One hundred local residents enjoyed a surprise Christmas treat when volunteers from Ilkley Good Neighbours, accompanied by students from Ilkley Grammar School, delivered presents to their homes.
Organised annually by the charity, the ever popular Christmas Parcel Project – now in its 30th year – always brings a touch of seasonal good cheer to a number of the area’s older and less able residents.
Chairman of Ilkley Good Neighbours and organiser of the Parcel Project Ed Duguid said: “Christmas can be a challenging time as we know for some of our older people in the community. This annual event is just one of the ways we as a charity can support them and let them know that they haven’t been forgotten. It really is heart-warming to see the reaction when our volunteers arrive at their doors with a gift, either a food parcel or a potted plant. And just as importantly the recipients enjoy meeting the young students and having a chat with them.”
Preparing and organising the Project is a major operation which begins several months prior to the actual event itself, involving a number of voluntary organisations and community groups. Around thirty 6th form students from IGS were involved this year, supported by drivers from The Rotary Club of Ilkley Wharfedale along with volunteers from Ilkley Good Neighbours. The packing of the parcels was carried out in the town’s Masonic Hall, courtesy of the Olicana Lodge. The ceramic potted plants were supplied by Erica Berry and the food items for the Christmas bags were supplied by Tesco, both at a discounted price, and transportation of the goods was by Ilkley Community Transport.
“We had many favourable comments from the elderly recipients who were absolutely delighted with their gifts” said Peter Mate of The Rotary Club. “They really enjoyed meeting the IGS students, some of whom talked about their own grannies and older relatives. The students were also so refreshing to work with, and to hear all about their A-Level and career plans.”
Another member of The Rotary Club, Janet Sleighthome said: “We were accompanied on our deliveries by two delightful students from IGS who were wonderful ambassadors for the school. All the ladies we visited were appreciative of the gifts and for the chance to chat with the students and ourselves.”
Echoing those sentiments, one of the recipients Pauline, said “Thank you very much for the food parcel that was delivered by two lovely girls.”
As well as thanking the charity’s trustees and volunteers, who had an early morning start to pack the parcels, Ed Duguid added: “I would like to say how grateful we are to IGS for once again helping us deliver the parcels and to make it a special day for our clients. It really was a truly community effort by all.”
Ilkley and District Good Neighbours is a local charity running a number of projects aimed at supporting older and less able people living independently. Its schemes include Shop Assist/Shop and Drop, Moving On Friendship Group which meets weekly in the Clarke Foley Hub, and one-to-one Befriending.
For further information on the charity contact www.goodneighboursilkley.org.uk or call 01943 603348.