Make a lasting New Year’s Resolution

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Connecting Ripon is network of local charities which offer opportunities to come together, innovate and co-ordinate activities for the benefit of local communities within Ripon and the surrounding villages. This month’s column focuses on the Volunteer Centre which is run by Harrogate and Ripon Centres for Voluntary Service (HARCVS).

New Year often leads people to reflect on the things they would like to change in their life; it could be something big, like finding a new job, or an ongoing lifestyle change, like joining the gym. But researchers have found that despite our love of New Year’s resolutions only a small fraction of us actually keep them.

So how do we keep motivated throughout the year? If you have resolved to keep in shape, meet new people or learn new skills there is no better way to keep motivated than to volunteer with other like-minded people.

This January, the Volunteer Centre at HARCVS launched the brand new Harrogate District Volunteering Directory at www.harcvs.org.uk/volunteer. The Directory is free to use and enables you to search by location, the activity you would like to do and the day of the week you are free to volunteer. It is also possible to search for volunteer roles for under-18s and wheelchair users.

Once you have found a role you are interested in you can make an enquiry online and someone from the charity will get in touch with you to tell you a bit more about what is involved. With over 400 different volunteer roles around the district there are plenty of opportunities to choose from.

Keep fit and healthy at Ripon Walled Garden. The charity, well known for their Christmas Trees and veg shop, support people with learning disabilities to learn horticultural skills. Many people don’t have first-hand experience of working with someone with a learning disability so the charity provide full training for all their volunteers before they start. The Garden Volunteers help out with tasks like potting up plants and fruit picking. Volunteering at the Walled Garden is very sociable with the odd barbecue throughout the year.

Get social at Lister House, the local Royal British Legion retirement home. Regular volunteers help out at the home with activities like singing, quizzes and trips out. As well as getting to know fellow volunteers the residents are also a fascinating bunch as many of them originate from around the world. Lister House particularly welcomes anyone who speaks another language and would like to chat with one of their residents. There are also opportunities to volunteer behind the drinks bar serving evening cognacs and snowballs whilst chatting to the residents.

New experiences await as a My Neighbourhood Events Coordinator. If you’ve ever wondered who organizes the popular Sights and Sounds of Ripon day there is a brand new role to join the team. Sights and Sounds 2017 takes place in March and there will be lots of opportunities in the run up to the event to meet and get local businesses involved, show off your social media prowess and gain valuable experience in events organization. This is a short term role and could offer lots of hands on experience. The Events Coordinator will be supported throughout the 3 months by the team of organisers who are very keen to welcome someone who would like to gain valuable work experience in the field of events.

Feeling youthful with 9-14 year olds at Boroughbridge Youth Club. An enthusiastic person is needed to help out on Wednesday evenings during school term-time. There will be a couple of volunteers at the youth club helping to run activities including arts and crafts, pool, Xbox and Wii, games and food. Perfect for anyone who likes to be in a vibrant atmosphere.

Full details of all these opportunities are available on HARCVS’ website at www.harcvs.org.uk/volunteer or phone 01423 504074 to arrange an advice appointment in Ripon.