August 17, 2022

Save the Community Office!

We need to buy the building to continue supporting our rural community.

You can help.

We’re on our way to raising the £215,000 needed to purchase the building thanks to our fantastic network of volunteers, dedicated trustees and staff…but WE NEED YOUR HELP!

The North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner has decided to co-locate fire and police estate requirements in Masham which means Mashamshire Community Office have the exciting opportunity to purchase the building from where we have operated for the past 20 years at 7 Little Market Place, Masham.

We need to buy the building so that we can continue the work we’ve done successfully in our rural community; supporting more than 80 community groups, 100 businesses, responding to over 10,000 visitor enquiries and 1000 resident enquiries each year.

Often when people don’t know where to turn, we are there to support them. We’re the glue that strengthens our community, keeping everyone connected.

Thanks for everything you do to keep our community connected and safe. You all do a wonderful job and it is really appreciated. People feel less isolated because of your care. Thank you so much.”

The jigsaw below represents how much we’ve raised to date, each piece is equivalent to £1,054. Help us finish the jigsaw so we can buy the building and keep supporting our community from the heart of Masham.

Ways you can help

Make a financial contribution:

Whether it’s a one off donation or you’d like to commit to regular giving, we welcome all donations big and small.

We accept donations in person over the counter, on the phone (tel: 01765 680200) or online via JustGiving – just click the Make a Donation button below.

Fundraise for us:

Why not set yourself a personal challenge and ask for sponsorship? Climb a mountain, organise a cake sale or organise a karaoke party with friends – what ever it is, have fun doing it! Our JustGiving has a handy section on fundraising for us. If you have a JustGiving account, click Fundraise for MCO below to get started.

Support us for free when you shop at Amazon:

Choose “Mashamshire Community Office” as your chosen charity to support when you shop online at and Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to us at no cost to you.

For other online shopping, do it via Easyfundraising and support us for free:

Join via and choose to support “Mashamshire Community Office”. Once you make a purchase, the retailer partners will make a small donation to MCO.

Support us as a volunteer

Many hands make light work. If you’re keen to get involved, please drop us a line at, we’d love to hear from you!

Buy tickets to our events and take part in our 100 club and competitions

We’re planning a host of events which you can buy tickets to attend and help make them a sell out!

Join our 100 Club

Where there’s Smoke Dinner:

Charity Dinner Two Pauls and a Bucket of Yeast:

Masham Family Fun Day:

An Evening by the Riverside:

Artison Workshop:

Jervaulx Hall Open Garden:

Thank you

Thank you to our many wonderful volunteers, to our individual donors, sponsors and to all our supporters who have committed to help us reach our fundraising target so far! The generosity and confidence you have demonstrated means we’re one step closer to being able to support our community long into the future.

Did you know that Giles Edwards are kindly donating 10% of their normal fee from the sale of any properties that people instruct them to sell in Masham between 1st July 2022-31st August 2023? So if you’re thinking of selling your property, give them a call and you could be helping Mashamshire Community Office at the same time!

To read more about the relocation of the police, visit:

March 22, 2023

Charity Dinner with Two Pauls and a Bucket of Yeast!

Venue: Swinton Park Hotel
Date: 14th April 2023
Time: Drinks reception 6:30pm, Dinner 7:30pm
Dress: Black Tie and posh frocks
Tickets: £80 per person, which includes £10 automatic entry into a Heads and Tails game, with £100 cash prize for the winner

The theme of the evening is yeast, that extraordinary single celled organism that on the one hand has provided bread and beer to the human race for a couple of thousand years or more, and on the other hand is the medium for complex scientific research into the causes of and cures for cancer.

Paul Theakston, long time local family brewer, will lead you slowly through the two thousand history of beer brewing, and Paul Nurse, most eminent scientist,  will explain in detail the complexities of yeast cell division as applied to cancer research.

