OUR monthly feature continues to shine a light on some of the district’s heroes who regularly and selflessly offer their time to help others.

Salt of the Earth, in partnership with North Yorkshire County Council, showcases the unstinting efforts people go to in their everyday lives to make someone else’s life that bit better.

One such hero is Skipton volunteer Megan Gillet.

Megan, 23, has worked at Justteachers teaching agency, in the town, since 2017and for more than 18 months has been volunteering in her spare time with Selfa, a Skipton-based charity which supports children and young people.

Megan said: “I have been volunteering at Selfa since February 2019, I have always known about them and with working within the education industry, I was aware that there were children and young adults who needed a little extra help and support to allow them to thrive and achieve. I thought I would see if they wanted any help at weekends and during the holidays when I was free.

“Giving a couple of hours on a Saturday or a couple of days a week during the holidays when I have days off is the least I can do in comparison to what Selfa does for the children and young adults who come to them.

“It made sense to me to give my free time to help local people. It gives me a sense of achievement and I love to help and get to know the children, plus they’re in an environment that helps their personalities shine through.

“There is never a dull moment when I’m at Selfa. The staff do incredible things and work so hard and I am so proud to say I volunteer there. It makes me happy and content to think that the time I give makes a difference. “

Megan said that given the current climate with the pandemic still causing problems she hasn’t looked too far into the future, but said she intends to continue helping Selfa as long as she can.

She also said she hopes her story encourages other people who have thought about volunteering, in a wide range of capacities in all sectors, to give it a go because of the satisfaction you achieve by helping makes someone’s life better and easier.

“What I would say to anyone who’s thinking of volunteering at Selfa is just go for it. It’s great and you’ll have loads of fun.

“The kids are fab, the staff are great and it just makes you feel happy.”

Lucy Short, activity coordinator and fundraising lead with the charity said Megan was a ‘star’ for the work she does.

She added: “We really couldn’t manage without her.

“Meg has been volunteering for Selfa since early 2019 and is an absolute star. We often struggle to find quality volunteers but Meg has shone. She approached us and asked to volunteer to experience a different role from her full-time job as she wasn’t sure what career path to take. She told us she wanted to use her spare time to make a difference and ‘give back’ to her local community.

“Meg is up for giving anything a go. Many people can find working with young people with high needs and challenging behaviour difficult but she has taken everything in her stride and learned so much along the way.

“She has volunteered at Smile Project (an intergenerational project in a local care home), Saturday club (a weekend group for profoundly disabled children who need one-to-on care), many holiday activities ranging from children aged four to 19, Selfa Engage (an after school youth group to engage those who struggle controlling their anger), Park Run (supporting our young children at the park run in Aireville park) and many more.

“She has easily done over 100 hours of volunteering here. Her confidence interacting with the children has developed massively since starting with us and we really do count her as an important part of the team.

“She doesn’t hesitate to get stuck in whether it’s playing team games, washing up, leading an activity and most importantly supporting our young people.”

Selfa was set-up in 2007 as ‘Skipton Extended Learning for All’ by chief officer, Emma Pears. It has gone from strength to strength and now supports over 400 children and young people aged four-19. Its mission is to support children and families experiencing vulnerabilities to build resilience, thrive and achieve and its vision is a community where all children and young people are celebrated and know they belong

Anyone who knows of someone they believe is the salt of the earth and deserves to be featured should nominate them via: SaltOfTheEarth@northyorks.gov.uk