Weed spraying programme published by York Council

York Council contractors are spraying weeds across the City over the next 3 weeks. A programme has been published (below).

They are making an early start this year to try to avoid the problems of last year.

The contractors are scheduled to be in the Westfield and Dringhouses areas a week on Friday (16th April).

Weed growth summer 2019

Coronavirus York updates – 8th April 2020

Grass cutting and weed control

This service continues.

The Council are maintaining the public highway, which includes highway verges and pavements to keep them in a safe and accessible condition, because:

 • If the grass gets too long it will grow onto pavements causing slip/trip hazards and cause sight line issues at junctions

• if weeds grow on pavements they will become unsafe to walk on

• it will cause longer term damage to pavement surfaces, causing the breakup of the surface

• If we don’t keep the weeds under control at the beginning of the year this will put greater pressures on the service for the whole year.

 All frontline staff, whether gardening or street cleaning are working alone to ensure social distancing.

NB. Please also keep boundary hedges/tree cut trimmed back from public footpaths

Food deliveries

The Council says that  “Staff and volunteers of our community hubs and in the customer centre are continuing to work incredibly hard to support residents who need it. We have attached a document (who we are helping) which sets out who is deemed to be ‘extremely clinically vulnerable’ and the types of support we are offering them and others in communities across the city.

 The extremely clinically vulnerable above are supported by food parcels from community hubs.Government guidance on this group and how to protect and work with them  Click 

 In terms of wider support for residents who have asked for help with food:

 Those who are generally able and financially secure but who are not able to shop are given a list of food delivery businesses and/or link them to the COVID-19 Mutual Aid facebook groups *

  • Older or disabled residents who need help with shopping and are financially secure are referred to specialist voluntary organisations such as Age UK, Good Gym
  • The medically shielded are delivered the Government-provided food which the council supplements especially for those with special dietary needs eg diabetics or coeliacs
  • People eligible for Food Bank vouchers are sent a delivery from the food bank where appropriate
  • People struggling for other reasons ie anxiety, caring responsibilities, mobility etc are delivered a Council-sourced food box put together at the hubs.

 In addition, parents of children eligible for Free School Meals are given vouchers.

 As well as this support volunteers are helping to check on people’s wellbeing by calling individuals to check they are ok and also chat to them for a while to help them feel they aren’t alone.

 Vulnerable people who can ask City of York Council for help on COVID19help@york.gov.uk or 01904 551550.Anyone can ask for help from COVID19help@york.gov.uk   if they don’t currently get help from CYC or the NHS, or have any help from family or friends”.

*NB. The Council have still not published a list of shops undertaking home deliveries despite many requests.

Morrisons

Morrisons now providing an “essentials” telephone ordering/doorstep delivery service for the vulnerable

Yorwaste

Yorwaste has become the latest employer to deploy theuir workfioece in support of street level public services.

Business grants

The Council started to make payments to local businesses on Monday. They will be working over Easter to complete the process. They are also making checks to weed out any fraudulent claims.

We have started making payments, with several million pounds worth of grants processed today. This is an entirely new process and we have a duty to quality assure every payment and protect York businesses grants from potential fraud. We have had 2,500 applications so far and need to run each one through the government’s anti-fraud software before we can process payments; this is to verify bank account details of organisations which have never had a financial relationship with us before. We’ve started contacting businesses as part of that process and appreciate your patience with us whilst we carry this out. Please remember we will only ask you to verify your details and would never ask you to make payments.

Support for children and young people

Kooth (www.kooth.com) is commissioned by TEWV to offer mental health and well -being support to young people in York and North Yorkshire aged 11-18 years. The service provides young people with:

  • An opportunity to access support services anonymously
  • Access to BACP accredited counsellors via online chat
  • Access on to online articles and magazines written by counsellors
  • An opportunity for young people to write their own articles and to share their story
  • Young people can set their own personal goals and are supported by the counsellors online
  • Young people can access the support service from any internet device, 365 days a year.

