Carers Plus Yorkshire has been looking into a number of ways to capture some of the amazing work undertaken by community volunteers during the pandemic; in many cases the examples showcased on our YouTube, continue to have a significant impact (and energy) within local communities now. Pre-Covid, Carers Plus Yorkshire had intended to develop a Ryedale Community Hub network – a network designed to create a platform on which to celebrate, share and learn from the wonderful work happening within our communities. Much of this work pre-pandemic was about helping to keep our village communities thriving, reducing loneliness/isolation and creating amazing friendships and social connections.
Covid halted our plans to create a roving ‘show and tell’ network of Community Hubs; likewise Covid instantly changed the face of the localised and well-established volunteering practices, but undeniably through the determination of many volunteers, Ryedale communities were kept safer, remained well-connected and prioritised the welfare/wellbeing of local residents. Carers Plus Yorkshire set out to capture this work in the best way possible - through video! Our ambition in sharing this work is to celebrate and potentially inspire new adventures across Ryedale and beyond.
Please see below a short outline of the villages and projects we captured to date. All credit for the videos must go to Luke Taylor, our resident film maker. Luke has put together a play list on our YouTube channel:
We wanted to cover not only the individual groups within Thornton-le-Dale (which are plentiful), but also capture the spirit of the village hub. A recently formed group, aimed at benefiting those who reside in the village. Through the Hub, individuals are able to organise and run independent activities for their own and other resident's benefit. We spoke with Natalie Griffiths, who is the current chair of the Hub, about the overall work that the hub has done.
Thornton-le-Dale Pond Project: One of the groups set up through the Thornton-le-Dale Hub was the ‘Pond Project’, which was organised and ran by Stephen Richardson. The group’s ambition was to establish an active group of volunteers who would focus on improving the appearance of the village pond and its surrounding areas, for visitors and residents alike. As they did this, they hoped the opportunities created would encourage wider social interaction between residents as well as establishing meaningful engagement activities for all. At the time of recording, it was impossible to meet face-to-face, so we decided to do the interview over Zoom alongside gathering images and footage of the pond and its wider location.
Thornton-le-Dale Litter Picking: Currently co-ordinated by David Bartlett, Luke interviews the pickers to learn more about this well-established project. The group has around 65 volunteers at present, many of which go around the village on a Sunday morning between the hours of 10 and 12 picking up litter – anyone is welcome to join them. Again a recorded zoom interview with recently sourced images by Hub members.
Thornton-le-Dale Railings Project: The Thornton-le-Dale Railings project is co-ordinated by Roy Lees. This group of volunteers go around the entire village making sure that all the railings are maintained to a high standard, this means repainting or repairing if necessary – it’s like the Forth Bridge! When watching the video please note all images were sourced by either Roy and Natalie (labelled, ‘Photo Taken Pre-COVID’), as well as originally sourced material either photographed or filmed by Luke.
‘Soup, Bap & Banter’ tells the fabulous story of a project born from a curiosity of what to do with surplus vegetables from a local allotment. The Ings Garth Centre used to be a central meeting place for many; during COVID life changed for many older local residents who could not pop down for a cuppa and a chat. SO……soup, bap and banter seemed to be the solution. With more veg than they could handle, the Pickering Foodshare developed the idea of putting it to good use! The Chair of the Committee (Sue) presents the idea of the project in our video clip and is clearly proud that their solution presents a covid safe way to reduce isolation, offer residents a healthy lunch and a great doorstep conversation!!
Sherriff Hutton has a vibrant and keen volunteering network at the best of times, but COVID has shone a spotlight on some amazing practice that we wanted to share. When filming, we went across to the village on 2 separate visits to ensure we could fit everyone into the video who wanted to contribute. The video is hosted by Jill Donaldson Hodges, the lead volunteer co-ordinator for Sheriff Hutton; Jill shares some of the Village’s success stories and hopefully demonstrates some great practice that could be replicated elsewhere. We have filmed: a wonderful Bus Stop Book Library, a collection point for the local Foodbank and a Bird Watch!
Helping Hampers is a brand-new scheme that brings together Carers Plus Yorkshire, Community Smart and North Yorkshire County Council (amongst many other small, independent traders), giving families a chance to make fresh cooked meals at home, together! Each Hamper contains fresh ingredients, both supplied by local resources in Malton and the surrounding area and that of which Community Smart already sourced. Steve Mason (Environmental Smart CIC), is filmed giving us the background to the project - a scheme not just providing essential food items/ingredients, but also sending into the household, food ideas, tips and techniques to help people eat responsibly, shop locally and think about what food goes on to their plate!
Hidden Disabilities is a fabulous scheme that has helped to raise the profile of those often mis-understood or feeling frustrated in our communities. As COVID became more limiting for us all and masks became a way of life, those unable to comply with the wearing of ‘masks’ due to their welfare, became increasingly anxious about their non-compliance and constant explaining. The hidden disabilities scheme was/is a lifeline to many - a non-intrusive and strongly visual indication that someone is ‘mask-exempt’, the scheme has helped many to confidently re-emerge from lockdown safely in the knowledge that the lanyard/sunflower symbol offers, at a glance, an explanation to all without saying a word! Cllr Carol Swift (Helmsley Town Council) and Julia Atkinson (Chief Officer, Sight Support Ryedale) offer their reflections in person; their respective organisations are huge advocates for the Hidden Disabilities scheme, with Hidden Disabilities branded items available from both.