News From Harrogate - Boroughbridge - Knaresborough - Masham - Ripon

News From Harrogate, Boroughbridge, Knaresborough, Masham, Pateley Bridge & Ripon 

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See below the latest news for Harrogate & Districts with local news and information in your area. Find out what’s happening in Harrogate at the Harrogate Guide covering Harrogate, Boroughbridge, Knaresborough, Masham, Pateley Bridge & Ripon.

I have gathered the News below from the Internet and from press agencies that send us news updates daily. Should you find any errors, anything I might have missed or indeed anything I can include please email


Mary Fisher, 85, has stood at Summerbridge Primary School since 1975 – and says that not one day has gone by that she was not excited about her job.

Mary helped her children and their friends across the road, and then their children, and now some of their children after that. She was persuaded by the local policeman to take on the role of crossing patrol. She said: “I knew the crossing lady was retiring because my children went to the school. I’d been asked if I wanted to do it, but always said no. Then one day I bumped into the policeman at the local shop and he told me he’d be round to my house in a couple of minutes.

“He said ‘Mary, what about this crossing lady job?’ and I said I’d give it a try. I never imagined I’d still be doing it 45 years later. But I’ve loved every minute of it for the entire 45 years.” Mary also worked as a carer for more than 30 years, retiring in her 60s and being asked to go back for an additional 20 months. She said: “I’d get up in the morning and go to my caring job, before coming back and getting changed and going out to be a crossing lady. I did that for many years and I enjoyed it.“One of the best parts of the job is that everyone recognises you – everyone always waves at me.

“I love being outside and active as well. I have to be out and about rather than sat inside. Not a day goes by where I think I don’t want to get up today and do it.

“Once or twice over my career, the school have called me and said it’s too icy or cold to come in and they try and look after me, but I always want to be out and about.

“When my husband died, I was more or less straight back at work. It was so sad when it happened and I miss him a lot still, but you have to keep getting on with it. I didn’t want to sit in a corner and brew.” But the best part of the job for Mary is the people.

She said: “Everyone comes across the crossing, so many people recognise you and wave. It’s lovely to see the different generations of children coming through, too – all the parents I knew have grandchildren now. “The community thinks the world of us lollipop ladies and the job we do and every day is different and every day is happy.” Nick Coates, Headteacher at Summerbridge Primary School, said: “From a school perspective, Mary needs little in the way of introduction. She has, as we all know, been a treasured member of our community for generations and has ensured the safe crossing of the busy road for hundreds of children.  

“Not only does Mary ensure that everyone is safe, but she always has a kind word for the children and a wise word for the parents, many of whom she has known for all of their lives, too.   “Mary's dedication to her job has been quite unbelievable. Come rain or shine, freezing cold or scorching hot, Mary is always ready for action, lollipop in hand! “Even lockdown didn't make her consider for one second retiring. She literally raced out of her house to be back on the roadside just as soon as she was allowed. There is simply no stopping this irrepressible lollipop legend, and for that, we are eternally grateful.”

Cllr Carl Les, Leader of North Yorkshire County Council, said: “Mary and her service to the community over the past 45 years is something to be applauded.

“We want to say thank you for her commitment to keeping children safe, come what may. She has done an excellent job over the past four decades and will continue to do so.

“Thank you Mary, for being a key member of Team North Yorkshire.”

Mary’s 45th anniversary at work was Tuesday, 13 October.


Two suspected drug dealers were arrested on the 28th October near Ripon following a proactive operation targeting drug dealing in the area.

At around 5.20pm officers intercepted a vehicle on Hutton Bank near Ripon.

Officers from the force Operation Expedite team and resources from the Operational Support Unit brought the suspect’s vehicle to a stop and two 21-year-old men were arrested. A search of the car and the suspects resulted in officers seizing a large amount of suspected MDMA tablets, a significant quantity of suspected crack cocaine, a knife and approximately £500 cash. It is believed the Leeds-based pair were travelling across the border from West Yorkshire in a ‘county lines’ operation to supply large quantities of class A drugs in the Ripon area. One of the men has since been charged with possession of a bladed weapon and will appear in court on 11 February. Both men have been released while under investigation in relation to the possession of class A drugs with intent to supply. The investigation continues.

