More help for York small and micro businesses announced

York Council has issued more details of a £1 million scheme to support businesses falling through safety net of government support

  • 1000 businesses are set for grants of up to £1000, with up to 1000 set for free access to FSB support
  • Council acting to put £110 m of government support into York businesses’ accounts – first grants to land in bank accounts next week

City of York Council has released details of further support for York businesses, including its £1 million scheme to help York’s small and micro businesses who are set to miss out on government support.

City of York Council’s micro business grants scheme will deliver grants of up to £1000 to 1000 self-employed, micro and small businesses who need it most. 

Applications for the grants will open before Easter, and will be available to businesses which:

  • have 50 or fewer employees, including one person business/self-employed;
  • need support adapting to new trading arrangements;
  • are experiencing financial hardship due to coronavirus, and
  • do not qualify for any other government grant or rate relief support packages.

In addition, the council has created a new fund to give up to 1000 businesses free membership of the Federation of Small Business. Also set to launch before Easter, these will be available to businesses with 30 or fewer employees. This will give each business access to a range of services, covering everything from legal and advice to cyber protection and insurance.

Grants will be issued to the first 1000 businesses which meet the criteria, so businesses are advised to prepare evidence in advance.

 The council will open an online application form, which will require company details, an outline of what the grant is needed for and the following evidence to demonstrate eligibility:

  1. proof of hardship and ineligibility for other schemes
    • for self-employed applicants: Business must have a Unique Tax Reference Number UTRN from HRMC with retrospective check
    • Registered business – must provide Company Number, or details from other registration schemes
  2. Evidence that the business is trading, for example adverts, web site or accounts

The council will contact businesses to review the effectiveness of grants and collect evidence of the impact of our funding. 

The council has also negotiated a deal which will allow 1,000 one person businesses, or 500 ten person businesses to join and access the free helpline for business advice.

Carolyn Frank, Development Manager North Yorkshire, Federation of Small Businesses, said:

“We are seeing more demand than ever for our services as small businesses and the self-employed find themselves needing advice and guidance, financial support and a powerful collective voice with government.

“We are very grateful to City of York Council for funding free FSB memberships for microbusinesses from their emergency funding, which is helping us reach even more businesses in York with specialist 1-2-1 advice and support.

“Our benefits in higher than normal demand due to the emergency situation include employment advice and protection, legal helpline and documents hub, FSB care medical advice line, cyber protection checks, FSB funding platform and cash advance and insurance services. 

“I’d encourage businesses to apply quickly to take advantage of this special scheme, because it is strictly limited to first come, first served. Of course businesses who miss out on the free scheme can still ask for our help, we have many free resources and a full priced membership starts from only £147 a year.” 

Coronavirus updates – 3rd April 2020

Coronavirus cases up in York

THE number of confirmed coronavirus cases in York has increased by more than 20 in the past 24 hours – according to Public Health England figures. Yesterday there were 36 diagnoses in York – today the number has increased to 57.

ANOTHER patient who tested positive for Coivd-19 has died at York Hospital. The fatality, revealed in NHS England’s daily bulletin, is the 13 death in the York trust. 

Grand Central cancels trains

Grand Central has cancelled all services from Northallerton, Thirsk and York to London until the coronavirus crisis is over.

York Council provided information

Support for parents and children

There is a lot of uncertainty around the current coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, particularly given the situation is constantly developing and the information about the virus remains incomplete.

Understandably, this is causing a lot of worry and anxiety for families. Those who have children and young people at home are often trying to work themselves adding another layer of stress.

This is why we have produced information packs for parents and carers to help them through the Easter Period and a pack to help them through the coronavirus outbreak.

It includes tips to look after the health and wellbeing of the whole family, home schooling tips and where to get information and help.

You will find lots of information for parents and families on our website at

We have attached information packs for parents and tips for the Easter holidays. We will share social media graphics tomorrow together with a press release.

Download resource guide from

Community hubs update

A short summary of our community response:

The Community Response Team is now 23 strong.  Numbers of calls are ramping up:  yesterday 91 calls and 65 emails

Average call length is around 15 minutes. 

