Task group to address mental health issues among York students

A report highlighting health problems faced by further and higher education students in York was accepted by York’s Health and Wellbeing Board on Wednesday 12 July, as was its recommendation that a task group led by the city’s universities and colleges is set up to address the issues found.

Recognising that students’ health needs – and mental health needs in particular – are changing, the report was commissioned by the Health and Wellbeing Board from City of York Council to help guide commissioners and service providers to meet student need.

While addressing health needs in the round, the report found that mental health has overtaken traditional issues such as sexual health, drugs and alcohol as the main area of concern among students. It suggests measures including improving preventative services and creating a greater understanding and openness around mental health to reduce stigma and so prevent delays in accessing support.

Of a survey of 1,800 students, the report found 45 per cent reported having either a diagnosed or an undiagnosed mental health condition. Students reported a large number of factors affecting their mental wellbeing, including academic pressures, finance, social relationships and physical health problems.  (more…)

Chance to bid for a share of £30,000 to help reduce waste in York

slothCommunity groups across York are being given the chance to bid for a share of £30,000 to support community projects that could help reduce waste.

The kinds of projects the fund will support includes:

  • Reducing waste from households e.g. reduce household waste going into the grey bin / helping to increase the amount of waste recycled
  • Promoting waste prevention e.g. encouraging reuse, repair and recycling of items / reducing food waste (in line with the Love Food Hate Waste campaign)
  • Reducing carbon emissions e.g. finding alternative options for composting garden waste for households with no collection / using lower carbon travel alternatives

Registered charities, not-for-profit organisations (including social enterprises), community or voluntary groups, schools, colleges or universities, residents associations and Parish Councils can all apply for funding. Projects can also include a partnership with a private sector organisation.

Cllr Andrew Waller, Executive Member for the Environment, said: “This fund is a great opportunity to help communities and groups reduce waste and encourage re-use. By providing the funding to enable them to get their campaigns off the ground, this will really help us to create a more sustainable and resilient One Planet York, and make York the “Greenest City in the North”. We encourage as many groups as possible to apply for this funding before 20 January.”

Groups can apply for any amount of funding between £1 and £5,000 but if there are a large number of good applications then awards may be reduced proportionately.

The closing date for applications is 5pm Friday 20 January 2017.

To request an application form please email ycc@york.gov.uk with the subject ‘York Community Recycling Fund’.

To find out more information visit: www.york.gov.uk/recyclingfund, which includes examples of the types of schemes the council will fund, how to apply, the timescales for applying and further supporting information.

Council supports students to recycle up to £102k-worth of donations for charity

Recycling promoted by City of York Council, university students and The British Heart Foundation (BHF) could have raised up to £102,312 for the charity last academic year.recycling-community-9155

With council and university officers promoting recycling to students and by BHF providing recycling banks, 7,380 bags were donated between October 2015 to September 2016 to go towards funding the fight against heart disease

For the fourth year running, BHF shops have teamed up with University of York, York St John’s University and City of York Council to encourage students to have an end of year clear out and responsibly dispose of unwanted items by recycling them or by donating them to the charity.

The council donation drop-off points and BHF bins located in areas near where students live were well-used. The clothes, shoes, books, DVDs, bags and small electricals no longer needed are now being sold in BHF shops to help fund BHF research.
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Education day aims to ensure York’s students stay safe

Police and educational institutions in York have joined forces to make sure young people studying in the city stay safe.
Welfare and security staff from York St John University, the University of York and York College attended a training and education day with North Yorkshire Police officers and local charities earlier this month.

The day, on Thursday 6 October, focused on vulnerability, providing the right support to students, and protecting them from drinking to excess, drugs, domestic abuse, hate crime and other issues affecting young people.

Attendees received presentations from Supporting Victims, the Lifeline drug abuse charity, and police officers with specialist training in dealing with hate crime, sexual abuse and modern-day slavery.
(more…)

Students, rubbish and recycling

 

Student WasteA review of the way that students dispose of their rubbish in York has been published.

It is fair to say that the accumulation of piles of rubbish in areas with a high student population has been a cause of friction in the past. This usually peaks at the end of term when students move out.

Issues have included:

  • rubbish and recycling put out at the wrong time/day/place
  • waste not properly disposed of at the end of term/end of year
  • complaints from other residents about waste issues
  • low levels of recycling

rubbish-monk-bar-car-parkIt is likely that areas with a large student population may be targeted to increase recycling. A move from black sacks to the use of wheeled bins may also be considered.

In 2014 and 2015 dedicated end of year clear out programmes took place in both areas of student housing, co-ordinated by the Smarter York and NE officers. These involved the following activities:

  • Leaflets delivered to all affected student households in May detailing the options for recycling/reuse/disposal of waste
  • Extra rubbish and recycling collections organised on designated dates/times for both housing areas (in 2014 there were 4 extra dates, in 2015 there was one extra date)
  • Charity reuse banks sited in key locations and students encouraged to donate suitable items: Monk Bar Car Park corner of Kent Street and Barbican Road, corner of Garrow Hill Avenue, Jaipur Spice Car Park, Londis at Penleys Grove Street
  • Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC) – students with student union cards are allowed take waste to Hazel Court using van/trailer without the need to apply for permits. Use will be monitored by staff at the HWRC to ensure that valid student union cards for the York learning establishments are only accepted and that the number of occasions each student uses the service is reasonable.

York students not so noisy!

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

There were fewer complaints about noise nuisance in York last year than in previous years.

A freedom of information request has revealed that the York Council received 1584 noise complaints in 2014/15.