North Yorkshire Police’s Operation Expedite teams focus on those involved in drug dealing, particularly ‘county lines’. These are dealers who travel from outside of North Yorkshire to pedal drugs in our towns, often exploiting vulnerable and young people and forcing them to sell their drugs for them.

Tackling county lines drug dealing is a priority for North Yorkshire Police and Expedite teams work proactively to prevent and detect drug dealing and associated offences. They also work to safeguard and protect those who are vulnerable and targeted by organised crime networks.

Your information is vital in helping us to do this. To find out more about how you can help and what to look out for, visit

Anyone who has any information about drug dealing in their area is urged to contact North Yorkshire Police on 101. If you prefer not to speak to the police and remain anonymous, you can pass information to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or online at



The broadcast fixtures for the Emirates FA Cup First Round have been selected.

The following fixtures have been chosen for live multi-camera broadcast on BBC and BT Sport. The FA live broadcast fee for these fixtures is £32,500 per Club.


Harrogate Town v Skelmersdale United (19:45 KO) - Live on BT Sport 1


Tonbridge Angels v Bradford City (12:30 KO) – Live on BBC and BT digital platforms

Ipswich Town v Portsmouth (15:00 KO) - Live on BBC and BT digital platforms

FC United of Manchester v Doncaster Rovers (17:30 KO) – Live on BBC Two 


Maldon & Tiptree v Morecambe (12:45 KO) - Live on BBC and BT digital platforms

Hampton & Richmond Borough v Oldham Athletic (12:45 KO) - Live on BBC and BT digital platforms

Eastbourne Borough v Blackpool  (14:30 KO) -  Live on BT Sport 1


Oxford City v Northampton Town (19.45 KO) – Live on BT Sport 1

The Emirates FA Cup First Round Proper fixtures listed below have been selected for live single-camera broadcast on BBC digital platforms. The FA live broadcast fee for these fixtures is £12,500 per club.


Colchester United v Marine (15:00 KO) – Live on BBC digital platforms

Banbury United v Canvey Island (15:00 KO) – Live on BBC digital platforms


Eastleigh v Milton Keynes Dons (12:45 KO) – Live on BBC digital platforms

Barnet v Burton Albion (12:45 KO) – Live on BBC digital platforms

Wigan Athletic v Chorley (12:45 KO) – Live on BBC digital platforms

Torquay United v Crawley Town (12:45 KO) – Live on BBC digital platforms

Hayes & Yeading United v Carlisle United (12:45 KO) – Live on BBC digital platforms

Havant & Waterlooville v Cray Valley (12:45 KO) – Live on BBC digital platforms

Winning clubs in the Emirates FA Cup First Round Proper will receive £16,972 from The FA prize fund, with losing clubs receiving £5,657.


Police arrested a man on Leeds Road in Harrogate last night (29 October) following a report of a shoplifting in the town. At around 5.30pm officers intercepted a silver car after information was passed to North Yorkshire Police by CCTV operators following the report from a store on Cambridge Road.

The suspect’s vehicle was stopped and the driver, a man from the Leeds area, was arrested on suspicion of drug driving and taken into custody. The investigation into the theft of £1,500 worth of suspected stolen goods is ongoing. The arrested man has been released while under investigation.


