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New programme of family workshops hailed as ‘life changing’

Vikki Wood and Josie Mitchell with the Nurturing Programme Plan

The new series of family workshops from Wharfe Valley Family Links (WVFL) begin across the Wharfe Valley.

WVFL launched their Nurturing Programme in Burley in Wharfedale in April 2023, with a 10-week workshop designed to enhance parents’ and carers’ wellbeing. The Family Links Nurturing Programme is a certified national programme which helps parents and carers navigate the aspects of family life that they may find the most challenging. This month, the workshops have been rolled out further with two separate programmes commencing at St Mary’s Parish Centre, Burley in Wharfedale on Wednesday evenings and Ben Rhydding Scout Hut on Friday mornings.

The first series of workshops in Burley in Wharfedale earlier this year was funded and backed by Bradford District and Craven Health and Care Partnership, with subsidised sponsorship and considerable support from WVFL’s local partners in Burley in Wharfedale; notably St Mary’s Parish Centre, The Red Lion Hotel, and Little Acorns Childminding.

The support of businesses in the local community enabled WVFL to provide an enhanced, accessible programme. The weekly workshops in the lovely, centrally-located parish rooms were supported by a helpful caretaker and team at St Mary’s Parish Centre. The Centre has a number of accessible and flexible spaces, that include kitchen facilities and garden space, that can be used for events such as meetings, trainings, parties and more. The owners of The Red Lion Hotel in Burley in Wharfedale insisted on going above and beyond to provide a superior product offering, despite the ongoing cost of living crises. The Red Lion is well-known as a community-centric pub which regularly supports many local organisations and groups by offering them free use of their meeting rooms.

Little Acorns Childminding is Burley in Wharfedale’s only Ofsted-registered childminder and provided ad hoc childcare support to ensure families could attend sessions when they otherwise might not have been able.

The roll out of the Family Links Nurturing Programme across the Wharfe Valley has been achieved by the hard work and dedication of Loraine Hughes and her team of seven parent-carer volunteers. Loraine originally attended the Family Links Nurturing Programme at Burley Oaks Primary School and enlisted the help of George Walker, Burley Oaks’ Pastoral Lead and Nurturing Programme Facilitator to seek funding to roll the programme out beyond the village itself. Wharfedale & Silsden Community Partnership have ensured ongoing funding and support across the network; together with CABAD Community Action and HALE.

The Community Leader’s Gathering set up by Caroline Rayment of Grange Park Medical Centre, and Reverend Tim Perkins of Burley in Wharfedale’s Methodist Church provided further support and input to Wharfe Valley Family Links to ensure that the programme would work effectively and reach as many families as possible within the community.

Loraine Hughes, of Wharfe Valley Family links commented, “Without the support and engagement from our local partners and businesses, we really could not have got this programme off the ground. Their support and commitment has been instrumental in ensuring that as many people as possible are able to benefit from the programme. Our team of volunteers believe passionately in the merits of the programme and what it can bring to family life. Without their tireless commitment to our goal of enabling access to the Nurturing Programme across the Wharfe Valley we wouldn’t have been able to help so many. Through critically-acclaimed research and techniques, it gives families the tools they need to tackle a notoriously challenging time of life.”

George Walker added, “The Family Links Nurturing Programme is changing lives and bringing positivity, support and new approaches to parents and carers who may feel they have tried everything and feel overwhelmed.”

Loraine said “Thanks to our wonderful facilitators Vikki Wood and Josie Mitchell, and the ongoing support of our local community we intend to continue with training additional facilitators and run multiple workshops to benefit the community across different venues, into March 2024 and beyond.” Families can access more information about the programme on facebook - Wharfe Valley Family Links. The Nurturing Programme is free to attend, however limited spaces are available. Please contact if you are interested in finding out more about the programme and what it can do for your well-being, family relationships and personal power.

If you’d like to get in touch with our workshop partners, please call or message them directly:

St Mary’s Parish Centre, 43 Station Road, Burley in Wharfedale, Ilkley, LS29 7JL. Phone 01943 864405 or contact through

The Red Lion Hotel, Main Street, Burley in Wharfedale, Ilkley, LS29 7BT. Phone 01943 328221 or contact through

Little Acorns, Contact Emma on 07983 977515

St Marys Parish Centre and its volunteers


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