Nearly 100 elderly and disabled residents to lose York garden care help

The York Council has gone through today with its threat to cease the hedge and grass cutting service provided for many elderly and disabled people in the City

As we forecast, the Council is hoping to save £46,000 a year expenditure on its housing revenue account (HRA).

The HRA currently has a surplus of over £23 million and made £4.3m profit last year

The garden assistance scheme is available to tenants aged over 70 who are physically unable to cut the hedges and grass in their gardens.

The hedges are cut twice a year and the grass on 7 occasions.

409 tenants received the service in 2016.

365 received the service in 2017 following a tightening of the criteria for qualification.

It is thought that the new scheme involving use of the “handyman service” could cater for up to 306 elderly people.

The rest would not be given help. A waiting list might have to be established.

The service will in future be means rested.

The cut has been agreed by a Tory Councillor without any consultation with local Resident Associations or the citywide Tenants Federation.



Quit smoking medication available in York

Alternative medication to be made available for those quitting smoking

Additional support is set to be made available to residents who are trying to drop the habit and quit smoking.

Cllr Carol Runciman, Liberal Democrat Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Health, has given the go ahead for Varenicline (Champix) to be included as part of a new pharmacotherapy support package to users of our Yorwellbeing service.

Currently, Varenicline is only available through a private prescription from your GP or via an online pharmacy.

However, with the expansion of the current service offer, any individual who would like to stop smoking can be assessed for eligibility to the hardship fund and if they qualify for either Nicotine Replacement Therapy or Varenicline, they will be provided with an initial 2 weeks supply, followed by another 2 weeks if required.  Research suggests that if an individual can quit smoking for 4 weeks, their chances of dropping the habit for good are increased five fold.

Elderly in York to be hit as Tories plan to cut garden assistance scheme

Over a year ago, the York Council notified elderly and disabled people that it planned to scrap its garden assistance scheme. The scheme employs contractors to cut the hedges and lawns of elderly and disabled residents.

The plans produced a barrage of complaints and the threat was withdrawn

Now a report has revealed that a Tory Councillor is again planning to slash entitlement to the service. About 50% of current users will be told to make other arrangements.

It appears that some people aged over 70 with severe disabilities may continue to get the service from an estate “handymen”, but many others will miss out.

Story last year

The cuts are expected to save the Council around £40,000 a year.

The Tories claim that this cut is essential to balance the books. They forget that last week a review of the Housing Revenue Account revealed that it will have an average credit balance of over £30 million in each of the next 30 years.

This partly arises from the expected 1% per annum real terms increases in rents.

As well as kicking existing users off the programme, the report talks of establishing a “waiting list” for people who need the service.

The Councillor responsible for the proposal is Sam Lyle a youth who recently graduated from University. Quite what he knows about the challenges faced by many older residents will no doubt become clear over the next few days.

Fortunately, as we have reported before (left), there are a lot of caring students at the York and St Johns Universities who hopefully will prove to be part of the solution to this shabby proposal

In the meantime, the Council’s website is down. Anyone trying to Email Councillors is referred to a web page apparently containing a list of contact telephone numbers.

That web page is also currently unavailable!


York praised for improvements in adult social care outcomes

Data released by NHS England has shown significant improvements in the performance rating of adult social care outcomes in York in the past year.

York is now ranked as 42nd of the 152 local authorities in England, a rise of 81 places from last year when the city was ranked 123rd, with York the most improved nationally.

York was considered a top performer in areas including:

  • Social care quality of life
  • People getting self-directed support
  • Carer-reported quality of life
  • Social care users having as much contact as they would like
  • Carers having as much contact as they would like
  • Carers reporting that they involved in discussions about those cared-for
  • Carers finding it easy to find information and advice
  • Social care users feeling safe and secure as a result of services provided

The Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework report also suggested areas for further improvements including direct payments and people being offered reablement services after leaving hospital.

Councillor Carol Runciman, executive member for health and adult social care said: “It is pleasing that these figures have acknowledged the considerable work done over the past year to improve adult social care outcomes for our residents.

“Whilst these figures are positive we still recognise there is more to be done, but the news shows that we are heading in the right direction.

“Thanks to all our incredible staff and support from partners, who have worked hard to make this progress possible.”

City walls shine light on pancreatic cancer

York’s historic walls have turned purple to support a city resident’s campaign to raise awareness of the symptoms of pancreatic cancer.

City of York Council are lighting up Clifford’s Tower and the walls from the station to the Minster to mark Pancreatic Cancer UK’s Purple Lights for Pancreatic Cancer campaign, after being approached by a York resident with an inoperable form of the aggressive cancer.

Jean Clark, 59, of Foxwood, wants to make sure that York residents understand and recognise the early symptoms. 770 people in the Yorkshire and Humber region are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer each year, with early diagnosis key to the chances of successful treatment.

Mrs Clark was diagnosed in 2013 after at first being diagnosed with acid reflux, before nagging lower back pain prompted her doctor to send her for scans.

Jean said:

“With only 7% of people surviving five years after their diagnosis, picking up the symptoms early is vital. The symptoms are often treated as indigestion, so there’s no investigation. But if you have back ache, acid reflux and a feeling of being full you need to tell your doctor.”

Councillor Ian Gillies, executive member for transport and planning, said:

“We’re delighted to be able to use some of the city’s most iconic buildings to support Jean’s efforts. This vital, potentially life-saving message needs to be spread far and wide.”

Common symptoms of pancreatic cancer include:

  • Abdominal pain. This is an early sign of pancreatic cancer in around 70% of patients, which starts as general discomfort or abdomen pain which spreads to the back
  • Jaundice. This occurs in about 50% of pancreatic cancer patients
  • An inability to digest food or weight loss for no apparent reason is also a cause for concern

The walls and tower will be lit until 17 November. For more information visit:

“Good Gym” getting rave reviews for their new service which helps older people

The “Good Gym” people who have helped out a lot in Foxwood getting local green areas cleaned up, are now getting rave reviews for a new service.

They aim to help older people with tasks which are beyond their physical capacities.

Check out their web site here

click to go to the Good Gym site