A message from Richard Flinton – Chief Executive
I hope that many of you are enjoying some more relaxing family time as the school holidays start and we continue to see more of our shops, cafés, pubs, restaurants and other attractions reopen. There does appear to be a greater sense of confidence growing through our communities right across the county. We recognise that everyone is individual and has their own thoughts on what they feel comfortable with – but we are heartened by the very many businesses that are displaying their Covid-safe messages for customers and inviting people to enjoy their favourite haunts and pastimes once more.
Don’t get me wrong, it is absolutely right that we move forward with caution and that we stay alert to the risks of coronavirus because, as we know, it is still very much amongst us. So, we must continue to take the now familiar precautions like handwashing, keeping a safe distance and using face coverings where appropriate, but equally we can now support our local businesses and help them recover too. The experience may be different in this new norm – but the spirit and welcome we are famous for is still very much there and that is something of which we can all be proud. In North Yorkshire, we are renowned for our resilience, strength and honesty but, let’s not forget, our locally produced food and drink offer is pretty hard to beat; so, please support our businesses if you feel able. They have also had a tough time and many people have lost their jobs – together we can help drive our economic prosperity forward and do what we do best here, get on with things.
So, what have we been ‘getting on with’?
A lot! Our current focus is very much on continuing to work with you and our partners to drive forward economic recovery, alongside supporting those who still need our help during the pandemic. We think we are doing a good job but don’t take our word for it. We have just published our performance and you can make your own mind up. Alongside taking a leading role in fighting the many impacts on the county from Covid-19, we have successfully operated the high quality ‘business as usual’ services you expect. We have, for example, invested £10million in surface dressing roads with a further £6 million on repairing potholes.
We have worked closely with Community Support Organisations since the start of lockdown to deliver help ensuring no one was alone. I will let you decide if you think the support we have given to some of our most vulnerable residents, is time and money well spent.
Our Stronger Communities team has:
Deployed on average 1,400 volunteers per week delivering 50,000 volunteer hours;
Supported 2,800 people per week;
Delivered 625 prescriptions per week;
Delivered 820 food shops per week;
Processed 703 Covid-19 grants for food or energy worth £66,675;
Responded to 38,200 contacts from the public; and
Welcomed 2,000 new library members.
Thank you to every single one of you who has given, and who continues to give, their time and energy to help us move forward together from the pandemic and I have every confidence we will come through this in the best possible shape thanks to your collective efforts.
You can read more about the work we have undertaken here https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/north-yorkshire-shows-evidence-high-performance-through-pandemic
You may also have seen some of the recent media coverage on the situation around devolution for North Yorkshire. You will be aware that this is the way we hope to secure substantial funds and powers to ensure that the priorities delivered here are the ones you actually want and need. The Government is now clear that to get our share of the money and powers we will have to end the current district and county structure of local government and ‘unitise’. We firmly believe a single council would serve you better by ending duplication and cutting red tape. As proven in other similar areas where this has happened – it would also save tens of millions of pounds a year. Money which could support stronger services and give you a much bigger say on decision-making and priorities at a more local level. How would we do that? Well, via community forums mapped to market town areas, stronger town and parish councils and empowered area committees. I am well aware this is what may be termed as a bit of a ‘dry’ subject, but it is critical to every one of you and our businesses. We don’t want to see North Yorkshire broken up and all the disruption to services and additional costs that would mean. We want to see the whole county grow and prosper together, playing to its strengths and punching its weight nationally. We will outline how we hope to see this in a public document which will be published in the coming weeks for our elected members to consider and which I would then hope we will formally submit to Government. It will then be for Government to consult on and make a decision.
So, a lot still going on! There is no let up!
If you are fortunate enough to be able to enjoy some relaxing time just now, before I go, I just wanted to remind you that our online directory is free and full of activities for families and children over the summer holidays. I hope you find it helpful
NYCC’s website has a dedicated area for all the latest COVID-19 related news visit: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-advice-and-information
Follow us on social media: @northyorkscc on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.
