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Ilkley Good Neighbours team up with local organisations to bring Christmas cheer


Pupils from IGS visited Margaret Brown and delivered gifts

Christmas came early for a number of older residents when volunteers from Ilkley and District Good Neighbours along with pupils from Ilkley Grammar School visited their homes and delivered gifts.


Organised by the charity, its annual Christmas parcel project, which began 25 years ago, has always brought a touch of seasonal good cheer to a number of the area’s older and less able residents, some of whom might feel particularly lonely and isolated during the festive period. The gifts, either a beautiful potted plant or a bag of tasty treats, were delivered to 85 residents in Ilkley, Addingham, and Burley in Wharfedale.


“This is now a fantastic tradition which is always appreciated by the people the charity supports, in addition to the other services we provide for them throughout the year,” said charity trustee and Chairman Ed Duguid, who also coordinates the Christmas Parcels Project.


One of the highlights of the annual event has always been the involvement of students from Ilkley Grammar who partner volunteers in handing over the gifts. This had not been possible last Christmas due to the covid pandemic but this year it was fortunately back to normal.


“It was great to welcome back the students,” said Ed. “ The recipients enjoy seeing them, and for their part the pupils love to deliver a gift to our older residents. It’s heart-warming to see their reaction when arrive on the doorstep with a gift and a friendly chat. “


Ed added that the charity had received many “thank you” messages from grateful recipients.

“I’m thrilled with my parcel and lovely cake – and it happened to be my birthday!” said Rina.


“Thank you for my lovely cyclamen plant,” said Joyce. “I really appreciate the kind things Good Neighbours does in the community. Happy Christmas to everyone.”


“Apart from the bag of goodies I was especially delighted meeting the IGS girls who were charming and talked about their future plans and studies,” said another recipient.


Preparing and organising the Christmas Parcels Project is a major operation which begins several months prior to the actual event itself, involving a range of voluntary organisations and community groups.


“None of this would be possible without the fantastic support we receive from the local community and businesses” said Ed.


The charity wishes to thank the following organisations for supporting the project: The Rotary Club of Ilkley Wharfedale, who provided the drivers and some packers; Olicana Masonic Lodge who lent the charity their hall for the final parcel packing and distribution; Tesco, who supplied the contents of the parcels at discounted rates including some welcome free boxes of mince pies; and florists Erica Berry who provided beautifully presented potted plants. The charity also wants to say a special thank you to Ilkley Community Transport who delivered the contents to the hall on the day.


“We would also like to thank other friends and the charity’s own volunteers and trustees who helped pack and deliver the parcels or plants,” said Ed. “It really was, as always, a truly community effort by all.”


Ilkley and District Good Neighbours runs a number of projects aimed at supporting older and less able people living independently. The schemes, which are all free, include Befriending (including Walk and Talk), Shop Assist/Shop and Drop, and the Moving On Friendship Group which meets each week at the Clarke Foley Centre. The charity also organises an annual party for the area’s Over 90’ residents.


If you want to know more about the charity and the work it does in the community, or enquire about volunteering, contact www.goodneighboursilkley.org.uk or call 01943 603348.


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