Councillor Annabel Wilkinson has requested that the NYCC bulletin about Covid-19 is shared with the community. Please see below.


June 17 update

A message from Richard Flinton, Chief Executive

In North Yorkshire we are continuing to make good progress in our recovery and it is clear as a county we are working hard, collectively, to emerge from this incredibly difficult period in our history in the best possible shape. As individuals, communities, businesses, groups, organisations, local government bodies and emergency services – we can all be really proud of our continuing efforts to protect our loved ones and support our county’s journey safely back to the new norm. To ensure this good progress continues, it’s important that Team North Yorkshire remains focussed and not just for a few weeks, but for many months in all probability.  Coronavirus is retreating, but not disappearing, and is still very much alive and thriving in some parts of the world. Let’s not forget that the pandemic here, which has sadly taken more than 40,000 lives, began just a few short months ago with around 1,300 cases. So, what can we do to play our part now in this new phase of fighting the virus?

The facts regarding infection control are very clear. Prevention is our biggest weapon here – the hand washing and social distancing the vast majority of us continue to practice, remain critical as part of our daily lives wherever we are.  The use of face coverings in more confined places will continue to help us protect others and, of course, for others to protect us. Put bluntly, if we don’t get it – we can’t spread it – so let’s carry on doing our bit.

Then there’s the best way to manage outbreaks when they do inevitably happen – despite everyone’s best efforts. This virus will continue to pop up across the county and, where it does, we will have really robust outbreak management plans in place to lead the local response where needed and to support the NHS Test and Trace programme. Knowing where the virus is, is vital and that’s where you can really play your part. If you have symptoms, it is absolutely crucial you book a test and isolate immediately with your household. Then – if your test is positive – you will receive an alert from the NHS team.

Please do check the message carefully to make sure you avoid the scammers out there. NHS England advises that any telephone call or text will come from one verified NHS number: 0300 013 5000 and it will provide you with a unique ID number which you can use on the NHS Test and Trace website.  Please remember that effective rapid testing is key to infection management which is why we have put such a focus on resolving those issues in North Yorkshire. Find out more about how you can get a test here www.northyorks.gov.uk/testing

On the subject of testing, I am sure many of you will have been aware of what was a really difficult and challenging position in many care settings regarding Covid-19. Home to many of our most vulnerable residents, the lack of rapid testing facilities was complicating our considerable efforts to support care homes and extra care settings with their outbreak management plans. I have good news on both fronts, here. We have, this week, launched our bespoke approach to supporting testing in these settings with a satellite facility in Scarborough providing a ‘collections and drop-off’ point for testing kits, which are being distributed across the east and north of the county by some of our highways teams. In the south, we are fortunate to have good support on this from our neighbours in Bradford via their satellite. Together – alongside our management plan with these settings – this new approach will mean we can protect more of the people who need it the most in the future. There is more on this approach on our website

https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/news/article/steping-fight-against-covid-19-testing-station-care-homes

We are also working behind the scenes with the Department of Health and Social Care on another pilot which we hope will support the county’s Test and Trace programme and I hope to be able to tell you more about that next week.

Our focus is to work effectively with our partners to help North Yorkshire return to normality safely. And that’s not just about testing – vital though that is – it’s also about giving people the confidence to get on with their lives in our new norm. Across the county we are taking steps to support that and today we closed the road in Northallerton to facilitate social distancing around the popular outdoor market. You can see how some of those visiting and trading felt about the efforts via this link: https://youtu.be/EaM3sciJ0Ec

We are also listening to our youngest residents as we continue to expand our school provision. Secondary schools are joining primary schools in reopening to particular years and groups of pupils and here’s how Hutton Rudby Year 6 pupils are spreading the word on staying safe at school https://youtu.be/_BSvNdaybLY

In finishing today, please accept the points of advice in the spirit they are intended which is to continue to look out for each other and to work together towards our new norm.  Remember if you have symptoms – book a test – follow the advice you are given carefully – protect North Yorkshire and carry on playing your part. On behalf of the county council and North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum – which continues to lead the response and recovery in our county – I would like to offer our hearty thanks for everything you are doing to Stay Safe in North Yorkshire.