World Health Organisation data shows that we have now passed 14 million confirmed cases globally, with over 607 thousand deaths across 216 countries, areas or territories.
At a national level, yesterday’s (21/07) Public Health England data show there have been 295,817 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the UK, with 45,422 COVID-associated deaths. To date, there have been 2,544 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across North Yorkshire (an increase of 11 since last week). The infection rate in North Yorkshire is lower than the national and Yorkshire & Humber average rates.
The number of people currently in hospital with COVID-19 continues to decrease slowly. There have been 542 COVID related deaths recorded in North Yorkshire, with an estimated 258 North Yorkshire residents having died in hospital to date from COVID-19. You can see the latest confirmed cases of coronavirus by area on the Government’s website.
From this Friday (24th July), face coverings will become mandatory in shops and supermarkets across England. This will provide additional protection in situations where it is not possible to maintain 2 metre social distancing at all times (although this is still the recommended distance wherever possible). Regular handwashing remains very important, including when putting on and removing your face covering. More information on face coverings is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own.
If you develop symptoms of coronavirus you should self-isolate at home (along with any other members of your household) and arrange to get tested as soon as possible by visiting www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or by ringing 119. If you test positive, you will be contacted by NHS Test & Trace and asked to provide information on who you have been in close contact with since 48 hours before your symptoms started. You may also be contacted by Test & Trace if you have been identified as a contact of someone who has COVID-19 – you will be asked to isolate at home for 14 days (as it can take up to 14 days for symptoms to appear). For more information visit: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/testing-and-tracing/.
As part of the national testing programme for coronavirus, drive-through Mobile Testing Units, run by the Department for Health and Social care, will be operating in the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:
- Wednesday 22 July – Scarborough – Scarborough Park & Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough YO12 4LW
- Wednesday 22 July- Harrogate – Hydro Leisure Centre, Jenny Field Drive, Harrogate HG1 2RP
- Thursday 23 July – Whitby – Whitby Park and Ride, Whitby, YO21 1TL
- Thursday 23 July – Richmond – Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4T
- Friday 24 July – Northallerton –Allertonshire School, Brompton Road, Northallerton, DL6 1ED
- Saturday 25 July – Selby –South Entrance, Drax Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
- Sunday 26 July – Scarborough –Scarborough Park & Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough YO12 4LW
- Sunday 26 July – Harrogate – Harrogate Sports and Fitness Centre, Hookstone Wood Rd, Harrogate, HG2 8PN
- Monday 27 July – Northallerton –Allertonshire School, Brompton Road, Northallerton, DL6 1ED
- Tuesday 28 July – Thornton Le Dale – National Trust Car Park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Pickering, YO18 7RR
Before you attend you must book a test. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before.
Find out more and how to book at www.northyorks.gov.uk/testing
Upload ideas for cycling and walking improvements
As part of our ongoing commitment to support sustainable and active travel as the county recovers from the pandemic, we have launched an online form to allow the public to submit their suggestions for improvements to cycling and walking facilities.
Suggestions received will inform future funding bids by the authority.
The map-based submission form can be found at www.northyorks.gov.uk/socialdistancingandactivetravel People are asked to mark the location of their suggested improvement on a map and give details of the idea and why it would be helpful.
The move comes as we prepare our bid for a second tranche of funding, of up to £1,065,000, from the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Emergency Active Travel Fund. The bid must be submitted to the DfT by 7 August. The DfT’s guidance indicates that the focus of this round of funding is on providing for walking and cycling, providing an effective replacement for public transport and reallocating road space to pedestrians and cyclists. To be successful, any bid must meet the Government’s strict criteria. Any successful schemes must be delivered by 31 March 2021.
Chairman’s message of hope as he is re-elected
County Councillor Jim Clark was re-elected until next May at today’s full County Council meeting.
Continuing his office, Cllr Clark acknowledged the strength of the ordinary people of North Yorkshire, doing extraordinary things, along with health service employees, council staff and other key workers who have come to the forefront during the pandemic.
