The Ilkley Coronavirus Response team hosted their weekly virtual meeting on Thursday 2 April 2020, bringing together district and local councillors, medical and social care representatives and organisations from the voluntary sector in the town. The group’s aim is to work co-operatively across the town in the face of the Coronavirus crisis.
Stuart Hyde QPM, who leads the group said “The Government direction and advice on the Coronavirus pandemic is evolving on a daily, and sometimes an hourly basis, and it is imperative that this is clearly understood and followed. Nationally, regionally and locally public services rely heavily on the voluntary and community sector (VCS) and in bringing all these agencies together at our weekly meetings, we are aiming to work effectively, sharing resources to help the residents of Ilkley stay safe and to save lives.”
At the meeting of the team heard a number of reports.
Representatives from the voluntary sector reported that the dedicated phone number for people to contact, should they need help or would like to volunteer, is working well. Requests for help generally around practical support, shop-assist and prescriptions to pharmacy.
There are currently over 25 volunteers working to support the local community. Some of the National Schemes (e.g. National Health Service Volunteer Responders) are expected to come on stream shortly – some of their responsibilities could be around medication and delivery of prescriptions. However, at the moment local volunteers are able to support the local community.
The group discussed how best to reach the "non-digital" community. Leaflets have been distributed with the aim of reaching these ‘hard to reach’ households, including those promoting a central 01274 431000 telephone number which will refer all Ilkley/Ben Rhydding calls to a local point of contact.
The meeting heard how all the churches are working by a range of means (electronic and paper) to meet the spiritual needs of their community members and to keep up morale and build resilience. Churches Together in Ilkley has set up an online ‘Gofundme’ page to get financial support for the Food Bank, which has reported on an increase in referrals over the past week: gofundme.com/ilkley-food-bank
Reports on the Bradford and Keighley Hub noted that Ilkley are seen across the District as an early and creditable responder to the crisis. The five ‘Constituency Hubs’ are now up and running to ensure that help is available to individuals whenever other sources of support are not available (family, friends, neighbours or local networks).
llkley Grammar School has donated Eye Protection PPE to local medical practitioners and after an
appeal for Scrubs for local, community-based health professional a team was mobilised to recruit the local community to sew & make up scrubs.
A Funding and Allocation Panel is to be set up that will fundraise and access National/Regional Funding where possible and build on JustGiving opportunities for local donations. The Small Allocation Team will also allocate funds to meet local need by application up to £500.
Robbie Moore, MP updated on the group on national initiatives including the issues of prioritising food and medical supplies and his ongoing work to support UK citizens ‘trapped’ abroad and wanting support to return home.
The date for the next meeting via video on Thursday 9 April
Ilkley Town Mayor Cllr. Mark Stidworthy praised Ilkley for pulling together in these challenging times:
“Ilkley Corona Response is recognised across Bradford as a model example of pro-active community mobilisation in response to the Covid-19 threat. The group enables effective working and information sharing between District and Town Councils, the charity sector, local doctors’ surgeries, businesses, schools and a growing team of volunteers, under the national umbrella and with the input of our local MP. We are thankful for the many Ilkley volunteers who have stepped up to meet the needs of our local voluntary sector organisations, ensuring they can continue their vital work and meet new needs such as delivering supplies and information. Locally, the NHS continues to bear a huge burden, not only for those affected by coronavirus, but also managing the day-to-day health concerns of the whole community. We can only express our admiration and gratitude for their commitment and for the other unseen heroes such as carers, delivery people and shopworkers who are keeping us going.
We can all support these activities by staying indoors at home, protecting the NHS and saving lives. We should only leave the house for very limited purposes:
shopping for necessities, for example food and medicine, as infrequently as possible
one form of exercise a day - alone or with members of our household
any medical need, including to donate blood, avoid or escape risk of injury or harm, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
travelling for work purposes, but only where we cannot work from home
If you are in Ilkley and need help, or you would like to volunteer, the telephone number is: 07375 803 693 or go online to: https://bit.ly/ilkleycorona “