What’s on in York: Knights rugby half term activities

Fun In The Sun – May Half-Term Camps

Join us this May half term as we able to offer 4 park sessions for local children to enjoy. Fun, engaging, multi activity sessions based in the local Parks and green spaces.

Designed to help keep you fit and active during the school holidays, with each participant receiving a free drink and snack at each session. These sessions have been made possible through Ward Committee funding who we would like to thank for their continued support.

Booking is essential with limited availability. Please see each individual link below to book on an event.

Event 1 – Westfield Primary Community School

When: Wednesday 2nd June Time: 10:00 – 11:30

Where: Westfield Primary Community School, Askham Ln, YO24 3HP

About: Free fun for 5 years and upwards. Includes a free snack and drink

Cost: Free of charge           To Book please click here              Note: Advance booking is essential.

Event 2 – Woodthorpe Green Play Area

When: Wednesday 2nd June   Time: 2:00 – 3:30pm

Where: Woodthorpe Green Play Area, Summerfield Rd, YO24 2RU.

About: Free fun for 5 years and upwards. Includes a free snack and drink

Cost: Free of charge          

To Book please click here             

Note: Advance booking is essential.

Event 3 – Oaken Grove playing area

Friday 4th June            Time: 10:00 – 11:30

Where: Oaken Grove playing area, YO32 3QW

About: Free fun for 5 years and upwards. Includes a free snack and drink

Cost: Free of charge                      

To Book please click here 

Note: Advance booking is essential.

Event 4 – Acomb Green.

Friday 4th June            Time: 2:00 – 3:30pm

Where: Acomb green. Acomb Green, Acomb, YO26 5LR

About: Free fun for 5 years and upwards. Includes a free snack and drink

Cost: Free of charge                      

To Book please click here             

Note: Advance booking is essential.

If you have any questions, please email a.prentis@yorkcityknights.com or call the Knights office on 01904 876 527.

What’s on in York: Fairfax House has a new exhibition

Reunited: Lifting Lockdown with the Georgians

Each room in the house explores a different longed for post-lockdown activity, whether that is being reunited with friends and family, having the opportunity to travel, to rekindle a romance placed on pause, to celebrate and dance, or simply to ditch the pyjamas and get all dressed up.

Told from the perspective of the eighteenth century, the exhibition draws on the house’s rich and varied history, as well as utilising its magnificent collections. During your visit you will learn more about life in the Georgian period, from the peculiar rituals of the marriage bed, to their outlandish sense of fashion and their surprisingly similar experiences of travelling. Along the way you will get the chance to try out some classic eighteenth century chat-up lines, learn the steps to popular country dances of the day and how the Georgian’s would have shifted their lockdown love handles.

Throughout your journey you will encounter the one time residents of the Fairfax House, the Hon. Miss Anne and Viscount Fairfax, and learn more about their experiences of living through an epidemic – the often very dubious medical treatments available to them and the parallels their experiences share with our own.

Book tickets online.

York’s young people benefitting from Duke of Edinburgh scheme

Despite the challenges of Covid, lockdowns and national restrictions, the Duke of Edinburgh Award is flourishing.

Currently in York there are 661 young people doing Bronze, 323 Silver and 220 Gold participants. Last year 108 young people from across York successfully completing their Award, including over 3000 hours of volunteering in our local communities.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award offers young people an opportunity to get involved in charity and sporting activities, refining their skills and supporting their local communities. The Award is regarded highly and many young people in York choose to enrol at school. This month over 100 young people are starting their Bronze Award at Fulford School.

Over the last year the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) has adapted to the new challenges, and young people are still giving up their time to develop themselves and support their community whilst demonstrating their determination and resilience.

Councillor Keith Orrell, Executive Member for Children, Young People and Education said: 

The last year has been an enormous challenge for all of us, and to see these young people still continue to work so hard and achieve so much is inspiring.

“This award is a testament to the incredible legacy to the Duke of Edinburgh which has given joy and support to so many young people.

“The awards offer fun, adventure and big challenges to anyone aged 14 to 24, and enhance the offering of activities from our schools and communities. We are proud to be part of this scheme, widely recognised as one of the world’s leading youth achievement schemes, and I applaud all those who’ve pushed their personal boundaries to earn their award.”

“In 2020 all our lives profoundly changed. Schools closed, activities stopped and young people felt isolated. For some, taking part in DofE has been an essential support when their lives have felt like they were crumbling. Over the last year we have been reminded of the value of connecting, communication and community. These incredible young people have chosen to spend their time in our community making a better world.”

When most people associate DofE with expeditions, this is just a small part of the DofE challenge. During the expeditions young people have to independently navigate a route through the countryside then camp and cook for themselves – whatever the weather. To complete their aware they must also have done months of voluntary work, physical activities and built up their skills in a chosen hobby. This combination helps make young people rounded, engaged and dedicated young citizens.

Whilst many of them faced problems where their chosen activities were cut short by covid restrictions, this didn’t stop them rising to the challenge.

Toby Eastaugh, Principal of Vale of York Academy, said:

“The Duke of Edinburgh Award runs in Year 10 and 11 at the Vale of York Academy and is held in high regard among students, staff and parents.

The award allows students to develop resilience, confidence, leadership and above all support their physical and mental well-being.

“Even though the pandemic has halted many things this year, we continue to work without young people on the award and have lots of plans to get students back out of the classroom next summer. As a Principal, it is very pleasing to see our students engaging in the award, a provision which supports our motto ‘Always giving the best”.

