Ex Factum seeks York’s lost amphitheatre!

The legend of where York’s long lost Roman amphitheatre lies beneath the city is to be battled out at Ex Factum!gladiators_1689905i

This one-off event is recruiting teams to pinpoint where this legendary venue could be, on Thursday 9 June.

Gladiators fought, rebels were executed and the Emperor may have addressed the VI Legion in the city’s amphitheatre. Now, some 2,000 years after it could have been built, City of York Council, York Museum’s Trust and AOC Archaeology Group are inviting ten teams to join Ex Factum and pitch their brilliant and best theories of where the amphitheatre’s remains could be.

The team that gets the biggest thumbs up from the public for its most convincing and entertaining arguments will win Ex Factum. The top team will have the chance to research its idea for the arena’s location in greater depth with the help of a professional archaeologist who can unearth specialist resources and share trade secrets.

Anyone – inquisitive residents, experts in the field or informed amateurs – is invited to take part in the Ex Factum search in any of three ways:

• Put together a team to argue the case to an audience on 9 June at the Yorkshire Museum. You will have just eight minutes to convince the audience where the amphitheatre is and how it can be found. If the team wants an archaeologist to help them, they’ll be given a professional mentor – just like that well-known talent show! With places for just 10 teams available, tell us why yours should be chosen before the deadline of 5pm on Wednesday 18 May. Choose a likely location to explore and register the team’s details on www.yorkslostamphitheatre.com

  • • Create a poster – A2 maximum size – showing where the amphitheatre is located and what it looked like. There will be special Roman prizes for the best posters/ drawings for the under 10s, under 18s, and over 18s. Submit the finished poster or drawing before Thursday 26 May at 5pm.
  • • Vote for your favourite location – either by joining the audience at the Yorkshire Museum on 9 June at 6:30 pm – book your free tickets at www.yorkslostamphitheatre.com – or vote remotely on the website.
    All the details of how teams can sign up and posters can be submitted at www.yorkslostamphitheatre.com . Here too, tickets can be booked to the presentation and voting event at the Yorkshire Museum on 9 June at 6:30pm is set out. A stash of information sheets and links to further resources can also be found at the website.

Councillor Nigel Ayre, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism, said:

First gliding and kung fu sessions to be offered at York’s biggest 50+ Games

kungfu pensionersKung fu, gliding, kick boxing, weight lifting and fencing taster sessions are being offered for the first time at this year’s 50+ Games which run from Saturday 26 September to Sunday 4 October.

The Eng-AGE 50+ Games is a nine-day event organised by City of York Council in partnership with local sports clubs and coaches and runs alongside the popular York 50+ Festival. It offers an exciting, mainly free programme of taster sessions to introduce those aged over 50 to the broad range of health and fitness activities which take place regularly in venues throughout York.

This year’s record programme boasts 41 sessions and involves 17 different sports clubs. Their offer includes cardio tennis, swimming, walking, running, boxing, walking football and tennis, whilst residents who prefer gentler activity can enjoy bowls, yoga, pilates and seated tai chi. Also on offer is a motorised gliding experience at York Gliding Centre in Rufforth.

All abilities and fitness levels are welcome and the ethos of the Games is as much about meeting new people and taking part than winning!

Councillor Nigel Ayre, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism said: “The Eng-AGE 50+ Games offers residents a fantastic chance to try new sport in a friendly setting and discover where they can continue to take part throughout the year.

“All adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of physical activity a week – just 30 minutes a day will hit that target. Regular sport and activity benefits physical and mental wellbeing, and for older people it’s important to help balance and co-ordination, bone strength and flexibility to maintain a full and independent life.”

The full programme can be found at www.york.gov.uk/engage and leaflets can be picked up from libraries.

For further information contact Megan Hale, Older Peoples Physical Activity Officer, on 01904 553377, email megan.hale@york.gov.uk

York Council – Weekly news round up

York City seek mature players?


Aged 70, I’m at last playing football”- and you can too!

