Make It York

York’s business community to take active role in city’s recovery

A series of virtual ‘roundtables’ aimed at all sectors of York’s business community will play a key first step in recovery planning for the city following the coronavirus outbreak. Working in partnership, Make It York, York BID, City of York Council, Federation of Small Business, York & North Yorkshire Chamber Of Commerce and the Local Economic Partnership are calling for businesses to take part in new sector steering groups. The groups will meet each month, to gather sector specific intelligence and challenges to help best determine the most appropriate opportunities and business support to support the city’s recovery planning. 

The steering groups aim to provide businesses with support tools and guidance, identify opportunities for collaboration and growth, create a peer to peer support forum and act as a way to gather ongoing intelligence across all sectors. This will then feed into wider economic opportunities to support local and regional planning and for lobbying national government for additional support as required. 

Twelve sector groups made up of representatives from across the city’s businesses will be launched with the objective of gaining a deeper understanding of the current issues and challenges businesses are facing – both in terms of short-term impact and the support needed – and the mid to long-term opportunities for recovery.

Monthly virtual ‘roundtables’ will be set up for each of the business sectors with the aim of around 10-15 businesses participating, with all areas of the business community urged to take part –  from small/micro businesses to large organisations. The digital format for the steering group meetings will enable a cross section of businesses from each sector to be involved in the discussions, which aim to gather feedback and act as a catalyst for recovery planning in the city.

The focus for the groups will be to share intelligence and expertise, offer peer to peer support and provide guidance and discussion on a variety of areas including the availability of funding/grants, people management, employee engagement, training needs, customer service and physical city and organisation infrastructure.

Businesses who are interested in participating in the roundtable events can contact the Make It York Business team on   

For further information please contact:

Amy Goodman, Consumer Communications Manager


Ana Ignatova – Communications Executive


Make It York Blog – Recovery planning for the city

Make It York’s Managing Director, Sean Bullick, discusses the challenges facing York’s businesses and how we can work together to plan the recovery phase across all sectors…

Make It York held our first virtual Board meeting at the end of last month and the first item on the agenda was, of course, how we are supporting York’s business community during this challenging time. The answer to that, is working flat out to help companies secure the grants and loans they need to survive. Where businesses aren’t eligible for reasons of sector, size or structure, we are instead gathering the evidence and making the case for additional, targeted assistance. We’re also providing advice on everything from furloughing staff and developing access to alternative finance options, to business continuity and adapting business models to cope with the crisis.

It wasn’t long however before the “R” word: recovery, became the focus of the conversation. This is both recovery for Make It York as an organisation, but also primarily recovery for the city and region, and what that might look like: what changes will the crisis have catalyzed, what will be the same and what will be different, what are the common opportunities and those which are specific to York, where will changes be only temporary and where will they be permanent?

Now for Make It York, the answers are relatively simple: we will continue to provide support to businesses in the city along with partners, including the city council, albeit in an evolved form. We will refocus our resources on promoting York as a place to do business, and of course as a world-class destination. We are also starting to plan how we can create a buzz with a range of high-quality events bringing our residents back into the city centre and attracting visitors from further afield once lockdown restrictions are lifted and it’s safe to do so.

Questions of how the city and the economy bounce back, and how people work, live and behave are of course though more fundamental. And there are lots of them: what does all this mean for York’s economy and could, or should, it spur further diversification? Does the crisis make the delivery of York Central even more important? How will our visitor attractions cope with the challenges of social distancing and do those challenges come with any opportunities? What is the scope for our public services to adapt their use of technology to enhance their services? Will the experience of our cultural and creative organisations and businesses allow them to establish additional commercial revenue streams? How will recovery timelines differ from sector to sector? What will be the impact of more blended learning for students and the universities? What have we learned about the benefits of relying on a regional supply chain in a crisis and can this be used to develop stronger regional economic ecosystems? Should York be taking a lead from cities like Milan and considering a post-crisis permanent exclusion of cars from the centre of York? How are open spaces and the city’s parks used and viewed differently, and by whom? What is the likely impact on office space demand of increased home and flexible working? 

Working with businesses across the city to answer some of these questions is why we’re setting up a series of virtual roundtables – in partnership with York BID, City of York Council, Federation of Small Business, York & North Yorkshire Chamber Of Commerce and the Local Economic Partnership – for twelve different sectors in York’s business community. Together we are calling for businesses to take part in these new sector steering groups to develop the city’s recovery planning. 

