Connecting Ripon column with Mark Hopley

The Ripon Hornblower with Angela Jones and Frances Elliott at the HARCVS stand inside Ripon Library.
The Ripon Hornblower with Angela Jones and Frances Elliott at the HARCVS stand inside Ripon Library.

There were some fabulous photos in the Ripon Gazette from the sixth annual Sights and Sounds of Ripon event. Many members of our Connecting Ripon network were out and about in the city on the day, taking the opportunity to be part of a fabulous partnership event which celebrates the variety of wonderful sights and sounds Ripon has to offer its residents and visitors.

Whatever the size of the event, be it a small family party or the Tour de Yorkshire, there are two key ingredients for success; planning and teamwork.

The Sights and Sounds event is remarkable for the wide number of partners involved, which is in itself quite a test of those planning and team work skills.

Behind the scenes and for several months ahead of the day, the Harrogate Borough Council sponsored “My Neighbourhood” project supports a team of people from a wide range of organisations to create a truly special and enjoyable day for families, which is free of charge and unique to Ripon.

The staff and volunteers of Ripon Museums and Ripon Library are crucial to the event, taking the lead on the marketing and ensuring everything runs smoothly on the day.

Each year Sights and Sounds has grown in scale and illustrates just what can be achieved when a community has strong local connections and the confidence to be ambitious and creative.

The reward for all that hard work is to see people enjoying themselves when the big day arrives, finding out more about the city and the wide range of opportunities to get involved in and benefit from local activities and services.

As well as the chance for families to have a fun day out, these types of events also offer the opportunity to showcase the diversity of community activity, with new connections made and partnerships developed.

It was great to see local MP Julian Smith, the Mayor of Ripon and the Dean of Ripon Cathedral out and about visiting the various sights and sounds; they all have a vital role to play in the cross-fertilisation of ideas, in shining a spotlight on the positive involvement of so many people, and to thank them as well.

Each year hundreds of events are organised by local people in their areas, from village fetes to agricultural shows, arts festivals to school fairs. Whether big or small all of them depend on volunteers rolling their sleeves up and getting stuck in. Here at Harrogate and Ripon Centres for Voluntary Service we are a local charity which exists to provide support to voluntary and community groups and volunteers across the Harrogate District.

While we can only be directly involved in a small number of these events in person, we can use our newly upgraded online Harrogate District Community Directory to promote them, backed up by our e bulletins and active social media presence.

We can also use our directory of volunteering opportunities to help recruit the vital volunteers needed for events to run safely and smoothly.

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This is my last column on behalf of Connecting Ripon and gives me an opportunity to thank everyone involved for their support and willingness to come together as voluntary organisations to make a difference in Ripon and the surrounding areas. However, while I’m moving on HARCVS will continue to support the group and contribute to this column and I wish them every success for the future.