 Contacts

  • If you have significant concern regarding a vulnerable pupil please contact MASH: 01904 551900, out of hours: 0845 0349417
  • If parents have questions regarding childcare, i.e. OOSC/PVI please direct them to: FIS@york.gov.uk

House building

 To The Council says it is working to avoid delays to the council’s ambitious housing projects which might incur costs or slow the delivery of much-needed homes.

 Lowfield Green

Following a 48-hour pause on construction at Lowfield Green (to complete a thorough risk assessment) a new site working procedure has been drawn up which allows construction of the 140 new homes to continue. The new way of working also keeps building contractor Wates’s employees and their self-employed contractors safely on site.

 Ordnance Lane

Momentum around resident engagement has kept going! A workshop for residents on intergenerational living moved online to involve 19 residents and officers. It used a combination of pre-recorded presentations and a live panel with local residents taking centre stage.

Council to publish comprehensive Coronavirus newsletter

The York Council announced today that it is to deliver a new “My City” newsletter to every household in the City.

The decision came after criticism of the fragmented nature of the authorities communications strategy.

Residents will be hoping that the newsletter finally provides comprehensive information on public service resilience and all aspects of the food/medicine supply chain.

The newsletter should be available in a few days time and will be delivered by Royal Mail.

The Council has also announced the availability of their e-newsletter. It will provide a weekly update about support and guidance direct to resident’s mailboxes.

To receive the e-newsletter visit: https://www.york.gov.uk/form/EmailUpdates).

Copies of the Councils media releases can be found here https://www.york.gov.uk/news

NB. In some neighbourhoods home delivery of newspapers has already been suspended for the duration of the health crisis.

Snail mail too slow

York residents are about to get a third leaflet through their letter box about coronavirus. The first was a small yellow leaflet which apparently didn’t reach every household (the leafleters quit).

The second letter came from the Prime Minister.

Neither missive revealed anything that people would not have already picked up from the TV, radio, web sites or social media.

They might have been some  solace for those living alone or those detached from modern technology. Perhaps less of a consultation when readers found they were referred to web sites for further information.

Now the Council leadership is apparently writing to everyone. The letter should arrive – via Royal Mail – over the next few days.

The, no doubt well intentioned initiative, makes the same mistakes.

The situation is changing rapidly. What is true, or a high priority, one day may have been overtaken by events the following day.  

Even judging by today’s standards, there is nothing new in the letter (see copy below).

It pointedly fails to reassure about the resilience of key public services. The basics for living are power (heating, lighting), shelter, water, security, food and (for some) health care.

The tricky subject of home food deliveries (for everyone) has still not been addressed. There is no comprehensive list of stock levels or food suppliers who will deliver to doorsteps.

Even basic Council services don’t get much prominence despite green waste collections having been abandoned and a mixed recycling presentation introduced earlier today.

Apparently, the letter will also include a card giving contact details of local ward Councillors. Now leaving aside the possibility that these representatives should already by now have made themselves known in the local community, what services can they provide in the current civil emergency?

Some don’t have contact telephone numbers listed on the Council web site. Some aren’t answering emails, others are isolating on medical advice.

So thanks to the front line staff who are all working hard and effectively.

Senior management at the York Council, on the other hand, needs to do more to address the basic needs of all its citizens.

Patronising, outdated or superficial letters aren’t helpful.

York Council trying to maintain public service standards

Good to see at least some public services continuing in York. Verges and open spaces are being cut today in west York. This will be appreciated by the many additional users who are using parks and other spaces for their daily exercise.

Also the pot hole filling team has been at work with long standing hazards on Foxwood Lane patched this week. This should make cycling safer.

Still a lot of catching up to do though and the highways side.

Some of the potholes on Foxwood Lane have been levelled.

Temporary changes made to recycling process in York

City of York Council is introducing temporary changes to the recycling process in order to protect its vital frontline staff and allow for additional social distancing measures during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Residents are still required to leave recycling boxes at the kerbside and continue to separate materials in their boxes as normal. Collection days will also remain unchanged.