Ripon City Netball - 
The Ripon City Netball Club’s committee was determined that their awards evening would go ahead this year despite COVID restrictions. “This is normally the biggest social event on the RCNC calendar” said social secretary Nicola Lymer but this year a more low key celebration took place with only the award winners invited to attend a socially distanced presentation outside at Ripon Grammar School where the club trains. There are currently five teams who play in three different leagues in Harrogate, Hambleton and the North Yorkshire Ambassador League for the club’s flagship team, Falcons. Each team – named after beautiful birds of prey - has three trophies for Most Improved Player, Coach’s Player and Players’ Player. Each set of shields is sponsored by a different local business. Falcons are sponsored by, Kestrels by, new team Ospreys are sponsored by Cowen and Morgan opticians, Eagles are sponsored by Hays Travel and Hawks by…

The 2020 award winners were;


MIP Kerry Rich

CP Lindsey Stockdale

PP Karen Dodds


MIP Carla Darbyshire

CP Thandiwe Mahlangu

PP Becky Stacey


MIP Rebecca Kirby

CP Claire Barnett

PP Jenny Addyman


MIP Kimberley Adele

CP Joanna Wallace

PP Hayley Blaymires


MIP Frankie Louise

CP Sarah-Louise Norton

PP Jenna Sadler

In addition to the team awards, there are several individual trophies. The winners of these were;

Best Newcomer – Lindsi Baldwin

Club Commitment – Kirsteen Dixon

The Extra Mile Award – Helen Mackenzie

The Gemma Williams Award –

The Kirsty Butlin Donkey Award – Georgina Roberts

The Sylvia Grice MBE Award for Integrity – Samantha Wilson

Mackenzie Award for Outstanding Effort and Attitude – Karen Ellam

As a club we like to build women up so in addition to the trophies there are also pamper vouchers to the tune of £30 from beautician Amber Rose Strzeszewski. These are for players of the year and are sponsored by FB Taylor and Amber herself. The winners were;

Cathy Simms

Jackie Laugher

Lindsey Virr

Rachael Clark

Suzanne Armstrong

Nicola Lymer

Louise Withy

Becky Ash

Tracy Chapman

Ripon City Netball Club is an all inclusive club that caters for ladies of all ages and abilities. The emphasis is on fun and participation. If you would like to get involved – either as a player, a coach or a match official - please contact Head Coach Helen Mackenzie on 07896 534539


A consultation is being launched on how to deliver a range of public health services for children and young people across North Yorkshire.

Healthy child consultation graphic

The Healthy Child Programme is a child and family health promotion programme for children aged 0-19 years. Some of the services, such as health visiting and school nursing, are for all children, and some, including supporting emotional health and managing substance misuse, are targeted to those most in need.

North Yorkshire County Council currently commissions services from Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, which delivers the main elements of the programme on its behalf. The council and partners need to find new ways to deliver the Healthy Child Service in the face of a national reduction in public health funding. Members of the public are now being invited to give their views on the proposals.

Dr Lincoln Sargeant, North Yorkshire’s Director of Public Health, said: “In North Yorkshire, we are managing a reduction of up to £4m in our Public Health funding from Government over the next few years. We will protect the Healthy Child Programme as much as possible and reductions to these services will be less than the overall cut to the Public Health Grant. We will have a universal and targeted service for children and it will continue to be our biggest single area of expenditure in public health. “The Healthy Child Programme forms one part of a number of children and young people’s services commissioned and provided by the County Council, the NHS and other partners in the county. Overall, these services provide robust support to help young people in North Yorkshire have the best start in life and grow up well. “We will continue to deliver health checks for children under five years old and will continue to support new parents with a focus on those children and families most in need. All new babies will have a face-to-face visit from a health visitor, as they do now. Depending on the family’s needs, further visits will be either face-to-face or online.”

The proposals for consultation include:

  • Mandatory visits to families with children under five at key child development stages will be co-ordinated by a qualified health visitor.
  • At-risk under-5s and their families will continue to be prioritised, as they are now, with face to face visits where needed;
  • Learning from how services have operated under Covid-19 restrictions, introducing a blended approach of face-to-face and online contact for families, based on robust assessment of the child and family’s needs;
  • More integrated support from agencies across the health, education, social care and voluntary sector for children to be ready to learn and to address developmental concerns in children and young people;
  • A partnership approach to the prevention and management of risky adolescent behaviour, including prioritising and improving emotional health and resilience;
  • Effective identification and management of the safeguarding of children and vulnerable parents or family members.

