Foxwood woman leads cancer campaign

Clifford’s Tower turns purple for Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month

City of York Council are showing their support for Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month once again, by lighting up Clifford’s Tower to mark Pancreatic Cancer UK’s Purple Lights for Hope campaign.

In the UK, 24 people die from pancreatic cancer every day, with 3 out of 4 of people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer unable to survive the first year. Jean Clark, 60, of Foxwood, was diagnosed in 2013 and wants to make sure that other York residents understand and recognise the early symptoms.

Mrs Clark who was initially diagnosed with acid reflux, before nagging lower back pain prompted her doctor to send her for scans, said: “With an average of 3% of patients with pancreatic cancer surviving more than five years, I know I am very lucky to still be well.

“This has made me more determined to help raise awareness of the symptoms which often misdiagnosed. Acid reflux, pain on eating, weight loss and lower back pain are common symptoms. Having two or more of these should always be investigated.”

Cllr Carol Runciman, Executive Member for Health and Adult Social Care said: “It is so important that we raise awareness of pancreatic cancer and get people talking about it. This is why we are proud to be supporting Pancreatic Cancer UK’s Purple Lights for Hope by lighting up Clifford’s Tower next week.”

Cllr Ian Gillies, Leader of City of York Council said: “We’re delighted to be able to use one of the city’s most iconic buildings to support Jean’s efforts and raise awareness around pancreatic cancer. This vital, potentially life-saving message needs to be spread far and wide, and City of York Council is happy to help.”

Common symptoms of pancreatic cancer include:

  • Abdominal pain is an early sing of pancreatic cancer, which starts as general discomfort or abdomen pain which spreads to the back.
  • An inability to digest food or weight loss for no apparent reason is a cause for concern.
  • Jaundice (yellow skin and eyes)

Clifford’s Tower will be lit until 10 November.

For more information visit:

Could you be a community health champion?

As part of a continuing effort to improve the health, wellbeing and happiness of residents, we are inviting citizens to become community health champions after the launch of the initiative last year.

We’re looking for community health champions who are passionate about improving the health and wellbeing of their community. Health champions will receive training and support from the council that will enable them to;

  • Empower residents to make healthier lifestyle choices such as increasing physical activity and healthy eating
  • Develop new health and wellbeing activities based on community need, such as physical activity sessions
  • Promote current health campaigns including ‘Public Health One You’ through local interactions with

The campaign has already proven to be a great way to engage members of the community and aims to create a more supportive environment for local residents. One day training for community health champions is taking place on 28 September and 26 October 2018.

So if you are enthusiastic and ready to make a positive difference within your community, contact Richard Croker on 01904 553516 or email to book your place on the training.

Councillor Carol Runciman, Executive Member for Health and Adult Social Care said: “Being a community health champion includes learning new skills and using them to help make a difference in your community.

We are always aiming to improve health and wellbeing amongst communities across the city and found that the initiative was a great way to raise awareness. By having community health champions, residents are able to access advice and support to help them in their communities. Anyone interested in this opportunity is asked to call 01904 553377 to speak to the team for more advice and information.”

For more information on this opportunity visit:, call 01904 553516 or email

Figures show smoking will kill one in two – don’t be the 1, now is the time to quit

City of York Council is supporting a regional stop smoking campaign, don’t be the 1, and encouraging those that want to quit to contact the council’s YorWellbeing service.

The “Don’t Be The 1” campaign from Breathe 2025 highlights how one in two smokers[i] will die from a smoking related disease, some in their 40s and 50s and is asking smokers to quit for the sake of their family. These odds are infinitely greater than the reported risks of being hit by a bus (around two in a million) or the chance of becoming a millionaire on the National Lottery (around one in ten million).

Worryingly, surveys show nine out of ten smokers underestimate the one in two risk, with around half believing their risk to be one in ten or less.

As well as York, the don’t be the 1 campaign is running in Hull, East Riding, North Lincs, North East Lincs and North Yorkshire for four weeks.

For more information visit , those who want to quit in York are asked to contact the council’s YorWellbeing service on 01904 553377 or email

Councillor Carol Runciman, Executive Member for Health and Adult Social Care said: “Smoking can have long lasting and devastating impacts on people’s health, which is why we have joined together with our partners and are supporting the don’t be the 1 campaign.

“In the run up to Stoptober there are more ways to quit than ever before and we are urging people to give it a go. Studies show you are more than four times more likely to quit with help. Our YorWellbeing service is there to help people quit and I would urge smokers who want to quit to get in touch.”

