Reflections on time in God’s own country
Chief Executive Jane Colthup shares her thoughts on Yorkshire resilience
With Yorkshire Day fast approaching and my first month as Chief Executive of Community First Yorkshire under my belt, I am reflecting on what’s happened over the last few months. The pandemic has caused many of us to re-evaluate what matters most to us and it certainly made me realise how much I value my connections with friends and family, as well as my local community. In my local community, we’ve had floods as well as the pandemic to contend with this year, so it’s been a challenging year. In both instances, neighbours rallied around offering help, whether to shop for those isolating or to help move furniture upstairs when floods threatened to breach our homes.
We relied on local businesses for deliveries of food and have made a point of continuing to use and support them. They were there for us when we needed them, and the least we can do is to continue to support them. The additional benefits of fewer food miles and the unique, non-formulaic ranges on offer, coupled with some good old Yorkshire chat make the whole shopping experience much more rewarding anyway!
One of the things I love most about Yorkshire is its stoicism. Yorkshire people by nature are hugely resilient. Not much fazes us and our communities have pulled together and helped each other out in thousands of unseen ways. But we need that support and care for each other to continue as we help our beautiful county recover. Many of our charitable organisations are exhausted, having dug deep to do their utmost for those who are vulnerable, lonely or in need. So if there’s anything you can do to offer them support, please do so – they need you now as much as ever. As many of you will already know, giving back to your community will make you feel good too, and is often as therapeutic to the giver as it is to those who receive. Giving doesn’t necessarily mean a financial cost, it could be your time as a volunteer or trustee or an ambassador through sharing their good work over social media or word of mouth.
Going to the Yorkshire Show for the launch of the Rural Commission Report was my first real opportunity to physically meet some of our partners and stakeholders and that Yorkshire stoicism was evident again when the scale of the challenge our rural communities face was laid bare. We are lucky enough to live in God’s own country, surely one of the most beautiful parts of England, and we must do everything in our power to maintain it by enabling our rural communities to thrive. Better connectivity, both in terms of broadband and transport, more affordable housing and better local education, training and job opportunities will help keep our young people here for a sustainable and vibrant county. We need rural energy to be cleaner and greener to conserve the beauty we have in our countryside and we must ensure our healthcare is delivered in places that are easy to access.
So, whilst yes, it’s been a challenging time, we know we can do this. Let’s pull together and support local businesses and if you can spare time or money to help our wonderful voluntary sector, they’ll love you for it!
What do you love about Yorkshire? How are you marking Yorkshire Day this year? Share your thoughts with us on social: