A NEW monthly feature is shining a spotlight on some of the district’s heroes who regularly and selflessly offer their time to ensure others feel wanted, safe and very much valued.
Craven has a thriving network of volunteers and community groups who go the extra mile on a regular basis and we are endeavouring to highlight the work some of these people do.
Salt of the Earth, in partnership with North Yorkshire County Council, will showcase the unstinting efforts people go to in their everyday lives to make someone else’s life that bit better.
One such community hero is Glennis Hobbs, of Embsay.
Glennis, 73, a retired Methodist preacher, has dedicated much of her life to helping others and shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon.
As well as conducting pastoral visits to people in her village she, amongst other things, volunteers at her local library, officiates at the Hot Chocolate Club for eight to 11-year-olds each Friday at Embsay Methodist Church and was instrumental in setting up a weekly playgroup for mums and children in Hetton.
Another string to Glennis’ bow has been her involvement with Skipton Street Angels; a group organised through Churches Together to offer reassurance and help to people in Skipton each Saturday night.
The Street Angels celebrated its 10th anniversary last year and operates under the motto ‘helping people keep safe at night’.
Glennis said:”I enjoy volunteering and helping, though I am far from alone. There are many people in the district who happily give their time for all sorts of reasons and to many different organisations.
“Being a part of Skipton Street Angels has been particularly enjoyable, though I only go along perhaps once a month these days as I get older.
“We meet at St Andrew’s Church at 9pm and patrol the town until around 1am. We can cover quite a distance but really the only requirements to become part of the group are the ability to walk slowly and the ability to eat cake. Someone always brings cake,” she said.
She added: “Ideally we go out in two groups of three, with at least one man in each group, though on the last occasion I went out there were only five of us.
“Sometimes there are too few and we can’t patrol. We are always on the look out for more people to join us, from all walks of life and of all ages.
“We walk around the town, keeping an eye out for people and often pick up glasses and bottles - up to 1,500 each year - so people don’t injure themselves on them and to stop them being used as weapons.
“On occasion we stop to help someone who appears to be worse for wear. We carry a foil blanket to keep them warm if they are unwell, as well as sick bags and mop-up kits.
“We will guide people to taxis and ring for an ambulance if someone has been injured. On occasion we have had to ring for the police.
“The police in turn have told us they appreciate our presence and stop and have a word when they see us.
“Many of the young ones we see out and about also make a point of shouting hello to us when they see our high-vis jackets and we know that our presence often helps to diffuse certain situations before they get out of hand.
“One memorable occasion when we helped someone was one evening seeing a young man zig-zagging along the canal towpath.
“We approached him to have a word and he said he had no idea where he was. We feared he would end up in the canal so walked with him towards Skipton hospital where he was able to then find his way home.
“We have seen people worse for wear at the bus station after a night out and helped them get a taxi and on other occasions people have come up to us and told us we helped save their life. We are there to help anyone who may be in need.”
Details of what Skipton Street Angels does can be found on the website: www.skiptonchurches.org.uk/streetangels/streetangels/
They can also be found on Twitter at: @AngelsSkipton
Salt of the Earth is a partnership between North Yorkshire County Council and the Craven Herald to celebrate acts of kindness across our communities.