Stuart Carlton, North Yorkshire’s Director of the Children and Young People’s Service, said: “Because we know that the foundations of a healthy life are set in the earliest stages of childhood, we’re proposing to target resources on supporting children under five. “National policy related to providing the best start in life provides further evidence that increasing investment in children aged 0-5 years can have a positive impact on emotional wellbeing and school readiness. Improvements in these areas will support lifelong positive outcomes. “We also want to give young people the tools they need to look after their mental health and navigate their way to adulthood; that’s why our proposals for a new way of delivering the service include a focus on emotional resilience for young people.” Suzanne Lamb, Head of Safeguarding (Lead Nurse for Public Health and Quality) from Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Ensuring that effective services continue to be delivered to children, young people and families in North Yorkshire is our priority and we are pleased to continue delivering these in conjunction with North Yorkshire County Council.

“We know this is a challenging transitional period, with the added pressures brought by Covid-19, but we hope that the public consultation will provide an opportunity for our service users, partners, communities as well as colleagues at the Trust to share their views on the proposed service offer. We are keen to hear from as many as possible to ultimately work together to continue to ensure we provide excellent Healthy Child Services across North Yorkshire.”

People can give their views on the proposals by filling in the online survey before the consultation closes on 4 January, 2021. Feedback will be considered by the County Council’s Executive, as well as its Scrutiny of Health Committee, and by Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust Board, before any final decision is made.Subject to the outcome of this consultation and due consideration, it is proposed that the new service would begin on 1 April, 2021. The council is hosting online events where people can hear more about the proposals and ask questions before filling in the survey. Unfortunately, face-to-face events are not possible due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The dates and times of the online events are:

  • 3 November 2020 at 10:30 am
  • 4 November 2020 at 6pm    
  • 5 November 2020 at 1:30pm
  • 6 November 2020 at 10:30 am
  • 17 November 2020 at 10:30 am
  • 18 November 2020 at 6pm
  • 19 November 2020 at 1:30pm
  • 20 November 2020 at 10:30 am

Register for an event.

Copies of the consultation information will also be available at your local library during the consultation and the information can be requested in a different language or format by emailing

View all the information about the proposed service changes and the online survey.


Expert analysis of the financial case for a single, strong and sustainable new council, serving every person in North Yorkshire, reveals it could deliver up to £252 million in savings over 5 years to support crucial frontline services at a critical time.

A stronger future together montage showing iconic scenes from across North Yorkshire

The single new council model would end duplication in just a few months, saving £30 million pounds a year by cutting red tape and reducing senior management and elected member costs. These are the findings of independent accountancy firm PWC, using an established financial model. The savings figure reflects immediate benefits from bringing eight councils together and the value of delivering strengthened public services, which are fit for the future.

Getting rid of the current two-tier structure of local government is a prerequisite for paving the way for a mayoral-led combined authority and the strongest possible devolution deal. The county council’s proposal would create a single new council for North Yorkshire, delivering all public services here, and has won the backing of the business community. It is estimated to save an initial £30m per annum simply as a result of the eight councils restructuring to become one*. The costs of disruption are minimised, so the new council would be saving money in just seven months. In addition, by using the new council as a springboard for a transformational change this saving could rise to between £50m and £67m a year, netting up to £252m at the end of the first five years.

Responding to the evidence base, Cllr Gareth Dadd, North Yorkshire County Council’s executive member for Resources and Deputy Leader, said: “We are presented with a once in a lifetime opportunity at a key moment in our history, as we battle to emerge from the devastating impacts of the pandemic. A unique chance to deliver very significant savings that will be ploughed back into frontline services, support enhanced local democracy and end unnecessary waste. Our bid maximises all the benefits and delivers those benefits more quickly. It is also the least disruptive. “Our proposal represents a saving of up to £185 a year for every household in North Yorkshire which would be put back into service delivery. It would be negligent of us to not to chase down such an opportunity. “No other bid can deliver the scale of savings in such a timeframe while protecting nationally recognised services for the county’s most frail and vulnerable residents.”