If your business would like to contribute to this collaborative effort, please get in touch with our business team via

The next few months will be undoubtedly challenging for us all, as we face a very different future to the one we imagined at the start of 2020, but now is the ideal time for us to come together and make changes to protect our economy and the city that we live and work in.

Make It York Weekly Update 07/05/2020

Welcome to the Make It York weekly update, with the latest information and business support measures available during the current coronavirus outbreak, as well as updates on our activities and opportunities to get the most out of working with us.

Make It York Weekly Update 30/04/2020

Welcome to the Make It York weekly update, with the latest information and business support measures available during the current coronavirus outbreak, as well as updates on our activities and opportunities to get the most out of working with us.

Campaign launched to lobby government for urgent support for city’s cultural and creative sectors

Make It York and City of York Council have joined forces with other key players across York’s cultural sector to be a part of an open letter to government today (Monday 27th April) calling for an urgent fund for creative industries to help those organisations and professionals hit hardest by the fallout of Covid-19.

The open letter to Government is part of a campaign led by the Creative Industries Federation seeking to highlight the urgent support needed for the creative industries. The letter warns that the government must “act, and act fast” to avoid the UK becoming “a cultural wasteland”. Key players from across the city’s cultural sector have signed the letter including the Guild of Media Arts, York Museums Trust, York Theatre Royal, York St John University, Explore York Libraries & Archives, National Centre for Early Music, Pilot Theatre, York Civic Trust and York Music Venue Network. It has also received support of signatories from across the UK’s creative sector, from leading actors, writers and musicians, to heads of some of the UK’s best-loved creative and cultural organisations.

As part of the ongoing business impact survey which is being carried out by Make It York in conjunction with the City of York Council and York BID, early results have shown that the city’s cultural sector is urgently in need of further Government support. With a third of York’s creative industry sector saying they do not have sufficient capital to survive the business impacts they are facing as a result of COVID-19, initial indicators from the survey also have shown that more than 50% of the sector expect to be affected for six months or more once social distancing restrictions are lifted – with two thirds of these predicting it will take more than 12 months.

These initial results come as part of a wider assessment of York’s business community which is currently being carried out by Make It York to gauge the key issues facing the different industries. The feedback given will be used to tailor how business support is delivered most effectively to the different sectors and adapt resource as needed.

The letter forms part of the Creative Industries Federation’s #OurWorldWithout campaign, which celebrates the UK’s brilliant creative industries whilst drawing attention to the fact that more than 50% of creative organisations and professionals have already lost 100% of their income. Creative Industries Federation research shows that 1 in 7 creative organisations only have reserves to last until the end of April. Only half have reserves that will last beyond June.

Councillor Darryl Smalley, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure & Communities said: “Whilst the current Government measures which have been put in place to support the cultural sector are welcome, there is more which urgently needs to be done to protect businesses and individuals working in these industries. In York, we anticipate many of the 1000 micro and one-person businesses who have benefited from City of York Council’s Covid-19 Micro Grant Scheme will be in the cultural and creative sectors. We will continue to work with the Creative Industries Federation to support their nationwide campaign to ensure the Government to take action in this area.”

Sean Bullick, Managing Director at Make It York said, “We know that the impact on local York businesses across all sectors is huge and our business impact survey has already highlighted some key areas where more support is needed. The creative and cultural sectors are immensely important to York’s business community and with the city’s theatres, venues, museums and galleries closed due to lockdown, we need to ensure that we are doing everything we can to support this sector.
“We have already doubled the size of the Make It York team helping businesses access loans and grants and are passing on intelligence around where more support is required to the LEP which is, in turn, talking directly to HM Treasury with a view to extending support. The extension of government loan guarantees to cover 100% of loans to businesses with a turnover of less than £500k is a good example of the influence we can have by working together.
“We have also begun looking at recovery once lockdown restrictions are eventually lifted. This includes planning for a range of high profile events in the city and making sure that York’s profile is front and centre regionally, nationally and internationally.”

The Make It York business support survey is currently open for businesses to feedback their experiences of how they have been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak and can be accessed here:

Make It York Weekly Update 23/04/2020

Welcome to the Make It York weekly update, with the latest information and business support measures available during the current coronavirus outbreak, as well as updates on our activities and opportunities to get the most out of working with us.

Bloom! goes virtual with new online community project

Following the recent announcement that the city-wide Bloom! 2020 festival which was planned for June, had to be cancelled due to the Coronavirus outbreak – festival organisers Make It York are calling on residents to take part in a virtual Bloom! project run by local artist Louise Rowley.

