As the new year dawns, we ask people what they hope for from 2014
Lord Mayor of York Coun Julie Gunnell
Looking back at 2013 we have seen many events unfold from Barack Obama sworn in as president for the second time, a meteor breaking up over Russia and Argentina’s Jorge Bergoglio elected as new Pope Francis, to the Boston bombings, the death of Margaret Thatcher, Andy Murray winning Wimbledon, a royal birth, the Philippines being hit by a typhoon and the sad passing away of Nelson Mandela.
I’m confident 2014 will bring good news stories too but also, so very tragically, I expect just like 2013 it will bring its tragedies, from wars and destruction to human rights crises, accidents and environmental disasters.
But as we enter 2014 there are lots of positives we should grasp. The use of social media and digital technology allows the world to be much more connected. It should be used positively, including economically, culturally and for education and research into areas such as medical health and the environment. We can now share and learn much more effectively, and create new friendships between people, cities and countries.
For me in 2014, I will complete my term as Lord Mayor and continue to work with others such as our two universities and businesses to build relationships within the city and further. We have had formal visits from China, Japan, USA, and many European countries all interested in strengthening relationships within the city.
But equally I will continue to work hard at raising difficult issues such as domestic violence and the devastating impact on children and young people.
Jeremy Jones, chief executive of Arc Light
As Arc Light (unbelievably) enters its 15th year of homing the homeless of York and thoughts turn to 2014, Rumsfeld’s famously impenetrable “there are known knowns and there are known unknowns” speech comes to mind.
What we do know is that all frontline services have a tougher year ahead – waiting lists are longer, move-ons slower, only our 100 per cent occupancy and successful outcome figures remain constant.
Unknown to us is how, or indeed if, we shall be funded beyond October. We know that year on year our services are irreplaceable but as yet we have no indication of future finance. We also know that constant reinvention lights the way forward and having developed a successful active learning programme last year (paid for by generous donations), now we are working with York Hospital to provide a guaranteed ‘Bed Ahead’ for homeless patients upon discharge and leading the ’Making Every Adult Matter’ initiative, to ensure even the most marginalised and excluded can be have suitable housing and bespoke support.
We know somehow we’ll be here in 2015, but as for the ‘unknown unknowns’ – who knows?
Charlotte Morris, Joseph Rowntree Foundation
If I had to pick just one thing that I would like to see in 2014, it would be a real sea-change in people’s attitudes towards poverty in the UK.
Poverty is not inevitable in a rich country like ours. The latest statistics show that 13 million people live below the poverty line in the UK.
We should be prepared to do something to change this, but instead our attitudes to poverty are hardening. We are so scared of poverty that we bury our heads in the sand and believe that poverty is caused by people’s laziness and fecklessness, not loss of a job, illness or family breakdown – which could happen to any of us.
Poverty has such a stigma attached to it that we do not have a public group or organisation of people in poverty in the UK. So without a wider public pressure, and in fact with apparent support for a harsher welfare system, we are going to see more people pushed into poverty and a further divided society of haves and have-nots.
Naturalist and wildlife artist Robert Fuller
Robert has a lot to look forward to in 2014: he will be taking a group to the Galapagos Islands in the spring, then on to mainland Ecuador afterwards. “The list of species we will see will be endless: iguanas, giant tortoises, Darwin’s finches, diving with hammerhead sharks. Then in Ecuador we’ll see humming birds, condors and so on.”
It will be an amazing experience. But it won’t conceal the fact that around the world, countless species are at risk because of the way we exploit them. Amongst the worst forms of exploitation, he says, is the illegal poaching of animals for their ivory or horn.
“So my hope for 2014 would be that worldwide we’ll develop more of a sense of how serious wildlife crime is. The poaching of elephants, rhinos, tigers… that’s a tragedy. When I see a rhino now with a large horn, it worries me so much, because you know to some people that horn is worth more than its weight in gold.”
Cyclist Paul Hepworth
Nationally I hope that Government will make consistent and long term investment in urban cycling right across the UK, to replace their present competitive bids from limited pots of money.
