Children and Young People

Culture in York

In York, it’s our ambition that every child and young person, and particularly the most disadvantaged and those with additional needs and/ or disabilities (SEND), can dance, sing, act, perform, design, create, innovate, learn and participate – making creativity, the arts and heritage an entitlement for all children and young people. 

Through the Culture Strategy 2020 – 2025, York’s Creative Future, we are working to ensure that:

  • Every child and young person will have the chance to create and make culture
  • Creativity, arts and heritage engagement will be part of the core offer within schools
  • The holistic benefits of creativity, arts and heritage engagement for children and young people will be recognised inside and outside the classroom
  • All children and more young people will participate in, and experience arts and heritage activity
  • York is recognised as a national exemplar with respect to cultural entitlement for children and young people with every child and young person having opportunities to create, play and participate.

Find out more here

Explore York Libraries and Archives © Explore Labs


Creative Learning Programme Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment © NCEM

There are currently a number of exciting projects across the city that give children and young people the opportunity to create and make culture. These include:

Bags of

The Bags of Creativity bring a fantastic and magical set of resources, ideas and challenges to York’s children and young people. The first round took place during in 2020 and saw 1,000 Bags of Creativity distributed to children and young people across York.

The second round of Bags of Creativity is in partnership with York’s Festival of Ideas 2021! 2,000 children from 51 schools across York will receive a Bags of Creativity, with hands-on, creative activities for the whole family to enjoy. For online resources and to find out more, please go here

Doodle Books

Developed by Matthew Reason (Professor of Theatre, York St John University) and Brian Hartley in association with ‘Mind the Gap’, these books were full of ideas to get children and young people thinking creatively. They were distributed to 1,000 primary and 1,000 secondary students. For more information, please contact Chris Edwards on

© National Railway Museum, York

UNESCO Drawing
With Denmark Campaign

During 2020, Viborg UNESCO Creative City spearheaded an international project, ‘Draw with Denmark’, which encouraged children to make drawings that give hope to children all over the world who have suffered because of COVID-19. Children from York UNESCO Creative City got involved and shared their drawings, which are featured in this inspiring film.

One of York’s submitted drawings was even chosen by Viborg to be specially animated by animator Rasmus Nyhus Hansen! The animation can be seen through Viborg’s Instagram page and Facebook page.

50 Creative and Fun Things To Do Before You Are 12 In York!

From exploring the city to baking, there are loads of great ideas in this guide on trying new things, getting creative and experiencing the wonderful places in York! 

Explore York Libraries and Archives © Explore Labs


Alongside City of York Council and Make It York, the principal partner in delivering the Culture Strategy’s objectives for Children and Young People is REACH. REACH is York’s Local Cultural Education Partnership (York LCEP) and the Chair is Chris Edwards. There are three key areas for REACH’s work in York, which are creativity, skills and health and wellbeing.

To find out about REACH’s most recent activity, please check out their Summer Update.
For more details about REACH, please contact