When Ilkley and District Good Neighbours received an award of £1000 in National Lottery funding last year to support its work with older people it planned to spend the money on its annual scenic excursions to the Dales.
However when Covid restrictions meant the trips had to be cancelled the charity decided to organise a different kind of treat for local residents – a trip to Bettys for its iconic Afternoon tea!
Fifty guests from its Moving On Friendship Group and its Shop Assist Project attended the event recently - held on two separate afternoons to enable social distancing – where they had the opportunity to experience a relaxing Afternoon Tea and the chance to meet up and socialise.
“Those who attended lived alone and many had been shielding during lockdown” said charity trustee Anita Dunford. “They had really missed the social events that Good Neighbours normally provides and we felt this was a special way we could bring them together in the enjoyable setting of Bettys. “
One of the guests, Enid Wilkins, reflected on how lockdown had been “an experience which was worse than the War.”
“I’ve missed socialising with others and really appreciated the chance to chat with others whilst enjoying some delicious food.”
Trustee Anita Dunford said: We’re delighted that the National Lottery Community Fund has recognised our work in this area and their funding means we can look at ways of providing social interactions which help reduce feeling of isolation. We would also like to thank the lovely staff at Betty’s for providing a very special Afternoon Tea experience which was appreciated by all.”
Ilkley and District Good Neighbours, founded in the 1970’s, operates a range of social and practical schemes, aimed at improving the lives of older and vulnerable people in the area. Its practical schemes include Shop Assist and Home and Garden help, and its social support includes one-to-one befriending as well as the Moving On Friendship Group which meets weekly at the Clarke Foley Centre.
“Each of our schemes is supported by a wonderful team of volunteers who are willing to help those in need,” said Anita. “If anyone would like further information please visit www.goodneighboursilkley.org.uk or phone 01943 603348.”