Libraries can enjoy a very bright future

SIR - I’m sure I am not the only library volunteer to be grateful to the Craven Herald for informing us regularly of additions to facilities offered by North Yorkshire libraries (‘Library service is expanded’, April 5).

We live in an age when worries about how staffing and funding in the NHS and, indeed, in our schools can be maintained and developed.

Of course, we worry too about how a mainly volunteer-run library service can continue into the future.

Most branch libraries suffer a few problems to begin with, and sometimes it takes a little time to raise the standard again.

We need to remember however, that volunteers with the aid of training, experience and the support of professional staff and indeed, their library users, will in time develop a body of expertise suited to the developing circumstances in which they are working and which they in turn, will pass on to the next generation of volunteers.

I suspect that if there is any spare money to be had nationally, the NHS and education will have priority, as indeed they should.

News of additions and expansion of current library services is very encouraging.

Because of the advance in online digital technology (and it is ongoing at an amazing rate) and where county libraries are prepared to negotiate for facilities for free use by the public, it is now possible that small branch libraries can offer through use of their computers, access to information which hitherto would have been available only to users at large reference libraries, or possibly to individuals at the cost of a subscription.

We already have access in our branch libraries to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, which because it is online is easily kept up to date.

As the news item in the Craven Herald made clear, the installation of the software programme PressReader means that library users will be able to study in more than 60 languages more than 7,000 titles of international newspapers and magazines.

Moreover, free access to 700 British and Irish titles in the British Newspaper archive, dating from the 18th century to 1950, will be of particular value to researchers.

This is only the beginning of what is a “technological revolution” in the library service.

“Print is not dead”. Indeed, it is very much alive.

The borrowing of printed books remains the largest part of the library service to the public.

Apart from the various activities branch libraries have initiated since they became mainly volunteer-run, one positive sign that the new era is not one of demise is the steady increase in the number of Book Groups nurtured by the branch libraries.

The central North Yorkshire library service now supplies books, via the branch libraries, to over 200 Book Groups in the county.

Settle Community library supplies books each month to ten of those Book Groups.

Kathleen Kinder, member of the management committee, Settle Community Library, Northfields Avenue, Settle

Roadside clear-up is more than welcome

SIR - It is commendable that Craven District Council is undertaking and encouraging a major clean-up (‘Major roadside clean-up effort gets under way’, Craven Herald, April 5).

Anyone who walks along our roads regularly finds bottles,cans and paper cups from takeaways.

However, when will the huge pile of grey sludge disfiguring the countryside at Mearbeck, between Settle and Long Preston, be removed?

A similar pile was in situ between Settle and Rathmell for well over a year.

It appears to be some sort of waste, why is it tipped there? How on earth can anyone get consent for tipping this in the open countryside?

The sooner it is removed the better and the sooner this practice is prohibited the better.

There is a similar pile on the A65 in Cumbria, although this has a purple tinge.

Andrew Mills, Stainforth, Settle

‘Detrunking’ - and what it really means

SIR - To ‘detrunk’ - what an innocent-sounding transitive verb, and notice how it was slipped as bland administrative jargon into the report about Coniston Cold bridge (‘Bridge plans to go ahead despite a lack of funding’, Craven Herald, April 12).

I detrunk, he detrunks, we detrunk, you detrunk; but, in reality, only ‘They’ detrunk.

The A65 may be a principal regional road-artery connecting urban West Yorkshire to the far North-West and on to Scotland, but central government has dumped it, and its costs, in the lap of North Yorkshire County Council. That is ‘detrunking’.

Lacking the £9 million needed to resolve the problems at Coniston Cold bridge, the council adds it to the wish-list.

However, that amount is mere loose-change for undertakings like the £14.8 billion* Crossrail where, as glossy television documentaries keenly inform us, similar sums are easily spent on innovative designer architecture at the stations. (*£4.7 billion is from the DfT which did the detrunking.)

Meanwhile, we provincial types trundle along a barely-uprated eighteenth century turnpike road with bridges incapable of handling twenty-first century vehicles.

H J Hill, Settle

Frustration around waste collections

SIR - Why has Craven District Council stopped putting a full list of waste collection dates on its website?

The new format is totally ‘rubbish’, forgive the pun.

Why do I want to go on their website every other week to find out when my bins will next be emptied.

What was wrong with committing to a schedule I could print off once a year?

Like a lot of people, I missed my last blue bin collection because they had decided to collect on a Wednesday that week instead of the usual Thursday.