We have various levels of response:

  • Providing info – we are maintaining a listing of community resources available to people
  • For low priority issues (e.g. wanting windows washed, an oven door fixed, for specific items to be purchased in M&S) we will link them into the locality Facebook groups
  • For ad hoc urgent needs designing a bespoke response via a hub volunteer
  • Referring to a voluntary organisation

We are following up with regular welfare calls to the anxious and lonely.  We have allocated 400 volunteers to making these calls. (This is distinct from but sitting alongside CVS’s welfare calls scheme for GP referrals and housing’s calls to tenants).

We have a set up a team to maintain constant contact with all the voluntary organisations and other stakeholders to understand their needs and what they have to offer and feed that back into the picture.  We are sending them extra volunteers if appropriate but some cannot manage more so we are having conversations about how we increase their management capacity.

We have opened 9 hubs, with a tenth being looked at today. Each hub has 2 members of staff (except two locations who have provided staffing).  352 volunteers are allocated to the hubs.

In addition to providing local volunteers, the hubs are leading on feeding the medically shielded who have special dietary needs that will not be met by the government parcels.  They are also providing emergency food to other people who are not served by YFAS or the foodbanks.

Volunteers:We have over 2,800 signed up.  In addition to the uses outlined above and below we have allocated them to some pharmacies, to the community furniture store, and will increasingly direct them to other uses.

Vulnerable people needing help because they are directly affected by coronavirus and have no other source of help should email the Councils Community Support Coordinators at or call 01904 551550.

Police record speeds of up to 132mph despite motorists being told to “stay home, save lives and protect the NHS”

Some vehicles and motorbikes were observed travelling very quickly on the A64 York southern by pass yesterday.

Police have have now repeated their warning to motorists to stick to the rules of the road after a driver in North Yorkshire was clocked at 132mph.

It comes amid a rise in dangerous, highly-excessive speeds as roads get quieter.

A safety camera operator on the A168 recorded a car travelling at 132mph earlier this week.

Details of the vehicle were circulated to other units and a driver was stopped by officers from a neighbouring police force a short time later. The driver was subsequently reported on suspicion of the offence.

North Yorkshire Police has repeatedly urged motorists only make essential journeys and drive safely and within the law, to protect valuable emergency service and NHS resources.

Police patrols and safety camera vans, which are operated by key-worker police staff rather than officers, have been used at key locations to try to prevent further casualties.

Andy Tooke, of North Yorkshire Police’s Traffic Bureau, said: “Some of the speeds we have recorded as the roads have got quieter are frankly ridiculous, especially at a time when people have been asked to stay home, protect the NHS and save lives.

“It’s unbelievable that some motorists are behaving in a way that puts more lives in danger at a time when NHS and emergency service resources are so vital.

“It goes without saying that if people stuck to the rules of the road during a time of national crisis, there would be no offences for us to enforce.

“We will not tolerate North Yorkshire being used as a race track, and we are continuing to target those who put lives at risk by driving illegally.”

The speed limit on the stretch of the A168 that the safety camera operator was monitoring is 70mph.

In the last few days, North Yorkshire Police has also recorded speeds of 117mph and several at close to 100mph.

Corona virus updates – 2nd April 2020

Another Coronavirus case reported in York

As of today, Thursday, April 2, there were 36 confirmed cases in York – up one on Wednesday’s total.

Doorstep deliveries – latest

Another fresh food home delivery option in #York…


Supermarket queue length information can now be found on @Foxwoodra Facebook page. Please help to keep it up to date.

@Connected_York is now offering an App giving details of some of the stores in #York who are offering home delivery services.

Askham Bog

Although the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust announced last week that it is securing where possible some of its reserves, there have been a small number of vehicles parked outside Askham Bog (Tadcaster Road) at times over the last few days.

The Trust said “As you are now aware, we’ve made the difficult decision to discourage access to our nature reserves because of the Coronavirus (Covid19) pandemic. 

Where possible, we will be closing gates and facilities at our nature reserves. However, as they are natural spaces it is not always possible to secure them; particularly where there are public rights of way passing through and wildlife needs to travel safely across our boundaries.

