Weekly update from Ilkley Coronavirus Response Group


The weekly virtual meeting of The Ilkley Coronavirus Response Group (ICRG) on June 4 was chaired by Ilkley Mayor, Cllr Mark Stidworthy.

At the meeting, representatives from the voluntary sector reported on how they had celebrated and marked volunteer week, including Good Neighbours who had sent handwritten cards to all those volunteering with the charity.

Good Neighbours and locally volunteers are continuing to help with requests for help generally around practical support, shopping and prescriptions to pharmacy. They charity is also working to produce booklets with resources and useful information for those in isolation, particularly those who do not have internet access.

The group heard from Jamie Gutch, Ilkley Grammar School’s Deputy Head and everybody recognised that the return of increasing numbers of children to school would have a significant impact on families and the town in general.

Chair Mark Stidworthy thanked the IGC and all other schools for their hard work during this time and their great work with keeping students learning remotely.

Helen Rhodes, from the Ilkley BID gave a full report on how they were supporting local businesses and retailers. Also discussed was how the BID was working with Highways on how pedestrian traffic is to be managed so that shoppers can adhere to social distancing guidelines. Helen also reported on the applications for the last known tranche of business funding support, which is referred to as the discretionary grant scheme, and is now open through the Bradford Council website.

Rev Roberta Topham, from churches Together sent her report outlining how Church colleagues are starting to learn about the complex risk assessments and other processes that will be involved in any opening up of our church buildings even for very limited activities and that only after the government and relevant parent bodies have given permission.

Fundraising and distribution are still continuing, and the funds have been supporting a number of projects where local charities have been adversely affected by the coronavirus. Applications for funding are still open and local groups who have incurred costs as a result of coronavirus support activities can contact the helpline number (07375 803 693) and their request will be considered.

The meeting heard how the Sewing team have made and supplied the local community with over 1500 face coverings, including over 1000 sets distributed via the Food Bank, Tesco’s and Booths.

Dr Caroline Rayment gave her report, saying:

“It is important that we all adhere to the government guidelines on social distancing and keep our distance from people outside our own households.

If you can, wear a face covering in enclosed public spaces where social distancing isn’t possible and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet. This is most relevant for short periods indoors in crowded areas, for example, on public transport or in some shops.”

Away from the ICRG meeting, in his statement this week, Ilkley Town Mayor Cllr Mark Stidworthy said:

“Gradual changes continue to lockdown, with schools reopening for some pupils and more flexibility to spend time outdoors or with people outside your household. From June 15th Ilkley’s retail businesses will start to reopen. We wish them well as they start the difficult process of revival, as they are key part of our thriving and attractive town centre. Although the town starts to reawaken, and parking charges are being enforced once again, things are not “back to normal”. Covid-19 is still here. The message remains: Stay at home where possible, maintain social distance and wash hands often, do not meet in groups of greater than six people and wear face coverings when social distancing is difficult and on public transport. There have been nearly 500 deaths so far from Covid-19 in Bradford district, and each one is a tragedy.

After many weeks in lockdown and isolation, many feel unsure about the risks of venturing outside. Previously confident and independent people of all ages may be experiencing unfamiliar and debilitating anxiety. All of us can experience such problems, particularly in these uncertain times. Help is available at MyWellbeing College, provided by our local NHS. Resources include online courses in your own home, group courses, phone advice and one-to-one ‘talking therapies’. You can register online (http://bmywellbeingcollege.nhs.uk/home/link-self-referral/) or over the phone. You don’t have to go through your GP but they are available to help too.


Volunteers’ Week (1st to 7th June) is an annual celebration of the contribution millions of people make across the UK through volunteering. For the last few months, many of Ilkley’s volunteers have been unable to contribute as they normally would, due to the pandemic. At the same time, new volunteers have stepped forward. On behalf of all of us, I would like to thank them all. We look forward to meeting together more normally again and celebrating the contribution you have all made to our town.

New figures released for Carers Week (8th – 14th June) estimate that 4.5 million people in the UK have become unpaid carers as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, on top of the 9.1 million unpaid carers who were already caring before the outbreak, bringing the total to 13.6 million. The charities supporting Carers Week have said: “Recognising the contribution of unpaid carers to our society and properly supporting them has never been more important than during this pandemic. Unpaid carers are the pillars of our health and social care systems. Yet many say they feel invisible and ignored.” I hope that carers in Ilkley do not feel like this, but it has never been more important that all of us, from local to national government level, listen to and support carers across the community. Find out more at: https://www.carersweek.org.

The Ilkley Coronavirus Response Group includes a range of partners across the town who can help you find the support you need, either locally or with the help of Bradford Council and local NHS healthcare teams. If you are in Ilkley and need help, the telephone number is: 07375 803 693, and the website: https://ilkleyresponse.co.uk.”

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