More rough sleeper beds available in York

More people sleeping rough in York can now safely bed down this winter as extra emergency beds are being offered whatever the weather until 28 February.

Earlier this year, senior councillors agreed that York should go above and beyond the national ‘severe weather scheme’. The 11 additional beds created bring the total emergency provision up to 29 beds. They are available in the winter months regardless of whether it’s freezing or not.

Besides these extra beds, the £193,000 extra funding secured for 2018/19 is also funding extra outreach workers to help rough sleepers address complex issues, especially around mental health.

Anyone found sleeping rough is encouraged to go to The Salvation Army’s new early intervention and prevention hub at 63 Lawrence Street, York YO10 3BU between 10am and 12 noon.

There, they will be allocated one of the city’s 29 emergency beds in keeping with the city’s No Second Night Out scheme. This means that no-one should have to sleep outside.

Five of the new emergency beds have been created at a council hostel and are being supported by volunteers from the YES Below Zero scheme. Rough sleepers’ dogs can also be brought into emergency accommodation – this has been the case since 2000.

People coming off the streets are placed in the city’s 101-bed supported lodgings. There, they are offered support and education to help address any of the issues that may have contributed to them becoming homeless. This includes referral to services for mental health or substance misuse and to train them for work and how to manage a tenancy.

Once that stage is successfully underway, they are allocated space in the city’s 90 independent accommodation units before, hopefully, supporting them into either private or affordable fully-independent homes.

Last year, we resettled 70 previously rough sleepers or single homeless people into permanent tenancies, and had 49 York households in our temporary accommodation – the lowest number since 2004.

Foxwood woman leads cancer campaign

Clifford’s Tower turns purple for Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month

City of York Council are showing their support for Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month once again, by lighting up Clifford’s Tower to mark Pancreatic Cancer UK’s Purple Lights for Hope campaign.

In the UK, 24 people die from pancreatic cancer every day, with 3 out of 4 of people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer unable to survive the first year. Jean Clark, 60, of Foxwood, was diagnosed in 2013 and wants to make sure that other York residents understand and recognise the early symptoms.

Mrs Clark who was initially diagnosed with acid reflux, before nagging lower back pain prompted her doctor to send her for scans, said: “With an average of 3% of patients with pancreatic cancer surviving more than five years, I know I am very lucky to still be well.

“This has made me more determined to help raise awareness of the symptoms which often misdiagnosed. Acid reflux, pain on eating, weight loss and lower back pain are common symptoms. Having two or more of these should always be investigated.”

Cllr Carol Runciman, Executive Member for Health and Adult Social Care said: “It is so important that we raise awareness of pancreatic cancer and get people talking about it. This is why we are proud to be supporting Pancreatic Cancer UK’s Purple Lights for Hope by lighting up Clifford’s Tower next week.”

Cllr Ian Gillies, Leader of City of York Council said: “We’re delighted to be able to use one of the city’s most iconic buildings to support Jean’s efforts and raise awareness around pancreatic cancer. This vital, potentially life-saving message needs to be spread far and wide, and City of York Council is happy to help.”

Common symptoms of pancreatic cancer include:

  • Abdominal pain is an early sing of pancreatic cancer, which starts as general discomfort or abdomen pain which spreads to the back.
  • An inability to digest food or weight loss for no apparent reason is a cause for concern.
  • Jaundice (yellow skin and eyes)

Clifford’s Tower will be lit until 10 November.

For more information visit: https://www.pancreaticcancer.org.uk/

Green spaces – now government says they are important

Children’s ball games facility threatened

Not often that we agree with the Daily Mail and government Ministers but they’ve got this right.

 Click 

Communities need open spaces, outdoor sports facilities, green parks and amenity areas.

The York Council has a lamentable recent record in the Westfield area at least.

  • Our Lady’s school playing field – Gone
  • Lowfields sportsfield – Going
  • Acomb Bowling Green – Doomed
  • Kingsway kickabout area – Condemned
  • Hob Moor school playing field – Shrinking

….and that in the ward with the largest proportion of obese children in the City and the lowest life expectancy.

