PLANS for the 11th York 50+ Festival have been unveiled, with a focus this year on the theme of wellbeing.

Sue Lister, coordinator of the festival for the over-50s, has appealed to event organisers to consider what they can do to foster the wellbeing of the city's older residents.

"How can they bring people together to share activities that they may enjoy and may take up for the rest of the year?" she asked.

"How can we involve people who are feeling lonely and isolated and depressed? How can we make York a better place to grow older?"

She said Age UK had claimed that one million older people in the UK hadn’t spoken to anyone for a month. “That is unacceptable in our city," she said. "What are we going to do about it?”

Sue said she had started the first festival in 2005 with the idea of celebrating the experience, skills, knowledge and memories that older people had to share with younger people.

"There was already a world-wide annual celebration on October 1 of International Older People’s Day, with many cities round the UK already mounting their own festivals," she said.

"As a “city of festivals", York was ready and willing to add one more and the 50+ Festival has grown over the years until last year it offered 130 events for people of all ages to enjoy – young people working with older people, and older people offering events for younger people.

"It proved a way to bridge the generation gap and was enjoyed by around 5,000 people of all ages."

She said this year's festival would begin as usual with an information fair to be staged from 10 am to 3pm on Thursday September 10, with 30 stands at the Guildhall, six at the Spurriergate Centre and another six at St Sampson’s Centre.

"This is a time when charities, businesses, public and private services for older people come together to offer friendly advice, lots of information, taster sessions, goody bags, and a listening ear."

The main festival takes place between Saturday September 26 and Sunday October 4.

The deadline for entries in the festival programme is July 20 and event forms can be found at, while people can phone Sue on 01904 488870 to discuss possibilities.