Programme for the evening:
6.30 pm: Drinks reception in Main Hall
7.30pm: Dinner served in The Library:
Welcome and extensive opening remarks by Paul Theakston
First course
Heads and Tails game
Main course
Auction of promises
Dessert and coffee
Comfort break

10.00pm: Paul Nurse has the floor to share with us the role of yeast in his scientific research.

Carriages around 11.00pm

Swinton Park Hotel has recently been blessed with the arrival of Great British Chefs participant Ruth Hansom to take up residency here. Ruth and her team will be providing a menu appropriately themed to our event.

Find out more about Ruth Hanson

Sir Paul Nurse
Paul Nurse, born in 1949, is a leading British scientist who with two others won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 2001 for discovering key regulators of the cell cycle. He earned a Ph.D. from the University of East Anglia in 1973 and was a professor at the University of Oxford from 1987 to 1993. He held various positions at Cancer Research UK, notably serving as director-general (1996-2002) and chief executive (2002-2003). In 2003 he became president of Rockefeller University in New York City, a post he held until 2011. That year he became director and chief executive of the UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation, now known as the Francis Crick Institute.

Paul Theakston
Paul Theakston’s family go back centuries in and around the Masham area as farmers. It was Paul’s great great grandfather Robert, farmer and cattle dealer, who married a girl whose brother had the Black Bull pub in Masham with a small brewery attached, who became involved in brewing in the early 1830’s. Successive generations built the present Theakston’s brewery in 1875 and continued the business through to the present time.
Paul and his wife Sue left the family business in 1988 to found Black Sheep Brewery in a former maltings building at the other end of town, and to turn Masham into the Burton on Trent of Yorkshire. Now retired, Paul and Sue leave two of their four sons running Black Sheep.

All the funds raised from this evening’s event go to help the Community Office purchase the Old Police House in Masham, which has been home to MCO for the past twenty years, leased from North Yorkshire Police. Over that twenty years from small beginnings, MCO has become a key part of the local community, housing the Library, providing a home for Acorns pre school group, and acting as a link to and delivering services from North Yorkshire CC, Harrogate Borough Council, North Yorkshire Police and numbers of other service providers. With only a very small team of paid staff, MCO depends heavily on a small army of local volunteers who give their time unstintingly to our local community.

To keep track of our fundraising progress visit this link:

Thank you to all our volunteers and our many supporters:

Mashamshire Community Office are currently raising funds to purchase the building that they have operated from for the past 20 years. Find out how more about their progress here:

For more information contact:

Mashamshire Community Office
Tel: 01765 680200

January 12, 2023

Cow Pat Competition £2,000 to win! DATE CHANGE

Yes that’s right, Mashamshire Community Office are running a Cow Pat competition – this is rural fundraising at it’s best!

In line with the Coronation celebrations, we’re planning a family fun day down at the Recreation Ground in Masham which will include kids sports activities, a car boot sale and a cow pat competition where up to £2,000 is up for grabs!

The event will take place on Bank Holiday Monday 8th May 2023 (not the 1st May as previously advertised). The date change is due to the announcement of the special Coronation Bank Holiday.

We’re selling tickets from the Community Office for 1m2 sections of grass and the owner of the square the first cow chooses to poo on wins £2,000!

Call 01765 680200 or email for tickets or more information.

For more details about the event visit:

Cow Pat Competition Rules

Funds raised to go towards the purchase of Mashamshire Community Office.

Thank you to all our volunteers and our many supporters:

Mashamshire Community Office are currently raising funds to purchase the building that they have operated from for the past 20 years. Find out how more about their progress here:

For more information contact:

Mashamshire Community Office
Tel: 01765 680200

January 11, 2023

MASHAM SHEEP FAIR 30th September and 1st October 2023

Masham’s annual weekend event to raise money for local charities including the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, will take place once again on Saturday 30th September and Sunday 1st October 2023 as we welcomed visitors from far and wide to celebrate all things sheepy, and what a weekend it will be!

