The Ilkley Coronavirus Response Group hosted their weekly virtual meeting last Thursday, 23 April, 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.
The meeting heard how since the beginning of the Coronavirus crisis over 400 people have now volunteered to help others in Ilkley. The 100+ volunteers, who have recently been sewing scrubs, have now delivered over 200 sets, plus wash bags, and continue develop their own friendships and support systems within the project.
This week the Ilkley Coronavirus Response Group looked at some of the challenges faced by all members of the community as the Coronavirus lockdown continues.
Report were given about local voluntary groups who are continuing to keep in touch with their members and provide activities and support during lockdown, including CTI 2000, a charity which enables those with learning disabilities to live with support in the community. The CTI 2000 Allotment group has now set up a Whats App group where members post photos of what they are doing, and phone calls keep the others in touch, as well as a newsletter going out each week with contributions from members.
In their reports, the representatives from the voluntary sector, also explained that whilst those volunteers in organisations such as Girlguiding or Scouting community groups are not ‘key workers’ in the accepted sense, they are still voluntarily giving up time to be creative and keep young people engaged and positive during what must be a bewildering time for them.
A report from Girlguiding Wharfedale set out how leaders are keeping young brownies and guides busy with ‘Zoom’ sessions at their regular meeting times and running ‘indoor camps’, with the more adventurous putting small tents in their gardens. One Brownie unit is placing painted stones around the town and woodlands for people to find. Posters thanking Key Workers & the NHS have been busily coloured in and lots of cakes and sweets have been made!
The meeting also heard how mental health and well-being continues to be a priority for the Youth Service. Youth Workers are working to support young people via garden gate conversations, phone/video calls and text messages, and are using a variety of different virtual platforms to ensure workers are able to keep in contact with young people.
New to the Ilkley Coronavirus Response Group was Jamie Gutch, Assistant Headteacher, Ilkley Grammar School, who gave a report on the success of the school’s initiative through IGS Science Unit to produce PPE, including face visors, as used by many key workers in contact roles.
Rev Roberta Topham explained how Church communities are promoting all the Ilkley volunteering schemes, for instance, the Christchurch Café and Dan’s Den volunteers project which hosts regular online coffee meetings.
Robbie Moore MP reported from his Keighley Office and talked about the pressures on businesses locally, however, also noting the many offers of help and support to NHS. He also said that the HMRC Portal now up and running to support furloughed Staff/Employers.
This week also saw the launch of the Ilkley Round Table Web and Giving site, and funds are already coming in, with Nick Winterbottom, incoming Chair of Ilkley Round Table, joining the Ilkley Coronavirus Response team.
Ilkley Town Councillor Peter Mate commented 'Thank you to the Ilkley Round Table for becoming our new partners, and for brokering all arrangements, resulting in a very quick response and launch.
The website will be an online reference for the residents of Ilkley and Ben Rhydding, providing updates on the official government information & guidance, a directory of local & national support groups, a "Good News" page sharing all the positive stories and give an update of funds collected.'
For more information visit www.ilkleyresponse.co.uk
Dr Caroline Rayment, ended the meeting with a reminder about the how by staying at home the community can protect the NHS and save lives. She said;
'We are aware of how difficult this time is for everyone. Whether you are a family with small children, teenagers stuck at home, those trying to work from home whilst trying to home school their children or those who are over 70 or with serious underlying health concerns, we know that a lot has been asked of you.
It has been asked because it is important. This virus currently has no cure and no vaccine. Therefore, the only way we can reduce the spread is by removing the host it lives in - ourselves. There are many wonderful volunteers in Ilkley who are working to keep you safe; they actively want to help. They will do your shopping, collect your prescription or ring for a chat so you can stay home and stay safe. Please use them and help us reduce the spread of this virus.'
Stuart Hyde QPM, says 'We are now entering the 5th week of lockdown and the Ilkley’s partnership-based approach continues to ensure that all members of our community are looked after during these challenging times.
We are still working to support those needing help with shopping prescription collection and befriending, as well as, now seeing other community-based groups supporting all those at home with a wide range of projects and activities.
By staying indoors at home at this time, we can all help protect the NHS and saving lives.'
Any Ilkley residents needing help, or interested in volunteering, contact 07375 803 693 or go online to: https://bit.ly/ilkleycorona