Make It York News

A plan to reshape our economy for a greener, fairer, stronger future

Make It York has been working in collaboration with the York and North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), all of our region’s local authorities and partner organisations region-wide to develop a plan to reshape the region’s economy in order to address the challenges and opportunities arising from the pandemic. Our shared vision is that the region will emerge greener, fairer and stronger as a direct result of the economic reshaping plan.

The plan for reshaping the economy lines up with the current government agenda, to protect jobs and develop opportunity for higher skills, yet will tailor this agenda to the local needs of York, whilst strengthening our collective ambition for York and North Yorkshire to become a carbon negative economy. The plan follows on from the immediate COVID response and aims to address the economic challenges businesses are continuing to face as well as focusing on stimulating growth over the next 18 to 24 months, accelerating a transition towards a carbon negative economy.

David Kerfoot MBE DL, the LEP’s Chair said; “This plan, brought together through meaningful and effective collaboration, will focus on stimulating growth over the next 18 to 24 months and lay the ground to make the most of whatever comes next. Our partners and all local authorities across the region have worked incredibly hard to shore up our economy through the crisis of the pandemic. Working together, we can reshape the economy, come through the crisis together and drive growth that will make York and North Yorkshire a greener, fairer and stronger place.”

Sean Bullick, Managing Director of Make It York, said ‘Our top priorities are promoting York, improving economic prosperity within the city, and increasing the wider wellbeing of our population.  We are fully supportive of York & North Yorkshire LEP’s Ten Pledges which will together reshape our economy, in both the short and the longer-terms, focussing as they do on supporting local businesses, rebuilding tourism, and continuing to attract investment to the region.’

The LEP is hosting a ten day collaborative campaign that will highlight the 10 pledges of the plan to reshape our economy. The campaign will highlight regional voices of leadership and give local examples of work already in action to reshape our economy to be greener, fairer and stronger.

Read about the pledge stories on the LEP’s news page here.

Read the full Plan to Reshape our Economy here.

A plan to reshape our economy for a greener, fairer, stronger future Read More »

York’s cultural organisations awarded grants from Government’s Cultural Recovery Fund

A number of York’s cultural organisations have been this week awarded grants from the government’s £1.57bn Cultural Recovery Fund (CRF) to help them face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure they have a sustainable future.

Yorkshire Air Museum and Allied Air Forces Memorial and The York Museums Trust were amongst 1,385 cultural organisations across the country who found out on Monday (October 12) that they had been successful in the very first round of the Culture Recovery Fund grants programme being administered by Arts Council England. York’s only producing theatre – York Theatre Royal, has also received the grant to continue bringing performances to enrich the cultural offer of the city, as well as The National Centre for Early Music.

Two venues that are crucial to the city’s grassroots music venue network – the Fulford Arms and The Crescent – have also secured a share of the fund, with support from the Music Venue Trust.

Bedern Hall, Castle Howard and Eden Camp were amongst 450 heritage organisations in England that have been awarded grants from the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage – funded by Government and administered at arms-length by Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Helen Apsey, Head of Culture and Wellbeing for Make It York, said:

“This is brilliant news for the cultural and creative organisations in the city who have received this vital funding. 

We have such a rich cultural offer in York – and such incredible creative practitioners, who have continued to innovate and find ways to create, share and inspire through their art, even during lockdown – and it’s heartening to see this recognised and supported, at such a crucial time for the sector. Many organisations are facing very difficult circumstances, unable to open as usual, and this funding provides hope in what are deeply uncertain times. 

At Make It York, we’re continuing to work closely with York’s creative and cultural organisations and we’ll continue doing everything we can to support this important sector.”

York’s cultural organisations awarded grants from Government’s Cultural Recovery Fund Read More »

Make It York support the Indie York’s Medieval & Magical Treasure Trail as part of the ongoing Tourism Recovery Marketing Campaign

When retail and hospitality businesses re opened in 2020 following the Covid19 lockdown in York there was a great deal of apprehension felt by independent businesses about the coming months ahead.  

With much uncertainty and negativity centred around how businesses could attract people back to the high street and yet remain safe, the question on everyone’s lips was “How would shops, restaurants and other businesses cope in the months ahead ?” It was agreed by all that these concerns would become even more acute as the days got shorter in the Autumn.  

