Delivery has started of 1,000 goody bags which are being handed out across the Dales to give a mental health boost to the community during the coronavirus pandemic.
Jonathan Greenwood, 51 who has called the campaign, We Will Meet Again following the Queen’s speech at the beginning of April, has organised the initiative.
The bags are targeted at NHS staﬀ, the over 70s, those in isolation with underlying health problems and those on high risk treatments, such as chemotherapy, as well as nursing mums.
Shop workers, teaching staff, retired jockeys and homeless people staying at The Jonas Centre in Redmire will also receive a bag.
The bags will be delivered to community hubs and local volunteers will distribute them to recipients.
Jonathan said: “The campaign is designed to be a mental health boost, bringing together gifts, written items and anything that will uplift the community. I started this a few weeks ago by paying for the first 250 goody bags myself and the response has been amazing, which has led me to raise further funds to provide an extra 750 bags.
“I would have never imagined boosting the mental health of 1000 vulnerable households within Wensleydale, Swaledale and Arkengarthdale. I’m really happy with this outcome.”
Jonathan has teamed up with the Home Farmer, at Aysgarth ,which is donating 500 litres of milk and selling anything above that at cost price.
Ben Spence, from the Home Farmer, said: “It’s a pleasure to donate 500 litres of fresh milk to go in the goody bags.”
Swaledale cheese is also donating 110 rounds of cheese to the NHS Heroes in the area and other businesses are generously offering their products at cost price. Manor Farm based in Thirsk is providing 6,200 eggs Glen Williams, confectionery trader at Leyburn Market, is offering biscuits.
Local artist Lynn Ward has created the official We Will Meet Again postcard.
The bags also contained a copy of the April edition of Richmondshire Today Magazine.
“It’s fantastic to be able to help such a brilliant cause, especially one that is centred in the heart of where we operate. We hope everyone enjoys our delicious cheese!” adds Richard Darbishire, owner of Swaledale Cheese.
The bags will also include messages from East Witton Male Voice Choir, of which Jonathan is a member, Reeth Brass Band, poetry from local residents, messages from local emergency services and from various other local places or sponsors.
There are also five sponsors who are donating money to help make the project viable.
They are: Co-op, Leyburn, Campbells of Leyburn, Johnston Racing (Mark Johnson), Fairhursts Catering and Yorebridge Hotel.
In addition a minimum of 20 businesses are offering coupons and raffle prizes.
Jonathan has been inspired to help others struggling with mental health issues after his own battle with depression and is planning to launch a new App later in the year, called Group Hug, a social concept, powered by volunteers, with topics of discussion around mental health based.
The current situation has delayed the development of the App, so instead of doing nothing, he decided to help locals’ mental health in a more practical way through the We Will Meet Again goody bag drop campaign.
He also recently raised £3,540 for Yorkshire Cancer Research. [kofi]