Dr Caroline Everett, Consultant Respiratory Physician, York Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Stopping smoking is one of the single most effective things you can do to improve your health and life expectancy. Quitting smoking early can prevent the onset of many different life-limiting and life-threatening health conditions such as COPD, heart disease and cancer. However, it is never too late to give up.

“We also have lots of evidence from studies in many different conditions which show that, even once a smoking-related health condition has developed, people who quit live longer and with better health-status than those who continue to smoke.”

Health, care and housing plans for Bootham Hospital site

Public sector partners say that they will propose a sustainable and achievable development master plan for the Bootham Hospital site.

It will “support the longer term sustainable delivery of a range of service to meet health and social care need”s.

Using monies granted by the government under the One Public Estate programme, the partnership will prepare a Site Development Plan. This will examine the constraints and opportunities of the site and will involve extensive stakeholder and public engagement.

A schedule of public consultation is being planned for this autumn to focus on the future of the 240-year-old site – one of the UK’s first mental health hospitals.

The partnership has been working on plan for a number of months and it could include:

  • the development of a residential / nursing care facility to support earlier discharge and relieve pressures on acute care
  • a new primary care / GP base, bringing together practices into a single building and provide an urgent care centre and voluntary sector led space for carers and others who need support
  • affordable housing targeted to key worker to support NHS staffing
  • an extra care facility, particularly care for those living with dementia
  • improved access to the York Teaching Hospital for pedestrians, bikes, buses, taxis and ambulances; and
  • better use of the parkland at the front of the historic hospital building for sport, play and leisure

New source of community information urges residents to Live Well York

A new source of information and advice for adults and families in York is now available from community groups across the city.

City of York Council has worked alongside York CVS, Age UK, Explore York and Healthwatch York to create a growing source of high quality information and advice which promotes opportunities for residents to enjoy healthy, active and independent lives.

Live Well York supports the council’s commitment to early help and prevention, and to help people live independently and well. It has links provided by voluntary and community groups to information and advice on topics from travel, housing, carers, money and legal matters, while community activities and events are listed to encourage people to get involved with their community and combat isolation and loneliness.

Local people were involved in the development of the website and wanted a local artist to produce its signature artwork. York Museum and the Art Gallery Trust, through its Cultural Consortium for Wellbeing Service, commissioned the artwork and supported an event at York CVS. There, over 70 people took part in a collaborative event to inspire artist Stephen Lee Hodgkins. The resulting artwork features seven York community places which are among those hosting numerous projects and community opportunities which feature on the website.

Live Well York also links to the council’s new for ideas and inspiration on keeping active, promoting physical wellbeing, activity and active travel. (more…)

York Council issues advice as City heads for hottest day

Temperatures are expected to peak this week before falling away on Friday. There is then a possibility of some rain, which will please gardeners at least..

With the warm weather and children embarking on their summer holidays, City of York Council is offering tips for residents to have a happy, healthy summer.

With the school holidays upon us it is important during the summer break to be aware of potential risks to health and look out for others, especially vulnerable groups such as the elderly, young children and babies and those with serious illnesses.

Our love summer campaign offers some top tips on how to enjoy the weather –

  • Lots of water – it is important to stay hydrated in the hot weather.
  • Older people, remember to make sure they are ok in the hot weather. Simply checking in on your neighbour or family members that they have everything they need can make a world of difference.
  • Vaccination check-up. Summer is a good opportunity to check that your family’s vaccinations are up to date. Why not get in contact with your GP to check? It is important that people have MMR and Menacwy vaccines, especially before holidays and festivals.
  • Everyone needs sun cream. Wear at least SPF 15+ sun cream, ideally 50+ for children, and make sure you reapply regularly, especially if you are swimming or doing exercise.
  • Soap and water after petting farm visits. Keep your hands away from your face, and always was your hands with soap and water- not just gels or wipes, after touching animals.
  • Understand the dangers of open water and don’t swim in rivers or reservoirs. Hidden current, unexpected cold temperatures and debris make this dangerous – even for strong swimmers.
  • Make sure your BBQ meat is cooked thoroughly and don’t leave food outside for long periods of time.
  • Moderate your drinking, have water in between alcoholic drinks, never drink and drive, and stay away from open water.
  • Ensure your children are safe and protected from the sun. Accidents can happen when children are left unattended, make sure you keep an eye on where they are playing, especially if it’s near pools, ponds, BBQs or trampolines.
  • Remember to head for shade, the sun is especially strong between 11am and 3pm. If you are going outside, try to stay in the shade between these times, and remember to wear light, loose-fitting clothing and lots of suncream.


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.”