World Mental Health Day 10th October

To mark world mental health day (10 October) City of York Council has teamed up with York CVS to host a free event as part of a campaign to tackle the stigma surrounding mental health.

On Wednesday 10 October at 5.30pm City of York Council West Offices, Station Rise, will host a special event with the aim of bringing people together to discuss mental health in York and the Time to Change Campaign. It is part of the city’s work to tackle the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental health, with a focus on the workplace and young people.

The event is an opportunity to:

  • Hear personal accounts from people with lived experience of stigma and discrimination around mental health
  • Learn about the Time to Change programme, a growing social movement changing how we all think and act about mental health.
  • Contribute to developing and supporting the Time to Change York Hub
  • Showcase examples of what it means to be a Time to Change champion or an employer that has pledged support.

All are welcome to attend the event. Registration is open from 5pm, and the event runs between 5.30pm to 7.30pm with sandwich buffet provided.

To book a free place, please register for the event at: https://york.learningpool.com/login/index.php.

Councillor Carol Runciman, Executive Member for Health and Adult Social Care said: “Approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year and in England, 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health problem (such as anxiety and depression) in any given week

“These figures demonstrate why we want to end stigma and discrimination. Time to Change is doing a great job to challenge this. It is so important that we raise awareness of mental health and get people talking about it which is why we are supporting World Mental Health Day and hosting this key event. It would be great to see many people and businesses as possible attend.”

York residents urged to stop smoking and get behind Stoptober

City of York Council is supporting this year’s Stoptober campaign and is urging the people of York to sign up to the 28-day stop smoking challenge.

Last year, nearly 400,000 smokers in England quit successfully,which is the equivalent to 1,069 smokers each day.

Despite new smokers starting and ex-smokers relapsing, there are now 1 million fewer smokers in England since 20142.

Of the 6.1 million smokers in England, six in 10 want to quitbut most try to quit using willpower alone (or ‘cold turkey’) despite this being the least effective method.

The best way to quit is with expert help from local stop smoking services together with stop smoking aids. In 2017-18, half (51%) of smokers who got this package of support managed to quit and among those who used an e-cigarette in their quit attempt, the success rate was up to 63%.4

Councillor Carol Runciman, executive member for adult social care and health said: “Our YorWellbeing service is there to support people who want to quit. Campaigns such as Stoptober, along with the support provided by local stop smoking services, play a huge role in helping people to kick the habit.

“Anyone who wants to join in the Stoptober campaign and stop smoking can get support by calling our team on 01904 553377 or visiting the Stoptober website.”

Dr Nigel Wells, a GP and NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group’s Clinical Chair, said: “Smoking increases your risk of developing many serious health conditions – some of which may be fatal, while others can cause irreversible long-term damage to your health.

“Giving up smoking could help you to live a longer and healthier life so if you’re thinking of stopping smoking, speak to your GP who can provide information and advice, or you can call the NHS Smokefree helpline on 0300 123 1044 for guidance.

“It’s never too late to give up and initiatives such as Stoptober can act as a huge motivator to help you succeed in quitting permanently.”

To contact the Yorwellbeing stop smoking service call 01904 553377 or visit: www.york.gov.uk/stopsmoking for more information.

For information on Stoptober, or to sign up visit: www.nhs.uk/oneyou/stoptober.

Acomb Bowling Club development plans recommended for approval

Westfield set to lose another area of green space

The report on this planning application has now been published (click)

It is recommended for approval.

The development, as it is presently proposed, is not in line with residents wishes as expressed in responses to a recent survey. They wanted to see a comprehensive plan for all the sites which lie to the rear of the Library.

There are two significant tissues.

  1. Planning officers claim that no discussions have taken place on the possible extension of the library. We don’t believe this is true The future of the “allotments” land, and also of that to the side of Chancery Court, must be determined together. They are inextricably linked.
  2. To offset the loss of open space on Front Street, officials are proposing a section 106 contribution to provide part of a bowling green at the York RI. This is located in the Holgate ward, about a mile from Front Street. While this may meet the need for bowling facilities (the site is already  green field sports pitch) it does nothing to help Westfield or to address the cumulative deficiency in green space provision in the ward. (It is almost as insensitive as the Councils decision to “relocate” the sports field from Lowfields to land near Bishopthorpe).

