The first phase of the Age Friendly York consultation is complete and from it there was an overwhelming request for ‘more benches’. Having additional benches in and around the city would enable older people to more confidently get out and about, because they would know they have somewhere they could sit down and take a rest.
I think this is an excellent idea and would also encourage people to go out more and be around others and continue doing things they enjoy.
People suggested it would be good to have more benches around shopping areas or places where there is something to see. It was also suggested that walk-arounds were done to look where suitable benches could go, to inform the Getting Out And About proposal.
This is a good idea, especially if integrated sensitively into the street scene.
Seating in York is mapped on the City of York Council website under YorkView (the public map browser, under ‘Street Care’). However this needs updating and does not have age-friendly criteria like whether the seat have arms and a back rest. An initial Age Friendly pilot has taken place in the Guildhall ward to re-map the benches supported by the volunteers at GoodGym. This will then take place on a ward-by-ward basis to inform any further ward-based decisions.
In addition a “Take a Seat” initiative is being proposed to come to York in Spring modelled on the 330 locations available in Nottingham. This approach would also cast a dementia friendly eye on the initiative so seating was available to people with disabilities as well as older people.
A tool which assesses how many seats there should be in a city, based on the older population, calculates York should have 181. There is currently 163 benches plotted, 73 of which have been assessed as age-friendly by having a back rest and arms. Any additional benches are therefore likely to be where there is large distance to the next bench or where there is not sufficient quantity of age-friendly benches in that area.
It’s great to hear about a consultation like this acting so promptly on the findings.