Police reveal Acomb crime attempt involving elderly lady

Last night in Acomb two females forced their way into a vulnerable ladies home (she’s in her 80s), they rifled through her house, then sat her down and made her a cuppa and tried to pressurise her into giving them some money so they could go to the shop for her.

After we received this report we quickly identified the offenders and they were arrested less than an hour later. They were taken to custody for a variety of offences.


Please contact us if you or anyone you know have experienced anything similar. Job ref 440 of 24/03. Thanku and stay safe 😀 York North Police

New bungalows wait for tenants

Five new Council bungalows in Cheltenham Court (off Newbury Avenue) are ready for occupation.

The attractive homes have allocated disabled spaces and an electric vehicle charging point. Aimed at older or disabled tenants, they are also close to the number 4 bus route and the Lidl store. .

Completion was behind schedule so we hope that the York Council will get on and allocate the tenancies quickly

UPDATE Council abandons garden help scheme for elderly and disabled.

UPDATE The Council now seems to BE back tracking. It says that the  communication it issued earlier today was “only the first step in consultation”. The following is an extract from that the earlier communication. Make you own mind up whether  you think it sounds  like consultation

The cost of the scheme was extremely high and unsustainable, so we are exploring other ways to provide a service to the most vulnerable in future, in partnership with charities and volunteers.  Unfortunately, this won’t be in place this year so as an interim measure we will be providing the most vulnerable tenants with a payment of £200 that they can use to contribute towards the cost of maintaining the garden this year.

From information we have on Housing Management systems, we have filtered customers into those we believe would not meet the new criteria and those that would with the appropriate letter going to these customers. Housing Management Officers will be visiting all customers that as part of the Health and Wellbeing visits, to ensure that all tenants who genuinely have no option than that provided by The Council.  Once HMO’s have confirmed eligibility the payment will be arrange to be made early in the new financial year.

The Council is now saying the proposal will go to a decision meeting in April

The Council has, however, admitted that it has already posted the letters to tenants!

EARLIER It looks like the Council will refuse to help elderly tenants who are unable to maintain their own gardens. Until this year elderly and disabled tenants had received help in cutting hedges and lawns through a garden help scheme.

Now a housing official has said that the garden help scheme has been abandoned.

In the past the Council has been criticised for the slowness of the garden care scheme which provided only a minimal service

The proposal to abandon the tenants has not yet been considered by the Councils’ Executive.

Only last week the Council announced that it would make a surplus of over £3 million on its council housing rent account this year. It holds an accumulated surplus on the account of over £20 million with a rent increase pending.

The garden care scheme has been in existence for several decades. It provides a basic gardening service for those on limited means who are unable to do heavy work themselves and who do not have anyone else that they can turn to for help.

Now the official has said that the scheme is being scrapped with immediate effect. The most seriously disabled will be offered a payment of £200 which the Council says can be used to employ someone to undertake gardening work.

The Council also talks loftily of setting up a scheme of “volunteer gardeners” to assist. They accept that this is not yet in place.

It is not the first time that the Council has eroded the garden help scheme. In 2016 over 100 pensioners lost access to the scheme.

Overgrown hedges are unsightly and block footpaths

As well as the welfare of sick and elderly people, another concern is the effect that overgrown hedges will have on local neighbourhoods. There are already complaints about lack of maintenance in some estates.

There has been no consultation with residents or tenants organisations in the City.

Whereas previous attempts to jettison the service were initiated by Tory Councillors, the latest proposal comes under the stewardship of Green Party Councillor Denise Craghill. To what extent she has been party to the plan is unclear.

Liberal Democrat Councillors in wards like Westfield, which has a high proportion of Council tenancies, are likely to be put under extreme pressure to block any changes until alternative arrangements can be put in place.

Residents views sought on making York an “age friendly” City

Partners working to improve York for its older residents have launched a consultation on getting out and about in the city.

The consultation has been launched at www.york.gov.uk/AgeFriendlyYork and will run until 9 August. This is a new step towards making the city more age-friendly and an even better place for older residents.

With around ten percent of York’s population aged over 65 – one third of whom live alone – the city has joined the UK network of Age Friendly communities which are linked to the World Health Organisation.

York aims to help older people live healthy and active later lives, that they are happy and are in good health while living in their community. Being an Age Friendly city means that older residents are encouraged to become active citizens, shaping the place that they live in by working alongside local groups, council and businesses to identify and make changes to the physical and social environment they live in.

In York, this will be done by working towards improving the choices older people have regarding how they can travel and where they travel to, how they spend their time and access information, the quality of their housing and services for older people.

The initiative is supported by the York Health and Wellbeing Board, and partners will work with City of York Council, York Older People’s Assembly, York CVS as well as local groups and businesses to engage older people and key stakeholders about their lives and to ask for suggestions to make the city more age friendly. 

Popular falls prevention service moves into Holgate on its second anniversary

A project to help prevent people falling in their own homes is expanding into a fifth ward in the city, in its second year of operation.

Having started in Clifton ward in March 2017 as part of the council’s YorWellbeing Services, work to prevent falls in homes extended to Guildhall ward, then to Micklegate and Fishergate wards. Now it’s rolled out into Holgate. 

These wards were identified by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) as having homes with higher trip risks than the city average. These include hazards such as missing stair rails, uneven flooring or poor internal lighting, especially for children aged under five and older people.

The partnership of housing, health and safety experts including North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service and Age UK York carry out free home visits to check and repair simple trip hazards in homes whether rented or privately owned.

Visits are arranged and carried out with a falls prevention practitioner and a joiner. They offer practical advice specific to the resident and their home and can make simple improvements there and then such as fitting a grab rail or banister rail, fitting brighter light bulbs, securing loose carpets or suggesting exercises to help improve residents’ strength and balance. They will also signpost residents to other relevant services.

