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Corona Virus updates – 27th March 2020

York Council housing contacts

New First bus service timetables from Sunday

From Sunday 29th March, the following changes will take effect:

First York is moving all services to a Sunday timetable (bolstered by additional buses during peak times) to ensure key workers, including health service and emergency workers, can get to and from their places of work and those without a car can still collect medical prescriptions or do their essential shopping.

Summary below, please visit our timetable page (forthcoming section) for specific journeys.

York City services

1, 4, 5, 5A, 6, 66 – Will operate a revised timetable operating every 30 minutes during the, with early journeys operating Monday – Friday. Services will operate at hourly intervals during the evening, reduction to hourly intervals earlier on a Saturday and Sunday evening than present. Saturday and Sunday morning services have also been thinned out till approx. 9am.

10 – Will operate a Sunday timetable with additional early journey weekdays. Late journeys will continue to operate Monday to Saturday, to be reviewed dependent on usage.

11 – Will operate a special timetable with early journeys weekdays, service will operate every 70 minutes. Late journeys will continue to operate Monday to Saturday, to be reviewed dependent on usage, and whatever decision is made regards tendered services.

12 – Will operate a special timetable with early journeys weekdays, service will operate every 60 minutes, journeys after 1900 will continue to operate subject to patronage review.

200 – Will operate Monday to Saturday, the final journey will operate 10 minutes later.

HSB – Will operate normal schedule.

York Park & Ride

Service 2 – Will operate every 30 minutes as service 2A, observing all stops. Service will commence at 0700 Monday – Friday, and 0930 Saturday and Sunday. Evening service will operate hourly, these evening journeys terminate at Station Avenue. Return journeys will commence at Station Avenue.

Service 7 – Will operate every 30 minutes, Service will commence at 0700 Monday – Friday, and 0930 Saturday and Sunday. Evening service will operate hourly, these evening journeys will terminate at Rougier Street. Return journeys to Designer Outlet will commence from Clifford Street.

Service 9 Will operate every 30 minutes. Service will commence at 0700 Monday – Friday, and 0930 Saturday and Sunday. Last journey from City Centre 1900.

Services not operating (Grimston/Askham/Poppleton Park & Ride – closed)

66A, UB1, 3, 3A, 8, 59, 11S

At First Bus, your safety is our top priority. In the wake of the evolving impacts of coronavirus, we are working with the Government and wider industry to ensure we are following the latest advice to keep you safe on our buses. 

For our general information please see our main Coronavirus information page »


If there any key workers not able to get to work due to the changes, please let us know and we can look to try and make amendments. Contact us at: YorkCommercialTeam@firstgroup.com

“Which” advice on supermarket shopping and more

the “Which” consumer magazine has produced a guide on food shopping on its website https://www.which.co.uk/news/2020/03/supermarkets-ration-essential-items-to-prevent-coronavirus-stockpiling/

Fire and Rescue advice

Community Hubs

The Council, has confirmed that it is establishing neighbourhood “community hubs”. Council staffed they will NOT be open to the public. They are planned to support residents identified as vulnerable or those who have been in touch asking for support, by providing them with essential, non-perishable foods.

What’s App

The UK Government has launched a GOV.​UK Coronavirus Information service on WhatsApp. The new free to use service aims to provide official, trustworthy and timely information and advice about coronavirus (COVID-19), and will further reduce the burden on NHS services.

To use the free GOV.​UK Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp, simply add 07860 064422 in your phone contacts and then message the word ‘hi’ in a WhatsApp message to get started.

A set of menu options is then presented which the user can choose from and then be sent relevant guidance from GOV.​UK pages as well as links to GOV.​UK for further information.

For more information, please click here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-launches-coronavirus-information-service-on-whatsapp

Public Toilets

Public toilets in the city centre will be closed until further notice.

Parks and open spaces

All council-run parks in the city will remain open for exercise but we’re asking visitors to ensure they adhere to social distance best practice. From this weekend, Rowntree Park will reopen following the flooding earlier this year.

Play areas will be closed from today and this includes basketball courts, skateparks, caged five a side areas and tennis courts. Notices are being placed in all play areas instructing the public of this decision.

To ensure we follow the government’s guidance on social distancing the York Bar Walls are closed.

York Emergency Fund to support residents

City of York Council has announced details of a new Emergency Fund totalling £1.25m to support residents facing hardship during the  Covid -19 pandemic.

With the funding in place, residents will now be able to receive financial support from two funding streams, depending on their circumstances and how much help they need.  The two funds are:

  • Emergency Hardship Fund for residents affected by Covid-19
  • Council tax Covid-19 Hardship Fund

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

“The outbreak of Coronavirus has affected many residents across the city and as a council, we are working to explore all options to support residents and businesses to help them get through this challenging time.

“That is why I am pleased to announce our second local emergency fund, which has been designed to support those residents who have seen their personal finance significantly and negatively affected by the outbreak.”

“Our two new financial assistance funds will go a long way to supporting residents, alongside additional support for working aged residents, who claim Council Tax Support.  I would strongly encourage any resident or business facing hardship to get in touch with the Council.”

“It is also important to take the opportunity to urge landlords across the city and beyond to be accommodating to tenants who may be facing financial difficulties during this time.”

The first fund is an extension of the York Financial Assistance Scheme (YFAS). This provides help to local people in financial difficulties due to exceptional circumstances and crisis. Additional funding has now been made available to help people affected by Covid-19.

The Covid-19 Hardship Fund will see the Council provide Council Tax relief for the most vulnerable.  Working aged people who claim Council Tax Support will receive an additional award for £150 towards their total bill for 2020/21. This will reduce their monthly repayments.

You can find more information on both schemes below.

YFAS offers two types of assistance:

  • Emergency Assistance for a disaster or crisis
  • Community Assistance to help with exceptional pressures or financial difficulties

Applications to YFAS will be accepted from York residents. Previous annual income criteria will not apply. Applications will be considered by looking at a person’s individual financial circumstances. The scheme is open to all York residents.

Emergency assistance is provided in several key areas, including:

  • Supermarket vouchers

These are available to people who do not have money for food and other household essentials. Vouchers will be provided  electronically to be used in a specific supermarkets. If you, or someone on your behalf, are not able to go to the supermarket to collect your shopping, you should the Covid-19 Community Hubs who will arrange support for you.

  • Gas & electricity

If you have a prepayment meter and have no money to top up or have no way of topping it up contact you energy provider for assistance in the first instance. If you’re still struggling to pay your bill, you will receive support and no meter disconnections will take place.

  • Other heating costs

If you have other heating costs, such as oil and need assistance, please apply giving as much detail as possible. These will be considered on the basis of need.

Community Assistance 

This part of the scheme provides help with basic necessities.

Applications will be considered for essential appliances where people do not have a working cooker, fridge, freezer or washing machines.   Goods will be delivered to your home and Cookers and washing machines professionally installed.

To apply for a YFAS grant visit https://www.york.gov.uk/YFAS or call 01904 551550.

The Council will also be providing council tax relief for the most vulnerable.

Working aged people who claim Council Tax Support will receive an additional award for £150 towards their total bill for 2020/21. This will reduce their monthly repayments.

York residents who receive Council Tax Support will automatically be awarded the additional amount into council tax accounts.  The Council will be making these awards into people’s accounts over the coming weeks.

Residents do not need to do anything. If they are already receiving Council Tax Support the extra award will be added to their account and they will receive a new bill with revised monthly payments.

Anyone making a new claim for Council Tax Support will have the amount added once their claim has been assessed.

If you are struggling to pay your council tax:

Claim council Support online at www.york.gov.uk/CouncilTaxSupport

If you are already in receipt of Council Tax Support and your income has changed please tell us so we can check your claim at www.york.gov.uk/BenefitsChangeOfCircumstances

For the latest information on help and support for people affected by coronavirus visit www.york.gov.uk/coronavirus

Lots of volunteers, not much organisation?

The York Council has been criticised in the wake of its claim that 1400 people had volunteered to be local corona virus helpers. Critics say there are inadequate processes are in place to channel volunteers’ efforts into providing the right help for the right people in a timely way.

Many had expected that an “online” system would be available by now which minimised human contact while allowing the vulnerable to order and pay for food and medicines remotely.

With many supermarkets closing their “click and collect” services, and home delivery slots booked up for many weeks in advance, an alternative approach using local taxis and courier cyclists is needed.

The latter groups have seen their income eroded by the crisis. Some local businesses, including taxi drivers, have said that they would be happy to cooperate with such a system.

Any online system must allow customers to

  1. Choose their shopping remotely
  2. Have it bagged
  3. Pay for it – inclusive of delivery – “online”
  4. Have it delivered to their doorstep?

At the moment only a few small independent shops seem to be addressing this demand.

NB. The Council has not yet responded to a request that it publish a regular monitor of the food supply chain from “field to doorstep”. Such information as has been published, for example regarding stock availability at local stores, has been researched by sections of the media.

Job availability on farms (and even for key worker vacancies like refuse collectors with the Council) is also difficult to find online.

Corona virus updates – 26th March 2020

Self employed get help

Rishi Sunak announces Govt will pay self-employed people a taxable grant of up to 80 per cent of of their average profits over the past three years, up to £2,500 a month. The Chancellor says this will be available to anyone with profits up to £50k, and is only available to those who make the majority of the income from being self-employed

Community support

We understand that both the North Yorkshire County Council and the City of York Council are setting up local volunteer hubs. These will co ordinate the provision of services within local neighbourhoods.

In York there are expected to be 20 “hubs” spread around the City with the first starting work before the end of the week. The hubs will not be open to the general public but will direct volunteer efforts on food and other deliveries.

In North Yorkshire 23 community support organisations will be the single point of contact for the county and district councils and working with the local voluntary sector.
People needing help will contact the County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780 which will direct them to the contact point in their area. The role of the community support organisation in each locality 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;
• Act as local hub for individuals and groups wishing to volunteer in the community response;
• Provide information on local shopping options and trusted suppliers who are delivering directly to those who are self-isolating;

The Community Support Organisation will work with local voluntary sector groups to arrange:
• Collection and delivery of shopping using local volunteering resources. Shopping will be 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. Prescriptions will be 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 contact via telephone, FaceTime, Skype or other methods that avoid physical contact with an individual in self-isolation.
• 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 to think about and talk to family, friends and neighbours who may need help. The county council is also urging them to contact local voluntary groups already known to them mindful that the Government’s regulations must be observed at all
times.
Volunteers must follow the Government’s safety guidance on keeping a two
metre distance from people and the regular washing of hands.
“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 county council is working with the community support organisations to bring in North Yorkshire Volunteer ID cards in line with Government guidance.

Funerals

Information from City of York Council, “Whilst the Prime Minister announced the closures of places of worship and social events, however they did make an exception for funerals attended by immediate families. We are in close and regular contact with funeral directors and are following the latest government advice.

As part of steps to manage the impact of Coronavirus, and taking into account national guidance relating to social distancing, City of York Council has announced a number of changes relating to York Crematorium.

From immediate effect funeral services will still go ahead but with only 10 (ten) mourners to being allowed inside the White Rose Chapel and 5 (five) inside the Ebor Chapel. This is restricted to close family only (spouse/partner, parents/carers, brothers/sisters and children and their partners). This is to minimise the number of people gathering.

The council will seek to provide a recording free of charge and within 72 hours of the service the funeral director will receive the recording in an mp4 file format ready to pass onto to the family”. 

 Roadworks

Stonegate completing – all others postponed

We have taken the decision to close down the active work site at Monkgate which is still more than a week away from completion.