Examples of local activities
  • Alexus had been volunteering at his local library. Once lockdown started he became a really valuable friend and support to his Granddad. He not only tended his garden and helped with cleaning and care, he also taught his Granddad to use new technology so that he could keep in contact with the world at large.
  • Cyd switched her volunteering to helping an anxious family friend to relax by giving them on-line art tutorials.
  • Henry was a young leader at his local Scout Group for a year, helping with camps plus activities and badges.
  • Neve was tap dancing for her physical section. When she could no longer attend classes she continued to practice at home and still danced in a planned show – adapted to be online.
  • Luke, a keen club squash player could no longer play regularly, so switched to PE with Joe Wickes for his Physical activity.
  • Numerous young participants took over cooking family meals or doing challenging baking during lockdown for their skills. Many have spent time learning to play a new instrument, or honing their skills on one that they already played. When participants could no longer attend their usual clubs, they enrolled on online courses ranging from money management to robotics to develop a new skill.
  • Participant Jansen completed his Silver Expedition on the North Yorkshire Moors, developing teamwork and resilience.
  • Before the Covid restrictions Nicole was able to do her Gold Volunteering at Respite Centre. She assisted in a variety of tasks which included helping with mealtime assistance, accompany them on outings to places of interest, serving meals, supporting with daytime and evening activities.

What’s on in York: “Finding the Words” poetry events restarting at York Library

York Library is beginning to gets its events programmes sorted out for the post pandemic world.

Their poetry access sessions have been a popular choice in the past


Thursday 27 May 2021 at 7pm
Join us online on for our monthly warm and welcoming poetry evening Finding the Words with Rosalind Easton, Jill Penny and Jeffery Sugarman





Thursday 24 June 2021 at 7pm
Join us online on for our monthly warm and welcoming poetry evening

Finding the Words with Kathryn Bevis, Ellora Sutton and Shash Trevett






Thursday 22 July 2021 at 7pm
Join us online on for our monthly warm and welcoming poetry evening.

Finding the Words with Rachel Bower, Hannah Hodgson and Maggie Mackay

Spring day in west York

Cherry blossom is making a prefect backdrop as more shops and sporting activities get going again in York’s Westfield neighbourhood.

Sunday morning football leagues are being completed.

This seasons Saturday fixtures in the York and District Football League were abandoned several months ago because of COVID restrictions.

It is anticipated that Rugby League matches – including those involving the local York Acorn side which plays in the NCL Premier Division – will be scheduled and will welcome back some spectators when restrictions are further eased on 17th May.

The Acomb Cricket Club is currently playing with no spectators. They won their fixture yesterday against Driffield. They are scheduled to play an attractive Premier League home fixture against the Yorkshire Academy on 29th May, by which time some restrictions on spectator numbers may have been eased.

Less welcome has been the increase in litter which has been seen since economic activity increased. There has been a rise in the number of volunteer litter pickers helping during the lockdown. Hopefully this effort will continue (although it shouldn’t really be necessary!)

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.

Community Stadium cost to taxpayers – £1.6 million a year.

A response to a Freedom of Information request has made the ongoing costs of running the Community Stadium clearer.

The cost of the project has escalated over the years. The scheme, in 2011, was intended to be self funding. The stadium construction would have been paid for by the developer of the neighbouring retail centre. A £16 million budget was set aside as part of a section 106 agreement.

However, it became clear in February 2021 that the Council would in addition have to borrow £16.5 million to fund the completion of the project.

The Council has made what is known as a “minimum revenue provision” (MRP) in its revenue budget of around 7% to cover interest and principal repayments on the borrowing.

This represents an annual liability of around £1.2 million.

To this must be added the running costs.

So the cost to Council taxpayers will be around £1.6 million in total this year. Most of the costs will be ongoing. By way of comparison, the contract for running all York’s libraries is £2.4 million a year.

The FOI response makes it clear that the budget does not make any provision for compensatory payments to GLL to make up for lost income during the lockdown. In other parts of the country COVID grants and loans to leisure contractors have been controversial. click

Of course, GLL do have liabilities. The Yearsley swimming pool, as a stand alone facility, has always been subsidised. The pool continues to provide a unique facility for fitness swimmers and must be sustained.

But elsewhere in the City the organisation has been criticised for losing contact with the needs of local communities. High admission charges at Energise – which lies in the middle of one of the poorest York neighbourhoods – remain an barrier for some potential users.

The Council seems to have left itself with insufficient opportunities to attract additional income from the stadium complex to help offset its investment and borrowing costs.

The project should be subject to an independent review.

York families benefit from Easter holiday activity programme

Families across the city will have access to a holiday activity programme this Easter.

Image result for children playing gifs

The programme is being funded through the government’s Holiday Activities and Food programme (HAF), which provides healthy food and activities to targeted children.

The Easter sessions, which will be held at a number of schools in York, will be used as pilots, with plans to roll the scheme out to more children during the summer holidays.

Cllr Keith Orrell, City of York Council’s Executive member for Children, Young People and Education, said: “School holidays can be a difficult time for some families, particularly with increased food and childcare costs.

“The Easter break marks the first time York has received HAF funding and I hope that this will be the start of a much bigger programme of targeted, enriching activities and healthy food for children and young people, building on the fantastic work that is already taking place across the city.”

Children and young people who are eligible to take part in the programme will be contacted directly by their school.

Weather likely to add to repairs backlog

Looks like we are in for another period of icy weather. It will make repairs to leisure and other paths even more important.

Many off road paths are now very muddy, reducing the choices available for those seeking their daily exercise.

Some sports facilities are also looking neglected and will be needed when lockdown ends.

There will be a a lot of work to do this summer.