A message from Lincoln Sargeant, Director of Public Health

World Health Organisation data shows that we have now passed 8 million confirmed cases globally, with over 439 thousand deaths across 216 countries, areas or territories.

At a national level, yesterday’s (16/06) Public Health England data show there were 298,136 lab-confirmed cases in the UK, with 41,969 COVID-associated deaths. To date, there have been 1340 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as part of Pillar 1 testing across North Yorkshire.

The number of people currently in hospital with COVID-19 continues to decrease slowly. Sadly, there have been 644 deaths from COVID-19 across Airedale, Harrogate, South Tees and York NHS Trusts to date, of whom an estimated 250 will be North Yorkshire residents. The number of deaths from COVID-19 each week continues to decrease. You can see the latest confirmed cases of coronavirus by area on the Government’s website.

Yesterday we held the first meeting of the Outbreak Management Advisory Board, which is the new member-led group overseeing the North Yorkshire Outbreak Control Plan. The Plan itself is well under way, and we continue to work with Public Health England on how we link in to the Test & Trace system.

For more information on NHS Test & Trace see https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-test-and-trace-how-it-works.

Time to Test – HIV prevention

The #TimeToTest campaign, which launched last week, is a bid to maximise the current social distancing situation to identify everyone who has undiagnosed HIV. This is so they can start treatment early, improve their health, and prevent them from passing on HIV to anyone else.

NHS England have pulled together the following information briefing, and initial assets, to summarise this campaign and it includes links to the free home testing that is available through PHE: https://www.hivpreventionengland.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Time-to-Test-Campaign-Information-Briefing.pdf

Planning for recovery

Testing

As part of the national testing programme for coronavirus, drive-through Mobile Testing Units, run by the Department for Health and Social care, will be operating in the following locations over the coming days between 11am and 3pm:

  • 18 June – Settle – Greenfoot Car Park, Ingfield Lane, Settle, BD24 9RW
  • 19 June – Northallerton – Allertonshire School Car Park, Brompton Road, DL6 1ED
  • 19 June – Whitby – Whitby Park and Ride, Guisborough Rd, Whitby, YO21 1TL

Before you attend you must book a test. Tests can be booked from 8pm the night before.

Find out more and how to book at www.northyorks.gov.uk/testing

All HWRCs to reopen this week

This week, Harrogate Stonefall household waste recycling centre will reopen and the mobile HWRCs will return to North Yorkshire.

After a phased return, Harrogate Stonefall and the mobile sites are the final household waste recycling centres to reopen after they were all shut down in March. All household waste and recycling centres will be open with social distancing measures in place.

Current restrictions remain in force: no trailers, commercial or charity waste; only one person out of the vehicle where possible; only bring what you can manage yourself as staff are unable to help unload; keep two metres apart to protect yourself and others and wash your hands at home before and after visiting the site.

Hand sanitising facilities at sites are limited, so people are advised to wear gloves on site and are reminded to wash their hands before and after attending an HWRC.

Full details can be found at www.northyorks.gov.uk/CovidHWRC

Cold callers alert as lockdown eases

North Yorkshire residents are being reminded not to deal with cold callers offering property repairs and gardening work.

The warning comes from our trading standards service and North Yorkshire Police as Covid-19 lockdown restrictions start to be eased and concerns rise about doorstep callers taking advantage of the changes to exploit vulnerable residents.

These offenders are always on the lookout for opportunities to defraud the elderly and vulnerable, but their ability to do so has been curtailed due to the lockdown. We are concerned that they will soon be back out cold calling vulnerable residents and trying to persuade them to have roofing, driveway, pressure washing, gardening and other work undertaken.

The message is clear. Residents should not deal with doorstep callers.

Doorstep traders can be reported to Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133, or to the police on 101, or 999 in emergencies.

Dispose of PPE safely

As more of us use personal protective equipment, including disposable face masks, gloves and wipes and tissues, we are reminding people how important it is to dispose of these items correctly.

Disposable, used, face coverings, gloves, tissues and wipes cannot be recycled. These should be disposed of in your general waste.

If you or anybody in your household is experiencing symptoms of coronavirus, you should take extra precautions when disposing of any personal waste.

It should be stored securely in disposable rubbish bags. These should be placed into another bag, tied securely and kept outside for at least 72 hours before being put in the general rubbish bin, outside your house.

