Comms Team

Cultural Wellbeing Grants Support Heritage Hunters Project

As part of York’s Culture Strategy, Make It York, York CVS and City of York Council have come together to award funding of more than £60,000 to nineteen social and cultural initiatives across the city – with the aim of easing loneliness, isolation and mental ill-health across the city. 

The grants, which were made available via the Better Care Fund and Ways to Wellbeing, were set up in recognition of the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on people’s wellbeing – through shielding, self-isolation and social distancing. This series of case studies profiles each of the 2021 recipients: 

One of the projects which has been supported by the grants is Heritage Hunters – which saw 10 Hull Road residents join with York Museums Trust to look back and learn more about the history of the people who used to live in their area. This was not only a research project, but also a way to unite the community and encourage neighbours to learn more about each other.  

Through the use of five workshops running from January to April, the Heritage Hunters worked closely with both York Castle Museum and York Explore to uncover maps, council minutes, photographs, diaries and a whole variety of artefacts that would help them find out more about their local community. 

From the discussions, activities and responses of those involved, a pop-up exhibition has been created which will be loaned to local schools and community centres across the city, allowing them to learn about the newly uncovered history of their local area. Four banners have been created, highlighting all the information collated by the group, as well as booklets which will be distributed to local schools and community centres in May 2022. 

There has also been a 16-page toolkit which has been sent to interested parties living on Hull Road. To date, this has included 50 households and is currently downloadable from the York Musuem Trust website. 

Philip Newton, Communities Engagement Researcher who led the Heritage Hunters Project, says: 

“Honestly, Hull Road Heritage Hunters has been one of the most uplifting and enjoyable projects I have been involved with. Not only have we discovered interesting and personal stories linked to Hull Road but it has brought together neighbours who had never met and now share an interest in their local heritage. The Cultural Commissioning grant award has allowed us to test new ways of working with local communities and will now be able to continue this project annually with other areas in the city; expanding our knowledge of the city and sharing it with local residents.” 

Other comments from participants include:  

The most enjoyable part of the project was ‘meeting other people with interests in local history, and discussing ideas with them. Working in a group of new researchers, and presenting the work together in the community was the highlight. revealing the facts. I also loved scouring the archives.’ 

Participants were pleased at the opportunity of ‘getting the brain cells going, meeting other people and working out how to continue when the project has finished. i.e. attending Tang Hall History groups and the connections made at these places.’ 

‘We’ve loved working on this project & the opportunity to meet our neighbours. I’m sure we’ll all keep in touch. We’re not stopping now – I’m determined to find out when the Bees Wing was built!’ 

Visit York launches Autumn #LoveYork Campaign in partnership with LNER

A new national #LoveYork campaign has been launched by Visit York this month promoting the unique experiences on offer in the city and highlighting some of York’s most iconic attractions.  In partnership with LNER, the campaign encourages visitors from across the country to explore York this autumn/winter and promotes the diverse range of events and festivals happening across the city.  

Targeting a national audience, the marketing activity includes advertising in key London train and tube stations with bold new creative posters promoting some of York’s best experiences. Partners for the campaign include National Railway Museum, Castle Howard, York Minster, JORVIK Viking Centre, York Pass and The Grand, York.  

A radio campaign will also air to London audiences on Capital FM and Classic FM – showcasing a range of #LoveYork experiences, with a month-long series of online advertising and competitions designed to inspire visitors to travel to the city from the capital. The prize will include a chance to win a stay at the Grand Hotel, York including a delicious afternoon tea.  

A refreshed #LoveYork website hub has been created to provide inspiration for visitors looking to plan their trip to York this autumn-winter. Featuring an eclectic mix of festivals and experiences, the hub promotes some of York’s best-loved events including St Nicholas Fair, Narnia at Castle Howard and a range of city-wide Halloween activities. Targeted social media advertising will also run alongside this, using stunning images of York and the city’s best-loved attractions to entice a national audience to book a visit.  

The campaign will focus on the ease of travel to the city by rail – with LNER offering 37 direct services every week day from London. Taking approximately under two hours, families can visit from London for just £99 – with up to 2 adults and 4 children travelling on the LNER all-in-one family ticket.  

