Comms Team

Plans underway for York Ice Trail to return in Feb 2022

The UK’s biggest outdoor Ice Trail will be returning for two days on 5th and 6th February 2022 with a range of magnificent ice sculptures set to transform York’s city centre.

Organised by Make It York, the free trail will offer a fun family-friendly experience for residents and visitors to enjoy – with businesses across the city getting involved to sponsor and select the stunning sculptures.

The event has proved very popular in previous years with over 31,000 people taking part in 2020 when the trail took place over two days in February with a theme of ‘Fantastical Fiction and Fairy Tales.’ Over the two days in 2020 40 sculptures were located across the city centre with interactive ice carving walls, live demonstrations and themed activities for all to enjoy.

The event aims to get people moving around the city with 72% of participants in 2020 saying they explored streets they normally wouldn’t. 95% of people said they also enjoyed other activities during their trip into the city centre for the event, including shopping, eating and drinking and visiting attractions – helping to support York’s diverse range of local businesses.

Ashley Young, Senior Marketing & Communications Manager at Make It York said : “The York Ice Trail is a unique event and we are incredibly proud of how it’s grown each year. Whilst we were disappointed not to be able to hold an Ice Trail event in 2021 due to the Covid restrictions, planning has been going on behind the scenes to look at how we can bring the event back next year and make it better than ever.

It is a fabulous family friendly event that gets visitors exploring different areas of the city and helps to support local businesses by driving footfall at a typically quiet period. We are looking forward to unveiling the trail’s theme for 2022 later in the year and working with businesses across the city to plan some spectacular sculpture designs.”

Opportunities are now available for businesses to sponsor one of the ice sculptures, with a variety of sizes available. Email  sales@makeityork.com  to find out more.

Further event details will be announced later in 2021. For more information visit:  https://www.visityork.org/whats-on/ice-trail  and follow the @visityork social media channels and #YorkIceTrail22 for the latest updates.

ENDS

For further information please contact:

Amy Goodman – Consumer Communications Manager – Make It York

Email:  amy.goodman@makeityork.com

Ana Ignatova – Communications Executive – Make It York

Email:  ana.ignatova@makeityork.com

Residents urged to support York’s retail and outdoor hospitality businesses as they safely reopen today

With the further easing of Covid restrictions from today (12th April), many of York’s retailers and businesses offering outdoor hospitality will be reopening in the city and safely welcoming back residents and visitors. Updated information on what is open in the city can be found at www.visityork.org/what-is-open-in-york.  

To ensure an enjoyable and safe experience for people coming into the city centre, Make It York has been working alongside York BID and City of York Council to introduce new temporary outdoor spaces across the city. The new seating areas will allow people to safely see their friends and family and create additional seating to support nearby cafes, pubs and restaurants.  

On Parliament Street, a tipi-style covered seating area with benches has been set up in partnership with Thor’s Tipi, offering extra space for nearby hospitality businesses. The space will be fully managed, with regular cleaning and stewards on hand to ensure social distancing is in place.  The installation of temporary public toilets, additional litter bins and city centre cleaning will also ensure the space is welcoming and safe for all to enjoy. 

Shambles Market will reopen for all traders from 12th April – with a wide variety of independent traders offering local produce, crafts and delicious street food. To help manage the space effectively and aid with social distancing, a number of the Shambles Market street food businesses will be trading from St Sampson’s Square where additional benches will be provided for the public. This will include Shambles Kitchen, KREP and Stam & Maria Greek Street Food.  

York’s Visitor Information Centre will also reopen its doors from 16th April with reduced opening times (Friday-Sunday 10.30AM – 3.30PM) – with plans to open seven days a week from 17th May. The Visitor Information Centre team will be on hand to give locals and visitors a warm welcome and provide information on a range of areas including travel advice, guidance on what is open locally, and expert insight on the city – including leaflets and trail maps.  