He said: “I want to thank all the people I had the pleasure of meeting as chairman in the first part of my year as chairman, especially the volunteers and carers, and all those who have stepped up to help their neighbours since the start of this pandemic. It goes to show that we are much better and stronger when we stand together.”
The new deputy chairman is Cllr Stuart Martin, who represents the Ripon South division.
Not many of us can hold a tune like members of the North Yorkshire County Youth Choir.
And despite not being in the same place, some of the young singers have managed to come together to perform, adapting to the “new normal”.
Singing socially-distant in their own homes, members of the choir performed and recorded a version of “Song of the Sea” to make up for the fact several of their live performances have been cancelled because of the pandemic.
Music service teacher Andrea Rhodes said the choir decided on the song for the virtual performance because originally it was meant to be part of a VE Day commemoration performance in Harrogate. The choir had been practising it throughout February but then the concert was cancelled along with a summer residential which the choir was also looking forward to; so although the virtual performance was a lot of work both students and staff have reaped the benefits.
Andrea sent the music out to choir members with a backing track sung by herself, with guitar and bass played by her son.
Then the singers donned their headsets and sung their part, which was then expertly mixed by Andrea’s son and a video put together by her husband.
The clip shows the young performers singing separately at home, but coming together as a real team, to create the melodic track. The video has had great feedback so far, so we hope the young people can feel proud of what they’ve achieved.
Andrea teaches music day to day for North Yorkshire and she’s had to adapt to instructing students virtually over video chat rather than visiting schools like she would before.
Our head of music service Ian Bangay said the videos made by all the County ensembles have been a lifeline for the students to express themselves. He also said the fact that the music service had continued through lockdown by moving all its teaching online had been hugely appreciated by families as it provided structure and a sense of normality to students learning from home.
Due to the constraints of Covid the music service will carry on teaching online in September but hopes to be back in schools and performing as ensembles as soon as possible.
Video of Song of the Sea: https://youtu.be/BwwGFHK5tV8.
Support for people in isolation
Many people in North Yorkshire who have spent months self-isolating and shielding now need a helping hand with getting back into everyday activities. Community support organisations, who continue to be a vital element of Team North Yorkshire, will carry on helping those who need to limit their social contact and who will still need help getting food and medication.
Volunteers at Hambleton Community Action, one of 23 community organisations supporting people across the county, have adapted services to help those who feel ready to start venturing out. Chief Officer Liz Lockey said: “There’s been much talk about mental health but we have to remember that a lot of shielded people are elderly and have problems with their mobility. After months of staying indoors many have lost the confidence to go out. Our aim is to give people their independence back.
“We have been visiting people in their gardens or in groups of up to six at the park where everybody brings their own chairs and picnic. One lady was accompanied to walk up and down Northallerton high street after her doctor’s appointment to see how it had changed so she would have the confidence to go out on her own.
“With lockdown easing, volunteers are busy providing transport for hairdressing appointments and accompanying people shopping for the first time in months. We’ve had a few people tell us how they have missed going to the beach so hopefully we can soon offer day trips again.”
We are also continuing to contact people, who have been shielding, to give some reassurance that support will still be available after shielding is paused at the end of July. Colleagues in our customer service centre are supporting people to put alternative arrangements in place should they need it. If people cannot be contacted by telephone, one of our team’s volunteers will be deployed to carry out a door knock check. From 1 August, the Government is advising people to adopt strict social distancing rather than full shielding measures, and the national programme of food and prescription deliveries will stop. We know that most people have been supported by family, friends and neighbours while they have been shielding, but we want to reassure North Yorkshire residents that our support will continue for those who need it.
People who are self-isolating and need help with shopping, prescriptions and other essentials but don’t have anyone to call on, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780. The centre is open seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm.
People can also find details of local voluntary and community groups offering support at www.northyorkshireconnect.org.uk
For more information about support available go to www.northyorks.gov.uk/help-you-during-coronavirus-covid-19
We have transformed the way we work and carried on delivering strong services across all areas through one of the most challenging periods in our council’s history, our newly published quarterly performance report shows.