Ashley Young, Senior Marketing & Communications Manager at Make It York, said: “We are very excited to launch this new campaign to promote the range of wonderful experiences on offer this autumn. York is the perfect staycation destination for visitors from London and it’s been great to work with LNER on this activity – highlighting the ease and convenience of travelling to the city by train whilst also showcasing the city’s amazing offer.”  

David Horne, Managing Director at LNER, said “We continue to see strong demand for our services with York being one of our most popular destinations. LNER is proud to support this campaign, tapping into the pent-up demand for day trips and UK city breaks. We are excited to be working with Make It York to attract more people to come and discover everything York has to offer. We look forward to continuing to help more people travel to and from York onboard our environmentally friendly Azuma trains with our unrivalled customer experience.” 

Find out more about the campaign here:  


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.  


Visit York is a part of Make It York and is the leisure tourism brand  

Under the brand Visit York, Make It York’s aim is to market York as a must-see world-class destination to the leisure visitor and ensure investment to develop the quality of tourism in York.  

Make It York Appoints New Managing Director

Make It York has today announced the appointment of Sarah Loftus as the organisation’s next Managing Director.

Sarah is currently the Chief Executive of the Lincoln Business Improvement Group (BIG) and previously held the positions of Corporate Director for Economic Growth at Trafford Council and Service Director for Economic Growth and Strategic Housing for Wakefield Council. She also had a series of different roles in the six years she worked for Yorkshire Forward culminating in the role of Assistant Director for the Humber Region in 2008/9.

She is a graduate of Humberside Polytechnic and University College London.

Sarah will join the Make It York team from December 2021, taking a lead on the delivery of a refreshed and innovative tourism strategy, as well as driving forward the city’s cultural strategy and working with stakeholders and partners across the city to promote York’s profile regionally, nationally and internationally.

Greg Dyke Chair of Make It York said , “We are delighted that Sarah is joining the Make It York team. She has extensive experience in both the private and public sectors and she has lived in York part time for some years so she knows the city well. Sarah will also bring a wealth of invaluable experience from the work she has done in Lincoln, Wakefield and Humberside. We look forward to Sarah coming on board later this year and helping us to shape what is set to be an exciting future for York’s post-covid recovery.”

Sarah commented: “I believe I have achieved widespread professional recognition for my work in place management, economic development, regeneration, housing and cultural and community development. Joining Make It York is a challenge I very much look forward to and I believe I can bring innovative solutions to help create a strong and effective future for York.”

For further information please contact:

Amy Goodman, Consumer Communications Manager


Visit York launches ‘Hidden Gems’ Campaign in partnership with York Park and Ride

A new summer #LoveYork campaign has been launched by Visit York this month to encourage residents and visitors to explore the city’s many ‘hidden gems.’ In partnership with York Park and Ride, the campaign highlights some of York’s best kept secrets and encourages sustainable travel around the city. 

The campaign includes a brand new TV advert which will air for four weeks on ITV hub from today (9th August) – featuring local attractions and businesses such as York Cocoa Works, DIG, Shambles Market and more. The TV advert, created by York-based production company Hewitt & Walker, stars Polly Bennett, Founder and Editor of Little Vikings and her family exploring some of the city’s unique experiences off the beaten track.  

Targeted YouTube adverts will also run throughout summer, aiming to reach local and regional families and inspire them to choose York as their next day out.  

A new website hub brings together a curated selection of some of York’s most exciting summer activities, independent businesses and attractions. From free ping pong and sporty sculptures to a pop-up beach and free walking trails, the hub highlights the eclectic range of family-friendly experiences the city has to offer.  

The campaign also encourages travel via one of the five easy to reach Park and Ride locations across York- where visitors to the city centre can park up for free and hop aboard one of the zero emission electric buses to start their sightseeing fun. By downloading the award-winning First Bus App, visitors and residents can easily plan their journeys, track buses live and buy mTickets -costing just £3.30 for an adult day return, and up to three children (under 16) can travel for free with one fare-paying adult. 

