A message from Richard Flinton – Chief Executive
I was impressed to see that even yesterday’s torrential downpours didn’t appear to dampen North Yorkshire’s commitment to supporting businesses in the last week of the Government’s Eat Out to Help Out initiative. In true resilient style, despite that awful weather, I noted the queues outside Betty’s tea room in Northallerton, too – I feel sure that was a scene repeated across the county – so well done everyone who braved the weather to support their local businesses again. This has been a welcome scheme, which I am aware has benefitted not just our hospitality industry but also seen many people venture out to dine and socialise safely for the first time – an important step in our county’s return to the new norm. If you haven’t yet made the most of the chance to visit your favourite restaurant or café under this deal, then there is tonight and then the Bank Holiday Monday to do so – a list of participating businesses can be found here and you can get up to £10 off your meal, so it’s well worth a go! https://www.gov.uk/guidance/get-a-discount-with-the-eat-out-to-help-out-scheme
Don’t forget, we have a free website providing an online directory for goods and services where you can find a growing range of Covid-compliant companies. Buy Local now has more than 750 businesses registered – see if you can find what you need and support the local economy here https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local
On the subject of supporting businesses, our executive this week agreed to extend free parking in Knaresborough Market Place and Northallerton High Street to an hour, from 30 minutes. This will allow shoppers some extra time to support retailers and will be in place until December 31st. There’s more on this on the following link https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/free-parking-extension-comes-force-northallerton
The biggest return to the new norm coming up is, of course, the reopening of schools to all pupils. In preparation for welcoming everyone back safely, a huge amount of work has been going on across a broad range of education settings from child minders and nurseries to primary and secondary schools.
This includes detailed risk assessments and individual pupil plans, which will minimise risks to pupils and staff while ensuring young people can get the education they need.
In many instances, pupils will be part of ‘teaching bubbles’, which involve pupils spending the day with the same group of people within school. We hope that understanding the thoughtful planning process which has been ongoing throughout the summer will give everyone confidence to help get pupils back to class. There is more further down the bulletin on this.
More positive news for the people of Ryedale is the refurbishment of Malton library, which gets under way next week. The investment will provide more modern and flexible space for visitors, including a new-look children’s section plus new books for all ages and a brand new IT and study area. All very welcome for local people, I am sure. There’s more on that here https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/malton-library-undergoes-refurbishment-improve-its-services
I also promised to keep you up to date on the latest on devolution and the changes to local government that are required to be eligible for a devolution deal. This is a fast-moving topic and we have been very busy. We are developing a proposal that we believe would deliver the strength needed to be able to respond to big challenges like the current pandemic, the major issue with the A19 flood damage and other significant impacts such as those experienced during the Dales flash floods last year. We are also absolutely committed to the concept of double devolution – under which powers and money would come from central government to local government and then on down to very local level, ensuring priorities are set in communities. Last week, 250 town and parish councillors attended our online seminar to discuss the ideas we have for localism and I am pleased to say the first meeting of the working group to take ideas forward and explore all thoughts will take place very soon.
We are listening carefully to the views of people, groups, partners and organisations as we develop our proposal for a new single council for North Yorkshire. We would like to bring together the very best from the districts and county council and see them deliver best value and strengthened services in a much simpler format for everyone. We are aware the district councils are also working on a bid and look forward to that being in the public domain, too. You can find out more about our proposal and let us know your thoughts and suggestions here https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/stronger-together
Today saw another development in this area as Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen crossed the bridge at Croft-on-Tees to talk about the importance of a Mayoral Combined Authority for York and North Yorkshire. You can hear his words for yourself here about why it matters so much now https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/bridging-north-south-divide
While we are all getting used to the new norm we must not lose site of the fact that we are still in a pandemic which has taken tens of thousands of lives in this country alone. So my plea once more is that you all continue to play your part in containing the virus and prevent it taking a hold of our communities again. It is down to every one of us to keep a safe distance, wash our hands and get a test if we have symptoms. Let’s look out for North Yorkshire and stick together to beat this.
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.
