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Working with communities to help beat Covid-19

Published Friday, 20 March 2020

Since COBRA’s initial meeting on Covid-19, increasingly strict measures have been introduced by the government in an attempt to slow the infection rate of the Coronavirus, Covid-19. 

Five days in, the Council has initiated a wide-range of actions to support the city and its communities to respond and support local residents, organisations and businesses.

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

It’s now five days since the Covid-19 COBRA meeting was called, and we have been overwhelmed by the kindness and offers of support from York’s residents and businesses.

"The disruption to our daily lives cannot be underestimated, with many people now isolated from their friends or concerned that their livelihoods are at threat.  People are working long hours to respond to the outbreak or care for the sick. Yet every day, I am encouraged by residents freely giving their time to support people they’ve never met, or businesses offering hotel rooms for key workers or food for older people, who can no longer get out.

Reflecting on the week and listening to our residents, there are five important things to highlight:

The strength of our communities is incredible. Within hours, facebook groups were coordinating requests for help or recruiting people keen to be there for their neighbours. We’re working with these groups and established voluntary groups to recruit, train and deploy volunteers in a safe and coordinated manner, in order to focus resources on supporting the most vulnerable in the city. We have also committed to administering our Safer Communities fund more swiftly, in order to enable local community groups to access new funding quickly in response to the outbreak.

For those who are interested and able to help volunteer, please get involved via the contact details are:

Many of our neighbours need our help. Whether collecting food or prescriptions or keeping isolated people connected and involved, we are working to match volunteers to where they are needed most. However, if you are on your own and you need help during this time please contact us:

Our economy is resilient but needs our help. Many of our businesses have adapted to the current climate, sharing new ideas with each other and inventing new models of delivery. Cafes now offer delivery and takeaway services, allowing them to continue to trade whilst supporting keyworkers. More information is at: visityork.org/eat-and-drink/takeaway-delivery-york. Yet we must do more. The council is committed to helping our local economy and we have announced a local emergency fund to focus support to residents and businesses on top of the ones announced by the Government. Further detail of this fund will be shared next week and we will share regular communications direct with businesses. Next week we will be inviting businesses to share their contact details so we can get in touch.For now, please visit www.york.gov.uk/BusinessSupport.

We must do more. Public health colleagues are clear. To reduce the threat to our NHS, to slow down the infection and to keep make sure we don’t lose loved ones before their time, we must do more. Social distancing isn’t easy. It means doing things differently. At the council, as many people as possible are now working from home. We have stopped the majority of meetings and are vigorous in cleaning and hand washing. All of us have to limit the time we spend with other people. For more information: nhs.uk/coronavirus.

This is a fast moving situation, to keep up to date with the latest information, either visit www.york.gov.uk/coronavirus or follow our social media channels.

I’d like to take a moment to thank residents for their response to this crisis. If we continue to show this community spirit, work together, support each other and find new ways to stay connected, we will get through this. Our frontline workers both in the council and our partners have demonstrated the importance of key workers and public sector workers in health and social care, emergency services, local government and education are keeping the city and country safe. Together we can slow the infection down and help these vital services manage the response to this pandemic."