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.

Haxby Hall elderly persons home plan hits buffers

Haxby Hall

The Haxby Hall home currently has a total capacity of 49 care beds. Within those 49 beds there is provision for approximately 35 residential care beds, eight beds for people living with dementia and up to six step down/short stay beds which are used interchangeably.

Services at the home are delivered by 51 staff (31.58 full time equivalents). When last inspected by the Care Quality Commission it was given a “good” rating 

It’s a year since the Council decided to pull out of Haxby Hall. The expectation was that a third party would take over the running of an enlarged, modernised home.

A feasibility study conducted in 2016 showed that a care home of up to 70 beds could be delivered on the site. One key issue for development was access to the site, which is constricted by the adjacent ambulance station. The plan for Haxby Hall was agreed by the Council on 7th December 2016.

A well attended supplier engagement event was held on 6 September 2017 to promote the opportunity and receive feedback on the proposal. Residents and their families were also consulted.

12 months later the proposal has been withdrawn from the Councils forward decision making programme. Difficulties in negotiating the new access are blamed for the project being shelved.

In January 2018 the then Director Martin Farren outlined the position

“The future of Haxby Hall is a key part of our Older Persons’ Accommodation Programme which looks to address the needs of York’s fast-growing older population by expanding and modernising care provision across the city.

“This report looks at options to safeguard the future of Haxby Hall older persons’ home and procure a provider who will deliver and operate improved, modern care facilities”.

The bids for the takeover were due to be received in September 2018. It was likely that residents would be decanted to other homes while work took place, with the new home scheduled to open in 2020.

No update has been given to any public meeting since then.

The latest delays follow problems at Oakhaven Elderly Persons home which has been empty for two years.

A facility scheduled to be provided at Burnholme is also understood to be delayed.

No detailed planning application has been submitted by the Council for the development of elderly persons facilities at the Lowfields site (although a, much more controversial, commercial housing development did get planning permission there a few months ago)

The Council is also pressing ahead with closing Windsor House which has specialised in providing support for those with dementia

All in all, we think that there is a need for some public reassurances about the timescales which now apply to the Councils Elderly Persons Strategy!

Lincoln Court redevelopment – more confusion

Lincoln Court

The York Council has now formally issued its planning decision on the application to remodel and extend Lincoln Court on Ascot Way.

The plans for the  “independent living” block of flats attracted controversy before Christmas when it was revealed that residents will have to move out to allow work to be completed.

This decision was in conflict with assurances given during consultation meetings held earlier in the year.

Now the conditions issued for the planning decision reveal that the 10 new units planned for the site will be “extra care” beds. Condition 12 of the permission states that this will ensure that the flats are not subject to “right to buy” legislation.

Extra care facilities involve 24/7 support and are currently provided by the Council at buildings like Marjorie Waite Court. Because of the staffing demands, the facilities require a “critical mass” of users to make them economic. 10 bedrooms falls far short of the numbers required to sustain such levels of support.

The users of extra care facilities rarely have their own transport and thus have reduced needs for parking provision (although their carers are likely to need some provision).

On the other hand, the car park at Lincoln Court is already congested and the addition of 10 additional flat units will stretch it to breaking point. The current plans do not allow for a rear access to the potential overflow parking – and delivery access – available at the adjacent school car parks.

Officials speaking at the planning committee meeting in December said that the new flats would offer the same facilities as those already in use in the building.

We think that too many mistakes have been made with this project.  

There is now confusion over when residents will be able to return to their homes, over the function of the 10 new units which will be provided and over the future of the all-weather games area which Sport England says should be replaced elsewhere if it is bulldozed.

The planning application should be referred back to the planning committee for these issues,  and problems with traffic congestion, to be clarified and resolved.

