Project tackling loneliness in Harrogate launches major fundraising campaign to secure £80,000 a year

Tim Hurren, Guy Donegan-Cross and Jo-Ann Hughes with staff members and invited guests. (1701281AM1).
Tim Hurren, Guy Donegan-Cross and Jo-Ann Hughes with staff members and invited guests. (1701281AM1).

A project tirelessly working towards ending loneliness in Harrogate has launched a major fundraising campaign to secure £80,000 a year for its long-term future.

Based in the town centre on Oxford Street, the Harrogate Hub is run by volunteers from churches across the district who are all passionate about tackling isolation with a warm welcome and a listening ear.

The money raised through the Hub's 20:20 campaign will help the centre to extend its opening hours to every day of the week, currently operating just four days, cover running costs, and will also fund new projects including a young people's mentoring scheme, a befriending project, an allotment, and specialist pastoral carers to tackle isolation among as many different age groups as possible.

Volunteers are looking for 20 people to regularly give £10 per month, 20 churches to donate £1,000 each to the Hub annually, 20 local businesses to sponsor the support £2,000 a year, and 20 trusts to fund projects.

Charity Officer Ella Green said: "Loneliness is certainly a very common experience for many different kinds of people in Harrogate. Since we've opened we’ve seen it is often an issue for people who have suffered bereavement, particularly those who have been widowed and for people trapped in financial poverty.

"We've also seen loneliness as an issue among people living with a long-term illness, disability or mental illness.

"These experiences can leave people feeling very isolated and overwhelmed by their situations. Sometimes people feel lonely simply because they don’t have many close friends or family that they can talk to, and after been lonely for such a long time they can feel as though they are trapped by it.

"The Hub offers a safe and welcoming space, where anyone can come and chat - where they can unburden themselves, feel understood, build friendships, and find the advice and support they need.

"We would like to be open all evenings and at weekends so that we can be there to support people who work during weekdays, and at times when other support services are closed. These can often be the most lonely times for people, especially for people living by themselves.

"The Hub is a real lifeline to people in the Harrogate community. We don’t want anyone to feel alone. We welcome and love the people who come through our doors. You will receive kindness and respect, and you will not be judged."

To pledge your support or find out more about the campaign, visit the Harrogate Hub's website: http://theharrogatehub.org/2020campaign/, call 01423 369393 or email hello@theharrogatehub.org