9,700 local children to take part in Walk to School Week 2020

Almost two thirds of York’s primary schools will take part in Walk to School Week 2020, which runs from 5 to 9 October during International Walk to School Month.

The annual awareness-raising event aims to encourage children and their families to walk, cycle or scoot to and from school, rather than travelling by car.

Locally, around 9,700 students from 31 different schools will get involved. City of York Council’s iTravel team will present the Jack Archer Award to the school with the highest proportion of its students walking, cycling or scooting throughout the week, as well as cash to spend on sports equipment. The Jack Archer Award is now in its seventeenth year and Age UK has supported the competition since it was first launched as part of its intergenerational work to encourage children to be more active.

School improvements on hold in York

It seems the York Council has decided to shelve some schemes in its school maintenance and improvements programme.

In total around £4 million of works are being slipped into next year.

Schemes which are expected to be carried out in this financial year are located at Dringhouses and Ralph Butterfield Primaries.

A start on a major extension of Fulford school is also expect to start before the end of the financial year.

The delays are blamed on COVID-19 restrictions.

Work on a replacement library at Haxby will also not now start until 2021 at the earliest.

New games area – Council delay response

We asked 4 weeks ago what had happened to the promised replacement for the children’s games area on Kingsway West.

The area is currently being used as a building compound. The contractor was beginning tt remove storage containers from the area today although work on Lincoln Court and the new centre for the disabled won’t be completed for a few weeks at least (it is running behind schedule with COVID partly to blame according to the Council).

A response to a Freedom of Information request was due today but the Council now says that they can’t reply before 3rd Ocotober.

The enquiry resulted from a promise made on 18th March 2019 when the Council’s Executive agreed to provide a replacement for the Kingsway West Multi User Games Area (MUGA) which has been taken out of use as part of the project to extend Lincoln Court.

The minute read;
a ii) To note that in approving Option 1 a commitment is made for alternative recreational facilities following community consultation including Sport England within Westfield Ward in mitigation for the loss of the Multi Use Games Area. The alternative facilities provided are to be agreed by Executive and will be subject to a further report and budget approval.”

18 months later and there has been no further word from the Council on how the replacement plan is going.

What’s on in York: Acomb Fair from tomorrow

Rather unexpectedly, the Acomb Fair is returning to the Thanet Road Sports area from tomorrow. Events like these had been hit by Coronavirus restrictions but the organisers posters outline a series of mitigations (hand sanitisers, limited numbers, cleaning, one way system). Face coverings are not mentioned.

Thankfully the blight of fly posting which sometimes occurs when fairs are around has not happened this year.

The announcement comes shortly after the Council admitted that most of the recent new COVID-19 positive test results involved children and other young people. There were 31 new cases identified in the City between 29th August and 4th September. Hospitalisations are understood to be low although no precise figures have been revealed by the authorities.

Schools have reopened this week and University students will start to arrive in the City shortly.

Travel back to school safely say York Council

Kids Bicycle GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

City of York Council has teamed up with walking and cycling charity Sustrans to urge parents across York to try walking, cycling or scooting with their children to school to create a safer, less congested, more healthy environment for start of the new term.

As schools reopen, roads are expected to be busier than normal in September, and the council is urging road users to plan ahead when travelling around York, plan ahead and use public transport outside of peak hours and walk or cycle where possible.

Parents who can opt to leave the car at home or park (or wait with their switched engine off) away from the school entrance area will help families maintain social distancing as well as reduce congestion and air pollution. More active travel (walking, cycling or scooting) will also help support public transport to cope with Covid secure measures which have reduced capacity.

Recently released guidance from the Department for Education shows that due to physical distancing restrictions on public transport, at least 50 per cent of journeys to school of two miles or less need to be walked and cycled to allow space for those on public transport who need to travel further[1].

Around 69 per cent of children in York currently walk, cycle or scoot to school, a figure that rises up to 85 per cent in some schools during active travel incentive days[2]. The council is encouraging schools to sign up for Sustrans’ Bike to School Week from 28 September to 2 October.

The council has recently renewed Sustrans’ contract to work intensively with eight primary schools in York, helping to support an increase in children walking, cycling and scooting to school and a reduction in congestion. Following a successful pilot at Carr Junior School earlier this year, some schools will also redesign their school street, aiming to make them safer and healthier for the whole community.

At Carr Junior School Sustrans’ designers worked with children to assess the problems around the school gate and suggest improvements such as informal street crossings and build-outs. In March, Sustrans tested the designs and gathered feedback from local residents and these can now be developed through the active travel fund measures.

For more information on Bike to School week please go to: www.sustrans.org.uk/our-blog/projects/2019/uk-wide/bike-to-school-week/

Visit  www.york.gov.uk/letsbeyork and www.itravelyork.info/travel2school for further information on getting back to school safely.

Playground tidy up call

Local residents have asked the Council to deal with maintenance issues at the Grange Lane park.

Complaints have been raised about littering but some of the equipment is unusable as a result of vandalism, graffiti, muddy entrances and missing safety surfaces under the swings.

Safety surfaces have sunk
Signs have been vandalised
Play equipment needs cleaning
Litter reported earlier in the week

The Council also promised to put hardcore down on parts of the footpath link from Grange Lane to Westfield Place where it is subject to flooding. This work hasn’t been done yet. It needs to be completed before the wetter winter months arrive.

