Council’s Community Equipment Loan Store and Telecare Service Mutual to launch

One of City of York Council’s first social enterprise ‘spin-offs’ will officially launch next week (Tuesday 1 April).

The council’s Community Equipment Loan Store and Telecare Service (CELTAS), which provides social care equipment, Warden Call and telecare support to vulnerable residents across the city, will become a Community Interest Company from 1 April. The council will continue to have a share in the new company – ‘Be Independent’ – though the majority will be staff-owned.


York’s first social care hub welcomes first tenants

York’s first voluntary and community social care hub has welcomed its first tenants.

York Blind and Partially Sighted Society and The Resource Centre for Deaf People have already moved into the new facility in Rougier House, which they will share with other voluntary and community organisations, together with York Learning, the city’s adult and community education service.

The new social care hub will play a key role in supporting voluntary and community organisations to complement health and social care services across the city and improve the lives of vulnerable residents.


Health Lottery funding – 12th March deadline

Peoples Health Trust

The Peoples Health Trust – which allocates lottery funding – has set a 12th March deadline for organisations seeking grant funding.

Grants will be available of between £5 and £50k (over two years). Applications can be submitted by any type of “not for profit” organisation including CIC’s.  The projects length will between 9 months and two years (minimum 9 months to allow relationships to be formed ‘create stronger social connections between people’)

The project must be designed and run by local people. It must create stronger social connections between people and create a greater sense of general happiness. “It must help make the local community even better”.

For further information about the scheme and to apply visit

Questions or assistance with completing applications can be obtained from Two Ridings Community Foundation 01759 377400

York Council set to underspend budget allocated to help poor

Local Assistance Scheme only half forecast

It looks like the York Council will underspend its budget for welfare payments during the current financial year.

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

The budget was delegated to the Council by the government replacing – in part – the Social Welfare fund.

It is intended to make emergency payments to less well off people who encounter unexpected expenses.

The York scheme is called the York Financial Assistance Scheme (YFAS).  Its explanatory booklet says that the YFAS can be used to help with, for example:

• Expenses and household items to help you move out of residential care or stay in your home

• Rent or council tax payments

• Financial assistance in an emergency.

By the end of January nearly half of the Council’s £315,000 YFAS budget had not been committed.

A total of 1062 payments had been authorised with the authority saying that 176 of them were made to people aged under 25.

Given that the budget is not being fully spent this year, it is surprising that the Council announced last week that it will  to add another £100,000 to the payments that it intends to make next year


Meanwhile many fears about Council Tax income are proving to be unfounded.

The York Council had collected 85% of monies due by the end of December. The same percentage as in 2012.

However the number in arrears with their Council Tax payments had increased from 5556 in 2012 to 7040 in 2013.

Of these 2601 were receiving Council Tax support (formerly known as “benefit”)

Perhaps surprisingly the numbers who had been referred to bailiffs had fallen from 3996 to 2902

The Council is budgeting next year to collect an additional £1/4 million through “further improvement of collection performance”.

Connecting Care in York

‘Connecting Care’, the City of York Local Account for Adult Social Care for 2013 is now online.

The report sets out the current local picture of adult social care services with health and financial data and how services are performing, along with the strategic aims for improving and integrating health and social care services in the future.

To view Connecting Care visit

Elderly in York deserve better

Windsor House

Windsor House

The Councils Labour leadership are apparently visiting the Windsor House Elderly Persons Home (EPH) this week. The Home is trialling some new techniques aimed at helping people with dementia.

The Councillors will no doubt also be seeking to persuade staff that the ill fated social care modernisation programme has overcome the chronic delays that have dogged it since Labour took office in 2011.

The consolidated EPH programme  was conceived by the LibDems in 2010.

In July 2011 Labour  embarked on another, ultimately fruitless, consultation. This was to appease UNISON who had funded their election campaign.

Councillor hits out at lack of consultation over Gale Farm Court charges

Gale Farm Court sheltered accommodation

Gale Farm Court sheltered accommodation

Liberal Democrats have criticised a lack of consultation on price increases for residents in sheltered housing who use the council’s warden call service.

At this week’s Decision Session Labour’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Services, Cllr Tracey Simpson-Laing, rubber-stamped proposals to increase the charges for residents using the 24-hour support service.

12 months ago Cllr Laing refused to meet Gale Farm Court residents but tried to blame the LibDems for her plans to increase warden call charges

12 months ago Cllr Laing refused to meet Gale Farm Court residents but tried to blame the LibDems for her plans to increase warden call charges

The report admitted that the price increases could “result in financial hardship for vulnerable elderly tenants”.


Despite these concerns, no consultation was undertaken with sheltered housing tenants on the proposed changes and there are fears that the first residents will know about the plans is when they receive a letter from City of York Council.

Cllr Lynn Jeffries the Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Equalities, attended the meeting and criticised the lack of engagement with tenants. She commented:

“This change will affect some of the most vulnerable residents in York and it is unacceptable that neither they nor their families were asked for their views on the price increases.


York social care website attracts small number of visitors

The  “new” social care website – Connect to Support – has had over 700 visitors.

click to access

click to access

The site enables older people, those with disabilities, or those who simply need some support to remain independent, to shop for support services and products, find local activities and groups and look up information and advice – since it “officially” launched in November.

The site had caused some concern when it went  live last Spring without any explanation

The site brings together several resources that will give adults in the city a new and innovative way of finding out what options are available to meet their needs.

For more information on how Connect to Support visit

York Council Leadership promises action on bed blocking.

Bed blocking

NHS England list York as one of the worst communities for speedy hospital discharges

NHS England have today published data click here  showing that in October 2013, the City was one of the worst communities in England for delayed transfer of care.

Of the 28 patients awaiting a move from York hospitals at the end of October, 11 were awaiting care or nursing home placements while 7 were waiting for a care in the community support package.

Both are the responsibility of the York Council to provide

Although the Council Leadership is now promising to fix the problem “within 6 months”, they have failed to explain why the developing crisis has not been mentioned in any of the reports published by members of the Labour Cabinet over the last 6 months.

The Leaders own report, being considered by the Council tomorrow (Thursday), makes no mention of the problems.

Separately, a resident has submitted a Freedom of Information request seeking an explanation for the apparent attempt to cover up the delayed discharges scandal. The wording of the request can be read by clicking here.