 

Work starts on edging park footpaths – more on Lincoln Court

Dickson park footpaths being edged. Residents are seeking similar work in other areas

The Kingsway all weather games area is now in good condition and available for use. Unfortunately the Council has decided to scrap it and have ignored a request from Sport England that a replacement be provided elsewhere. The decision is now subject to a formal complaint

The scaffolding has been removed from Lincoln Court. We understand that work on installing a new boiler, pipework and a full rewire of the building – together with the construction of 10 additional flats – will not commenced until the late spring at the earliest. In the meantime most of the building is likely to remain empty.

Windsor House may also be empty for a period of time. Demolition work can’t start until a replacement central heating system has been provided for Lincoln Court

Universal Credit payments may affect York residents over Christmas

City of York Council is advising York residents to be aware of Universal Credit payment changes ahead of the festive period.

Universal Credit is handled by the Department for Work and Pensions to help people on a low income or not in work, meet their living costs. It combines six benefits, including housing benefit and working tax credit, into a single monthly payment.

If you are in employment whilst claiming Universal Credit and receive your wage early in December, you may find your next Universal Credit (UC) payment is reduced. This may leave you short of money over the Christmas period.

If you receive two wage payments during your UC assessment period this will reduce the amount of UC you will receive for that period, and depending on personal earnings, may not receive any UC payment.

This may mean that wage payments are less in the following assessment period and UC will be higher for that next assessment period.

If you are new to Universal Credit you may not receive your first payment until January 2019.  You can apply for an Advanced Payment to tide you over, through your online account, your work coach or the Universal Credit helpline on 0800 328 5644. If you this will mean you are unable to pay your rent then please contact your landlord.

If you are unsure when your UC payments will be made, make sure you organise your finances to ensure this doesn’t cause you issues over the holidays. For more information, visit: https://www.york.gov.uk/UniversalCredit.

Councillor Ian Gillies, Leader of City of York Council, said: “Universal Credit payments are normally made in arrears once at the end of the month, rather than being paid every week. However, many York residents will be unaware.

“This is why we are encouraging people who receive UC to be prepared by looking into the festive holiday payment plan.”

Councillor Carol Runciman, executive member for adult social care and health, said: “I would strongly urge anyone in receipt of Universal Credit to double check their upcoming payment dates, so they are not caught out in the New Year.”

“More importantly, if anyone is concerned about their Universal Credit payments, please call 01904 552044 for help and advice.”

Payment dates for Universal Credit:

Universal Credit customers will receive their December payment within their usual payment period. Payments will not be delayed due to the Christmas and New Year public holidays.

Universal Credit payment is due on… Universal Credit will be paid on…
Saturday 22 December Friday 21 December
Sunday 23 December Friday 21 December
Monday 24 December Monday 24 December
Tuesday 25 December Monday 24 December
Wednesday 26 December Monday 24 December
Tuesday 1 January Monday 31 December
Saturday 5 January Friday 4 January
Sunday 6 January Friday 4 January

Payment dates for all other benefits

Customer’s payment is due on… Customer will be paid on…
Monday 24 December Friday 21 December
Tuesday 25 December Friday 21 December
Wednesday 26 December Friday 21 December
Tuesday 1 January Monday 31 December
Wednesday 2 January Monday 31 December,

apart from ESA, JSA and IScustomers in England and Wales – they will be paid on 2 January

 

Please note that the information on GOV.UK for payments due on 2 January is currently incorrect and is in the process of being updated

Keep an eye out for vulnerable neighbours this winter

Research for Age UK* has shown that nearly a million people in the UK feel lonelier at Christmas and City of York Council is urging residents to think of vulnerable friends and neighbours this winter.

The cold weather can have a significant impact on people’s physical and mental health and with the cold and icy conditions vulnerable people can tend to stay at home.