Following a successful pilot scheme between the council and York City Football Club Foundation a new opportunity is available to anyone aged over 50 who would like to step up to walking football.

Walking football is a popular, slower-paced version of the game where running is treated as a foul. This ruling makes it suitable for older people who would like to return to sport or take up a new challenge.


Have your say on the council’s key priorities for the next four-years

Whether it’s focussing resources on providing more housing, good quality jobs or ensuring that there is a focus on delivering key frontline services, the council feels it’s important that everyone has the opportunity to contribute towards these priorities and feedback their views.

York residents and businesses have until Wednesday 26 August to feedback on the draft proposals, which are based on the new administration’s priorities and the council’s statutory responsibilities.

The plan is built around three key priorities, including:

  • A prosperous city for all – where local businesses can thrive and residents have good quality jobs, housing and opportunities
  • A focus on frontline services – to ensure all residents, particularly the least advantaged, can access reliable services and community facilities
  • A council that listens to residents -to ensure it delivers the services you want and works in partnership with local communities.

Feedback can be made via a number of ways below, which will be bought back to an Executive meeting in September for final approval:

  • Online: www.york.gov.uk/councilplan
  • In person: drop by and see officers at West Offices on Wednesday 12 or Thursday 14 August
  • Drop-off points:  at libraries or Explore Centres until 26 August.
  • Social media: ‘tag us’ @CityofYork on Twitter or @CityofYorkCouncil on Facbeook using #councilplan
  • By post: send feedback to FREEPOST RTEG-TYYU-KLTZ, Business Intelligence Team, City of York Council, West Offices, York YO1 6GA.

Number of York jobseekers falls again

National statistics released today have revealed the number of residents claiming Job Seekers Allowance in York has fallen for the fourth consecutive month.

The number of claimants in York has fallen by 49.8 percent in the last year. There are now 791 claimants in York, a fall of 98 from last month and of 1,577 from June 2014. Today’s figures also showed a 58.2 per cent fall in the Youth unemployment count since June 2014.

The claimant count represents 0.6 per cent of the working population and contrasts to the regional average which stands at 2.4 per cent. The figures are also much lower than the national average which stands at 1.7 per cent.


Spin bowler

Councillor Keith Aspden, Deputy Leader of City of York Council said: “It is pleasing to see that partnership working across the city is helping to keep unemployment low and defy the national trend which has seen the number of jobseekers increase in the last quarter. The new Executive is committed to building on this and as part of our Emergency Budget we are boosting support for small local businesses. I am also working with officers to increase the number of apprenticeships in the council and across York.

Adult learners offered more than ever before

York Learning is offering its widest range of adult learning opportunities ever with its new Learning 4 Everyone programme which is being rolled out across the city.

On offer for the first time too is the widest ever selection of courses from learning partners across the city, such as the University of York and York College. The WEA which features in the brochure has reported an enormous amount of interest following their inclusion in the brochure.

The new programme can be picked up from libraries across the city and holds information on over 300 courses taking place over the coming months.


Vote proposed for Business Improvement District

Plans for a ballot to take place in November to allow city centre businesses to decide on a proposed Business Improvement District (BID) will be put to the cross-party Economic Development and Transport Policy and Scrutiny Committee on Wednesday 22 July.

Then, on Thursday 30 July, Executive will consider the report which recommends approval of the continuing development of a Business Development District as well as approve a ballot in November 2015 when city centre businesses will be asked to vote on whether they would like to form a BID.

The initiative, led by City Team York, a group of local businesses chaired by Adam Sinclair, would see businesses predominantly within the inner ring road come together to form a BID company to decide how they pool resources to benefit the local economy.


Public Health report on Dementia Published

City of York Council has published the latest monthly chapter of its Director of Public Health annual report for 2015 which focuses on dementia.

The council’s Director of Public Health is legally required to produce an annual report on the health of the local population.