This problem was very much on the minds of those involved with Indie York which is a not for profit community association and has approximately 200 independent business members in York and which aims to encourage the public to support independent businesses.  

Johnny Hayes Chairman of Indie York said:

“How do you attract potentially thousand of local residents and visitors to use our independents in the City Centre and local high streets yet maintaining safe distancing? That was the conundrum, then somebody came up with the bright idea of a number of Treasure Trails around the City. In fact 9 Treasure Trails right across the City.  9 clusters of independents have produced nine treasure trails in the medieval streets and magical corners that make the city famous, along with a ghost hunt which only York can do so well. So the Medieval and Magical theme was decided upon that it is hoped will inspire local families and visitors alike to join in.” 

Angus McArthur of York Ghost Merchants added:  

“True communities come together during times of hardship. There’s little doubt that this has been a time of hardship on so many levels and there has been a significant impact felt on the shopping streets of our towns and cities. York’s independents as part of the tenacious Indie York community are joining together in a series of local clusters to bring something entertaining and interactive for locals and visitors alike during the October half term break.” 

Plans are now in place to hold a week long event during the October half term holiday with the Indie York’s Medieval & Magical Treasure Trail. Held from Saturday 24th October to Sunday 1st November. With over 100 Indie York member businesses and a number of York tourist attractions are taking part in the trail to promote the city’s independent businesses and highlight medieval and historical attractions in the City and local areas.  

“The half term holiday was the ideal time to run these trails. Particularly this year when children will not be able to do their traditional Halloween trick or treat visits to friends and neighbours homes because of Covid19. So we thought our treasure trails might offer a safe alternative for local families and visitors to enjoy an alternative trail.”

Said Johnny Hayes

Polly Bennett from the Indie York Steering Committee said:

“We are delighted to be joined by a number of York’s attractions who will be part of the trail including the JORVIK Viking Centre, Barley Hall, Merchant Adventurers’ Hall, York’s Chocolate Story and The Bar Convent are all taking part in the trail, helping visitors to discover and residents to rediscover the great places there are in York’s City centre as well as the wonderful independent businesses there are around the City.”    

Sara Amil Smith, Indie York’s Administrator said:

“The event has been put together with the support of City of York Council, Make it York, York Business Improvement District ( York BID) and other sponsors including Bootham School and Redmayne Bentley. We have had amazing donations of prizes for the prize draw. This includes a £500 bike to the winner of the prize draw, A holiday weekend in a superb holiday apartment in Micklegate. Also 9 x £50 York Gift Cards that encourage shoppers to support City based businesses for each of the trails”  

Sara added “We are keen for York residents, local students and visitors to the to get involved. There will be unique clues in windows of participating member and historic attraction in the City. Each cluster will have its own set of clues so you can do as many or as few trails as you like.”

The clusters are: Acomb, Bishy Road, Central York, Fifth Quarter: Gillygate and Bootham, Fossgate/Walmgate, Goodramgate, Micklegate and the Shambles. The York Ghost Merchants of the Shambles cluster are organising a separate ghost hunt where Little ghosts are hidden for participants to find. There is a separate map available for the Ghost Hunt from all 100 Indie York venues participating. 

Angus McArthur of York Ghost Merchants and an Indie York member said:  

“At the Ghost Merchants we are co-ordinating The Shambles Cluster Ghost Parade, we have handmade 13 Ghosts in the style of medieval woodcuts and hope that many will come to hunt them down in the windows of the participating shops in and around the Shambles. We are auctioning these one of a kind Ghosts off for a local charity called The Island which supports vulnerable and isolated children through mentoring programmes.”  

On each of the 9 trails there are clues in each of the windows. But hidden in each of the displays are mystery objects and artworks that need to be identified. These include ghosts, ravens, jesters, knights, herbs and potions, nosegay bunches of flowers to hide the smell of death and decay, drawing and illustrations on magical and medieval themes.   

You can pick up hardcopies of both maps in any of the participating member businesses or attractions or collect one from Visit York Information Centre on Museum Street. Once you have the answers to the clues written on your map, you can email in the answers on a photo if you choose to to be entered into a Grand Prize Draw to win the brilliant range of prizes. Or you can write your answers and send to the indie York website if you prefer.  You will  see all the details of the prizes and other relevant information.  