The site will be made safe and works will not recommence until such time central government indicate it is safe to do so. Temporary traffic signals will still be in place at the junction but hopefully the network will still remain quiet as people avoid travel wherever possible.

Council leaflet

Information about volunteering and community support is being distributed to all homes in the city. These leaflets have already begun distribution.  “The delivery teams are working flat out, are working safely and within Government guidelines and the leaflets, as COVID-relevant council information, have been prioritised for delivery.” The information is the same as has already been widely distributed on social media.  

 The Council says that they are also producing postcards for each ward (with ward members contact details) and stay safe stay home information will be sent by royal mail early next week.

Current Available Mental Health and Wellbeing and COVID-19 Resources

Please find below a list of current resources that are available online to support Mental Health & Wellbeing as part of COVID-19 Response.

Mental Health & Wellbeing and COVID-19 – Adults

Looking After Your Mental Health during the Coronavirus Outbreak – The Mental Health Foundation

Coronavirus and your Wellbeing – MIND

Mental Health and Psychosocial Considerations During COVID-19 Outbreak – WHO

Coping with Stress during the 2019 n-Cov Outbreak – WHO

How to stay active while you’re at home – Sport England

Coronavirus Guidance – Carers UK

Easy Read guide to Coronavirus – PHE

Mental Health & Wellbeing and COVID-19 – Children & Young People

Helping Children Cope with Stress during 2019 n-Cov Outbreak – WHO

Talking to your child about coronavirus – Young Minds

Supporting schools & colleges: A guide to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of pupils and students during periods of disruption

There are also three videos, one for school staff, one for parents and one for children and young people which may be useful.

General Health & Wellbeing Resources

Every Mind Matters – NHS and PHE

Mood Assessment and Mental Wellbeing Audio Guides – NHS

Tips for Everyday Living – MIND

Scam advice

Police advice

York Council service changes

The safety of the public and staff is paramount, therefore we are ensuring  social distancing guidance set out by the Government is followed where ever possible. This has led to widespread changes to the services we offer.

This includes:

Volunteering

So far, 1,400 residents have signed up to volunteer which is a wonderful response. We’re still looking for more, so please sign up

Parking and Car Parks including free parking for key workers and food workers

  • Key workers who work in the NHS or are health and social care related services or work in supermarkets and food outlets without parking (this does not include takeaways) will be able to park for free in council car parks to support the fantastic work they are doing during the corona virus pandemic. Our only ask is that they put in the windscreen a letter on their employers headed paper confirming that they are a key worker in one of the services mentioned above. They will not need to pay.
  • During the outbreak the council are mindful that people may not be able to move their car whilst they self-isolate some discretion is being shown to people who park legally provided they are not causing an obstruction or wilfully breaking the law.
  • Any urgent enquiries on this can be sent to parking@york.gov.uk  where officers will get back to you as soon as possible.
  • Please note Fossbank and Piccadilly car parks are currently closed.

Public Toilets

Public toilets in the city centre will be closed until further notice.. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

Parks and open spaces

All council-run parks in the city will remain open for exercise but we’re asking visitors to ensure they adhere to social distance best practice. From this weekend, Rowntree Park will reopen following the flooding earlier this year.

Play areas will be closed from today and this includes basketball courts, skateparks, caged five a side areas and tennis courts. Notices are being placed in all play areas instructing the public of this decision.

To ensure we follow the government’s guidance on social distancing the York Bar Walls are closed.

Roadworks

We are suspending all non-essential roadworks across the city, including replacing traffic signals on Monkgate, following the government’s advice on social distancing. If possible we will remove cones and temporary traffic light to ensure the minimum amount of disruption is caused for those making essential journeys. This also ensures that we are able to redeploy staff if necessary to ensure essential services, such as refuse collection, continue to run.

Bulky Waste Collections

Our bulky waste collection services, which collections bulky items from households has now temporarily stopped. This is to ensure we can continue providing essential services across the city, including collecting your household waste (black bins).

