Hungry children in York?

A national research organisation has published statistics which is claims means there are still pockets of “child poverty” in the City.

The new LibDem led Council will be expected to make an early difference in this area.

We have long campaigned for the York Council to devote more resources to improving public services in poorer neighbourhoods. The symptoms of derivation include lower life expectancy levels and poor health. The latter is often connected to the availability of healthy living facilities and advice.  Obesity levels in children are also an issue in many areas.

The report published by “End Child Poverty” uses national data to estimate the likelihood of child poverty in each ward in the City.

This data is tabulated. Hull road, Guildhall and Westfield are the three most vulnerable areas.

Child poverty rates in York wards

York is far from being the most needy City in the country.

….but there is sufficient objective and anecdotal evidence to suggest that local policies are failing.

The new Council could make a start by withdrawing the threat to build on open spaces and sports facilities in the Westfield area.

York residents urged to ‘help change a child’s life’ in 2019

City of York Council is urging local residents to help change a child’s life in 2019 by fostering.

With around 150 children and young people being supported by foster carers in York at any time, the authority is always looking for new foster carers to join the team.

Fostering involves looking after children in a safe and secure environment when they can’t live with their own families.

And as James Lee, from the council’s Fostering Team, explains, they’re not looking for just one type of carer:

“The children and young people who need our care are from a wide range of backgrounds and have very differing needs, so we need foster carers with different experiences and skills to help them. Many people consider fostering when their own children have left home and they have a bit more time and space, while others foster young people alongside their own children. If you have experience of living or working with children and young people, either in a work setting or at home, and think you might be able to help then please do get in touch.”

To find out more about how you can help local children by fostering call 01904 555678 or visit www.york.gov.uk/fostering

Council election manifestos compared

6. Planning and Social Care

A draft Local Plan agreed for submission in 2011 would have seen 575 homes per annum built in the City.

10 year housing completions trend in York

Labours “Big City” approach alternative was floated in 2013.  It would have seen the City grow by 25%. Many of the houses would have been built in the Green Belt, which would have been damaged irreparably. The plan never reached the public inquiry stage.

During the last three years an average of 1131 additional homes have been provided in the City each year.

This compares to an average, over the last 10 years, of 652.

The latest Local Plan – still not adopted – envisages 790 homes a year being provided. This is still much higher than ONS projects say is necessary and would require a sustained growth in jobs, the scale of which has not been not seen since the Industrial Revolution.

Labours manifesto still advocates building in the Green Belt.

The number of York residents supported at home through care package is around 1800. About 650 residents are admitted to nursing or residential care each year. The figures are stable

Over the last 18 months the numbers of delayed discharges from hospital resulting from unavailable “care in the community” facilities has fluctuated between 4 and 11 patients.

There have been delays in the Councils elderly persons new accommodation strategy. Although some homes have closed, there has been little progress “on site” in building new facilities at Oakhaven, Lowfield, Haxby etc.

Work starts in Clifton to create 33 new homes for older people

A new phase of the council’s Older Person’s Accommodation Programme is starting, with work beginning to deliver 33 new homes in Clifton.

The four new bungalows and 29 apartments will add to Marjorie Waite Court. This is a 40-unit, council-run independent living scheme with extra care offered at the heart of the community. This extension is due to open in winter 2020 along with a new community hall.

Residents of York have an above-UK-average life expectancy, with the number of 75+ residents expected to increase by 50% by 2030 (up from 17,000 to 26,000). This extra accommodation goes towards providing a sufficient variety of options for this growing population. It is also part of the council’s wider programme which aims to deliver over 900 extra new units of accommodation with care for older people by 2020 and will see over £100m new investment to deliver it.

Marjorie Waite Court’s 29 new apartments will be wheelchair-accessible and residents will benefit from extra care services. This includes providing 24-hour care for residents and those living with dementia.

The four bungalows will be built with their own parking space. Like the apartments, they will be wheelchair-accessible and be connected to a warden call system.

The residents of these new and existing apartments will be able to use refurbished and extended communal facilities. These will include a dining facility, a laundry, lounges on all floors with balconies, a hair salon and treatment room, and extra offices to deliver a wider range of services. While to support residents’ mobility an electric buggy store and charging area will be built.

Local community groups can also, through a booking scheme, use the new community hall which will provide space for community and leisure activities.

New ‘Local Offer for care leavers’ launched in York

Young people in York who have left care and those preparing to leave care can now find out what help and support they’re eligible for at a glance thanks to the launch of a new ‘Local Offer for care leavers’.

City of York Council has launched the online document to make it easier for young people to access the help they’re entitled to, including a range of support with accommodation, education, training and employment, developing life skills, health, mental health, and relationships.

The local offer highlights the City of York’s aspirations for care leavers and
following changes nationally, care leavers can now access support until they are 25 years of age, compared to 21 previously.

The Local Offer for Care Leavers was written and designed in partnership with members of York’s care leavers’ forum;  ‘I Still Matter’.

Young care leavers from the group, said: “‘We think the Local Offer for Care Leavers is really important because it ensures that care leavers are aware of their rights and entitlements, and gives them the relevant information to be able to create their own futures, whilst knowing where to go for support and advice”.

For more information about the support available visit www.york.gov.uk/LeavingCare or email pathwayteam@york.gov.uk or call 01904 555389

Lincoln Court update

The Councils Executive discussed the planned extension of the Lincoln Court independent living building yesterday. They agreed to progress the scheme and included a requirement for an alternative all weather games area to be provided in the ward.

It will be up to the planning committee at its meeting tomorrow (Wednesday) to include a condition requiring that the new facility is provided before the existing MUGA is demolished.

