Catching up with our friends at People’s Postcode Lottery

Yesterday I took the train to Edinburgh with Leah, a fellow member of the Fundrasing team, to visit our friends at People’s Postcode Lottery.

The purpose of our visit was to update the Postcode Lottery team with news of all the wonderful charitable work we’ve been able to get involved with across the Yorkshire Dales thanks to the ongoing support of the players of People’s Postcode Lottery.  …so far players have raised an amazing £225, 332 for YDMT!  We were delighted to find that the team were as excited by our recent acheivements as we are!

It was also a chance for us to catch up with the volunteering team that had travelled to the Yorkshire Dales to help us with some woodland management at Bolton Abbey just over a month ago (see our blog posted on 13 July for full details).  We were really chuffed to hear that the team had all really enjoyed it, and to discover that Annie (one of the volunteers) had even written a short account of her day out.  She’s very kindly agreed to let us share it with you now, so you can hear about the day straight from the horse’s mouth…

People's Postcode Lottery Volunteers

People’s Postcode Lottery Volunteers

The People’s Postcode Lottery Charity Team gathered at the office at 7:30am, ready for our 5hour journey down to the Yorkshire Dales.  Our destination: Bolton Abbey.

After a few rest stops and sandwiches we arrived in the scenic, very green surroundings of the Yorkshire Dales.

We met with the three man team who would be taking us on for the day, Sarah and David from YDMT, and Mark from Bolton Abbey.

The abbey was founded in 1154 and the foundations still stand today.  Originally built as a Priory it has withstood, though was abandoned, when attacks from Scottish Raiders in the 14th  century rendered it untenable.

After a few photos with the picturesque abbey in the background, YDMT took us on a lovely walk through the hills to a beautiful freshwater waterfall – to demonstrate to us how funding from the Postcode Lottery was helping natural conservation in the area.  David mentioned to us that they run programs allowing under privileged and disabled people from the surrounding districts to come out to this beautiful setting to experience for themselves life outside of inner cities, and the benefits of natural surroundings.  David tells us that it is often an emotional experience.



After our walk to the waterfall, we were put to good work!  We were given saws and instructed on the art of pruning.  Our aim: to remove any overly-vigorous specimens to maintain the overall balance (including to allow the population of juniper bushes – which, surprisingly, are native to the local area! –  to flourish).  Unfortunately, there was no gin on offer that day!

In the time we were there, we cleared a considerable amount of excess growth – our YDMT guides seemed very pleased with the work and have invited us back again for the lambing season next March – April.

It was a brilliant day out and as always was fantastic to see what some funding from Postcode Lottery can do for a local area!  I would definitely go back given the chance!


£10k boost to pioneering outreach project

We are delighted to announce that an incredible £10,000 has been secured to enable our pioneering outreach project ‘People and the DALES’ to continue into the autumn.

Our friends at the Yorkshire Dales Society (YDS) share our passion for the enjoyment and protection of the Dales, and now have generously donated to this life-changing project.  Peaple and the DALES encourages people from disadvantaged and urban backgrounds to experience the Dales through activities such as walks, farm visits, conservation work and crafts.  So far more than 4000 people have benefited from the project.

The donation came at a critical time when the future of the project was uncertain.  This financial boost will allow us to retain key members of experienced staff, ensuring project continuity, and will enable us to continue to offer invaluable experiences in the Dales between now and autumn through a programme of activity days.  It will benefit people with health problems or disabilities, or from black and minority ethnic or economically deprived communities.

Aris Iqbal and Shamsa Kanwal Aris from Advocacy Support (a group which provides support to refugees in Leeds)

Crucially this financial boost will also enable more detailed evaluation of the project so far, and preparation of a business plan for future funding bids, putting us in a strong position to secure other longer term funding opportunities which would allow this life-changing outreach work to continue for many more years.

We’d like to say a huge thank you to Yorkshire Dales Society for their generosity and passion.  Thanks to their help, we are very hopeful that we will now be well placed to secure more long term funding to allow this pioneering project to continue into the future.

Thanks also go to Access to Nature, Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council, Fields Studies Council and the many individuals and partner organisations involved in helping to make the project such a success so far.

You can find out more about YDS on their website at

A celebration of People and the DALES

The initial phase of YDMT’s inspiring and ground-breaking project People and the DALES comes to an end this Summer. This month we celebrated the projects many achievements with some of the people who have helped to make it such as success.

Over the last three and a half years People and the DALES has given over 3000 people from disadvantaged and disabled groups the opportunity to visit the Yorkshire Dales countryside. The project has enabled these people to take part in all kinds of activities, enjoy the magnificent Dales landscape, learn new skills and forge new friendships. Some of them have never visited the countryside before. We hope that most of them will be inspired to return.


St Vincent's Support Centre users from Leeds experience lambing in the Dales

A People and the Dales lambing day with St Vincent’s Support Centre, Leeds


At the celebration event at Bradford 1 Gallery last week we heard several community group members recounting their most memorable People and the DALES moments. Some of them were very emotional, and there were tears shed! Sylvia Shatwell from Willow Young Carers Barnardo’s said: “I have been very touched emotionally by the project and have shared exhilarating moments with some incredible people through the People and the DALES training events. I am exceptionally privileged to have been involved in the project.”

