NORTH Yorkshire residents who need help getting food and medication because they are currently shielding are being reassured that support will still be available when the programme stops at the end of July.

Following the Government announcement that the national programme of food parcel and prescription deliveries to people who are currently being shielded will end on July 31, the County Council has stated that it intends to continue with support.

Of the 24,700 people shielding in North Yorkshire because they are clinically extremely vulnerable to being hospitalised as a result of COVID-19, around 12 per cent have needed support.

Gary Fielding, the County Council’s director of strategic resources, said: “There are more than 3,000 people in North Yorkshire who have relied on food and prescription deliveries while they stayed at home to protect themselves from coronavirus.

“Over the next six weeks we will be contacting those people on the shielding list to help them prepare for the end of July and put alternative methods of support in place should they need it.

“We want to reassure people who have been shielding for the last three months and those who are self-isolating that our support for people who do not have anyone else to call on will continue.

“We hope that in time the demand will reduce and that infection rates continue to fall, but whilst there is a need we will be there with partners to help.”

Since March the County Council has been working alongside 23 community organisations and district councils across North Yorkshire to coordinate the voluntary sector network in each locality, providing a safety net of support.

County Councillor Carl Les, North Yorkshire’s leader, added: “Many of those who have been shielding will be relieved that they will soon be able to see family and friends, and from the beginning of August go to the shops or get back to work.

“For people who choose to continue limiting their contact and need help with shopping or collecting medication, there will no doubt be people around you who are only too willing to help.

“We have seen an incredible response from communities across North Yorkshire coming together to help each other during this crisis.

“For anyone who doesn’t have the support of family, friends or neighbours we are here for you.

“Although more restrictions are now being eased it is vital that we all maintain social distancing, regular hand washing and avoid crowds to protect ourselves and those who may be vulnerable.”

Those who have needed help with shopping, prescriptions and other essentials but haven’t had anyone to call on have been able to contact the County Council’s customer service centre on 01609-780780.

For more information visit northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus and for details of businesses who are offering food deliveries and takeaways. visit northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local