THE new Lord Mayor of York has chosen to help those struggling with the cost of living crisis by supporting smaller charities and community groups over the coming year.

The Rt Hon the Lord Mayor of York, Councillor David Carr, said the economic situation had led him and the civic party to establish a fund, the Lord Mayor’s Appeal, with the York-based Two Ridings Community Foundation.

Two or three established charities are typically chosen as beneficiaries of fundraising activity during the mayoral year, but Suzie Mercer, the new Sheriff of York, said the fund would help support those who needed it most.

Speaking at the mayor making ceremony, back at the refurbished Guildhall for the first time since the pandemic, Cllr Carr said: “The malign spectres of inflation and recession are beginning to raise their heads, with their pernicious effects on our economy and our finances.”

Mrs Mercer, a former Wheldrake councillor, added: “The present economic crisis is having a huge impact on household budgets and the charities sector generally, but especially on smaller charities and groups.

“We therefore want to find a way of supporting those that don’t have sharp elbows, that don’t have access to opinion formers and who have little influence.” 

Money raised will be distributed to a small number of charities and community groups that have requested support at the end of the year.

Cllr Carr, a Copmanthorpe councillor since 2015 and leader of the York Independent group, moved to York in 1981 with his wife Linda, who is to be Lady Mayoress.

Born in Sheffield, he is the only son of a Polish soldier who fled his home during the German occupation.

A trained chartered surveyor, Cllr Carr had a successful career in property development, investment and urban regeneration, including becoming director of the royal docks regeneration scheme in London and property director at Yorkshire Electricity.

The office of Lord Mayor stretches back more than 800 years, with the first, Hugh de Selby, appointed in 1217.

Cllr Carr, a former Conservative leader of City of York Council, said: “Traditions are important. The symbols, rituals and customs give us focus as a community and they remind us that we are all mere brief parts of a long, long story.”

He paid tribute to outgoing Lord Mayor, Cllr Chris Cullwick and his wife, Lady Mayoress Joy Cullwick, whose terms in office were heavily impacted by the pandemic.

Cllr Carr added: “We are custodians of an office that goes back over 800 years when this ancient city of York was the second city of the kingdom and a thriving centre of government, religion, the military, culture and learning, and of trade, fashion and influence – it is still all of those things.”

Mrs Mercer and her consort – daughter Rebecca – are taking over from Cllr Ashley Mason and his wife, Danielle Mason.