The monitoring report, which will go before the Executive next week, provides robust evidence of progress, even during the Covid-19 pandemic, towards delivering on our ambitions as a council to be pioneering in the provision of high performance, high value services.
Our flexible approach to services has enabled communities to support each other during this unprecedented period and enabled us to work at speed, reconfiguring our adult social care services to meet the Covid challenge and moving to a 24/7 operating model. Transformation on this scale would normally take six to twelve months but was achieved in three weeks at the peak of the pandemic.
Responding to new Government guidance during the pandemic quickly and effectively has been central to our endeavours and the work of our community support organisations to help the shielded and the isolated and the positivity and willingness of our staff to be flexible as required has been the biggest contributing factor to what we have delivered over recent months.
In addition, County Council teams, led by Adult Social Care and Public Health and working closely with the NHS, community groups and with care providers have worked hard to:
- Carry out daily support calls to 235 care homes;
- Ensure adequate levels of personal protective equipment is available;
- Ensure Covid-19 related assessments are completed quickly;
- Deliver support 7 days a week across 5 acute hospital trust areas to facilitate rapid and appropriate discharge of patients;
- Establish the capacity to distribute up to 800 Covid-19 swab tests per day through 2 satellite testing sites in Scarborough and Harrogate and 2 mobile testing sites.
Our key objective remains to prevent, reduce or delay the transmission and/or outbreaks of Covid-19 in care homes and extra care schemes and we continue to work hard with all our partners in the NHS and care setting providers:
- to keep people who use services and the workforce safe and well;
- ensure safe services to people who do not have Covid-19;
- keep Covid-19 free settings shielded so that they remain Covid-19 free;
- Prevent, contain and manage outbreaks
- Prevent and reduce deaths, where possible
Where there have been problems, we have taken local action (quarantine beds to ensure safer discharge from hospital, PPE supplies/training/guidance, satellite testing units for care homes, testing care setting residents under 65) ahead of national policy being clarified or changed.
Following a recent change in Government policy, care homes for people over 65 and those living with dementia are able to access whole home testing through a national portal. This is in the process of being rolled out and will include all care homes by the end of August. This will mean all residents of care homes are tested every 28 days and that care staff are tested every week. Until this programme is completely rolled out, we are able to support care settings needing additional whole home testing through our Satellite Testing Site capacity.
The current position is much improved but as the general population moves out of lockdown, there is a risk of an increase in infection rates. This poses an increased risk of infection in care homes. We are currently considering the Government guidance in visiting to care homes and want to get the balance right between protecting residents and offering them some type of normality.
In order to prevent and contain future outbreaks, we, along with our NHS partners are currently:
- Reviewing what has been learned from the initial pandemic;
- Continuing regular calls and support to care providers;
- Continuing additional social care funding for providers;
- Reviewing hospital discharge arrangements;
- Planning for a second wave and/or a severe winter
We will continue to work closely together to support and protect residents and care workers.
Buy Local: Lewis and Cooper serves customers old and new
North Yorkshire Buy Local (www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local) is the online marketplace set up by North Yorkshire County Council to help local businesses survive and thrive.
There are now over 700 businesses registered, from across the county, forming a vital part of Team North Yorkshire by offering a huge range of services.
Even the well-known North Yorkshire brand Lewis and Cooper has seen the benefit of free advertising on the site.
The multi-award winning, independent, gourmet food store based in Northallerton, stayed open throughout lockdown, but, like many other retailers, also adapted their business to offer phone and collect, and home delivery. Home deliveries were so popular, not only did the company serve the local community, but also had high demand nationally!
Nearly 100 people viewed their profile page on the site during lockdown.
Their high street store is welcoming customers from far and wide as confidence grows and people come back on to the high street to shop.
Julie Oxley-Hoyle, Deli and Wine Manager in the Northallerton store, told us about how the team has pulled out all the stops to reassure customers.
