Latest information and update from YMCA North Staffordshire: 31 March 2020 (next review 1 April 2020)

YMCA North Staffordshire (YMCANS) is closely monitoring the ongoing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak.

YMCA North Staffordshire’s campus is now closed. We will maintain on-campus security and a minimal number of staff to support young people in the accommodation. All other buildings and facilities are closed. Education and support services are proposed to continue remotely.

As the situation continues to change rapidly, our top priority remains the health, safety, and well-being of our community, on and off-campus. YMCANS are actively seeking and adopting official up-to-date guidance from authorised government sources (NHS, Public Health England, WHO).

Please visit the NHS website for full information about coronavirus, including answers to common questions.

Symptoms of coronavirus

The symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • a cough
  • a high temperature
  • shortness of breath

But these symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness.

The symptoms are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as cold and flu.

Source: NHS

FAQs (YMCA North Staffordshire | COVID-19)

Information about the campus and our services

What is a coronavirus and what effect could it have on me?

Based on current evidence, novel coronavirus (2019-nCov) presents with flu-like symptoms including a fever, a cough, or difficulty breathing. The current evidence is that most cases appear to be mild.

What is the likelihood of coronavirus spreading at YMCA North Staffordshire?

The UK Government is expecting and planning for significant spread of the virus in the population, and that means it is likely we will see futher cases across Staffordshire, though there are currently no cases confirmed at YMCA North Staffordshire. The Government publishes a daily update on the number of confirmed cases.

When we have a case or cases at YMCA North Staffordshire, our main concern will be for the welfare of those affected, to ensure they receive appropriate support and treatment and to provide accommodation for isolation if necessary.

How can I protect myself and others?

The most effective way to avoid getting or spreading coronavirus is to wash your hands thoroughly and frequently, and to encourage others to do the same. YMCA North Staffordshire provides many stations where this can be done, hand sanitiser will also be provided.

The NHS advises washing your hands for as long as it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice, about 20 seconds in all.

The NHS also advises people to do the following:

  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards
  • try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell

The NHS 111 online coronavirus service, 111.nhs.uk/covid-19, can tell you if you need medical help and advise you what to do.

The Government has announced new social distancing measures for everyone to reduce social interaction in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

It is advising that those who are at increased risk of severe illness should be particularly stringent. This group includes people who are:

How well prepared is YMCA North Staffordshire to respond to an outbreak of COVID-19?

YMCA North Staffordshire is well prepared. We are closely monitoring the latest advice to ensure a best-practice response to limit the risk of the spread of coronavirus.

A Coronavirus Working Group (CWG) has been implemented following a meeting of our Senior Management Team, which meet weekly. Our CWG will ensure that we have appropriate plans in place. The CWG will now meet daily and staff and young people will receive updates on a daily basis; via email and in the form of printed information at receptions across campus and at the Activity Centre.

We have also placed posters around campus encouraging the campus community to follow good hygiene advice and installed hand sanitizers at points across campus.

Will YMCA North Staffordshire need to close?

YMCA North Staffordshire provides accommodation to over 100 young people every night who continue to be our main priority. We hope that it won’t be necessary to close YMCA North Staffordshire to the public. Although the UK authorities have powers to request the closure of certain establishments, the scientific evidence suggests this is not advisable nor a particularly effective way of limiting the spread of the virus.

YMCA North Staffordshire’s main building (Edinburgh House) is closed to the public and visitors, however, our accommodation services for young people are continuing as normal and while the aforementioned general rule is now enforced there may be exceptions where a visitor or health care worker may need allowed access to address any young person welfare needs.

Nonetheless, it has been decided through careful consideration that YMCA North Staffordshire is to postpone certain events, as of Tuesday 17 March 2020 these are;

  • Supported Contact Centre | Saturdays – closed until further notice
  • All Family Work Contact sessions have been postponed until further notice
  • HSBC Community Meal | Friday 3 April
  • Easter Service | Thursday 9 April
  • YMCA GO! Easter Residential | 14 – 18 April

Future events will be reviewed in due course.

Will events go ahead as planned at YMCA North Staffordshire?

No events will be held on campus for the foreseeable future. There are currently no restrictions on large gatherings or events in the UK, although the UK Government has indicated that it may, in the future, move to limit or ban such gatherings if public health advice says it is necessary to manage the risk of the spread of coronavirus.

Do I need to wear a face mask?

Public Health England advice is that face masks have little positive effects in stopping you becoming infected. The best protection is to follow good hygiene practices: wash your hands regularly and use tissues when coughing or sneezing.

Please be aware, however, that some of our community may wear masks, not to protect themselves but as a socially responsible measure to prevent the spread of seasonal infections like the common cold.

We ask that all young people and staff respect this practice, and refrain from behaviours or remarks which may stigmatise people who wear masks.

I am a worried parent or friend of a young person at YMCA North Staffordshire. What should I do?

Stay in close touch with them if you can. Encourage them to familiarise themselves with the information and advice available on these pages and ask them to check YMCA North Staffordshire’s social media accounts regularly for any updates.

Also encourage them to wash their hands regularly! It’s the best defence against infection with coronavirus.

We have been communicating directly to all young people for several weeks with updates and advice, and we will continue to do that to ensure they have the information and support they need.

If you have concerns about a particular young person you can speak to our team by phoning 01782 222376, but please do try to make contact yourself with the young person first.