Make It York News

York’s business community takes active role in planning city recovery

The first wave of a series of virtual ‘roundtables’ made up of all sectors of York’s business community has now concluded – with the insights gained from businesses being used to implement support measures and develop the city’s recovery plans.

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 have been holding roundtable meetings with over 120 businesses across the city’s key sectors to gather intelligence and identify the practical support measures needed. Further waves of roundtable events are now scheduled in to build on this initial insight and continue to support businesses over the coming months – with businesses encouraged to get in touch with Make It York to be a part of this.

The twelve sector roundtables were made up of representatives across the city and from the discussions, common themes were identified across the different sectors of the city’s business community. The intelligence gathered has been used to develop and roll out a range of support measures for businesses following this feedback from the first wave of meetings.

The primary area of concern raised across all sectors was around finance and the assistance and support on offer. In response to this the Make It York team have been offering one-on-one guidance sessions with businesses to provide clarification on the support and funding they are eligible to receive. The micro grant and additional extended micro grant scheme launched by City of York Council also supported 1750 small local businesses benefiting from £3.238m of grants to help in times of financial hardship, and aid businesses who missed out under previous schemes.

Another major concern raised by city centre businesses was also around re-opening safely and how to increase consumer confidence in the safety of the city. In response to this City of York Council created a business recovery toolkit pack which went out to 530 businesses – providing guidance on practical measures, posters, stickers and other support resources. Visible signage has also been installed to aid with social distancing and increase public confidence and York BID installed twenty-five hand sanitisers to promote cleanliness in the city.

The prospect of low footfall in the city was also raised as a worry for businesses. To support with boosting footfall, City of York Council implemented a number of measures- including extending the footstreet hours, introducing new car parking incentives to encourage people to visit the city centre and ensuring public toilets were reopened. York BID have also introduced ‘city hosts’ to help provide a friendly face to visitors, providing directions and guidance.

The marketing and promotion of York as a place to visit and do business was similarly raised as an area for continued focus. In response to this City of York Council and Make It York are rolling out a new six-month tourism strategy to promote the strengths of the city and encourage residents and visitors to enjoy the many unique experiences the city has to offer. City of York Council are supporting the campaign with a proposed investment of £100K for targeted marketing activity, which is designed to boost resident and visitor experience , in order to support York’s tourism and leisure industry.

Other key areas of focus for businesses included the need for skills training – with a new online ‘Skills Hub’ being created by City of York Council and Make It York to provide an overview of opportunities available for local businesses by training providers across the country. This includes training on a local, regional and national level with a mix of courses including, free and partly funded opportunities.

Intelligence from the sector roundtables has also been shared with central government to call for more support in crucial areas- including financial support for both the arts and heritage sector and the hospitality industry which are key to York’s economy. The recent business support measures announced by the Chancellor in his Summer Economic Statement included a £1.57bn package of financial support for the arts and heritage sector, a £1,000 new job retention bonus for every returning furloughed staff member, and a discount on eating out during August in an effort to support the UK’s hospitality industry.

Sean Bullick, Managing Director of Make It York said, “The roundtable events have been a great reminder of the fact that we have so many world-class innovative businesses in the city which have been playing a central role in overcoming the Covid-19 crisis.  Whilst there are obvious immediate hurdles that businesses across all sectors face, we have enormous confidence for the region’s economic future. A huge thank you to the businesses who have taken part in the roundtable events so far and shared their insights.” 

Cllr Andrew Waller, Executive Director for the Economy and Strategic Planning said:

“Supporting York’s businesses has been one of our priorities throughout the pandemic. Officers have worked hard to process over £110m of grants and rate relief for businesses. We also listened to small businesses and the self-employed who did not meet the national criteria and set up a micro business scheme to which additional limited funds from Government were added”

“We have also worked with Make it York to launch the Skills Hub which will give businesses and employees the tools they need to adapt, upskill or simply diversify their skill set throughout these uncertain times.”

“These virtual roundtables are crucial to understanding the challenges being faced by the wide range of business sectors in the city, and those that have fallen outside of Government guidance for whom we will continue to lobby for support. We want to continue this engagement to give local businesses a voice, save jobs and continue the positive partnership that has been created during the pandemic.”

Andrew Digwood, President of York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce said:  “The York & North Yorkshire Chamber has been pleased to play a role alongside other partners in helping to gather information from York businesses into the city’s economic recovery planning. I have personally found the roundtables to be very informative and useful, and it’s clear that many of the concerns and challenges are shared right across all business sectors. At the same time, however, there is clearly an appetite and a willingness to build a strong economic recovery in York and to learn from this crisis to develop and invest in new ways of working that might in the longer term prove to be positive changes for businesses, their employees and the city.

