Sharing Voices Bradford out in the waterproofs dry stone walling on the Ingleborough national nature reserve

Sharing Voices Bradford out in the waterproofs dry stone walling on the Ingleborough national nature reserve

Hundreds of people from disadvantaged backgrounds are enjoying the great outdoors in comfort thanks to donations of used gear.

The Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust teamed up with retailer Rohan in the Gift your Gear scheme to provide waterproofs for groups visiting the Dales.

The clothing was donated by Rohan staff and customers and is being used on the People and the Dales project, allowing groups from Bradford, Leeds, Keighley and north-east Lancashire to get out into the Yorkshire Dales countryside to experience the health and wellbeing benefits of spending time outdoors.

Gail Smith, community worker at YDMT, said: “You never know what the weather might throw at you these days, so getting out into the countryside often means you need waterproofs, something not everyone has access to.

“Often the groups we are working with just don’t have the right clothing to head out into the hills.”

Sarah Howcroft, founder of Gift Your Gear and co-founder of Rohan, said: “Since I started Gift Your Gear a year ago I have been amazed at the generosity of everyone, especially those who have donated gear.

“It is especially pleasing to be able to support People and the Dales, an inspirational project and the latest Gift Your Gear beneficiary, located only a stone’s throw from where Rohan started over 40 years ago.”

Handing over the gear at Rohan's Long Preston shop

Handing over the gear at Rohan's Long Preston shop

Roger Cann, managing director of Rohan, added: “Having lived for eight of the last 10 years in Ilkley on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, I know how uplifting this beautiful region can be.

“The support of Rohan customers and employees to the Gift Your Gear scheme has been fantastic and it is wonderful to be able to support the work of People and the Dales.

“Suitable clothing is vital to the enjoyment of the outdoors and I am sure this gear will get a great second life.”

As well as providing the trust with their own stock of waterproofs for the project, the donation has enabled the setting up a of ‘library’ of waterproof coats which will be hosted by Sharing Voices Bradford, a mental-health support charity for people from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities in the city, meaning that even more people can access them and benefit from being in the great outdoors.

The donated gear has already been put to good use by a group of users from Sharing Voices Bradford who joined YDMT on the Ingleborough national nature reserve to learn about how to construct dry-stone walls.

Although it was a chilly and damp day, the waterproofs kept everyone warm and dry.

Kamran Yunis, a community development worker at Sharing Voices Bradford, said: “There were a few individuals who were reluctant at first to try the walling, and whilst walking up the hill to the walling area, were making up excuses to sit down and return to the minibus.

“Once they were shown what to do they really got stuck in and enjoyed every aspect of it.

“It seemed the ones who were reluctant were the ones who were then helping others. Being dry and comfortable in the new outdoor gear made a real difference to the level of enjoyment.

“It was fantastic that we could diversify our activities in the Dales, bringing invaluable benefit to our service users, and we look forward to planning further activities.”

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