The project encourages people to capture the beauty of nature during their daily exercise, in their garden spaces or online – and create their own ‘works of art’ which will be shared on the virtual ‘Room to Bloom’ exhibition page as a tribute to all key workers. The aim is to come together as a community to create a virtual ‘bunch of flowers’ as a way to say thank you to all key workers.

From pictures of your favourite flowers and photos of your garden to poems about what you see on your daily walk – a variety of art forms will be included. Children and adults across the city are encouraged to get creative and share their nature-inspired drawings, photos, collages and paintings. Entries can be submitted by email to or via social media using #RoomtoBloom2020.

‘Room to Bloom’, which was founded in 2018 as part of the original Bloom! festival was set up by local artist Louise Rowley, who was inspired to raise awareness of mental health issues after a close friend took their own life.

Louise Rowley said: “My aim with relaunching the project with this new virtual format is to keep us safe, positive and creative during this new and challenging time as the Coronavirus forces us into a new way of life. Although temporary; it is these hours, days, weeks in isolation where it is as important to keep a positive outlook and to remain part of our community. I also really wanted the project to be a way for us to pay tribute to the amazing work that key workers are doing to get us all through this time and create a huge ‘bunch of flowers’ to say thank you.

“We would love for anyone and everyone to take part in this project and be part of our creative online community. As with our 2018 project, maintaining positive mental health and raising awareness of mental health difficulties is very much our aim. We all have room to bloom.”

Dominic Berry, Bloom! Festival Manager at Make It York said: “We were so disappointed to have to cancel the Bloom! festival this year but we would absolutely love people to get involved with this online project which really captures the heart of what the event was about – coming to together as a community to celebrate the beauty of nature. This is a great project that adults and children of all ages can get involved with and show their creativity – and we are really looking forward to seeing all the entries.”

For more information visit

Make It York Weekly Update 17/04/2020

Welcome to the Make It York weekly update, with the latest information and business support measures available during the current coronavirus outbreak, as well as updates on our activities and opportunities to get the most out of working with us.

Make It York Weekly Update 09/04/2020

Welcome to the Make It York weekly update, with the latest information and business support measures available during the current coronavirus outbreak, as well as updates on our activities and opportunities to get the most out of working with us.

Call for residents to shop local as Shambles Market traders offer new home delivery options

With Shambles Market currently open daily for fresh food traders only – including fresh fruit & vegetables, fish and meat – many other traders have taken this opportunity to offer new home delivery options on a wide range of different products. To help raise awareness of this, Make It York have launched a new website hub where Shambles Market traders can promote their home delivery options, offers and content.

The aim is to provide residents with opportunities to support small local businesses during this challenging time and promote the diverse range of businesses that operate from Shambles Market. From local Cottingley ‘fairytale’ gin and luxury clothing, to handmade soaps and candles – the website features a range of products, with more being added each week.    

Sean Bullick, Managing Director at Make It York said, “We understand that this is a very challenging time for our Shambles Market traders following the temporary closure of the market last month and we are keen to support however we can in promoting the wonderful array of local products that they have to offer.

It’s been great to see businesses diversifying to offer online ordering and home deliveries and we are working on ensuring our website includes all the up to date information on the Shambles Market traders offering this option. Our team are on hand to help any of our traders create a profile on the site and we are keen to get as many as possible included. We are very much looking forward to being able to reopen Shambles Market when the government restrictions are lifted –  but in the meantime we encourage residents to consider supporting a local business wherever they can, either through purchasing fresh fruit and veg from the market stalls or shopping online with our traders.”

Traders are also taking this opportunity to offer discounts and savings on their products. Luxury clothing brand Copper and White are currently offering a 20% discount when ordering two or more items – with a range of beautiful contemporary clothing, accessories and jewellery on offer. 

Clare Morris, Owner of Copper and White said: “Online sales are really important for us at this time when we aren’t able to trade from the market and it’s great to be a part of Make It York’s online hub for traders to promote their content and offers. Thank you to all our customers who continue to support Copper and White via our online store!”

The site continues to be updated on a regular basis and traders who wish to have their details added can contact the Make It York team directly on for this to be included.

For more information on the traders offering home delivery visit: and follow the Shambles Market social channels on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest updates from traders.

Shambles Market continues to be open daily for fresh food traders – including Sheila’s Fruit & Veg, Swain’s Family Butchers and Cross of York Fresh Fish.

For further information please contact:

Amy Goodman, Consumer Communications Manager


Ana Ignatova – Communications Executive


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