Rachael Maskell MP
Rachael Maskell MP

York Central MP, Rachael Maskell, has spoken in a Westminster Hall Debate on The Role of the Community in Responding to the Covid-19 outbreak to praise the generous community in York for stepping in to help thousands of people across the city who are in crisis.

In her speech the MP explained that weeks of managing in a crisis have turned in to months and, with the ending of furlough drawing people back to work, the sustained and enduring fall-out from the pandemic continues and needs deepen as job losses grow.  For those isolated and lonely this can be a great challenge as it impacts on their health and wellbeing.

In the debate Ms Maskell explained that the Covid-19 outbreak has brought out the very best in York’s community groups, churches and voluntary sector and also in a high number of individuals too.  She singled out John and Julie McGall who put out some food on a table last spring and invited people to share.  Now the McGalls are feeding a 100 people a day and making 1000 deliveries a week.  John and Julie are supporting the homeless, those with no recourse to public funds and found help for those experiencing domestic violence as well as comforting people who are alone.  The couple tirelessly serve the people of York every single day and are known for their kindness.

She also praised the Supper Collective where restaurants came together to turn out 12,000 meals for those in need.  Age UK and Tang Hall Local have also made a huge difference to people’s lives by telephoning them and being there to help.  Bubble buddies have also made a difference by going on walks with people and focusing on friendships and wellbeing.

Rachael Maskell MP says:
“York is an amazing city to live in.  We are renowned for all the volunteer work we do and there is work going on in our communities to help one another every single day.  I know that there are people out there helping people in need and I witnessed some amazing acts of kindness during the York floods when the whole city came together to help out.  This kindness and generosity has manifested itself again during the Covid outbreak and this has been evident from day 1 as I have visited so many fantastic initiatives.

“There are so many churches, organisations and community groups I could mention and also some incredible individuals, including John and Julie McGall who started out by offering some food to people in need last spring and are now feeding 100 people a day.  This is incredible and I pay tribute to them and to the many other people in York who give up their time and money to help others without a thought for themselves. 

“It is extremely sad that the Government has allowed so many people to become dependent on food banks and hand-outs.  This should never have happened.  Everyone should have enough money to live on.  I want everyone to have somewhere to call home and enough money to pay their bills and put food on the table.  It is heartbreaking that there are so many people in desperate need of help in Britain at the same time the Covid crisis has created record number of billionaires.  This inequality is shocking and I am calling on the Government to stop ignoring the crisis and do something about it. In the debate, I set out a Labour vision to the Minister which included investment in good quality jobs, building a greener, welcoming and more inclusive city, ensuring that York is family friendly and building the homes that local people want to live in and social infrastructure to cause our communities to thrive.”

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