To All Town & Parish Councils in the East Riding of Yorkshire I wrote to you
on 22 March, to update you on the Council?s response to the current COVID-19
pandemic and on how work had started to determine the best way to support
our residents during this incredibly challenging time.
Since then, an astonishing amount of work has been undertaken on this in
very short order and I write to you again, as promised, with a further
update. I informed you last time that our response is being led by Alan
Menzies, Director of Planning and Economic Regeneration and Darren Stevens,
Director of Corporate Resources, working alongside Paul Bell, Head of
Economic Development and Communications and Brigette Giles, Head of
Transformation and Technology. They are being supported by officers from a
number of different service areas. We continue to treat this matter as one
of our highest priorities because I know that we and you want to do
everything we can to offer help to those who most need it at this
A few days ago, Central Government, via the National Health Service (NHS)
identified around 1.5 million people across the country who are at very high
risk of severe illness from COVID-19 because of a specified underlying
health condition that they have. These are people of all ages, some of
which live in the East Riding. At the time of writing we have not been
informed as to how many people in the East Riding this amounts to.
These people are being advised by the NHS that the safest course of action
for them is to stay at home at all times and avoid all face-to-face contact
for at least twelve weeks, except from carers and healthcare workers who
they see as part of their medical care. Being "shielded" in this way is
designed to protect those people by stopping them from coming into contact
with the virus.
People in this category are currently receiving a lengthy letter from the
NHS offering advice about how to stay safe and avoid contracting the virus.
They are advised to discuss their daily needs during this period of staying
at home with carers, family, friends, neighbours or local community groups
to see how they can provide support. Some won't have such support available
and this is where the work we are doing comes to the fore. We also hope
that we can help people not in this category but who need support during
this period and who don't have carers, family, friends, neighbours or local
community groups available to help.
We are tackling this by working alongside the HEY Smile Foundation, a
charity which works closely with the private, public and voluntary sectors.
This partnership is working really well and I thank Andy Barber, their Chief
Executive and his team for the fantastic way in which they are working
alongside us on this project.
We are very much aware of the great work and community spirit that has been
established over the last few weeks across the East Riding by town and
parish councils, community groups and residents in response to the pandemic.
It is really humbling for all of us to see what communities have achieved
and the support structures that have been put into place in such a short
period of time. Thank-you for what you have done.
As town and parish councils, please continue to encourage any community or
voluntary groups, along with those groups set up on social media channels,
to register their details on www.beecan.org . This website is hosted by the
HEY Smile Foundation and the aim is to build up a detailed database of
organisations that can work alongside us and build our resilience when
helping those in need. Many groups have registered already, but the more
the better. Guidance on how to register can be found in this video -
Sometimes, individuals want to volunteer and help. This is great to see.
Individuals cannot register on the beecan.org website but please encourage
people to register at https://www.goodsamapp.org/NHS to become one of the
new NHS Volunteer Responders. These volunteer responders will carry out
tasks such as delivering medicines from pharmacies, driving patients to
appointments, bringing people home from hospital and making regular
telephone calls to check on people isolating at home.
I am pleased to tell you that a dedicated contact centre specifically for
residents who don?t have that network of carers, family, friends, neighbours
or local community groups to call upon is now up and running.
Staffed by council officers based either at County Hall or at home, the
contact centre will triage and log calls from residents.
The calls will then be passed to the HEY Smile Foundation who will call upon
their bank of community groups and volunteers to act upon the request for
help. In order to do this, nine community hubs are being set up in locations
across the East Riding, in Anlaby, Beverley, Bridlington, Driffield, Goole,
Holme-on-Spalding-Moor, Hornsea, Pocklington and Withernsea. These are not
open to the public but are a place where volunteers can co-ordinate their
help and support for the surrounding areas. The volunteers are being
supported by many council officers in all nine hubs.
The contact centre will have a dedicated number (01482) 393919 and will be
open from 9.00am until 9.00pm Monday to Friday and from 9.00am until 6.00pm
on Saturdays and Sundays. An email address is also available for those who
wish to contact us electronically ? email@example.com .
The aim of this service is not to take away, substitute for or replace the
great work and community spirit that has been established over the last few
weeks across the East Riding but to provide extra help and support for those
residents who really need support with their daily living and who don?t have
carers, family, friends, neighbours or local community groups available to
I must also stress that this contact centre is not for emergencies or for
those vulnerable residents who are in our adult care system. The people we
want to help through this service are those who may be in self-isolation and
need medicines or essential food collecting, pets that need walking or are
maybe feeling lonely and would like to be able to chat with someone.
As town and parish councils, I know you will continue to be our eyes and
ears in your respective areas and if you identify people that need help,
please telephone or email the contact centre so that it can be logged,
triaged and the appropriate help found. Alternatively, if you can fix the
problem locally and you or a local community group can help, please just go
ahead and do it.
The formal launch of the new service will take place on Thursday 26 March in
the media and via social media channels. The Council is also planning to
send a letter to every household in the East Riding detailing just how we
are tackling this pandemic, what people can do to make sure they stay safe
as well as the details for the contact centre.
As town and parish councils, please do make this service known to those who
really need it. I will continue to keep you updated and thank you once
again for your on-going support.
CONTACT CENTRE DETAILS
9am-6pm Saturday and Sunday
Tel: (01482) 393919
Director of Corporate Resources, East Riding of Yorkshire Council