Health and Wellbeing Board to discuss a suicide prevention strategy for York

Members of York’s Health and Wellbeing board will discuss a draft suicide prevention strategy for the city when they meet on Wednesday 9 May.

The strategy sets out the work the city will look to do with the ambition of the city getting Suicide Safer Community designation and sets out the aim for York to have a year on year reduction in the number of suicides in the city.

As well as comment on the draft strategy, board members will be asked to agree that the draft strategy go out to a 12 week public consultation.

Key objectives for the strategy include:

  • Reducing the risk of suicides in high risk groups
  • Tailoring approaches to improve mental health in specific groups
  • Providing better information and support for those affected by suicide
  • Reducing rates of self harm
  • Training and awareness raising.

By tackling many of the issues that sometimes lead to suicide the strategy looks at how York as a city can address the risks and triggers that can result in suicide.

The hope is that the plan will help create greater social cohesion, improved community links and availability of support leading to more open caring conversations and a desire for people to look after each other and talk to one another when they are struggling.

The presentation of the strategy comes after an audit of suicides in the city in late 2016 which found the number of suicides in York to be above the national and regional average. The findings from this audit have informed suicide prevention work and activities and have fed into this draft suicide prevention plan. (more…)

Last few places available for latest Nordic Walking course in York

Limited places are available for City of York Council’s latest Learn to Nordic Walk course and residents are being urged to book in advance so they don’t miss out.

Nordic Walking is one of the fastest growing activities in the UK and at the end of the course participants will receive a Nordic Walking UK Freedom Card, which will enable them to attend Nordic Walking groups anywhere in the UK, including several in the York area.

The course starts on Friday 20 April and sessions will take place every Friday for four weeks from 10am until 11am, meeting at the Rowntree Park Reading Café.

The cost of the course is £25, and booking is essential as places are limited. Nordic Walking poles will be provided to all participants.

Residents can book their place by calling 01904 553377 or emailing

Get from the sofa to the saddle with this latest course


City of York Council is inviting residents looking to get back in the saddle to its latest course.

Following the success of its Walk 2 Jog course, the council’s YorWellbeing service is launching the Sofa to Saddle course, a new eight week course to get residents back into cycling again and gaining the confidence they need to cycle independently.

It will be starting on Thursday 5 April at 6.30pm at York Sport. The first two sessions will be based at the track to build confidence and to allow people get to know their bike again and feel comfortable.

Councillor Nigel Ayre, executive member for leisure, culture and tourism said: “Following the success of our Walk2Jog courses it’s great to see a new course launched to get people cycling.

“Cycling can be a great way to get out and enjoy York’s amazing scenery as well as help people to get their recommended 30 minutes of physical activity a day. This course looks to build confidence among people and by the end will hopefully see them confidently cycling around York.”

The course will cost £20, participants will receive a free t-shirt at the end and are advised to bring their own bike.

Places are limited, for more information to book a place contact the YorWellbeing team on 01904 553377 or email .

Hidden disease in the spot light in York: more about Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (M.E.)

M.E awareness: Liberal Democrats look to kick-start campaign on the hidden disease

In a motion to Council on the 22nd March, Liberal Democrat Councillors are looking to kick-start a campaign to raise awareness on the often overlooked and hidden disease; Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, otherwise known as M.E.

M.E. is a chronic, neurological condition that causes symptoms affecting many body systems to an estimated 800 people in York, 250,000 people in the UK and around 17 million people worldwide.  Many who suffer from the disease often report that diagnosis can take months, or even years, and that there is a lack of awareness amongst the majority of clinicians.

M.E remains largely out of the public conscience and therefore, is often referred to as a ‘hidden’ disease.  In response, the York Liberal Democrats are calling on the Council to initiate a public awareness campaign in the build up to M.E Awareness Day on the 12th May.  This will include:

  • Using the ‘city lights’ to light up landmarks such as the City Walls and West Offices on International M.E Awareness Day.
  • To initiate a communications campaign, utilising the Council’s distribution and communication networks to generate awareness of M.E in York, allowing York to lead a national debate on the subject.
  • Providing training to senior Council representatives, in order to increase understanding of the disease at the heart of the Council.

Cllr Keith Aspden (left), Bill Clayton (centre) and Cllr Carol Runciman (right).

Councillor Carol Runciman, Liberal Democrat Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Health, said:

“Living with ME is challenging. People may struggle with debilitating symptoms and other problems, but it is important to remember that support is out there and this is crucial in dealing with any illness. By raising awareness, we can spread this message and better our understanding of the disease.”