The path is now being used occasionally by cyclists as a short cut. Some arrangements for them could be made at relatively little cost.

Use by walkers has also increased since lock-down started.

Park footpath needs hardcore in some places to prevent flooding

Vulnerable children receive holiday activity packs

Two thousand children and young people across York are receiving a holiday activity pack to help support them, and their parents and carers.

City of York Council teamed up with REACH – York’s cultural education partnership – and York St John University, to produce the ‘Creative Doodle Books’.

Each book is full of creative drawing and writing ideas for the young people to do in their own time. One pack is aimed at KS2 children,7-11 olds; the other at those in KS3, 12-14 year olds.

The packs have been distributed to children and young people who are currently working with the council’s social care teams, and those receiving free school meals.

Ascot Way building work closer to completion

It looks like work on the new Children’s Disabled centre and the renovation and extension of Lincoln Court sheltered housing could be completed by the October target date. The internal road system has been surfaced over the last few days. This is usually a sign that work is well advanced.

At a minimum it should mean that there will be less mud on local roads

Internal roads now surfaced at Disabled Centre

Neighbours will be looking forward to getting the new bus lay-by into operation following 12 months of disruption.

However there is still a lot to do. The public noticeboard was damaged by contractors needs to be replaced. What is left of the noticeboard is currently attached to a perimeter fence.

…and the long saga of providing a replacement games area for local children still seems to be stalled.

MUGA – now a builders compound

On the 18th March 2019 the Council’s Executive agreed to provide a replacement for the Kingsway West “Multi User Games Area” (MUGA) which has been closed as part of the project to extend Lincoln Court.

The minute of the meeting read;
“a ii) To note that in approving Option 1 a commitment is made for alternative recreational facilities following community consultation including Sport England within Westfield Ward in mitigation for the loss of the Multi Use Games Area. The alternative facilities provided are to be agreed by Executive and will be subject to a further report and budget approval.”

Nothing more has been heard about the plan. Residents hoped that an all weather area might be provided on Thanet Road but nothing seems to have come of this as yet.

Now a Freedom of Information request has been submitted in an attempt to find out what progress has been made.

Footnote

The Council has today announced the name of the new centre

Innonvative new facility for children with disabilities buzzes with a new name

 An innovative facility for children with disabilities in York has got a new name, thanks to the young people who will use it.

‘The Beehive’, as the Centre of Excellence for disabled children will now be known, will provide short overnight breaks for children with complex disabilities in the city. Young people and their families will be able to receive specialist support from a wide range of professionals, including clinical psychologists, all in one building for the first time.

The ‘bee theme’ will flow throughout the new facility, including bee-friendly names for the bedroom areas and honeycomb-like hexagons incorporated into the decorative features. Children and young people using the facility will also be given a fluffy bee toy to take home with them as a visual reminder of their ‘home away from home’.

It’s hoped that this attention to detail will help the children settle into the new building more easily, something which is particularly important for young people with learning disabilities or autism.

Thought to be one of the first facilities of its kind in the country, the innovative building is a partnership between City of York Council and NHS England.

The new centre is due to open this year and includes:

  • spacious bedrooms with state of the art hoist and bathing facilities for children who have complex health needs and wheelchair users
  • a larger, open-spaced area and bedrooms for children with learning disabilities or autism
  • quieter self-contained areas that can be used for children who may struggle in a more open, busier environment and where their parents can accompany them so that their needs can be fully assessed
  • an activity area, sensory room and quiet rooms
  • a large outdoor play space with a variety of equipment suitable for children of all abilities

Council support for key stage 4 (GCSE) students

Exam Results GIFs | Tenor

With Key Stage 4 results day fast approaching, City of York Council is reminding young people across the city of the support available at this challenging time.

This year’s Key stage 4 results (GCSE level) will be based on grades predicted by teachers, as students were unable to take formal examinations because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Support is available for school leavers who are seeking an apprenticeship or employment opportunity, wanting to move into full time education in York or who are concerned about their personal circumstances acting as a barrier to accessing education, employment or training.

People can find support in York from:

  • Their school. Teaching staff will be able to support pupils with their next steps.
  • Careers Advisers employed by our schools
  • Admissions teams at York College and Askham Bryan College
  • City of York Council Learning and Work Advisers in our Young People’s Service at 30 Clarence Street; pre booked appointment slots are available and advisers can support with searching for vacancies, developing your CV, completing applications and preparing for interviews. Tel: 01904 555400
  • National Careers Service – for local employment and training opportunities; or call the national help-line 0800 100 900
  • Council-led ‘York Apprenticeship Hub’ – find us on Facebook @ York Apprenticeships; email us at York.apprenticeships@york.gov.ukwww.york.gov.uk/yorkapprenticeships for local apprenticeship vacancies. There are still around 50 opportunities in the city and many more in Leeds across a range of sectors and job roles and we can sign post you to agencies and training providers.

(more…)

Children’s playgrounds all now open in Westfield

Children’s playground in the Westfield area have all now been reopened. Some are displaying “best practice” signs outlining health restrictions. Judging by the numbers in the Acomb Green play area this has proved to be very popular with children (and probably parents).

Acomb Green
Cornlands
Dickson Park
Foxwood Lane
Grange Lane