Sara Amil Smith added. “It’s free to take part, it’s fun and it celebrates the many wonderful independent businesses and historical highlights in our beautiful city of York for our residents to rediscover and visitors too.  

If you require further information with regard this press release then please contact.  

Johnny Hayes, Chairman Indie York – 07804933690/ 

Sara Amil Smith, Administrator –
07307 209072 

Make It York support the Indie York’s Medieval & Magical Treasure Trail as part of the ongoing Tourism Recovery Marketing Campaign Read More »

York’s St Nicholas Fair Christmas Markets cancelled for 2020

Make It York and City of York Council have today announced that York’s St Nicholas Fair will not be going ahead this year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Following the announcement that the government’s three-tier restriction system has resulted in York being added to the ‘medium’ alert level, and with Covid-19 infection rates rising above the national average, this has resulted in a change to city-wide celebrations, including the city’s Christmas market. 

Whilst the markets will not be going ahead as planned this year, Christmas is certainly not cancelled. Make It York and City of York Council will be working together with partners and businesses across the city to ensure Christmas in York remains a magical and unique experience for local residents.  

The focus for the city’s festive marketing activity this year will now aim to encourage a sense of community, shopping local, and supporting our local traders – recognising the individual and unique offers of York’s businesses who have worked so hard to continue keeping the city safe.   

Make It York and City of York Council will work closely alongside partners to support and promote the city’s retailers, hospitality and attraction businesses, promoting York in line with public health and Government guidance as a safe place for people to visit responsibly.   

Sean Bullick, Managing Director of Make It York said:

“It is with deep sadness that we’ve had to cancel the 2020 Christmas market. This decision has not been taken lightly and we’ve been working hard behind the scenes with City of York Council and the Safety Advisory Group to consider all possible options and look at ways to run a safe event.  We know how important this event is for the city however, our paramount priority continues to be the health and wellbeing of our residents, visitors, traders and the city as a whole. Safety considerations must come first, and the decision to cancel this year’s physical event is in line with the latest public health advice in this area.  

We understand the impact this will have on local traders, retailers and other hospitality businesses across the city and we will be working hard to support them over the next few months and promote the unique festive offering that the city has.  

Plans are underway for a virtual Christmas market hosted on the Visit York website which will celebrate the outstanding diversity of local traders, retailers and businesses across the city and allow people to experience a taste of what York has to offer from the comfort of their own home.     

We are also developing plans for ways to promote York as a warm and welcoming place for residents to explore and enjoy over the festive season, working alongside City of York Council and other partners across the city to implement this activity. 

We are already looking ahead to 2021 and planning for how we can work with City of York Council, and our traders and businesses across the city to bring the Christmas market back.”  

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

“This is of course extremely disappointing, but public safety has to be at the heart of every decision.  And while the way we celebrate has to be a little different this year, York will always be magical at Christmas.  

The city’s fantastic businesses and responsible residents have already risen to the massive challenges of 2020. By continuing to work together we can protect the people and places we love while giving our residents and businesses a special festive season.” 

Andrew Lowson, Executive Director of York BID said:

“There is still so much to enjoy in the city – the BID have started to install the 15km of lights which transform our beautiful city over the festive period, and our local businesses are making preparations to offer a quality festive experience in a safe and controlled environment. We hope that people will continue to support local businesses and soak up the unique atmosphere found in York at Christmas time.” 

Martin Bradnam, Chair Person of Hospitality Association York, said:

“I feel Make It York’s approach to the Christmas Market was bold and forward thinking in both supporting York as a tourism destination, but also local business from retail to hospitality. The planning was collaborative, and detailed and its approach with public safety as a core pillar was sensible. The could have been the only Christmas market in operation this year in the UK. Whilst it is really disappointing that the market has now been cancelled, this is in the interests of public safety and is the right thing to do, in line with current Government guidelines at the current time”

More information about York at Christmas can be found 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. 

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. 

York’s St Nicholas Fair Christmas Markets cancelled for 2020 Read More »

York Business Week makes a virtual return for 2020

9 – 13 November 2020 

As York and its business community look ahead to recovery post Covid-19, York Business Week will be making a virtual return for 2020, for its 10th year.  With an overarching theme of ‘Build Back Better’, the week-long programme will focus on economic recovery across York’s key sectors, inspiring growth and offering opportunities to spark creativity and innovation. 