Waste crews will now be working in smaller teams to ensure that they can maintain a safe distance during working hours to protect themselves from infection.

Residents should be aware of the following changes to recycling collections, which include:

  • recycling will be split into two vehicles
  • a vehicle will collect plastic, tins and glass. Some mixing on the vehicle may take place
  • another vehicle will collect paper and cardboard
  • residents may experience two separate collections of recycling on the same day as the two vehicles may not arrive at the same time
  • in some instances, this may take a number of hours
  • as some mixing on the plastic, tins and glass vehicle will take place, the council will accept mixed plastic, tins and glass, but cardboard and paper must be separated
  • the council encourages residents to put out their recycling as normal, for 7am.

Cllr Paula Widdowson, Executive Member for Environment and Climate Change, said: “Our waste crews are providing a vital service during the Coronavirus pandemic to every household in York. We have to take these additional measures to protect them as much as we can. By pausing the start of garden waste collections, we now have more staff to focus on collecting recycling and household waste.

“You won’t see any changes other than your recycling may be collected at different times, with some limited mixing of glass, plastic and tin. It is important to highlight that some residents may have two separate collections of recycling on the same day and in some instances, this may take a number of hours between collections.

“Where mixing of glass, plastic and tin happens, we can assure residents that this will be separated after collection and recycled. We will seek to recover any additional costs of doing this from the government.”

The council announced last week that it would be postponing the start of garden waste collections, due to start this month, in order to ensure household waste and recycling collections were given priority.

These steps are being taken because of extraordinary pressures on frontline services during the outbreak of Coronavirus and a significantly reduced workforce. This decision has freed up more frontline crews and vehicles to focus on collecting recycling and household waste in a safe way for frontline staff.

The situation with garden waste collections will be kept under constant review, with an intention to resume garden waste collections as soon as practically possible. The council is encouraging residents to compost their garden waste at home, and to support residents in this effort, advice and tips for easy composting at home is available at www.york.gov.uk.composting.

Bolstering frontline services

The council has reallocated people from other teams, so that it can continue collecting household waste (black bins) and recycling boxes.

This includes redeploying staff from other services such as public realm and highways. The council is also working hard to increase its staff resource, including training a number of First and Pullman bus drivers, plus processing the applications made in response to the council’s urgent recruitment to support the refuse collection service.

Check when your bins will next be collected, get the latest service updates – all online! www.york.gov.uk/waste

Coronavirus York updates – 7th April 2020

Libraries mask production initiative

Explore is supporting a fantastic initiative using 3D printers to print safety visors to a design used across Europe and distributing them to frontline workers in York. The project is being led in York by two of Explore Labs digital makers.

Working as a collective they are mobilising local makers to use their skills and equipment to support frontline workers in the fight against Covid-19. Explore York has loaned the project three 3D printers and there is a network of at least 50 more printers today from a standing start of just two printers a week ago.

If you or your organisation know of anyone who can help with equipment, advice or skills please get in touch via the Facebook group 3D Printed Visors for Frontline workers York AREA

If you have a 3D-Printer and want to get involved, email interactandconnect@gmail.com  with ‘I have a 3D printer’ in the subject line.

If you live in York or the surrounding area and need a visor, email interactandconnect@gmail.com  with ‘visor please’ in the subject line. If you don’t live in York they will try and help you find a 3D-Printing group in your area.

FACEBOOK https://www.facebook.com/groups/PPEforFrontlineWorkers/

Green waste, composting and hedges

The Council is urging residents not to fly tip or burn green waste during the current crisis.

Unfortunately there is still no mechanism, where those with mainly hard-surfaced gardens, can get composting containers. This was raised with the Council several weeks ago when the possibility of the green waste collections being suspended was first highlighted.

With the growing season now upon us, we expect to see the Council issuing advice to the owners of hedges bordering public footpaths to keep them trimmed back. This is essential to assist in implementing the social distancing guidelines

NB Waste crews are working as normal this Easter bank holiday to collect household waste and recycling.

