Connecting Ripon column with Karen Weaver

Enjoying summer in the Ripon Walled Garden Play Area.
Enjoying summer in the Ripon Walled Garden Play Area.

At the last Connecting Ripon Network meeting, held at Ripon YMCA, it was good to see a real willingness for local voluntary organisations to come together to make a real difference for people in Ripon.

There was a lot to be positive about this summer with new initiatives and charities working together on lots of activities to meet the needs of local people.

There were new opportunities to be involved with Ripon Museums, a fantastic new community heritage project at St Wilfrids and the eye-catching Ripon themed figures made by Jennyruth Workshops, available for organisations to use in the community.

As usual, there were many opportunities for new volunteers of all ages and backgrounds to get involved.

One organisation successfully connecting with partners to help people develop their potential is local charity Ripon Community Link and Walled Garden.

The garden, which is a real gem on the outskirts of the city, recently celebrated a successful bedding plant season and propagated over 1,000 perennials with partners from Craven College.

Summer time brings a fresh buzz and it is a hive of industry with a fruiting orchard and the continuing build of a weather and sensory garden. During the summer, there is a six-week programme of different activities, experiences and trips.

Walled Garden members recently visited RHS Harlow Carr Flower Show to gain ideas and plant knowledge for future seasons.

There are also exciting plans for trips to other social enterprises, horticultural based ventures and garden centres.

It is so rewarding to see members grow in confidence and conversation, improving their health, learning skills such as till operations, reading, baking and gardening and enjoying a better quality of life.

The Walled Garden has recently hosted various corporate volunteering days which enable the corporate and commercial world to rub shoulders with the voluntary sector, sharing ideas and knowledge whilst working together, and having fun too!

Another valuable connection is with the Rotary Club of Ripon, providing generous support by fundraising.

Developing partnerships helps the organisation to thrive. Accredited learning in horticulture and catering is offered with Craven College and Evolve and community cafes are held at Ripon Cathedral.

Volunteers are the backbone of the organisation and their contribution of time and skills is vital. Volunteers come from a wide variety of backgrounds from veterinary medicine, social care, youth work, retail, insurance to education and the environment.

There are also opportunities to volunteer as a charity trustee; ensuring work is carried out legally, safely and for the benefit of members.

Find out more about Ripon Community Link at and Ripon Walled Garden at New volunteers are always welcome.

The HARCVS Volunteering Directory lists hundreds of exciting local opportunities to help you find an ideal volunteering role.

Browse the directory and be inspired at

The Connecting Ripon Network is open to anyone wanting to work together with others to make a positive contribution to community life in Ripon.

The next meeting is on 12 July.