If you live locally to a Yorkshire Wildlife Trust nature reserve and are accessing it for your daily dose of outdoor time, then please do it with the utmost sensitivity and care, and adhere to current government guidelines around social distancing”.

York Financial Assistance scheme updates

The Council reports on support for residents and businesses

  • YFAS has had 45 emergency applications since 23 March. We have paid 23 with a total value of £2440. Those who haven’t been paid have been asked to provide more information on their circumstances.
  • Since 23 March we have had 199 Council Tax Support applications
  • Since set up, as of this morning our helpline has answered 855 calls and 759 emails. These calls and emails do not reflect all the people who have asked for help as the help is also being requested via “other” call paths and mailboxes.
  • We have over 2,800 volunteers signed up
  • We have had 1,600 calls for help and deployed 750 of our volunteers.
  • We have already applied the business rates holiday to over 4000 accounts and have now created a secure new system to process grants totalling nearly £40m across 2500 eligible businesses. 
  • We have written to all 2500 businesses it has identified as eligible for the grants.

Council advice for landlords and agents

Landlords and letting agents concerned about the impact of Coronavirus, should read the following guidance and advice. We will not increase fees this year for licenses for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO).

Landlords applying for a new licence or renewing an existing one, have a three-month holiday period to pay fees if needed. Please email for more information.

Licence holders with outstanding conditions applied to their licences can apply for an extensions to some of these conditions by emailing .

Due to Government restrictions, our work will focus on essential matters where we believe there is imminent risk to health. We will keep the situation under review.    


For information on the Government’s announcement about evictions and support for those renting, please see:

Some practical points to consider:

  1. If rent is owed, please ensure your tenant is aware of it.
  2. If your tenant is experiencing financial difficulty, please refer them to the council’s website
  3. Ask your tenants to put their concerns to you in writing/email so you can discuss the matter with them with all the relevant facts to hand.
  4. Ask your mortgage lender what arrangements they are putting in place. The Government has confirmed that the three-month mortgage payment holiday includes landlords whose tenants are experiencing financial difficulties due to coronavirus.
  5. Some landlords have already offered tenants a discount on rent or a rent holiday. Remember, that as with the mortgage holidays, this deferred rent will have to be paid back in the future.
  6. Speak to your tenant’s guarantor, where there is one.
  7. Ask your insurer if they can offer rent and legal protection.
  8. Keep your records up to date. This should include every conversation, phone call or email. Any arrears dating prior to 18 March 2020 should not be factored into this Coronavirus situation.

Waste collection boost from First York

First York bus drivers are helping to continue refuse collections. Four bus drivers with First York are learning how to operate bin lorries in a joint initiative with City of York Council (CYC) to support contingency planning for waste collection if there is a crew shortage from the impact of coronavirus.

The drivers began their training at the council’s Hazel Court depot this week and will spend four days developing skills in driving and manoeuvring the vehicle, operating the bin hoist, compacting devices and safety procedures with a x-person team on board. 

Marc Bichtemann, Managing Director of First York, said: “We have a close partnership the council and began thinking how we could support vital community services in other ways. Our drivers already have the skills in handling a large vehicle, so it seemed ideal to transfer this capability to driving bin lorries and provide a quick solution to any sudden changes in its waste management workforce.”

Driving a bin lorry requires a Class C HGV licence. First York put out a message to its eligible drivers and employees Simmy (correct) Hayward, Steve Ferry, Robert Dande and Chris Lucas signed-up for the training.

Robert said: “We’re all used to working in the community, but with the buses and passengers so dramatically reduced at the moment it’s a different situation. This is a chance to use our skills and help other essential services continue as normally as possible.”

Former Westfield school head dies

The former head of Westfield Junior School Mark Barnett has died. He may have become the latest victim of the COVID-19 virus. An inspirational figure for many local people he was the power behind the schools transformation a couple of decades ago. RIP

York Council House rent rise shelved for 3 months

The annual rent increase for City of York Council tenants is to be halted for three months due to the coronavirus emergency.