Low awareness of ‘non-lump’ breast cancer symptoms puts over 70s’ health at risk in York

City of York Council is supporting Public Health England’s ‘Be Clear on Cancer’ campaign launched today which is aimed at women aged 70 and over.

  • just under a half of women aged 70 and over were able to name a symptom aside from a lump
    • latest annual figures show 15 women aged 70 and over died from breast cancer in York in 2013


Parliament Street fountain demolition to be reviewed

Parliament Street fountainYork’s Liberal Democrat Executive Member for Leisure, Culture & Tourism has called for a review of the plan to demolish the fountain on Parliament Street.

 Make It York, the city’s new destination management organisation, said earlier this month that the fountain should go in order to create a more attractive open space which could be used by festivals. It is understood that the previous Labour Cabinet Member had given the green-light to demolition, but since last week residents have said that they want the fountain to stay and an online petition has been launched. This petition runs until August.

The fountain was originally installed 25 years ago, but the power supply was switched off in 2012 when the Parliament Street toilets were demolished.

Cllr Nigel Ayre, Liberal Democrat Executive Member for Leisure, Culture & Tourism, has now said that there should be a cross-party look at the options. He commented:

“The previous Labour administration wasted millions on vanity schemes in the city-centre that had no cross-party or public support such as the controversial King’s Square redevelopment. We are taking a different approach and therefore, when the petition closes, I will ask the council’s cross-party Learning & Culture policy committee to undertake a review.

“This review will allow councillors and residents to have their say and decide how they want the space in Parliament Street to be used within the budget constraints which currently exist. It should be a short review which will also involve proper consultation with market traders and with Make it York.”


NB Cllr Ayre aims to initiate the short review at September’s cross-party Learning & Culture Policy and Scrutiny Committee and no formal decision on the fountain will be taken before

New tennis league open to all

Tennis players in York have a smashing new opportunity to play friendly, competitive matches organised by the group Local Tennis Leagues in partnership with City of York Council.

The competition invites adult players of all standards to pick up their racquets and sign up to a local singles league. Participants are organised into groups and then liaise with their opponent to arrange a mutually convenient time to play, at a court in the city to suit them both. Each round runs for eight weeks and round one launches on Thursday 9 July during Wimbledon 2015.

The local league aims to open up competitive tennis to everyone, whether or not they are members of a club. It will make it easier to compete on public courts by matching interested partners of similar standards and will be a way of meeting new people through sport. The initiative is one of many opportunities across the city to encourage residents to play sport more often and exercise for the recommended 150 minutes a week.  

Top spin

Top spin

Cllr Nigel Ayre, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism said: “Anyone who is inspired by Wimbledon will love this opportunity to play competitively against new opponents in the city. Sporting opportunities such as this are an enjoyable way to build friendships as well as keeping fit.

The league gives a can of free tennis balls to every player who completes three matches by the half way point and there are prizes for the winners of each group. It is affiliated to the sport’s governing body, the Lawn Tennis Association.

To enter the league visit www.localtennisleagues.com/york and register by Monday 6 July. The entry fee is £15 and further information is available from Local Tennis Leagues members on 07503 281732 or email yorktennisleague@gmail.com

York residents face price hike for entry to museums and art gallery

Angry mob - museums

A report to a leisure committee meeting taking place on 22nd June confirms that residents will pay for admission to the Art Gallery, and local museums like Castle, in future.

The Museums Trust is launching its own YMT card which will cost £22 a year.

This will offer unlimited access to York Castle Museum, the Yorkshire Museum & Gardens and the newly refurbished York Art Gallery for a year. The YMT Card saves £5 compared to buying individual day tickets for the three YMT charging venues.

It is clear that, if the Council want free entry for York Card holders to these venues, they will have to increase their subsidy to the Trust.

The move by the Trust is being viewed as retaliation for the decision taken by the former Labour controlled Council to cut its grant from £1.6 million to £600,000 pa.

Admissions to the two museums have remained fairly steady over the last 3 years with between 162,000 and 170m000 visitors being recorded each year.

