Harrogate charity helping older and disabled people get out and about

Rita Paolozzi with Deputy Manager of the Cedar Court Scott Burton. (S)
Rita Paolozzi with Deputy Manager of the Cedar Court Scott Burton. (S)

Now 90-years-old, a Harrogate lady is getting out and about to all the places she wants to visit with the help of a charity.

The Harrogate Easier Living Project (HELP) runs a scheme called Opening Doors, specifically designed to help older and disabled people access the things they want and need.

Rita Paolozzi has been using the service, which supports about 80 people with 20 volunteers, for six months and says it is the best thing that could have happened to her.

She said: “I am only sorry that I found out about Opening Doors about six or seven months ago when I have been in Harrogate for ten years.

“I am not one that likes to sit at the window looking out. Bodily I am fairly fit but I am deaf and slow and forgetful.

“I can get out with transport and the beauty of Opening Doors is that we are always picked up at home and brought back, which to me is just marvellous.”

The benefits for Rita include more than just transport - her shopping, any reminders she needs, help with food and drink, and peace of mind are important to her as well.

“I can’t speak enough for the way that all the volunteers look after you. If you like people and you like going out it is the best thing,” she said.

Christmas dinner and afternoon tea, visits to Cedar Court Hotel, Lotherton Hall, the garden centre in Poppleton and Ripon Cathedral are just some of her recent trips.

HELP project development worker Lizzie Hughes said: “Rita moved to Harrogate to be near her sister and now she is 90 she does more than she has ever done before, in part thanks to her involvement with Opening Doors.

“She had never visited a stately home or a large luxury hotel. She is determined to enjoy life and refuses to be the kind of person who just sits looking out of the window.

“She says that Opening Doors is wonderful for people her age and has really helped her kick start her life.”

To find out more about Opening Doors and HELP go to their website: www.harcvs.org.uk/help or call 01423 813090.