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Working to Support our Communities

Published on: 4 February 2022

Over the past few months, we have been out and about working with local communities on everything from litter picks to supporting foodbanks. Here we've included a round up of some of the projects and groups we have supported:

Eckington Community Pantry on BBC Radio Sheffield

We were delighted when BBC Radio Sheffield featured the work of the Eckington Community Pantry. They came along to interview people involved with the project and find out how it helps the local community.

Our Community Involvement Officer, Jessica Popplewell-Barker along with Christine Gale, a volunteer at Eckington Community Pantry gave a real insight into the work of the pantry and how people can access the service.


Because of Covid restrictions we could not hold our traditional Mickley Halloween party. Instead, we organised some great outdoor activities including planting some spring bulbs on the estate – ready to add some lovely, welcome colour this year.

Supporting communities

Over the festive period we worked with local community groups to organise parties and get togethers. So many people said how happy they were to be able to meet up again after the isolation many of us have felt during the pandemic.

Rykneld’s Community Involvement Officer, Jessica Popplewell-Barker, said: “In almost 14 years of running community projects, I don’t think I have met people more pleased to be attending such events. It is clear to see how much these get togethers mean to people, especially after the past few years.”


We held a party in Renishaw, including crafts, a disco, food, games, the elf, and the shoemaker show. 


Rykneld supported a highly successful festive event at the Mill Lane Allotments in Grassmoor which attracted dozens of families (approximately 100 children). We handed out ‘Make at home’ meal bags for children plus activity packs to keep them busy during the holidays.


There was a great response to our social event in Apperknowle which included a quiz, a delicious light lunch, and a few festive treats. We know the local community is eager to hold further sessions and we will look to work with them to set up a social group hopefully later this year.


We handed out 25 family food hampers from Eckington Community Pantry. They looked fantastic and were well received. We had lots of fresh fruit and veg, set out like a market stall so people could choose, which was really popular. We also handed out 20 hampers to regularly users of the pantry (those without school aged children). 

Towards the end of last year, we also held an ‘extravaganza’ event in Eckington and worked with Eckington Community Pantry to provide craft activities, a fabulous circus show and a delicious lunch of pie and peas! More than 50 people came along to enjoy the afternoon.

A big thank you to the Co-op at Killamarsh who have started making food donations to the community pantry. If anyone is available to volunteer to help pick up the food, please get in touch with the community pantry which is open every Wednesday and Friday morning at Eckington Civic Centre.

Published on: 4 June 2021

The Cup that Cheers

It was a great feeling for members of the Broadleys Community group in Clay Cross when they met up for the first time since lockdown. They usually meet in the Broadley’s community room but as a result of Covid-19 haven’t been allowed inside yet.

Our Community Involvement Team organised for the group to have a car park events licence so they can run events in the car park and helped them to get the outside area and toilet facilities ready for their first meeting in 14 months!

Eckington Community Pantry

Residents in the Eckington Parish now have access to a community run project with a difference following the opening of a ‘Community Pantry’ in the town. 

Rykneld Homes is helping to support the project to benefit local residents.

A member of the community was keen to set up a food project to support people affected by Covid so they approached the Parish Council to see what could be done. From here the seed was sown and a partnership group was set up which includes Rykneld Homes, Eckington Parish Council, Eckington Business Development Company, Rural Action Derbyshire and volunteers from the local area.

The pantry has its own permanent home in Eckington Business Development Centre and is available to anyone living in the area who needs support at this time due to financial difficulties. The pantry offers a broad range of good quality food and household goods. The stock mainly comes from Fareshare which helps to prevent food waste and local companies have also supported the initiative including Morrisons at Halfway and GP Prices. 

The pantry is open two days a week, currently Wednesdays 9.30am – 11.30am and Fridays from 10am to 12noon at Eckington Business Centre on Market Street. For a joining fee of £2 members receive a quality hessian bag for life and a membership card. After that customers make a suggested donation of £3.50 per shop which allows them to choose 15 items. The donations help to make the project sustainable.

“We currently receive visits from around 20 customers at each session, people welcome the opportunity to be able to access this service which greatly helps people to manage their budgets at this difficult time. It can make all the difference for some people – especially those who may have been financially affected during the Covid-19 pandemic,” said a spokesperson for the Pantry.

“The Community Pantry wouldn’t be possible without the support of the volunteers, supermarkets, Fareshare, Rural Action Derbyshire, Eckington Parish Council, Eckington Business Development Centre and Rykneld Homes. Bev Parker, CEO of Rural Action Derbyshire said, "It’s been a pleasure for Feeding Derbyshire to work with Eckington Community Pantry, on what is an important step towards everyone having access to good nutrition regardless of their income, and we look forward to working with local groups to establish many more community pantries over the next two years."

