Upwards and Onwards for SOP

Even though last year was one of the toughest we have experienced here at Supporting Older People, thanks to our amazing team and army of volunteers, we continued to support our elderly members and those most in need in our community.

Together we have achieved so much during the pandemic, reaching amazing milestones and pulling off meaningful projects. We are very proud of our team and volunteers which is why we wanted to share a round up of 2020.

2020 Round Up – What a Year

Telephone Befriending

We knew the first lockdown would massively effect mental health, especially for those members living alone which is why we felt it was more important than ever for our members to feel connected to other.

One of our most vital services we pushed during the pandemic was our Telephone Befriending service. As you will have seen on social media, we did a number of posts asking for volunteers who would be willing to take part and we were overwhelmed by the response and support!

Hundreds of you came forward, offering an ear to those who had no one else to talk to. At it’s peak, 406 calls were made a week through our Telephone Befriending service and what it difference it made to our members and their mental health!

Essential Food Parcels

When the first lockdown started, you may remember the panic buying and shortage of food in supermarkets. This affected many of our members and other in the community who were struggling to get hold of the essentials. So we partnered with Waitrose, Harrogate and The Harrogate Roundtable to provide Essential Food Parcels for those in our community struggling to get hold of groceries during lockdown.

This project wasn’t limited to the elderly or our members, we wanted to help anyone who was struggling, whether they were shielding, scared to leave the house or struggling financially.

We reached out to the community via social media to ask them if they would help us spread the word as well as putting forward names of anyone who they knew needed our help. Our first post on Facebook reached over 22,000 people and continued to gain steam over the following months. From this we were able to deliver hundreds of essential food parcels a week around Harrogate and the surrounding area.

After receiving additional funding in August 2020, we then partnered with Asda, Harrogate to continue to provide these essential food parcels for many more months to come. A big thank you to Ruby and Will George Trust, DEFRA / NYCC and Techbuyer for all your support and funding to make this project possible.

Home Cooked Meals From Paul Welch

Throughout the pandemic, we have worked closely with the amazing Paul Welch and his team who have been cooking thousands of home cooked meals that have been delivered to people in our community.

Pauls meals have been a life saver to many, especially those who have been struggling finically, have had to shield, live on their own or have mobility issues. Paul has now cooked and delivered over 8000 home cooked meals which is a truly amazing achievement! Asda and Morrisons, Harrogate have donated tones of free food to put towards this frozen meal project so from the entire team at SOP, we’d like to say a big thank you.

Paul was later nominated for The Big Thank You Awards in recognition of all the hard work him and his team have put into this amazing project!

A Sweet Treat

Throughout the pandemic it’s been our mission to bring a smile to the faces of our members so we organised a number of sweet treats to be delivered to their door steps throughout the year.

The first was our VE Day gift. In total 109 gifts were delivered to all our members, a project that couldn’t have happened with the support and donations from Areyoustirrd and Fisher Care Group.

Back in June, our volunteers braved the weather to deliver afternoon tea to all our members which was greatly appreciated by all! I mean, who doesn’t love a scone! This project was only possible due to the support and donations from Harrogate Brigantes Rotary Club, The Kitchen and of course our volunteers!  

Co-op Local Community Fund

We were delighted to have been chosen as one of the charities for the Co-op Local Community Fund. This means Supporting Older People get 2p from every £1 you spend as a Co-op member. It might not sound like much but ever penny counts! The money raised will go towards the charity’s running costs as well as helping to fund many more projects for our local community. 

Fundraising and Donations

Throughout the pandemic, we were overwhelmed at the number of donations we received. These donations have allowed us to continue our work supporting elderly people who are on their own. For many small charities, the pandemic has meant they have had to close their doors, which makes us even more grateful for the love and support you have all shown us. We wanted to once again thank the following people and organisations for your donations.

  • Covid Cooperation Harrogate
  • Techbuyer
  • Ruby and Will George Trust
  • 29th May 1921 Trust
  • Harrogate Brigantes Rotary Club
  • Harrogate Roundtable
  • Allen Lane Foundation
  • Tesco bags for Help
  • Persimmon Community Champions
  • Emerson Mayes
  • Two Ridings’ Foundation Coronavirus Emergency Fund
  • National Lottery
  • Liz and Terry Bramall Foundation
  • DEFRA / NYCC
  • NYCC Stronger Communites

Christmas Campaigns

We knew Christmas was going to be a difficult time for all which is why we wanted to bring a little extra festive cheer to our members.

We managed to put together over 200 Christmas gifts filled with all sorts of goodies that were kindly donated or funded by local businesses and organisations. A big thank you to the following people and organisations who helped us make this project happen:

  • Beer Hawk
  • Harrogate Brigantes Rotary Club
  • Full Circle Funerals

The cherry on top of the cake was the hundreds of home cooked Christmas meals that were also prepared and delivered to all our members to enjoy on Christmas Day. This amazing project was championed by Dolores, an amazing women who has been working alongside Paul Welch through the pandemic. Without Dolores’ hard work and the amazing volunteers who drove across Harrogate to deliver these meals, it wouldn’t have been possible so a big thank you for the entire SOP team.

Exciting Projects to Come in 2021

Although we started 2021 off with another lockdown, we are very excited for what’s to come in the New Year. We have a number of projects like the essential food parcels and Paul Welch’s home cooked meal rolling over in 2021 meaning more and more people will recieve the support they need during the pandemic.

Vaccinations are rolling out, with many of our members already receiving their first set of jabs!

We have a number of exciting new projects we’re planning for 2021 which will be revealing in the coming months over social media so keep your eyes peeled.


If you’d like to get involved in the SOP community get in touch with our team today! As mentioned essential food parcels and the home cooked meals projects are continuing in 2021 too, so if you know anyone who might benefit please get in touch on 07535 508043.

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