“In York, we are lucky to have the York M.E Community and the Yorkshire Fatigue Clinic, who both provide excellent support to those suffering from the disease in York.  We must build on the work they do and promote what they can do to help.”

Bill Clayton, founder of the York ME Community, added:

“M.E is something that is likely to be affecting someone you know, without you realising it.  It could be someone missing from work, school, or even the football team.  We don’t see them, as most are often bedbound and hidden from society.

“There are millions missing from their lives due to this devastating illness and I would like to thank the York Liberal Democrats for backing this drive to raise M.E Awareness.  This illness isn’t political however, and so I plead with all parties to back this campaign and help your community, The York ME Community.”

Today is national “no smoking day”

I couldn’t do it without coming for support’ – Council backs national no smoking day and asks people wanting to kick the habit to get in

City of York Council is supporting national no smoking day on Wednesday 14 March and reminding residents that support is available for those who want to kick the habit.

Smoking kills 79,000 people every year1 and one person is admitted to hospital in England every minute with a smoking-related illness. The council’s YorWellbeing service, which looks to help residents improve their health and wellbeing, can offer advice and support to help change smoking behaviours, as well as advise which medications to buy to help you quit, if necessary.

Susan, a 49 year old medical secretary from Strensall stopped smoking 20 cigarettes a day twenty months ago after being a serious smoker for over 34 years.  She tried her first cigarette at 7 and first packet at 11, starting smoking properly at 14.

She came to the council for support to help her quit “I couldn’t have done it without coming for support.  There is so much to say and talk about when you’re changing a life time habit, and support and being heard was a big part of that.” Her two previous attempts to stop before then hadn’t lasted longer than two months.

Susan was diagnosed with health problems related to her smoking three years ago and despite these ongoing health worries causing stress, is still determined not to smoke.

After quitting Susan has noticed health improvements already.

“I have better skin, my voice is less deep and I am sleeping well and breathing better.  My asthma has improved so much that I don’t worry about having to climb the stairs any more.

“This time round I feel I am in a different place.”

No smoking day comes after last month the council’s YorWellbeing service announced that Heworth Rugby Club and York RI New Lane community sports club became the city’s first smoke free sports clubs.

Councillor Carol Runciman, Executive Member for health and adult social care said: “You are three times more likely to quit with help and support3. Anyone wanting to quit can contact our team where they will get advice and support from our YorWellbeing advisers to help.

“Quitting smoking is among the best things that you can do for your health. The health improvements seen from Susan are just one example of how kicking the habit can make a real difference.”

Those wanting to quit smoking can get in touch with our YorWellbeing service. As well as help to quit the team can offer advice and support to help residents to live happier healthier lives.

For more information contact the YorWellbeing service on  or 01904 553377 or visit for details of the support available.

Walk 2 Jog course returns

Back after its success in 2017, City of York Council is running two Walk 2 Jog courses, starting on Monday 26 February.

Walk 2 Jog is a ten week course that aims to build fitness from a short walk to a steady jog. Jogging is a great aerobic activity which can help weight loss and develop a healthy heart.

In February the council is running two courses.

The first course will see residents work their way up from walking to jogging 5k in ten weeks.

Those who have previously completed Walk 2 Jog can take part in our second course, with the new intermediate challenge of going from 3-7km and they can work towards the 5-10k challenge later in the year.

Councillor Ann Reid, interim executive member for leisure, culture and tourism said: “It is great to see the Walk 2 Jog courses returning. The courses have been well received and are a great way for people to get fitter.

“Jogging is popular, low cost and convenient and is an excellent way to achieve the recommended 30 minutes of physical activity a day. Most of us have our new year’s resolutions to keep to and these courses offer a fun, informative and supportive approach for non-joggers who want to up their speed and stamina as part of a group.”

Both courses start on Monday 26 February at 6.30pm at Rowntree Park. Each session lasts 60 minutes.

The cost is just £10 for a 10 week course. Those who complete the course will receive a free t-shirt.

For further information visit

Places are limited, to book your place contact the YorWellbeing team on 01904 553377 or email .

York delays in treating ambulance patients revealed

On New Years Eve 47 patients had to wait for over an hour in ambulances as they waiting for treatment at York Hospital.

The full figures can be viewed by clicking here 

The statistics mirror problems at other hospitals across the region and country generally

As December went on delays gradually increased.