Household Waste Recycling Centres

Our Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC), including Hazel Court and Towthorpe, are now closed.

This is on the basis that a visit to the HWRC cannot be considered essential – in line with recent national advice

We will be keeping Hazel Court open for commercial use – e.g. small builders, as they are currently allowed to continue to operate whilst adhering to social distancing. They will be required to produce a ‘duty of care’ transfer note on arrival.

Register Office

Unfortunately all ceremonies have been postponed following the governments advice. We have contacted everyone who has made a booking to look at rescheduling for a later date. The Register Office is currently only open to register a death. We are asking people to only go to the register office if they have a pre-booked appointment and are not showing any symptoms. We’re are also asking for only one person to attend each appointment to ensure social distancing guidance is followed.

Crematorium

From immediate effect funeral services will still go ahead but with only 10 (ten) mourners to being allowed inside the White Rose Chapel and 5 (five) inside the Ebor Chapel. This is restricted to close family only (spouse/partner, parents/carers, brothers/sisters and children and their partners). This is to minimise the number of people gathering.

Adult social care

In partnership with the NHS, we are prioritising the safe and supported return home of people currently in hospital.

We’re closely working with care home providers to monitor capacity in care homes across the city.

We’ve shared updated Govt advice on shielding online to protect the most medically vulnerable residents.

Fraud prevention

Advice from Trading Standards on how to spot or avoid scams can be viewed here https://www.york.gov.uk/FraudPrevention

Housing

We’re contacting all vulnerable households and tenants aged over 65 to check on their needs.

All housing landlord services will be run online or by phone to protect tenants, their families and our staff.

No face-to-face appointments can be run at the moment and tenants are being asked to use online and phone services only.

We’re reminding tenants that they must continue to pay their rent, but any who are struggling with their rent should contact their Housing Management Officers (HMOs) as soon as possible. We’re taking a flexible approach on enforcement.

We’ve shared details of benefits advice and where to make new claims or update existing ones is people’s circumstances change.

Housing adaptations

The priority areas are for minor adaptations to residents’ homes to enable safe hospital discharge and to fit key safes to enable carers to support them at home.

Homelessness services

In addition to our established hostels, we are working with private providers to place single homeless people with lower support needs in single rooms. These can be used to self isolate if needed. We are currently sending food to these customers and plan to use volunteers to support staff doing this.

In our hostels we are mitigating risks with extra sanitising measures and using social distancing. We are staffing hostels at levels which meet residents’ welfare needs and protect staff.

Rough Sleeper services are operating in the same way: for a bed, please go to 63, Lawrence Street or call them on 01904 416562

We are continuing with our services for people concerned about being homeless, and these will be done online or by phone. Anyone concerned about homelessness should call City of York Council on 01904 554500 or visit www.york.gov.uk/homelessness/housing-options.

Noise nuisance

We ask residents to show tolerance and consideration for neighbours at this difficult time and as we get used to new ways of living: it’s important that we all work together.

We are asking people to think about what they can do to live with levels of noise from neighbours, such as using a room in a quieter part of the home or using headphones to help concentrate. If this doesn’t work, in most cases, being neighbourly and considerate can resolve the majority of problems.

Our service is here to investigate criminal levels of noise nuisance and activate legal enforcement. If you do not think that what you are experiencing needs this, please consider safe contact with your neighbours to reach an agreement.

Stray dogs

Our stray dog service is currently suspended.  If you find a stray dog or have lost your dog please phone our Dog Warden on 01904 552299 who may have had contact from owners and finders and can put you in touch.

