A charity on the frontline of community support in Harrogate and Ripon during the Coronavirus pandemic is urging new volunteers to join its team in the light of the new Government restrictions.

Harrogate and District Community Action (HADCA) was appointed the Community Support Organisation for Harrogate and Ripon in March, and its ‘Here to HELP’ volunteers have now carried out over 3,500 practical tasks to help people during the pandemic.

With some of those volunteers returning to work or education, HADCA is now looking to recruit a new cohort of volunteers to support those who are affected by the new social restrictions or those still struggling with every day tasks.

Frances Elliot is the Chief Executive of HADCA and says:

“As anticipated some of our volunteers have had to step down due to work or education commitments.

“With the new Covid rules restricting social contact, we’re pledging to be ‘Here to HELP’ for anyone who is struggling during these uncertain times.

“To ensure we can help everyone who approaches us, we need to boost our numbers of volunteers both in Harrogate and Ripon.”

Covid hero in Bilton

Lynne Bagley, who lives in Bilton, was one of the first people to sign up as a Here to HELP volunteer at the start of lockdown.

She has been supporting 95 year old Eva who lives alone and is profoundly deaf and partially sighted.

Over the weeks Eva has come to recognise Lynne, who pops round daily and stands at the window holding signs up to check she’s ok and if there’s anything she needs.

Lynne says she has made ‘two friends for life’ and feels really rewarded that Eva has come to recognise and trust her.

Frances continues:

“Volunteers have always been at the heart of our community, but during the last six months they’ve proven to be a lifeline for the most vulnerable.

It’s often the small acts of kindness that make the most difference and we hope that the local community will answer our rallying call for volunteers to help people negotiate the next few months under the current restrictions.”

Anyone interested in becoming a Here to HELP Covid Hero can sign up at www.hadca.org.uk/volunteer or contact the team on 01423 813096 (Harrogate) or 01765 645902 (Ripon).

Read more local stories from Your Harrogate here.