Cllr Keane Duncan and Cllr Steve Arnold

Council offers lifeline to Ryedale charities and voluntary groups

Ryedale District Council has awarded its first-wave of emergency grants to grass-roots voluntary and community organisations in Ryedale to ensure that their vital work can continue during COVID-19.

The council’s £40k Emergency Grants Fund is providing essential financial support to four charitable organisations across the district, whose work in the community is under threat due to lack of cash.

Helmsley Walled Garden, Sight Support Ryedale, Ryedale Lions and Musical Memories are the first four organisations to benefit from the Emergency Grants Fund. Grants of up to £4k have been awarded to be spent on new services, or a change in service delivery, so that those who need support during these difficult times, continue to get it.

Speaking about the initiative, Councillor Keane Duncan, Leader of Ryedale District Council, said:

“We’re delighted to award the Emergency Grants Fund to these organisations, who offer a lifeline to people in the community. The COVID lockdown has put a stop to their fund-raising activities, or dealt a blow to their day-to-day operations.  These groups need support to survive, so the Council is stepping in to help.

“It’s our key aim to support the citizens of Ryedale, especially those whose lives and livelihoods are most at risk as a result of COVID-19. We’re in this together – that’s why it’s important to support such charitable organisations to adapt their services and help those in need.”

In order to qualify for a grant, the groups had to meet a number of criteria:

  • Be a community, voluntary or charitable organisation, based in Ryedale
  • Provide a service to vulnerable Ryedale residents or residents who have special needs, or provide services that help to keep communities safe and healthy
  • Be currently active and operational
  • Hold less than £10k in free reserves at the time of application

Ryedale District Council streamlined the application and appraisal process to reduce the red-tape as much as possible, ensuring a quick turnaround with the decisions.  The council is still open to receive more applications from eligible organisations.

Helmsley Walled Garden

The garden is maintained entirely by volunteers, many of whom suffer from social isolation, limited mobility, learning disabilities, dementia or mental health conditions. The volunteers are supported through a mentoring scheme which gives them confidence, helps them learn new skills and offers great improvements in their health and wellbeing. With the COVID-19 lockdown, the garden has been closed to visitors and the volunteers, resulting in a loss of revenue. The £4k grant awarded will help provide online support for the volunteers, ensuring that they continue to learn about gardening. This includes virtual coffee mornings and gardening Q and As, so that they are given the assistance and social connection they need. A range of fundraising activities will also be carried out virtually, to help boost the volunteers’ sense of achievement.  

June Tainsh, Garden Manager said: “We’re absolutely thrilled. The grant will make a huge difference to us. We’ve genuinely been struggling and doing what we can, to see how we can continue our work. This is wonderful news.”

Sight Support Ryedale

Supports adults who are living with any degree of sight loss. Their volunteers normally run regular sessions to help their members, as well as a series of fundraising activities. Since the lockdown, they are meeting the needs of their members by offering 24/7 telephone support. The £4k grant will help deliver this service, as well as ongoing running costs.

Julie Atkinson, Chief Officer said: “This is wonderful news. The grant is much-needed and will help us provide services to our members during COVID-19 and beyond. We consider each of our members as friends and they know that if they need us during these uncertain times, we’re there for them.”

Malton Norton and District Lions

Undertakes various welfare activities across the southern Ryedale area, which includes fish and chip deliveries for the elderly in Malton, Norton and outlying villages. They’ve also made donations totalling £4,500 to Ryedale Foodbank in Howe Road, Norton since the lockdown. The £1.5k grant awarded is to support the substantial increase in demand for the fish and chip service. Normally it runs from October to April each year, but Malton and Norton Lions have continued to deliver fish and chips to meet the very high demand. Malton increasing from 12 fish and chip deliveries each week to between 20-25 and Norton deliveries increasing from 10 up to nearly 60 deliveries weekly.

Russell Grimshaw, Treasurer said: “We’re delighted that Ryedale District Council has awarded Malton & Norton Lions this grant to enable us to continue our valued support of local elderly and vulnerable people at this very difficult time. The service is in high demand and our Lions delivery team are doing a wonderful job. Grateful thanks also to Ernesto from One of Each in Mill Street Norton and Carlos from Peasey Hill, Malton for doing a fantastic job providing excellent fish and chips each week.”

Musical Memories

Provides companionship and friendship for older people in Ryedale, helping to beat loneliness and isolation. Normally, this is through a regular programme of social singing and live music sessions at five community hubs throughout the district. During the lockdown, each Monday to Friday, an online service 'Tune a Day' is broadcast live to everyone in Ryedale in order to meet the needs of vulnerable people who are 'shielding'. Songbooks are issued on a monthly basis and CDs are also posted to those who don’t have Internet access. The £4k grant will help cover the cost of providing these new services which are much-needed during COVID-19.

Ruth Hannah, Director said: “Over 200 older people in Ryedale are singing along to ‘Tune a Day’ every day of the week. This grant will help us to maintain this vital social contact and spread a little happiness at this difficult time. We’re very grateful.”

For more information on the Emergency Grant Fund visit: