Chesney’s Field community pride project is bags of fun

Primary school pupils in York have been working with the police to spruce up their surroundings, as part of a project to encourage good citizenship and pride in their community.

Children picking rubbish

Youngsters from Hob Moor Primary have joined local Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) to do weekly litter picks around Hob Moor nature reserve.

They have also considered ways to improve vandalised play equipment and reduce anti-social behaviour at Chesney Park in nearby Foxwood.

PCSO Laura Harper, school liaison officer in York, has been working with the children and said they have helped make the area more attractive for residents, young and old.

“The enthusiasm and pride in their community they’ve shown has been absolutely incredible,” said PCSO Harper.

“A number of residents have stopped myself and some of the students over the last few weeks, saying how nice it was to see us working together to make it a nicer area.

“While these improvements to the community are clear to see, projects like this also encourage children to develop a strong pride in their community that can last a lifetime.

“This, in turn, can lead to less antisocial behaviour and criminal damage in communities, which is a win-win for everyone who lives and works there.”

Coronavirus York updates; 10th June 2021

Hospital patients and deaths

Test results

Nineteen additional positive test results today. Brings the cumulative total up to 12,518

The number of cases in the City has increased from 62 to 65.

The rate /100k population is now 30.86. This is the first time it has been over 30 since late March.

However, following another 24 positive test results on Tuesday, the rate is expected to hit around 47 over the weekend.


12 neighbourhoods now have 3 or more cases in each


Little progress has been made with first jabs in the City over the last few days. Only 159 injections over 3 days. It has been suggested that inadequate supplies of the Moderna/Pfizer vaccine are to blame. This is the preferred jab for the younger cohort (Under 30’s) who are currently next on the list for an injection.

Second dose vaccination numbers are holding up well, with more than 50% of the population likely to have been inoculated by the end of the weekend.

The neighbourhood level progress reports on vaccinations have been published today. We are publishing both the first dose and the second dose outturns.

The second dose table is probably the most important given government advice that both doses are needed to get maximum protection.

There is a wide variance between the area with the highest proportion of vaccinated adults (Haxby, 70.5%) and the lowest (Tang Hall 27.1%).

This can mostly be explained by the variance in age profiles with those neighbourhoods with large student populations (aged under 25) not due to get most of their first doses until towards the end of the month


  • 4763 PCR tests were conducted during the week ending 5th June
  • Of these, 1.3% proved to be positive. This is an increase on the previous figure of 1.2%
  • In addition 3124 “lateral flow” tests were conducted on 9th June

Outbreak Management Board

Some new information emerged at yesterday’s COVID management board meeting.

  • There has been a substantial growth in the City of cases of the COVID-19 variant which originated in India. It is expected, like elsewhere, to become the dominant strain over the next few days.
  • The Council are not advised of the vaccination status of those testing positive for the virus.  They rely on national stats which say that only small numbers of vaccinated people fall victim to the virus.
  • The largest number of new cases are currently being found in the 10 -19 age group
  • Most tests currently involve school children.
  • The Council cannot say what proportion of positive tests are from people who are asymptomatic.
  • There is a lack of public awareness that free home testing kits are available.
  • There has been no local follow up of people who may have come into contact with someone who has the disease. More extensive tracing will start shortly. There will be an option for contacts to have daily tests rather than have to quarantine at home.
  • There may be a dedicated vaccination centre set up at the University of York when the programme moves on (possibly next week) to the 18 – 25 age group.
  • Consideration is being given to setting up a vaccinate hub in the City centre (although take up rates in the City are relatively high)

Carousel faces uncertain future in York

It seems that, once again, York’s traditional Carousel ride may struggle to find a pitch if coronavirus restrictions are eased next month.

The ride proved to be very popular before Christmas when it was located on Parliament Street.

So far, “Make it York” has failed to guarantee its traditional location on Kings Square where food stalls are being given priority.

There is adequate alternative space available on St Sampson’s Square and Parliament Street although, so far, Make it York has allocated the site near Marks and Spencer’s for use by a drinkers tent.

We think it would be a shame if this family attraction was ditched in favour of the alcohol economy.

“Make it York” should agree an appropriate site with the Carousel owners.

Coronavirus York updates; 13th March 2021


There have been no further hospital deaths announced today. The last fatality at the York Hospital Trust occurred on 7th March.

Test results

Eleven positive test results announced today. Brings cumulative total up to 12,048

The number of cases in the City has fallen by 2 from yesterday’s 110 to 108 today.

The rate /110k population figure has fallen slightly to 51.28, It is expected to be stable at around 53 for the next two days before possibly resuming a downward trend around the middle of next week.

