Befriending gives the gift of confidence


As I come to the end of my third year coordinating the Befriending project it still delights and amazes me the difference the gift of a few hours time can make to someone’s life.

Last year I was contacted by North Yorkshire County Council and asked to help a recently bereaved lady gain some confidence. Anne lived in an isolated community and her husband had passed away very suddenly. Anne has struggled with literacy problems all her life which severely impacted her confidence and so her husband used to do everything for her. I introduced a volunteer, Chris, to help Anne learn to shop by herself. Chris took Anne to the bank and helped her to food shop. At first Anne was shaky and tearful but with the gentle encouragement she began to enjoy the trips and looked forward to going out. After a few months Anne was rehoused to more suitable accommodation in Northallerton and her support was transferred to Broadacres staff.

In January Chris was browsing the sales in Northallerton when she was suddenly enveloped in a hug and of course it was Anne who was now so happy and settled in her new home she was out clothes shopping on her own. This would have been unimaginable when Chris first met Anne four months earlier.  Chris gave Anne about 16 hours of her time over the space of a few months but the impact of that support far surpasses those hours.

If you would like to volunteer for our befriending scheme, or you know someone who could benefit from this service, please don’t hesitate to email me at or call 01845 523 115.

By Alison Ballard, Older People Services Coordinator at Thirsk Community Care.

A fantastic achievement for Thirsk Social Car Scheme

Bob from the Car Scheme

At Thirsk Community Care, we love to hear how our services, like the social car scheme, are helping local people. In this story, we hear about how the social car scheme is not only changing the lives of our clients, but also their families too.

Annie’s father had become confused and his wife, an older person herself, found supporting him exhausting. The day service was in Northallerton and they had no way of getting him there, until they contacted Thirsk Social Car Scheme.

Annie shared with us:

“I can’t begin to say what a difference your support has made, not only to my dad, but all the family.

My mother gets a much needed rest. She can truely chill for the day – Wednesdays are really important to her. Please pass on a massive thank you to the volunteer, his care and support are truely invaluable.

Thanks to you too and all at Thirsk Community Care for providing an excellent service to the people of Thirsk”.

If you think you could be part of our team of drivers and you have your own car, please contact Helen on 01845 574707 on Monday, Wednesday or Friday before 2pm. We pay all expenses including mileage of 45p per mile.

A Fantastic Year Helping Local Women in Need


With 2017 coming to an end, I’ve been reflecting on all the work we’ve done this year to help vulnerable women in the local area through our Catalyst Women’s Group. I can’t help but feel very proud of how far we’ve come since we set up the group, six years ago.

The Catalyst Project uses a holistic approach to help women who are facing personal difficulties get their lives back on track. This year, we amplified our efforts by running weekly, instead of fortnightly, group meetings, by taking on an extra coordinator to help (that’s me!). By meeting more frequently, we’ve allowed more time for informal chats and interesting activities, which have proved popular.

The most incredible result for me is hearing so many of the group sharing their positive feedback. For lots of the women, coming to the group and taking part in the activities has really improved their lives.

Next year, I’m looking forward to seeing familiar faces and meeting new women through the varied programme we’ll run. We’ll also start to offer practical accredited courses through North Yorkshire County Council so that we can support women in starting or developing their professional careers. It’s going to be another exciting year!

Sheila Lee-Woolhouse is the Catalyst Coordinator at Thirsk Community Care. For more information about the Women’s Group, call Sheila on 01845 523115 or email

Video featuring our Creative Kids Art Workshops

We are very proud to share this video, which has been created to showcase our Creative Kids Art Workshops held at our play schemes for disabled children.

The workshops have been a huge success, and culminated in a fantastic exhibition of the children’s work at Rural Arts in early November 2017.

To find out more about the work we do with disabled children and their families in Thirsk and the surrounding area, click here.

A special exhibition of our play scheme artwork

Artwork from the play scheme

We’re looking forward to hosting a special art exhibition on 11 November to display artwork made by the children with disabilities who come to our play schemes.

The event will take place at Rural Arts in Thirsk on Saturday 11 November and will feature art, photos and videos created during Thirsk Community Care’s play schemes for children with disabilities.

The event is open to everybody and will run from 10am – 3pm, with a video premier at 10am, a drop-in felting workshop from 11am – 1pm and an auction of artwork at 2pm. Complimentary coffee and cake will be served throughout.

For more information about the event, please contact Jane Wilson at Thirsk Community Care on 01845 523 115 or email

Art exhibition invite

Your invitation to the art exhibition

Could you help a family with a disabled child?

Theo and Shirley sitting service
Theo and Shirley sitting service

Theo and Shirley

As autumn sets in and the school routines are back in place, some families are struggling to find support for their children. Many parents who care for children with disabilities would like regular respite from their caring to get just a small amount of quality time with their partners or other children.

Thirsk Community Care’s Sitting Service offers families a much-needed break, by matching them to a volunteer who will spend time with their disabled child.

One family explains: “The sitting service has been invaluable to my husband and I. It wasn’t possible to get an ordinary sitter so this service has been the best thing that has happened to us to make our family stronger.”

Thirsk Community Care is currently looking for volunteers to help five families who would like someone to spend time with their child once a month. All that’s required is enthusiasm and reliability. If you have one evening free each month and enjoy spending time with children, please contact Jane: email: or call: 01845 523115.

Poems and Prosecco

Alison Ballard and Kate Fox meet Joan Nicholson

Alison Ballard and Kate Fox meet Joan Nicholson

We were really please that so many carers and volunteers from past and present came together with us to launch ‘Poetry From The Heart’ at Thirsk Library last month. It’s the second book we’ve done using poetry to celebrate caring, and we really hope lots of people will be able to draw strength from the words that these carers and volunteers have put together.

Kate Fox entertained us all, reading poems from the book, as well as some of her own work. It was especially heartwarming when she gave a particular mention to Joan Nicholson (pictured – with Alison Ballard and Kate Fox), who had written a poem about the volunteer who turned her world around.

All we need to do is sell the books now! Poetry From The Heart is on sale for £5 from Thirsk Library, White Rose Books or Thirsk Community Care’s office at 14a Market Place. Drop by to pick up your copy, and find out more about how you can get involved in volunteering.