The week-long event is organised by Make It York and hosted in conjunction with City of York Council, York & North Yorkshire LEP, Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Federation of Small Businesses, York BID, the University of York, York St John University and the York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce.  

To make the week as accessible as possible to all businesses, all events within York Business Week this year will be free of charge. Topical seminars, thought-provoking workshop sessions, online networking opportunities and the city’s first virtual York Business Conference will offer something for all York businesses from sole traders to global businesses, opening up access to industry-leading insights from the comfort of their own offices or remote working spaces. A special tourism mini conference will be held for businesses across the industry in the afternoon of the first day, as part of the wider Business Conference, to update on the city’s tourism strategy. 

Greg Dyke, Chair of Make It York, said: “Many businesses have faced overwhelming challenges in recent months, across all aspects of their operations.  It is important now, in this time of economic recovery, that we look forward as a city, showcase our collective strengths and be ambitious about how we drive growth for the future. Transformational capital schemes like York Central and the Castle Gateway Redevelopment are uniquely placed to give York huge opportunities for medium term economic recovery.   

York has proven in history that it has the ability to reinvent itself and now in 2020, alongside the city’s wealth of business expertise across multiple sectors, we are well placed to reposition York as a business destination of the future. York Business Week is an important annual event in the city’s business calendar which reminds us of our city’s strengths and supports our businesses to build back better.”

Once again, in keeping with the tradition of the week, the programme kicks off with the York Business Conference on the morning of Monday 9th November, welcoming a series of expert speakers sharing their timely insights and how we can maximise York’s sector strengths in this period of revival and renewed focus. Chaired by Make It York Chair Greg Dyke, the speaker line-up for the day includes David Kerfoot MBE DL, Chair of York and North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership and Andrew Digwood, President of York & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce and Partner at Rollits LLP, with further speakers to be announced shortly. 

The focus for this year’s York Business Conference will be on recovery planning for the region’s businesses – looking at the challenges businesses face, how far we’ve come and the work still to be done to ensure the region successfully recovers – including how the EU exit will impact on this. The conference will also offer the first virtual networking opportunity of the week giving businesses the opportunity to connect with new and existing contacts across the city in an informal discussion-led lunchtime session.  

On Monday afternoon a special mini tourism conference will also be held virtually for businesses across the sector to get an update on the progress of the city’s tourism strategy and key milestones. Experts from across the industry will deliver a series of short sessions focused on tourism recovery, along with Make It York and City of York Council. 

Tuesday will offer a carefully curated programme of seminar sessions and workshops focused on the three themes of skills, start-ups and sales. A series of skills sessions will be delivered throughout the morning, with a workshop led by a York skills and education partnership. Despite the challenging business climate, inspiring entrepreneurial innovation remains high on the agenda for the city and start-up seminars delivered by AD:VENTURE will focus on the Early Stage of developing your business, Investment and Growth.  

‘Wellbeing Wednesday’ will tackle a host of relevant issues facing businesses of all sizes, in all sectors with topics focused on wellbeing and mental health in the workplace. Development expert and coach, Michelle Mook will lead a session focus on working remotely and how to keep teams motivated.   Langleys Solicitors LLP will be offering a guide to essential HR matters during lockdown and beyond, including restructuring businesses, mental health during a pandemic and business immigration in light of the EU Exit.  Mark Willis from York Mind will also be leading on a session titled Looking after you: 10 keys to mental wellbeing which will be an interactive session for individuals to help calm their minds in this Covid storm. 

Thursday will focus on the themes of Leadership and Innovation and businesses can choose from sessions throughout the day including ‘Leadership in Lockdown’ with Michelle Mook, and an ‘Innovation in Action’ session led by Dr Jo North from The Big Bang Partnership.  BioVale and York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership are hosting a food waste innovation workshop on 12 November, as part of the wider Circular Yorkshire Month which runs throughout November.  Throughout the day there will also be a ‘Business Growth Hub Pop-up’ with   experts on hand to offer short one to one sessions with businesses on a range of topics – from finance and HR to social media and marketing.  

The week will conclude on Friday with city focus sessions, including the York narrative project and how businesses can use it to tell their own story and promote themselves across the UK and beyond.  

