Community partnership to deliver essential support during Coronavirus

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Selby District Council, North Yorkshire County Council and a number of community support groups in Selby, Sherburn and Tadcaster are working together to help those most in need during the Coronavirus outbreak.  New arrangements have been put in place to ensure those most in need have access to the food and medicines they require, as well as important welfare contacts at a time when many people are facing isolation.

“We want to make it clear that people first and foremost should turn to family, neighbours and friends for help with things like getting in groceries or collecting medication or in delivering a hot meal,” said Cllr Carl Les, North Yorkshire County Council’s Leader, speaking on behalf of all seven district councils and the county council.

“If this network isn’t available to them, we then ask them to make contact with church organisations, clubs, the voluntary sector organisations they’re supported by or societies they belong to.

“But North Yorkshire is known for its great spirit of generosity so that for those with no immediate network of support, the county and district council is working with selected community organisations to deliver that support in the Selby area.”

People needing help should contact the County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780.  People contacting Selby District Council will be directed through to this central service, to ensure a coordinated approach for everyone.

The role of the community support organisation in each area is as follows:

  • the single point of contact for those who are alone and isolated by the pandemic;
  • signposting to what local support is available in the community;
  • acting as local hub for individuals and groups wishing to volunteer in the community response; and
  • providing information on local shopping options and trusted suppliers who’re delivering directly to anyone self-isolating.

The Community Support Organisation will work with local voluntary sector groups to arrange:

  • collection and delivery of shopping using local volunteering resources - delivered in line with the safety guidelines and left on the doorstep or in a safe place, in order to avoid close physical contact;
  • collection and delivery of prescriptions using local volunteers - collected by a nominated person or organisation with the agreement of the GP or pharmacist;
  • caring for pets - for example walking a dog;
  • regular social – for example via telephone, FaceTime, Skype; and
  • delivery of books and magazines or materials to support hobbies, such as wool or knitting or art materials.

The first thing people wanting to help should do is talk to family, friends and neighbours who may need help.  They can also contact local voluntary groups already known to them, mindful that the Government’s regulations around social distancing must be observed at all times.

“We don’t want volunteers travelling long distances to help out,” said Cllr Les.   “They need to remain within their local area.  Nor do we want them to put themselves or others in personal jeopardy.

“If volunteers have specific or specialist skills to offer, again they should be in contact with local groups.  They can also contact the County Council customer service centre which can direct them to their local community support organisation which can process their offer of help.”

“The biggest help is maintaining contact with people who’re alone and isolated,” said Cllr Les.  “We’ll be looking for volunteers above all who will be able to ring people up and chat with them.

“We want the community response across North Yorkshire to be as coordinated and effective as possible and one which observes the Government’s strict guidance on coronavirus.”

Please Note – People in urgent need of help who have no friends, family, church or clubs to turn to should get in touch with North Yorkshire County Council’s Customer Service Centre on 01609 780780.  More information is also available online at northyorks.gov.uk and selby.gov.uk.