Masham Sheep fair is sponsored by local businesses and run by volunteers. This famous weekend event takes place in one of the finest Market Squares in England, raising much money for charity by filling the town with sheepy fun and entertainment all weekend. Events include an action packed programme on both Saturday and Sunday, with a Sheep Show, Sheep Racing, Craft Market, Bishop Blaize Procession, Fleece Stalls, Wool Competition, Sheepdog Demonstrations, Hand Bell Ringers, Morris Dancers, Art Exhibition and Tours of Theakstons & Black Sheep Breweries, as well as the Old Time Children’s Fair.
Photos of Sheep Fair weekends here.
All proceeds go to Yorkshire charities

For more information:

01262 490388 / 01765 688417 / 07850 048258

Masham Market Square and locations around town

December 5, 2022

Stranded but MCO to the rescue!

We always say, no day is ever the same at Mashamshire Community Office (MCO) and this blustery autumnal Wednesday was certainly no exception as one of our local residents carefully made her way through our front doors in need of help. She had been on her way to the Wednesday Welcome group when her mobility scooter gave out, running out of battery in the middle of the pavement! Although not very mobile, she had managed to get to us looking for help. Beth, our Service Delivery Coordinator quickly retrieved the abandoned scooter from across the road with one of our willing volunteers and pushed it back to the office. Worried she wouldn’t make it to her group, another one of our incredibly helpful volunteers offered to give the lady a lift around the corner to the Methodist Chapel and arranged with someone from the Wednesday Welcome group to take her home when it finished.

In the meantime, we contacted Ben, a trusted local builder who came with his trailer and loaded the scooter up and delivered it back to the lady’s house (all free of charge!) who, as if it had been meticulously planned, arrived at the very same time with the Wednesday Welcome volunteer. The team managed to push the scooter back into the lady’s shed making sure it was set to be fully charged ready for the next adventure…hopefully making it to the final destination with enough charge next time! Needless to say, the individual involved was incredibly grateful.

People often ask what we do at MCO and it’s sometimes hard to articulate because what we do is so varied but in a nutshell, we’re the trusted neighbour that’s here to help and it doesn’t matter what you come to us about – we will try to help and if we can’t , we will likely know someone that can!

November 28, 2022

Masham – A great place to live

Named in the Sunday Times Best Places to Live Guide*, Masham is one of those places that people chance upon, then visit again and again, before finding themselves living here. There’s something about the lively market town that draws people into its comforting fold. The two breweries, a gin distillery and the numerous pubs may be the initial attraction, yet Masham’s charms go much deeper.

Masham is known for being one of the Yorkshire’s Dales most open, welcoming places to live. It has a rich history, strong sense of community, plenty to do, and excellent local services. Masham is centred around market place, said to be one of the largest in England. Elegant Georgian houses stand around its periphery, facing the ancient cross and cobbled area. At one time huge annual sheep sales took place in the square and surrounding lanes, with up to 40,000 sheep for sale. Those days are long gone but Masham Sheep Fair still takes place on the last weekend of every September, an important date in the sheep showing calendar, and very popular with visitors.

The market place offers some first-rate cafes, sweet shops, pharmacy, a deli, interesting gift shops, Masham Gallery and the Nolon Stacey Gallery. At one side of the square is Masham Church of England Primary School, and at the other the beautiful St. Mary’s Church, both very much at the heart of this active community.

In the neighbouring Little Market Place, are five important local services: the doctors’ surgery, Masham Town Hall, Masham Community Office, the cash point and bus stop. Masham Community Office is an essential first stop for both visitors and residents. It’s also home to Acorns Pre-School, the Library and Flock Gallery. Services include tourism information, computer access, digital support, printing facilities, local info on health and wellbeing services, jigsaw library, business directory and much more – if you need something, there’s always a friendly volunteer waiting to help.

The Town Hall has an extensive events programme and is the meeting point for Masham’s many local groups and associations, from the Women’s Institute to yoga classes and indoor bowls. Events in the large upper hall include comedy, plays, bands, film showings and exhibitions.