Ashley YoungSenior Marketing and Communications Manager at Make It York said: “We are delighted that more of York’s businesses are able to reopen today as lockdown restrictions ease. York has so many incredible independent retailers and a world-class hospitality industry, and it’s a positive step forward that we can start to see some of the businesses that we’ve greatly missed over the last few months now reopening. Local York businesses need our support more than ever before and so it’s really vital that people shop local and get behind the wonderful retailers and hospitality businesses we have in the city. 

“Safety continues to be paramount and we know that a huge amount of work has been done by businesses to ensure that they are offering safe and enjoyable experiences for their customers. The new outdoor spaces in the city centre have also been created to help support nearby businesses by providing additional seating areas for people to relax and safely enjoy their food and drink. “  

Councillor Andrew Waller: Executive Member for Economy and Strategic Planning, said: “We are extremely lucky in York to have such an incredible range of independent and micro businesses. They make our city an exciting and dynamic place to visit, and many of us will be looking forward to being able to support them from Monday. Whilst we are delighted to be able to enjoy even more of what our city centre has to offer, we would still encourage residents to continue behaving safely and following hands, face, space to stop the spread of the virus and keep the people and places we love safe. Let’s keep York open.” 

For more information about what is open from 12th April visit https://www.visityork.org/what-is-open-in-york 

ENDS 

Notes to Editor 

Make It York  

Make It York’s purpose is to develop and promote the city and its surroundings – nationally and internationally – as a vibrant and attractive place to live, visit, study, work and do business.  The company’s remit covers leisure and business tourism, city centre management, festivals and events, business support and inward investment. 

One of Make It York’s strategic aims is to promote York as a brilliant place to do business, helping to support business growth and innovation across a range of business sectors, such as financial & professional services, rail and high value manufacturing and to stimulate greater inward investment. 

For further information please contact: 

Amy Goodman – Consumer Communications Manager 
Email: amy.goodman@makeityork.com 

Ana Ignatova – Communications Executive 

Email: ana.ignatova@makeityork.com  

Meet the Shambles Market Trader: Kevin Tuohy from Bags of Style

Trading on Shambles Market for over six years, Kevin Tuohy runs ‘Bags of Style’ – a business selling stylish handbags and purses, with a diverse variety of designs and colours on offer. Sourcing the very best quality products from trade fairs across the country, Kevin is passionate about providing customers with a wide range of choice and the opportunity to show off their own unique style.  

During lockdown, Bags of Style has continued to operate as an online business with new products regularly added to www.bagsofstyleuk.com. When the market reopens later this month, Kevin plans to be back welcoming customers every Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday – with a wide variety of new products available.   

Kevin Tuohy owner of Bags of Style comments: “I’m really looking forward to returning to the market and meeting up again with colleagues, friends and customers. Things will undoubtedly be different, however I can’t wait to get back into the swing of things and doing what I love most – trading.  

“One of the biggest draws for me is that no two days are ever the same – I love meeting the other traders and forming bonds, and of course interacting with my lovely customers. We get lots of regulars who return time and time again – looking for gifts for loved ones or a treat for themselves. We are happy to get feedback from our customers and will always do our best to accommodate requests for different colours and order them specially in for collection the following week.”  

In addition to running Bags of Style, Kevin is also a part of the York Market Traders Forum –  taking on the role of Chair in 2017 and working alongside the other traders and Make It York to develop the market.  

Kevin continues: “Before the pandemic hit the market was really flourishing and it’s fantastic to be a part of that. Over the years the market has really developed, with a hugely diverse range of traders and a real quality offering. From established traders, to brand new innovative businesses, the market offers a real varied mix for customers and we are very proud of this diversity.   

Since 2017 I’ve been a part of the York Market Traders Forum and this has been a very enriching and rewarding experiencing – I’ve learnt a lot about how a market operates and have enjoyed working together with my fellow traders and the Make It York team.   

