New mayor meets North Yorkshire community groups

David Skaith, Mayor of York and North Yorkshire, with voluntary, community and social enterprise groups ahead of a roundtable event.

Voluntary and community groups have met with York and North Yorkshire’s new mayor, David Skaith.

Community First Yorkshire hosted a roundtable event on Thursday (16), inviting the mayor to meet more than a dozen local voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations.

David Skaith, mayor of York and North Yorkshire, said: “I want to put people and communities first.

“Addressing the cost of living is a major driver for me ​and working together with organisations such as these is how we will create a real impact. I was there to listen, to understand the needs and challenges faced by these organisations and the communities they serve.

“Voluntary and community organisations are well-loved parts of every community, and they also play a vital role in our economy as employers and enterprises.”

The visit, held at Community First Yorkshire’s offices in Askham Bryan, marked the first sector-specific meeting for the mayor since taking office on Tuesday 7 May.

Alison Semmence and Jane Colthup, chief executives of York CVS and Community First Yorkshire respectively, said: “We’re really pleased that within his first ten days of office, our York and North Yorkshire mayor was so keen to meet with representatives of the VCSE sector to discuss how we can work together for our local communities.”

Other organisations taking part in the roundtable included: York Carers Centre, St Nick’s, Community Furniture Stores, Explore York, York Mind, Revival North Yorkshire, Carers Plus, SELFA, HADCA, North Yorkshire Together, CaVCA and Resurrected Bites.

Groups introduced their work, before discussing areas such as funding, perceptions of the sector, the benefits to the local economy, and opportunities for collaboration outside the region.

Earlier in the day, the Mayor visited Better Connect. The Knaresborough-based not-for-profit organisation hosted a launch event for their new programme Rise2Thrive. Better Connect’s Rise2Thrive programme has received £2,000,000 (two million) from the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

33 community organisations across York and North Yorkshire have formed a partnership, led by Better Connect, to support individuals across the local area to overcome barriers that move them closer towards and into employment.

Natasha Babar-Evans, CEO of Better Connect, said: “We were delighted that in David Skaith’s first few days of appointment, he chose to meet with and understand our sector and the impact that we make across our communities.”

There was also an opportunity to visit Whixley Village Hall, which has looked to turn their inefficient hall into a green-friendly community building, with support from Community First Yorkshire.

The mayor leads York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority, which formed on 22 January. The Combined Authority is delivering the region’s historic devolution deal, which is worth more than £540 million over 30 years.

Elected on 3 May, the mayor is working with City of York Council and North Yorkshire Council to utilise devolved funds and attract new investment.

Powers and responsibilities for the new mayor include:

  • Responsibility for 30-year Mayoral Investment Fund and the powers to borrow against funds
  • Full devolution of the Adult Education Budget
  • Powers to improve the supply and quality of housing and secure the development of land or infrastructure
  • Powers and funds to improve transport through a consolidated, devolved, multi-year transport settlement
  • Responsibilities for community safety and the powers to appoint a Deputy Mayor to carry out many of the duties previously held by the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner

The York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority website is at: yorknorthyorks-ca.gov.uk, which includes details of upcoming public meetings.