Coronavirus York updates; 6th August 2020

Deaths and test results

Although no figures have been published at City level, national statistics indicate that the percentage of people testing positive for coronavirus antibodies is around 6%. This does not include tests undertaken in hospitals or care homes.

The same source says that the number of positive virus test results in Yorkshire rose during the last few days of July.

The overall death toll from COVID-19 in York remains at 169.

There have been no further Hospital deaths in the City today. There has been another positive test result bringing the total to 928

York residents thanked for supporting independent businesses

A recent campaign run by City of York Council with Make It York and Indie York highlighted the lengths the city’s independents are going to create a safe, welcoming experience for customers.

As a part of this initiative, York Kind case studies, which have highlighted how different independent retailers are adapting and responding to the pandemic, have reached over 115,000 people online, with 4,000 people showing their support, by liking or sharing the stories.

Keith Aspden, Council leader, commented:

“It’s been inspiring to see the resilience and compassion with which our communities have responded to the crisis. Our local business community have worked hard to reopen safely, so it’s great to see so many people supporting the creative, independent businesses which make our city so unique.

“By shopping locally not only do we support our small and independent businesses and the staff and suppliers who rely on them, but also directly invest in our local communities at this challenging time.

“As we welcome residents back to the city and our shopping areas, we are continuing to put the safety of residents and visitors at the forefront of our reopening efforts, and by working with businesses across the city we are establishing and promoting social distancing measures. So please do continue to shop local to support our amazing local businesses and remember to stay safe whilst doing so.”

Johnny Hayes, Chair of Indie York:

“It was great to be involved in the #YorkKind campaign, shining a light on the efforts of our members to bring life back to the city and provide the products and experiences which York residents have been missing. We invite people to come and enjoy something to eat in August at our independent restaurants and cafés who are participating the in the Eat Out to Help Out scheme.”

Talking Points offer face-to-face appointments online

A new way for residents to have conversations about how to live their lives independently and well is opening up this week.

Following lockdown in March, Talking Points have been unable to operate. Now, new online video appointments and drop-in sessions are available. Through these, residents can talk with City of York Council’s adult social care team, face-to-face and in a safe but effective way.

As before lockdown, residents can choose to book an appointment with a member of the adult social care team on a given date and time or, they can opt to join a drop-in session and wait for a private conversation.  

As usual, residents will be able to access information, advice and support from adult social care staff as well as find out more about local activities, support and resources.

This new scheme has been successfully trialled with a number of carers who were already familiar with the pre-lockdown Talking Points. It uses a secure system widely used by the NHS called Attend Anywhere. People wanting to use the system, can get familiar with it at https://www.york.gov.uk/VideoAppointments .

The drop-ins will be available on Wednesdays and Thursdays between 10am-12 noon and 2-4pm.They will take place just like the former drop-ins, but people will enter a virtual waiting room via https://www.york.gov.uk/VideoAppointments#dropin . There, they will simply ‘wait’ in the virtual lobby for a contact worker to be free when they can meet them face-to-face online.

People who contact adult social care and for whom a video appointment with a member of the adult social care team would be helpful, will be emailed a date and a time and a weblink to a virtual waiting room. In that waiting room, the resident’s details will be checked to ensure they are the individual who is expected. Once that’s confirmed, they will be invited to join the worker online, and each can see and hear the other. Adult social care workers will continue to be available on the usual number at 01904 555111.

Cllr Carol Runciman, Executive Member for Health and Adult Social Care, said: “Feedback from those taking part in the trial is that these online conversations are an easy, convenient and secure way for residents to get the information, advice and support they need.

“Important appointments can be kept online while protecting residents, their carers and families as well as our staff. It also enables people to meet virtually, so that we can give the best possible advice and support for them to lead the lives they want.”

Ascot Way disabled centre to open “in October”

Disabled centre on Ascot Way

The Council has changed its forecast completion date for the Centre of Excellence for Disabled Children which is currently being built on Ascot Way. They originally forecast an (unlikely) opening date of June. They have now revised this to October.

