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The York Narrative

We've been asking residents, visitors, businesses, students, and anyone with an opinion about York, to tell us what they think makes York special.

We did this through our Talk York consultation, which has developed into the York Narrative.

The York Narrative is a way of describing York, together with its surrounding neighbourhoods and communities. It aims to help partners and residents understand how we can better present ourselves to local, regional and national partners and prepare for future funding opportunities whilst also identifying the values the city cherishes to inform future policy making.

The York Narrative aims to:

  • attract investment
  • attract visitors
  • help rebalance the local economy
  • enhance the regional, national and international perception of York

To do this we will:

The York Narrative was formally adopted by our Executive on 28 November 2019 (see the agenda for the Executive meeting on 28 November 2019).

The Talk York consultation has been funded by Leeds City Region Business Rates Pool and led by award-winning teams from:

A toolbox and guidance, including all the research and datasets, is being built and will be ready in Spring 2020. In the meantime, our better decision-making tool will trial how the narrative can inform council policy.

Talk York consultation

'Let's talk about York..'

Thank you to everyone who took part in the Talk York consultation.

A range of consultation activities took place during July and September 2019 to develop and test the proposed narrative.

An online and location-based consultation took place in June and July. 2,638 people completed the survey, of which 1,543 were residents.

48 stakeholders were interviewed and 22 small sector focus groups were held. The resident consultation was inclusive and actively reached out to communities who traditionally did not engage in council consultations.

People also:

  • provided around 2,500 comments on consultation boards at locations across the city
  • completed 80 mini-survey postcards
  • attended workshops and a masterclass

Throughout September and October, we tested the proposed narrative with community groups, residents and groups of young people. In addition, we tested it through workshops with stakeholders and partners. This helped us to further refine and validate the narrative. In addition, the feedback from young people, community groups and residents helped inform our approach to implementation.

See an executive summary of the findings from the Talk York research.

Background to the York Narrative and Talk York

York has recently won awards from The Sunday Times who voted it 'best place to live' in the UK in 2018, and 'best place to live' in the North and North East of England in 2019.

On top of this, York boasts UNESCO 'City of Media Arts' status, being the UK's first 'gigabit city', a Condé Nast 'best city architecture, 2018' award, best Christmas market in the UK, and 'Britain's favourite city' (YouGov).

However, York has a challenging local economy:

  • even though residents are highly educated, weekly wages in the city are below average
  • young people and key workers often struggle to afford to live in the city
  • there are high levels of employment in the hospitality, retail and health and social care sectors, which pay less than the national average wage

By changing the way we talk about York, we hope to start to rebalance the local economy, by attracting further inward investment and increase pride in the city.

Talk York partners

We're working with partners as part of the Talk York project, including:

Also see

Talk York Consultation

West Offices, Station Rise, York, YO1 6GA