People and the DALES turns 10!
July 29, 2015
People and the DALES stands for Diversity, Access, Learning, Education and Sustainability. We think that about sums up what we do – to enable people from diverse backgrounds to access, understand and benefit from the Yorkshire Dales – but it doesn’t tell the whole story.
To us at YDMT the project also has an alternative strapline ‘People and the DALES – It makes people cry’. That’s because we’re regularly reduced to tears when Judy or Gail – our dedicated community workers – recount the heart-warming, inspirational and uplifting stories of the people they meet.
It’s getting to know the people and hearing their stories that make us realise just why this project is so important. Like the new mums who live with the day-to-day stresses of being a refugee or asylum seeker in Leeds. For them a day out in the countryside can be a life-changing experience. It helps them leave their troubles behind, compare life in the English countryside with life back home, and smile. It gives them hope that life can be better.
In the last 10 years People and the DALES has benefited 7,000 disadvantaged children and adults, many of whom had never visited the countryside before.
This year we’re delivering 30 days out in the Dales. Visit the People and the DALES Facebook page and you’ll see the variety of things we do and the diversity of people who are involved. Recently we brought together a Refugee Women’s Choir from Leeds and a local choir in Settle for some walking and singing in the rain. School children from Bradford have helped a Dales farmer with lambing and sheep shearing. A weekend of activities brought together refugees from City of Sanctuary Leeds with the community in Malhamdale
Through this work we hope to inspire people to spend more time in the countryside and give them the confidence to come back. But it’s much more than that, it’s about giving people the opportunity to get away from it all and have fun, meet new people, get some exercise, try something new and often remember something from their past.
A day out with People and the DALES is a hugely positive experience and one that helps people feel like they belong. In the words of one young asylum seeker, “It’s been the best time of my life…I want to stay here forever”.