Masham is reassuringly close to the larger market towns of Ripon, Bedale and Leyburn, yet has enough of its own attractions to mean that many residents don’t often feel the need to ‘go over the bridge’. It’s easy to enjoy shopping locally thanks to a large co-op, two butchers, a green-grocers, and a market on Wednesdays and Saturdays. It can sometimes take a little while though: even new residents soon find that they’re greeted warmly and enjoy short chats along the way.

Eating out is equally enjoyable, whether you want to enjoy eating at one of the cafes, in the pubs, or Harry’s excellent Fish and Chip Shop. Swinton Park Hotel is a prime spot for celebrations, or you could learn to cook at the Swinton Cookery School. Where There’s Smoke restaurant offers an intriguing and ever-changing menu in a relaxing setting.

Masham is a very creative community. Talented local residents include artist and musician Ian Scott Massie, artist and gallery owners Josie Beszant and Nolon Stacey, glass blowers Maureen and Tim Simon, stone carver Gaynor Pearson, as well as fused glass specialists, a silversmith and lapidarist. You will see Rob Blades’ work on local maps, tea towels and bags – buy them in the Community Office. Nearby ArtisOn offers high quality art and craft classes.

Outdoor enthusiasts have an excellent choice of activities close to Masham. Sitting on the fringes of both the Yorkshire Dales National Park and Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it’s a great base for ramblers. Walkers can also enjoy meandering along the banks of the River Ure, whether in the direction of Marfields Nature Reserve or on the Ripon Rowel walk to nearby Hackfall, where the ancient woods combine with historic follies and waterfalls.

Masham Community Office has maps and route suggestions, including details of two local sculpture trails. The Leaves Walk features a series of larger sculptures, with a very pleasant route along the River Ure. The other trail is centred around the market square and neighbouring lanes, and features smaller sculptures of swifts, Masham’s much-loved summer visitors.

Generations of Masham children have enjoyed playing at the Recreation Ground (known locally as the ‘rec’), while countless cricketers, bowls and tennis players have enjoyed the Masham Sports Association facilities. Within a very short drive, other activities include fly fishing on the River Ure or at Leighton Reservoir, golf at Masham Golf Club, bike hire from Cycopath Cycles, the Masham Riding and Trekking Centre, meeting birds of prey at the Swinton Birds of Prey centre, and clay pigeon shooting at Warren Gill Shooting Ground.

With all this on offer, it’s not hard to see why Masham is such a great place to live.

If you’re looking to live in this beautiful and quintessential market town, then Yorkshire-based housebuilder Stonebridge Homes are building a stunning new development, comprising of a desirable collection of three, four and five-bedroom homes. The development will consist of 48 houses, with 14 of them being offered as affordable properties.

The new development off Foxholme Lane, known as Oakland Park, boasts character homes where planned open spaces blend seamlessly with the area’s green surroundings. The attractive, landscaped development displays contemporary interiors, which marry perfectly with the traditional feel of the stylish exteriors, finished in stone and warm brick, that strikes a balance of design, practicality and comfort.

Chris Kelly, Head of Sales at Stonebridge Homes, said: “Stonebridge is well known for building desirable homes in desirable locations, and Masham was the perfect place for us to bring our homes to. Our properties are designed to offer space, flexibility and comfort, whilst nestling comfortably within the existing landscape.”

Here at Visit Masham, we look forward to welcoming our new residents to the community.


Article sponsored by Stonebridge. Photos courtesy of John Darby.

November 10, 2022

Masham’s Volunteer Led Community Library Matters

If you go upstairs at Masham Community Office (or take the lift!), you’ll find Masham Library. Just over ten years ago, the Masham branch of HSBC closed, and Masham Library lost its home. Luckily for Masham’s readers, rescue was at hand in a partnership between Masham Community Office and North Yorkshire County Council – and a much reduced but still well-stocked library was re-housed at MCO. North Yorkshire provides books and professional support, and the local community provides volunteers, making us one of the very first community libraries in the county (now there are over 30).