The Council says that the facility “will provide short breaks for young people with disabilities in a purpose built facility and also expand the service support offer in the community and assist in reducing the need for out of authority placements by providing much more flexible provision in the city

Lincoln Court

Work on upgrading the adjacent Lincoln Court sheltered accommodation units had stalled during the Coronavirus lock-down. No opening date has been given for reoccupation of the building although this may be influenced by the continuing work on the adjacent site. The refurbishment involves the creation of 15 new fully wheelchair accessible properties and 20 fully refurbished apartments.

We are still waiting to hear when work on the replacement for the all weather play area (MUGA) will start!

Credit Union confirms that its Acomb branch has closed permanently

UPDATE: The Social First Credit Union is still accepting applications for new memberships. Call 03030 300010

The Acomb branch of the Community First Credit Union was closed late last year. The property on York Road is now on the market.

Property available to lease on York Road

The Union says that it still provide a basic service in the City each week. The published opening hours (which may change during the current health crisis) are:

  • Bell Farm Social Hall every Tuesday from 9am until 1pm and then 1:45pm until 4pm.
  • York West Council Offices every Thursday from 9am until 1pm and then 1:45pm until 4pm.
  • Westfield Children’s Centre every Friday 9am until 12 noon.

Members can call the Union on 03030300010 when they believe they would like to visit and will confirm if the member of staff will be at these properties.

Formerly known as the South Yorkshire Credit Union, the organisation expanded into York when the York and North Yorkshire Credit Union folded in 2012. At that time there were considerable losses for the local authorities involved.

A few years later, the arrival of the SY Credit Union, at premises in what is the poorest part of the City, was generally welcomed.

The York Council has made no statement about the reduced access arrangements although support services like these are likely to be particularly valued during the present health crisis.

New care home in Burnholme York nears completion

A significant milestone is being celebrated in the development of a new state-of-the-art care home.

The new care home is set to provide older people in York with high quality residential, nursing and memory care.

A topping out event and naming ceremony took place at the 80-bed home in Burnholme, which will officially be called Mossdale Residence, to mark the beginning of the final phase of construction.

The facility was secured by City of York Council and is being brought forward by Morgan Sindall Later Living alongside development partners Pacy & Wheatley and Rider Levett Bucknall. Leading care home provider HC-One has been appointed to operate the care home.

Due to open this autumn, Mossdale Residence is an important part of York’s older persons’ accommodation programme which is working to ensure the city’s growing population of older people have access to a wide range of modern accommodation.

The care home will be part of a multi-million-pound health and wellbeing campus planned for the former Burnholme Community College site which will deliver care, health, library, community, a newly opened sports centre as well as new homes.

Burnholme Care Home was also recognised as part of the Government Property Profession awards, of which the Burnholme development was one of three shortlisted for Project of the Year.

Council U-Turn on Lowfields care home confirmed

As previously reported, the York Council has abandoned its plans to build a care and nursing home on the Lowfields site. It had been unable to find a development partner for its scheme.

A meeting next week will hear that the plot (on the old school footprint) will be offered for sale to private developers with the condition that they construct “extra care” independent living units there.

The Council expects to receive around £450,000 for the site.

Independent living homes are aimed at the elderly. The scheme has similarities to the Hartrigg Oaks neighbourhood on the other side of the City.

This proposal effectively takes us back to 2010 when the original plans for the site – although much smaller and retaining a large amount of green space – envisaged its use as a “care village”. The site is ideally placed for easy access to a full range of services on Front Street.

Homes would be offered on a leasehold basis and would be ideal for homeowners seeking to “downsize”.

“Communal social facilities” would be included and might be also be made available to over 55’s living in the flats and bungalows which are currently being constructed.

The Council (rightly) claims that older people want to retain their independence and that there is a general trend away for care institutions. The Council has been closing its existing elderly persons homes over recent years. Closures have included Oakhaven on York Road although this site has also been unused now for over 4 years.

Planned Lowfields Care Village 2010

The Volte-face at Lowfields will inevitably mean more delays. The Wates development is expected to be complete in 2022. Work on the independent living unit would not start until 2021.  It could be another 3 years (or longer) before construction traffic finally moves off the site.

The new plan – which is welcome if very belated – comes a few days after residents complained about the current contractors leaving generators running during the through night period. It took some time to resolve the issue.

