Volunteers really do make the difference

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Column: Volunteers really do make the difference

Please join us each week in the Pateley Bridge library for this fun, free story time and singalong session. Also if you have under fives, Bookstart Week starts on June 5. The aim of this national initiative is to celebrate book reading with children from a very young age.

The theme this year is ‘Let’s Explore Outdoors’. If you come to the story time on Wednesday, June 7, there will be free goodies for the children. The pupils from St Cuthbert’s Primary School have joined us again for a special story time recently. They came in two separate groups as there were so many of them and, as you can see from the photo, they had a great time. At Nidderdale Plus we very much welcome working with local schools. Recently I attended a management and development meeting at Nidderdale High School for the Foundation Programme for Heritage Skills. This is a one year full time study programme based in Nidderdale and provided by North Yorkshire County Council’s adult learning and skills service in partnership with Nidderdale High School, Upper Nidderdale Landscape Partnership, Nidderdale Plus and Number 6 Studio Gallery.

The aim is for students on the programme to gain skills and confidence to support them with the transition from school towards employment, apprenticeship and further education. The core elements include enterprise and business skills; English, maths and ICT; fine craft skills; and work experience. The following day I took part in the interviews at Nidderdale High School with Year 11 students who wished to join the foundation programme in September.

I met some great students and I was also pleased that I saw some of them again soon after at the ‘Bugs, Butterflies and Buildings’ exhibition at Number 6 Gallery in Pateley Bridge where their amazing artwork was on display. The foundation students we interviewed were keen to continue their work with Number 6, as part of their study programme. In relation to the work experience element, I would love to hear from any local businesses who may be interested in finding out more about possibly taking on one of these students for a work experience placement. This may be for one or two days each week, during the academic year, starting in September. The focus of the work experience should be in some way related to heritage skills. Moving on, we have been in discussion with Carol Lancaster, of the Carers’ Resource, and they will be holding a craft group soon at our Nidderdale Plus office in Pateley Bridge for carers. Carol says: “There will be a wide variety of crafts available with materials provided –no experience necessary. If you want to bring your own knitting or project and sit with everyone for company and laughter you would be very welcome! The cost will be £5 including refreshments.”

A date has not yet been confirmed, but these sessions will run soon on a monthly basis. So, if you are interested in this friendly and fun session and want to find out more, please call and express your interest. We will publish the start date asap and look forward to working with the Carers’ Resource soon.

Finally, by the time this article is printed it will be the start of National Volunteers Week. As we have 35 volunteers involved in our charity, I wish to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their dedicated and loyal service. I am in the process of trying to organise another ‘thank you’ event for all our wonderful volunteers. As the strapline for the National Volunteers’ Week says, “You Make the Difference!”

In times of austerity, I believe we should all take a moment to be thankful to all the volunteers in our community who help to ensure vital and valued services continue to operate and deliver much needed local service provision.

For more information about Nidderdale Plus, contact me by email debbie@nidderdaleplus.org.uk or call 01423 714953.