Sean Bullick, Managing Director at Make It York, said: “Supporting the city’s jobs and businesses is our number one priority. We’ve all worked together very closely together through the covid-19 crisis, ensuring local businesses had the support they need, and bringing a range and breadth of businesses together through virtual roundtables alongside our key partners, to gather the intelligence to inform the city’s recovery plans. 

We’re very optimistic about the real strengths of York’s key business sectors and very positive about the future. We’re hosting York Business Week virtually this year and have an exciting programme, bringing together local, regional, national and international speakers and businesses to raise their profile and to discuss the current range of issues and challenges including post-COVID recovery, devolution, the opportunities of the knowledge economy, and the EU exit.” 

Executive member for Economy and Strategic planning, Cllr Andrew Waller, said: “Our key priorities through the pandemic have been the health and wellbeing of everyone in York and supporting the city’s varied and vibrant economy. Throughout the pandemic we have worked to support businesses through financial grants and a considerable amount of work went into reopening the city centre, and supporting the return of customers for retail and hospitality. We have recognised the importance to York’s economy of small independent businesses throughout. 

This is an important time for the city’s businesses to come together and get the support and information they need to continue their recovery. We are determined to work with Make It York and other partners to overcome the challenges presented by Covid-19 and enable York Business Week to make a virtual return. The programme offers relevant, timely and responsive information for businesses from all sectors and to help the city with our goal of building back better. It is only by working in partnership across the whole city that we will ensure the future prosperity of York’s economy with a fairer, greener economy with more local options to build new careers.” 

Tickets are available to book for York Business Week 2020 on For the latest updates and additions to the programme over the coming weeks, follow #YorkBizWeek20 on @makeityork Twitter. ENDS 

For further information please contact: 

Katie Parsons – Corporate Communications Manager  

Mobile: 07719 105 089 


Ana Ignatova – Communications Executive 


Notes to Editor 

Principal Partners signed up to date for 2020 include: 

  • York City Knights 
  • University of York 
  • Hentons  
  • Autohorn 
  • BHP 
  • Garbutt + Elliott

York Business Week makes a virtual return for 2020 Read More »

New ‘Things to Do in York’ Guide Launched in partnership between YorkMix, Make It York and City of York Council

A new online events guide ‘Things to do in York’ has today been launched by YorkMix, Make It York and City of York Council, bringing together in one place all the events taking place across the city.

With over 350 events currently listed, the site features an eclectic range of activities – from concerts, exhibitions and theatre to charity fundraisers and community events.

The new events listing guide is part of the ongoing tourism recovery marketing campaign devised by Make It York and City of York Council to promote the diverse range of experiences on offer in York and boost the number of visitors and residents coming into the city to explore. With one of the key focuses of the strategy being to engage with residents, the partnership with YorkMix to develop a new online listings guide aims to give local people a clear and simple way to find out what is going on in the city.

Organisations across the city are able to upload their events by visiting:

Cllr Darryl Smalley, Executive Member for Communities, Culture and Leisure said: “York’s cultural offer, whether music, theatre, art or everything in between is second to none. We are blessed with some of the most outstanding, diverse and exceptional performers in the country. The launch of York Mix’s Things to Do guide provides residents with an easy way of quickly finding something taking place near them. By getting involved in local cultural events, we strengthen our community, support our local economy, make new friends and importantly, have fun – which is so important for our mental well-being. I would encourage all residents to bookmark the site and find out about the vast range of experiences and events that are available.”

Sean Bullick, Managing Director of Make It York said: “Across York there are so many brilliant and unique events going on every week. The new site offers a one-stop shop where residents can find out about everything from bands to new exhibitions or the latest foodie experiences in the city. It’s great too as a promotional tool for business as we all work together to get York’s economy up and running again.”

Chris Titley, Editor of YorkMix said: “York truly punches above its weight when it comes to culture and entertainment. We’ve been covering the city’s arts scene for nine years – and the talent, diversity and innovation of our creative community is a key reason why York is so special.

“We’re delighted to be teaming up with City of York Council and Make It York to launch Things To Do In York, a bigger, brighter and easy to use guide which puts York’s entire culture and entertainment world in your pocket.

“We hope this will enable people to discover more of the fantastic cultural events happening in the city – and help this crucial sector, hit so hard by the crisis, to recover by re-engaging with existing audiences and finding new ones.”

View the latest events here:

New ‘Things to Do in York’ Guide Launched in partnership between YorkMix, Make It York and City of York Council Read More »

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