Ashley Young, Senior Marketing & Communications Manager at Make It York, said: “York has such a wide range of unique experiences for both visitors and residents to enjoy, and our new campaign looks to really highlight some of the many unique hidden gems on offer. We are delighted to work with York Park and Ride on this activity – promoting sustainable travel into the city centre as a key part of the campaign. 

With so many fabulous independent shops, cafés and restaurants in the city, and an array of world-class attractions and pop-up experiences, York has something for everyone to explore this summer!” 

John Godfrey, Head of Marketing for First Bus York, said: “Through this campaign we’re putting the limelight on lesser-known local attractions which the people of York and its many visitors may not have seen before. It’s a chance to discover new and intriguing shops, hospitality businesses and venues which add to the experience of wandering around the city’s streets. 

“Park & Ride provides an ideal network to travel in and across York and we hope the TV ads will inspire local people and tourists from the region to see that it’s an easy and sustainable way to explore the city.” 

In addition to TV advertising and social media promotions across the summer, an on air and online competition with Capital FM is also running until 15th August with the chance to win £1000 for a day out in York. To enter simply watch the short video of Capital FM presenter’s Adam and JoJo trip to York for a summer day out exploring all the attractions and answer one question. 

Find out more about the campaign here: 


Rugby League World Cup to be staged in 2022

Rugby League World Cup 2021 (RLWC2021) and the UK Government have today announced their intention to stage the flagship event in the international Rugby League calendar in 2022. 

The extremely difficult decision was taken by the RLWC2021 Board, which includes representation from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and the International Rugby League (IRL) Board.  

This follows extensive and urgent consultation conducted by RLWC2021 Chief Executive Officer Jon Dutton and his team, which engaged players, competing nations, the Rugby League Players Association (Australia), UK Government, hosts, commercial and broadcast partners. 

Tournament organisers faced several unique and complex challenges with the most significant being the non-release of up to 400 players, match officials and staff members from the NRL competition in Australia. This is despite all requests from international rugby league federations having been met which included the rigorous health measures that have been keeping thousands of elite athletes from around the world safe whilst competing in major sporting events across the UK over the last year.   

Ultimately this decision has been detrimental to the plans and ambitions of many of the competing nations and potential replacement teams. A key factor was ensuring that fans of Rugby League are able to enjoy the best possible tournament, which was not possible under these circumstances.  

Jon Dutton, RLWC2021 Chief Executive Officer, said:  

“Today is a challenging moment for everyone involved in Rugby League, but most importantly the players and fans of the competing nations.  

“Ultimately, time and competing priorities from others forced us to make the most difficult decision in our six-year history. However, we and the sport of Rugby League are resilient, and next year we will deliver our vision of the biggest and best Rugby League World Cup ever.  

“We have always prioritised player voice and player choice. We have established a player working group, met with senior players and in the last few days commissioned a player survey to domestic players in Australia and New Zealand that showed more than 85% wanted to compete at RLWC2021 this year. However, following the disappointing decision of the ARLC and NZRL to withdraw, and the subsequent impact on player availability for other competing nations, it is apparent that delivering the tournament this year would not be feasible.  

“The wellbeing of all those involved in the tournament, particularly players and team officials, has been our priority. I would like to thank the RLWC2021 Board and my team for the relentless hard work and extraordinary measures that had been undertaken to create a safe and secure environment in line with other major sports events that have been successfully hosted in the UK this year. 

“I would also like to thank all our committed partners as well as the Rugby League community at large who have been so supportive of our trailblazing event. We appreciate the continued and unequivocal support of the UK Government, as well as the understanding of our competing nations.” 

Chris Brindley, RLWC2021 Chair, added: 

“This process has shown that the RLWC Board are responsible leaders who have put the solidarity and unity of the sport first. The Board will now seek the commitment and alignment of all key partners immediately to deliver a clear timetable for the tournament next year.  

“Now is the time for everyone who loves our game to come together, to show that Rugby League deserves its place on the international stage, and that the RLWC is a tournament we can all be proud of.” 