There is a very good argument to be made that the Front Street area needs more open space to accommodate the incremental increases in population that are occurring, not least as a result of commercial properties in the area being converted into residential accommodation.

This latest proposal just adds more pressures onto the rapidly diminishing areas of green space in the area.

The planning meeting is open to the public and takes place on Thursday 4th October at 4:30pm at West Offices. The planning committee will visit the site the previous day shortly after 10:00am.

Bootham Park Hospital

The future of the 240-year-old former mental hospital is under the spotlight as Ministers consider its future.

The building was taken out of service 4 years ago when a catalogue of defects were found by quality inspectors. These included rat infested cellars and collapsing ceilings.

The hospital was ordered to be closed in September 2015 when it was declared “unfit for purpose” A modern replacement facility is being provided.

The events surrounding the closure were heavily criticised in a York Council report which concluded that NHS Property Services “significantly underestimated the logistic and practical challenges of upgrading a Grade I listed building where shortcomings had been identified over many years”

Running costs on a building of this age are huge.  Energy and repair costs represent a constant drain on owners.

Now the local MP says the building should reopen as an NHS facility. She says “key workers in the health health sector” should be accommodated there.

Really? Offering valued employees pre-Victorian housing standards will move us forward in some way?There is only very limited scope to build on other brownfield sections of the site

No costings for the “plan” are offered much less any source of funding. We are assured though that the open space on the site will be retained as an additional public “park”.

Converting the listed building into residential accommodation would be very expensive even if it was in sound structure condition.

It isn’t.

Costs would be measured in  tens of millions. If such funding is available, then it is desperately needed to provide modern buildings for our ailing NHS.

Bootham Park is a valuable part of the heritage of the City. It’s Listed status means that it can’t be demolished. Planners could ensure that the parkland surrounding it is respected (although, in recent years, urban green space conservation hasn’t been the strong point of the York Council).

It is by no means certain that the private sector would want to acquire the hospital. The high modernisation costs would be the same for them as would ongoing running costs. Grade 1 listing means that only very limited physical changes could be undertaken.

But all options should be put on the table.

In the end, if a different use for the building is found, and this produces a substantial capital receipt for health providers in York, then this could most effectively be invested in modern facilities for patients and staff in the NHS.

And the local MP should stop posturing. She is too quick to blame developers of “luxury homes”, student flats and hotels for every challenge that faces the City.

Indeed, we would be in a pickle if developers did not want to invest in York.

Could you be a community health champion?

As part of a continuing effort to improve the health, wellbeing and happiness of residents, we are inviting citizens to become community health champions after the launch of the initiative last year.

We’re looking for community health champions who are passionate about improving the health and wellbeing of their community. Health champions will receive training and support from the council that will enable them to;

  • Empower residents to make healthier lifestyle choices such as increasing physical activity and healthy eating
  • Develop new health and wellbeing activities based on community need, such as physical activity sessions
  • Promote current health campaigns including ‘Public Health One You’ through local interactions with

The campaign has already proven to be a great way to engage members of the community and aims to create a more supportive environment for local residents. One day training for community health champions is taking place on 28 September and 26 October 2018.

So if you are enthusiastic and ready to make a positive difference within your community, contact Richard Croker on 01904 553516 or email Richard.Croker@york.gov.uk to book your place on the training.

Councillor Carol Runciman, Executive Member for Health and Adult Social Care said: “Being a community health champion includes learning new skills and using them to help make a difference in your community.

We are always aiming to improve health and wellbeing amongst communities across the city and found that the initiative was a great way to raise awareness. By having community health champions, residents are able to access advice and support to help them in their communities. Anyone interested in this opportunity is asked to call 01904 553377 to speak to the team for more advice and information.”

For more information on this opportunity visit: www.york.gov.uk/volunteeringopportunities, call 01904 553516 or email richard.croker@york.gov.uk.