Ten years later, the library is still here – and so are some of the original volunteers! We have a good stock of both fiction and non-fiction, including Large Print, and also audiobooks. And of course books can be reserved from other libraries. Still, our size is a limitation, so three or four times a year volunteers visit Library HQ in Northallerton and refresh our stock, bearing in mind our knowledge of our Masham readers’ interests. We also have a good selection of children’s books, and hold the local history reference section. The library may often seem quiet – but we issue over 3000 books every year.  And it’s NOT very quiet on Wednesday lunchtimes, when there are story times for children from Acorns and Masham School!

As a long-time volunteer – there are lots of rewards. Being very proud that MCO and the library volunteers were able to operate a click and collect service during the COVID lockdowns, choosing book bundles for readers, who were very appreciative! Seeing our regular readers finding books they like every week! Signing up new members, especially children, and watching them have the fun of choosing their own books!  Recommending a book to a reader, and having them tell us how much they enjoyed it! Running the Summer and Christmas Reading Challenges, the enthusiasm of the young participants (and their pride in finishing)! And on any day, providing a warm, safe, peaceful place to look at books, sit and rest for a while, chat if you feel like it (or not)…!

We can’t imagine Masham without its library!

Christine (above) explains in this article why she’s so passionate about keeping our community library going and how it came into MCO back in 2012.

November 9, 2022

MCO 100 Club!

We have our very own MCO 100 Club!

It is one of the most important ways in which we raise funds to continue supporting our local community. So please get involved.

It’s simple to join; members buy “numbers” and three of these are randomly drawn every month to award cash prizes of £70, £20 and £10.

The draw is held on the first Wednesday of each month. To be included, members must have subscribed (and payment must have been received by MCO) by close of business on the Thursday before the draw.

Please click ‘Download’ for an application form to join or contact us for more info on 01765 680200

November 1, 2022

Locals Fight to Save their Community Hub

The Mashamshire Community Office (MCO) will be lost unless the charity can raise £215,000 to purchase the building! MCO provides a necessary and much-appreciated service to the people who live in or visit the town of Masham and its surrounding villages. The team who run MCO, mainly volunteers, are now fighting to raise the money needed to buy the building which has been occupied from North Yorkshire Police for over 20 years, so it can continue serving this rural community.

The North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner decided to co-locate fire and police estate requirements in Masham and has now offered the MCO team the opportunity to purchase the old Police building. The fine-looking stone building on Masham’s Little Market Place still proudly bears the inscription “N.R.Y. Police Station 1891” as a reminder that it has served this North Riding town for over 130 years.

Carol is a local resident who relied on the support provided by MCO during the COVID pandemic and shares the impact MCO had on her life at that difficult time.

“It was a great help for me and Harry, not just through shopping and bringing prescriptions, a great help to the community. That is a massive help because there are a lot of elderly people where we live and a lot of people depended on you (MCO)…I didn’t know about the bereavement counselling, I didn’t know where to go to get them and I never knew this (MCO) was here…I never thought it was the community office, because it’s still got the police on the side of the wall”.

Hayley Jackson, MCO Manager, says “Often when people don’t know where to turn, we are there to support them. We’re the glue that strengthens our community, keeping everyone connected.”

“We need to buy the building so that we can continue the work we’ve done successfully in our rural community; supporting more than 80 community groups, 100 businesses, responding to over 10,000 visitor enquiries and 1000 resident enquiries each year.”

Alongside seeking grants from a variety of sources and funding from local businesses, the team are organising a programme of fund-raising events involving the whole community over the forthcoming months and have just launched a 100 club. They recognise that it will be an uphill struggle during the cost-of-living crisis but have already made a promising start.

The current status of fundraising can be viewed on a jigsaw puzzle picture of the building just inside the front door, with each piece representing just over £1000 raised. It is also available online at Individuals and businesses wishing to contribute can do so on the phone at 01765 680200 or online via JustGiving at To support the fundraising effort for free, shop online through Smile.Amazon or EasyFundraising and sign up to support Mashamshire Community Office – details are on the website.