For further information on disposing of PPE correctly, watch our video: https://youtu.be/ACafUluQibA

Schools and childcare

Secondary schools this week began to welcome back Year 10 and Year 12 students after having put in place risk assessments and measures to ensure students can remain safe in school.

They include Wensleydale School, where head, Julia Polley, said they had brought in a raft of amendments. She said: “As students start coming back, we’ve done all the risk assessments and identified areas which needed amending. So, for example, all students can come in wearing non-school uniform, so they don’t need to worry about washing uniform quickly for the next day. The school day has been shortened to 10am to 2pm and students can’t bring anything in with them apart from lunch in a disposable wrapping.”

Julia says they have measures in place such as social distancing everywhere, hand sanitiser stations and staff remaining within the same social bubble of students throughout.

She added: “I’m really proud the students have engaged and taken on the challenge in such a way. They’ve all been absolutely amazing.”

Thirsk School and Sixth Form College prepared for the logistical and educational challenges with measures such as floor markings in areas students will be travelling through, class bubbles of no more than ten students who stay in classroom all day.

The curriculum is catering to all students, with a tailored approach for each student, depending on how much work they’ve done over lockdown, to get everyone to a similar level.

Primary schools in North Yorkshire are continuing to report an increased number of pupils attending. Katie Smith, Headteacher at Thornton-in-Craven Community Primary and Nursery School reopened for Nursery, Reception, Year One and Year Six after remaining open for key worker children at a school hub during lockdown.

She said the benefits of children returning have been huge for everyone – students and staff alike.

She said: “It’s so wonderful to hear laughing in every classroom again. School is important for pupils in so many ways…obviously for learning, but at the moment a huge focus has been on well-being, social interaction and routine.”

We are also now two weeks into the wider opening of early years’ provision in response to the Government’s request for early years’ providers to welcome back those needing childcare from June. We have three-quarters of early years’ providers in North Yorkshire currently open and anticipate the demand for childcare places will continue to increase over the coming weeks as more parents return to work.

Social care, the NHS and Public Health Services

The North Yorkshire Outbreak Management Advisory Board met for the first time yesterday (Tuesday) in order to discuss the roll-out of the Government’s Test and Trace system at a local level. The role of the board is to provide local democratic ownership and oversight of the Test and Trace programme and the local outbreak management plan, which is led by the Director of Public Health. Members of the Board include Leaders of the County Council and the 7 borough and district councils (or their representatives), NHS, business, voluntary sector, schools, Health Watch and other representatives.

North Yorkshire has stepped up the fight against Covid-19 with testing stations for care homes. A satellite testing unit to serve care homes in the east of the county started operating from Scarborough last Friday, with the capacity of up to 500 testing swabs per day. This marks a significant step forward in the fight against Covid-19 in the county’s care settings to improve radically the speed and quantity of testing and turnaround in results. It complements testing provision for care settings in the western side of North Yorkshire which already operates from a satellite site in Bradford.

The Scarborough testing site was negotiated and agreed with the Department for Health and Social Care by the North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum.

This latest development follows major changes to the county council’s social care services and a whole raft of measures for care settings undertaken in partnership with the care sector (supported by the Independent Care Group umbrella organisation), along with the Care Quality Commission and the NHS, to tackle the impact of the virus and to keep people safe and well.

Mike Padgham, Chair of the Independent Care Group and Managing Director of social care provider St Cecilia’s in Scarborough said: “The setting up of the satellite testing station for the sector in Scarborough is extremely welcome and a big step forward in the fight against the virus. The joint working with the county council is invaluable for care providers as we tackle the impact of coronavirus.

“It is sometimes a challenge to explain the measures we are taking as care providers but our aim has always been to do our best for our own residents and staff and to play our part in supporting our hospitals and caring for those with Covid-19 in this area.”

