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Weekly update from the Ilkley Coronavirus Response Group

The meeting heard about the new Stay Safe Stay Home campaign

Ilkley Coronavirus Response Group -  working hard together to help vulnerable and isolated people

The Ilkley Coronavirus Response Group hosted their weekly virtual meeting on Thursday 29 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, says “These last weeks have been very challenging as Ilkley has been touched by the painful loss of several residents. We remember them, and the suffering for their friends and families, and in their names, we are still working hard together to help vulnerable and isolated people.

We have made huge inroads in addressing the unmet needs of local NHS, medical and health providers with considerable PPE. We are not at the end of lockdown and won’t be for some while, so please help your local NHS, charities and essential workers by keeping to the rules. The Ilkley Corona Group will continue to address the many issues facing the town and will hope to see some change to the lockdown in the forthcoming weeks and months.

Please continue to use the number to call the main hub 01274 430 00 if you need anything. Its open 7 days a week 9am – 5pm. Many thanks once again to our MP and the Group members for their efforts and support and for our army of volunteers without whom we would not be able to cope.“

This week the Ilkley Coronavirus Response Group heard how the focus of the team is now on recovery, planning a step away from the crisis response, towards stability and recovery.

New to the meeting this week was Helen Rhodes from the Ilkley Business Improvement District (BID), who gave a full report on how the BID has been supporting businesses during the Coronavirus crisis. Helen reported that £73.5M has now paid out to 6500 businesses across the region. Ilkley was highlighted nationally as one of the worst-hit places for being affected, due to the number of people employed in the retail and hospitality sectors. The BID is looking at a number of schemes, including the ‘Survive, Revive and Thrive’ project with timescales for each phase being fluid and able to respond to the changing business landscape.

Ilkley Business Forum chair, David Shaw MBE, also gave a report, outlining how they had been sharing information with businesses, such as HR support been offered by Eaton Solicitors. They also reported on the help offered by businesses to the community. Spooner’s offered their big oven for use to community groups and free meals, for those in need, have been offered by J Reserve, and this has been taken up by Ilkley Food Bank.

In his report, our MP Robbie Moore also talked about the impact of the crisis on businesses and discussed the new ‘Bounceback Loans’ are about to be launched, giving loans of between £2-50,000. Robbie also said how he was pushing for BMDC to release more Business Grants.

The meeting heard about a NEW campaign launched across Bradford District and West Yorkshire area to reduce the risks from fire in people’s homes during “lockdown”.

Stay Safe, Safe Home is an initiative developed by West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service who have put together a series of fire safety advice notes to help to reduce the risk of fire, and keep people safe, while they stay indoors amid the COVID-19 precautions currently in place. In particular, fire officers are urging the community not to start garden fires during the lockdown and have stepped up their warning about the dangers and risk-to-life of lighting barbeques on balconies. This follows a 999 call where firefighters were called to an incident in a high-rise building where BBQ coals had been placed into a plastic plant pot on a small balcony.

More information about all aspects of home safety, including fire safety, can be found at

The group heard how the number of referrals to the local Coronavirus helpline has slowed, but volunteers are still very busy supporting the community with shopping prescription collection and befriending. The helpline also receives calls from those concerned about neighbours or friends and Ilkley Good Neighbours continue to support those in need.

Scrubs and PPE continues to be an important subject discussed by the group.  The total number of scrubs sewn by volunteers and supplied to local GPs and heath care professionals is in excess of 300. With IGS now set to produce a further 100 visors, through the School Visor Project and the Addingham Visor Army supplying visors to local key workers, the co-ordination of this work was seen as a priority for the group. 

Dr Caroline Rayment told the team in addition to GP practices continuing to be available for patients, more medical services will be available over the coming weeks, to meet critical and emergency needs, such as Podiatry, Chiropody and Dental Services.

The scrubs sewing team is this week sewing and providing bunting for the forthcoming VE VJ day commemorations and launching a new a ‘Bunting for Heroes past and present’ initiative to get the whole town involved in making and displaying bunting over the weekend of VE day, 8 – 10 May.

Rev Roberta Topham explained how Churches Together in Ilkley are continuing to support through their faith communities and how during the lockdown Christchurch is organizing virtual coffee mornings by Zoom to raise funds for Christian Aid, which starts on 10th Mary, and increase social interaction.

The group also heard about how the Cubs and Scouts, who usually met at Christchurch, are now meeting via Zoom every week. They are busy making and sending “hello cards” to those isolating, as well as working towards their ‘Community Impact’ Badge by encouraging community actions, such as watering the Community Orchard.

The new Ilkley Coronavirus Response Group website  is now online, and gives advice, help and local information, with links through to National and Regional Advice, and Keighley Hub material. Donations in the first week of the site going live, were just short of £500. Funds raised will go toward helping local projects support those in need during the coronavirus crisis, including the purchasing of materials for those making PPE.

For more information visit


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