This was down from the 1614 received in the previous year.

The Council was unable to say how many complaints had concerned properties occupied by students but, of the 47 noise abatement notices served, none were for properties occupied by students.

 In 2012/13 the figure had been 10.

Council to support students and charity during end of term rubbish clear up

As part of this year’s campaign for a tidy end to the academic year, City of York Council is working with British Heart Foundation (BHF) to back its fundraising, and support students to recycle and dispose of waste responsibly.

Student Waste

In this, the third year of the campaign, the council will be making extra collections of grey bins or bags – whichever are usually collected – on Saturday 27 June in The Groves, Hull Road and Fishergate areas. Students leaving their accommodation for the summer and residents will both feel the benefit and are being urged to make the most of this opportunity.

Besides putting out their waste, local people and students will be encouraged to donate to BHF items suitable for sale, at 10 permanent clothing banks at key drop off points located across the city and university campuses.

These will be collected by the charity and sold as part of its Fight For Every Heartbeat campaign.

Information leaflets and maps of BHF collection bin locations and BHF collection bags will shortly be distributed to households in the three areas.

Last year 1,899 bags were collected through BHF’s special collection bins. Each had an average weight of 8.2 kilos, yielding a total 15.6 tonnes of donations which, using BHF’s estimate that each bag has a £20 value, £37,980 was raised for the British Heart Foundation by York residents and students.
(more…)

Council Tax in York – value of exemptions published

Student accommodation costs taxpayers £18 million over 5 years.

The York Council has published a table showing the amount of Council Tax not collected over the last 5 years because of approved “exemptions”.

The amount not collected totals £34 million.

By far the largest proportion of this is accounted for by student occupied accommodation. This accounts for around £18 million of the total. Central government claims that this is recognised in the grant distribution formulae which is aimed at equalising resources between different Councils (and is effectively funded from income tax). However the precise make up of individual central government council support grants is largely opaque.

 The figure is likely to re-energise the claims of those who feel that student accommodation should attract either Council Tax or Business Rates payments.

Other reasons why properties did not attract Council Tax liability included:

  • Empty and unfurnished property (£4.5 million)
  • Awaiting probate (£1.9 million)
  • Student halls of residence (£1.7 million)
  • Occupation by members of the armed forces (£2.9 million)
  • Property occupied by people with a mental handicap (£2.3 million)
Council Tax exemptions click to access

Council Tax exemptions click to access

Footnote
There are three main reform options for Student flat exemptions

1. Charge each student Council Tax with benefits (rebate) available to those on low incomes. This is essentially the position at non-student occupied private sector lettings. OR

2. Levy Business Rates on exempt student occupied properties. Some private landlords might qualify for small business rate relief. OR

3. Make the additional grant, that central government says it pays Councils with a high student population, entirely transparent. Residents should be able to understand and audit the assumptions behind the figures. OR

4. Leave things as they are which means that some residents – who may have no more income than many students – may pay more for local public services subsidising, not students, but private landlords.

There is a good argument for 3 above given that most landlords do pay tax on their incomes and it is a system that should be easy to implement.

Out of this world cycling video is a hit with students!

A series of informative videos have been created to promote cycling in a safe and courteous manner around York.

The videos, which are part of the i-Travel York initiative, feature an alien cycling along some of York’s well known cycle tracks, giving tips and advice to cyclists along the way.

The videos encourage cyclists to ride with lights, lock their bike securely and ride on the road and designated cycle paths.

The project is supported by the council’s four-year i-Travel York initiative, made possible by £4.6 million of government funding which the council successfully bid for in 2011.

The videos can be viewed at

http://www.york.ac.uk/admin/estates/transport/cycling/security/meet-the-alien/

Students leave door open for burglars

York police and the Safer York Partnership are urging students and local people to be more security conscious after they found 29 insecure properties during an operation in York last night.

Student burglaries

As part of a week-long national campaign targeting burglary, officers from York Safer Neighbourhood Team and the Special Constabulary targeted properties in the east of York following a number of sneak-in burglaries at students’ houses.

The operation was supported by the Safer York Partnership and “Burglar Bill” to raise awareness of the importance of basic security measures such as locking your doors.

Sergeant Andrew Godfrey of York Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “There was a very serious message behind this operation. Sneak-in burglaries – which is where opportunist thieves target unlocked doors and windows – account for around a third of all burglaries reported to the police.

“Simple measures can be taken to stop these happening. We know security is the last thing on students’ minds, but it is important to get the message across about the basic measures they can take.

“Thieves are on the look out for items left on view, unlocked doors, open windows and properties left in darkness. So please make their lives as difficult as possible by following our top security tips.”

Jane Mowat of the Safer York Partnership, added: “We are pleased to be supporting this initiative and we can’t stress enough the importance of securing your property.”

Follow our top security tips

  • • Take you valuables home with you when you leave for the holidays
  • • Always lock your accommodation – whether it’s the main door or your bedroom door.
  • • Make sure you have strong locks on your doors
  • • Fit timer switches to lights if you are going to be out during the hours of darkness, if a property looks occupied, it is less likely to burgled
  • • Remember to set timer switches to come on when you are away during holidays
  • • Don’t leave valuable items on view where opportunist thieves can see them through windows and doors
  • • Lock your door if you are in halls, even if you are only going down the corridor
  • • Make sure that main entrance doors shut behind you and don’t let other people in with you
  • • Don’t advertise your expensive Christmas presents by leaving packaging outside for all to see
  • • Get home contents insurance. You may be able to extend your parents’ home insurance policy for no extra cost. Alternatively, many insurance companies have competitive deals for students