Measures taken by the county council, NHS partners and the care sector since the outbreak of Covid-19 in North Yorkshire include:

  • Each home in North Yorkshire receiving a daily call from a county council care home contact officer with a welfare checklist. Homes experiencing problems are supported by a care home liaison officer who channels resources to meet requirements such as support on HR, staffing and recruitment, help with sourcing PPE, infection control, zoning of care homes, cohorting of staff and residents, safe hospital discharge, clinical advice, registered manager support and more;
  • Stepping up support to the care sector, putting in place a 7 day/week response team within the county council’s Quality & Monitoring Service;
  • Establishing a daily Gold Group between the Chief Nurses of the 3 NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups, Adult Social Care Assistant Directors and the North Yorkshire Director of Public Health and Public Health Consultants to review care home hotspots and to target assistance, interventions and support (including PPE and testing)
  • Commissioning additional bed capacity from independent sector providers to provide additional beds for people who might need them, either in response to Covid or for other urgent reasons; and to provide “quarantine” beds, around the County, for people whose Covid status has not been confirmed
  • Following Government guidance at all times and taking a careful and considered approach to risk: on care homes, on homecare and on use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
  • In line with Government guidance, where the county council has commissioned extra beds from care homes, asking homes to admit people with a potential Covid diagnosis but only if people can be kept safe by the provision of zoned areas and cohorting residents;
  • Some care homes have not been funded for additional beds as they were not in a position to be able to zone or cohort their services or residents;
  • The county council has challenged hospital discharges where there have been concerns about safety and suitability;
  • The county council and ICG have contributed to the Ethics Committee discussions that have been led by NHS partners including issues such as admissions to care homes and end of life care.

A way forward is being considered urgently for adults with disabilities and their families after the charity, Henshaws, which provides a range of educational, day support and residential services, has announced it will be withdrawing from its day, and supported living, services.

The County Council has been working with Henshaws in recent months to address operational and financial difficulties the charity has faced with its Harrogate Home Support service (which includes supported living, community support and personal care). The Council has been offering support to the charity to map out sustainable provision for these vital services.

Henshaws is a much-loved part of the community in the Knaresborough and Harrogate areas for its services for people with sight loss and other disabilities.  More recently in common with many other charities, it has faced the service and financial consequences caused by Covid-19.

The Centre, which caters for 160 people, many of whom have been attending the centre for many years, has been closed for both art makers and visitors since before lockdown but the charity has announced in recent days that it will not now re-open.

Richard Webb, North Yorkshire County Council Director of Health and Adult Services said: “We were surprised and disappointed to hear this news. Henshaws is much-valued by many people and, along with the other councils that fund people to use their services, we would have expected to have been involved in early discussions about this kind of momentous decision. We will work with the charity and with people who use the Arts and Craft centre, and their families, to see what might be possible in the future.”

Harrogate Home Support includes 10 supported living properties in Harrogate, with capacity for 25 people, with 16 currently funded by the county council and the rest by other local councils. The service also provides community support to 11 people of which the county council funds 4 people.

Families have now been notified of Henshaws’ intention to withdraw from the service and the County Council has also written to families to reassure them that it will work with them to find a sustainable solution for the people who are resident in supported living.

Support for people in isolation

Since the last bulletin, we have written to more than 6,800 people in North Yorkshire who are on the national shielding list, to give some reassurance that our support will continue for those who need help with food, medication and other essentials. The Government will carry out the next review of shielding measures this week and will then write to people on the shielded list, with advice and information about the next steps and the support that will be available following the review.

Anyone at higher risk from coronavirus remains vulnerable and should still stay at home as much as possible. Current Government advice for anyone who is shielding to protect themselves from Covid-19 is not to go shopping, attend gatherings or visit other people’s homes. Community support organisations will continue to help people who have no one else to call on while they are isolating and we will also carry on with telephone welfare checks, in partnership with district councils, to make sure people have support in place.

Incoming calls to the county council customer service centre are now largely requests for information, with fewer than 100 new referrals to community support organisations (CSOs) last week. The number of people being helped by the CSOs has remained steady at around 3,800 each week for the last four weeks, with volunteers contributing 3,553 hours to help people in their communities. 1,316 meals have also been delivered across North Yorkshire in the last week, with the community support organisation for North Craven in particular seeing demand for their meal delivery service increasing.

Along with collection and delivery of shopping and medicines, books and magazines and materials to support hobbies, support from CSOs has also included regular social contact via telephone, FaceTime, Skype or other methods. Community support organisations in Northallerton and Reeth are also now starting to organise some socially distanced face-to-face contact in outside spaces.