Anyone interested in becoming a member can pop along to meet with staff on Wednesdays or Friday or telephone 01246 439010 or email reception@eckingtonbusinesscentre.com 

Visit the Community Pantry page for more information or visit the Eckington Community Pantry Facebook page.

Light Up!

Schoolchildren helped to cheer up some of our customers when they called in to say hello as part of a local Light Up project.

Rykneld Homes worked with the First Arts organisation to bring a message of cheer to residents in Clay Cross.

Pupils at Sharley Park Primary School called in at our Marx Court flats complex and children at Holmgate Primary School visited our homes in Wholey Place.

A spokesperson for First Arts, said: “Light Up came about as a way to come together and celebrate community. The idea is that people across the community receive a lantern, accompanied by a message of hope to others, either as a poster or personalised message.

“During March and April 2021 we teamed up with schools in the area, including Clay Cross to help brighten the day of other community members. If you’re out and about in one of these areas, look out for the lovely lanterns in local windows.”

Published on: 4 March 2021

The past year has been a difficult time for everyone, especially for the vulnerable and those who have health conditions, are self-isolating or struggling financially.

Staff at Rykneld Homes have worked to do as much as possible to support our customers, whether delivering food parcels or offering welfare calls.

Here are some of the ways we have helped during the Covid-19 pandemic - in partnership with other organisations and community groups.

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Food Distribution

Back in March 2020, when the Government announced the first lockdown, Rykneld Homes helped to set up a food distribution service with support from local communities, North East Derbyshire District Council, Parish Councils and supermarkets.

A network of donation drop off points was established across the district to support vulnerable people who were unable to leave their homes. Donations were collected and then sorted by Rykneld Homes ready for distribution by our drivers.

The public response was fantastic, and we would like to say a big thank you to everyone who supported us. A total of 86 emergency parcels were delivered to people across the district.

Thanks to everyone’s generosity we were able to donate additional food to foodbanks and soup kitchens. Tokkie from the Living Hope food bank in Holmewood said: "We are so grateful to Rykneld Homes for the support provided, we know it’s going to help people who are in dire need during these uncertain times".

Rykneld Homes and the Council also teamed up with Derbyshire County Council to deliver relief parcels, further supporting vulnerable people across the district. 

Welfare calls

Although the lockdown affected normal service delivery, staff continued to work with many making welfare calls to our most vulnerable customers. We wanted to find out if people needed additional support such as food parcels. To help tackle loneliness we were also able to offer books, arts activity packs, games and DVDs.

We continued to speak with our most vulnerable customers on a regular basis and this contact was a lifeline to many residents who felt isolated and lonely.

During the on-going pandemic we are supporting new community and mutual aid groups that have been established and we continue to support many existing voluntary groups that we work with. It came as no surprise to us that so many people volunteered their time to helping others because we know what amazing community spirit there is in North East Derbyshire. 

Holiday Hunger

Our Community Involvement Team has been supporting food projects in the district that support vulnerable families.

The organisation Feeding Britain believes that three million children in the UK are at risk of going hungry during the school holidays when they would usually have access to a free hot meal. Rykneld Homes has supported Holiday Hunger projects for several years and we have continued to build on this commitment by supporting communities to set up access to free or affordable food.

During the school holidays the Community Involvement Team have packed up and handed out hundreds of free food parcels, books, arts/craft packs, and sports equipment to children in Grassmoor and Mickley and most recently Eckington. We will continue to support these brilliant community projects which are made possible by voluntary groups, FareShare, Rural Action Derbyshire and local supermarkets.

At Christmas, working with Eckington Parish Council and Eckington Business Development Company, we helped to set up a brand-new project which provided food parcels and a Christmas present to 59 children. Building on the success of this project and with community volunteers onboard the doors to Eckington Community Pantry are now open! This community shop will provide high quality food to customers at affordable prices.

If you are interested in volunteering, setting up a new project or would like to find out where your local food project is please contact the Community Involvement Team. See contact details on this page.

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Clowning around

To raise people’s spirits, Rykneld Homes commissioned Bonkers the Clown to deliver a Covid secure roadshow around the Mickley estate. Bonkers provided entertainment to residents by performing a range of socially distanced circus skills which people could watch from the safety of their doorstep. We received fantastic feedback; it was lovely to hear that so many families enjoyed this experience.

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