Councillor Darryl Smalley, executive member for culture, leisure and communities, said: 

“Whilst the Rugby League World Cup isn’t happening as soon as we’d hoped, we are glad there are still plans for it going ahead and look forward to welcoming the world’s best rugby league athletes next year. 

“We are working closely with the Rugby League World Cup to prepare for a covid safe tournament next year. The association with the world cup has already seen over £300,000 invested in sports facilities with York’s communities, and we’re determined to build on that legacy. 

“With our partners,  we will continue to make sure this event is a huge success and leaves a real mark on the city, inspiring future generations for years to come.” 

Greg Dyke, Chair of Make It York said: 

 “We understand that it’s been a hugely difficult decision to make and appreciate all the hard work and effort that has been made by the tournament organisers to try to safely stage the event this year. 

One of the main objectives for bringing the event to York was to ensure a long-lasting legacy in the community through ongoing activities with local schools, clubs and wider investment in the sport. There has been so much great work happening in this area already and this will continue to be a strong focus as we build up to the rescheduled event next year.  

We are looking forward to working with the tournament team and stakeholders across the city to plan the biggest and best Rugby League World Cup in 2022. “ 

Jon Flatman, Chairman, York City Knights said : 

 “The Rugby League World Cup team have worked tirelessly to explore all options for the tournament, and whilst it won’t be going ahead as planned this year, we are looking forward to working with them, and  partners across the city to make it happen in 2022.  

We now have another year to build on the plans to ensure a long-lasting legacy for the event – working with schools and across the local community to continue to inspire people about the sport. It is set to be a fantastic event – bringing world class talent in Rugby League to York and something to really get excited about for next year!” 

Troy Grant, IRL Chair, said: 

On behalf of the whole international Rugby League community, I must thank Jon Dutton, Chris Brindley and their team for their unstinting efforts.  I know that their focus is now on 2022. I also place on record our thanks to the UK Government, our sponsors and partners for their support throughout this whole process. They have been outstanding and understanding friends and we look forward to continuing the journey with them. 

“We must now move forward quickly from this point to build confidence in our sport internationally and to seize the opportunity which still presents itself; to deliver the best Rugby League World Cup ever. I look forward to 2022 and the future with optimism and a renewed focus on the importance of international Rugby League for all our members large and small. 

“We have seen the success that the Olympic Games and the Euro 2020 championship experienced after their postponements, and we are all determined to deliver the best Rugby League World Cup ever in 2022.” 

Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said:  

“I am disappointed that we’ve needed to take the decision to delay the Rugby League World Cup. Despite working tirelessly to explore solutions that would allow us to go ahead as planned, circumstances beyond our control have meant that postponing the Rugby League World Cup until next year is the strongest option for staging a successful tournament. 

“In the best interests of the sport and its millions of supporters around the world, I look forward to the Rugby League authorities in all competing nations accommodating a rearranged tournament in 2022, so we can put on the spectacle the fans deserve.” 

Information on the rescheduling of the tournament and new dates will be released by organisers in due course. For the latest news and ticketing updates sign-up via 

For existing ticket holders details regarding the next steps for ticket transfers and refunds will be provided directly by no later than 12 August 2021. 


For more information, contact: 

Michael Gibson 

Head of Media and Communications, RLWC2021 


Phone: +44(0)7435556074 

Amy Goodman – Consumer Communications Manager 
Phone: 07719105088 

Call for young entrepreneurs to take part in York’s Young Traders Market Competition

Young entrepreneurs from across the city are being invited to come and trade at York’s local heats for the National Market Traders’ Federation (NMTF) Young Traders’ Market.  Each Sunday throughout June a series of Young Traders events will be taking place on Shambles Market with anyone aged between 16-30 eligible to apply to take part. 

The heats give a chance for young entrepreneurs to showcase their business on Shambles Market – with the potential to go forward to represent York at the regional competition in Doncaster in July and go on to be crowned Young Trader of Year 2021 at the NMTF national event in August.   

The Young Traders Market celebrates all young entrepreneurs trading on our nation’s markets, festivals and fairs.  Anyone aged between 16 and 30 is eligible to participate in the event, with both trading fees and insurance all covered for the competition day.  

