What’s on in York: Wild World Heroes: Summer Reading Challenge 2021

Explore York Libraries and Archives and The Reading Agency have teamed up with theWorld Wildlife Fund to keep children reading over the summer, while challenging them to help save the planet. By taking part in the Challenge for free in Explore Libraries or online, children can join six fictional characters – ‘wild heroes’ – to help solve some of the threats to our natural world, and learn about the importance of the environment while helping to restore nature in ‘Wilderville’.

How to sign up

The Challenge starts on Saturday 17 July and runs until Saturday 11 September 2021.

You can sign up in any Explore York Library, but we are not running the challenge in our cafes or at the Community Stadium this year.

You can find a lot more Reading Challenge activities and sign up to do the challenge online if you prefer this option on the Summer Reading Challenge website

Books you can use for the challenge

You can borrow books from your local library to read, or you can use our e-book or e-audiobook service.

Illustrations © Heath McKenzie 2021

Summer Reading Challenge Activities

From July 5 onwards you will be able to book for our in person socially distanced events. As well as in person events we have activities for you to watch and download. They launch at the date and time next to the event and are available all summer.

You can book our in person events for children online or at a library.

Numbers for events in libraries will be very limited. If you book a ticket and then cannot come please make sure you cancel your ticket so someone else can come instead.

You can find online activities through our children’s activity link.

Saturday 24 July10amLiz Foster’s Wild World Heroes activity sheets.
Saturday 24 July10amRobin Simpson’s Online Nature Stories and Activities. Come dressed as an animal if you wish.
Monday 26 July10amTed Schofield’s Online Picture Adventure Story Workshop. Have a piece of A3 paper, papers for practicing, pencils, crayons and a ruler ready to do the session.
Monday 2 August10amJohn Kirk’s Story Treasure Hunt 1
Monday 2 August10amJohn Kirk’s Story Treasure Hunt 2
Wednesday 4 August10.30 am and 2pmTheatre of Science’s Summer Extravaganza Science Meditation Session (live)
Wednesday 11 August10amTheatre of Science’s Summer Extravaganza: Science Meditation Session (recording)
Arts Award logo

Arts Award Discover is a nationally recognised introductory award aimed at 5 to 9 year olds (although any child can take part.) Explore York Libraries and Archives, York Art Gallery, York Army Museum and All Saints, North Street are offering children the opportunity to gain Arts Award Discover through taking part in any three of our in person or online activities, finding out about an artist or crafts person and telling us about these at a Big Share Event.

Download a record sheet to note down what you have done or just collect all you have made and come to a Big Share Event anytime between 1 pm and 4 pm on Wednesday 1st September in the Marriott Room at York Explore Library or between 1 pm and 3 pm on Sunday 5th September in the Sensory Garden at the rear of York Art Gallery. After talking to you we will apply for an Arts Award certificate for you which will be posted to your home.

Thanks to funding from York Army Museum we can offer these certificates free of charge.

Coronavirus York updates; 17th July 2021

Test results

187 positive test results today. The cumulative total is now 16,043,

Cases in York are up by 70 compared to yesterday

The rate /100k population rises from 414.84 yesterday to 448.70 today.

Infection rates are now higher than was seen last autumn and are currently increasing quiet sharply.

They remain below the peak of 670.9 which was recorded on 8th January 2021


Case numbers have doubled in the Dunnington/Elvington/Wheldrake neighbourhood since the previous report.


628 vaccinations were competed yesterday ( Friday)


  • 8187 PCR tests were conducted during the week ending 12th July 2021.
  • Of these, 11.8% were positive. That represents an increase on the 11% positivity rate found during the previous period
  • In addition, 2424 “lateral flow” tests were conducted on 16th July 2021.

New testing arrangements

A new testing site has been established in York “to help the city stay safe”

As the country moves to Step 4 of the Government’s roadmap, City of York Council is opening a new testing site in the city to help keep people safe, as well as continuing work in communities.

A new testing centre is opening at the Pavilion of the Rawcliffe Recreation Association. The site will be open on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 9am and 4.30pm and people will be able to get tested in person or to collect.

The new testing centre joins five other council run testing sites in the city, with residents also able to get testing kits online or at a local pharmacy. As the country moves to the next stage of the roadmap, city leaders are asking people to get regular symptom-free tests, so the virus isn’t spread unknowingly to friends and family.

How to get a testing kit in York:

Visit a City of York Council testing centre

These are at

  • Acomb Explore Library (same opening times as before)
  • Foxwood Community Centre (same opening times as before)
  • St William’s College (same opening times as before)
  • University of York, now open 12-4pm Monday to Friday
  • York St John University – Opening times have changed to 8am to 2.30 Monday to Friday and 9am to 1pm Sat/Sun.

Please note that the University of York and York St John University centres have moved to different rooms next to their original location.

Community work

We are expanding our community offer which has seen us hand out testing kits in communities across the city. Going door to door offering kits has enabled our staff to have conversations with local people about the importance of getting tested and vaccinated, together with information of how to get more test kits. In the coming weeks we will be in Heworth and Clifton and Rawcliffe. The list of the next streets we will be visiting is available at: Symptom-free coronavirus testing – City of York Council.

As well as this work the council will be:

  • Offering collection points at foodbanks throughout the city  
  • Working to add more collection points in communities across York
  • Handing out testing kits at the mass vaccination centre
Other ways to get tested

Councillor Keith Aspden, Leader of City of York Council:

“With confirmation that we are moving to Step 4 of the roadmap on Monday, we are working hard to ensure that residents have easy access to symptom-free Covid tests throughout the sumnmer. Getting tested regularly is something we can all do to help stop the virus from spreading and with rates of infection being higher than we would like, it will help keep our friends and family safe as we enjoy what York has to offer.

“As ever, we are hugely grateful to partners across the city for their support, as well as local residents and businesses. Our response to the pandemic has truly been a citywide effort, so if you haven’t already received a testing kit, then please get in touch and join the thousands across the city receiving regular resting.”

Sharon Stoltz, Director of Public Health said:

“Getting tested is quick and easy and something we can all do to help in the fight against COVID-19.

“We want as many people to be able to easily access tests as possible and know how they can get more. Regular testing will help us all have better summers and reduce case rates by stopping the virus from spreading to others.

“It is still important as we make the move to step four. Getting tested regularly, including before seeing friends and family will help protect them. If the result is negative and you can go out, we are still asking people to take those extra precautions, including fresh air and wearing a face covering in busy indoor spaces.“