For lots of people, just having someone to talk to has been a lifeline during coronavirus and many North Yorkshire befriending services have adapted from face-to-face visits to a phone call. This week we have marked Loneliness Awareness Week, a national campaign aimed at combatting loneliness. It’s estimated that 2 million people in the UK over the age of 75 live alone and half of those can go an entire month without speaking to another person.

Last week community support organisations carried out 1,034 telephone check-ins and 756 befriending calls to people who are lonely and isolated. Particularly when the population has been in lockdown, the effects of loneliness can be even more profound.

Marjorie Walsh was keen to continue her involvement as a volunteer carer with the Ryedale Voluntary Carers group – whilst also staying at home in Thornton le Dale to protect herself from coronavirus.

Marjorie said: “Normally I visit a lady in Pickering who doesn’t get out a lot. We tend to go for a ride round then we choose somewhere to stop to have tea and cake on our way home. At the moment I phone her regularly instead and we have a good chat, but it is obviously not the same. She does miss the contact but understands the need for the isolation, as I do. Another lady and I have a good old chat a couple of times a week; she’s on her own and because of underlying health issues she needs to isolate herself. We happily chatter away for quite a long time. I wanted to continue to do something if I could but obviously shopping for people wasn’t really an option for me, so I was quite happy to do something else. When it all started the main concern initially for people was making sure they could get food and essentials, then once that settled down and time went on, I think a lot of people on their own started to feel quite lonely.”

Marjorie is confident that North Yorkshire communities will continue to support each other long after the Covid-19 has gone.

She added: “We are lucky that we have family close by that can help us with shopping and things but we are constantly getting updates of things that are available to us locally which I’ve found really helpful. I think the response has just been tremendous.”

Since March, 577 Covid-19 support grant scheme awards have been made through the community support organisations, providing financial assistance to pay for food and household essentials during isolation. Around 30% are repeat awards and the majority (80%) of applicants have long-term health conditions or weakened immune systems (42%). 17% are unemployed and 9% are waiting for a benefit claim. There have been 307 awards in the Scarborough area.

Those who need help with shopping, prescriptions and other essentials but don’t have anyone to call on, or anyone concerned about the welfare of someone else, can contact North Yorkshire County Council’s customer service centre on 01609 780780. The centre is open seven days a week 8am to 5.30pm.

For more information, including links to the main supermarkets for people who can shop safely for themselves, and a link to the Buy Local site, go to www.northyorks.gov.uk/help-you-during-coronavirus-covid-19

People can also find details of local voluntary and community groups offering support at www.northyorkshireconnect.org.uk

Local economy

Buy Local

North Yorkshire Buy Local (www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local) is the online marketplace to bring together businesses and customers.

There are now over 650 businesses registered on the site, many of whom have had to re-model themselves during the coronavirus outbreak and are now adapting again as lock down restrictions ease.

With many retailers re-opening to the public this week, we’re urging them to register on the site to let as many customers as possible know their doors are open. The Buy Local site also allows all businesses to outline the safety measures they have put in place to protect the public.

Matthew and Andrea, who own The Dale Stores in Birstwith near Harrogate, adapted their business and signed up to Buy Local.

“Being able to help people has been really terrific and has given us a real sense of purpose,” said Matthew. The village store began putting together orders for collection and delivery in the nearby area. They launched a system whereby customers who are vulnerable or self-isolating are able to place orders either on the telephone or via an Internet order form.

The Dale Stores is a traditional village shop with limited space, so Matthew is making changes ready for when they re-open “We have had screens fitted at the till point in readiness and plan to adopt a “two customers at a time” policy. Once we have reorganised the kitchen into an order fulfilment room, we will be able to allow shoppers in properly and safely.

Read more at www.northyorks.gov.uk/buy-local

Please share our social media messages encouraging businesses to register, and directing the public to the site. Follow @northyorkscc on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

LEP News: York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub launch additional business support

The Growth Hub has launched a number of free webinars for businesses to provide them with a range of support. This includes those detailed below.

Free webinar: Converting to take away and delivery during COVID-19

For businesses such as restaurants, cafes or pubs looking to offer takeaway, or delivery, and wanting to maximise this opportunity, the York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub in partnership with North Yorkshire County Council and Make It York is hosting a free webinar.