York had suffered earlier in the month with an outbreak of norovirus. At its peak 47 beds were closed.

By the end of the year 834 beds (90%) were occupied at the hospital.

The government has been criticised for failing to anticipate the heavy demands for care that arise over each festive period.




Have a healthier new year plea

With 2017 drawing to a close it is that time of year when, after the excesses of Christmas celebrations, attention shifts to the New Year resolutions.

What’s on your New Year checklist?  Whether it is no alcohol in ‘Dry January’; being more active; look after yourself better, especially your mental health by reducing the stress in your life; or stop smoking the council’s YorWellbeing service can offer advice and support to help you. Our YorWellbeing team also offer free health checks plus information, advice and support to help you have a happier and healthier 2018.

For information, advice and support get in touch with the YorWellbeing service by emailing, calling 01904 553377 or visiting

There are many things that affect how healthy and well a person is. The Yorwellbeing service will:

  • provide advice and support on lifestyle factors such as healthy eating, exercise, alcohol and smoking
  • encourage positive lifestyle and behaviour changes
  • work to reduce health inequalities across the city.

Councillor Carol Runciman, executive member for health and adult social care said: “The start of the New Year is a time for reflection. Our YorWellbeing service does a great job offering information, advice and support to help and can help you live a happier healthier lifestyle. Get in touch by phone or email or visit the website and our team will be happy to help.”

What’s on in York: New Year men’s health course

Men looking to start the New Year by getting fit are being invited to join York’s latest men’s health course starting on Wednesday 17 January.

The course follows the inaugural men’s health course in September which had fantastic results. Eleven men had measurements taken at the start and end of the ten week course with a combined weight loss of 20.7kg, with two men losing 3.8kg and 3.6kg. The combined total waist circumference loss was 40.5cm with two men losing 7cm and 6cm from their waistline.

The ten week course, which is led by the council’s YorWellbeing service in partnership with York City Knights, will take place at York St John University sports park and will again see attendees take part in a series of physical activity sessions combined with educational workshops on modifiable lifestyle factors.

Starting at 7.30pm on Wednesday 17 January, the programme offers 90 minutes sessions designed to help individuals to become more aware of ways in which they can live happier and healthier lives.

The idea for this programme came from York City Knights fans and each session will be made up of a 45 minute educational workshop and a 45 minute physical activity session with access to the strength and conditioning suite used by the York City Knights first team.

The programme will run every Wednesday evening from 7.30pm until 9pm, from Wednesday 17 January up until Wednesday 21 March, aiming to engage with those individuals wanting to become more physically active and improve their health. The cost of the programme is £30 for the full 10 week course but people are urged to book in advance as spaces are limited.

The physical activity sessions will be tailored so they are appropriate to the requirements of the participants and the course is open to people of all ages and abilities.

Educational workshop topics will include:

  •     Incorporating physical activity into your daily lifestyle
  •     Meal planning and healthy diet choices
  •     Negative effects of smoking and alcohol on the body
  •     Promoting positive mental wellbeing.

Councillor Ann Reid, interim executive member for leisure, culture and tourism said: “It is fantastic to see the men’s health course return after the success of the first course.

“This is a great opportunity for men to take part in a range of physical activities at top class facilities used by York City Knights players and get useful lifestyle advice from our YorWellbeing team. Places are limited so I would advise booking in advance.”

Neil Gulliver, Foundation Manager at York City Knights, said: ‘The first men’s health pilot was a resounding success and it was great to see such a range of ages and experiences all come together to improve their health. Both the Knights and the Foundation have the community at the centre of everything we do and we are proud to help more men lead healthier, happier lives.’

To book a place email or call 01904 553377.

A video from the first men’s health course is available to view at

Quit smoking medication available in York

Alternative medication to be made available for those quitting smoking

Additional support is set to be made available to residents who are trying to drop the habit and quit smoking.

Cllr Carol Runciman, Liberal Democrat Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Health, has given the go ahead for Varenicline (Champix) to be included as part of a new pharmacotherapy support package to users of our Yorwellbeing service.

Currently, Varenicline is only available through a private prescription from your GP or via an online pharmacy.

However, with the expansion of the current service offer, any individual who would like to stop smoking can be assessed for eligibility to the hardship fund and if they qualify for either Nicotine Replacement Therapy or Varenicline, they will be provided with an initial 2 weeks supply, followed by another 2 weeks if required.  Research suggests that if an individual can quit smoking for 4 weeks, their chances of dropping the habit for good are increased five fold.