The day we met George…
February 5, 2015
We had an exciting morning in the Dales today that I thought we’d share with you…
It’s been a bit of a whirlwind experience for Jo Boulter, our Dales Rural Trainees project co-ordinator, who received a call yesterday from our friends at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority wondering if we could pop over to Grassington to meet a senior government minister (unnamed for security reasons!) to chat about apprenticeships.
After a flurry of phone calls and emails, four of our Dales Rural Trainees were able to re-jig their diaries to be there to meet the mystery guest.
Everyone was very excited as press reporters, photographers and a film crew began to congregate alongside the Trainees in Grassington, together with local MP Julian Smith this morning in anticipation. At about 9am a rather posh car pulled up (apparently it was too foggy for a helicopter!), and out stepped Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne.
Mr Osborne was keen to find out about the life-changing impact of the Dales Rural Trainee Scheme – a project co-ordinated by YDMT and made possible thanks to generous financial support from the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, the Garfield Weston Foundation, The Charles and Elsie Sykes Trust, The J Paul Getty Jnr Charitable Trust, Lord Swinton’s Charitable Trust, Yorkshire Agricultural Society and players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
Our director David Sharrod joined Mr Osborne and Gary Smith, Director of Conservation & Community at Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, Alan Hulme the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s Head of Ranger Services, Mark Allenby owner of Stage 1 Cycles in Askrigg, and Trainees Arkardy and Suzannah for a nice Yorkshire cuppa.
They chatted about cycling and the legacy of the Tour de France Grand Départ, as well as the successful way that the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, YDMT and local businesses are working together to deliver valuable apprenticeships for the good of the area.
Afterwards the Dales Rural Trainees gave Mr Osborne a crash course in the traditional craft of dry stone walling, and he got stuck in and gave them a hand repairing a section of damaged wall, saying that he found it quite therapeutic and that he’d like to spend longer mastering the skills, but unfortunately he had to hit the road.
Next on Mr Osborne’s tour … a visit to Nestlé where he was going to be helping to pack Easter eggs!
After all the excitement of the morning, the rest of the group retired to a nearby café where the Trainees enjoyed the opportunity to have an informal chat with Gary Smith, Alan Hulme and Julian Smith (three of the four Trainees live in his constituency) over a well-earned Full English Breakfast!