“When I’ve spoken to participating business owners and leaders outside of the roundtables, I’ve been pleased to hear that many of them have also found the conversations we’ve had to be useful and supportive as they think about plans for the coming months in their own businesses. I hope that we will be able to build from this a solid foundation of support and information that will see our city’s economy weather the crisis and emerge with resilience to seize new opportunities.”

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

For further information please contact:

Amy Goodman, Consumer Communications Manager


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

York’s Rugby League World Cup Fixtures Revealed

The Rugby League World Cup 2021 tournament organisers have today (July 21st) revealed the much-anticipated fixture schedule for what promises to be the biggest and best World Cup in the history of the sport, as the men’s, women’s and wheelchair teams all compete at the same time in a major sporting first. Across the city, partners have been working with the Rugby League World Cup team to bring the event to York next year – including City of York Council, York City Knights, Make It York, GLL, York St John University, University of York and Queen Ethelberga’s. 
York will be hosting eight fixtures at the LNER Community Stadium, all in the women’s tournament, starting off with New Zealand vs France. 
The full fixture list for York is as follows: 
New Zealand vs France (women’s) – LNER Community Stadium (Wednesday 10th November) – 17.00pm 
Australia vs Cook Islands (women’s) – LNER Community Stadium (Wednesday 10th November) – 19.30pm 
New Zealand vs Cook Islands (women’s) – LNER Community Stadium (Sunday 14th November) – 17.00pm 
Australia vs France (women’s) – LNER Community Stadium (Sunday 14th November) – 19.30pm 
France vs Cook Islands (women’s) – LNER Community Stadium (Thursday 18th November) – 17.00pm 
Australia vs New Zealand (women’s) – LNER Community Stadium (Thursday 18th November) – 19.30pm 
Women’s Semi-Final (Teams TBC) – LNER Community Stadium (Monday 22nd November) – 17.00pm 
Women’s Semi-Final (Teams TBC) – LNER Community Stadium (Monday 22nd November) – 19.30pm 
In June, it was revealed that York will be the team training base for New Zealand’s men and women’s team, as well as the women’s sides from Australia, France and Cook Islands. 
Councillor Keith Aspden, Leader of City of York Council: “In York, we are proud to be a host city for the Rugby League World Cup 2021. Today’s fixture announcement is the result of all partners in the city coming together to bring this special sporting event to our incredible city. 
“To have the world champion women’s Australian team playing against New Zealand, the second best team in the world, is massive for our city and will certainly be a great occasion. This is one of many fantastic fixtures taking place in what will be a great few weeks for York. 
Jon Flatman, Chairman, York City Knights said: “It is incredibly exciting to hear that we will be hosting these fantastic games in York next year for the Rugby League World Cup. We will be working with partners across the city to ensure this event creates a long lasting legacy for the sport and the wider community, with resident engagement set to be a key part of the activity. The event will have a huge reach with fans across the world and give York invaluable exposure on the international stage and we are looking forward to welcoming the visiting teams and fans to the city!”  
Councillor Darryl Smalley, Executive Member for Leisure, Culture and Communities said: “These matches will inspire more people to take up sport as they watch world-class international athletes in the new LNER Community Stadium. Having both semi-finals will be incredible and we hope to see England play and win. 
“We can’t wait to host and watch these fantastic athletes next year and I am sure our residents and communities will get behind these superb events, as they so often do.” 
Sean Bullick, Managing Director of Make It York said: “We are delighted that York will be hosting such a fantastic series of fixtures for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup including the Women’s Semi-Final. The tournament will be a huge boost to the city – showcasing York around the world, getting residents really involved, and attracting thousands of rugby fans to York next year.” 
Jon Dutton, RLWC2021 Chief Executive, said: “This is a huge moment for the tournament and for fans in our host cities and towns as we reveal the full fixture schedule.The tournament has been gaining momentum over recent months and fans can now look forward to being part of this unique global event. With match dates and locations confirmed, the excitement will only intensify. 
“RLWC2021 will bring together the very best that the sport has to offer, and you can see from the schedule that there is no end of world class, not-to-be-missed matches, across all three tournaments. It Is an exciting day for all our Rugby League fans and communities across England who will be proud and brilliant hosts to the travelling nations as together we deliver the biggest and best Rugby League World Cup to date.” 
With 61 fixtures over a six-week period the tournament will showcase a festival of world class sporting action. The dates, venues and kick-off times* for each of the three tournaments is now confirmed and available to view at  
Please visit for more information, for details on how to sign up to receive ticket alerts and all the latest news first.  
Images available for download here: 
For further information please contact:  
Amy Goodman, Consumer Communications Manager 
Ana Ignatova – Communications Executive  


£100K proposed investment for new campaign to support York’s Tourism Industry

City of York Council and Make It York are rolling out a new six-month tourism strategy to promote the strengths of the city and encourage residents and visitors to enjoy the many unique experiences the city has to offer.

