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Putting our Volunteering City on the map

Putting our Volunteering City on the map

During an exceptionally difficult couple of years, people from all walks of life have taken the time to volunteer and they make a huge difference in Ripon and the surrounding villages. 

Every month we share positive news in our Ripon Gazette column of how volunteering benefits the lives of everyone involved, as well as improving our city and the environment. Our HADCA Connecting Ripon Network has been bringing local charities and groups, who involve volunteers, together since 2014, sharing ideas, good news and challenges. 

Now we have an exciting opportunity to work in partnership with the National Trust and Nidderdale AONB on the Skell Valley Project which is made possible by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Ripon depends on its volunteers and we’ll be working to help recruit, train and support more volunteers to boost Ripon’s reputation as a volunteering city.  We want everyone to have a really positive volunteering experience and to encourage a really diverse range of people to give their time and skills.

It’s great to be able introduce Jo Thackwray, our new Volunteering City of Ripon Project Co-ordinator. Jo is part of our Harrogate & District Community Action team, based at Ripon Community House.     

Jo said: “I am delighted to join the HADCA team and so pleased to be able to support our community, along with the Skell Valley Project, to celebrate all our voluntary organisations and put the city of Ripon on the map for volunteering opportunities. I am so looking forward to meeting and getting to know all the local organisations involving volunteers over the next few months.”

“Over the last 30 years I’ve enjoyed leading and empowering teams with compassion, humour, and positivity, with particular experience in volunteer management, development, recruitment, and retention. I’m now looking forward to working together with local organisations to meet our community’s volunteering needs.”

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the landscape of volunteering considerably, for both good and bad, over the last 2 years. At our Connecting Ripon Network meeting this week we’ll be sharing feedback and experiences, using current best practice to help make a collaborative start on strengthening and shaping the City Of Ripon's collective volunteering offer. Then we’ll be getting together at an interactive workshop next month to explore more ideas and actions. 

If you involve volunteers in Ripon and you’re interested in working together to achieve more, you’re very welcome to join our Connecting Ripon Network.  If you are interested in being involved in the Volunteering City of Ripon Project please email us at and we’ll be in touch.

The project aim is to make it easier for new groups of people to get involved in giving time and to support volunteer managers, by sharing resources and training. We want to hear about people’s experiences and any barriers they may have faced and we’ll listen to all ideas to grow volunteering. 

There are many fantastic local charities and they rely on volunteers. By making it easier for new groups of people to get involved, our organisations will be more inclusive, sustainable and make an even more positive impact. 

Ripon has a reputation as a city with a fantastic community spirit. By strengthening volunteering and connecting organisations, we really want to put the ‘Volunteering City of Ripon’ on the map.  

9 May 2022

You can now follow the project on Facebook here

Photo shows Skell Valley Project partners Karen Weaver and Jo Thackwray from HADCA and Nabil Abbas from The National Trust.