Top tips for supporting older vulnerable neighbours, friends and relatives, include:

  • Make sure they’re warm enough – the temperature in  their home should be at least 18°C, particularly if they are not mobile, have long term illness or are 65 or over, and they may need to  wear several layers of clothes to stay warm
  • If they haven’t already encourage them to have their flu jab. They may be eligible for a free vaccination, for more information visit www.nhs.uk/staywell
  • Make sure they are well stocked up on food, drink and medicines they may need and try to make sure they have regular hot meals and drinks throughout the day.
  • Make sure they have their prescription medications collected in time for Christmas
  • Information about social groups and activities for older people is available through www.livewellyork.co.uk or by contacting Age UK York on 01904 627995.
  • Help to clear snow and ice to reduce the risk of slips and falls when leaving home. The council has over 200 snow wardens, for more information on how you can help visit www.york.gov.uk/snowwardens
  • For more information about Age UK’s national Spread the Warmth campaign visit www.ageuk.org.uk or see www.york.gov.uk/winter   more information about keeping well during winter.

The council is also reminding people of its top tips to stay well this winter:

  • At the first sign of a cough or cold, get advice from your pharmacist
  • Speak to your pharmacist about important medicines you should have in stock
  • It is important to keep warm in winter, so heat your home to at least 18°C (65°F)
  • Make sure you get your flu jab from your GP or pharmacy
  • For information and advice visit www.nhs.uk/staywell

Major changes on Ascot Way & Hob Moor school playing field agreed

Council planning report was wrong on Lincoln Court extension claim

Lincoln Court. Work has started on replacing windows. Concerns about parking

Plans to provide a centre of excellence for disabled children, modernise & extend Lincoln Court and move part of the Hob Moor school playing field were approved last night.

Generally, the improvements will be welcomed.

Unfortunately, the planning committee failed to recognise and act to deal with the cumulative effects that these developments – coupled with others previously agreed – will have on transport systems in the Kingsway estate.

Embarrassed Council officials, at yesterday’s planning committee meeting, were forced to admit that the 10 additional units planned at Lincoln Court were not “extra care” beds as claimed in the Council report.

Instead they will be similar in function to the sheltered flats which form the existing development.

The distinction is a major one as extra care beds imply a much higher level of care need while the occupiers of conventional sheltered flats are more likely to own cars.

They will need somewhere to park them.

The committee declined to require that a rear entrance be provided to the new site. This would have permitted greater integration with the adjacent Hob Moor Oaks school which caters for children with disabilities and might have been used to address overflow car parking, delivery, emergency vehicles access and other transport concerns.

Nor was the committee prepared to even ask transport officials to review the cumulative impact that planning decisions are having on the Kingsway area.

It is difficult not to conclude that the Councils leadership is prepared to casually dismiss the wishes of a community which has lacked leadership since the local resident’s association folded 5 years ago.

The relatively beleaguered inhabitants of the area – amongst the poorest 10% of the population in the country according to some government statistics –  are viewed as less likely able to “raise a stink” than might their “middle England” counterparts in other parts of the City.

 Consequently, the Council has felt able to ignore their legitimate requests for improvements that have been tabled in response to successive development consultations.

What’s on in York Explore events for international day of people with disabilities

Live video link with Urbino, Italy

Dec _3Italy

York Explore Library :

Mon 3 Dec :

11.15am – 12.15pm :

Free

Part of York’s UN International Day of People with Disabilities programme

Live video link at 11:30am bringing together communities from York and Urbino, Italy to celebrate International Day of People with Disabilities  2018.

Discussion and debate with this year’s winners of the Eleanor Worthington Prize for arts and disabilities.

To book your FREE place email arts@exploreyork.org.uk

In partnership with associazione Premio Eleanor Worthington

Young Persons’ Disability Arts Group

Dec _3YPDAG

York Explore Library :

Mon 3 Dec :

6.00pm – 7.30pm :

Free

Part of York’s UN International Day of People with Disabilities programme.  Working with professional artists, this new group is an opportunity for young people to creatively express themselves through disability art, understand what disability art is and help profile issues relevant for young disabled people. Moving forward, this project will be supported and funded by Arts Council England. .

Step-free access.  Accessible toilets.  Limited disabled parking available.

To book a FREE  place email arts@exploreyork.org.uk