A couple who have been sleeping in tents on a playing field have moved on after getting a notice to leave.

The man and woman, who we are not naming, had pitched their tents on Holgate Dock. But they left on Monday (25 February).

Speaking to Minster FM news editor David Dunning, the woman said she preferred a tent to some of the accommodation she has been offered elsewhere.

She said:

  • It’s mine, I can come and go as I please. I feel free.

    Yes I’d like somewhere with a boiler and radiators, somewhere decent.

    But they always try and put me in such terrible places.

Offer help and a bed

Photograph: David Dunning
The woman is from West Yorkshire, and says the poor condition of previous accommodation has affected her mental health.

Some housing had mould and no heating.

By contrast living in a tent is not that hard, she said. She gets showers and support through church groups, and from Food Not Bombs, the group that provides free food in St Helen’s Square on Friday and Sunday evenings.

City of York Council issued the Notice To Leave. The woman said she understood the reasons and thanked neighbours for their kindness and concern.

Tom Brittain, assistant director of housing and community safety, said:

  • We are aware of several people sleeping rough outside the city centre.

    As with all instances of people sleeping rough, first and foremost we offer them a bed and help into safe and more stable lives.

    As rough sleeping causes life expectancy to plummet from 83 to 47 years and as illegal encampments are unsafe, we also serve a notice to leave.

Anyone who sees someone sleeping rough should call StreetLink on 0300 5000 914 to alert local services to offer them help.