A dose of Dales air!

Words and pictures by Judy Rogers, our People and the DALES community worker: 

“Earlier this week I took a group of refugees and asylum seekers for a walk around Swinsty reservoir. Living in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales I rarely visit this neck of the woods, but have often wondered what the reservoirs that are dissected by the A59 are like as I drive to Harrogate. Last week my son and I did a recce of the walk around the reservoirs and were thrilled to see a few cormorants resting on some tree trunks. And this week with the group we were not disappointed as we saw yet more cormorants, Canada geese, crested grebe and a mob of mallards.

The group included ten young men from Leeds who were mostly asylum seekers supported by a project called PAFRAS. Each of them came from a different African country and each of them are waiting for their applications for refugee status to be reviewed and are hoping for the right to remain in this country. Whilst waiting they receive no benefits and so have to live with support from projects like PAFRAS, friends or churches. Days out offered through our People and the DALES project allows them to get away from the city and forget about their problems for just one day.

PAFRAS members enjoy a day out in the Dales

The walk took us over the dam between Fewston and Swinsty and up to the newly built Heritage Centre next to Fewston church. Here Cheri the church warden and Anne the Centre manager welcomed us into the church and provided us with tea, biscuits and chat. Thank you Cheri and Anne for making us feel so welcome.

We continued on our walk past Swinsty Hall remarking at the dam at the end of the lake and the huge pipes taking water to Leeds. The trees have been fantastic this time of year. Some say it is because we haven’t had the high winds which so often strip the leaves off trees in October. As we walked the men asked about wild animals and were saddened to hear we have no big game, although they were surprised to hear about the adder – our only deadly snake!”


Lottery players raise £76,000 for YDMT!

This month we’ve had some amazing news. We’ve received a rather large cheque for £76,000 from People’s Postcode Lottery.

For every £2 People’s Postcode Lottery ticket sold 40p goes direct to good causes. The latest contribution means that players of the charity lottery have raised £301,332 for YDMT so far. This incredible level of support makes a huge difference to our charitable work in the Dales, and will benefit the region and its people in many ways.

This funding is more important than ever before. Demand for our work is growing at what is a very difficult time for charity funding. As our Director David Sharrod puts it, “Support from People’s Postcode Lottery players cannot be underestimated and we are so very thankful to everyone who plays for supporting our vital work, including woodland restoration, education and outreach, habitat conservation, and apprenticeship schemes for young people, to name just a few.”

And it’s not just the Yorkshire Dales region that has reason to celebrate as People’s Postcode Lottery has also announced that its players have raised over £20 million in total for good causes since its launch in 2008. From national charities to local good causes such as YDMT, the funding raised by players is making a huge difference to communities across the country.

£20million donated by players of People’s Postcode Lottery

Players also support grant giving body, People’s Postcode Trust, which awards project funding to community groups and charities across Great Britain. Over £4.4 million has been awarded to over 850 projects so far. The application process for awards up to £10,000 is currently open and Trustees are encouraging all eligible groups in Scotland, Wales and the Midlands to apply. Visit www.postcodetrust.org.uk for all the details.

If you’re already a People’s Postcode Lottery player thank you from all of us here at YDMT for your support. And if you’d like to join in the celebration visit www.postcodelottery.co.uk and start playing now!

Salmon Leaping at Stainforth Force

Here’s a blog post from Sarah – a member of the marketing and fundraising team here at YDMT…

Earlier this week I took advantage of the lovely weather and headed to Stainforth Force (on the River Ribble between Stainforth and Little Stainforth, just north of Settle) in the hope of catching a glimpse of one of the most magical wildlife spectacles of the year… the adult salmon attempting to leap up the three-tier waterfall at Stainforth on their route upstream to spawn.

I’d heard that there had been sightings here over the last week or so, and sure enough when we arrived there was a small crowd gathered just off the footpath, many with cameras at the ready, trained on the water.

Because of all the rain we’ve had in the last few weeks, the Force was impressive in its own right.  But all the churning and frothing of the water meant that we had no warning of when a salmon might leap from the water in its attempt to jump the waterfalls.

I watched the swirling water for about 15 minutes, and during this time I witnessed four salmon attempting (unsuccessfully!)  to leap up the first tier of the waterfall.

Salmon Leaping at Stainforth Force

If you’re in the area in the next week or so, I’d highly recommend a walk along this stretch of the Ribble Way to see if you can catch a glimpse of these aerial acrobatics.  The spectacle doesn’t last for long – often just a couple of weeks – so you’ll need to hurry.

…Unfortunately this means that the chances of us seeing the salmon at Stainforth Force on the YDMT guided walk on 1st November are looking slim (we’ll just have to hope for a glimpse of some late-comers!).  However, the scenery we’ll pass through on our walk is sure to be very attractive – hopefully with some lovely autumnal colours in the trees, so we hope you’ll join us none-the-less!

It’s not too late to book – visit our website for full details of the walk: http://www.ydmt.org/get-involved-details-ydmt-autumn-supporter-walk-13473

Digging in the Dales

This is a blog from Judy, one of YDMT’s People and the DALES community workers, who has just returned from an archaeological dig in Ingleborough…

“I’ve only ever been on an archaeological dig once before as a student in Wales – excavating a Medieval rabbit warren – and my memories are of clearing snow, tents blowing down and a farmer with a shot gun!

This dig was a proper dig though with a dedicated team of amateur archaeologists working on a complex of medieval farm buildings in the Ingleborough area. I’d never realised the amount of organisation it takes to run an archaeological dig, from getting permission to dig, to recruiting diggers, erecting tents, and putting up a port-a-loo, and that’s before you even touch one blade of grass.

My involvement came about because I work with refugees getting them out and about in the Yorkshire Dales through our project People and the DALES. We found out that one of the refugees we had been working with in Blackburn had originally been an archaeologist back in Eritrea, in Africa, but had to leave everything and flee to the UK. Wouldn’t it be brilliant if we could get him involved in a dig in this country and rekindle his love of all things old?

Ingleborough dig - Basil, Tesfaab., Julien, and Tinta

Digging up Ingleborough! Basil, Tesfaab, Julien, and Tinta get stuck in

David Johnson of the Ingleborough Archaeology group was organising a dig, we asked if a few of the refugees based in Darwen could be involved, he agreed;  John Asher applied for funding from through the Sustainable Development Fund, the Quakers agreed to host the refuges for four nights and so that was that! For four days our friend Sam and four others (all from Africa) began digging their own trench on the slopes of Ingleborough and unearthed a doorway that is probably over 1,000 years old.

As expected rain stopped play one day so the guys spent the day visiting the Dales Countryside museum and frolicking around in Malham. But on the other days they worked like mad, digging, surveying, photographing and finally back filling.

Having worked in Africa himself David Johnson enjoyed their company almost as much as they did the dig : “They were good fun,” he said, “Good company, full of enthusiasm, with a strong desire to learn and benefit from the experience, and jolly good workers to boot. I hope they will be able to stay safely in Britain as I am certain they will seriously enrich our culture, like so many refugees of the past.”

I certainly agree with you there David. My time on the dig with Sam, Tesfaab, Tinta, Basil and Julien was certainly the highlight of my year even though my knees hurt afterwards!”