support.
We thank you for the work you are already doing to look after potentially vulnerable friends and neighbours.
Our own frontline teams are committed to keeping services running and supporting people in the community to help get us all through this crisis.
Our social care staff are carrying out a huge operation to make sure care of older and disabled people and people with mental health issues continues and this may mean some changes to the way in which our current services are provided. If your service changes, we will notify you and if you have any concerns, please speak to your social worker or care worker. We are also working to support people who use direct payments and individual service funds and who employs their own care staff – please contact your direct payments adviser if this applies to you.
Social Care is changing how its workforce is deployed, working with home care and care home providers, working with the NHS and businesses to source essential personal protection equipment and recruiting an auxiliary workforce to meet the massively increasing demands. Our teams are supporting NHS colleagues to discharge people, where possible, from hospital, which has helped to increase hospital capacity to deal with Covid-19 patients.
We have more than 200 schools across the county providing a service to look after the children of key workers who need to get to work in our own vital services, with the NHS and other partners. Our children and young people’s service has worked with schools to make sure that we have a network sufficient to cover the whole county. Our staff continue to work hard with schools and early years providers to make sure that child care will remain in place for key workers throughout the Easter holidays.
In addition to establishing the support network of 23 community organisations, our Stronger Communities team has worked with the Government’s shielding operation to provide prescriptions and food to the most vulnerable people with underlying health conditions.
This is a difficult time and the next few weeks will be crucial to how we get through this epidemic. But we are witnessing unity, strength and resilience from our residents; we and our partners will do all we can to support that across the county.