I would also like to see vehicle excise duty, wrongly called ‘road tax’, to be officially renamed ‘pollution tax’, and all emergency service ‘accident investigation unit’ vehicles renamed ‘collision investigation unit’.
“I hope that the Tour de France effect will produce a lasting enthusiasm for recreational and racing cycling, across the Yorkshire region. The recently suggested alliance with West Yorkshire might produce cash for a long demanded ‘upgrade’ of the A1237. But new capacity encourages more car travel. So I hope this debate will be tempered by a realistic 2014 assessment, of how few years it would be, before a dualled road becomes as congested as the existing one.
Visit York chair Jane Gibson
Having experienced a year of ill health amongst my nearest and dearest, the thing I want most for York in 2014 is robust good health enjoyed with a dash of optimism and common purpose. I am consigning 2013 to the “didn’t laugh enough” and “too fractious” register, so I want my new year to be peppered with words like buoyant, bullish, cheerful and confident. My continued hope for York is that the cash registers ring out with record sales for everyone and that, as a city, we do a few big things really well.
Mark Troughton, pastor of the York Evangelical Church
A lot of people asked the question what they hope for from 2014 would say an end to the recession, a bit more comfort, some more material things, and – to quote the 60s adage, but dropping the dope for hope – some peace, love and hope.
I ask for peace and love and hope for everybody, but I would also wish for people to look beyond the material, the temporary, the purely physical. Death puts a bit of a dampener on every party. But the peace that comes from God, the love that comes from God, the hope that comes from God, goes beyond the grave.
• York Evangelical Church holds an open session at Clements Hall in Nunthorpe Road on the first Sunday of every month, from 5pm. This Sunday the topic for discussion will be: “Is faith a leap in the dark?”
Christine True, president-elect of the Rotary Club of York Ainsty
Christine has many hopes for 2014, ranging from setting up Rotary satellite groups that will encourage more younger people to get involved in the charity work Rotary does, to seeing more cycle tracks in York.
She’s hoping the Tour de France will prove the huge success we all believe. “At Rotary we’re hoping to get a committee together to see what help we can offer.”
She hopes, like many, that the economy will really begin to pick up in 2014. And she hopes that York will be able to become a tidier city in 2014.
“When you go away and people ask where you’re from and you say York, they say ‘oh, what a beautiful place’. But we could make York even more beautiful and tidy than it is. That’s something we’ll be looking at in Rotary too.”
Paul Banks, Shed Seven guitarist and boss of digital film company Digifish
2013 has been a hectic year. I have spent around six months of the year travelling, mostly out of the country, so I’m looking forward to having more time back in York.
The year was really successful for Digifish, which has included a global commercial for Sony Headphones, a campaign for Littlewoods, and animation for Julian Lennon’s White Feather foundation.
During the summer we had a crew of more than 15 people working on the official V Festival documentary and I have also directed the last two music videos for The Script. So we are really excited moving into 2014.
I’m also looking forward to more antics with Shed Seven in 2014. The December tour was great fun and we all enjoyed being back on stage together having not toured for over two years. We have plans so it will be interesting to see how these develop.
I’m also looking forward to hearing more from my oldest friend Rick Witter on his radio show on Minster FM (Sunday evenings at 9pm) – shameless plug but he’s the only person playing decent music on the airwaves. And that is also a hope for 2014 – more decent music to listen to.
But above all else my main hope for 2014 is to spend more quality time with my family.
City of York Council leader James Alexander
I am hugely optimistic about York’s prospects for 2014.
The investments we have made to secure growth in the York economy are beginning to bear fruit. Unemployment is at less than half the national average and I hope that we will see relatively full employment in the city in the year to come. I will be working hard with businesses to ensure the city helps the private sector create the high quality and well paid jobs we want to see in York.
I am also looking forward to the Tour de France arriving here on July 6. How fitting that one of Europe’s pre-eminent sporting events should grace one of its most beautiful cities. In addition, I would like to see residents of all ages and backgrounds living in closer harmony with each other, with better communication between all age groups. The council will be playing its part in that process by holding a series of ‘Community Conversations’ during 2014.
But most of all, I really hope that 2014 will bring greater prosperity, happiness, and good health for everyone, in York and the surrounding area.