What I think is really important to point out is that the Shambles Market traders are really like a sort of extended family to each other. Trading is a way of life and we all look out for one other – offering support through thick and thin, a real sense of camaraderie and a close social network. It’s lovely to be part of the community of traders on Shambles market who are all so passionate about what they do and I can’t wait for us all to be reunited when we are able to reopen again.”  

Find out more about Bags of Style here: https://www.bagsofstyleuk.com/ , follow on Instagram or Facebook.  

Cultural Wellbeing Grants Supports ‘Interconnected: York’s Story Circle’

As part of the launch of York’s Culture Strategy ‘York’s Creative Future’, through the Better Care Fund, Make It York and City of York Council awarded funding of more than £10,000 to seven social and cultural initiatives across the city – with the aim of easing loneliness, isolation and mental ill-health during the winter months. 

The grants were set up in recognition of the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on people’s wellbeing – through shielding, self-isolation and social distancing. 

One project the grant scheme supported was ‘Interconnected: York’s Story Circle’ led by arts organisation Dandelion Arts. The intergenerational project set out to share the life stories of some of York’s amazing older residents – working with young people across the city to create interactive video content based on real interviews which were then shared in nine of York’s local care homes.  

Full of memories, heart and song, the project focuses on bringing to life the stories of York residents – sharing their lives, memories and experiences. The first episode features Maureen’s story, who is an 80-year-old York resident, as she reminisces about growing up in the city in the 1940s and 50s. Maureen’s story was captured and turned into a monologue, which is then acted out by 24 year old student Annie. Talking points based on the story are also filmed with pupils from Fulford School and Vale of York School (12-15 year olds), so that care home residents can then reflect, reminisce and discuss the themes explored together.  

Packs with reminiscence resources are also delivered to each care home to bring the stories to life and spark conversations. The packs include a range of interactive resources linked to the life stories being shared – from ration books and Terry’s Chocolate oranges to Blackpool rock, memorabilia, photos and more – all carefully curated with the aim to engage and inspire those taking part.  

Katie Matthews Creative Director at Dandelion Arts said, “All life lessons come through stories, and this project has proved to be a really engaging way to bring together younger and older people across the city to share some of the fascinating stories of York residents. Raising the visibility of the elderly in the city and learning from them is incredibly important to us. Additionally we have found that this project goes some way to both reduce isolation and loneliness among older residents.  

Feedback shows that for our care home residents the stories really help to light up a part of their life that may not have been shined on for some time – sparking opportunities to reminisce together and talk about their experiences. The young people have also gained a lot from being involved – learning new things and developing a form of creative mentorship. 

We had already been running ‘I See You’, a project that took the stories of care home residents and made them into theatre performances with groups of local young people, but the grant from the Better Care Fund helped us to expand this concept, reaching more care homes across the city and developing the interactive video content and resource packs.  

Our resource packs are carefully curated with the aim of capturing the imagination and triggering memories for discussion – and it’s been lovely to get out to deliver these to care homes across the city and build those relationships. 

Thank you to the Better Care Fund for helping us to grow the project and to all the care home residents and young people who’ve gotten involved with such enthusiasm and passion over the last few months.” 

The second episode launched at the end of March – focusing on Irene’s story, who at 99 is one of the oldest people involved in the project. Irene tells her story of living in Fulford – with Izzy (aged 15) acting out her experiences. 

In addition to ‘Interconnected: York’s Story Circle’, Dandelion Arts are working on a number of other projects with opportunities for people in the city to get involved – including the ongoing ‘I See You’ project to bringing together young and old people to explore life stories through drama. ‘Community Smiles: Bigger Picture Project’, is also currently running in partnership with Local Area Coordinators to give individuals who may be suffering from anxiety or other mental health issues the opportunity to create bespoke pieces of art. The art is printed onto cards, given to school groups, and sent to residents in care homes across the city.  

