Crowds returned to shop in York City centre today on the first weekend since lockdown ended.
Streets were busy – good news for traders at what is traditionally the busiest time of the year. Many have had a tough time during 2020 so we hope that York residents will decide to shop local in the run up to Christmas
Households across the UK will be able to form a “Christmas bubble” with two other households during a five-day window over the festive period, it has been announced.
Between 23 to 27 December, people will be able to meet with those two other households in their bubble – but only in a private home, a place of worship or outdoor public spaces.
Travel restrictions across the whole of the UK will also be lifted during the five-day period, allowing people to travel between countries or between tiers in order to meet with those in their bubble.
Deaths and test results
ONE additional death reported by the York Hospital Trust. It occurred on Saturday. The cumulative second wave death toll at York and Scarborough hospitals is now 62.
THREE more care home deaths have been announced. ONE occurred on 17th November and TWO on the 19th. The cumulative second wave death toll in local care homes has now reached seven (CQC figures).
There is some concern in the City that any decision, on which “Tier” York will find itself in on Thursday, may be influenced by hospital capacity issues. The above hospital deaths figure may not tell the whole story.
The Trust has not broken down the split in fatalities between the York and Scarborough units. Furthermore, the NHS is (rightly) flexing its capacity to address peaks in different parts of the region, so there may be some non York residents included in the recent 62 reported fatalities.
An alternative way of looking at the issue is by analysing the data on death occurrences provide by the ONS (click) and which relates to people normally resident in York.
This shows that there have so far been 185 fatalities this year as a result of COVID.
However, only 14 of these have occurred since the beginning of September. Of these, 8 were hospital deaths
Even allowing for some delay in figures coming through, that represents a more encouraging picture.
There have been 29 new positive test results announced today. That is the lowest daily total since September. It brings the total number of cases to 5518.
The daily new infection rate (7 day rolling average) is now below 40.
Only two neighbourhoods in York are now above the national infection rate. They are Clifton Without and Skelton (following a recent spike) and Heslington where case levels are reducing only slowly.
Elsewhere in the City case numbers are generally falling steadily.
Extra financial support for York businesses
Even more York businesses impacted by the latest lockdown can benefit from financial support as City of York Council launches a new grant scheme today.
The council has worked with partners and business leaders to decide how to most fairly and effectively use the discretionary Additional Restrictions Grant.
Businesses now have until Monday 7 December to apply for the grants, which are open to:
- Businesses effectively forced to close through lockdown but don’t qualify for government grants, whether they are liable for business rates or not.
- Businesses where trade is impacted by more than 75% due to lockdown, whether they are liable for business rates or not.
Applications must be from:
- A York-based business which have fixed premises in York – (note fixed premises is not a market stall or pitch) or
- businesses run by a York resident and trade is at least 75% in York (note this could be a market stall or pitch).
The council is also preparing a voucher scheme for local businesses to access support like training form local providers.
Business must not be in administration, insolvent, or have a striking off notice made against it, must have started trading before 5 November 2020, and not in receipt of unoccupied rates for business rates.
For more information about all the grants available for business affected currently visit the council website.
Above poster explains how to dispose of post Christmas REAL trees and wreathes.
You can check your individual collection arrangements by clicking this link
Young people working with City of York Council’s Youth Justice Service are supporting a charity project which allows them to give back to the community.
Selby-based charity Spirit of Christmas is organising its fifth Christmas party in York for children whose families are suffering financial hardship.
Acting as ambassadors for the charity and working alongside their supervisors, the team of young people are wrapping gifts for the event and which have been selected to match the children’s ‘wish lists’.
The team is also decorating the venue including transforming one of the rooms into Santa’s grotto, and then helping host and run the party for 120 guests.
Besides introducing Father Christmas to the guests, each will have a snack box, enjoy music and games, dancing elves and access to a free book stall where children can take as many books as they like books to encourage reading.
Amanda Hatton, corporate director of children, education and communities at City of York Council, said: “Reparation is so important to our youth justice work and gives young people who have offended in the past an opportunity to make amends in a constructive and lasting way.
“This is a very worthwhile project, and I hope the rewards of helping disadvantaged children and their families will make Christmas all the more special.”
Ronnie Munro, chair of Spirit of Christmas, said: “We try to recruit volunteers from all backgrounds, give them a sense of belonging to our group and the wider community, and help them feel that they are respected and appreciated.