City of York Council are supporting the campaign with a proposed investment of £100K for targeted marketing activity, which is designed to boost resident and visitor experience , in order to support York’s tourism and leisure industry.  The proposal is to be discussed at a meeting on the Council’s Executive on 23 July 2020.

The strategy, elements of which are already in operation through City of York Council’s ‘Let’s Be York campaign’ and Make It York’s new ‘Feel at Home in York’ campaign, will focus on reenergising the city and telling the story of York’s diverse history.

The £100K investment will include targeted advertising, including digital and radio, press initiatives and new digital content, photography and video, and the curation of a unique programme of events throughout the summer and autumn of 2020. The strategy focuses on building confidence in the city as a safe and welcoming place for residents and visitors to enjoy, as well as promoting York’s special character.

The launch of this new tourism campaign, which is designed to support businesses over the next six months, is the latest in a series of activities to assist businesses across the city in adapting to the challenges posed by Covid-19. Support during the pandemic included business grants, rates relief, advice on funding, skills training and a series of key sector roundtables – as well as ongoing conversations with national government to lobby on behalf of York’s business community for further support.

The proposed activity will launch with a special ‘Our Heroes Welcome’ from 1 August for Yorkshire Day – a week to thank the incredible commitment of the city’s key workers, with more information will follow.

As part of this activity York Civic Trust will create a wall of plaques celebrating the city’s heroes who have gone above and beyond during the pandemic, and York Art Gallery plan to display a moving exhibition of portraits of NHS staff by local artist Karen Winship, when they reopen on 1 August. The 11 works on show depict NHS workers from across England and Ireland painted by Karen and tell their own personal experiences of working on the front line caring for the victims of the virus. The stories of those working or volunteering in other essential services during the pandemic will also be told as the gallery invites the public to nominate their own heroes.

The tourism marketing strategy is part of the council’s response to support the city recovery from the economic impacts of Covid-19.   The council will discuss plans to deliver a short term one year economic recovery plan, together with the one Year Transport and Place plan already underway at the Executive meeting on 24 July 2020. 

One of the core elements of the strategy is working collaboratively with businesses including attractions, retail and hospitality to create unique and special experiences designed to attract targeted audiences to the city, and keep them returning to the city. The recovery campaign activity will continue to prioritise public health, aligning with government advice as this develops over the coming months. 

The campaign aims to attract residents as the key audience, as well as visitors from the surrounding regions. Utilising data and insights from locals, businesses and visitors, the plan of activity will continue to be shaped by feedback gathered over the coming months.

Sean Bullick, Managing Director of Make It York said,

“York’s tourism and leisure industry is a vital part of the city and the strategy that we are rolling out alongside City of York Council is focused on providing a boost to this sector by working alongside attractions, retailers, hoteliers and hospitality businesses to inspire residents and visitors to experience the city’s offering again.

“With over 2,000 years of history, York has a truly unique offering, which sets us apart from other heritage cities, and our aim is to capitalise on that to celebrate the wonderful work local businesses do for our residents and visitors.”

Cllr Darryl Smalley, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure & Communities said:

“Residents are rightly proud of our city, its beauty and heritage, and I know that in response to the challenges posed by Covid-19 everyone is determined to support our local businesses.  We want to build on this to attract and inspire people to return to the city through experiences that promote York’s rich and dramatic history. York has a long history of reinventing itself – and by working together with one unified approach, we stand our best chance of supporting our local businesses through this difficult time and creating a more prosperous and thriving city.

“Of course, the safety of our residents and visitors remains of the utmost importance and throughout the duration of the campaign, we will regularly monitor how many people are visiting the city.  Keeping visitor numbers manageable will help to make sure the city remains a safe place for everyone to enjoy.”