At the start of each financial year, annual rent increases usually come into effect. We are unable to reverse the annual increase in the billing system at this late stage, but residents are being assured that this increase will be refunded.

Council tenants are asked to pay their rent as usual and, those eligible, will be repaid the extra rent for the first three months of this financial year from 1 April 2020.

Tenants don’t need to take any further action because the refund will be credited direct to their rent account.

Tenants receiving Universal Credit and / or housing benefits are not affected by the increase as their rental costs are already met by the Government / the council.

“While we can’t reverse the annual increase in the billing system at this stage in the financial year, we will ensure no individual has to cover this increase for the first three months of the year.

“Anyone worried about paying their rent as a result of changes in their circumstances due to the current emergency, should contact their housing management officer (HMO) and seek advice at:

“For more detail on the financial help available to tenants affected by Coronavirus, please go to: .

York Council West Offices close

Following the Government’s advice that people should only travel for essential reasons, such as food, health or critical work, City of York Council will be closing its customer centre at West Offices from Thursday 2 April in order to protect residents and prevent the spread of Covid-19 in the city.

The customer centre has seen a large drop in the number of people visiting, as people have followed the Government’s health advice by staying home to slow the spread of coronavirus. Those visits that have happened have related to issues such as planning and would not meet the Government criteria of essential travel and therefore, risk staff and residents health.

Our priority is to ensure we are able to provide essential services to those in most need and do not create an increased risk of infection.

All welfare and business support information and forms are available online and those residents who need more help can call the customer centre on 01904 551550.

For routine business, as always, residents can call our customer service team during opening hours. People can also visit where they can access most services 24/7.  With many services reduced or with different arrangements, customers are advised to visit the council website for more information.

Essential face to face conversations with vulnerable residents and those accessing social care will still be facilitated as part of their existing care. Any visits to individual’s homes will follow public health guidance. Existing community and neighbourhood support will continue and the council’s new network of community hubs are co-ordinating work locally to ensure vulnerable people are identified, and are able to access the support they need.

People needing help with no other source in place, can email and they will be contacted.

All of our welfare benefits, including council tax and housing, and emergency schemes are available online with assistance available over the phone.

All services previously provided face to face in the customer centre by appointment, for example revenues and benefits, housing, planning and Citizens Advice York will all be available over the phone.

Our phone lines are open Monday to Friday from 8.30am until 5.30pm except on bank holidays. Remember most queries can be answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, on our website.

The council will closely monitor and follow Government advice and reopen the customer centre when guidelines allow.

Executive member for finance and performance, Cllr Nigel Ayre, said:

“The safety of our residents and staff is of paramount importance.  To implement social distancing safe practices, we have had to review how the customer service operates.  We all need to reduce the spread of coronavirus to protect our communities and as a result, we have taken the decision to temporarily close the customer centre while the current Government guidelines are in place.

“Following the Governments advice last week to only make essential journeys for food or work, we have seen a marked drop in visits to our customer centre. People have been accessing our services through different means, either by phone or online.

“I’d like to reassure people that we are open for business and they will still get the same level of service over the phone or online, we just need to be extra careful to minimise face to face contact to help slow the spread of the virus.”

“Essential social care appointments will still be carried out and facilitated at an individual’s home, rather than in West Offices. Our new community hubs and 2000+ registered volunteers are ensuring support is given to those most in need.”

Corona virus updates – 1st April 2020

Queue watch

Only 1 person in the queue to get into Sainsbury’s local on Beckfield Lane at 12:15pm (1/4/20).

At 2:15pm

  • 4 people waiting to get into the Co op on Beagle Ridge Drive
  • 4 people waiting to get into Lidl on Thanet Road
  • zero people queued at Tesco local on Acomb Wood Drive
No queue in Acomb Wood today. Shoppers limited to 1 Acorn and 1 nut per visit

Waste collection

We understand that there are around 35 York Council street service workers off sick. This includes those dealing with refuse collection. Hence the move to consolidate activities by stopping green waste collections. Waste collection teams will be segregated to help achieve 2 metre distancing rule.

