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Together again for Coffee, Chat and Friendship 

Together again for Coffee, Chat and Friendship 

The national ‘Month of Community’ is a time each June when we come together to celebrate everything that makes our communities great, but it feels more like the ‘Summer of Community’ this year.

It has been fantastic to see so many community events taking place for the Jubilee, for Volunteers’ Week, Carers’ Week; favourite events returning, like the St Wilfrid’s Procession and new ones like the Ripon Theatre Festival. Many events would not be possible without an army of volunteers making sure these occasions are safe and welcoming for us all. 

Some groups are having their first get together this summer since the pandemic, enjoying the company of familiar faces not seen in over two years. The joy and buzz at these events is wonderful.

Our weekly HELP Ripon’s Friendship and Exercise Club supports local people aged over 65 to re-establish their vital social connections and to regain any loss of mobility and fitness because of the pandemic. The group enjoy seated exercises led by a qualified instructor and then take part in activities like board games or enjoy catching up over refreshments. There is also information available about other local activities or support, especially important for those who are not able to access these details online.  

Volunteers are available to accompany group members from their home to the venue at St Wilfrid’s Community Centre, and back home again. The HELP team of voluntary car drivers also provide transport to anyone who would otherwise struggle to get to the group. 
HELP befrienders visiting people at home also play an important role in encouraging and supporting people to get out and about, and help to identify any additional needs or opportunities to increase wellbeing.  Whether it’s offering a listening ear or just enjoying a cuppa and a chat, volunteers offer friendship and support. Where possible, people with similar interests are matched which helps foster a genuine connection. Just an hour a week can make all the difference to someone who may be feeling particularly isolated. 
For more information about the group, befriending or volunteering please email the HELP team at or call 01765 645902.   

Renew Ripon at The Arches, Holy Trinity is a free café-style community space where everyone is welcome to have a cuppa and a chat, find some quiet time, or learn a new skill or activity. There is a relaxed atmosphere where adult Ripon residents can focus on their mental and emotional wellbeing. Anyone who feels they are struggling with loneliness, isolation, anxiety or confidence is especially welcome. Renew Ripon takes place on Mondays 11.30am– 1.30pm and Tuesdays 6.30pm–8.30pm.

For young people aged 13 years and over, Ripon YMCA free Teens drop-in is on every Wednesday, 3.30 – 5.30pm at 5 Water Skellgate. Youth workers provide a safe space to get together to talk about feelings, think about choices and find out about other local activities and support. Young people can just turn up and may enjoy different activities each week like designing a T-shirt or baking.

It has been a difficult two years for everyone. However, whether it is living through a pandemic or a cost of living crisis or welcoming refugees, we need to come together to help people who find themselves in need. This is what our local charities and volunteers are doing every day.