I know it’s traditional to write our thank you letters after Christmas, not before.   But this year it seems appropriate to say ‘thank you’  in   advance of the festive season to some of the  people who have helped to keep Orb  growing into a successful organisation that’s so much bigger than the sum of its parts.


First of all, a big thank you to all volunteers.elves

Let’s just take a look at our volunteering numbers!

During 2013  69 people have volunteered with Orb, some working on a regular weekly basis, others calling in as and when required. The work they do adds up to the equivalent of full time paid members of staff! 

Of this 69, 24 people had originally been engaged with Orb as service users, and are now gaining valuable experience and insights while using their own skills and enthusiasm to help others.

By simple arithmetic this means that 45 other volunteers were coming in from the wider community, bringing in musical, artistic or other skills to support others and learning about mental wellbeing in return.

We also supported 11 students to complete work placements, giving them extra insight into mental well being at at time when depression and anxiety in young people are rising rapidly.

We’ve met one of our key targets  in improveming the gender balance to  60% male / 40% female, up from only 25% female volunteers a year ago.

And we’ve attracted  5 volunteers from around the world : USA, Spain, China, Japan and Lithuania. Not bad for a little Yorkshire market town!

So thank you to everyone who has turned up this year to support mental wellbeing in the Knaresborough community.


So what have we all been doing?


Studio lessons

Studio lessons

Here is a sample of some of the areas our volunteers have been contributing to:


Art tuition, art workshops, art displays in Harrogate Library              

Bid writing       



Creative writing                 


Facilitating music sessions             

Film making                          

Finance Support       


IT lessons & infrastructure support             

IT lessons

IT lessons

Literacy support             

PAT testing            

 Promotional work                 

Recording sessions      

Tuition in guitar, piano, drums, singing, song writing and music production

Teaching Photography                        


We haven’t come up with anything beginning with ‘Z’ yet – maybe zoology in the future? – but you get the general idea.     Volunteering makes creativity happen, creativity helps to boost mental wellbeing for all of us.

Thanks also to groups in the wider community


  • To the Liz and Terry Bramall  Foundation, whose generous grant in 2013 made so much of the above possible .
  • To Ecominds, for helping us to etablish our Eco-garden in the first place.
  • To Harrogate Library for hosting our first Summer Art Show – and for giving us the space to do the same again next year.  It’ll be a bit like the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition – only more fun!
  • To the Forest of Knaresborough Lodge for an award of £1,000.  As a community charity, we very much appreciate the support of other Knaresborough groups.
Members of the Forest of Knaresborough Lodge

Members of the Forest of Knaresborough Lodge



Thanks to everyone who’s helped to make 2013 a little bit better – and to everyone who’s thinking of joining us in 2014.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.