On 24th March (7:00pm) residents are due to hear an update on the project when local Councillors hold a meeting in the Acomb Methodist Hall on Front Street. The future of the communal housing, self-build, playground, police station and doctor’s surgery parts of the plan are likely to be under considerable scrutiny.

Details of the care home report can be found by clicking here

York Council report extract March 2020

Age-friendly York surveys older people’s leisure time

Age-friendly York has launched a new consultation on how older people spend their leisure time in the city and how they’d actually like to spend it.

Your Leisure Time consultation is at www.york.gov.uk/AgeFriendlyYork  and asks for views on activities and how to find them, volunteering and loneliness. Past surveys have highlighted social isolation is an issue which we’re addressing by providing opportunities to socialise like chatty bench and a chatty café. The survey asks about these initiatives and a shared restaurant table scheme. The questionnaire takes about 10 minutes to complete.

Earlier Age-Friendly surveys held last year were on Your Journey in August and Your Destination in October. Over 200 people took part and provided high-quality information and comments. Among the outcomes, includes a survey of benches in the city, their location, condition and plotting them on a map.

Following an earlier survey in 2017 when 23% of respondents said they experienced loneliness, we and partners developed www.LiveWellYork.co.uk which now lists some 640 activities, events or volunteering opportunities.

Councillor Carol Runciman, Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Health said: “Being an age-friendly city is a welcome step towards making the city an even better place for older residents.

“Better understanding their preferences or concerns means we can work with partners to address them. We can then build on initiatives like the falls prevention service, or our older people’s accommodation programme to support people to live as independently and as well as possible in later life.

“We know social isolation can be an issue, and this survey will help us understand the barriers people face to socialising, so we can create the right solutions. In the same way, we know accessing community transport at peak times can be difficult, so Age Friendly York is working with the Community Transport Group to find solutions.”

The surveys are open to any older York residents, anyone who works with or cares for older people or those who are planning ahead for older age. Printed copies and large print versions of the consultation are available on request to AgeFriendlyYork@york.gov.uk. Please email this address is you’re interested in getting involved in Age Friendly York.

Other consultations planned by Age Friendly York are on Your Access to Information; Your Home and Your Services.

Lincoln Court building progress

York Council says good progress being made on the modernisation and extension of Lincoln Court

“City of York Council is celebrating a milestone with contractor Sewell Construction to mark the start of the final phase of the £1.9 million improvement and extension of its popular Lincoln Court Independent Living Scheme.

Lincoln Court expansion plans 2018

The accommodation is being extended from 26 accommodation units to 35 high quality apartments. Much-improved communal facilities and low-energy measures are being added too, with a view to the scheme reopening this summer.

This is the council’s first independent living scheme extension to be developed specifically to meet the needs of wheelchair users. With a better location identified for the energy efficient heating system for the apartments, tenants will also benefit from new double glazed windows and from photovoltaic cells on the roof which will reduce communal utility costs. 

Disabled centre in foreground. Lincoln Court to rear

A larger, brighter and more central communal lounge area will bring together residents of the new and existing elements of the building. An extra meeting room and additional office space will enable the scheme to be used as a hub for more services to be provided in the local community. The addition of a guest suite for visiting family and friends of residents will help maintain family links.

Listening to feedback from former tenants, we broadened the extension project to include the full refurbishment and re-roofing of the existing properties. In addition, they told us they would prefer that the existing flats are modernised with new heating systems, rewiring, new kitchens and bathrooms at the same time as the construction to avoid further disruption. This is underway”.

In a report last week (above)  the Council also claimed that the new Centre of Excellence for Disable Young People, which will occupy the site next to Lincoln Court on Ascot Way, would be completed in May 2020” .

This claim is being viewed with some scepticism

Lowfields elderly persons accommodation

Report published but little progress

The Lowfields Playing Field Action Group Facebook page is reporting that the York Council is dithering over a decision on the elderly persons accommodation planned for Lowfields and for Oakhaven.

Lowfields plans in 2016

The group says,

“A new report has been published today. It concerns the use of the plot at Lowfields (and a similar site at Oakhaven) which was reserved for an elderly person home. The Council sought tenders from developers and operators for the sites but were unable to find anyone prepared to undertake the project.

The Council is now agonising about what to do next.

