For most of us the weekly food shop is a just another routine chore, something that we carry out without really much thought.

However for a number of vulnerable and elderly people that seemingly simple journey to the shop can present a major challenge – but thankfully one that can be overcome with the help of an Ilkley and District Good Neighbour volunteer.

Since it began eight years ago, the ShopAssist scheme has grown to become a great success, providing help and support now for around 30 clients in the Ilkley area with their shopping needs.

The ShopAssist spokeswoman, Josephine Loughran said: “This scheme is very important for the community and we have recently appointed a new coordinator to work with colleagues to ensure we deliver the best service possible to those who need our help.

"We assist a wide range of individuals – one client who had recently come out of hospital for example unfortunately did not have the confidence to shop alone, so we provided a volunteer to help her until she had recovered fully, which she appreciated.”

For some of the clients a volunteer visit is often more than simply a shopping trip. In certain cases it can be one of their few contacts with the outside world.

“I look forward so much to the ShopAssist visit,” said one elderly lady. “Apart from taking me to the supermarket, we often have a chat and a cup of tea afterwards. I really appreciate the company as well as the help with my shopping."

The volunteer visits can also have other indirect benefits. As the volunteers get to know the clients’ routines they can often be an extra pair of eyes in spotting problems. In one recent case, a volunteer discovered that a client had experienced an accident at home but couldn’t call for help. The volunteer quickly arranged for assistance and the client received aid.

“With a growing demand for our services we would really like more volunteers," added Josephine. “It can be for as much or as little time as they wish. A simple regular shopping trip or perhaps providing temporary cover if one of our volunteers is away. Whatever time can be spared, the important thing is that they will be assisting people who very much need a helping hand.”

If you would be interested in becoming a ShopAssist volunteer call 01943 603348 and the co-ordinator will be happy to provide more information. Alternatively you can e-mail