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Prof Chris Whitty visits Nidderdale to find out more about ageing in rural communities

Sir Chris Whitty group shot - image two

It was an honour for Nidd Plus to be involved in a fact-finding mission in North Yorkshire that England’s Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty, was carrying out on 26th June, as part of a renewed focus on the significant issues that the country faces with an ageing population.

The fact-finding tour was organised by North Yorkshire Council and took in various communities and charities in North Yorkshire. The meeting in Nidderdale took place at Darley Shop and involved Nidd Plus Staff, volunteers from Christ Church Community Centre in Darley, and staff from Darley Shop.

Professor Whitty heard about the breadth of services that Nidd Plus provides from Business Support Officer, Tracey Dawson. These include a vital community transport service and ‘Coffee, Click and Connect’ digital champion sessions delivered alongside a team of dedicated volunteers. Nidd Plus also provides minibus trips for socially isolated people in the area’s rural communities, giving them the opportunity to travel outside of the dale and to make new friends.

A team of more than 100 volunteers is at the heart of the services which Nidd Plus provides to counter the effects of social isolation and loneliness and enable more people to live independent lives in rural communities.   

Tracey said: “We do have an increasing elderly population here in Nidderdale, and because of that we are seeing a rise in social isolation.”

After his visit, Professor Whitty said: “It is really insightful to see how local people have found solutions to support their communities.

“What people are doing here in Nidderdale shows what can be achieved, and it is helping address some of the big challenges we face as a society.

“People have demonstrated how they can come together to help others, especially during the Covid-19 crisis, and it is good to see this good work is continuing to be built on.”

The Chief Medical Officer’s annual report this year is focused on health in an ageing society, and his visit to North Yorkshire was to learn more about some of the challenges faced by rural communities.

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