09/10/2013 Press Release: Car maintenance workshop in Wakefield

Start Your Engines!  Older drivers in rural parts of Wakefield are brushing up on their confidence under the car bonnet, as part of a drive by the Touchstones project to keep them safer on the roads this winter.

Touchstones is offering a free workshop to bereaved older people who rely on using a car to access shopping, medical appointments and make social visits, with the aim of teaching them basic checks such as oil, water, but also advice on useful kit to carry in bad weather.

The workshop is being organised through the Touchstones group who meet at Hall Green Community Centre near Wakefield.  Jackie Craven is one of the volunteers at the Centre and she’s already found Touchstones has been invaluable in teaching her new computing skills and ideas on cooking for one.

Jackie explained “Touchstones offers some really useful support to those who have been bereaved.  I became very self reliant when my husband died, but there were things I didn’t know how to do such as wire a plug, or handle the finances”.

Another Touchstones volunteer is Cynthia Binns, who is looking forward to learning lots at the car workshop.  Cynthia said “we’re based in the Crigglestone parish which has 11 villages and our Centre serves many of these.  Many older people use the bus to travel around to access the local shop, doctor’s and pub, but some areas only have a service every two hours and there is nothing in the evening.  There are people who own cars, but who are less sure about using them in icy weather, or know whether their tyres look safe”.

One of Touchstones’ main aims is to reduce loneliness and isolation and for some of the participants, getting out and about is an important step forward following a bereavement.  Sue’s husband talked to her about paying the bills once he became ill, but following his death she lost a lot of confidence and stopped leaving the house.  With support from her local Touchstones group, Sue started attending sessions and has enjoyed the cookery and gardening classes and attends regularly.

The car maintenance workshop is being held on Wednesday 16th October at 2.30pm and is the first of a series of winter-themed sessions for Touchstones.  Other sessions include keeping your home warm and safe and using Skype for Christmas greetings to family.

Touchstones is a project working with bereaved older people in Harrogate, Craven and Wakefield and is a partnership between Rural Action Yorkshire and Age UK.  It is funded by the Big Lottery Silver Dreams Fund.  Places on the car maintenance workshop are free, but must be booked.  Contact 01977 552114 or email libbyeades@ageukwd.org.uk


Editor’s notes

Media contact: Rebecca Craven, Rural Action Yorkshire, 0845 313 0270.


Rural Action Yorkshire

Based at Askham Bryan, near York, RAY is one of 37 Rural Community Councils in England.  It is an independent charitable and voluntary organisation working across rural areas of North, South and West Yorkshire and the City of York, to help communities improve the quality of life for all people living and working in rural Yorkshire. Key work includes:

* Providing advice and grant support for sustainable multi-use community buildings, which can act as a focal point for village services

* Helping local communities carry out community led plans, which identify the strengths and weaknesses of village life and plan how the local community sees future development taking place

RAY and the other rural community councils in England form the Rural Community Action Network (RCAN).



Touchstones runs from September 2012 until February 2014 and is funded by the Big Lottery and the Daily Mail.  It supports bereaved older people who have lost a partner.

For the latest project updates, read the blog on RAY’s website, or follow @RAYTouchstones