A SPASH of colour is being brought into the lives of many over 70s who have been forced into social isolation while the coronavirus pandemic continues.

The Yorkshire Countrywomen’s Association (YCA) and Yorkshire Water have joined forces to bring colour and interest to the lives of their elderly YCA members by sending out thousands of free packets of flower seeds.

The YCA has thousands of members in 68 branches across the region, many of whom are over the age of 70 or in the Governments vulnerable category and are now entering what could be a prolonged period of social isolation.

The YCA are working hard to create ways of keeping members well both physically and mentally while at home.

Angela Kay, secretary of the YCA said: “We are going to do whatever we can to ensure our members are kept engaged mentally and physically over the coming weeks and we were delighted when Yorkshire Water so readily agreed to provide our members with a packet of seeds each.

“We can’t thank Yorkshire Water enough for their generosity.”

Initiatives include sharing online yoga and exercise classes, reminders to keep hydrated, fed and on top of medicines, keeping people in touch with each other in different ways, launching competitions such as writing and drawing and so much more.

Angela added: “We will post these seeds to members and encourage them to grow these on their windowsills bringing colour into their view, a sense of nurturing and a feeling of wellbeing. This will be particularly beneficial for those living in apartments and rooms or with limited mobility, bringing nature a step closer to them.

“This gesture from Yorkshire Water will have a positive effect on many lives, not just as the seeds arrive with them, but as they watch them grow over the next few weeks and months.

!A beautiful sight and a wonderful reminder that people and companies are there for each other in these difficult times.”

Emily Brady, marketing manager for Yorkshire Water said: “It’s a challenging time for everyone at the moment and it’s so important we all try focus on keeping positive.

“Even if we’re self-isolating at home, now is a great time to start planting seedlings and thinking about the garden.

“The seeds are varieties of plants that don’t need much watering so they’re even better for the environment.”

The Yorkshire Countrywomen’s Association (YCA) was formed in 1983 when a group of Women’s Institute members across Yorkshire decided to form their own regional Association.

Today the YCA has 68 branches, a membership in the thousands and a central committee of 15. It has a county chairman and treasurer and operates an office in the same building as the NFU in York. It still retains the geographical layout of West, East and North Ridings.

Anita Taylor, YCA County Chairwoman, has been a member for 34 years. She said: “Our purpose in 1983 was to bring women in rural areas together for companionship, wellbeing and education. In current times we encompass a much wider audience of women from all different backgrounds but maintain the same ethos.

“It doesn’t matter whether you are a woman in your 30s or 80s, in rural areas or cities, we all need social time, perhaps more than ever in this technological age, for our own wellbeing and that of our colleagues and families.”

Christine Clayton, YCA Treasurer says ‘Despite the internet and social media communication nothing can beat being face to face talking and enjoying each others company and learning from each other.”

Christine added: “One of the positive sides of the YCA is bringing women together but there’s far more, passing on traditional crafts, fundraising for good causes and helping local communities.”