Free parking for NHS staff and other key workers at York Council car parks

  • Key workers who work in the NHS or are health and social care related services or work in supermarkets and food outlets without parking (this does not include takeaways) will be able to park for free in council car parks to support the fantastic work they are doing during the corona virus pandemic. Our only ask is that they put in the windscreen a letter on their employers headed paper confirming that they are a key worker in one of the services mentioned above. They will not need to pay.
  • During the outbreak the council are mindful that people may not be able to move their car whilst they self-isolate some discretion is being shown to people who park legally provided they are not causing an obstruction or wilfully breaking the law.
  • Any urgent enquiries on this can be sent to parking@york.gov.uk  where officers will get back to you as soon as possible.
  • Please note Fossbank and Piccadilly car parks are currently closed.

£1m business emergency fund to protect York  businesses and jobs during coronavirus outbreak

City of York Council today announced a £1m local emergency fund to support businesses in dealing with the impacts of Covid-19.

The fund will target a range of support at around 1000 small and micro firms, who are not set to benefit from the recently announced Government support packages.

The council is working closely with partners to make sure the fund delivers the most effective support and targets those who are least likely to benefit from existing measures.

In addition to the creation of a business support fund, the Council is also taking a series of action to alleviate pressures on local businesses during this difficult period.

These include:

  • All 350 council commercial rents deferred for three months.
  • Supporting key suppliers, including: 
  1. Paying those providing services to council and maintained schools, and bus providers for tendered routes and concessionary fares
  2. Paying in advance where possible, and for planned annual activity.
  3.   Exploring the potential for short-term loans
  • All planned increase in fees and charges are suspended (unless set by the government)
  • A license fee ‘holiday’ for businesses which can’t use them
  • Suspending debt recovery efforts

Councillor Keith Aspden, leader of City of York Council, said:

“These measures are designed to protect jobs and help local businesses who are having to adapt to extremely challenging circumstances and fall outside the remit of any government support.”

“In addition to the £1 million emergency fund for business, there will be a separate hardship fund of £1.25m to support residents, which we’ll announce details of soon. In the meantime, any resident facing financial difficulty should apply to our hardship scheme immediately.

Councillor Andrew Waller, executive member for the economy, said:

“We want to get help to businesses as quickly as possible to assist them at this critical time. We would encourage other property landlords to take the same approach.

“We’re also working with the York BID, LEPS and other partners to connect businesses to all the available advice, guidance and support, so we’d urge any business to visit www.york.gov.uk/BusinessSupport to see what is available to them.”

The council is engaging with business support services and partners to make sure the fund delivers the most effective support, with full details to be announced in the coming days. 

Any resident facing financial difficulty can see all the available support, and apply for the York Financial Assistance Scheme, at https://www.york.gov.uk/COVIDFinancialHelp 

 

Police reveal Acomb crime attempt involving elderly lady

Last night in Acomb two females forced their way into a vulnerable ladies home (she’s in her 80s), they rifled through her house, then sat her down and made her a cuppa and tried to pressurise her into giving them some money so they could go to the shop for her.

After we received this report we quickly identified the offenders and they were arrested less than an hour later. They were taken to custody for a variety of offences.

PLEASE KEEP IN CONTACT WITH YOUR ELDERLY FAMILY/FRIENDS AND REINFORCE THE MESSAGE – NEVER OPEN YOUR DOOR TO PEOPLE YOU DON’T KNOW AND IF YOU NEED TO OPEN THE DOOR PLEASE USE A DOOR CHAIN IF YOUVE GOT ONE IF YOU’RE NOT EXPECTING VISITORS.

Please contact us if you or anyone you know have experienced anything similar. Job ref 440 of 24/03. Thanku and stay safe 😀 York North Police

Everything will get longer

Well most things!

Those worried about the length of their hair may also been wondering about the length of the grass on the lawn.

Enforced isolation may provide the opportunity for a best trimmed hedge and manicured lawn competition is some neighbourhoods.

But where will the green waste go?

The York Council is scheduled to recommence green bin emptying at the beginning of April. Other Councils have suspended this garden waste system, so it is a little surprising that there has been no announcement from West Offices yet.

Green waste may already be building up.

We did hear from the Council a few days ago that DIY was being “discouraged” if it added waste to the collection streams (the household waste sites have been closed).

