Open Meetings

Our last Open meeting was on Monday 15th January.

Kallum Taylor is the recently appointed Executive Officer of York Neighbours and he told us how they provide a helping hand to reduce loneliness, tackle isolation, and support independence for people aged over 65 in our city.

Lucy Fieldhouse is the Project Lead for Social Prescribers in York and updated us on the range of activities they help with.

Both of these topics are about helping those in greatest need.

Diary dates for Open Meetings, 2024, at 2 pm at Friends Meeting House

Monday 18th March

Monday 20th May

Monday 15th July

Monday 16th September

Monday 21st October, AGM, note: 2.30 pm

Monday 18th November

Our Annual General Meeting (AGM) was on Monday 16th October at Friends Meeting House.

Our guest speaker was Councillor Pete Kilbane, Deputy Leader of City of York Council.

Mr Kilbane spoke on the new Council Executive’s strategy of Equality, Affordability, Climate and Housing (EACH).

He then responded to questions from Members on topics including: affordable housing; congestion charging; anti-terror bollards; the Salvation Army contract with the Council; the former sugar beet land and green belt; wealth development funds; the former Post Office premises; road works around the station; environmentally-friendly housing; ageing without children; care home costs; and brown field sites.

Mr Kilbane was thanked for his presentation and the manner in which he had responded to questions.

The formal business of the AGM was then conducted.

• Our summer open meeting was on Monday 21st August

Speakers from First York (Tom Bridge), City of York Council (Michael Howard) and York Bus Forum discussed the bus services in York.

The city has received a grant of £17.5m for the Bus Service Improvement Programme (BSIP) while at the same time bus fares are increasing and there are threats to cut services. All of these affect any public service user and we were able to share our views on these topics.

Matters raised from the floor included: specific bus routes; real time bus information; bus stop accessibility and environments; the iTravel website; polluting buses; electric buses; temporary bus stop closures; York Gateway; absence of printed timetables; reliability and punctuality of buses; wheelchairs on buses; bus drivers; etc.

Tom Bridge, Regional Operations Director for First York confirmed at the Assembly meeting in August, that all
single and double decker buses run by First York will be electrically powered from November. The reductions in
exhaust emissions will make a significant contribution to clean air in the city.

Michael Howard from the Council told the meeting that a Government grant of £17.5 million has been awarded as
part of the “Bus Service Improvement Programme.” In addition to the new buses will have cloth seating, replacing
the synthetic material, currently used. Incentives for greater bus usage included the new “Family Fares” and proposed
discounts for young people.

At a more modest level, money has been allocated for enhancing “real time” information at bus stops and
improvements to bus shelters, but regrettably there are no plans to double the number of wheelchair locations on the
buses.

First are happy to receive comments from the general public at buses@york.gov.uk

The York Bus Forum, which meets regularly with all bus operators can be a useful way of campaigning for better
buses. Contact them on www.yorkbusforum.org or phone 07970 923346

• Open Meeting on Monday 19th June

Speakers were from ExploreYork and York Theatre Royal, both organisations are part of the Arts Council National Portfolio which is targeting organisations outside London.

Jenny Layfield is the recently arrived CEO for Explore York and gave us some idea of how she sees the organisation moving forward. ExploreYork has maintained 15 libraries in the city at a time when many are closing throughout the country. Jenny set out some of her ideas for the future.

Examples of matters raised in discussion included: the need for libraries to be better centres for local information on organisations, events and activities, for example with good prominent notice boards; and to better publicise the nature and benefits of community membership (as opposed to library card holder membership).

Vicky Biles is the Communications and Development Director of York Theatre Royal which has been going through a number of changes and has continued to develop the building space and the range of activities. We heard about the future programme and how people can support their local theatre.

In particular, people were encouraged to attend Chatty Mondays, in partnership with Home Instead, 10am – 12pm, at the Upper Foyer, York Theatre Royal.

• Our Spring Election Hustings Open Meeting was held on Monday 17th April

We invited the leaders of the four main political parties contesting the local elections in York on 4th May to attend a hustings event to give them the opportunity to explain their platform and to answer questions from the public.

We are grateful that Graham Mitchell who is the Chair of the Community Furniture Store and the Community Engagement Director of Joseph Rowntree Theatre kindly chaired the meeting.

York Older People's Assembly
York Older People's Assembly

Tel: 07965 246193

Email: yorkolderpeoplesassembly@outlook.com

St Sampson’s Centre, Church Street

YORK YO1 8BE

Working for older people in York. YOPA aims to:

  1. represent the views of older people in York to decision makers locally and nationally.
  2. Inform older people about services that are available.
  3. Identify where needs are not being met.