They save money by collecting every other week, so at least be consistent and if you can’t be consistent then publish a list of collection dates for the year…. Not hard surely?

We really should not be expected to have to go on line every week, enter our post code, then pick the number of our house just to find out when they will be coming to collect.

Total garbage.

Andrew Dean, Barden Fell View, Grassington

*A SPOKESPERSON for Craven District Council responds: “We are sorry if some residents were unaware of the changes to bin collections during the week before Easter.

“Craven District Council did post out paper collection calendars to every household last spring, covering 2017-2019.

“This included information on the changed collections due to the Easter bank holidays.

“We can also provide additional copies of this calendar to residents if required, for example for residents who have moved address.

We also publicised the Easter bank holiday collection dates in the Craven Herald and other local media, and advertised the changes widely on our social media channels and on our website, including on the home page of our website.

“Our social media posts on the subject were seen by over 26,000 people.

“We are working on providing downloadable PDF calendars via our website for each property. However this is a complex task and we need to ensure all the information provided is correct.

“This facility was offered via our old website but due to the nature of our collection rounds it did not accurately reflect the service for all properties.

“The provision of PDF calendars via the website is now planned for delivery in June this year.”

Carers need help as well as the cared-for

SIR - 6.5 million people in the UK look after a loved one with a disability, illness, mental health problem or extra needs as they grow older.

Whilst caring can be hugely rewarding, it can have a huge effect on us, our lives and our plans.

Unpaid carers are often unprepared for the impact caring can have and frequently put their own health and wellbeing needs to the ‘back of the queue’.

That’s why, this Carers Week (11-17 June), we are asking individuals and communities up and down the UK to help unpaid carers stay ‘Healthy and Connected’.

Whoever you are, whatever you do, you can make a difference by helping to make it easier for people to recognise their role as a carer and get support from their communitiesand the services around them.

More than half of carers have seen their physical (61%) and mental health (70%) worsen as a result of their caring role.

From employers introducing ‘carer-friendly’ policies at work, to GP practices offering check-ups and flexible appointment times for carers, communities are integral to supporting carers’ health and wellbeing.

As such, we’re asking readers to visit the Carers Week website to find out how you can make a difference to carers in your area.

There are lots of different ways to get involved in Carers Week. Visit the Carers Week website - - and pledge your support for Carers Week:

*Run an activity or event and add it to the Carers Week website. You can find lots of ideas and inspiration on the website.

*Follow Carers Week on Twitter @CarersWeek and use the hashtag #carersweek

*Like Carers Week on Facebook at and join in with the discussions.

Carers are the mainstay of our communities. Let’s make the most of Carers Week to show carers just how much we recognise and value the vital contribution they make to our families, communities and wider society.

This year - led by Carers UK joining forces with Age UK, Carers Trust, Independent Age, Macmillan Cancer Support, Motor Neurone Disease Association, MS Society, Which? and Elderly Care - the Carers Week campaign hopes you will join us in to help carers be healthy and connected.

Heléna Herklots CBE, chief executive, Carers UK

Call for volunteers to support the elderly

SIR - At Independent Age, the older people’s charity, we’re always trying to help as many older people as possible.

Right now, we want to encourage older people in Yorkshire and the Humber who may be feeling lonely to get in touch with us to find out about our Friendship services, which could help to reduce loneliness.

We have friendly, trained volunteers waiting to make regular calls to the people who need them to help make a difference to their lives, so we’re keen to hear from people who may have lost touch with close friends or family and would like to find someone friendly to talk to.

One in five older people in the UK are in contact with friends, family and neighbours less than once a week, while for one in 10, it’s less than once a month.

In addition to this, around 40% of older people say the television is their main form of company.

We want to help all those who need us, but we can only help the people who get in touch with us.

Receiving a regular call can be invaluable to someone who is lonely. Having a volunteer for a regular telephone call can provide vital companionship for older people who are lonely, enabling them to feel more connected to their local community.

Many of the older people we help have told us that it can make a huge difference to their wellbeing if they have a call to look forward to each week or fortnight.

Chronic loneliness can be really damaging to a person’s health, so we hope to help make loneliness a thing of the past for Yorkshire and the Humber residents.

Older people who would like to receive regular calls from a volunteer can sign up at or by calling 0800 319 6789. We are also looking for volunteers who can sign up online or by calling 0800 319 6789.

