Transforming Bishy Road
252. Johnny Hayes
A local retailer from York who led efforts to transform York’s ‘Bishy Road’ into the one of the most loved and vibrant streets in Britain.
Johnny Hayes, 61, who runs a cookware shop on Bishopthorpe Road has been the driving force behind the traders association that turned an ordinary local street into a lively hub at the heart of local events, community action and fundraising.
Bishopthorpe Road businesses have served the local community well for over a hundred years. Four years ago the local businesses formed the Bishopthorpe Road Traders Association (BRTA) with seventy businesses now involved in promoting the area as an excellent place to live and work. The association goes under the affectionate name of ‘Bishy Road’. In 2010 Bishopthorpe Road was a collection of local independent shops fearful for their future.
With a recently closed Post Office surrounded by city centre shops and out of town supermarkets. Johnny, whose shop has been open for business for 80 years, was determined that local businesses could do something to bring life back to the street. He started by organising a summer street party and went on to create the ‘Jubolympics’ in 2012,annual winter light displays, ‘Bishy in Bloom’ and a campaign to get the local pub listed as a community asset. After another huge street party for the Tour de France in Yorkshire last summer, ‘Bishy Road’ was awarded the best dressed street by Le Tour organisers and the BBC based their breakfast coverage from there. The City Council estimated that this one event attracted well over 10,000 people to the street. In the last year alone £25,000 has been raised for local projects through Bishy Road raffles, donations and the sale of ‘I ‘heart’ Bishy’ mugs and bags.
Johnny’s award will be presented to him today by Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire as Bishy Road officially launches the countdown to the Tour de Yorkshire passing through in one month’s time.
Prime Minister, David Cameron, said:
“Johnny has transformed Bishy Road, creating a vibrant community at the heart of local events, community action and fundraising. I am delighted to make him a Point of Light today.”
“I was completely stunned and delighted to receive this “Points of Light Award” from the Prime Minister for my work on Bishy Road. I did not realise just how well known our lovely little shops and neighbourhood had become. I must say that I have really enjoyed my voluntary work on Bishy Road. This is an area I love, with a lovely community.”
Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said:
“It’s absolutely brilliant to see people taking such pride in their communities and celebrating the county they love. Johnny is a great example of someone who’s doing just that and we hope this recognition will act as a catalyst for others to follow and really roll out that famous warm welcome for the Tour de Yorkshire.”