Young volunteers help the elderly and vulnerable

Arte Dawson, Hannah Smith, Connie Smith and George Smith, volunteers for Age UK North Yorkshire and Darlington, delivering meals and shopping to the elderly and vulnerable in Richmondshire .

Four young volunteers are helping the elderly and vulnerable in Richmondshire by supporting Age UK with home deliveries of essential provisions.

George Smith, a Year 13 student at Richmond Sixth Form College, and his sisters, Connie and Hannah, and friend Arte Dawson, are devoting time each week to offer their support.

They are working with Age UK North Yorkshire and Darlington (NYD) to deliver shopping, food parcels and a daily hot meal.

Two-course hot meals and shopping are provided, seven days a week by the White Swan, in Gilling West, Anderson’s take-away in Middleham and Thorpe Farm, on the A66.

George, Hannah, Connie and Arte collect the shopping, already boxed-up from Thorpe Farm, and deliver it for free to customers who live in the Richmond and Leyburn area.

They have also delivered free food parcels supplied by Vicky Pattison and her Help the Elderly project.

The four volunteers have been helping two to three times each week, since the lockdown started in March, working two-hour shifts over lunch time and then different times when delivering shopping.

Providing a vital lifeline to those in need, they join a team of four who deliver around 30 meals each day, and up to 50 roast dinners on a Sunday, across the Richmond and Barnard Castle area.

Hannah said: “”A lot of the people we are delivering to are self-isolating and currently have no contact with the outside world, so it’s nice to have been a friendly face for them as we deliver.” Connie added: “It’s been lovely to be able to help people and see how much they appreciate it.”

They all agreed that they have really enjoyed getting to know some of the people we have delivered to and hope to stay in touch.

George, Hannah, Connie and Arte are among the youngest volunteering for Age UK NYD, and are part a great team of volunteers, from all walks of life and different ages who support the lonely, isolated and elderly across Richmondshire.

Kate Marriott, Richmondshire coordinator for Age UK, said: “I am very proud of George, Hannah, Connie and Arte for wanting to get involved and for continuing to deliver the hot meals and shopping for all of this time, especially as they are still studying and have returned to work.

“They have built some lovely relationships with the elderly people they deliver to and they have learnt that volunteering can be a very rewarding and enjoyable experience. I really hope that their experience will inspire more young people to get involved in volunteering for Age UK NYD.”

Leslie Richardson, head of Richmond School and Sixth Form College, said: “It is wonderful to hear of the kindness and community spirit our present and former students are showing. Delivering food and medicines is a vital service, particularly in the rural areas these young people are very familiar with.

“We are extremely proud of George, Hannah, Connie and Arte- four of the nicest people you could wish to meet! All of them were very highly regarded when they were students here and we know that they will have a long lasting connection with this area and Richmond School and Sixth Form College.

More information on the Agu UK service can be found at www.ageuknyd.org.uk and on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ageukdarlington