Six things that have happened in the first year of Make It York

Old and new York together… Photograph: Anthony Chappel-Ross
17 May 2016 @ 11.18 am
| Business, News

One year ago Make It York was born.

As the city’s first “destination management organisation” it took on responsibility for attracting tourists to the city, for overseeing our calendar of cultural events, and for luring new businesses to relocate here.

These roles were previously undertaken by Visit York, the city council and York Means Business respectively.

On Tuesday (May 17) Make It York invited hundreds of interested parties to its “One Year On” stakeholder meeting.

And its brand new website – designed and built by YorkMix Media Ltd, publisher of YorkMix – also went live.

So what’s Make It York been up to in that first year?

Arts and awards

The UK’s first Guild of Media Arts has been created – the first trade guild in the city for 700 years – as well as a Digital Adventurers initiative for young people.

An annual Cultural Awards event has also been launched; the first will be held on December 1, and has York actor Mark Addy as its patron.

The ambition now is to double the size of York’s thriving creative economy from £164 million to £329 million by 2025.

Business support

The Make It York business team has supported more than 400 individual businesses with help and advice on start-up and growth, access to over £398K of investment finance, skills and training, recruitment and international trade and property search.

Responding to the Boxing Day flooding, 162 businesses across York and North Yorkshire accessed flood recovery funding through awards worth £487K.

Crowdfunding with York Hive

Some of the early York Hive adopters along with the Lord Mayor Sonja Crisp (centre) and Steve Brown, managing director of Make It York (right). Photograph: YorkMix
Some of the early York Hive adopters along with the Lord Mayor Sonja Crisp (centre) and Steve Brown, managing director of Make It York (right). Photograph: YorkMix

After being launched with Make It York backing in March at Bedern Hall, York Hive, the city’s new crowdfunding initiative, has already met two fundraising targets.

York Civic Trust’s campaign to restore the Rigg Monument became the very first York Hive project to reach its target.

Starting with £3,000 in the pot, the hive’s crowdfunders raised a further £10.7K.

The Arts Barge followed, reaching its fundraising target of £23,440 ten days in advance of the deadline.

Inward investment

A new inward investment brochure was launched in April and is currently being distributed to 2,000 potential investors in the UK and oversees.

York Business Hour was launched on Vale Radio Online, which is also available as a podcast.

Added to this, a new collaboration with Hiscox has led to 30 small businesses taking up office space within the new Hiscox building, supporting and helping young businesses to grow.

BID established

The city’s success in the quest to establish a ‘Business Improvement District’ (BID) in York followed more than a year of consultation with businesses.

The BID’s new executive director Andrew Lowson said: “We want a city centre that is competitive whilst pleasant to live in.  Working collaboratively with Make it York will be crucial in making the right decisions for businesses in York.”


New festivals and events were brought to the city for the first time under Make It York, such as the hugely popular Great Yorkshire Fringe in July, a new Easter Festival and a much extended York St Nicholas Christmas Festival.

Around £608 million is brought into York’s economy through tourism each year, and Make It York plan to push that number to £1 billion by 2024.