Team North Yorkshire: Harrogate Advertiser campaign aims to highlight heroes within our community

An online charity talent show which has spread hope and joy across the district during lockdown is set to come to an end this weekend.
Marion Knowles has been assisting with the volunteers at HELP in Harrogate.Marion Knowles has been assisting with the volunteers at HELP in Harrogate.
Marion Knowles has been assisting with the volunteers at HELP in Harrogate.

It has been almost a year since coronavirus has changed our lives in ways we could never have imagined.

We have sometimes found ourselves in situations where we were needed to help our neighbours and at other times, we ourselves have needed to ask for help.

We have gained a new found respect for our key workers.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The people who have nursed us and helped us to get well, the people who have kept us safe, stocked the shelves of our supermarkets and done urgent repairs in our homes.

There are those who have been on furlough, many changing careers to become an essential part of society.

We have worked from home, embraced technology to hold virtual meetings, and we have discovered that not all office jobs need to be done from an office.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

We have found a new way to connect with our families, some have relished the time spent together, others have not.

We have taught our children from home, we have fretted about whether or not to send them back to school, and then we have taught them from home again.

We have shopped for our friends, collected prescriptions for our neighbours and clapped for carers at 8pm on a Thursday night.

There are those who have battled with their mental health, and there are those who believe that the biggest battles are yet to come.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

We have married and had children, we have cancelled weddings and rearranged holidays and milestone birthday celebrations.

We have said goodbye to those we love.

There are as many stories of how we have been impacted by the pandemic as there are people in North Yorkshire.

In 2020, The Harrogate Advertiser’s Salt of the Earth campaign celebrated people whose acts of kindness had improved the lives of those around them.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

We talked to those who stepped forward to deliver essential services, shopping for the vulnerable who were shielding, people who offered friendship to those who would otherwise be lonely and volunteers who gladly gave their time to make meals for those who could not cook for themselves.

Our new campaign, Team North Yorkshire - launched today in partnership with North Yorkshire County Council - aims to build on that sense of community concentrating on the groups that engage with the people around them, looking to improve their mental health, wellbeing and quality of life.

In a series of monthly features throughout the course of the coming year, The Harrogate Advertiser will focus on those who aim to build more vibrant communities and tell stories of the residents who ‘look out’ for each other and in turn help themselves.

If there has been one positive to come out of the pandemic then it has to be the renewed sense of community spirit with our district, and we want to celebrate that.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The leader of North Yorkshire County Council, Coun Carl Les, pictured, said: “Back in January 2020, together with our media partners, we launched our Salt of the Earth campaign to celebrate the power of kindness.

“Although we knew that the generosity and warmth of the people who live in this beautiful county is second to none, at the time we could not have foreseen what the impact of a global pandemic would be or just how much people would need to pull together.

“Yet despite facing their own hardships and heartache, people up and down the county have shown how compassionate and resilient they are. Since January last year we’ve shared many stories of people who are making a difference in their communities, inspiring others to get involved and showing people that it’s ok to ask for help. As we look ahead with hope and optimism, we will continue to celebrate that kindness through our Team North Yorkshire campaign.”

Richard Flinton, North Yorkshire County Council Chief Executive added: “In North Yorkshire we have strong communities and people who care about each other within them, for which we are hugely grateful. If there’s one positive to come from this crisis, it’s that incredible Team North Yorkshire response. People have reached out to support their neighbours and a network of volunteers have helped us to create a safety net of support for anyone without family or friends to lean on.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“When I reflect on the last year, it’s difficult to imagine what the experience of shielding or lockdown would have been like without the volunteers who have given over 87,000 hours of their time to make sure people had food, medication and someone to talk to during these challenging times.

“My heartfelt thanks goes to each and every one of them.”