Young people stage triple bill reflecting military life

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The young people of Riding Lights Junior Youth Theatre and Strensall Barracks have joined forces in a collaborative term, in order to produce two nights of new theatre.

Each piece is inspired by testimonies from members of the Armed Forces, and their families, resulting in an evening of gripping and emotive theatre, presented by our talented young people.

Oceans by Matt Midgley
looks at the painful issue of a female solder as she prepared to leave her family behind before deployment.

Warground by Paul Birch
explores the concerns that children of serving families have when integrating into secondary school.

For Fierce Confusion, Peace by Morven Hamilton
addresses the difficult issue of PTSD, through the eyes of a family adjusting to the return of a troubled soldier.

19th March: Friargate Theatre – 7:30pm
21th March: Hurst Hall Community Centre -7:30pm

FREE ENTRY – call 01904 613000 to reserve your ticket

Indecision grips York Council on Voluntary Sector and Manor School

One of the revealing things about the York Councils list of upcoming decisions relates to the number of issues which keep getting “put off”.

Current record goes to Manor school who have been seeking to lease an additional area of playing field from the Council.

The decision has now been delayed on 6 occasions!

Only slightly less worrying is a plan for developing a “thriving voluntary sector”.

The origins of this item are lost in the mists of time but it was due to be discussed last November then slipped to December and then March.

It is unlikely now to see the light of day before June.

Small wonder then that the Council for Voluntary Service chief in York has recently quit.

Foxwood park and Spindle Close snicket links to Ashbourne Way may be secured at night

The Council is to consider, on 18th April, a petition which asks for the night time closure of the snickets leading off Ashbourne Way

The snickets are well used during the day, not least by children attending the Woodthorpe School.

Night time closures have been tried before – notably in the nearby Carrfield/Foxton/Chantry Close area – where, in 2009, a similar plan was abandoned following objections by local residents.

Schemes of this sort now tend to rely on mechanisms which automatically lock and unlock a gate at a particular time. None have worked successfully in York other than perhaps that located at the rear entrance to the railway station, from Lowther Terrace, although there the access is part of the cycle network.

Such heavy duty gates are expensive to install and maintain.

Council officials have previously ruled out, on cost grounds, using staff to lock this type of gate while the use of volunteers has been ruled out on reliability grounds.

The meeting on 18th is likely to be asked only to consider whether the request should be put out for more general consultation.

Labour cut waste collection, road maintenance, community centres, libraries, elderly persons homes, ice clearance, job training and Social Services.

Cuts to street level services click to enlarge

Cuts to street level services click to enlarge

Labour’s hopelessly misjudged Council budget proposals are set to be approved tonight. Cuts to all front line public services are planned yet

Labour also intend to retain a £1 million a year “slush fund” which is used to pay for a range of inessential “vanity” projects.

The £1 million this year has been used to pay for lighting and firework displays, free WiFi access in the City centre, a plan to open the Bonding warehouse as a “digital media hub”, building design competitions, an “innovation catalyst” programme; not to mention the occasional foreign travel trip.

More waste is evident in the Councils capital programme where commitments to introducing an unnecessary Citywide 20 mph speed limit and the purchase of a barge for use as an arts centre have seen interest payments, on borrowed money, double since Labour took control of the Council.

Abandoning these “vanity” projects and making good use of the reduced running costs (down by £375,000) of its new HQ would allow the Council to restore many of the most damaging cuts.

Labour’s key proposals would see:

A 1.9% hike in Council tax levels (despite central government offering to underwrite the costs of a freeze)

• Privatisation or outsourcing of leisure/swimming pool management the Warden Call service and the “Sheltered housing with extra care” service. Even the Mansion House will be commercialised

Grants to Museums Trust cut by £100,000, the Theatre Royal by £101,000 with similar % cuts other voluntary sector bodies

• At a time when people are rightly worried following revelations about meat quality, trading standards faces a £42,000 cut, while there will be less air quality monitoring.

• There will be less for job training as Future Prospects loses £150,000

• The closure of elderly persons homes will be brought forward meaning that some residents face double moves before new accommodation is completed. In 2014 pensioners will face a 90p charge when using their passes on Park and Ride services

Disabled facilities at Greenworks and Brunswick Nursery cut by £50,000 Supported employment budget cut by £200,000 forcing disabled people into “mainstream employment”

Social Service clients with personal budgets will lose out from a £500,000 budget cut

Looked after children – basically those with foster parents – face a £700,000 cut with another £400,000 to come off in 2014.

Respite services get a £50,000 reduction.

Children’s centres face a £128,000 cut in 2014

• The toy library bus will scrapped in 2014

Some reductions in expenditure were inevitable.

Labour have simply chosen to economise on the wrong services.

Meanwhile there are some concerns about the likely quality of tonights Council debate

Acomb Green sports sessions announced

Free multi-sport sessions will be kicking off Friday 28 October, 10am to 12noon on Acomb Green.The fun sessions encourage young people who aren’t usually very active to jump in and have fun. Sessions are free of charge for young people aged five to 18 years. All children under eight must be accompanied by an adult. No booking is required and all abilities are welcome

Acomb “Explore” Library on Twitter

Explore are increasing their digital footprint by creating a Twitter account for the library that will promote events and services. They feel that this will allow them to acess to a wider and more diverse range of people in the community and give them the ability to reach people who are not traditional library users, letting them know about the evolving service and all the things on offer. For a short trial period this will focus mostly upon events at Acomb, although promotion will certainly be given upon request for any event that is happening throughout the service.The twitter account is @ExploreAcomb (direct link: http://twitter.com/ExploreAcomb) and it would be amazing if any of you who are twitter users would like to follow them.

New Foxwood Playground Launched

Foxwood Playground

Assistant Chief Constable Tim Magwick joined local residents and Council staff at the launch of the new playground on Foxwood Lane today. The equipment is already proving to be very popular with children with an estimated 500 having already visited the playground. It is hoped that a similar facility will be provided on the Grange Lane park later in the year.

Local Councillor Steve Galloway said, ” The playground is proving to be very popular with children. Working with the local Neighbourhood Policing Team, the Council is trying to provide facilities which address some of the boredom issues raised by younger teenagers. I am grateful to the staff who have worked very had to provide this new facility which has the advantage of being both robust and challenging for active youngsters”