Local parents have come together with York House Centre in Stony Stratford to create a new playgroup, which will have its first session on Monday 13 January 2020.
The group will now be known as the York House Young Ones – Yo-Yos for short – and will offer craft, toys, indoor and outdoor activities and a safe and welcoming environment for babies, toddlers and their parents and carers.
The group will run from 9.30am – 11.30am every Monday during term-time in the Main Hall at York House.
The partnership developed after a long-running playgroup held at York House was scheduled to close and parents approached York House to try to keep the much-loved group going.
Yo-Yos will be run by parents, supported by York House Centre, who have helped to set up the new group and are hosting the sessions.
As well as a wide range of toys, a snack break for the children and refreshments for the grown-ups, there will be the opportunity to use York House’s outdoor spaces in good weather plus regular music, story time and other themed sessions.
Yo-Yos will cost just £2.50 per family per session to help cover the costs of running the group.
The group’s coordinator, Kate Shaw, said: “I’ve been to the playgroup at York House with all my children, and it has always been a lovely friendly environment. We’re so pleased that we’ve been able to get this new group going, thanks to the support from York House. As parents we want to make Yo-Yos the group we want for our children and we’re sure it will be great fun – and thanks to all the equipment and facilities at York House, great value too.”
Centre Manager, Fiona Trinder, commented: “We are delighted that there will continue to be a baby & toddler group running at York House Centre. It’s lovely to have a warm, stimulating environment to take your little ones along to and parents and carers will get a chance to socialise whilst the children play. Huge thanks to the parent volunteers who have stepped in to develop and run York House Yo-Yos, we look forward to working with you in the years ahead.”
For more information see York House Yo-Yos
Having made major physical improvements to York House over the past 10 years, 2019 saw us turning our attention to improving the publicity and marketing for the centre.
The first task, (and what a mammoth task it was), was to totally re-brand our organisation! Local graphic designer, Mason Edwards @ Mason Edwards Design, generously donated his considerable skills and large amounts of his time to lead the project, totally free of charge. Mason worked with the Trustees and Staff to design a brand-new logo, internal and external signage schemes, smart new lettering over the front portico and artwork for the buttons on our new website. His bright, modern designs reflect our vibrant organisation and we are so grateful to him for his patience and generosity.
Every community centre worth its salt needs an external notice board to advertise its regular groups and one-off events – and now we’ve got a whopper! Huge thanks to our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) partners, Mercedes Benz Financial Services, who funded the manufacturing and installation of all our new signs and also bought us a brand new notice board for the London Road border. MBFS Volunteers even helped us install the notice board and re-develop the whole front border area during a very wet ‘Day of Caring’ in June 2019. Grateful thanks to our own ‘Handyman Phil’ for all his hard work on this project as well as to the staff and clients from Branch-out MK CIC for devising the planting scheme, helping us to buy the plants and plant them out.
Once the re-branding scheme was finished, the next stage was to develop a shiny new website for the centre. With practical and financial help from Mercedes Benz Financial Services, the York House Trustees and Staff agreed what functionality we would need from our new website and our vision for the over-all look. The website was designed and built by Stony Stratford-based company, Freestone Creative, who were incredibly patient and helpful and we are delighted with the finished result. The new website is bright and colourful, incorporating Mason’s branding scheme and artwork plus lots of photographs of the building and its activities.
The website encourages users to choose one of three pathways from the home page – ‘Hire our Spaces’, ‘What’s On?’ or ‘About York House & Our Projects’. Its clear design makes navigating easy and there is also a ‘search’ facility. The website is packed with all sorts of information about how to hire our spaces (including room photos and plans, facilities, prices, FAQs and an enquiry form), a calendar of events and regular clubs & classes which are categorised for ease of use, plus everything you might want to know about our organisation and the projects we run, including a history of York House. Grateful thanks to Mercedes Benz Financial Services who funded the development of the website.
Now that the new website is up and running, the Trustees and Staff will be developing a Marketing Strategy to target particular sectors of the community e.g children’s parties, commercial meetings etc – ensuring that York House Centre continues to thrive during 2020 and beyond!
York House Centre have been very lucky to have one of our projects included in the Co-op Local Communty Fund scheme during 2018/19.
We were amazed and delighted that Co-op members raised a whopping total of £2,468.31 towards our ‘Outside is for Everyone’ project to encourage outdoor activities and exercise.
‘Outside is for Everyone’ is raising funds to improve the facilities for our Astroturf area which is already used by many of our user groups, particularly our 2 Youth Clubs. The completion of the sports netting will attract new users to the centre (e.g. children’s soccer camps) and will allow other areas of the gardens to be safely enjoyed at the same time as the Astroturf is being used for sports and games activities. We have already raised enough funds to install an access ramp to the Astroturf, making it safely accessible for all our users, but particularly those with limited mobility.
When Co-op members shop, 1% of what they spend on selected Co-op branded products and services goes to support local causes through their Local Community Fund. Members can choose a local cause registered on the Co-op website that they want their 1% to support.
The ‘Big Co-op Payout’ gives the Co-op a chance to thank their members for helping them give back to local communities and also offers a chance for the charities receiving the donations to say a MASSIVE thank you. York House Trustee, Derek Gibbons, went along to the Deanshanger Co-op on Saturday 23 November to talk to staff and customers about what we do at York House Centre and, of course, thank them for their amazing donation!
As part of this year’s Stony Stratford Switch-On Fun Day, Santa will be coming to town and setting up his own custom-built grotto!
Red Phoenix Storyteller & Pals will be helping Santa to raise funds for Act Out & Act Up, affordable community drama classes for young people aged 6 to 16 years.
When: Saturday 30 November 2019
Where: Find Santa in the Market Square, Stony Stratford (underneath the Health Centre)
Times: 11.30am – 3.00pm
Cost: £3.00 per child (includes 1 gift per ticket)
Another fantastic York House Arts for All took place on Saturday 12 October with hundreds of families joining us at York House Centre for an art-tastic experience…
Local artists, Michelle Buckland and Angela Carel, transformed York House into Outer Space with a universe backdrop of moon, stars, planets, satellites and spaceships. There were a wide range of arty activities based around the theme – loads of weird and wonderful aliens to colour-in and paint; postcards from Space; bunting to decorate and hang up on the washing line around the hall; paper marbling; planet making, the very popular ‘paint a moon rock’; make a Space plate scene; icing rocket biscuits; face-painting, design your own shooting star t-shirt and loads more to make and do…. The creativity flowed from people of all ages – from tiny tots to those more advancing in years – and a fabulous time was had by all.
We are grateful to Stony Stratford Town Council, Milton Keynes Community Foundation and the York House Centre Local Giving Fund for their generous funding. Added to the money raised via the Volunteer Cafe, paid activities and bucket donations, this allows these events to be FREE for everyone (including materials) every year, giving the opportunity to all families to play and create together.
A massive thank you to all our Volunteers (the York House Arts Crew) who give so freely of their time to help everyone enjoy the day, and to everyone who baked cakes and ran the Volunteer Cafe to keep the masses fed and watered!
‘Like’ our page on Facebook at ‘York House Arts for All’ and for more information about all our events and activities.