Here to HELP volunteers have supported the people of Harrogate and Ripon on nearly 6,500 occasions, helping the local community stay safe and well during the COVID-19 crisis

Posted on: 19 March 2021

Nicky WoolfendenNicky Woolfenden is a volunteer with Ripon Here to HELP team and has been involved as a befriender, shopping and prescription pick-ups and is now a marshal at both the Harrogate and Ripon vaccination centres:

"Like so many others, I had a feeling of helplessness as the Coronavirus crisis unfolded but I knew that the HELP/HADCA team was based locally at Community House in Ripon and so signing up to volunteer with them felt like a practical thing to do. Activities I have undertaken so far include food shopping, medication deliveries and telephone befriending. Getting to know people during these testing times has been a pleasure and I feel certain that these newly formed friendships will continue long after the threat from the crisis has receded."

Andy Houston in his carAndy Houston joined the HELP team in early January 2021 and has already taken 14 people for their vaccinations at the Yorkshire Showground:

"On the first day of the second lockdown, and I realised that I couldn't continue working as a Driving Instructor, I decided to call round to the offices of HELP to see if they wanted any volunteers. The offices were closed, but I saw a lady trying to push one of their vans from behind the building. Having established that she did indeed work for HELP, and I wasn't assisting the theft of a motor vehicle, together we manoeuvred the broken down van out the carpark, so the second working van could get out."

Nadine BleasbyNadine Bleasby is one of the Here to HELP volunteers in Harrogate who has been carrying out practical tasks for people since the start of the pandemic:

"When lockdown began it felt important to be able to do something, however small, to support my local community. It was the first time I'd done something like this, but I figured I could easily manage a couple of extra supermarket trips a week to help out people currently not able to do so and I think I've taken in all of Harrogate's supermarkets over the last nine months! I've met some lovely people, some on an ad-hoc basis, and others I've got to know a little better as I've shopped more regularly for them. It's not really about the shopping though, it's about human contact and taking the time for a conversation and seeing how people are coping. That has been the unexpected but heart-warming element, simply having a chat.”

Rebecca MaxwellRebecca Maxwell, 22, joined the Here to HELP team in January and volunteers her time to support people in Harrogate:

"I take on weekly shopping tasks and prescription pick-ups for people who are shielding or self-isolating. This involves phoning up clients that are shielding and chatting with them about what shopping they would like, or collecting the list from them and delivering it to their homes. I have also got involved with the marshalling at the Harrogate vaccination centre at the Yorkshire Showground."

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