One option would be to make a delivery – using perhaps local taxis – of a composting container to any household that wants one. Subject to supply of course. Maybe many would continue to compost even after the current crisis is over. So, a win, win for everyone.

The City needs a “no personal contact” collection and delivery system for prescriptions and food supplies. With many “click and collect” services suspended at local stores there is a gaping hole in the City’s food chain system.

Time to get that fixed, with the Council taking the lead.

Corona Virus update – 25th March 2020

Scam warning from Police

The Economic Crime Unit at North Yorkshire Police receive regular updates from Action Fraud, The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, National Trading Standards and other organisations highlighting new scams we are seeing which are preying on resident’s fear in the wake of the corona virus pandemic. I would draw your attention to a press release from National Trading Standards which summarises the current scams we are seeing (https://www.nationaltradingstandards.uk/news/beware-of-covid19-scams/ ). I have also attached a postcard from National Trading Standards which is a handy easy reference guide for you to print off or to circulate amongst your family and friends.

I would encourage readers of this email to visit the ‘Friends Against Scams’   website https://www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk/ where you can sign up to become a Friend Against Scams. It is an online training session which will take around 20 minutes to complete. It will raise your awareness of fraud and give you valuable tips and tools to prevent you becoming a victim.

In addition I am doing a Facebook Live session tomorrow on the North Yorkshire Police Facebook page to advice residents as to the latest scams we are seeing here in North Yorkshire and how to stay safe. This will start at 4pm Thursday 26th March and I understand this is the first one of its kind by North Yorkshire Police. I hope you can watch.

Stay safe.

Andy Fox

Financial Abuse Safeguarding Officer

Economic Crime Unit, North Yorkshire Police

Taxis can continue to operate – Government advice

Taxis and private hire vehicles can continue to work. But the advice is absolutely clear – people should stay at home if possible. That is the way to save lives and protect our NHS.

The public should avoid travel unless absolutely essential.

The only reasons to leave our houses are set out in the government guidance<https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/full-guidance-on-staying-at-home-and-away-from-others>.

Clearly if absolutely necessary to travel by taxi or private hire vehicle, best efforts should be used to follow the guidance as far as is practically possible, including washing your hands as soon as you get home.

Critical Worker Status

Taxi and private hire drivers should not generally be considered Critical Workers. Those undertaking Home to School transport or the transport of ‘extremely vulnerable<https://www.gov.uk/government/news/major-new-measures-to-protect-people-at-highest-risk-from-coronavirus>’ people may be considered Critical Workers on a case-by-case basis. Critical Workers should also whenever possible make suitable arrangements for their children to stay at home; requests for children to attend school<https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers> should be discussed with the school.”

Off licenses can open

Off-licences have been added to the Government’s list of businesses essential to keep the country running during thecoronavirus crisis. With pubs and bars ordered to close to stem the spread of Covid-19, off-licences were added to the list of shops allowed to stay open on Wednesday.

Licensed shops selling alcohol, including those in breweries, also made the updated list of stores exempted from mass closures in the retail sector.

Corner shops, pharmacies, supermarkets, hardware stores, banks, petrol stations and bike shops can also stay open during the pandemic.

MOTs postponed

Vehicle owners in Britain will be granted a six-month exemption from MOT testing, the Department for Transport (DfT) has announced.

All cars, vans and motorcycles will be exempted from needing a test from March 30.

This will allow people to carry on with essential travel during the coronavirus pandemic, the DfT said.

New takeaway service from Golf Club

T he chef at Pike Hills Golf Club is offering a takeaway/ delivery service as the golf course has closed He is offering main courses for fixed £6.50 and desserts at £3.00 Good English food freshly sourced each day. Ring him or text on 07949550884 E Mail teeboxcatering@gmail.com

Report symptoms app launched

You can supply information and help to track changes in the pandemic using this App. https://covid.joinzoe.com/

Volunteer NHS responder

NHS Volunteer Responder scheme. Quick, easy, just upload passport/driving licence and they do DB check in 72 hours. You can sign up here: goodsamapp.org/nhs

The health secretary has announced the government is seeking 250,000 volunteers to help the NHS during the coronavirus outbreak.