Expert advice will be given on how to successfully adapt business models, make the most of digital technology and ensure regulation compliance.

The webinar will take place on Monday 22 June 12:15 – 1:00 pm. For more details and links to sign up, see below:

Social media support for business

The York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub, in partnership with North Yorkshire County Council and Make It York, has also teamed up with York PR and marketing agency Intandem Communications to deliver three free webinars.

The sessions are designed to give an introduction to a range of topics from getting set up and creating great social media content, through to advertising and analytics. For more details and to sign up, see below.

Mastering the basics: 25 June, 12:15-13:00 

Planning and creating great content: 2 July, 12:15-13:00 

Growing your social media presence- 9 July, 12:15-13:00 

ShopAppy offer extended to cover all of York and North Yorkshire.

The York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub has invested in a community- led shopping platform, ShopAppy.com, allowing local businesses to have free 12-month subscriptions to the site.

Launched last month, it initially targeted businesses from 10 towns. The 10 towns are: Selby, Tadcaster, Harrogate, Knaresborough, Malton & Norton, Richmond, Leyburn, Stokesley, Thirsk and Easingwold.

Now, businesses from elsewhere in York and North Yorkshire can take up the offer too. The first 50 businesses to sign up from outside these towns can also benefit from free 12-month subscriptions, worth £240 each. For further information, go to link to press release.

Grow Yorkshire launch free online trading offer for farmers

Free subscriptions are being offered to help York and North Yorkshire farmers sell their produce direct to shoppers online and to also connect them to retailers. The 12 month subscriptions, worth £240 each, allow access to community led shopping platform, ShopAppy.com.

The offer is led by Grow Yorkshire – a collaboration of farming, food businesses and research organisations coordinated by the York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

ShopAppy.com features a directory of towns. Farmers eligible for the offer, from the York & North Yorkshire areas, would showcase their produce on the webpage of the town closest to them.  Funding for the free subscriptions has been provided by the York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub.

Farmers interested in taking up the free offer can contact ShopAppy to register interest by emailing info@shopappy.com or visit the site at www.shopappy.com . For further information, go to Link to press release and comms pack.

Promoting Government guidance on re-opening: Updated working safely guidance

Guidance to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic has been updated to reflect industry feedback, guidance on Test & Trace, guidance on safer travel and to provide guidance on managing security risks.

The full guidance can be found here: https://bit.ly/CV19WorkingSafely.

The Cabinet Office has shared the following video to show how retailers are keeping customers and staff safe. We would appreciate you retweeting on your own channels where possible: https://bit.ly/How2GuideTweet.

Marketing Materials available to promote wearing face coverings

From Monday 15th June, wearing face coverings is now mandatory on all public transport.

To help support this change, HM Government has created a range of new marketing materials available on the Campaign Resource Centre. These include Posters,  Social Media and  Additional Social Mediaassets.

Staying informed

As always, we are keen to promote the following as main sources of business support information:

Communications

NYCC’s website has a dedicated area for all the latest COVID-19 related news visit: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/coronavirus-advice-and-information

Follow us on social media: @northyorkscc on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Advice on things to do

Online music lessons

Online lessons being offered by our County Music Service are going really well, delivering more than 1,100 lessons each week, but the service can accommodate more pupils.

Our service has adapted to allow lessons to be taught online to pupils unable to attend school. We offer the full range of instruments, including brass, woodwind, strings, percussion, voice and keyboard

Up to 32 lessons a year are offered, with a guarantee of 28. Lessons are delivered by specialist instrumental teachers over a secure connection.

We were among the first music service to pioneer this approach and are very experienced in it.

For details, visit www.northyorkshiremusichub.co.uk or email MusicServiceTuitionRequests@northyorks.gov.uk

Summer Reading Challenge

The Summer Reading Challenge has gone digital. The challenge is open to children aged four to 11 and the theme is the Silly Squad, so children are invited to read anything that makes them happy – a comic, joke book, poetry, fiction or non-fiction, in digital or print, an e-book borrowed from the library or what they already have at home.

Children can sign up for free at summerreadingchallenge.org.uk, where they will find brilliant book suggestions, super silly activities, quizzes, videos, games, a place to keep track of their books and rewards to unlock along the way.