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The Forest: York’s new, outdoor venue unveiled


We’re excited to unveil York’s new, outdoor venue space for Term 1 - The Forest! This new space, which will be situated on Vanbrugh Bowl, will be a vast festival site complete with tents, outdoor seating areas, bars, food trucks and more. 

The Forest, which was funded by the University, will open its doors for Postgraduate Arrivals Week on Monday 21st September. Activities will then continue throughout the term as YUSU, along with the Graduate Students Association and Colleges, will put on a program of Welcome events that will run until the end of term 1.

Giving you those festival-site vibes, The Forest will give new students the perfect introduction to all that’s on offer at York in a safe environment. As well as this, we’re excited to tell you that it will become bookable for student groups to host their own events and activities too. More information on that to follow next week!

Unlike a traditional Freshers’ Week (which usually only sees activities taking place across the first two weeks of term) this year we’re expanding our events timetable across the whole of Term 1 to make the good times last longer. This will include (but not limited to) quizzes, DJ sessions, comedy nights, yoga sessions, workshops and performances brought to you by us, the GSA and Colleges.

As well as all this, it will also allow us to continue to offer student jobs on campus at a time when finances are a real concern for many of you, and the pandemic continues to impact the availability of the retail and hospitality jobs that have traditionally provided part time work opportunities for many students.

But that’s not all! We can also reveal that additional covered, outdoor space will be installed at both The Courtyard and The Glasshouse that will remain there permanently - meaning you’ll still be able to enjoy your favourite bars safely.

We want to thank the University’s Health and Safety team for working with us to ensure the space will be fully Covid secure, that staff situated at the site will be fully trained in managing Covid risk and that we’re always adhering to the latest government guidelines. Here are some of the ways we’ll do this:

  • We’re installing sanitation stations across all of our venues for event hosts and guests to use.

  • There will be safety signage throughout our venues which marks out 2-metre social distancing, one-way systems and reminders to wear face coverings where necessary.

  • All YUSU Events and Commercial staff will be undertaking Health and Safety training specific to Covid-19 prevention.

  • Each venue will be thoroughly disinfected at the end of each day.

  • Each venue will have a strict guest capacity to ensure social distancing when in use.

YUSU President Patrick O’Donnell said ‘We’re really excited to finally be able to share this huge news with students. Not only will this new venue space give new students a great taste of all that’s on offer at York, it will also give current students a new space to host their own events in a safe environment. 

Safety is our key priority with this space, hence why most of our events will be recurring to ensure that smaller numbers can attend but no one misses out on anything. As always, we’ll continue to work with the University to manage any risk and always adhere to the latest government guidelines.’

More detail will follow over the next couple of weeks, so keep an eye on our website for the latest announcements. If you have any questions please email [email protected].