The fifth annual community event, organised by the Ripon Minster ‘My Neighbourhood’ Project, was the biggest one yet. On Saturday 12 March, hundreds of local residents and visitors to the city experienced a host of different sights and sounds including Ripon’s Morris Dancers, North Yorkshire Fire Service’s car cutting demonstration, sensory baking, 3D art, Ripon’s historic silverware – and a Market Square conga!
Ripon library, which was offering free health MOTs and story time sessions, reported having around 100 more visitors than they would normally have at that time on a Saturday in March, with the story sessions particularly popular.
The city’s three museums – the Workhouse, the Prison, and the Police and Courthouse – opened their doors for free, and attracted nearly 1,000 visitors between them, including some who are going to come back and take up a volunteering role.
The emergency services based in the Market Square proved a popular draw, providing an opportunity to sit in a police car, a lie down in an ambulance and, as well as a car cutting demonstration, a sobering talk from North Yorkshire Fire Service on the potential repercussions of dangerous driving.
In Community House, the ‘Backyard Bysons’ gave a well-received musical performance and offered visitors the chance to join in a ‘jamming’ session, whilst the Ripon City Morris Dancers were approached by several people looking to join the team.
All the participants appeared to enjoy taking part, and are looking forward to coming back next year, whilst the locals appeared to really enjoy seeing the sights and sounds of their city being shown to a wider, appreciative audience.
Fiona Friday, Partnerships and Voluntary and Community Sector officer at Harrogate Borough Council, and one of the organisers of Ripon Sights and Sounds, said:
What was really good from my point of view was the mix of ages that attended.
Throughout the day and at all the events there was a wide range of ages, from the very young to the very old, all of whom had found something to enjoy amongst the sights and sounds of the city.
Ideas for next year’s community event are already being discussed, and the ‘My Neighbourhood’ Project, managed by Harrogate Borough Council, has recently been commended in the ‘Excellent in Community Engagement’ category of the Municipal Journal Awards, which celebrate the very best in local government.