Sunday, August 15th, 2021 7:30pm
By John Warburton @Warblefly
The holder of an ancient Isle of Wight ceremonial office, appointed by the Queen, has been visiting an award-winning and community-supporting charity in Ryde.
The High Sheriff of the Isle of Wight, James Attrill DL, visited Aspire Ryde’s Dover Street centre on Wednesday (11th August).
Aspire Ryde, recipient of the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service, says its aims are to support the community, and "make our area a place where people can thrive."
As part of their inclusive outreach to all ages and all abilities in the community, the Aspire Ryde team say they work with many partner organisations to bring people and services together, transforming lives and giving people the best chances possible.
They've transformed the former Holy Trinity church, which closed in January 2014, into a community hub offering a broad range of services.
These operate alongside music and creative arts groups, wellbeing sessions, "Men in Sheds" and "Women in Sheds" groups, a cafe, and many other programmes.
The team says:
"Registered as a local charity, with local trustees our volunteer team brings a wealth of skills & abilities to serve each other."
On a tour of Aspire Ryde, James Attrill and his wife Nicky spoke to staff and volunteers about the range of community services and facilities offered by the charity.
They were able to see a family softplay session, tea dance and creative music sessions, taking place within different parts of the building.
It also gave an opportunity to explore the new escape room and hear about the positive impact it’s having on the charity's own sustainable funding plan whilst raising awareness of the work and providing employment within the community.
Food, gardening and maintenance projects were also discussed.
Chief Executive of Aspire Ryde Trevor Nicholas said:
“It was great to host James and Nicky and for them to hear our organisation's story and the personal stories of some of our staff and volunteers.
"It is excellent that as High Sheriff, James has chosen to focus on mental health at a time when many are struggling with the impact of the past 18 months.
"His support in bringing organisations and agencies closer together is necessary and important work."
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