Case numbers are stable at county, regional and national level. This suggests that the return to school may have inhibited a further reduction in infection rates.


It is a mixed picture at neighbourhood level, with the largest increase in case numbers (4) being seen in the Woodthorpe/Acomb Park/Foxwood South neighbourhood.

On the other hand, 2 neighbourhoods now have no cases.



4160 PCR test were carried out in York during the week ending 8th March.

Of these, 1.7% were positive. This is a reduction on the previous days figure of 1.9%

2677 lateral flow tests were also carried out on 12th March 2021

Infections in school children

The Council has issued a statement (see below) saying that 15,000 COVID tests were carried out on York school pupils between 1st and 7th March.

Subsequently 97% of children returned to school.

The media release doesn’t say how many tests were positive but a separate report published yesterday says

in the 7 days up to 8.3.21 there were 34 children of primary and secondary school age who tested positive.

Widespread testing of secondary school aged children took place prior to the return to school on March 8th.

The majority of children who tested positive were of secondary school age and were picked up as asymptomatic cases through this testing programme“.

34 cases (31%) will have had an impact on the total number of positive test results seen during that period (110).

It may help to explain the recent spike in infection numbers.

The number of cases in the City (7 day rolling average) increased from 96 on the 3rd March to 110 on the 7th March.

The information does emphasise the need for people to take regular COVID tests.

The authorities are under pressure to ensure that anyone planning to reopen their business in April should ensure that all staff are tested on a regular basis.

Council statement

York’s education leaders have thanked parents and pupils for their support in getting all children an young people back to school and college on Monday (8 March).

With one in three people with CPVID not showing any symptoms, all secondary school pupils were advised to get symptom free tests before returning to school.

Just under 15,000 tests were carried out for school pupils in York last week (1-7 March), showing the city’s incredible support for testing.

Attendance in York schools has also been incredibly high, with 97% of all pupils attending on Monday.

Cllr Keith Orrell, the council’s Executive Member for Children, Young People and Education, said:

I know how hard the last few months have been for children, young people and parents and carers, and I’m delighted that our schools and colleges are once again open to all pupils, supporting their social, wellbeing and educational needs.

Symptom free testing is one of the key ways we can reduce the spread of the virus in the city and I’m so pleased that parents and pupils have supported the testing programme in such large numbers. It really will help us to keep schools and colleges open.

I also want to thank everyone in schools and the education and health teams who have worked hard to ensure the systems were in place to allow pupils to access the tests they needed. This has been a huge effort and I am grateful to everyone involved for making sure this happened on time for schools to open for all students on Monday.

I would urge pupils to continue to get their symptom free tests as home testing kits become available next week.”

York Councils children’s services facing £5 million overspend

Image result for vulnerable children images

It looks like the budget for children’s specialist services at the York Council will be overspent by 25% during the current financial year.

Much of the deficit arises from increased fostering and adoptions although an extra £1.1 million has been spent on placing vulnerable children in accommodation outside the City.

The Looked After Children population had been stable, in the range 190-210 at any one time, for several years.

However, a report being considered next week reveals a big increase in numbers over the last 2 years.  

“In October 2018 there were only 4 individual children in care proceedings. As at the end of September 2020 there were 55 sets of proceedings on 93 individual children in place”.   

The report goes on to say, “Safeguarding Interventions are predicted to overspend by approximately £1,139k, mainly due to increases in the Court and Child Protection Teams who are dealing with the increase in cases. Legal fees are predicted to overspend by approximately £220k. Children protection numbers, following a recalibration spike, have now returned to national average levels”.

The projected costs of the local Community Hubs, which were set up at the beginning of lockdown (and have transitioned into a new method of working), is £131,000. This will be funded from the Covid 19 emergency budget provided by the government.

It also looks like the home to school transport budget will also overspend by around £2 million.

“The main increase in numbers have been at post 16/19 where because of the city now being able to provide more specialist education provision for this group of students more locally, subsequently we have had to provide more transport to the likes of York College, Askham Bryan, Choose 2 and Blueberry Academy. The changes in legislation to allow Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) to ages 19-25, resulting in significantly more students accessing this option, has significantly increased our transport spend accordingly”.

The overall net overspend is expected to be £2.5 million after cost savings and a £1.1 million investment from COVID support funding are factored in.

Vulnerable children receive holiday activity packs

Two thousand children and young people across York are receiving a holiday activity pack to help support them, and their parents and carers.

City of York Council teamed up with REACH – York’s cultural education partnership – and York St John University, to produce the ‘Creative Doodle Books’.

