Brief from the Chief: COVID-19 Update - 5 May
Tue, 05 May 2020

Dear colleagues,

Today is National Teachers' Day so I'm starting today's Brief from the Chief with a thank you to all teachers and also all other schools staff and education colleagues at this time.

Schools have been playing a crucial role during this national emergency, whether providing an on-site education provision for vulnerable children and children of key workers or helping pupils learn at home.

We all know how important the teaching profession is and I'm sure anyone who has been contributing to their children's home-schooling in recent weeks is even more appreciative of the work carried out by teachers, teaching assistants, school leaders, nursery staff and everyone else connected to schools and education provision.

It has taken a great deal of work to keep providing on-site provision across a number of school locations around the East Riding and also to support home learning so thank you very much for your continued efforts and commitment.

Education and childcare is just one example among many of how well the East Riding has responded to the challenges of COVID-19.

From social and care work to refuse collection and public protection, from business support to the Community Response Hub, and in numerous "back office" roles, the collective effort of our whole workforce has been immense in protecting and helping residents, businesses and communities.

We have managed to keep emptying 50,000 bins a day, our vehicle technicians continue to service and repair frontline vehicles to keep them in operation, we are providing superb residential and domiciliary care to elderly and frail people, the democratic process continues thanks to ICT support and virtual meetings, almost 6,000 businesses have received more than £65million in grant payments, we are supporting people's mental and physical health and wellbeing in so many ways through great initiatives like Active East Riding, hundreds of planning applications are being processed, infrastructure projects continue, household waste and recycling sites were reopened yesterday, road repairs and improvements are happening - I could go on and on.

All this is happening despite the pressures of COVID-19 and the challenges of the lockdown.

And it is happening because we are committed to supporting our communities, supporting them through this ongoing national emergency and paving the way for the East Riding's recovery.

At this time of great need, I firmly believe the council has shown tremendous community leadership and I am confident that this will continue as we keep dealing with the social and economic challenges ahead of us.

The Prime Minster will be announcing the Government's next steps on Sunday and the council is ready to play our part in whatever those next steps mean in terms of "stay at home" measures and what support our residents, businesses and communities will need.

Although we are resuming and increasing services, we are doing this at all times with health and safety at the forefront of our planning and decision-making and our priority continues to be protecting the most vulnerable members of our society and doing what we can to reduce the spread of the virus.

While the Government guidance continues to be stay at home if you can work from home, for many staff who carry out essential services in the community that simply isn't possible and they have to be physically out and about.

We will continue to do everything we can to implement safe systems of work for those colleagues and thank them for their continued support in providing vital, frontline services for the public.

Health and wellbeing initiative

I want to tell you about two events taking place tomorrow which I encourage you to get involved with.

Firstly, as you know, the council is very keen to establish health and wellbeing initiatives and to encourage positive recruitment and retention practices at every opportunity.

I was delighted to hear about once such initiative which is taking place tomorrow as part of the council's Live Well Work Well programme.

East Riding Leisure is launching Premier Work-outs on the intranet, via a YouTube link, from 12.30pm tomorrow.

The live stream work-outs are led by our fitness instructors and will be 30-minute, 45-minute and 60-minute sessions, including a mix of cardio, strength, well-being and classes for those less mobile.

In these unprecedented times, it has never been more important to keep physically fit and active, which in turn supports mental health, and we want to help employees be able to do this.

Whether you are a regular, or have never done a class before, you can try them out via the intranet and be supported by East Riding Leisure's trained instructors, ask questions and gain advice.

Each work-out will be premiered for employees and afterwards can be accessed by anyone at any time on the YouTube channel East Riding Leisure, along with many shorter work-out routines which you can do at a time to suit you.

Simply click on the link and it will take you to the premier.

You can also join the YouTube channel East Riding Leisure.

Once the work-outs have been launched to staff and any feedback is assessed, there is a plan to then stream health and wellbeing initiatives directly into care homes and any other organisation with a need to engage safely and effectively with the outside world.

Activities will not only include physical activities but other cultural activities such as readings, recitals, information and learning.

It's a great idea and I hope many of you are able to support it - and boost your physical and mental health in the process!

Tourism 'Oscars'

The second event which I want to tell you about is the Remarkable East Yorkshire Tourism Awards - otherwise known as the REYTAs.

The annual Hull and East Yorkshire tourism "Oscars" is being transferred online this year with a virtual awards ceremony - and you are cordially invited.

The Remarkable East Yorkshire Tourism Awards (REYTAs) ceremony will be streamed live from the Visit Hull and East Yorkshire (VHEY) Facebook page from 8pm tomorrow.

It can also be viewed via VHEY's YouTube channel.

A total of 15 awards recognising the region's best, brightest, most successful and innovative tourism businesses will be announced and the 78 businesses and attractions short-listed through to the finals will be showcased with the screening of specially-commissioned videos during the hour-long show.

It is a great opportunity to celebrate all that is wonderful about Hull and East Yorkshire despite the lockdown restrictions and showcase some fantastic businesses and achievements.

About 500 guests were due to attend this year's glittering awards ceremony at Bridlington Spa on 19 March but the event was postponed as the nation went into lockdown.

Hopefully the digital ceremony will attract an even bigger attendance and people are encouraged to dress up anyway and embrace the spirit of the occasion as they watch the live stream with family, friends and colleagues.

Radio Humberside presenter Blair Jacobs will host the evening, filmed directly from his front room, and the event will follow as much as possible the format of what was planned for Bridlington Spa.

VHEY will be posting updates on the Facebook event - Virtual Remarkable East Yorkshire Tourism Awards - in the lead-up to the ceremony and you can find out more about the awards and join in the discussion online using the hashtag #REYTA2020

The live stream of the awards ceremony will be available from 8pm tomorrow at www.facebook.com/VisitHullandEastYorkshire as well as on VHEY's YouTube channel.

Cycle to Work

Finally, another health and wellbeing initiative which has been launched is the council's new Cycle to Work Scheme.

The scheme is a partnership with Cycle Solutions and, as well as saving you money, it contributes to your fitness and reduces your carbon footprint.

It's an opportunity for staff who are key workers who continue to commute and for those who are currently working from home.

Cycle to Work is a Government initiative which helps you save money when you lease bikes and safety equipment by paying monthly through a salary sacrifice before the deduction of tax and National Insurance.

A number of webinars (starting tomorrow) are being held, providing staff with the opportunity to ask questions about the scheme and products available, and you can join the scheme via the intranet.

Information about joining the scheme, the full benefits available and the wide range of bikes and equipment on offer can be found at www.cyclesolutions.info/eastriding or call 0330 1002480 if you have further queries.



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