No news yet on the suggestion that composting bins might be home delivered. Lots available on Amazon

Gardening for fitness and bedding plants

Seems a shame that thousands of pounds worth of bedding plants are being allowed to rot at local gardening centre. Needs someone to arrange a remote payment, social distancing, delivery service in the City? Participants will need PPE and and a disinfecting regime but there is apparently a surfeit of volunteers while the taxi trade is currently also underused.

Background click here

Corona virus number trends

New case numbers level in Yorkshire

Last minute decision to shelve green bin emptying in York

With garden waste collections (from green domestic bins) due to start again on Monday the York Council has made a last minute decision to abandon the service.

As recently as last week, the York Council, had said that – despite other authorities having also scrapped the service – they would still empty the green bins in York.

The lateness of the decision will make it difficult to roll out one of the suggested alternatives. Some taxi drivers had offered to deliver free composting bins to residents but it would take some time organise such a push.

In the meantime residents are being urged to “mulch” grass cuttings and store hedge clippings in gardens. No doubt some will also utilise the grey bins (the contents of which are now incinerated).

It is more important than ever to cut hedges back from public footpaths as this helps to sustain the 2 metre social distancing rule.

Corona virus update – 31st March 2020

Police advice on staying safe live video tomorrow (Wednesday)

At 1pm on Wednesday 1 April, North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service will be live streaming safety advice, along with colleagues from North Yorkshire County Council. Find out how to keep yourself and your family safe whilst staying at home and saving lives. The broadcast will also include advice for businesses. Watch LIVE on YouTube:

Public service monitor

Police appeal on gangs of youths

If you see people congregating in groups please contact Police on 101 as soon as you can so the Police can respond accordingly. This action is in relation to recent Covid-19 regulations and groups causing general ASB. #stayhome #staysafe

Waitrose moves to help vulnerable with home delivery priority

To support our elderly and most vulnerable customers, we have decided to give them priority access to our home delivery and Click & Collect slots.

These customers are being identified using data we currently hold. We are actively working with the UK government to identify further vulnerable and elderly customers.

We are working with the UK Government to identify customers who are vulnerable to Coronavirus. If you believe you should be considered vulnerable, please use the Government service website to identify yourself.

  • You can register for yourself or someone else
  • The government will share details of those who are registered with us in the coming days
  • We’ll be in touch to let you know when you’ve been added and can book slots

Register on GOV.UK

We’re doing all we can to make more delivery and Click & Collect slots available soon.

Home food deliveries

Sainbury’s will try to help any vulnerable persons who is unable to secure a delivery slot. The contact telephone number is 08000 525500

Morrisons have already announced a basic box of essentials delivery service

Coop reduces store opening hours

Coop opening hours are changing to 7am-8pm. Petrol stores will remain open until 11pm.

Some Coop stores are closing but none so far in York

Rough sleepers

The Council says that all rough sleepers accepted accommodation and stayed in it on Friday night. Using hotels and hostels, temporary and Housing First accommodation, we have enough for all known rough sleepers and can provide them with food too.

“The situation is very fluid regarding individuals who may choose to leave the accommodation provided: there is no enforcement around them staying in it”.

Council ready to process £40m coronavirus support grants to local businesses


Following further guidance from the Government, City of York Council will now distribute government support grants of up to £25000 to York businesses.

Many small businesses which receive small or rural business rates relief will receive a payment of £10,000.

Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses, with a rateable value of under £51,000, will receive either £10,000 or £25,000 grants.

The council has created a short web form to gather the information required by the government, including VAT registration details.

The secure web form can be found at . 

Any business wanting to find out more about the grant process should contact

Councillor Keith Aspden, Leader of City of York Council, said:

“The Council has been working hard to to deliver these support packages as quickly as possible, and to date, we have already applied the business rates holiday to over 4000 accounts and have now created a secure new system to process grants totaling nearly £40m across 2500 eligible businesses. 

“We have already created our own local support package totaling £1 million to support small and micro businesses in the city, on top of existing government support, and we will continue to act swiftly to support local businesses through these extremely challenging times.”