The county council’s Leader, Cllr Carl Les, said: “We have developed our own proposal using in- house expertise and our strong knowledge of the county, based on delivering services to every single resident here. However, we have taken the sensible step of having our financial case validated by external experts, as the public would expect on such an important matter. “PWC has applied the same model to a range of proposals, including that set out by the seven district councils here. The options analysis has therefore been done on a fair and consistent basis.

“Both bids end the current two-tier system of districts and county, and both bids result in two councils delivering all services to York and North Yorkshire.

“We believe strongly that it should be for Government to decide which is the strongest bid, not us, as we have said this from the start. We, therefore, hope that both proposals will go forward for the Secretary of State’s consideration.”

Gary Fielding, Director of Resources at the county council, said: “In addition to the direct financial benefits in the single new council modelling, there is added value linked to this proposal via the York and North Yorkshire partnership, which was announced last week. “When we add in these opportunities, we believe the scale of savings opportunities could be significantly in excess of £70m per annum. “As an existing unitary council, York has already enjoyed the benefits of bringing multiple services and the two tiers together. “Savings of this scale would have a massive impact, given the enormous financial pressures being faced by councils across North Yorkshire, particularly in adult and children’s services.”

PWC also modelled other options, including that put forward by the seven district councils, which proposes an east/west split of the county and which draws in the City of York. This option also offers savings, but considerably less at 60% of the county’s proposal over five years. It also involves higher costs given the level of disruption, so it would take almost two years for these savings to be realised.

Cllr Keith Aspden, Leader, City of York Council, said: “A local government restructure in York would have significant detrimental impacts on York residents, communities, and businesses.  Any change to York’s footprint would either increase the cost to residents or stretch services further, thus making it harder to meet York’s own unique challenges.  We believe there is no functional, historical or logical reason for merging York with any other local authority. To progress devolution, we need to work with North Yorkshire County Council to make sure what’s right for them is right for York and of direct benefit to our residents, communities and businesses.” The county council will publish its full bid early next week, ahead of it going to executive and full council.

While North Yorkshire has been engaging with a broad range of partners, sectors, groups, individuals and community groups, it is the role of Government to undertake formal consultation on the proposals ministers feel meet their criteria. *The eight councils would be the 2 borough councils, 5 district councils and one county council currently serving North Yorkshire.

Find out more about devolution and our proposal for a single, strong, sustainable council for everyone in North Yorkshire on our Stronger Together pages.


Police have stepped up patrols in York after a series of catalytic converter thefts overnight. Officers are urging people to be vigilant, take steps to secure their vehicles, and report any suspicious activity immediately – to help make the city a ‘no go area’ for the thieves.

Just before 1am today, Friday 23 October 2020, police were called to the Acomb area, where a resident reported he had disturbed a group of men interfering with his Toyota Auris car. The men drove off at speed in another car. On inspection, the catalytic converter from his car had been removed and stolen. At about 1.15am, a group of men were seen next to a Volvo V70 in the Fulford area. Officers attended immediately, but the men had left. The car’s exhaust had been cut, but the catalytic converter was still in place.

At 2am this morning, a resident in the Tang Hall area of York was woken by a noise that sounded like drilling. She noticed men crouching around her Honda Jazz car and shouted at them. They made off in another vehicle. The catalytic converter from the car had been stolen. A Honda Jazz car with its catalytic converter removed and stolen

In light of the overnight thefts, police are stepping up proactive patrols across the city, and house-to-house enquiries are ongoing as investigating officers gather information on the suspects. While there is a legitimate market for second-hand catalytic converters, thieves target them for the scrap value of the precious metals found inside. Hybrid vehicles (whose catalytic converters tend to contain more precious metals) and 4x4s (whose higher chassis make them more vulnerable) are particularly at risk. Owners are urged to take extra precautions to protect their vehicles:

With darker nights drawing in, park your car in a locked garage where possible, or a well-lit and populated areaPark close to fences, walls or a kerb, or alongside other vehicles, to make theft more difficult. Avoid parking half on the pavement and half on the road, as this may make it easier for thieves to access the catalytic converter If there is a fleet of vehicles, park the low-clearance vehicles to block the high-clearance vehicles and obstruct access underneath Ask your local garage about security measures such as a cage device to lock around the converter, a tilt sensor to activate an alarm if the vehicle is jacked up, or equipment to etch a serial number on the converter itself.