The number of new cases across North Yorkshire is currently around 3 per day. We have seen an increase in the number of people across the county accessing testing, but the number of tests that come back as positive remains below 1%. A significant proportion of recent cases have been linked to routine testing of care homes and staff, small outbreaks in workplaces/hospitality settings, or transmission within households. Although the number of cases remain lower in North Yorkshire than in some of our surrounding areas, it is still vitally important that people continue to follow advice on social distancing, frequent handwashing, and staying at home if you (or anyone you live with) has symptoms to prevent any wider spread of infection.
We are continuing to work to support COVID testing across the county. This includes both the roll out of regular antigen (swab) testing and offering antibody testing in care settings, plus supporting community access to testing through our Mobile Testing Units that continue to travel across the county. We are working to ensure that we continue to have accessible testing provision across the winter months and that our sites are suitable for winter use.
There have been several recent changes to the countries on the national travel corridor list that are exempt from the requirement to self-isolate for 14 days following arrival in the UK. From Saturday 22nd August, Austria, Croatia and Trinidad and Tobago were removed from the list – anyone returning from these countries should now complete 14 days of self-isolation as set out here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-travel-corridors. This applies to UK residents and to visitors of the UK. We would urge anyone who is travelling abroad to make yourself aware of the latest guidance before you go, and ensure you complete the full period of self-isolation on your return if you travel to a country that is not on the travel corridor list.
As part of the national testing programme for coronavirus, drive-through Mobile Testing Units, run by the Department for Health and Social care, will be operating in the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:
• Thursday 27 August – Whitby – Whitby Park and Ride, Whitby, YO21 1TL
• Thursday 27 August – Richmond – Round Howe Car Park, Reeth Road, Richmond, DL10 4T
• Friday 28 August – Northallerton – Allertonshire School, Brompton Road, Northallerton, DL6 1ED
• Friday 28 August – Harrogate – Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
• Saturday 29 August – Selby – South Entrance, Drax Power Station, New Road, Selby, YO8 8PH
• Sunday 30 August – Scarborough – Scarborough Park & Ride, Seamer Road, Scarborough YO12 4LW
• Monday 31 August – Skipton – Coach St car park, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 1LH
• Monday 31 August – Northallerton – Allertonshire School, Brompton Road, Northallerton, DL6 1ED
• Tuesday 1 September – Thornton Le Dale – National Trust Car Park, No.5. Chestnut Avenue, Pickering, YO18 7RR
• Tuesday 1 September – Harrogate – Dragon Road Car Park, Dragon Road, Harrogate, HG1 5DB
Before you attend you must book a test. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before.
Watch this video to find out what to expect and how to prepare for the test: https://youtu.be/QawyKwIIfKQ
Find out more and how to book at www.northyorks.gov.uk/testing
We are looking forward to welcoming all pupils back to school from the week beginning September 7. We want to reassure parents, carers and pupils that schools, colleges, nurseries and child minders have all put a range of protective measures in place to reduce the risk and create a safe and welcoming environment for children and young people.
Schools have been working throughout the summer holidays on the measures which will allow them to reopen safely. They have planned individually how they will arrange children in bubbles to minimise contact, using risk assessment templates developed by the County Council in conjunction with head teachers and the unions.
Teaching bubbles, which involve pupils spending the day with the same group of people within school, are just some of the bespoke measures which will be employed by individual schools, depending on their site, student population and other factors.
They will also be using strategies including one-way systems, minimising movement around the school buildings and providing additional hygiene measures.
This may include adjustments to lesson and break timings during the day and lunchtime arrangements, and changes to start and finish times to minimise congestion around the school.
Additional hygiene and safety measures will also be in place on school transport. North Yorkshire County Council has prepared guidance for families, transport providers and schools to support the safe return to school transport.
The home to school transport network will be operating in the same way as it did previously and pick-up and drop-off times will largely remain the same.
Students who rely on public transport to reach school will need to observe the government guidelines in relation to the wearing of face coverings and the 1m social distancing rules.
Wherever possible, parents and pupils are being asked to think about alternative, sustainable ways of getting to school by walking, cycling or scooting, to reduce the number of people using public transport.
As restrictions continue to ease, our community support organisations are helping people return to everyday activities such as shopping and meeting friends.
