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Ilkley Coronavirus Response Group weekly update and Mayors statement

Ilkley sewing group now making face coverings

The Ilkley Coronavirus Response Group (ICRG) hosted their weekly virtual meeting on Thursday (14 May), bringing together district and local councilors, medical and social care representatives and organisations from the voluntary sector in the town. The group’s aim is to work cooperatively across the town in the face of the coronavirus crisis.

Stuart Hyde QPM, who chairs the group said “The Ilkley Coronavirus Response Group continues to share information amongst key stakeholders in the town at this challenging time. We are now working out the best model to take this role forward using existing structures. I would like to thank all members of the Group for their tireless, willingness to share and engage at this difficult time. We must also remember that Covid has not gone away and everybody in Ilkley will need to continue to collaborate for the foreseeable future, at many different levels, to ensure the best outcome for the town.”

Reports from all the agencies once again outlined how well the various areas of support are in place to help the local community.

This week’s report from the voluntary sector outlined how volunteers are still busy supporting the community with shopping, prescription collection and befriending. Many shops and businesses are still closed and playgrounds are still out of bounds.

The voluntary sector report also included information about a forthcoming project ‘Adopt a Care Home’, in conjunction with Ilkley Soroptimists. Following the wonderful response from care homes following the ‘Bluebird Bus’ VE day music tour, Les Goldman from The Two Rivers Band has offered to help co-ordinate musicians to visit and perform at homes. Anyone in Ilkley needing help, or who has concerns about a friend or neighbours can call the helpline on 07375 803 693 or the main hub on 01274 430 00 - open 7 days a week 9am – 5pm.

Jamie Gutch, Assistant Headteacher of Ilkley Grammar School, gave a report on children and young people and the schools update, noting the gradual increasing numbers of pupils coming into school and how IGS is currently delivering remote learning to about 2,000 pupils, plus additional home-support as required.

The meeting heard from Helen Rhodes, from Ilkley BID, who explained how together with a range of other partners, the BID is working on the district economic recovery plan. In addition to reporting on the grants and support being given to local businesses, Helen also talked about the #TogetherBradfordCan campaign which is the hashtag being used across the district for positive news stories.

A report was given on the ICRG website and how in addition to giving advice, help and local information, the site is also fundraising, with funds going to toward helping local projects supporting those in need during the coronavirus crisis. Local groups are able to apply for a grant by visiting

In his report Ilkley Town Mayor Cllr. Mark Stidworthy said that the Bi-annual Town Council Newsletter was due out soon, with a message from himself on the current crisis developments in Town. He also congratulated Richard Bradley, Dan Gray, Nick Winterbottom and Cllr Anne Hawksworth and the team for the wonderful VE Day commemorations, and safely touring and performing at our many residential care homes.

The meeting heard that locally PPE requirements are slowly easing, with supplies generally getting through to care staff and homes as needed.

Scrubs production hit 430 sets this week, out and distributed. However, the 120+ sewers have now responded to the government announcement that face coverings are helpful in shops and indoor public spaces.

Locally, Face Coverings are also being produced to address the latest Government advice on travel and shopping. Becky Malby who is working the project said “We are delighted to be helping our local community and the group has sewn over 200 face coverings so far. The first 85 have gone to the foodbank and we are now providing complementary personal-use face coverings to Ilkley residents who need them at Tesco’s Customer Services desk”

Guidance to wearing Face Coverings

Face coverings should not be shared, need to be put on and taken off carefully, and washed regularly.

Separate to the ICRG meeting, in his weekly statement, Ilkley Town Mayor Cllr Mark Stidworthy, said:

“The last week has generated uncertainty for many of us in our feelings about coronavirus and the future. Moves to encourage a return to work or school, welcomed by some, cause worry or even anger for others. Increasing numbers of people accessing public spaces in Ilkley are creating new challenges, and few of us feel confident. The strong community response the town has shown so far has undoubtedly saved life and protected the NHS. Nonetheless, here in Yorkshire the rate of viral transmission remains at a level that allows no room for complacency. Many of Ilkley’s residents remain shielded, and we are all aware of tragic deaths in our community due to Covid-19. Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to all who have been affected. We must all continue to do everything we can to prevent the virus spreading.”

“This week (18th to 24th May) is Mental Health Awareness week, with the overarching theme that #KindnessMatters. Few of us have passed the last few weeks without increased anxiety and loneliness, and some of us may be struggling with our mental health. Nobody should feel alone, and there are lots of resources available to help us, such as Ilkley’s response to coronavirus exemplifies kindness in action. An incredible 430 pairs of scrubs have now been made by the Sewing Scrubs group. In response to new government guidance for enclosed spaces and public transport they are making and distributing face coverings through local supermarkets for residents who want them. Underpinning everything is the kindness of voluntary groups, answering calls for help, delivering food and prescriptions, and simply being a friendly voice on the phone to combat loneliness. This has been continuing without fanfare, helping hundreds of people, week after week. Thank you.”

The Ilkley Coronavirus Response Group website can be found at:


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