Windsor House is already being vandalised

It emerged at the meeting that 14 of the remaining 19 tenants have now accepted offers of alternative accommodation. When the remaining 5 will be offered, and accept, a suitable alternative remains in doubt. The adjacent Windsor House building, which is empty, is already suffering vandalism and there is a concern that the whole site could become a magnet for anti social behaviour.

Large delivery lorries are ruining roads in Lowfields. Similar concerns about Ascot Way

The Council is negotiating with the school to allow builders plant to access the site from the school side. There have been major problems getting large items of plant into the Lowfields site where roads are of a similar width to Ascot Way.

It has yet to be confirmed whether an (pedestrian) access will be retained from the school site when the redevelopment has been completed. This is considered to be essential to provide overflow parking capacity given that only 16 spaces are being provided on the Ascot Way frontage.

Large plant on Lowfields site. Working hours planning condition being breached?

Sadly members of the executive failed to probe why the new apartments have been described, in successive Planning Committee reports, as “extra care” units.

No doubt residents will get more clarification tomorrow

Council heading for confrontation over games area demolition plan

Muddle over future of Lincoln Court

According to papers released today, York Council planners are prepared to enlist the support of the Secretary of State in their bid to demolish the all-weather games area (MUGA) near Lincoln Court. Council officials claim that the children’s play facility must go as part of their plans to build an additional 15 “extra care” flats on the adjacent site.

Sport England, the resident’s association, local Councillors and residents have all objected to the plan. They feel an alternative games area should be provided before the existing facility is lost.  They have pointed to the Thanet Road Sports area as a possible alternative location.

Council officials have had over a year to sort out an alternative but are understood to have only recently contacted the Acorn Rugby Club who lease most of the alternative site.

Sport England effectively has a veto on the removal of facilities. If the Council wanted to demolish the existing MUGA without their agreement the they would need the approval of the Secretary of State to do so. It seems that they are prepared to risk such a confrontation.

Hopes that an Executive meeting to be held on 18th March would broker an agreement on the dispute over play provision are now fading

The move is the latest in a series of decisions which have gradually seen sports facilities and open spaces eroded in the Westfield area. Last year planning permission was given to build on the Lowfields playing field. A local bowling green faced the same fate while the Hob Moor school playing field is being reduced in size. 5 years ago the Council agreed to build on the Our Lady’s playing fields.

Figures produced by the Council, in support of its Local Plan proposals, reveal that there is a deficiency in all forms of open space and sports provision in the Westfield ward. The ward now also has the highest levels of child obesity in the City

The planning meeting is taking place on Wednesday 20th March at 5:00pm. The background papers for the meeting can be viewed by clicking here Residents may make representations by registering to speak at the meeting or by Email to Christopher.elliott@york.gov.uk

The issues are before the committee again because an earlier planng permission incorrectly identified the new “apartments” as being for residents requiring “extra care”.  The latest application adds to the confusion as the report also refers to the new units as being for “extra care”. In reality 15 extra care units would not be economically viable because of staffing requirements.

The scheme has also been criticised for reducing the amount of garden space available for residents and for providing inadequate off street parking space for visitors.

York’s accessibility information in the palm of your hand.

National disability organisation, AccessAble is launching a free app to give visitors and residents of York high-quality accessibility information they can access whilst out and about.

Long-term partner of City of York Council and provider of detailed access guides, AccessAble have created a new mobile app which aims to transform the quality and availability of accessibility information.

The app provides detailed access guides to 10,000s of places across the UK and Ireland. Crucially each guide is created by locations having been visited by an AccessAble surveyor and local people with accessibility requirements, who can collect over 1,000 pieces of information for just one venue.

The app itself can display facts, figures and photographs as well as step-by-step descriptions of what accessibility is like at a particular location. Users can create their own account and save favourite places and filter their preferences depending on their accessibility needs.

Find out more at www.AccessAble.co.uk
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York’s ‘short breaks’ service for children with physical disabilities, learning disabilities and autism rated ‘good

City of York Council’s Short Break’s service has been rated ‘good’ by independent inspectors.

The service, which provides flexible personal care and support to families with children with physical disabilities, learning disabilities and autism at weekends, evenings and in the school holidays, was inspected by the Care Quality Commissions in January 2019.

The inspection rated the service in five key areas, assessing whether  it was safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led. All five aspects of the service were rated as ‘good’.

The inspection highlighted that Community Short Break Workers have a good understanding of children’s needs and are kind and caring. It also reported that they understand the importance of respecting children’s dignity and upholding their right to privacy.

Inspectors recognised that children are supported to live fulfilled meaningful lives and that information was available to ensure that they could access the community, events, and activities with minimal restrictions in a planned way for their maximum benefit and enjoyment.

The report also highlighted the positive work Community Short Break Workers do to help children learn new skills and take on new challenges, for example, to eat in cafes and restaurants.

Other professionals also reported the service to be effective and recognised that it was valued by parents for the support it gave to their families.
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£4.7 million contract awarded for Lincoln Court and Windsor House redevelopment

Lincoln Court

Notwithstanding the fact that the York Council still has an planning application outstanding for the redevelopment of Lincoln Court, it has gone ahead and awarded a construction contract covering the building, and a plan to establish a centre for disabled children on the Windsor House site.

The £4.7 million construction contract has been awarded to Sewell’s, the company who were involved in the PFI deal on the adjacent Hob Moor school development 15 years ago.

The number of tenders received for the work has not been revealed by the Council.

The completion date for the contract is 31st January 2021.