Reyahn King, chief executive of York Museums Trust, said:

“We are pleased to be working with both the City of York Council and Make it York on this vital campaign to encourage residents and visitors back into the city centre. This has been an incredibly tough time for many businesses and organisations within the tourism and leisure industry, including museums, and we hope that by working together we can help build confidence and inspire people to come and enjoy our wonderful city.

“We are proud to support the city’s Our Heroes Welcome campaign, with Our Heroes at York Art Gallery, presenting portraits by York artist Karen Winship of some of the NHS workers who have worked tirelessly and selflessly throughout the pandemic. The exhibition will be free to enjoy for all. We are really excited about reopening and look forward to welcoming everyone back to enjoy the fantastic exhibitions and collections in our care.”

Andrew Morrison, Chief Executive at York Civic Trust said:

“York is a city where everything speaks – where small and local details often tell national stories. The city’s rich fabric of streets and buildings is the living product of centuries of invention and collaboration between people of business, creativity and culture. Working together in 2020 we can continue this tradition, create anew and tell these stories. Everyone can return to York time and time again and even on familiar streets experience something new and often unexpected.”


York City Knights ‘Make It York’ with new partnership

York City Knights have come on board as the newest members of Visit York, as part of a wider strategic partnership with Make It York. Spanning events, sponsorship and advertising, the partnership will see York City Knights working with Make It York across their wider community event programme over the next twelve months – including a range of corporate and resident-focused events.

This follows on from the announcement that the Rugby League World Cup will be coming to the city in 2021 – with York hosting five teams in total and a number of games, including both women’s semi-finals at the LNER community stadium. The tournament will have significant media reach with all games being broadcast live on the BBC across the world.  A central focus of the activity across the city, both in the lead up to the event and during it, will be on community engagement and the cultural legacy of the tournament – which York City Knights will play a key role in, alongside Make It York and the other partners across the city.

Jon Flatman, Chairman of York City Knight said, “We are really excited to be working in partnership with Make It York on a number of projects and initiatives over the coming months. One of the club’s key focuses is how we engage with the local community and give back to the city’s residents, and we are keen to develop strong relationships with organisations like Make It York to integrate with community activity on a city-wide basis. We have been really impressed with the enthusiasm and commitment that the Make It York team have shown in supporting York’s businesses, particularly through this difficult time. It’s also been great to work with them on the Rugby League World Cup project which will have such a hugely positive impact on the city and the wider local economy.

“As with all organisations, the coronavirus outbreak poses challenges for us and we are keen to get started with the process of rebuilding, which is why we are actively looking to build these kinds of partnerships. We know that Make It York are working incredibly hard to develop a robust plan for recovery in the city incorporating Government guidance and feedback from local businesses, and we very much want to be a part of this important activity.  I strongly believe that by working together with one unified approach, it is the best way for businesses across the city to collectively recover from the impacts of the pandemic and successfully rebuild.”   

Russell McCartney, Head of Commercial & Revenue Generation said, “We are delighted to further develop our relationship with York City Knights through this new partnership activity. 2021 is set to be a huge year for rugby in the city on the international stage and it’s the perfect time for us to collaborate and build on this fantastic opportunity to raise the profile of York globally. Partnering with York City Knights is a great fit for us as they have such a strong community focus and we are looking forward to working with them over the coming months.”

For more information about Visit York membership or how to work with the team visit: or email

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

Call for York businesses to access Make It York support

With the Covid-19 outbreak resulting in an unprecedented strain on the UK economy impacting businesses across all sectors and markets, Make It York and City of York Council have rolled out a number of business support initiatives over the last few months to help during this crisis. With £110m of Government grants and rate relief being provided to 4,000 businesses in York through the various grant schemes, Make It York are now calling for any businesses who haven’t been eligible for this funding to get in touch to find out more about the wider support available and to ensure information is captured about the sectors which need further aid in order for this to be fed back on a national level.

More than 4,000 businesses in the city have been supported with a range of initiatives– from free membership to the Federation of Small Businesses, to business grants and relief in their accounts. The micro grant and additional extended micro grant scheme launched by City of York Council has already seen 1750 small local businesses benefiting from £3.238m of grants to help in times of financial hardship, and aid businesses who missed out under previous schemes. A further 22 grants are still to be processed. Make It York have also been supporting businesses with one-on-one advice sessions – providing guidance in areas such as access to finance, training and how to adapt or diversify your business model during the crisis.

Any businesses who haven’t already been able to access funding are now being urged to contact the Make it York team to ensure a city-wide picture can be gathered of any areas of concern in order for this to be raised with national Government. 

