Up For RISE – Celebrating Up For Yorkshire & their RISE Participants!

Up For RISE – Celebrating Up For Yorkshire & their RISE Participants!


Over the past few weeks, our Impact Team have been especially busy visiting our partners and listening to participant stories across our projects! This week we’re celebrating Selby’s Up For Yorkshire, having recently visited and facilitated a discussion with a few of their RISE participants.

Spearheaded by a team of vibrant staff passionate about affecting social change, and cultivating community cohesion, there’s a lot that Up For Yorkshire (UFY) are Up For.  They deliver a diverse combination of services and projects and offer a ‘’safe haven’’ for people to connect and recalibrate.

Speaking with their RISE participants, it’s clear how much joy the UFY team and Community House (their main hub) bring to the wider community. The space is as equally warm and welcoming as the staff, something which evidently keeps people coming back: ‘’I felt comfortable straight away with them even though they were strangers’’ ;’Everyone is really supportive, really understanding, at this point I don’t think I could ask for much more really.’’

Amidst the group, everyone has a different story, they’ve each been coming to Community House for varying lengths of time (a few months to several years) and have received a range of support on the RISE programme. For a few of the participants, their barriers have in part been mental health related, or linked to a diagnosis of Autism or ADHD. For others, a spot of bad luck, their physical health, a former conviction, or a lack of qualifications and/or confidence has meant they’ve struggled to find or sustain work.

Getting involved in Up For Yorkshire’s array of activities, from ‘Fizzical Friday’ (a free, accessible exercise class) to their Monday wellbeing walks, and ‘Well-come café’ (a weekly safe space for a chat) has been a lifeline for many of the group. It’s offered routine and a chance to connect with others- ’Coming here is giving me that encouragement not just to give up, which would have been so easy (…). It’s ’gentle persuasion’’as Kyle puts it – to leave the house and take accountability for your day, and yourself.

Weekly confidence bolstering activities have paved the way for other kinds of support on RISE too, with the group taking part in mental health, mindfulness, and confidence-based courses.  For Leah in particular, these courses have made a ’massive impact’’, helping her to change the narrative around some of her barriers:

‘’It made me put a lot of things into perspective, things that I didn’t realise were actually so skewed.’’

For former participant, Chris, one course he’d attended at UFY has also made a ‘’massive impact’’ on his life. Following a period of redundancy in lockdown, he came to Community House and enrolled on a course with RISE, which led to a chance meeting with his now employer, Joanne Scott,  Founder & Director of Everyday Enable CIC. (A Community Interest Company offering accessibility focused business support in Selby).

Chris credits his current role as Project Support Officer & Director at Everyday Enable to the support he’s received on the RISE programme with UFY:

‘’If it hadn’t been for this, hadn’t been for up for Yorkshire, and RISE and the courses, I wouldn’t have a job (..) I’d still be surviving on Universal Credit (…) It’s helping people, it’s the best job in the world.’’

This desire to support the community is something that the group share, and UFY’s team have actively encouraged. It’s a great way to build confidence, socialise, and learn work-based skills. Kyle has gone on to volunteer at UFY’s Community Fridge (a free, waste-reduction food service), Leah at the Well-Come Café where she’s both ‘receiving’ and ‘giving support’,  and Jon at Visit York, where he’s supporting tourists navigate the city.

Amidst the group, the impact has looked different for everybody. Daytrips, one on one mentoring, volunteering opportunities & courses have supported participants to traverse their barriers, improve their mental health, and progress in their lives:


’This [RISE] has worked for me better than anything and I’ve done a lot of things around my mental health. The Support is amazing, I can’t fault the team here- what they offer, how they’ve been with me, and the pathway that I’ve got now- the way I’m moving forward.’’

‘’It’s places like this, like Up For Yorkshire, like Community House, that are breaking down austerity. This right here, happening in this very room is breaking down austerity.’’

’’I’m Dyslexic and I have Autism, but coming here, Lindsay helps me with reading and writing, we do sessions over Zoom. It’s helped my learning.’’

‘’I wasn’t really going out before and was very isolated due to mental health. So having three things on a week regularly- they just give me a reason to get out the house.’’

‘’With all the courses I’m doing, I can kind of see myself doing something like that, with mental health- with improving insight in to it. I’m calmer, I’ve settled down now.’’

What’s clear amongst the group is the renewed sense of confidence everybody is now developing – and the warmth they have when speaking about the UFY team. A huge thank you to Up For Yorkshire for having us and the incredible RISE participants; Adam, Lana, Leah, Kyle, Chris M, Jon & Chris W who took part in this discussion & shared their stories!

Want to learn more about RISE’s impact? Check out our Go4it Blog here.

Laura Sandiford

Post by Laura Sandiford

Impact Coordinator

A keen storyteller & collaborator, Laura works alongside Hannah as the Impact Coordinator, where she measures and highlights the impact of Better Connect across its business, programmes, and partnerships. She does so by working with a range of people to gather information and stories, which she then translates into engaging content across Better Connect’s channels.

Building relationships and networks is a large part of Laura’s role, alongside ensuring the ‘’Better Connect story’’ is woven throughout all communications.

Laura’s favourite part of the role is connecting with the faces behind the case studies and giving voice to their experiences.

Learn more about Laura