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Council to link volunteers to those in greatest need during coronavirus

Published Wednesday, 18 March 2020

City of York Council is working with the many kind-hearted volunteers and with the established voluntary sector to recruit, train and deploy volunteers to support the most vulnerable in the city.

Residents who would like to help and volunteer are being asked to sign up via email: volunteering@york.gov.uk or telephone: 01904 551550, or go to www.york.gov.uk/COVIDVolunteering. We will ask for details of their skills and capacity, match them to an existing voluntary group or train them ourselves, coordinating with city groups and council requirements, manage them to deliver support where it is needed.

Those vulnerable residents who do not currently have any access to support, but who need help because of impact of COVID-19, are asked to email our Community Support Coordinators at covid19help@york.gov.uk or telephone: 01904 551550 for assistance.

As the health and safety of our residents is our priority, this structured and safe approach to volunteering is to ensure people get the support they need in a co-ordinated and safe way.

Cllr Keith Aspden, Leader of City of York Council said:

Our incredible communities and voluntary sector are a key part of how York will get through this crisis.

"We know that hundreds of residents across the city have already offered their help to fellow residents at this unprecedented time, and we welcome this public-spirited approach.

We are working with care providers across the city, providing them with the latest information and advice. Our priority is looking after the physical and mental wellbeing of our older and vulnerable people.

Together, we are working fast to create a comprehensive strategy which connects our willing and wonderful volunteers to those in greatest need. Please do play your part."

Council meetings will be cancelled to minimise risk and allow more time for Councillors to focus on supporting their communities.

City of York Council confirmed they would reflect Government recommendations whilst helping the city focus on those who need it most, including people who are likely to experience limited physical contact for long periods of time.  All consultation and engagement events are cancelled with immediate effect, but will be reviewed at a later point with regard to digital engagement and Government guidance.

The below Council meetings have been cancelled with immediate effect:

  • Full Council
  • All scrutiny meetings
  • Audit and governance
  • Shareholder committee
  • Standards committee
  • Executive Member decision sessions

After the meeting of the Executive on Thursday 19 March and Staffing Matters Committee on the Tuesday 24 March, further pre-scheduled Executive and Staffing Matters meetings will be cancelled.

Alongside Government guidance, advice will be issued shortly regarding processes for executive, planning and licensing committees. We will put into place a robust decision-making framework to enable the Council to deliver support to our communities at the pace required.

Sharon Stoltz, Director of Public Health, City of York Council said:

The Government has put in place clear recommendations that encourage social distancing. This approach is aimed at slowing down the spread of COVID-19, allowing our stretched NHS to cope with demand whilst we protect those most at risk from this virus. Social distancing includes keeping 2m apart from another person, working from home wherever possible and avoiding large gatherings.

We ask that people continue to follow advice from reputable sources. Information, advice and support for people is available at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus and we are continuing to update our website at www.york.gov.uk/coronavirus."