Sean Bullick, Managing Director at Make It York said, “Alongside City of York Council, the Make It York team have been working with businesses across all sectors – from start-ups and sole traders to SME’s and larger companies to offer advice and support throughout this challenging time. We are really keen to hear from any businesses in York that haven’t been able to access the government grant schemes available so that we can look at how we can work with City of York Council to lobby on their behalf for more government support. 

“Our team can also provide wider guidance and advice across all areas of business – from funding and how to apply for grants, to business planning and funded training opportunities. Whilst it’s hugely positive to see how many businesses have already benefited from the support and Government funding on offer, we are keenly aware that there are those who haven’t been eligible thus far and it’s really important that we work with these businesses to highlight any city-wide concerns with Government.”

Cllr Andrew Waller, Executive Member for Economy and Strategic Planning said, “Businesses faced huge challenges to keep going during lockdown and are now planning ahead to survive. Every sector needs support to fight to save all the jobs that we can in the city- especially those that have not been able to re-open, or face months of dramatically reduced trading.

 This initiative is to draw together the concerns of businesses across York with its specific economic pressures which we want to see fully represented in any future national and regional measures for support and re-growth.”

Businesses can contact the Make It York team on for more information about the support and guidance available.

For further information please contact:

Amy Goodman, Consumer Communications Manager


York’s Visitor Information Centre Set to Reopen

From Monday 22nd June, York’s Visitor Information Centre on Museum Street will be reopening its doors for local residents and visitors. Providing a range of information services, the Visitor Information Centre will be open daily, with new social distancing measures implemented to ensure the safety of staff and visitors.

The new safety measures that have been put in place, following a full external risk assessment, will include new signage, floor markings, control of the number of visitors in the space at any time and a one-way entrance/exit system to ensure the Government guidance on social distancing is implemented. Staff will have recommended PPE and hand sanitiser stations will also be available for visitors.

The Visitor Information Centre team will be on hand Monday to Sunday 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 how to make the most of their York experience.  Free information leaflets and city guides will also continue to be available in the main shop area and a range of York merchandise, maps and gifts will be on sale.

The Visitor Information Centre team will also be on hand to provide the latest advice on visiting the city’s attractions as they start to reopen from 4th July following current Government guidelines. With many attraction admissions pre-bookable online with timed slots, the team will be able to assist with planning visits and booking tickets in advance. More information about which of the city’s attractions are open can be found on the Visit York website.

Sean Bullick, Managing Director of Make It York said: “The Visitor Information Centre offers an invaluable resource and information point for locals and visitors to the city, and so we were keen to reopen as soon as all the necessary safety measures could be put in place. With many of the city’s attractions and hospitality businesses looking to reopen over the next few weeks and retailers already starting to trade again, we felt it was really important that the Visitor Information Centre team were back in place to support residents and visitors with information on the wonderful and unique experiences we have available in the city.

We’ve been working hard behind the scenes over the last few weeks to ensure that we have all the safety measures in place to ensure both our staff and people coming into the Information Centre feel secure and confident in the space. We will continue to monitor the Government guidance on this area and will react swiftly as this develops over the coming weeks should we need to make any further changes.

The whole team are very much looking forward to welcoming people back into the Visitor Information and reconnecting with local residents as they return to the explore the city centre.”

Cllr Darryl Smalley, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure & Communities: “Covid-19 has had a significant impact on businesses in our city and around the world. Over the past few days, it has been encouraging to see more of our businesses reopen and residents supporting our retailers by visiting shops across the city and following the public health guidelines.

“We have laid out plans for the city to build back better and are working at pace with our partners to deliver on this. With public health at the heart of our recovery plans we are working to encourage more active travel, as well as adapting and expanding our footstreet areas so people can move around the city whilst keeping socially distant from others. The reopening of the visitor information centre is another encouraging sign that the city is reopening for business.

“We are closely monitoring government guidance regarding the wider reopening of the tourism and hospitality sectors and are working to help them adapt to the new advice, as we have with retailers. To find out more about our recovery plans visit”

The Visitor Information Centre will reopen at 10.30AM on 22nd June. The shop will be open daily, Monday to Sunday and residents and visitors can also continue to access the support of the Information Centre via calling 01904 555670 or emailing


Images: Visit York Tourism Information Centre:

For further information please contact:

Amy Goodman – Consumer Communications Manager – Make It York


Ana Ignatova – Communications Executive – Make It York


Notes to Editors:

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.

Key tourism facts: 8.4 million visitors annually, £765 million total visitor spend, supporting 24,000 jobs

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