Everyone who attended the event, or who has been involved in People and the DALES, has overwhelming support for the project and admiration for the YDMT team who have delivered it, Dave, Gail Judy. Natural England, who awarded £197,000 to the project in 2009 as part of its Access to Nature programme, is one of its biggest advocates, praising the project for exceeding all of its targets, surpassing expectations and being a joy to manage.

YDMT is doing everything it can to ensure the life-changing work of People and the DALES continues into the future.

People’s Postcode Lottery volunteers help the Dales

We were joined by a team of volunteers from our friends at People’s Postcode Lottery who were keen to get their hands dirty giving us a helping hand with some woodland management work in the Valley of Desolation at Bolton Abbey – one of the many woodlands that we’ve helped to create across the Yorkshire Dales.

The Volunteer Team at Bolton Abbey

The Valley of Desolation is particularly interesting and unusual as the plantings have been designed as an educational resource, illustrating the succession of different types of woodland which are believed to have colonised this area naturally since the last Ice Age.  As well as tree planting, the supporters of YDMT helped to fund the replacement of a footbridge across the beck, footpath repairs and an information panel on this site in 1999.

Joining staff from YDMT and the Bolton Abbey estate were six members of the team from People’s Postcode Lottery – a charity lottery whose players have raised £225,332 for YDMT to date and over £18.6 million in total for charities in England, Scotland and Wales so far.

The team got to work in the ‘arctic tundra’ section, pruning any overly-vigorous specimens to maintain the balance of dwarf shrubs, grasses, mosses and lichens, with a scattering of trees.

Ready to get stuck in!

Annie Houston, Customer Experience Team Member at People’s Postcode Lottery, said “We were so excited by YDMT’s kind offer to journey to the Dales to see for ourselves the backdrop in which they conduct their work. We got our hands dirty, made friends with some of the local wildlife (some friendly ducks and a less-friendly-looking-frog) and helped encourage the local plant species to thrive. The day we spent with them was an absolute joy and we hope to make it back there very soon!”

The resident frog

Chris Lodge, YDMT Woodland Officer, said “Today was very unusual for the Trust – usually we specialise in planting trees, rather than pruning them to restrict growth!  But it’s all in the name of education, and it was great to be able to give the Bolton Abbey estate a hand with the ongoing work that is required to maintain this unique learning resource.  The team from People’s Postcode Lottery brought with them an incredible level of energy and enthusiasm, and together we made a dramatic impact in a short space of time.”

Unique projects like the Valley of Desolation wouldn’t be possible without the financial support of the players of People’s Postcode Lottery, so we’d like to say a big thank you to all the players for supporting the work of the Trust and for sharing our passion for the Yorkshire Dales.

Happier snappers in the Dales

It was the first of our photography workshops this month. Local photographer Steve Finch, a great friend of the Trust, kindly donated his time and expertise to run a one day workshop to help people get to know their cameras and create photos that they can be proud of. It was also a great way to raise vital money for YDMT.

The day was spent learning photographic theory and techniques and then putting them into practice outdoors – in between the rain showers! The workshop is great for beginners and anyone who wants to learn more about their camera and how to take better pictures. By the end of the day there were certainly many people who were much happier and more confident about their photography skills. One attendee said: “Today has really kick-started me into doing more with my camera.” “I wanted to understand how to take control of the camera. After today, it doesn’t seem so complicated.”

We still have a few places left on our next photography course at the Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes on Sunday 9th September. Places on the workshop are limited to six people to ensure that you will get plenty of 1-to-1 tuition time. You can find out more about the course and book now on our website


Lights, camera, action

Lights, camera, action on the Dales Photography workshop



The future for our Dales Parishes – be part of it

Caring for the Parish is a unique project that has helped parish councils in and around the Dales to care for their villages since January 2010. YDMT play a key role in the project – working alongside Nidderdale Plus to help parishes set up their own caretaker schemes. As the project comes to an end at the end of 2012 we’re now looking to the future. How can we continue the good work of the scheme and help parishes to safeguard their own rural environment and heritage?

Bentham Caretaker hedge trimming

Caring for the Parish – Bentham Caretaker hedge trimming

Caring for the Parish has already helped parishes like Burton-cum Walden, Grassington, Bewerley and North Stainley to take on caretakers who carry out general village maintenance as well as crucial heritage and environmental work. Through the scheme we provide training opportunities in land based skills, health and safety and land registry issues and organise conferences to encourage parishes to share their experiences and develop best practice.

Although Caring for the Parish is due to end this December the scheme now has a solid foundation upon which to continue. Many of the parishes who have taken part in the funded caretaker scheme want to continue looking after their vibrant villages once the scheme comes to an end, and others want to become involved.

That’s why representatives from parish councils will be meeting on Wednesday 11th July at the Devonshire Institute in Grassington to look at ways of funding the caretaker scheme into the future. Experts from Rural Action Yorkshire and the Funding Advice Network will be there to give advice about how to fund a caretaker scheme in the current financial climate. Many of the people attending will have been running their own funded caretaker scheme for the last two years.

We’re inviting people who are interested in the future of our villages in the Dales, or want ideas and advice about how to finance a caretaker scheme in their own parish to come along. For more information please contact Gillian Muir at YDMT on or call 015242 51002.