This is probably one of most challenging times either of us have faced in local government and as you can imagine we, as a local authority, are focussed on continuing to deliver the best service we can to residents, businesses and customers who need it the most.
We have undertaken reviews of all our services so that we can support everyone in our community, especially the most vulnerable. We are also working closely with North Yorkshire County Council, and other vital services such as the NHS and volunteer sector, to ensure we provide the best service we can in these unprecedented times.
Understandably a lot of people will have questions and concerns so we’d like to share some of the latest information from Harrogate Borough Council.
Following an announcement by government, around £40million will be made available to support Harrogate district businesses in the coming weeks. This funding will be in the form of business rates relief and government grant and details will be made available on our website in due course.
Our commercial tenants will be offered three months’ rent free and we’ll be doing all that we can to encourage other landlords in the district to consider what support they can offer their tenants.
We’re also looking at what financial support can be provided to residents who need it the most.
As you may have already noticed, our leisure centres, swimming pools, community centres, Turkish Baths, museums, children’s play areas, etc. are obviously closed until further notice to help prevent the spread of this disease. Please abide by these closures to help prevent the spread of this disease.
Many of our staff who work across these sites have kindly volunteered to support our other services, such as waste collections, during this time and we’d like to thank them publicly for doing so. This reiterates just how dedicated we are to serving the community, just like the many other people are doing across the district.
While on the subject of waste and recycling collections. We’re working hard to make sure our waste and recycling collections take place as usual, but disruption is anticipated so please bear with us.
A number of other services we provide will obviously be affected by this pandemic and again will be changing daily. Therefore, I’d encourage any residents to visit: www.harrogate.gov.uk/covid19 for the latest council information and where they can also sign up for our residents’ news.
I’m sure many of you are feel anxious about what is happening and are struggling if you are self-isolating alone. We’d like to ask that everyone looks out for one another and to think about those in your own community who might need help, while following the latest guidance. This might be getting in groceries, collecting medication or delivering a hot meal. Even just a phone call to an elderly neighbour can help wonders.
NYCC are working with community organisations to ensure vulnerable people are looked after and we’re supporting their efforts in doing so. Anyone needing help should contact the county council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780.
The charity Mind also has lots of information, from eating healthy to regular exercise, so please do visit their website if you are feeling anxious.
This is a fast changing environment, something most of us have never experienced before, and the latest advice and guidance is changing frequently. We are therefore following government and NHS advice and suggest residents do as well. This can be found at: www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19
One final thing we’d like to add. Stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives.
Chief executive Wallace Sampson OBE and
Leader of Harrogate Borough Council Councillor Richard Cooper