Launch of projects to help local people

8 November 2011

Two Big Lottery funded projects were officially launched at the recent Harrogate & Area Council for Voluntary Service (HACVS) AGM. Harrogate Easier Living Project (HELP) and Talking Space Counselling Services support volunteers to provide tailored health and social care services to local people, many of whom need just a little bit of extra help to be able to live independent, healthy and active lives.

Members of the staff teams spoke about how the projects helped vulnerable people in our community and made a real difference and how the services would be enhanced thanks to the new funding. Volunteers and a service user also gave their very interesting and personal accounts of how the projects had made an impact on their lives.


Staff and volunteers celebrate the launch of the BIG Lottery projects with the Mayor of Knaresborough, Cllr Andrew Willoughby, and Deputy Mayor of Harrogate, Cllr Pat Jones.Staff and volunteers celebrate the launch of the BIG Lottery projects with the Mayor of Knaresborough, Cllr Andrew Willoughby, and Deputy Mayor of Harrogate, Cllr Pat Jones


Talking Space is a service which provides counselling, support groups and training. Confidential counselling is available for men and women over the age of 18 in the Harrogate and Ripon area. No charge is made but clients are encouraged to give a donation, where possible, to help maintain the service. Talking Space also provides training to individuals and for organisations, in rape crisis, mental health awareness, safeguarding vulnerable adults, group-work skills and basic counselling skills. Future plans also include setting up a support group for survivors of childhood sexual abuse.

Jane shared her experience as a volunteer

Earlier this year, I was working as a Senior Consultant in a global consultancy company but with the impact of government cuts I became one of the staff who lost their job.

However, a major opportunity opened up for me when Lizzie, Manager of Talking Space, suggested that I joined as an office volunteer. Lizzie recognised that my skills of business planning, strategic planning and fund raising would be of great value and also relieve dedicated staff to manage and deliver much-needed services.

Through volunteering, I feel that I can contribute to valuable work and gain immense satisfaction. At the end of a day’s work, I am certain that I have used my knowledge and skills to enable Talking Space to maintain, sustain and develop its work in response to users’ requirements. I have met some amazing people and am enjoying myself considerably.


A young mum who had suffered post-natal depression also spoke about the support she had received at the MINOs group. When she had recovered and felt better she had volunteered in the office, which had then led to her finding paid employment.

Key services offered by the HELP project include help for full-time carers via a regular volunteer sitting service and one-to-one volunteer-supported social and leisure outings for older and disabled people unable to get out and about on their own, plus help with essential trips such as medical appointments. The project also includes the Help at Home service which provides help for vulnerable adults struggling with gardening, decorating, basic repair and other one-off practical tasks, provided by a team of trained and supported volunteers.

Both projects offer ongoing opportunities for volunteers to get involved, with regular training and support and the chance to meet other volunteers at social events.


To find out more about volunteering or the services provided contact Talking Space on 01423 527615 or email and HELP on 01423 507861 or email: or visit

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