Lowfields care village 2011 plans

The obvious answer is to market the plot (which is brownfield land) with the only use restriction being that any development should be aimed at older people. There are a lot of elders living in large properties who are seeking to “downsize” and both sites are ideally located near amenities.

We might then get back to the Hartrigg Oaks type of development which was the preferred choice for the Lowfield site when first discussed in 2010.

If the Council continues to be indecisive, the residents can expect building works on the site to continue long after the three year target completion date”.

Report click here https://democracy.york.gov.uk/…/Lowfield%20Oakhaven%20Healt…

Haxby Hall care home plans

Haxby Hall

The Council will receive an update report next week on its Older Persons’ Accommodation Programme. It has confirmed its plans to privatise the running of Haxby Hall elderly persons home.

The council is being asked to approve land transactions and lease agreements to enable Yorkare Homes Limited to redevelop and upgrade Haxby Hall. When complete, this will help meet the need for good quality care in high quality care homes across the city.

Yorkare’s plans to extend and improve the accommodation at Haxby Hall will ensure uninterrupted care for the residents. Under the plans, residents will be able to stay in the home whilst work progresses on the site.  The plans will also ensure continued employment for the Hall’s staff by transferring their employment from the council to the operator.

Yorkare are an ‘outstanding’ CQC-rated operator and they aim to extend this popular care home and create over 60 new bedrooms, equipped with en-suite facilities for improved privacy.

To deliver this higher quality of care and ensure minimal disruption to residents, two neighbouring properties have been acquired to provide access to the rear of the site. The council’s Executive is being asked to agree to a long lease for the site, for which Yorkare will pay the council £450,000.

A period of consultation will take place with local residents, community groups and organisations before planning permission is sought.

Separately the Council has said that  “The executive will be asked to agree to procure an extra care developer and operator to develop a mixed tenure extra care development on the Lowfields site previously identified for a care home”. The meeting will take place on 19th March 2020.

Bootham Park Hospital could become the site of an independent living development for older people.

Council leaders are set to consider the next steps to secure public access, better cycle and pedestrian paths and other local priorities for the former Bootham Park hospital site.

Enterprise Retirement Living has been named as the preferred buyer by NHS property services.

The plans would create 125 independent living retirement homes and would secure public access to parts of the 1777 John Carr designed grade 1 hospital building, including the boardroom, gym and bowling alley.

The site is ideally located for older persons accommodation being within walking distance of all amenities including the hospital and railway station.

Land ownership at Bootham Park

A report published ahead of next Tuesday’s York Council Executive meeting outlines the options available to the council, based on local priorities and potential benefits identified during the extensive public and stakeholder engagement process.

The council says that it has been working closely with health partners to influence future development on the site.  “These efforts are set to be rewarded, with the site’s current and future owners due to talk with the council about public access, cycle paths, retaining more of the sale receipt locally and other priorities of York residents.   Air ambulance landing site and NHS use of the Chapel are set to continue, ERL and NHS Property Services (NHS PS) are set to ‘positively engage’ with the council over other key requests identified during recent consultations to influence the future of the site including public use of the Parkland”.

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

“This is very encouraging news, and welcome reward for our approach to shaping the future development at Bootham Park.

“Our ambition has always been to make sure these historic buildings and grounds continue to serve our city, and we will continue to communicate the priorities of our residents with the new owners.“

The report asks Executive to agree that the Council will use its rights as owner of a strip of access road to secure b

  • beneficial public use of the parkland in front of the hospital building
  • Improved pedestrian and cycle routes through the site
  • Conservation and redevelopment to deliver homes and services which are of benefit to the city

City of York Council has been working with NHS Property Services, The York Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the Vale of York CCG to influence the site’s future.

This included a site development report informed by public and wider stakeholder consultation in 2018. The results of the 2019 consultation over this plan are contained within the Executive report, with 1657 comments identifying public access to the green spaces, key worker accommodation, better cycle and pedestrian pathways and suitability of any new buildings as the priority.

These activities were funded as part of the government’s One Public Estate programme, which supports public bodies to use public land and property to boost economic growth, supply housing and regeneration, and integrated public services.

Executive takes place at 17:30 on Wednesday 21 January at West Offices and will be webcast live at www.york.gov.uk/webcasts.