HUNDREDS of volunteers have responded to the Covid-19 crisis helping some of the most vulnerable and isolated people across Ryedale.

Key partners, including the Ryedale Volunteer Network (RVN), the Community Support Organisation and staff at Ryedale District Council (RDC), have been working together since March to ensure volunteers are supported as they deliver shopping, collect prescriptions and do other essential jobs for people who are “staying home and staying safe” due to age, vulnerability or underlying health conditions.

The reach of more than 600 volunteers has been a key strength with 37 towns and villages involved with a key “organiser” from the RVN.

Initially, Jack Ashton, from Malton, set up as a Facebook support group.

This group expanded very rapidly with the support of Cllr Steve Mason and the Ryedale Community Charter Network, and within a week the volume of community engagement and offers of support was huge.

Jack said: “I set up the Facebook group when I was sat at home with my daughter watching the news come in on my phone and feeling anxious. I thought it would be better to do something constructive with my anxiety, so put a call out on Facebook to see if anyone else would like to help me help others. I didn’t expect it to grow quite so big.

“I’m so proud of what we have all achieved in these last couple of months and hope to continue working to help those in isolation and helping people facing food poverty in Ryedale.

“We have built such great relationships with those that we’ve helped, with partner organisations, businesses and local authorities.”

Cllr Steve Mason, co-ordinator RVN, said: “The network has shown that we can all come together quickly and effectively. We have built a strong and resilient group of volunteers, not only to respond to people who reached out for assistance, but to act as the eyes and ears of our communities for those in more need.

“This has to continue for a while yet to ensure the residents of Ryedale have the best support in place for as long as it is needed.

“As we start to understand what ‘new normal’ may look like, having such a pool of like-minded people to reach out to is a valuable resource and I can see many of our volunteers wanting to get involved in all sorts of projects to benefit the area in the future.

“They are all amazing and we can’t thank them enough for all they have done and are continuing to do to support people across the district during the Covid19 crisis.”

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