If you see someone acting suspiciously under a vehicle, report it to the police. If a crime is in progress, dial 999. Obtain as much information as possible, including any vehicle registrations. Officers are also asking scrap metal dealers to be on the lookout for people attempting to sell on catalytic converters, and pass any information to the police. Last week, officers from North Yorkshire Police’s Rural Taskforce conducted site visits to scrap metal yards – as part of a national campaign targeting metal theft – to ensure relevant legislation was being complied with.


The Harrogate Community Radio Events Board is still active even during the pandemic.

The first event on the board is this Monday - it is the launch week of the RESET group exhibition. This will be held at Redhouse Originals, Harrogate - get down there to see images by Warhol, Tracey Emin, Banksy, Damien Hirst, Peter Blake... the fantastic list goes on. Another event I am shouting about is Dead Northern Film Festival. Dead Northern presents Harrogate’s only horror and fantasy film festival coming this Halloween. The team at Dead Northern are putting on a social-distanced horror and fantasy film festival with the core event in the haunted Victorian ball room of the Crown Hotel this Halloween weekend. So, if you have an event, socially distanced or online - get in contact - we have great rankings in Google and we want to help you. email us at


 Bilton and Woodfield community library and Boroughbridge community library and resource centre are among those to be highly commended for improved performance. Click Here to Read More


Evidence shows that children who start school with underdeveloped language and communication abilities have poorer life chances and outcomes; for example they are twice as likely to be unemployed as adults. A child who is unable to communicate properly with peers or teachers can become frustrated and challenging in his or her behaviour. For this reason, the County Council has begun an ambitious pilot programme to improve early language development and tackle school readiness in North Yorkshire. The pilot called Grow and Learn, is taking place in East Whitby and Ryedale over the next year.  It will involve a range of targeted interventions by the County Council and its partners in health and early years provision such as nurseries and baby and toddler groups who will work with communities and families.

The pilot, which will include a marketing campaign, is built around the idea of the whole community contributing to a child’s progress and supporting them to be school-ready.  Singing nursery rhymes and other songs, chatting and reading to children away from the distractions of television and phones are key ways of developing their early language.“These don’t have to be done at a set time – they can be done any time to fit in with daily living”, said Ruth Little, who has been appointed School Readiness Coordinator.  “Chatting with children on the way to nursery, or while making a meal or playing ‘I spy’ on the bus or in the car, sharing a picture book, singing to your bump in ante-natal classes – all contribute to a child’s language development. It’s never too early to start and can involve the whole community and wider family networks.”

The county council is to use a tried and tested common assessment approach so that health and early years’ partners, as well as community volunteer groups, can recognise speech and language delay in children’s earliest months and years and build in support.  “A lot of people think there’s no need to talk to a new-born baby but you can’t start early enough,” said County Councillor Janet Sanderson, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Children’s Services.

“We want to get the whole community involved through neighbourhood-based partnerships to deliver effective local support for families with children aged 0 to 4.  We all have our part to play from midwives through to health visitors, toddler groups, nurseries, families and friends, library volunteers and others to take the opportunity to sing, read, play and above all to talk to children.  We aim to ensure that those children who need support get support.” The pilot’s key aim is to ensure that children achieve a good level of development (GLD) at the start of their schooling in the Early Years Foundation Stage.  Over the last three years, East Whitby and Ryedale have lagged behind North Yorkshire in the percentage of children reaching GLD – 51.5 per cent for East Whitby and 69 per cent for Ryedale compared to over 71 per cent for the county as a whole. The goal is to close that gap.