Since its launch two years ago, the team has put thousands of fall prevention measures in place. These include fitting 733 grab rails, 277 banisters, 391 brighter light bulbs, 13 window restrictors, 11 carpet trims and four drop down toilet rails. 

Residents of Clifton, Guildhall, Micklegate, Fishergate and Holgate can request a free home visit for advice and help on preventing falls, please call 01904 567456 or emailreducingfalls@york.gov.uk

To find out more about the service and pick up some advice on reducing the risk of falls, please visit www.york.gov.uk/reducingfalls

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

Garden maintenance service for pensioners set to be saved

Neglected garage areas become a magnet for fly tipping and often become overgrown with weeds and bushes

Liberal Democrat Councillors successfully proposed, at least nights budget committee meeting, that funding for the garden maintenance scheme be restored.

A Tory Councillor – who subsequently resigned from his executive position – had proposed a £46,000 cut in the budget for the service.

It meant that nearly 100 elderly and disable residents – who are physically unable to tend their gardens – would have lost Council assistance.

Now the cut has been restored.

The funding will come from the Housing Revenue Account the income for which comes from Council tenants rents.

The housing account is expected to have a £6 million surplus during the next financial year.

Elsewhere in the Councils investment capital) budget, now includes a provision for improvements to Council garage areas.

Many garage sites need to have their forecourts resurfaced, boundary fences repaired and undergrowth removed.

Nearly 100 elderly and disabled residents to lose York garden care help

The York Council has gone through today with its threat to cease the hedge and grass cutting service provided for many elderly and disabled people in the City

As we forecast, the Council is hoping to save £46,000 a year expenditure on its housing revenue account (HRA).

The HRA currently has a surplus of over £23 million and made £4.3m profit last year

The garden assistance scheme is available to tenants aged over 70 who are physically unable to cut the hedges and grass in their gardens.

The hedges are cut twice a year and the grass on 7 occasions.

409 tenants received the service in 2016.

365 received the service in 2017 following a tightening of the criteria for qualification.

It is thought that the new scheme involving use of the “handyman service” could cater for up to 306 elderly people.

The rest would not be given help. A waiting list might have to be established.

The service will in future be means rested.

The cut has been agreed by a Tory Councillor without any consultation with local Resident Associations or the citywide Tenants Federation.



Elderly in York to be hit as Tories plan to cut garden assistance scheme

Over a year ago, the York Council notified elderly and disabled people that it planned to scrap its garden assistance scheme. The scheme employs contractors to cut the hedges and lawns of elderly and disabled residents.

The plans produced a barrage of complaints and the threat was withdrawn

Now a report has revealed that a Tory Councillor is again planning to slash entitlement to the service. About 50% of current users will be told to make other arrangements.

It appears that some people aged over 70 with severe disabilities may continue to get the service from an estate “handymen”, but many others will miss out.

Story last year

The cuts are expected to save the Council around £40,000 a year.

The Tories claim that this cut is essential to balance the books. They forget that last week a review of the Housing Revenue Account revealed that it will have an average credit balance of over £30 million in each of the next 30 years.

This partly arises from the expected 1% per annum real terms increases in rents.

As well as kicking existing users off the programme, the report talks of establishing a “waiting list” for people who need the service.

The Councillor responsible for the proposal is Sam Lyle a youth who recently graduated from University. Quite what he knows about the challenges faced by many older residents will no doubt become clear over the next few days.

Fortunately, as we have reported before (left), there are a lot of caring students at the York and St Johns Universities who hopefully will prove to be part of the solution to this shabby proposal

In the meantime, the Council’s website is down. Anyone trying to Email Councillors is referred to a web page apparently containing a list of contact telephone numbers. http://democracy.york.gov.uk/mgCommitteeMailingList.aspx?ID=0

That web page is also currently unavailable!


New elderly persons homes planned for Clifton plus changes for services for adults with learning disabilities

Burton Stone community centre to be demolished

New community facilities and 33 new homes for older people could be built in Clifton.

The homes include the city’s first available to buy for shared ownership on a council-built care scheme. This proposed £6.667 million scheme will meet increasing need for extra care for the city’s growing number of older residents and replaces an existing community centre.

The 29 new extra care apartments and four two-bedroomed bungalows would be built as an annexe to the Marjorie Waite Court extra care scheme. Up to ten homes could be sold on a shared equity basis, helping older homeowners – 80% of whom own their own home in York – to move to more appropriate accommodation.

It forms part of the council’s programme to increase high quality accommodation with care for rising population of older people, as agreed in June 2015.

The scheme’s tenants, local residents and groups using the Burton Stone Community Centre site were consulted on and their feedback has helped shape the proposal.

Besides using the land currently occupied by Burton Stone Community Centre to extend the extra care scheme, new community facilities will be built to meet the needs of local people, groups and Marjorie Waite Court tenants. Some of the existing users of the Burton Stone centre will move to new facilities in Burnholme, Tang Hall.

City of York Council’s Executive will also be asked to give their consent for the council to go out to the market to procure support providers that will deliver services for adults and young people with learning disabilities when they meet on Thursday 31 August.

At their meeting Executive will be asked for their consent to go out to tender for two schemes, a day base at the Burnholme health and wellbeing campus and a short breaks service, currently at Flaxman Avenue.

If they agree, Executive will be asked to delegate the award of the tenders to the corporate director of health, housing and adult social care in consultation with the executive member for health, housing and adult social care.

If approved, the day base will be part of the new Burnholme health and wellbeing campus, where building work is currently ongoing. The site, as a whole, will see over £35m of public and private sector investment and provide care, health, community and sports facilities as well as new housing and is expected to be ready in 2018.