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Looking out for our neighbours and staying safe

Looking out for our neighbours and staying safe

As Coronavirus (COVID-19) spreads across the UK, it will be hard for people to maintain their social connections. Looking out for our neighbours has never been more important, and we can all do our bit to ensure that people who need a little extra help are not forgotten at this time – be they family, friends or neighbours.

It is crucial that we all follow the advice issued by the government so that everyone in the district stays safe and well, and at HARCVS we are taking the lead from North Yorkshire County Council in terms of adjustments to the HELP services we already provide that support older and vulnerable people. 

We are working with our established networks and partners and taking guidance on how best to support the wider community, knowing that the community response will need to sustained over weeks and months. 

People who are already lonely or isolated will need the support of our wonderful local charities more than ever and we know that they will rise to this new challenge. As the coronavirus situation develops, charities will need to plan on how best to keep employees, volunteers, supporters and beneficiaries informed and protected. NCVO has collated useful guidance on what steps you need to take.

Volunteering

If you're over 18 years of age, healthy and not at high risk  (see NHS guidelines ) you can now sign up to become a Here To Help Volunteer  with tasks such as urgent food shopping for the most vulnerable and providing back-up to local charities delivering vital services, as necessary. You can find your local community hub in Harrogate District listed on the Here To Help page.    

Staying Safe

It’s fantastic that so many local people in our communities are so kind and caring and want to offer help in these uncertain times as more people will need to stay at home, but people aren’t always sure where to start and some are worried about safety or fraud.

We want to encourage kindness and neighbourliness, but we want people to stay safe so here are some tips we’d like to share for everyone to please bear in mind:

  • Tap into what’s already there – local charities, faith groups and community hubs have lots of knowledge about the local area and who needs help. You can find lots of these listed in our searchable Where To Turn Directory 
  • If you want to help your community during this outbreak, you can now sign up with us as a Here To Help Volunteer  
  • Many local charities need people to give time, not just now, but in the future. Take a look at our HARCVS Volunteering Directory to see the range of roles available and to enquire. But please bear in mind that services offered will often be changing because of the outbreak.    
  • If you choose not to sign up in this way, you may decide to start with your neighbours, even if you haven’t had much contact before, where people may recognise you and trust your offer is genuine.
  • If you offer neighbours help please keep it local and manageable – please don’t try and cover a large area or more than you realistically can sustain – this might last for months
  • Extra phone calls to keep in contact with friends, neighbours and family could mean a lot to them and is an opportunity to find out about any needs they may have
  • Don’t get into personal care or going into people’s houses – be assured that other agencies will be looking at this
  • Keep it to essentials so a lot of money is not involved and don’t expect or ask people to pay for support, if they insist, suggest they pay you back later ‘in kind’ when they are well
  • Be cautious, just as you would normally be careful about not giving away too much personal information such as your bank details to people you don’t know 
  • Please be aware of coronavirus scams as fraudsters are exploiting the outbreak with various types of fraud and cyber-crime. Read more on the Action Fraud website
  • There are some good ideas and resources listed on this Campaign to End Loneliness webpage , including tips from Mind charity for people feeling anxious or worried about coronavirus
  • Follow government advice, protect yourself from a health point of view and please don’t pass on germs. A useful easy read version is available on the HealthWatch North Yorkshire website  
  • Other ways to help at the moment include donating to local foodbanks (e.g. at Waitrose or Morrisons in Harrogate ) or donating money to a local charity which will be working extra hard at the moment and dealing with significant challenges. 
  • If you're interested in your community in Harrogate District and the work of local charities and volunteers please  subscribe to our regular e-bulletin. There will be lots of information and advice about these concerning times in forthcoming issues.  If you have some information to share please submit your news here  
  • Follow us on twitter and like us on facebook where we are sharing both local and national updates to help keep people safe and informed  
 
Help and Support

People living in North Yorkshire who need help or support and do not have family, friends or trusted neighbours to call on at this time can phone the North Yorkshire County Council customer service centre on 01609 780780 every day 8am to 5:30pm to be signposted to the right support. In Harrogate District the councils are working with 6 local community support organisations who can help. 

 

Harrogate Community House Update

From Tuesday 24 March Harrogate Community House is closed until further notice. The single most important action we can all take in fighting coronavirus is to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives. 

 

Thoughts from our CEO 

On 19 March, our HARCVS CEO, Karen Weaver, shared some thoughts on the challenges we face during the COVID-19 outbreak in her blog post

 

Page updated 17 April 2020. 
This page will be reviewed daily.