 Coronavirus response live stream

 Four of the leaders of North Yorkshire’s police, fire and crime response to the Coronavirus pandemic will give an and take questions from residents and businesses, in a live broadcast tomorrow (Tuesday 7 April):

 North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan will lead the live update with:

  • Chief Constable Lisa Winward – North Yorkshire Police
  • Chief Fire Officer Andrew Brodie – North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service
  • Richard Flinton – Chief Executive of North Yorkshire County Council and Chair of the multi-agency North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum

 People are invited to watch the meeting from 1.30pm on Tuesday on YouTube and submit questions in advance by emailing info@northyorkshire-pcc.gov.uk, posting on Twitter using the hashtag #NYScrutiny or commenting on Facebook. Not all questions will be able to be used, but they will inform the Commissioner’s questioning and the general discussion.

Coronavirus York updates – 6th April 2020

Deliveroo and McColls doorstep deliveries in York

Deliveroo (the bike home delivery service) is reported as saying that it has teamed with McColls to provide a food essentials doorstep service. The service will be contactless and will be accessible on the Deliveroo mobile App. .

No announcement has been made about when the service will be available in west York.

Links https://www.mccolls.co.uk/ & https://deliveroo.co.uk/

McColl’s, which has stores in Hamilton Drive in Acomb, Gale Lane in Westfield , Crichton Avenue in Clifton and Moorcroft Road in Woodthorpe, “hopes the service could prove particularly helpful for the elderly and those in isolation due to COVID-19”.

York Council housing

“Due to the current advice from the Government surrounding COVID-19, unfortunately we are only attending our properties to carry out emergency/urgent repair works until further notice.

We will be attending such things as, No Heating or Hot Water, No Form of Bathing, Full or Partial Loss of Electric, Only Toilet Block / unusable and Water Leaks.

We may ask you to be in a separate room while the emergency repair is undertaken. Operatives may also be wearing protective clothing, such as disposal suits, masks or gloves”

The annual rent increase for City of York Council tenants is to be halted for three months due to the coronavirus emergency. Residents are being assured that this year’s will be refunded. www.york.gov.uk/…/…/rent-increase-halted-for-council-tenants

Coronavirus – New e-newsletter service from York Council

City of York Council is encouraging residents and visitors to subscribe to receive e-newsletter updates about the city’s response to the outbreak of coronavirus.

The new e-newsletter service will provide information on the latest national guidance and local updates, direct links to useful resources, and signpost available support on offer in the city.

Within the last two weeks, City of York Council has already created a £1 million local emergency fund to support local businesses, a £1.25 million fund to help residents in financial hardship and recruited 3,000 volunteers to help those most in need across the city.

Residents can choose to sign up for three different email preferences to receive information on business support, advice for schools and families, updates on community services and more.  With the current situation continuously evolving, it is incredibly important that residents, communities and visitors can access reliable and accurate information easily. 

These e-newsletters will give people the information they need direct to their inbox. Those who subscribe over the weekend will get the first of these e-newsletter updates early next week.

To subscribe to direct email updates from City of York Council, visit: https://www.york.gov.uk/form/EmailUpdates

Cllr Keith Aspden, Leader of the Council, said:

“Over the last two weeks, the Council has already gone to considerable lengths to establish a new volunteering scheme, a new point of contact for those in need of assistance and two local emergency funds, totalling over £2 million to support our local businesses and residents.” 

“With all this work on-going in the city, it is incredibly important we make sure that residents, businesses and visitors are aware of the latest information in regards to the outbreak of Coronavirus, and more importantly, what help is out there to support people through this difficult time.”

“This is a fast moving situation and our new e-newsletter service is a great way to keep informed with the latest support and guidance. I would encourage everyone to sign up for these useful updates so that they are aware of the updates most relevant to them.”

