A community hub which helps sustain a remote Dales community has been praised by Rishi Sunak.
The Upper Dale Community Partnership at Hawes runs a number of key services in the Yorkshire Dales town including the post office, library, garage and local bus services.
The Richmond MP said the work done by the partnership’s staff and volunteers was invaluable.
He said: “Without the work of the Partnership, life in Hawes would be very different. It is an amazing organisation run by dedicated dalesfolk who are committed to helping the town remain a vibrant service centre for the upper dales.”
Mr Sunak visited the partnership’s HQ, the Hawes Community Office, which houses the post office and the library, and provides a base for other partnership-run services like the Little White Bus. It is also the location for a branch of the Newcastle Building Society.
Among the staff he met was Calum Iveson, who joined the partnership as an apprentice three years ago and is now the post office manager.
Abbie Rhodes, the partnership’s general manager, said it was great to welcome Mr Sunak to the partnership office.
She said: “He has held his surgeries here previously but it was very enjoyable for him to spend some time with our team here and hear about the many different things we do to support the local community.”
Mr Sunak also visited the Dale Head Community Garage, which is operated by the partnership and generates profits to support its other community services.
The garage was bought by a newly-established community benefit society last year. Local investors bought shares to support the purchase. It leases the garage to the partnership.
Mr Sunak heard about plans to manage and develop the garage’s forecourt and also met staff and volunteers who operate the Little White Car service – another partnership project.
The Little White Car transports patients to hospital appointments in Middlesbrough and Darlington which would be very difficult to do using public transport. A six-month pilot project has been so successful it has been extended into 2024.