The pilot will complement a range of initiatives that have already taken place on the North Yorkshire coast through the Government’s Opportunity Area and through county council funding for the Scarborough Pledge.  Initiatives have included whole families learning nursery rhymes together, a ditch the dummy campaign to encourage children to talk and up to 30 primary schools in the Scarborough District which have employed speech and language therapists in school to give additional timely support to children with language difficulties.

One of the county council’s English advisers, Liz Dyer, has also been seconded to the National Literacy Trust to run the Our Stories campaign which aims to raise literacy levels on the coast through a range of projects and activities to promote reading, writing and storytelling.

Liz is overseeing the Literacy Champions project and is recruiting and training volunteers to create and deliver literacy activities in their local communities. She has enlisted people from all walks of life including a kickboxing trainer and a manager in Scarborough hospital’s special care baby unit who is giving books to parents to read to their premature babies while they are cared for on the unit. The Book Trust has also provided North Yorkshire County Council Library Service with free resources for children aged 0 to 5, including board and picture books, rhyme sheets and Make Your Own Pet Starcraft, to add to their existing collection of books suitable for babies and very young children. Registrars are also now auto-enrolling babies with the library during birth registration.

In East Whitby and Ryedale, the council’s Children and Families workers have already been distributing, “chat, read, sing and play” bags, with activities for children 0 to 5 to families hardest hit by lockdown, to engage them in reading and stories. The Grow and Learn pilot in East Whitby and Ryedale will also draw on all of this work. “A great deal of good work has already been taking place on the coast,” said Cllr Sanderson.

“Our focus in this pilot will be on the earliest weeks, months and years of a child’s life to stimulate speech and language development. Our ambition in North Yorkshire is to give all children the best start in life and our message at the heart of this campaign will be – if you want the best start it’s never too early to talk to your baby.” Find ideas on fun, free activities which can be done at home to help get children school-ready. Also lookout for the Grow and Learn North Yorkshire County Council social media campaign.


Play safe this Hallowe’en is the message. As concerns continue about rising Covid-19 infection rates across the county, children and families are being urged to enjoy alternatives to traditional trick or treating on 31 October.

Richard Flinton, Chair of the North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum (NYLRF), which brings together councils, emergency services and health organisations to tackle the pandemic, said: “We are keen to get the balance right between protecting people from the spread of the coronavirus and ensuring that they can still enjoy themselves. “I thank everyone for the huge efforts being made across the county as we all work to stem the rise in cases of Covid-19. It’s vital that we do not let these efforts slip as we enter this season of celebrations. “Hallowe’en is hugely popular with children and families and we want people to be able to enjoy it. That fun is important to our wellbeing. But we must celebrate safely, so this year that means celebrating differently. “The rules that keep us safe from Covid-19 every day apply just as strongly on Hallowe’en. Stick to the rule of six, indoors and outdoors – and remember that school bubbles do not apply outside school. Maintain social distancing, wear a face covering in any busy place, inside or out, and wash your hands regularly. Remember to take hand sanitiser if you go out.”

If people decide to go out on 31 October, they must follow these safety measures. However, to reduce the risk to children and others and to combat the rise in infections, NYLRF is recommending that people do not go knocking on doors on Hallowe’en or collect sweets from communal bowls.

There are many alternatives that mean you can still enjoy a memorable evening, including: Be creative: create a pumpkin trail where you live so everyone can join in without knocking on doors.

Be active: get dressed up and take a walk around your neighbourhood to see homes decorated for Halloween. - Be virtual: consider an online party with decorations, fancy dress and themed food. Play Hallowe’en games, bake Hallowe’en treats or tell spooky stories. - Be social: take pictures of your spooky costumes and activities to share on social media. - Be colourful: dress up the outside of your house with Halloween decorations for you and your neighbours to enjoy. - Be treat-wise: buy your own sweets to give to your children so they don’t miss out. - Be bright: if you carve a pumpkin, use a battery-powered light inside it to reduce the risk of fire.