For more information about the charity visit www.dandelionarts.co.uk or email dandelionarts1@gmail.com for more information.  

Case Study: The Yorkshire Tour Guide

The Yorkshire Tour Guide : A Bespoke Experience

Visit York member, The Yorkshire Tour Guide who offer both private walking tours of York and chauffeur guided tours of Yorkshire are back operating their bespoke tour experiences with new measures in place to ensure both the safety and comfort of guests.

The team is led by Howard Smelt-Webb who is from a farming background (the famous vet, James Herriot (Alf Wight) used to be the vet for the family farm!) and after being a police officer in York for thirty years has intimate local knowledge of the city and its hidden gems. With tour bookings cancelled following the Covid-19 outbreak, Howard and his team have since adapted their business to develop their bespoke walking tours in York – providing a healthy, outdoor experience for visitors to enjoy plenty of Yorkshire fresh air!

A former police officer, Howard explains where the idea of him becoming a tour guide began, “In 2008 we did Bed and Breakfast from our farmhouse in Lower Wensleydale – I often used to cook breakfast in my police uniform and then go off to work! One of our guests who was from Norfolk had never seen the dry stone walls that the Yorkshire Dales are so famous for – so on this particular day I put together a tour itinerary for this guest and his wife with recommendations on what to see and where to go – they came back that evening saying they’d had a great day and suggested that when I retired from the police I should start a tour guide company … the seed was sown!”

30 years later, Howard started a luxury chauffeur company specialising in tours of Yorkshire and this has evolved since with the team now offering both private and bespoke walking tours of York and chauffeur guided tours of Yorkshire. A range of vehicles are available so all group sizes can be catered for.

Howard continues “I enjoy meeting new people and having the opportunity to show people around York and Yorkshire – we have had a range of guests over the years from both the U.K. and abroad, from all walks of life and has sometimes included Hollywood actors, politicians, rock stars, television / sports personalities and high profile business people. The key thing we offer guests is discretion together with a totally bespoke and flexible service tailored to individual requirements.”

One such ‘high profile’ guest visited York in July. Howard picks up the story – “On a Thursday lunchtime, we received a telephone call from a PA in London asking if we were available to provide a bespoke chauffeur guided / walking tour of York that coming Sunday. The guest would be flying up from London in his helicopter with his security team. After confirming details and liaising with his security, we did a recce of the proposed tour route the day before. We had a very flexible itinerary which could be modified on the day if required and took covid restrictions into account. Thankfully the weather was kind to us on the day itself. The guests flew into the outskirts of York by helicopter – we collected the guest’s party with our Jaguar XJL joining other security vehicles for the journey into the city centre.

York was at its best and the guests were thrilled with their visit which included a walk along the city walls, a tour round York Minster, a traditional Sunday lunch of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding together with a walk round York’s historic streets. We then got back in the cars and took a scenic route back to the helicopter via the Knavesmire.” Howard concludes “It was a great day – everything went very smoothly and most importantly of all, the guests really enjoyed themselves and want to return to York as soon as possible.”

Howard and the team have implemented a number of new safety measures including for chauffeur driven tours ensuring face masks and hand sanitiser are provided for the drivers & guests, as well as air purifiers in the vehicles and an enhanced internal cleaning programme. With a range of vehicles available, consideration is given to size of the group and which vehicle is best, whilst also ensuring that guests feel comfortable and enjoy their experience.

Looking ahead, Howard’s team is expanding with a new guide joining this month bringing a wealth of local knowledge which will help enhance the tour guest’s experience and extra historical expertise from his current studies at the University of York in Archaeology . Howard also continues to increase his already significant knowledge on York’s history by taking part in a new University of York course focusing on ‘York:From Romans to the Present Day’ this month.


Howard and his team are welcoming enquiries and bookings for future tours and more information is available here:  www.theyorkshiretourguide.co.uk

Make It York Weekly Update 11/06/2020

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