The Connecting Ripon column with Karen Weaver

Today (Thursday) is the last chance to nominate a young unsung hero in Ripon and Boroughbridge.
Today (Thursday) is the last chance to nominate a young unsung hero in Ripon and Boroughbridge.

You really can make a positive difference to your community by volunteering whatever your age. Connecting Ripon member charity North Yorkshire Youth supports youth work and volunteering for young people.

Rachel Rabjohns is the Youth Volunteer Co-ordinator supporting young people aged 14 – 25 years to find volunteering opportunities in the Harrogate District.

During the summer holidays, Rachel supported young people volunteering with local libraries, Oxfam, and summer holiday schemes, as well as a group who organised a community event to raise funds for Miss Mollie’s Dog Rescue charity.

Rachel said: “When two 15 year old girls wanted to find volunteering work with animals, we were struggling, as most rescue centres and kennels want volunteers over 18 due to insurance restrictions and the nature of the work. We discussed how they could volunteer in a different way by hosting a fundraising event.

“They worked hard to plan and promote the event, baked cakes, hosted the day by chatting to local residents, served refreshments, ran a raffle and games of bingo. As well as the feel good factor of supporting a local charity close to their hearts, they also developed their organisational and people skills.”

For young people interested in volunteering there’s a wide range of opportunities on offer.

Volunteering is extremely flexible and time can be given on a weekly basis, just in school holidays or at a one-off event. Rachel helps young people find a volunteer role to match their interests, supports them to get started and to log their hours to provide certificates for CV’s, college applications and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

Rachel would love to hear from anyone interested in being involved with the project and can be contacted on 07500 787621 or by email rachel@nyy.org.uk.

North Yorkshire Youth also offers advice to volunteers at youth clubs across the Harrogate District, supporting 13 projects from traditional youth clubs such as Kirkby Malzeard, Melmerby and Boroughbridge to Ripon Youth Cafe, Squigglers Art Club and Adversity United Football Club.

A new project in the district is the Harrogate Youth Chess Club. Volunteer Andrew Zigmond achieved joint 4th place in the recent British Championships and believes in the wider benefits of chess for young people, promoting mental activity and strategic thinking. The club runs during term time on a Thursday evening and can be contacted by email at Harrogatechessclub@hotmail.co.uk

If you would like more information about setting up a youth club or community project for young people, North Yorkshire Youth can help on 01845 522145.

There are opportunities for people of all ages to get involved in Ripon, many of which are listed in the HARCVS Volunteer Directory, so take a look at www.harcvs.org.uk.volunteer and be inspired!

Do you know someone who does a lot for the local community? It could be a friend, family member, a volunteer you work with or a local business. Why not show your appreciation by nominating them for a Volunteering Oscar and celebrate their contribution to your community?

There are 16 categories including Young Volunteer of the Year and Unsung Hero of Ripon and Boroughbridge. Find out more at harcvs.org.uk/news and don’t delay because nominations are due to close today (Thursday, October 3) at 10pm.