Brighter futures for children in care in York

Employee volunteering charity York Cares and the council have been working together on a project to help young people in care acquire the skills and experience to prepare them for their next steps.

Called Bright Futures, this ongoing joint project aims to help those aged between 11 and 18 by matching them with employers from across the city who can offer taster days, behind the scenes visits and skills workshops.

This week of opportunities took place ahead of activities run around the tenth national Takeover Challenge which this year will run from 24 November 2017. The Challenge involves organisations across England opening their doors to children and young people and letting them take over adult roles.

York Cares works with many of the city’s leading employers several of whom, over the course of the Bright Futures week, delivered activities to young people in care in Years 7 to 13. Many different sectors were showcased by employers throughout the week from construction to performing arts giving young people an insight into a range of careers.

Activities that have taken place included building firm Evora offering a young person an insight into architecture and setting them the challenge to design their own house. A group of young people took to the bikes at York Sport Village and learnt about the range of roles available within the leisure industry. Young people also visited York Theatre Royal, Askham Bryan College, Portakabin, and The Dormouse pub which have all given young people a taster of what they could expect from working there.

After one activity, a young person said, “I will probably come back here and apply for a job!” demonstrating how inspiring activities with employers can be for young people thinking about their futures.
(more…)

Consultation starts on future of York’s libraries

 A few days after the York Council endorsed a Liberal Democrat motion aimed at securing existing library services in York, the authority has started a 14-week consultation with residents about library services in the city.

The LibDem motion was tabled at a Council meeting amidst fears that the Tory leadership wanted to impose budget cuts which would lead to library closures.  Tories are also apparently looking to change the Library provider in the city from the current (very successful) Trust to a different contractor.

In 2019 the council is due to enter into a new contract for library services and wants to hear from residents about their future needs to help inform the contract.

A media release from the Council says, “York’s libraries are very successful. The council’s provider, Explore York, has introduced many new services, visitor numbers and book issues are good and the service offers excellent value for money. Library users are very satisfied with the current service, particularly valuing libraries as spaces for the community to come together, where everybody is welcome.

Nonetheless, the council recognises that it cannot stand still, and wants to build on Explore’s success to ensure that the service continues to meet changing needs and expectations in the years ahead.

The council recognises that users want to see improvement in the fabric of the library buildings. This reflects the fact that many of the buildings are in poor condition, needing around £3m spending on them in the coming years. The consultation should help target the council’s investment to best effect.

The council’s vision is to have libraries as centres of learning and opportunity for all. This would see state-of-the-art learning spaces stocked with a broad range of materials that promote reading and literacy and support people with the information they need. Flexible spaces would support formal and informal learning including a range of learning programmes, complemented by the latest digital technologies with free, online access.

Acomb Explore Library

The council’s online survey is seeking feedback on the proposed vision and the range of library buildings to meet residents’ needs. In addition, the council wants to understand future needs, gauge volunteer capacity and ask whether or not people want to see other services co-located in libraries”.

Councillor Ann Reid, interim executive member for culture, leisure and tourism, said: “It is important that we really understand what residents would like to see for the future of their library services and whether our vision for the service and the buildings is on the right lines. I would urge everyone to take this chance to let us know their views.

“To understand what residents would like to see for the future of their library services and whether our vision for the service and the buildings is on the right lines, please complete the survey before Wednesday 14 February 2018 at www.york.gov.uk/consultations. Staff at any library or West Offices will be happy to help.”

The motion carried by the Council against Tory opposition said,
(more…)

“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 https://www.goodgym.org/request-a-mission

click to go to the Good Gym site

Council meeting moves to Citadel as spending plans consultation starts

Council debates may be inspired by Citadel moto

York’s next full Council meeting will be held at the Citadel later this month (26 October) rather than in its usual home of York’s Guildhall.

The temporary venue – formerly the home of York’s Salvation Army and now owned by York City Church – will be used for full meetings of the Council for up to two years while the Guildhall is closed for construction work.

The Guildhall has been used for meetings since the 15th Century and the current council chamber dates back to 1891.

Members of the public are welcome to attend the full council meeting at the Citadel at 6.30pm on Thursday 26 October.

Have your say on York’s spending plans

The results of the 2018 citywide budget consultation will help set the council’s financial priorities for the forthcoming year.

