Calls to support people in Wakefield with 'deep-seated fear' of 'return to normal' as end of Covid restrictions nears

Support must be given to people who are anxious about society reopening again, a leading local charity figure has said.

Monday, 5th July 2021, 11:32 am

Simon Topham, from the Wakefield branch of Citizen's Advice, said some people had a "deep-seated fear" of Covid restrictions being lifted completely.

Mr Topham's comments were supported by the Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, who said businesses in the district were finding some employees reluctant to return to the office.

The issue was discussed at a Covid recovery board meeting on Monday, which brings together leaders from Wakefield's public, private and voluntary sectors.

Covid restrictions are nearing an end.

Mr Topham told the meeting that the local mental health service Turning Point was offering specific help to people who "have a fear of getting back into the workplace."

He said: "I don't know if this is an issue that's been discussed enough.

"We're talking now about companies looking to get staff back into the office.

"I can relay from the experience of my own organisation, that there's people who have anxiety and a deep-seated fear of going back to normal.

Simon Topham, CEO of Citizen's Advice in Wakefield

"People are worried about going on buses and going into shops, let alone sitting in an office with colleagues."

Mr Topham said the emergence of the more infectious Delta variant had given the issue even more relevance.

He added: "One of the issues it would be good to look at is how so support people out there with these fears.

"In some ways people have got used to staying at home and being in a safe environment."

Martin Hathaway, from the Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, said he would explore how businesses could be helped to offer support to staff with those fears.

He told the meeting: "A lot of the businesses I've spoken to are having issues trying to get staff to come back.

"There's genuine reasons behind that. There's the fear and nervousness around things like travel, so thank you for raising this.

Local Democracy Reporting Service