York Labour children
York Labour children's services spokesperson, Councillor Bob Webb

York Labour councillors, together with their Green Party colleagues, have made a joint funding commitment to support vulnerable children and young people across York in their wards during the Covid-19 crisis. The initiative, at Labour’s suggestion, sees seven wards represented by 17 Labour councillors and 2 Green councillors, pool part of their ward funding and commit the same £1,337 from each ward,to help provide emergency ‘hampers of hope’ for children and their families supported by The Island, a local York charity.

The Island was set up to support some of our most disadvantaged, vulnerable and isolated children and young people to realise their potential through positive mentoring relationships and activities. The charity have launched an emergency £25,000 appeal to raise money to respond quickly to those most in need, and the money provided by these seven wards will contribute funding totalling £9,360 – almost 40% of that target.

Labour says this decision has been taken to begin to tackle the inequity of the funding system which was changed by ruling councillors last year to an allocation per councillor, rather than one based on each ward’s evidenced need. Labour’s spokesperson for communities, Councillor Michael Pavlovic, said the funding allocation was the first of what is expected to be others as the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic becomes better understood.

“We’re pleased to agree this funding to families across the wards we represent, who fully deserve this support at an incredibly challenging time. We need to see how the situation develops in the coming few weeks before looking at what other funding allocations we may need to make.  It’s obvious that the level of support some of our residents need will not be as readily available with the current restrictions, and we need to avoid a situation where people feel cut adrift.”

 The Island usually provides hampers through the donations it collects in local supermarkets.Labour’s children’s services spokesperson, Councillor Bob Webb explained:

“The Island does some amazing work for local children and through funding these emergency hampers of hope, we can support the charity to not only provide food and other provisions, but also learning resources and access to an emergency 24 hour helpline.

“The hampers will help support a reduction in family tension as well as improved mental health and well-being.  Advice and guidance will be available to families at an early stage so The Island can help with any emerging challenges they are having.  As a teacher, I know what a positive impact this vital support will have on children and their families”.

Cllr Pavlovic added, “This situation is taking its toll on everyone in some way or other, and we plan to be flexible to support those in need as and when that need emerges”.

You can contribute to The Island’s appeal by visiting their website: https://www.theislandyork.org/

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