Despite already achieving savings of over £100m in the last decade through a combination of efficiency savings and reviewing the services it provides, the authority needs to make further savings of £6.1m in 2018/19 and £4.2m in 2019/20 to meet its budget.

Against this tough financial backdrop, demand for services continues to rise; mainly due to demographic changes and more people living longer. At the same time the financial support received from central government has been reduced.

The central government grant accounted for 40 per cent of the council’s income in 2012/13 but fell to just seven per cent last year.  By 2020, York will receive no government grant. That means the services the council provides will have to be funded from a share of business rates, from the council tax and through any fees and costs it charges.

Council leaders hope that the responses to the questionnaire will help guide future spending decisions, particularly whether the authority should ‘balance its books’ by:

  • Reducing the number of services it provides, or stop providing them altogether.
  • Finding ways of providing services more efficiently by working differently.
  • Charging more for services.
  • Increasing the amount of council tax.

People can put forward their views:

  • Online at www.york.gov.uk/consultations
  • By completing the survey in the council’s publication Our City [which is being distributed over the course of the next two weeks].
  • By popping along to one of four drop-in sessions, at Huntington Library on Wednesday 1 November; Archbishop Holgate’s School on Thursday 2 November; Acomb Explore Library on Tuesday 7 November or West Offices on Wednesday 8 November, all between 4.30pm and 6.30pm.

(more…)

Action to tackle fly tipping problems in west York as litter clearing falters

The Council has erected new notices on the Beaconsfield Street area aimed at tackling waste management issues

Meanwhile elsewhere an increasing number of litter complaints seem to be delayed in the Councils system.

The expectation is that litter reports will be addressed within 5 days of being reported but many have exceeded that timescale recently.

It is unclear why this problem has arisen as no Council explanation has been given.

Litter reported on the Tedder Road Park a month ago has still not been cleared

 

 

Westfield School promotes private swimming lessons

The Westfield primary school is writing to parents urging them to take up an offer of swimming lessons at the Energise pool.

The letter reveals that some organised trips to the pool have been poorly supported in the past.

Now the school is offering to subsidise the costs of personal lessons if parents choose to participate.

We hope that the scheme is successful. We have had too many tragedies in a City where there are two rivers, both of which pose an accident risk!

Westfield school letter to parents

Footpath resurfacing delayed but gullies being cleaned in Foxwood

The footpath resurfacing works on Bellhouse Way are currently running about one week behind schedule. Affected frontagers have been advised of the new timetable

Good progress was made yesterday by the gulley cleaner operating in the Foxwood area. Good to see the Council getting ready for winter after the recent problems experienced in parts of the City with surface water.

Sycamore House reopens after £326,000 refurbishment

 A new multi-purpose centre has opened today (Monday 24 July) after a £326,000 refurbishment of the old Sycamore House building.

The refurbished building, to be (imaginatively) called 30 Clarence Street, will be the new city centre facility providing a range of services for residents young and old.

30 Clarence Street will be the new location for young people’s services, previously delivered from Castlegate, and will provide a drop-in and specialist advice, guidance and support service for young people age 16-18 who are not in education, employment and training. Confidential counselling for young people aged 16-25, and information signposting to services for a range of advice from health matters, relationships, housing and benefits, learning and working will also be available.

The adults’ mental health recovery service will also be based at 30 Clarence Street and will offer support, advice and, guidance to residents who are referred to it. As well as this support, people will also be able to access training and placement schemes, working on reception or in the cafe, to help them develop their skills and confidence.

Residents will be able to enjoy the refurbished Explore reading café where they can browse a range of books, meet friends, socialise and enjoy a cuppa.

The council is also leasing office space on the first floor of the building to York Mind and York Pathways and, given the links between these organisations and the services operating from the ground floor, this arrangement will help facilitate even closer working relationships between the voluntary and community sector, the council and health services.

Later in the year, the building will also welcome ‘The Haven’, an evening service will provide a safe and supportive environment for people experiencing mental distress. Open 6pm – 11pm, 7 days a week, ‘The Haven’ will offer a welcome to anyone needing it and will be run by specialist mental health services.

The opening of ‘The Haven’ was made possible after City of York Council and partners in the North Yorkshire and York crisis care concordat successfully bid for £178,000 of Department for Health funding to support the initiative. City of York Council has provided the other £148,000 of funding for the refurbishment of 30 Clarence Street.
(more…)