Easingwold’s popular ‘Boot Shop’ celebrates 25 years of community cohesion and support


A longstanding day support centre for adults and young people in Easingwold this month celebrated a quarter of a century of helping people develop new skills and live independently.

The Boot Shop, run by national disability charity United Response since 1994, provides activities and opportunities to adults with learning and physical disabilities in a safe, community-based environment in the small Yorkshire market town.

The dedicated provision, once a footwear shop and formerly a furniture restoration service, hosts workshops in arts, crafts, drama, DIY, cooking and health to help people with learning disabilities get back into the community and achieve their goals.

The popular service threw the event for family, friends and people who have attended or worked at the service over the past 25 years – and raised more than £500 in the process.
The occasion, held on 2 August, had a Village Fete theme and took place on the front lawns of local community centre and manor house The Galtres Centre. Despite summer showers and increased humidity, the event was a roaring success and was documented through photo and video by staff at The Boot Shop and people supported by United Response’s innovative York-based service UR TEC.

The festivities included a variety of craft stalls and activities, tombola and hook a duck, alongside an abundance of food and tea and cake. Inclement weather disrupted village fete classics such as a coconut shy and ‘splat the rat’, with these games and more expected to take place in a similar capacity at a future point over the summer.

Revellers, who turned out in force, also enjoyed a dramatic performance of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream performed by The Boot Shop drama group in the atmospheric wooded area of the gardens.

Julia Richardson, who has managed The Boot Shop for 22 years, said: “This was a fantastic occasion where we could celebrate what the Boot Shop has meant to a lot of people over the last 25 years, there was a wonderful feeling of friendship, fun and warmth shared by everyone who attended. We have evolved considerably during this time and are passionate about continuing to invest in the lives of those with learning disabilities.”

By utilising bespoke and active support, the Boot Shop aims to provide people with more control over their lives through workshops in health and wellbeing, cookery, communication and drama, which in turn offer both communicative and transferable life skills and employment opportunities.

The celebration also doubled up as an opportunity for The Boot Shop and its members to reaffirm its integral community standing, with local business UKiDirect seizing the occasion to build upon a blossoming partnership with the service by promoting fundraising on behalf of their team – one of whom is running September’s Great North Run for the charity.

To find out more information about the Boot Shop or to arrange a visit, please contact Service Manager Julia Richardson, at julia.richardson@unitedresponse.org.uk. Or, you can find The Boot Shop on Facebook. To visit the Just Giving page set up by UKiDirect please visit https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/ukidirect


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