Open Meetings

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

Monday 15th July

Monday 16th September

Monday 21st October, AGM

Monday 18th November

Our last Open meeting was on Monday 20th May 2

Alison Semmence, Chief Exec at York CVS talked about “York CVS: At the heart of the system”.

Alison took questions from the floor on matters including funding in the voluntary sector and representation of the sector on numerous Boards, etc.

HealthWatch York is your way to influence local health and social care services – hospitals, care homes, GP surgeries, Home care services and many others. Janet Wright is the Chair of Healthwatch York and updated us on the latest news and events affecting the services in York.

Janet took questions from the floor on matters including: the loss of GP walk-in centres; the difficulty of identifying which of numerous routes to assistance to take; the GP complaints procedure; and climate change impacts on health.

Our previous Open meeting was on Monday 18th March 2024

Dr Emma Olandj is the Director of Community Services, Nimbuscare, and leads on the city-wide Frailty Hub initiative. This has now been running since 1st November 2023 and offers a first port of call for crisis help to older or vulnerable people. Emma explained how it works and updated us on the progress to date. She particularly stressed that access to the Frailty Hub is via a GP or attending ambulance paramedic; there is no direct access for patients, and it is for short term acute situations, rather than chronic referrals.

The Falls Prevention service is run by City of York Council and aims to help people stay in their homes. The service covers falls prevention/handy person services, adaptations and energy efficiency grants while helping tenants in Private Rented homes using a regulatory approach. Helen Chafer and Laura Swan were the speakers. Several Members praised their experience of the Falls Prevention Service.

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

Our first Open meeting of 2024 was on Monday 15th January.

The January Assembly open meeting received presentations from York Neighbours (Kallum Taylor) and the lead for Social Prescribing as part of the York Centre for Voluntary Service (Lucy Fieldhouse).

 York Neighbours – over 65 and need a hand with one off tasks, or just want someone to talk to or feeling isolated?

  • Practical one-off jobs. – e. g. changing a light bulb, collecting a prescription or helping with shopping.
  • Regular phone calls – offering an opportunity to chat with someone who cares.
  • Individual and group outings – from afternoon teas, to concerts, to bowling.

Kallum advised there are 74 volunteers as part of the service which is free to use.   Currently there are 524 Neighbours who keep in touch. They have received over 3,000 phone calls.

To contact York Neighbours, ring 01904 891627.

Social Prescribing – what is it? 

It is an approach which connects people to activities, groups or services in the community, to meet the practical, social and emotional needs that affect their health and well-being.

Overall, this is aimed at improving health and enjoyment in life by:

  • lowering stress and anxiety
  • reducing isolation and loneliness
  • generating more motivation and energy
  • improving moods
  • instilling more confidence

Lucy told us that there are 16 social prescribers based at GP surgeries and 6 at the hospital.  Each prescriber produces a personalised care and support plan, which could include creative activities such as art, dance and singing or at a more practical level, counselling – with cost-of-living issues featuring highly.

To get in touch and seek more advice, ring 01904 437911 –  Social Prescribers in York

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

First are happy to receive comments from the general public at

The York Bus Forum, which meets regularly with all bus operators can be a useful way of campaigning for better
buses. Contact them on 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.

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

Tel: 07965 246193


York Older People’s Assembly

St Sampson’s Centre, Church Street


Working for older people in York, we aim 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.