Coronavirus updates – 4th April 2020

Royal Mail

Details of changes to services click here https://www.royalmail.com/d8/coronavirus-changes-service

Communcations problems and doorstep deliveries

Some questions are now being asked about priorities for doorstep delivery of food packages

A direct to doorstep essential service is being organised by the government. for those classed as critically at risk. Currently and subject to supply an individual box contains; hot beverages (coffee, tea bags), biscuits, bread, cereal, tinned veg, potatoes, long life milk, tinned protein (fish, cold meat excl pork, corned beef), fresh fruit, pasta sauce, pasta and rice, toilet tissue, hand soap or shower gel. This group also gets priority delivery slots from a local supermarket. The criteria for being identified as a member of this group can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19

Separately some local GPs have written to some of their patients saying that they may be severely at risk even though they do not have any of the conditions contained in the above guidance. The letters don’t identify what the vulnerability judgement is based on. This group of people does not automatically get food parcels (or priority for supermarket home deliveries) although they are being recommended to stay at home for 12 weeks.

The authorities should clear up this confusion.

Separately forward delivery slots at the Waitrose supermarket are now visible on their web site ( https://www.waitrose.com/ ). Sadly there are no vacancies during the next 3 months!

The Council promised to send an update leaflet, to each household in York, with delivery starting this week. While we doubt the value of this form of communication, against a rapidly changing background, if delivery is delayed then the Council should confirm when (if) the communication will be going out. (see note below on e-newsletter updates.

Mental health and isolation

There is some evidence beginning to emerge that isolation is having an effect on some of those living alone. It is not restricted to the elderly. If you haven’t seen or heard from a neighbour, relative or friend please make a point of telephoning, texting or emailing them. Just to check that they are OK

The Council says, “This is a difficult time for everyone, with friends, families and communities affected by coronavirus.  The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy is the professional association for members of the counselling professions in the UK”.

They share this advice: www.bacp.co.uk/news/news-from-bacp/2020/28-february-coronavirus-anxiety-how-to-cope-if-you-re-feeling-anxious-about-the-outbreak/.

Please continue to look after yourselves and each other. Public Health England has published guidance for the public on practical steps people can take to look after their mental wellbeing and specific guidance for parents and carers on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Every Mind Matters platform has specific advice on maintaining good mental wellbeing during the current situation.

Free school meals

Free school meal payments and provisions are offered to all pupils eligible for benefit based free school meals and will be available during term time while the schools are closed. Provision offers vary and may include school provided meals, grab bags, vouchers or direct payments. This is dependent on each individual school. Schools have been contacting parents/and or guardians directly if their child/children are eligible benefit based for free school meals or meal vouchers. The provision will be made available to children of keyworkers over the Easter period, at the discretion of the school.

Information about applying if circumstances have changed is here: https://www.york.gov.uk/COVIDFreeSchoolMeals

Resident e-newsletters

Residents can now get e-newsletters from the council straight into their inbox. By signing up to their preferred mailing list via an online form on the council website, residents can choose whether to receive business, resident or families guidance and updates about support or services, or all three.

Visit https://www.york.gov.uk/form/EmailUpdates to find out more and sign up. Residents can also change preferences and unsubscribe to the e-newsletters if they wish.  Members are welcome to register for these e-newsletters too (noting you will still receive this update each evening

Scams

Sadly, a number of criminals are using Coronavirus as an opportunity to scam people when they at their most vulnerable.

The police have a list of scams and advice available. Veritau have also produced a list of scams affecting businesses and residents across the country with a number of messages to share on social media.

Tips to keep safe from scams

  • Do not click on links or open attachments in emails and text messages.
  • Take time to check emails or messages are from a legitimate source. Please be aware that fraudsters go to great lengths to make their communications with you look genuine.
  • Delete any suspicious emails or text messages immediately.
  • Don’t let anyone into your home without verifying their identity and checking they have legitimate documentation or an official ID card.
  • Never give out personal or financial information over the phone.
  • Only purchase goods online from trusted and legitimate retailers and if you have one, then use a credit card as this will offer greater insurance.