In Leyburn, a walking group is helping people get back on their feet and into the community. The group, run by volunteers, has started up again when members, who had been isolated during lockdown, were keen to get out and about. The group comes under Leyburn Arts and Community Centre, which is currently operating as a community support organisation.
Gill Mitchell, who manages the group admin, said as lockdown began to lift members got in touch to ask when the walks would be back on. She said: “Once lockdown began to ease, people started contacting us to ask when it was coming back.
“Some members live alone, are widows or widowers or don’t have family locally so have been very isolated during lockdown and both the social and exercise elements of the walks are important to them.”
Gill said they have devised a way to start the walks again safely. They head out in smaller groups led by keen walker Diana Jolland, ensuring they are socially distant and armed with hand sanitiser.
Gill added: “We’ve done four walks so far; we have four or five walks that we do regularly that are around three to five miles long. Everyone has welcomed the opportunity to get out and about and have a catch up with their friends after lockdown.”
She said: “It’s important for some of the people who go to have that companionship and to keep fit. Lockdown has been hard, especially for people living alone, so it’s good to get out again.”
Despite community support organisations shifting their focus to recovery, support is still there for people who need it. Those who need help with shopping, prescriptions and other essentials but don’t have anyone to call on, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780. The centre is open seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm.
People can also find details of local voluntary and community groups offering support at www.northyorkshireconnect.org.uk
For more information go to www.northyorks.gov.uk/help-you-during-coronavirus-covid-19
The ‘Please give me space’ Distance Aware Initiative has been recently endorsed by the Department of Health and Social Care to help those who need support in getting others around them to maintain social distancing.
Visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/please-give-me-space-social-distancing-cards-or-badges to see optional badges which can be carried to show that the carrier may have concerns or difficulties in maintaining social distancing.
They can be used on mobile phones along with print.
Free skills funding and Kickstart scheme webinar – 2 September
The government’s ‘plan for jobs’ has created additional funding opportunities to encourage businesses to provide new routes for young people into employment.
The York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub have partnered with the Education, Skills and Funding Agency (ESFA) to help businesses understand the options and the process involved for apprenticeships, T Levels, traineeships and the Kickstart scheme. The session will explore the opportunities in more detail and answer any questions that you may have.
For full details and to register, visit: https://www.ynygrowthhub.com/events/funding-opportunities-for-skills-training-and-the-kickstart-scheme/.
This webinar is delivered in partnership with Make It York and North Yorkshire County Council
DoE employer webinars for T levels
The Department for Education and Strategic Development Network (SDN) are hosting three webinars for employers looking at what industry placements look like in the following skill areas for the new T levels:
Education and Childcare: 10 Sept
Construction: 15 Sept
Digital: 23 Sept
Find out more and register here
DWP “A Good Place to Start” campaign
The Department for Work and Pensions have launched a new campaign.
‘A Good Place to Start’ aims to help jobseekers through the COVID-19 pandemic back into work, and put those businesses needing to recruit in touch with them. At the centre of the campaign are two websites, jobhelp which provides support to jobseekers including those starting out in their career, and employerhelp which provides links to business support and information, as well as help for those who need to recruit.
Employers are encouraged to post their vacancies on the free DWP Find a Job service. Help on how to do this can found here.
HMRC Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme reminder
From 1 September, CJRS will pay 70% of usual wages up to a cap of £2,187.50 per month for the hours furloughed employees do not work.
Employers will still need to pay furloughed employees 80% of their usual wages for the hours they do not work, up to a cap of £2,500 per month and fund the difference between this and the CJRS grant themselves.
Employers will continue to pay furloughed employees’ National Insurance (NI) and pension contributions from their own funds.
Further guidance can be found here.
New support for disabled to work from home during pandemic
Those working from home or in the workplace with a disability will benefit from extra help, thanks to an extension of the Access to Work scheme, including support for special equipment, travel costs and mental health.
For more information, read here
Y&NY LEP: https://www.businessinspiredgrowth.com/covid-19/
Y&NY GROWTH HUB: https://www.ynygrowthhub.com/how-we-can-help/coronavirus/
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