Sharing ideas to enrich our heritage

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The Connecting Ripon Network of local charities offers opportunities to come together, innovate and co-ordinate activities for the benefit of local communities within Ripon and the surrounding villages.

The two members featured this month are both planning to get involved in Ripon community life to the full in 2018.

Dementia Forward has been busy with lots of events over the festive season, and enjoyed great support from the community, including carol singing in Sainsbury’s, a dementia-friendly service in Ripon Cathedral and dressing up as Santas for the ‘Song for Ripon’ video.

Debby Lennox, Community Liaison Worker said: “In 2018, we hope to do more of the same; working in partnership with other local groups and getting involved in Ripon community, including taking part in the World War I Centenary events and Yorkshire Day celebrations. We are also looking to start a walking group for people living with dementia, for which we were very grateful to receive advice from another Connecting Ripon member charity, Open Country.”

The new Dementia Forward Hub at George Armitage House in Burton Leonard offers a variety of services for families affected by dementia. A community coffee morning, every Friday from 10am to 12pm, is open to everyone. This is an opportunity to see the new building and chat to the team, or enjoy one of the guest speakers.

In their first three years, the number of people Dementia Forward supported trebled. Support Advisors make over 1,000 home visits every year and the team brews over 11,000 cups of tea every year!

If you would like to know more, need any advice or support or if you would like to find out about volunteering with Dementia Forward, please call 01765 601224.

Another of the local festive events Dementia Forward participated in was the St Wilfrid’s Christmas Tree Festival. A host of local businesses sponsored trees that local groups and charities decorated, from Brownies to Jennyruth Workshops and Ripon Walled Garden.

A Church Restoration project is in the development phase with the Heritage Lottery Fund. This will give St Wilfrid’s the opportunity to both expand and diversify, with exciting community events and activities being planned.

Joan Maclean Glen, Activities Coordinator, St Wilfrid’s Church said: “As we head into 2018 we are developing our activities programme for our Heritage Lottery Fund bid and are really excited about our links with schools, Ripon Civic Society and other local volunteer groups. Heritage Lottery Fund are incredibly supportive of our project and with a successful bid we look forward to the opportunity to create new activities in the City and explore the wonderful, rich and varied heritage we have right here. We aim to create a new body in the form of Friends of St Wilfrid’s encouraging residents to get involved in the activities at our church whilst gaining new skills, new friends and new opportunities to be part of a vibrant place.”

A Festival of Light, Sacred Music, exploring the wonderful glass, both ancient and modern, alongside a maths schools programme and some community links with the Guide and Scout movements are among the broad-ranging plans at St Wilfrid’s.

Joan said: “Connecting Ripon plays a vital role for us in the sharing of knowledge, ideas and support. Working together is something that all our organisations can benefit from and as our programme of events unfolds we hope to open our doors to more people to share more experiences.”

Find out more about Connecting Ripon at

and find opportunities to volunteer locally in 2018 at