A detailed view of a rainbow corner flagIt looks like a controversy may be brewing over the York Council’s membership of a LGBT  organisation called “Stonewall”.  The Council has been a subscriber for about 10 years. In return for a £2500 annual membership fee, it is described by Stonewall as a “diversity champion” on its literature.

Having flown largely under most peoples radar for some years, the organisation has become more controversial recently. It is telling people how to style themselves and those that they interact with. A current Freedom of Information request is seeking  more information from the Council.

The issue has been highlighted by the decision of various government departments and organisations  like Channel 4 to withdraw support from Stonewall. This is turn appears to have been prompted by some – borderline eccentric – missives from the organisation which included a plea to re-label “mothers” as “a parent who has given birth”.

The genesis of the controversy though appears to have been differing views on Trans-gender policies.

We think that people should be able to label themselves as they chose. If “product of incubation tube 5” suits, then so be it.

But organisations which accept taxpayer funding must also be sensitive to the views of others. There is sometimes a fine line between educational and political activities. Stonewall is a registered charity.

It is not just national organisations that need to be sensitive to the views of their members and supporters. For a couple of years now York Civic Trust (also a charity) has been edging towards a more extreme approach to transport policies. Its latest attempt to influence the emerging Local Transport Pan can be found be clicking here

“For the city centre, we propose that removal of what the Council refers to as non-essential
car use should be achieved by restricting through movement*, increasing parking charges
and selective reduction of parking space. Expansion of the Clean Air Zone to include cars
would help achieve our low emission targets. It may also be appropriate to consider a
permit system for access, enforced as Coppergate is currently“.

reduce the mode share for travel by car to 49% in 2027 and 40% in 2037“.

*NB. the only significant volume of City centre  “through movement” vehicle journeys currently takes place via Lendal Bridge

The statements are made without any attempt to model the impacts that such policies would have on the rest of the City, much less the consequences for the economy.

The members of the Civic Trust, and citizens more generally, will expect a measured and evidenced approach from the Council as it reviews its transport plans.

Council decides who will use Barbican free days in 2018

York Barbican

The York Council has decided to allocate the two free “community days” at the Barbican auditorium in 2018 to York Pride and the York Music hub

  • York Pride is a registered charity working for the LGBT community in York. According to the Council, they propose to create an evening of song and dance that celebrates a life of diversity in York for the whole city hosted by the LGBT community. A unique blend of west end musical numbers performed by West End singers and joined by community groups and singers to represent themselves, encouragement will be given to local dance groups and music community groups for the disabled, LGBT and Youth groups.

Hosted by a local celebrity to bring together all the strands and stories it will combine acts, groups and musical numbers allowing each and every person to shine. The event will encourage diversity and acceptance in our society and promote a campaign that Hate Crime is not tolerated in York no matter of your gender, sexuality, race, creed, colour or faith.

The charity have identified the performers and celebrities from a unique and diverse group that already exists in York who have established connections within the city to bring the event together.

  • York Music Hub is a newly established charity dedicated to providing the highest quality of opportunities for children and young people and seeks to foster a life-long love of music, both within and beyond the classroom.

The hub provides opportunities to play in ensembles and to perform from an early stage together with access for pupils to high quality music experiences working with professional musicians and venues. The Hub proposes to stage the York Music Hub Festival, celebrating the musical achievements of children and young people from across the city, drawn from schools, out of school provision and community groups.

This high profile event is expected to attract around 1,000 performers and an audience of up to 2500 (spread across 2 events – one in the afternoon and one in the evening). This will be the first major event organized by the new York Music Hub.

The “free” days were negotiated by the Council in 2010 as part of the lease arrangement which saw the private sector taking over the running of the Barbican.


What’s on in York: We are friends LGBT

Date: Sat 6 Feb
Time: 11.00am – 12.00 noon and 2.00pm – 2.30pm
Venue: Acomb Explore Library and York Explore Library
Cost: Free drop in but must have a ticket

Come and join Mud Pie Arts, Acomb Explore and York Explore for a special story time.

Sat 6 Feb : Acomb Explore Library : 11.00am – 12.00pm

Books AliCome and join Mud pie Arts and Acomb Explore on National Libraries day for a special story time all about celebrating difference, tolerance and being friends.

The stories and activities are aimed at children aged 3-7 and a parent or carer must stay.

This is a free session but booking is advised as places are limited

Please contact Katie Atkinson on  or ring  01904 552651.

Visit the Explore York website