16 Craven College Students aged 17 to 19 who are currently on Pathways and Gateway courses recently spent three weeks taking part in NCS (National Citizen Service) delivered by the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation. The NCS programme aims to engage, unite and empower young people, building their confidence so they can succeed, no matter where they’re from or what their background is.
The group from Craven College got in touch with Airedale Hospital and Community Charity as they wanted to give back to the local community and support Airedale Hospital. The charity team set the group a target to raise £110 to purchase a robotic companion cat that can be used by patients with dementia on Airedale’s Acute Assessment Unit (AAU).
Robotic companion cats look, feel and sound like real cats and they respond to petting, hugging and motion, much like real ones. The cat will provide comfort and a sense of purpose for people living with dementia. It will help to encourage a sense of empowerment, companionship and enjoyment and in some cases may provoke nurturing and caring memories helping with loneliness and isolation.
Airedale’s AAU cares for patients who require an urgent medical assessment and short stay. This means that patients can be assessed, diagnosed, treated and often go home the same day without being admitted into hospital overnight.
The students worked incredibly hard during their NCS programme and raised a total of £150.49. This meant that they had some funds left over to purchase gifts for elderly patients that will be in hospital over Christmas. Morrisons in Skipton also kindly donated gift bags and Christmas cards.
The group worked together as a team to bake and decorate cupcakes and biscuits and sold their creations from three stalls across Craven College. Along with the cake sale, these stalls also included a tombola and a “guess the name of the elf” game. The students used their new found confidence to approach their fellow students and staff and sell their brilliant bakes.
Rachel Hildreth, NCS coordinator at Yorkshire Cricket Foundation, says:
“All the students were incredibly proud of their amazing achievements and honoured to make such a big difference to the local community.
“It was really heart-warming to see how much it meant to the students to make a positive difference and be able to buy the Friendly Companion Cat.”
Ciara Walsh, an assistant at Airedale Charity, says:
“We are so grateful for the hard work that the students put into this project. They should be really proud of themselves!
“Our patients will really appreciate their gifts and the companion cat is already stirring up lots of excitement in our AAU.”
539 patients were in hospital at Airedale over the festive period last year, and over 50% of these patients were aged over 68. Airedale Charity is running a Christmas appeal for gifts for patients that will be in hospital this festive season. Please visit airedalecharity.org/support-our-fundraising-events/ for more information.
(Photographed: Craven College NCS students)