Library services move online

If you are confused or overwhelmed by the huge amount of information on offer, York’s Explore library service can help.

They are making it easy for people to find information and advice as well as inspiration as we all deal with the Coronavirus crisis. Explore website has all sorts of useful links to help people cope during the coming weeks; some sites have always been part of their online offer, and some are brand new.

Explore is also working with City of York Council and other partners in York so that communities can join together.

Organisations across the country are developing their online services in this challenging time. Explore is are using its expertise to gather together the best offers and add them to the lists of sites they recommend.

They will also be developing some online activities – including a Virtual Book Group. Their website will be updated regularly as these new things come on stream and sharing on social media using #LibrariesFromHome

Everything is free to access – all you need is a library card. You can get a card online and start using it immediately.

Delay to re-start of garden waste collections

To ensure City of York Council can maintain frontline services, including household waste collections, and to protect frontline crews from unnecessary risk, immediate changes will be made to garden waste collections.

The council will be postponing the start of garden waste collections from April, in order to ensure household waste and recycling collections are given priority. These steps are being taken because of extraordinary pressures on frontline services during the outbreak of Covid-19 and a significantly reduced workforce. This decision will free up more frontline crews and vehicles to focus on collecting recycling and household waste in a safe way for frontline staff.

The situation will be kept under constant review, with a view to resuming garden waste collections as soon as practically possible.

Instead, the council is encouraging residents to compost their garden waste at home, and to support residents in this effort, advice and tips for easy composting at home is available on the council website HERE and on the Royal Horticultural Society website HERE.

Whilst collecting household waste is an essential service for public health reasons (a service provided under a public health act), collecting garden waste is not classed as such. Garden waste can be safely composted in the garden where it comes from.

Cllr Paula Widdowson, Executive Member for Environment & Climate Change, said: “This isn’t a decision we’ve taken lightly and this doesn’t mean we don’t want residents to garden. In some cases, this is more important than ever to keep active – particularly when self-isolating.

“We are encouraging residents to recycle and compost where possible and to support this, we have published advice for easy composting at home. If you’re unable to compost, then we’re asking residents to store their garden waste when possible, and we will collect it at a later date.”

Bolstering frontline services:

The council has reallocated resources from other teams, so that it can continue collecting household waste (black bins) and recycling boxes.
This includes redeploying staff from other services such as public realm and highways. The council is also working hard to increase its staff resource, including training a number of First and Pullman bus drivers, plus processing the applications made in response to the council’s urgent recruitment to support the refuse collection service.

Without green waste collections proceeding, additional vehicles will be made available to enable waste crews to socially distance, whilst collecting waste and recycling. Other measures are also being taken to support our waste crews, including wearing appropriate PPE based on the advice of Public Health. This also includes being issued with wipes, hand gel and new gloves every day. At this stage, face masks have not been issued, as per public health advice.

Further bus timetable changes from 29 March

First Bus has announced further changes to timetables to come into effect from Sunday 29 March.

The number 12 service will operate a special timetable with buses every 60 minutes and early journeys on weekdays. Journeys after 7pm will continue to operate, subject to a usage review.

The number 4 service will operate a revised timetable operating every 30 minutes during the daytime with early journeys operating Monday to Friday. Services will operate at hourly intervals during the evening, with a reduction to hourly intervals earlier on a Saturday and Sunday evening than at present.

The Askham Bar Park & Ride service will be closed.

The new timetables are available online HERE

Food shopping information

Local businesses around Dringhouses & Woodthorpe are operating where they can. We will try to share as much information as we can in future website posts, recognising that it is a fluid situation and that things may change.

Here is some information that hopefully will be of use:

Tesco Askham Bar – Open 6am to 10pm Monday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm on Sunday. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday 9am to 10am is priority shopping time for elderly and vulnerable residents and Sunday from 9am to 10am there is a browsing hour for NHS workers
Morrisons Acomb – Open 8am to 8pm Monday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm on Sunday. Monday to Saturday 7am to 8am the store is open early or NHS workers
Ged Bell Butchers on Middlethorpe Grove – shop remains open and they can do deliveries. Call 01904 706069 or 07813 110218
Richardsons Butchers on Moorcroft Road – shop remains open and they can do deliveries. Order online HERE or call 01904 707876

Libraries to expand online and home delivery service

Libraries in York are working on delivering more online services and activities including e-books, story times and other activities.