Jeanette Bates, Head of Wellbeing at

Independent Age

RAF ‘Family’ fund is here to help needy

SIR – My grandfather, Hugh Trenchard, the first Viscount Trenchard, often called the Founder of the RAF, became its first Chief of the Air Staff on its formation on April 1, 1918.

The centenary of the RAF is a chance for the nation to reconnect with the airmen and airwomen who defended this country in its most perilous moments, to honour their dedication, commitment and bravery and to reflect on how these qualities endure in the RAF today, particularly in light of the recent loss of an airman at RAF Valley.

In an appeal on behalf of the Fund in 1951, Winston Churchill reminded the nation of ‘the debt we owe’ to those who served in the RAF during the Second World War.

On this 100th anniversary, it is wonderful to see the nation come together once again to acknowledge the debt we owe today, just like our forebears did all those years ago.

Right from the start, my grandfather believed that there is a responsibility to care for members of the RAF family who are in need.

And so in 1919, he set up a small fund to provide welfare assistance – the RAF Benevolent Fund which would sit at the heart of the RAF Family. That role has not changed in 99 years and the Fund continues to stand side by side with the RAF. From its modest beginnings in 1919, the Fund has grown to become the leading welfare charity for the RAF, assisting 55,000 family members in 2017.

The RAF has always had an extraordinarily strong feeling of pride and loyalty – espirit de corps – and with that pride may come a reluctance to ask for help. If you are (or know of) a serving or veteran member of the RAF Family going through a difficult time, I encourage you to get in touch with the RAF Benevolent Fund; this applies to partners and dependent children also.

Call 0800 169 2942 or email welfareservic

Hugh Trenchard, 3rd Viscount of Trenchard of Wolfeton, Deputy Chair, RAF Benevolent Fund

We can help charities with capital projects

SIR - As one of the UK’s largest charitable funders, we want to highlight the amazing work that is being carried out by many small community organisations and charities in the Craven area.

However, many of the vital services these charities provide, such as meals on wheels, disability support and mental health services, are at risk if they don’t receive the funding they need.

Every year hundreds of charities apply to us for support as funding gets even tighter and council cuts continue to bite.

At a time when communities are struggling to support those in need, we felt it was important to launch a fund that would help bring local communities together.

By funding capital projects, such as a minibus for a local youth group or a new kitchen for the community hall, we want to ensure that charities have the facilities they need to do more of their great work.

So in our 60th Year we have launched the Weston Anniversary Fund which will award up to £150,000 for each charity that successfully applies for help to improve their existing facilities, or provide new ones.

We have £5million for this one-off scheme so we can support as many charities as possible.

You only have to look at what’s happening to youth services across the country to see how vital good community support is.

We want to help small, local charities give people a safe place to go to get the help that they need, at the time that they need it.

Anyone interested in applying for this unique fund can find out more at – the deadline for applications is 30th June 2018.

Philippa Charles, Director, Garfield Weston Foundation

Extra help available for diabetes care

SIR - With spring on the way, many of us will be going for walks and working in the garden.

People with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes are no exception to this but they do need to take a little more care, especially of their feet.

Unfortunately, we have found that some people with diabetes are not aware that they need to take the extra care of their feet.

Around 130 diabetes-related amputations take place every week in this country alone, mainly as a result of foot ulcers, but 80% of these are avoidable with proper foot care.

So, people with diabetes should have their feet checked at least annually by a trained healthcare professional and should also be taught how to look after their feet themselves.

To try to reduce the risks of foot damage and amputations, the InDependent Diabetes Trust (IDDT) has published a FREE booklet called ‘Diabetes – Looking After Your Feet’.

This is designed to help people to look after their feet by knowing what to look for and when to seek treatment to keep their feet healthy and avoid foot ulcers.

If foot ulcers are left untreated they can eventually lead to amputation, which drastically changes a person’s quality of life.

A more active life in the spring can also mean a change in eating habits, so our booklet, ‘Diabetes – Everyday Eating’, which contains 28 days of menus of everyday, affordable meals, and much more, is also useful to help people manage their diabetes.

All our booklets are FREE, so we hope you will let your readers know that we can help. They can obtain a copy of ‘Diabetes – Looking After Your Feet’ and ‘Diabetes – Everyday Eating’ by contacting IDDT: telephone 01604 622837 or email:

Jenny Hirst, Co-Chair, IDDT, PO Box 294,

Northampton NN1 4XS