Harrogate MP calls for community to continue pulling together in face of coronavirus pandemic
Harrogate and Knaresborough MP Andrew Jones has thanked the community for its hard work to help those struggling - but is calling on people to keep up the momentum for the next three months.
Mr Jones spoke of his ideas for the 'be the best neighbour' campaign earlier this week, along with his plans to build an 'army' of volunteers and says he has already had an overwhelming response.
He said: “It is so heartening that there are so many online and community groups emerging to support the community through this. There are Facebook groups, streets with Whatsapp groups, an amazing facility on the Oatlands Community website and many other initiatives.
“It doesn’t really matter how many groups they are, it matters that people have multiple places to go for help and that whatever method – Facebook, Whatsapp, leaflets or, in my case, emails – the more communication going out the fewer people fall through the gaps.
“In just over a day over 100 people have contacted me volunteering to help people who are self-isolating. Already we have matched up elderly people who are suffering from the lack of human contact with a telephone buddy and people who are OK for food now but may need shopping next week."
But as the uncertainty around how long this situation will last grows, he is now calling on people across the district to keep up the momentum for at least three months and do everything they can to support local businesses.
He added: “I have two concerns now – we need to keep this going for maybe three months. That’s going to take determination, organisation and continual energy. I think we’ve got those things in abundance in our community.
“Now we need to support our shops. We need to connect people and retailers. So if you are a shop that is changing its way of working to deliveries I want us all to be shouting loud about that. If you need help getting those deliveries to customers let me know and I’ll see if someone will volunteer to help.
“I’ve seen reports of independent bakeries switching to home deliveries and real ale pubs doing take outs. Many other outlets will be doing similar things. Let me know if that is you and I will get that information in front of the thousands of people who receive my regular emails.
“I have said that we all need to be the best neighbour we can be – and it’s happening. But our high streets are our neighbours too and we need to find ways to support them in this new situation.”
Email Mr Jones at [email protected] or call 01423 529614.