Responding to Covid-19 in York

The last few weeks have been difficult for all of us with seismic changes to our daily routines and how we serve our local communities. For those of us who are councillors and community campaigners, the crisis poses a number of challenges as our traditional methods of campaigning and communicating need to change.

In York we have attempted to strike a balance that has enabled us to communicate as much as we can. To help other Liberal Democrat groups around the country, we have compiled a resource pack of some of our templates and examples that can be drawn upon in the coming weeks and months.

We are working to show that Liberal Democrat councillors aren’t merely campaigns and caseworkers. Across local government, Liberal Democrat-led councils are responding for their communities in a time of crisis. If you want more information about our efforts to combat Covid-19 in York click here to read my Liberal Democrat Voice article.”

Cllr Keith Aspden
Leader, City of York Council

Radio Clips
With the entire country under lock down radio listenership is booming and crucially it can reach a number of residents who don’t use the internet regularly. You can then promote clips of your interviews on social media, see example here. For the graphic template (page plus file) we use see here and for a guide on how to clip audio from local radio and other sites click here

Covid-19 Focus leaflets
In York we were able to get a focus leaflet delivered before the lockdown took place, which was particularly important for councillors to communicate to residents not able to access online sources of help. You can see a ward version here.

Emails to residents and members
We have a number of examples that have gone out on a range of topics including from the council leadership and local councillors: Covid-19 advicesupport for local groupssupport for residentsward updates; and a call for volunteers

Infographics
At City of York we have been able to establish several emergency funds worth millions for residents and local businesses. Here is a template (page plus file) to promote new funds or policy proposals if you are in opposition. 

Ward funding schemes
One of the main ways that Councillors will be able to support communities is through local improvement schemes. One of our first steps was to accelerate access to York’s Safer Communities Fund and allow councillors to use it flexibly during the crisis. So far we have managed to spend £23,000 and here are some of the specific examples of projects we have funded locally during the crisis. 

Letters to press
One of the old methods that still works is writing a letter to the press. Click hereherehere or here to see examples of ours. 

Letters to government
We have been putting pressure on government to provide assurances about local authority funding and supply sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect our frontline workers. 

Press releases
As City of York Council is Liberal Democrat led, we are proud as executive members of the work that we’ve done to bring communities together during the crisis. Click here to read one example about the efforts we’ve made to build community hubs and a volunteering network across York. 

Videos
We know that videos are the most effective way of engaging with social media users. We’ve been using them to say thank you to volunteers and key workers

Democratic engagement
We have been keen to show residents how our council group and executive have been functioning during the crisis. Likewise, we are using social media where we can do engage with residents and sustain democratic practices.

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