Whatever the weather

November 26, 2009

Gail Smith is one of our People and the DALES Community Workers. The People and the DALES project, which is run by Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust, aims to enable all sorts of community groups – lots of which are from deprived inner-city areas – to come to the Dales and enjoy days out doing a whole range of things. Gail and Judy (another of our Community Worker) are usually the envy of us office-bound types with their tales of kite flying, lambing, nature walks, conservation work and charcoal-making. They do, however, have the Yorkshire elements to contend with, as Gail explains below!      

“The forecast was appauling, but the group from Assisi House Project – a hostel and housing support charity for homeless men in Bradford – were undeterred. After a quick change of venue they arrived raring to go at Bolton Abbey. Togged up in project waterproofs, boots, spare hats and gloves, we set off along the riverside path into Strid Wood.

We’d planned to reach the Strid by lunchtime but the group were storming ahead, stopping only briefly to watch the Bodger at work making ‘Spurtles’ and look at the Strid in full flow after recent rain. About 5 miles later – having taken in both sides of the river, the Priory (where our arrival coincided with a wedding party!) we arrived back at their minibus, tired but happy.

This was the groups first visit out with People and the DALES and for most of the group their first visit to the Yorkshire Dales National Park. One of the group commented to me half way round

‘This is great, its beautiful here. Being out here makes you forget all your problems back home. I’d like to come back and do more.’

That to me is what people and the DALES is all about.

Thanks guys for being so great and for making it a great day out here’s looking forward to that visit to Malham in the Spring.”

People and the DALES not only gives many disadvantaged groups the opportunity to experience the Dales – the project also aims to inspire people to come back to the Dales off their own steam. Gail, Judy and Dave have had lots of success with their Walk Leader training, which is giving community group members the skills and knowledge to organise their own trips to the Dales – and so potentially passing on the benefits to thousands more people.

For more information about how you can get involved with People and the DALES you can contact Gail by email on Gail.Smith@ydmt.org