After the sudden closure of Bootham Park hospital and therefore cuts to vital mental health services in York, Mental Health Action York (MHAY) was formed. Working side by side with the People’s Assembly we organised a successful march and rally on May the 14th to increase awareness and express public support for the reinstatement of mental health services which were so suddenly and cruelly taken.
The March got a wide press coverage including ITV Calendar and BBC look north. We had some great speakers including Len McCluskey and York Central MP Rachel Maskell who said “It is so important that we are standing up for not just the one in four people who experience mental health challenges, but the one in one who could be affected by them. It’s vital that we put this marker down today that we need quality mental health facilities in York.” Also Bob Adams, a founder member of MHAY and a retired consultant psychiatrist spoke out and said “York has been particularly hit with the closure of Bootham Park Hospital when we lost all of our adult beds at just five days’ notice. We want to raise attention to this and make sure that the residents of York have a say in how services are developed in the future. In my time I have seen the peak of mental health services and now the decline, which is very bad.”
As People’s Assembly we wanted to say thank you to everyone who made this possible and let’s keep up the good fight.
On Thursday 16th July, approximately 60 people gathered in St Helen’s Square to protest about the anti-homeless bars installed on benches on Rougier Street, prior to Richard Bridge handing in a petition of 5,400 signatures calling for their removal. People turned up with sleeping bags and blankets and at 5.30 and took over St Helen’s Square to stage a “sleep-in” and raise awareness of the issues faced by the rising number of homeless people in York.
Members of Unison were also protesting about cuts to Facility Time for union representatives working for the council, and once the sleep-in was over, York People’s Assembly joined this protest to show solidarity. Continue reading
A crowd gathered outside York Art Gallery on Wednesday, 1st July, to mark one month until entry charges are introduced, and to welcome a striker from the National Gallery. PCS members at the gallery in London want to prevent privatisation of their jobs. The strike, now in its 45th day, has already secured a living wage for all staff. A brilliant £350 was raised for strike funds during the visit.
Meanwhile, York has seen a string of Arts issues in recent months. The new Council leadership have cancelled funding for the Guildhall digital media centre and the grass-roots Arts Barge project. Add to this the decision to charge up to £7.50 for visits to the local art gallery, and it’s clear that arts are being restricted to the most well-off.
Anti-homeless bars have appeared on benches at a bus stop in the city. The devices have been fitted to the benches on Rougier Street. A petition to have them removed has gained 2000 signatures, whilst the bars themselves have been given a bit of illicit decoration. Whatever you think of the decoration, the question is the right one. We’d encourage everyone to sign the petition here and we’ll try to keep you updated on the campaign.
Protesters gathered again outside the Council’s West Offices to protest the closure of 29 Castlegate and the decimation of support services for 16-25 year olds in our city. The current plans would eliminate the popular counselling service and reduce other services to 16-19 year olds only. We’re campaigning for a holistic service in a suitable venue instead. Continue reading
Around 40 people assembled to protest outside West Offices last night, ahead of a crucial council committee vote on the fate of the Castlegate Centre. The protest was covered by York Press, appearing as the main story on the home page. The decision will now go back to the council’s Cabinet, who must decide how to change course. It’s rare to hold a protest and get a victory so soon afterwards, and everyone involved deserves to celebrate. Let’s hope its the first of many! Continue reading