“The efforts of the young people will, I’m sure, help them to feel good about doing something for others.”
Anyone interested in supporting the project can contact Spirit of Christmas at email@example.com
An award-winning partnership between youth homeless charity SASH and the council have helped older residents deck the halls at Glen Lodge.
The Enable team was at the council-run Heworth independent living scheme on 28 November, when they provided and hung the Christmas decorations. This is the third session which Enable has completed at Glen Lodge this year: in the spring they redecorated a tenant’s flat and gave an area of the communal garden a makeover in the summer.
While carrying out the garden project the older tenants told the young volunteers how much they all loved Christmas, but getting the decorations up was a massive task. Following this the young people asked if they could help, Christmas decorations were sourced by the council and the team trimmed Christmas trees, played seasonal music and got into the festive mood with residents and staff.
This month’s makeover is the latest of 27 different projects carried out by the Enable team which consists of young people and colleagues from the youth homeless charity SASH, and City of York Council housing experts. The scheme was developed to improve the lives of younger and older people in York and in 2018 it won the Best Community Project at the York Community Pride Awards.
Over the past five years, young volunteers have given their time to help older people in York who struggle with jobs around the home and garden. In return they have learned new skills which will come in handy when they live in a place of their own.
Gary Hogg, SASH active project coordinator, said: “Enable’s projects have made a real and lasting difference to the lives of older people in York. The young people have made friends, spend time with older people, learned new skills and, perhaps most importantly, have seen first-hand just how much difference they can make to the lives of others.
“With this project, not only have they got Glen Lodge looking a treat for the festive season, but they’ve shared mince pies and some Christmas cheer with the tenants.”
Tom Brittain, assistant director of housing and community safety at City of York Council, said: “Our Enable project aims to give younger people a meaningful experience with home maintenance to help ensure that any tenancy they take on is a lasting success.
“We also want older people to benefit from their skills and enjoy their company. Thank you to everyone involved.”
There has been a lot of congestion in York over the last week or so. With many visitors coming for the Christmas markets and the “Winter Wonderland” the influx is potentially good news for the local economy.
But transport systems have capacity limits and these were reached at times with the Designer Centre car parks effectively full and Park and Ride services compromised.
Queues at the hospital car park have caused delays on bus services while even cyclists have found it difficult to find vacant City centre cycle racks.
Add in the arrival of General Election campaigners eager to be filmed with a backdrop of crowds of people and the new security barriers, which hinder movement in areas like St Helen’s Square, and things have turned decidedly awkward even for pedestrians.
So, what’s to be done?
We have criticised the Council before about its failure to utilise modern technology to ease travel woes. The real time parking space availability map was removed from their web site last year.
Many of the parking space availability signs which can be seen on arterial roads didn’t work for a long time.
A promised link through GPS to car navigation systems – which would help to direct vehicles to car parks where there were spaces – has not materialised.
As a result, vehicles still circle the City looking for spaces, which sometimes don’t exist, adding to congestion and pollution levels.
The York Council needs to raise its game.
On busy days, it should be tweeting updates on at least an hourly basis. Variable message signs on approach roads should be similarly updated. Local Radio has a part to play.
It would be relatively easy to add a CCTV link displaying the conditions at key locations to the Council web site. North Yorkshire already do this (albeit mainly to provide information on road conditions)
Modern problems need modern solutions.
Sadly at the moment there seems to be little sign of urgency at West Offices on the need to further improve traffic management in the City.
Fairfax House opens late and launches festive programme
Many public service workers will be on duty over the festive period. Inevitably the services of the Police, Council workers and health professionals will be required by some members of society.
However we can all help to reduce the pressures on public services with a little forethought and consideration
York Minster :
Mon 24 & Tue 25 Dec :
Various Times :
Experience Christmas Eve and Day at York Minster with our traditional services.
Christmas Eve – Monday 24 December
12noon: Crib Service – Traditional and popular family service.
4pm: Nine Lessons and Carols (doors 3pm please arrive in good time)
11.30pm: First Eucharist of Christmas:
Christmas Day – Tuesday 25 December
8am: Holy Communion
10am: Sung Eucharist of Christmas Day (doors 9.15am)
11.45am: Christmas Day Choral Matins
4pm: Christmas Day Choral Evensong
All services are free and un- ticketed. All Advent & Christmas at YorkMinster.org/Whats-On