The NHS has said the volunteers will support the 1.5m vulnerable people who have been asked to “shield” themselves from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

Here’s everything you need to know if you want to become an NHS volunteer responder.

How do I sign up?

Those who want to help can register by visiting the following NHS website: https://www.goodsamapp.org/NHS

Potential volunteers are asked to fill in a form with their details.

Checks are then carried out before successful applicants are given login details for the “GoodSAM” Responder app.

Volunteers can then switch the app to “on duty” to find tasks to pick from nearby.

What kind of tasks will the responders carry out?

Four types of volunteers are listed on the NHS page which allows people to register.

They are:

  • Community response volunteers: This role involves collecting shopping, medication or other essential supplies for someone who is self-isolating. The volunteer would also deliver these supplies to their home.
  • Patient transport volunteer: This position supports the NHS by providing transport to patients who are medically fit for discharge, and ensuring they are settled safely back in to their home.
  • NHS transport volunteer: This role involves transporting equipment, supplies and/or medication between NHS services and sites. It may also involve assisting pharmacies with medication delivery.
  • Check-in and chat volunteer: These volunteers will provide short-term telephone support to individuals who are at risk of loneliness as a consequence of self-isolation.

Who should sign up to be a volunteer?

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said “if you are well and able to do so safely, I would urge you to sign up today”.

Volunteers must be 18 or over, and fit and well with no symptoms.

Those in higher-risk groups (including those over 70, those who are pregnant or with underlying medical conditions) will be able to offer support by telephone.

The majority of tasks can be undertaken while social distancing and volunteers will receive guidance through a “getting started pack”. Those who become ill can pause their volunteering.

Council supports Coronavirus Community Fund

City of York Council is urging anyone who wants to offer financial support to others affected by Covid 19, to support the Coronavirus Community Fund, set up by Two Ridings Community Foundation

The fund has been set up to offer local charitable or community organisations emergency funding to deal with emerging issues as a result of the continuing threat of Coronavirus.

Any funds received will be used to help local charitable and  community organisations support the people who need it the most. It will also work to assist people and organisations where there are no current suitable services, in order to maintain some level of viability through these uncertain times.

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

“In such unprecedented times, I am encouraged by the incredible response from our communities to support those most in need, whether that is through formal volunteering opportunities, or simply by helping their immediate friends and neighbours.

“Many people have asked how they might be able to support others at a time when so many are faced with great financial uncertainty. In response, the council has worked closely with the Two Ridings Community Foundation, who in the past have supported the city’s response to flooding, and I’m pleased that they have set up the Coronavirus Community Fund to support those most in need.

“I would strongly encourage anyone who is interested in donating, or any group who feel they may be eligible for support, to find out more online.”

To donate please visit: https://www.tworidingscf.org.uk/coronavirus-community-fund/ and to apply to the fund please, visit https://www.tworidingscf.org.uk/fund/coronavirus-community-fund/.

Jan Garrill, Chief Executive of Two Ridings Community Fund, said: “We will work to make sure the fund reaches the communities that need the most support. We are in touch with local charity umbrella bodies and front-line organisations to see what’s needed and how funds can be spent.

“From our 20 years’ plus experience, we know a lot of these organisations and so will quickly be able to assist them. We expect the first wave of funding will go to organisations working with older and vulnerable people who are likely to be most seriously affected by social isolation and illness caused by the virus.”

For more information on how to volunteer in York visit www.york.gov.uk/COVIDVolunteering

email: volunteering@york.gov.uk

or phone: 01904 551550.

If you do not have any support, but need it because of the impact of COVID-19, we may be able to help you through this difficult time.  To get help, please contact us by:

Email: covid19help@york.gov.uk

Phone: 01904 551550