A NEW healthcare project targeting rural communities is being launched.

Healthwatch North Yorkshire is organising a series of outreach events to talk to residents about what healthcare information is available and how other organisations can ensure it reaches rural communities.

The villages of Weaverthorpe, Foxholes, Helperthorpe, Butterwick, the Luttons, Wharram-le- Street, Duggleby and Kirby Grindalythe are involved in the project.

Nigel Ayre, Healthwatch North Yorkshire operations manager, said: “We want to know what is working well and what needs to be improved to ensure people are getting the right information at the right time.

“In North Yorkshire, with just over 600,000 people scattered across a huge area, only eight of our towns have a population of more than 10,000.

“This means most of our residents live in smaller communities - making access to services, isolation and transport key issues for us.”

Healthwatch North Yorkshire is an independent charity commissioned by North Yorkshire County Council to deliver statutory duties; its sole purpose is to make care better.

The organisation, established under the Health and Social Care Act 2012, talks to people about their experiences, and signposts them to local services and sources of help and information such as luncheon clubs, advocacy services and support groups.

“We are working with communities across the county to find out what the issues are, what support is available and how people can be better connected with help in their area,” said Nigel.

“We have relationships with care commissioners and we have the power to make sure that people’s voices are heard by those who run services - we need to hear as many voices as possible.”

The Healthwatch North Yorkshire has organised the following outreach events:

  • Rarey Halt Tearoom in Weaverthorpe, on Monday, January 27, from 10am;
  • Weaverthorpe Weebles in Weaverthorpe, on Monday, February 3 from 9.30am,
  • Foxholes Library and Coffee Morning at Foxhole Community Hall, on Saturday, February 8 from 10am.

Visit healthwatchnorthyorkshire.co.uk/rural-communities