New York athletics track opened

Over 100 members of the City of York Athletic Club (CYAC) took to the track last night for their first training session at York’s brand new athletics track.

The track has been developed by a partnership of University of York and City of York Council, who have worked together over the past 12 months. The track has been awarded a Class A certificate for a regional centre by UK Athletics.
Athletics track June 2015

The track, built at the University’s Heslington West campus, cost £2 million and was funded by both the council and university. The facility includes an 8 lane synthetic running track, a grass infield for field disciplines like javelin, hammer, discus and shot put and other synthetic areas for pole vault, highjump, long and triple jump. In autumn 2015 additional work will start on a new sports pavilion and covered seating for 500 spectators. In the meantime a temporary pavilion and stand are in place for the summer season. These first class facilities now provide York’s athletes the best possible opportunities to improve their sporting performances.

The facility is the new home for City of York Athletic Club and is also available for use by regional schools, local groups and athletes of all abilities.

Ayre to reconsider role as athletics coach

Ayre to reconsider role as athletics coach

Cllr Nigel Ayre, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism who was at the track for the session said:

“The opening of this brand new track will greatly improve athletics facilities in York. It has been made possible through strong local partnership work between the council, the University of York and City of York Athletic Club. I originally brought forward plans to fund and build a top-class athletics track at the University as the Executive Member in July 2010. I am therefore pleased that this vision has now been realised and athletes of all abilities can start to enjoy the new facilities.”

York Music Centre pupils enjoy regional success

Children and young people from City of York Council’s York Music Centre are celebrating group and individual successes in an Irish music competition.

The group of young musicians competed in the Northern Regional Fleadh in Manchester on Saturday 9 May and has won a place in the All Britain Fleadh, to be hosted by the Northern Region on 27 and 28 June at Meyerscough College near Preston.

Plan ahead for the Tour de Yorkshire

City of York Council is encouraging residents and visitors to plan ahead for Saturday 2 May when stage two of the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire will finish in York.

Stage two of the Tour de Yorkshire will see riders setting off from Selby, racing through the East Riding of Yorkshire before making their way to York. The peloton will enter York from the A166 before taking on two and half laps of a 20km finishing circuit, around the city from the Racecourse and out to Murton, with the finish expected to be between 3.30 and 4pm.

A professional women’s race will cover five laps of the same 20km finishing circuit in the morning, with the race starting at 11am at Knavesmire Road. This will give people another great chance to see world class cycling in York.

The fast-paced circuit will see the cyclists negotiate the city’s historic streets including the bar and cobbles of Micklegate and the beautiful bar walls along Paragon Street.

The circuit also makes a welcome return to Bishopthorpe Road to replicate scenes that were seen across the world during the Tour de France.

From walking to jogging in 10 weeks.

Walkers who would like to speed up and start jogging are invited to join a new programme which transforms residents from striding out to jogging up to five kilometres after 10 weeks.

The Walk 2 Jog Programme, organised by City of York Council, starts on Tuesday 17 February at 6.30pm at Rowntree Park car park. The weekly sessions steadily increase in speed and distance, starting with a three kilometre walk which builds up to a five kilometre jog in week 10.

The fitness sessions are planned to be fun and sociable which participants really enjoy and feel the benefits of in terms of stamina, aerobic capacity and weight loss.

The course will be taken by Jonathan Nyman, qualifying as an England Athletics run leader. Jonathan first started jogging as a way of helping to control high blood sugar levels, which developed into setting up a social jogging group.

Jogging as an exercise is a great aerobic activity which can help weight loss and develop a healthy heart. While many people take up jogging to enter local races and raise money for charity, those who want to carry on will be given other options available, which includes joining other jogging and running groups held across York.

This Walk 2 Jog course is for adults and costs £10 for 10 weeks with each session lasting approximately 40 to 60 minutes. Participants are asked to bring a drink and wear trainers and comfortable clothes. For further information and to book contact Dean Sharp, Sports Participation Officer email dean.sharp@york.gov.uk or call 01904 553377.