Dringhouses library

After receiving advice from Public Health, from midday on Saturday 21 March Explore Libraries are moving their services online. A service to safely deliver and collect books for those who can’t access the internet is also being scaled up. Residents now don’t have to return borrowed items until 30th June – and won’t be fined.

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

“Explore Library and Archives already has many fantastic online services and are working quickly to create even more. In this period of social distancing and self-isolation, I hope and expect residents’ engagement in York’s library service to rocket.

“Reading for pleasure is a brilliant and restful way to relax – especially important for those in self isolation – and will continue to support people’s emotional wellbeing whilst they are at home.

“City of York Council will be working with communities in the coming week to ensure community hubs are in operation across York, supporting the most vulnerable residents with foods and medicines, and making the most of the city’s increasing pool of volunteers.

“We’re also looking at how council services which currently run from Explore’s Library Learning Centres can be delivered differently – we’ll keep you informed about them as soon as possible.”

Fiona Williams, chief executive of Explore Learning Library Centre, said:

“We are working hard and in close partnership with City of York Council to deliver a range of online services to support people at this difficult time.

“We are also looking at ways to safely deliver books to those who can’t access the internet. Any items currently on loan from us don’t need to be returned until June – and we won’t be fining anyone for them!

“Please look out for and enjoy our new and existing services at

COVID-19: help for those who need it, volunteering opportunities

Many people are keen to do what they can to help in the current crisis, and communities across Dringhouses & Woodthorpe are rallying round in terms of looking out for elderly or vulnerable neighbours.

A structured and safe approach to volunteering is important to ensure people get the support they need in a co-ordinated and safe way.

Residents who would like to volunteer are being asked to sign up by e-mailing or go to  or call 01904 551550

Those vulnerable residents who do not currently have any access to support, but who need help because of impact of COVID-19, should e-mail Community Support Coordinators at or call 01904 551550 for assistance.

Other key sources of advice and information:

Number 12 bus – £65k subsidy sought to support Alness Drive / Acomb Wood Drive route

The subsidy for the section of the number 12 bus route which serves Alness Drive, Acomb Wood Drive and Bellhouse Way is to be extended until April 2020. But beyond then, a subsidy of £65,000 per year is being sought in order to retain that section of the route.

Local Lib Dem councillors are campaigning to protect bus services

An Officer Decision published by City of York Council (available HERE) states that a report will be prepared for the council’s Executive to consider the long-term funding given the annual cost is greater than the budget available.

Some key headlines from the published Decision are set out below:

  • First York planned to cancel service 3A, and the section of service 12 which connects Bellhouse Way, Acomb Wood Drive and Alness Drive with the city centre and Monks Cross, with effect from 29th September 2019. City of York Council agreed temporary funding for both services until 1st February 2020
  • A fully compliant tender process has been carried out and the winning bidder is prepared to provide an equivalent service to the existing route 12 (with vehicles meeting the Clean Air Zone emissions requirement) for approx. £65k per annum
  • The cost of operating both services from 2nd February until 31st March would be £14,800 (£4k for service 3A and £10.8k for service 12), which is within budget for the 2019/20 financial year
  • The cost of operating both services throughout 2020/21 and subsequent financial years would be £88,700 per annum (£24k for service 3A and £64.7k for service 12), which exceeds the anticipated subsidised bus budget for 2020/21 by around £26k. It is therefore not possible to fund both services beyond 4th April 2020 from within the budget.

Local Lib Dem councillors will continue to work with council officers and bus operators to maintain and improve bus services which provide a lifeline for many residents.

New litter bins installed

The first of a batch of six new litter bins have been installed around Dringhouses & Woodthorpe ward. The locations of the bins have been informed by suggestions made by residents.

New bin at the bus stop near Holiday Inn

Bins have been installed on Eason View, Chaloners Road and Tadcaster Road, with the remaining bins to be installed on Dringthorpe Road (entrance to Knavesmire Wood), St Helens Road (near school entrance) and Summerfield Road.

New bin on Eason View near junction with Turnmire Road