Phil Waines, Market Operations Executive at Make It York said, “This is a fantastic opportunity for any budding entrepreneurs and young business owners who are looking to showcase their skills. It’s a great chance to meet like-minded people, build confidence, and even go on to be crowned Young Trader of the Year 2021! 

The competition is totally free to get involved in and it’s a great way for young traders to get in front of a new audience and kick start their business. We can’t wait to welcome young traders across the city to the heats at Shambles Market and see all the amazing talent of York’s young entrepreneurs.”  

Anyone interested in being a part of the Young Traders Market should simply email by 31st May with details of their business.  

For information about the NMTF Young Trader competition and videos of previous winners, see . 

For further information please contact:  

Amy Goodman, Consumer Communications Manager 


Ana Ignatova – Communications Executive  


Notes to editors: 

About 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. Its mission is to grow the economic prosperity and wider wellbeing of York and its citizens. In practice, this means delivering a range of projects and programmes based around our four corporate strategic priorities.  These are:  

  • City positioning and profile-raising 
  • Inward Investment and network building 
  • Ensuring an exciting city centre 
  • Delivering the city’s ground-breaking Cultural Strategy 

New ‘art bench’ installations to provide additional seating in city centre

As part of the ongoing activity to ensure enjoyable and safe experiences 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.  Over the last week colourful new bespoke seating pods have been installed on Parliament Street, with a series of fun benches which display artwork from local artists ‘Art of Protest Projects’. 

Working with York-based business THOR’S, the new Parliament Street seating pods have been designed to be beautiful and unique spots for residents and visitors to sit and enjoy their city experience.  Alongside the ‘Love York Tipi’ seating area, the colours and flowers used aim to create a place for ‘fun escapism’ in the city with art and photography provided by local artists ‘Art of Protest Projects’. The artwork is a ‘mountain scape’, designed to give a sense of peace and tranquillity in a bustling city and the photography takes in different views of York at its most serene. 

The seating has been designed to encourage people to ‘take a moment to enjoy our beautiful city’ – allowing people to safely see their friends and family and offer additional seating space to support nearby cafes, pubs and restaurants. The new seating pods will remain in place throughout the summer months.  

Also on Parliament Street, THOR’S have worked with Make It York and City of York Council to design, build and manage a covid-secure communal tipi seating area – offering extra space for nearby hospitality businesses. The space is 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 has also been put in place to ensure the space is welcoming and safe for all to enjoy. 

Rachel Harvey Development Manager at Make It York said: “We are delighted to work with THOR’S Tipi on developing these additional new outdoor spaces which are a vibrant and fun addition to Parliament Street. The art benches are designed to give people the chance to sit and enjoy some fabulous local art whilst they relax and take a moment to enjoy our beautiful city. The new seating areas have all been created to support nearby businesses by providing additional spots for people to relax and safely enjoy their food and drink, and it’s been great to see how popular these have been with residents and visitors.”  

Amanda Monaghan, Director THOR’S tipi said: “We were delighted to work on this project. It’s been such a tough year for so many people and it’s the perfect antidote to see pops of colour throughout Parliament Street. We created the various seating styles to be beautiful, unique, practical and something the city can enjoy throughout the warmer months. We worked with Jeff and Brenna (from AOP Projects) to create the artwork and photography, with the theme ‘mindfulness in busy spaces’. We can’t wait to see people enjoying them.”  

Councillor Andrew Waller, Executive Member for Economy and Strategic Planning said: “We are delighted to have worked with partners York BID and Make it York to introduce new outdoor spaces and seating on Parliament Street. 

“We want to encourage people to enjoy the city centre safely.The seating pods will provide a number of picturesque, outdoor spots for residents and visitors to sit and relax safely. 

 “Residents and businesses have been terrific in helping to keep our city and each other safe, but it’s vital that we continue to take the next steps carefully. Residents are encouraged to get tested regularly and to continue to follow hands, face and space.” 

For more information about what is open in the city visit 


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 

Ana Ignatova – Communications Executive 


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  

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 


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 

Ana Ignatova – Communications Executive 


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 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: , 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 or email for more information.  

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