The council has written to all 2500 businesses it has identified as eligible for the grants.

With many business owners unable to access their premises, the council wants to reach as many businesses as possible through local media, social media and partners and representative bodies across the city.

Councillor Andrew Waller, Executive Member for Economy and Strategic Planning, said:

“We’re determined to overcome these obstacles and get these grants to York businesses, and that is why we have contacted all 2,500 businesses identified as eligible for the grants.

“On top of delivering the government’s support, we’ve developed our package to help our creative and resilient business community through these difficult times,  including the deferral of rent for our commercial tenants and having made commitments to support our key suppliers.

“We’re also working with York BID, Make it York, the region’s Local Enterprise Partnerships and other partners to speak up on behalf of our business community.”

“Any business can get up to date advice and guidance through our support page”

Which businesses are eligible?

  1. Small Business Grant Fund

Under the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) all businesses in England in receipt of Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) and Rural Rates Relief (RRR) in the business rates system will be eligible for a payment of £10,000, in line with the eligibility criteria.

  1. Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant

Under the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant (RHLG) businesses in England in receipt of the Expanded Retail Discount (which covers retail, hospitality and leisure) with a rateable value of less than £51,000 will be eligible for the following cash grants per property.

  • Eligible businesses with a property that has a rateable value of up to £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000
  • Eligible businesses with a property that has a rateable value of over £15,000 and less than £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000

Corona virus update – 30th March 2020

Gangs of youths

Police request, “If any residents see groups of youths or any persons gathering in a location or not adhering to the government guidelines to please ring 101 at the time so that officers can attend the location asap and obtain the details of those involved and give appropriate advice etc. We’ve got extra patrols out on foot and cycles at this time”.

Supermarkets generally quiet

Most supermarkets in York are now quieter than they have been recently. Many now have stocks of toilet paper, eggs, spray disinfectant etc all of which have been in short supply. We are still pressing the authorities and businesses to use social media to highlight busy times, stock shortages, home delivery pipelines etc. For a City which prides itself on innovation and hi tech literacy this has been a bit of a letdown.

NB. No shortages in Waitrose York earlier today. Well organised by helpful staff

Corona virus update 29th March 2020

Roads and cycle paths very quiet today. Combination of health worries and cool weather?

York – Selby cycle track (Saturday)
A64 southern by pass (Sunday)

Shops are also less busy

30 in a fast moving queue on Saturday lunchtime at Tesco Extra on Tadcaster Road. Sunday the queue is down to just 3 people.

Other local stores have short queues or none at all

No queue today at Tesco Express on Acomb Wood Drive

Seems to be a lot more people wearing face masks today!

Police act on anti social behaviour in west York

Image may contain: 1 person, text

Over the past few nights while we have been patrolling, we have come across a number of groups of young people congregating in our local communities and ignoring the Government’s advice to stay at home. Sadly our Force Control Room has also received calls reporting anti-social behaviour (ASB) in our local area.

This week our Assistant Chief Constable appealed to parents and carers to ensure their teenage children understand the risk the COVID-19 virus poses and encourage them to stay indoors. You can read his message here –

The Government has made it clear that staying at home is one of the main ways we can stop the virus from spreading, so there should be no young people out on the streets.

We will continue to carry out our patrols and if we come across any anti-social behaviour or groups of young people in the area, we’ll be advising them to go home. We’ll also be using our ‘Be Informed’ text message service to inform local residents of the situation.

‘Be informed’ is a scheme designed to inform parents and carers, of any anti-social behaviour in the local neighbourhood that officers are attending. If their children are out at the time, parents and carers can then use this text as a trigger to contact their children, check their whereabouts and ask them to come home.

The ‘Be informed’ scheme is easy to join. All you need to do is email your mobile phone number and the name of the area you live in to – by emailing these details you are giving your consent to join the scheme.

To read more about the scheme you can visit the North Yorkshire Police website –

Be informed is delivered through North Yorkshire Community Messenger. For further information on what we do with your personal data, please visit

You may withdraw your consent to the service at any time by emailing and request to unsubscribe from the messaging service.