“We’ve done our best to keep everybody safe. We’ve put in place all the measures that we have been asked to do. Everything is as clean as it can be. We’ve moved fixtures out of the way so there is plenty of space for people to move around and to browse.”
“We are getting really excited about seeing more people, and we hope that they’ll come and see us.”
Hear more from Julie here https://youtu.be/gy2SDON-Ut4
Register your business and tell your network about the Buy Local market place today!
Please share our social media messages encouraging businesses to register, and directing the public to the site. Follow @northyorkscc on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.
LEP News: Local Highlights
Yorkshire & Humber Tourism Business Support Questionnaire
In order to aid the recovery of the tourism sector, a series of funding streams will soon be made available to provide support to businesses in the visitor economy.
Welcome to Yorkshire is working with the 4 LEP Growth Hubs & Local Enterprise Partnerships across Yorkshire and the Humber, to help identify the most valuable way this funding can be used, and what the most impactful and beneficial resources to businesses are at this time.
A survey has been created to give the opportunity for stakeholders to have their say on the support needed from the Growth Hubs. This closed at 9am Wednesday 22nd July and will be analysed promptly to determine conclusions.
York & North Yorkshire High Street Network Facebook Group
A new Facebook group has been launched. Hosted by the York & North Yorkshire LEP and Growth Hub in partnership with the Federation of Small Business (FSB), the focus is to build links between the regions high-street businesses, local authorities, networks and organisations to drive collaboration, creativity and prosperity across our region.
This group aims to promote creativity, share best practice and provide a channel through which problem- solving and collaboration can flourish.
To join this group, go to https://www.facebook.com/groups/569966023702112 or search “York & North Yorkshire High Street Network”. Please promote this with stakeholders so that a strong network can be created.
Call to shape ambitious decarbonisation pathways
The first part of a major study commissioned by the York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), has identified what needs to change to realise our regional ambition to be carbon neutral by 2034 and carbon negative by 2040. This is key to our regional recovery vision of creating a Greener, Fairer, Stronger economy and Local Industrial Strategy.
Stakeholders and business leaders are now being asked to contribute towards developing policy to implement the study findings.
A survey consultation process launched on 20th July 2020 and will be closing on 7th August, with partners invited to take part in sector-specific surveys. Following this, the York & North Yorkshire LEP will then be working further with partners to co-create an ambitious “Roadmap Towards Carbon Negative”. This will build upon our existing Local Energy Strategy and Circular Economy Strategy to provide a clear pathway to a carbon-negative York and North Yorkshire.
For more information on this project and to find out how to get involved, please visit https://www.businessinspiredgrowth.com/carbon-abatement-pathways/.
Eat Out to Help Out registration
Restaurants and other establishments serving food for on-premises consumption can now register for the Eat Out to Help Out scheme. You can register if your establishment:
- Sells food for immediate consumption on the premises;
- Provides its own dining area or shares a dining area with another establishment for eat-in meals; and
- Was registered as a food business with the relevant local authority on or before 7 July.
For further details and to register, visit: https://bit.ly/EOHORegistration. Registration will close on 31 August.
Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughters – John Carr
A man whose legacy is threaded through North Yorkshire’s roads network is the latest subject of the Great North Yorkshire Sons and Daughters campaign. The latest nominee is renowned Georgian architect John Carr. Carr served as the North and West Riding “bridgemaster”.
Read more about John Carr and Made in North Yorkshire at: www.northyorks.gov.uk/made-in-north-yorkshire
Online music lessons
Our service has adapted to allow lessons to be taught online to pupils unable to attend school. We offer the full range of instruments, including brass, woodwind, strings, percussion, voice and keyboard. Lessons are delivered by specialist instrumental teachers over a secure connection.
We were among the first music service to pioneer this approach and are very experienced in it. For details, visit www.northyorkshiremusichub.co.uk or email MusicServiceTuitionRequests@northyorks.gov.uk