Thank you to everyone that is already supporting us!

Click here to listen to our interview with BBC Radio York on 1st November

October 13, 2022

Our Story

Who we are and what we do

Mashamshire Community Office (MCO) are an independent charity that ensures our community is a lively, active, vibrant and supportive place to live, work and visit. We are proactive and responsive to local need and it’s all thanks to our small team of paid staff (just over 2 FTE) and army of committed volunteers (our volunteers contributed 8,500 hours last year alone!) We are the glue that connects and strengthens our community. Never more so than during COVID when we responded to those in need without hesitation, recruiting over 100 volunteers in a matter of days because we were best positioned and connected in the community to mobilise immediately to respond.

MCO was originally established following the devastating pandemic (no not COVID), Foot and Mouth back in 2001. Our initial vision was to support our rural community and the local economy to recover through supporting businesses and tourism, alongside providing a place where community support facilities could be located. Over time, the charity has responded to a vast array of challenges and has successfully jumped in to rescue other facilities such as the public library. Our other key activities include tourism information, business support, health and wellbeing initiatives, access to information, digital support and we facilitate a web of collaborative networks. We provide a home for Acorns Preschool, the Parish Council, CAB and MIND in Harrogate and without the security of a building, these services would not exist here in Masham and the many people that rely on us would have nowhere to go. Access to services are impacted by rural deprivation and limited public transport so we’re often the first point of contact for help. We offer a warm and friendly place to visit, reducing isolation and keeping people connected and we have a proven track record of sustainably delivering outstanding service to our rural community for over 20 years!

Our building is leased, and we need to purchase the building. We are asking for donations and offers of help towards our ongoing challenges so we can continue to support vulnerable people across our community making a difference to the lives of real people.

We’re planning a calendar of events to help raise awareness and vital funds to help us continue our important work so stay tuned as we announce the dates soon.

Sign up to our e-newsletter and register as a “local” so you don’t miss anything

What do people say about us?

Thanks for everything you do to keep our community connected and safe. You all do a wonderful job and it is really appreciated. People feel less isolated because of your care. Thank you so much.

MCO Service User

MCO helped me get my current job. We would all miss the services they provide.

MCO Service User

Frankly, the speed and “can-do” attitude that you and others have displayed to ensure nobody in North Yorkshire feels alone or is left without food and medicines is astounding

Cllr. Carl Les, NYCC

September 29, 2022

Why do we need volunteers?

Our volunteers at Mashamshire Community Office are woven through the fabric of our charity in every way and at every level – their intricate knowledge of the local area, their vast and complex connections across the community. Their passion and commitment, drive MCO to deliver the best service we can for our community. Quite simply, they are integral to the culture of our charity and we couldn’t do what we do without them!

With just over 2 FTE paid staff, our army of skilled and dedicated volunteers contributed a whopping 8,500 hours during 2021-2022! Incredible!

Thank you to everyone that has volunteered with us throughout our 20 years of service!

Volunteering has huge benefits – helping others kindles happiness and here at Mashamshire Community Office we pride ourselves on offering supportive and flexible volunteering opportunities so that you can be part of the movement creating positive change in our community.

Here are just some of the things you could do as a volunteer with us:

  • Train as a walk leader to guide and support people on one of our wellbeing walks or help us develop some new routes for those that want something a bit more challenging
  • Help out in our community library
  • Support us with our marketing and help us shout about the great work we do
  • Share all your local knowledge with our visitors on the front desk, be that friendly face to our many regulars that pop in for a social catch up and learn about your local community, signposting people to the help and support that they need
  • Do you have a strategic mind and the skills we need behind the scenes to help drive our charity forward?

Anyone interested in finding out more about our wide variety of volunteering opportunities, please do get in touch at or call 01765 680200.

Watch this video to hear why Michael volunteers with us.

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