Each book is full of creative drawing and writing ideas for the young people to do in their own time. One pack is aimed at KS2 children,7-11 olds; the other at those in KS3, 12-14 year olds.

The packs have been distributed to children and young people who are currently working with the council’s social care teams, and those receiving free school meals.

Ascot Way building work closer to completion

It looks like work on the new Children’s Disabled centre and the renovation and extension of Lincoln Court sheltered housing could be completed by the October target date. The internal road system has been surfaced over the last few days. This is usually a sign that work is well advanced.

At a minimum it should mean that there will be less mud on local roads

Internal roads now surfaced at Disabled Centre

Neighbours will be looking forward to getting the new bus lay-by into operation following 12 months of disruption.

However there is still a lot to do. The public noticeboard was damaged by contractors needs to be replaced. What is left of the noticeboard is currently attached to a perimeter fence.

…and the long saga of providing a replacement games area for local children still seems to be stalled.

MUGA – now a builders compound

On the 18th March 2019 the Council’s Executive agreed to provide a replacement for the Kingsway West “Multi User Games Area” (MUGA) which has been closed as part of the project to extend Lincoln Court.

The minute of the meeting read;
“a ii) To note that in approving Option 1 a commitment is made for alternative recreational facilities following community consultation including Sport England within Westfield Ward in mitigation for the loss of the Multi Use Games Area. The alternative facilities provided are to be agreed by Executive and will be subject to a further report and budget approval.”

Nothing more has been heard about the plan. Residents hoped that an all weather area might be provided on Thanet Road but nothing seems to have come of this as yet.

Now a Freedom of Information request has been submitted in an attempt to find out what progress has been made.


The Council has today announced the name of the new centre

Innonvative new facility for children with disabilities buzzes with a new name

 An innovative facility for children with disabilities in York has got a new name, thanks to the young people who will use it.

‘The Beehive’, as the Centre of Excellence for disabled children will now be known, will provide short overnight breaks for children with complex disabilities in the city. Young people and their families will be able to receive specialist support from a wide range of professionals, including clinical psychologists, all in one building for the first time.

The ‘bee theme’ will flow throughout the new facility, including bee-friendly names for the bedroom areas and honeycomb-like hexagons incorporated into the decorative features. Children and young people using the facility will also be given a fluffy bee toy to take home with them as a visual reminder of their ‘home away from home’.

It’s hoped that this attention to detail will help the children settle into the new building more easily, something which is particularly important for young people with learning disabilities or autism.

Thought to be one of the first facilities of its kind in the country, the innovative building is a partnership between City of York Council and NHS England.

The new centre is due to open this year and includes:

  • spacious bedrooms with state of the art hoist and bathing facilities for children who have complex health needs and wheelchair users
  • a larger, open-spaced area and bedrooms for children with learning disabilities or autism
  • quieter self-contained areas that can be used for children who may struggle in a more open, busier environment and where their parents can accompany them so that their needs can be fully assessed
  • an activity area, sensory room and quiet rooms
  • a large outdoor play space with a variety of equipment suitable for children of all abilities

Vulnerable children and young people in York to receive laptops

3,000 Newcastle families to get free laptops and internet access ...

Over 450 children and young people across the city will have access to their own laptops this summer, as part of a national scheme to help vulnerable young people during the Coronavirus pandemic.

The laptops will be distributed by children’s social workers to children and young people they’re working with who don’t currently have internet access, as well as recent care leavers.

Several Councils been given laptops to distribute under a government programme covering children with a social worker, those who are leaving the care system, and Year 10 students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

It is understood that the move is aimed a ensuring that no child falls behind with their home work as a result of COVID restrictions.

The Council has yet to confirm that the equipment will remain the property of the local authority or what maintenance and insurance arrangements have been put in place.

Children’s playgrounds – does policy need to be reviewed?

The York Council took steps to secure playgrounds when the health crisis deepened in March.

Where playgrounds couldn’t be secured, some a attempt was made to surround equipment with barriers.

The intention was to stop transmission of the COVID virus through contact with the equipment. Similar campaigns were initiated on street gym equipment while the “wash your hands” message was continually reinforced.

After nearly 4 months, and with some children now returning to school, perhaps not surprisingly the lure of taking a turn on the play equipment is proving too be strong for some.

Children were playing on the climbing frame and on the zip wire on Foxwood Lane yesterday.

The Council needs to review its policies and – if appropriate – make additional efforts to discourage use of communal play equipment.

Barriers down and children playing on equipment in Foxwood
We’ve reported weeds growing out from a planter in the Front Street pedestrian area.
Also reported dumping on the Chesney Field snicket