Foundation tackles mental health issues in the Upper Valley.

The Community Foundation for Calderdale has announced they are extending their mental health project which initially launched in Todmorden after the Boxing Day Floods 2015. Funding will be provided by the Community Foundation and the Environment Agency, to extend the project to Hebden Bridge, Mytholmroyd, Luddendenfoot, and Sowerby Bridge.

The extension to the project will mean people in flood-affected towns such as Hebden Bridge, Mytholmroyd, Luddendenfoot, and Sowerby Bridge will now have access to help to enable them to maintain their emotional health and wellbeing. 

Peer support groups will be running twice monthly. The support groups offer routine, social opportunities and mutual support for people who are working towards achieving or maintaining, recovery. 

The workshops and courses which have proven popular will also be available and are an easily-accessible way for people to gain support and develop their understanding of particular issues.
Information & advice drop-ins will also be offered, drop-ins have proven popular as they give people the opportunity to quickly access support and guidance in community venues.

Emma Woods-Bolger from the Community Foundation said ” We know that traumatic events can have a negative impact on mental health. The loss of homes and positions due to flooding has been incredibly difficult for many in Calderdale and the threat of future flooding events are never far from the minds of people living in the Valley”.

Emma continued “The project which is lead by local charity Healthy Minds has supported thousands of people already in Todmorden and will now help those in other flood-affected areas. These services will offer support, information and advice in an accessible, coordinated and holistic way that will contribute not only to mental health and wellbeing, but long term physical health, increased volunteering and economic activity, individual involvement in the local community, and increased social cohesion”.

Girls To The Front

Education and Engagement Coordinator Maria Spadafora reflects on the first few months of Many Voices – a community arts project funded by The National Lottery Community Fund and The Community Foundation for Calderdale.

Many Voices focusses on working with women and girls in Calderdale, and is being delivered in partnership by Square Chapel and Verd De Gris Arts, placing us in a great position to work with people from different backgrounds and age ranges across the district. And the focus on women on girls doesn’t mean there’s an exclusion zone, we’ve had quite a lot of boys take part, too! It simply stems from a recognised need that sometimes women and girls need specific spaces, support, encouragement and opportunities.

The project started in May 2018 and will run until 2021, using creative interventions like poetry, spoken word, performance, drama, dance, music and visual arts, to support people to explore some of the issues and experiences they have in their lives. Already we’re finding that those taking part are demonstrating big jumps in confidence, alongside making new friendships and developing new skills.

Verd De Gris has a solid track record in using art to engage and empower participants, and their work during the first year of this project has been a joy to observe, culminating in a performance by One Voice. If you attended ‘A Forgotten Dream’ you’ll understand just how fabulous these local women are, giving a packed out audience cause to laugh, cry and cheer – often at all the same time. For more about their work visit their website.

For Square Chapels’ Engagement Team, we’ve brought in a variety of artists to work with young people at Mixenden Activity Centre and Queens Road Neighbourhood Centre. Creating new projects is always challenging, and trying to encourage young people to mix with people they’ve not met before has its hurdles, yet we’ve been blown away by the resilience and determination of the young people we’ve met. But there is no question that many of them are juggling multiple pressures. They’ve spoken of stress, anxiety, depression, and racism, alongside not feeling listened to because of their youth. And when a visibly worried 11 year old asks you if they’ll be ‘sent away’ after Brexit you know we’re living in uncomfortable times.

Trying new activities and mixing with new people can be daunting, but so far we’ve also had lots of fun. One young participant said: “I feel beautiful and I feel happiness and fun, because when I’m home I feel bored.” And a simple exercise in zine-making brought out so many positive messages – for themselves as well as each other.

After two terms of dance at Mixenden Activity Centre, a posse of nine girls, many of whom had never danced before, have come on leaps and bounds. Lead Artist Anna Holmes (Northern Rascals) commented: “By approaching the sessions in a more relaxed environment, we felt that we got the best out of the girls and could quickly engage with them. They’ve been exposed to a variety of techniques and practices that allowed them to move, express, think and most importantly, have fun.”

Support Artist Raiona Primus notes: “I definitely saw a change to all of the girls confidence! This was really gratifying. They slowly became more confident to create their own dances and work in different groups. They wanted to do my catwalk exercise more often, which I deliberately put in to encourage their confidence and their ability to cheer each other on and make each other feel good.”

And the feeling is mutual, with Alicia – one of the participants – saying: “Anna and Rai are so confident it makes you get up and dance with them because they’re so welcoming! I love them, they’re my favourite. If I got adopted I’d let them two be my Mums.”

That’s high praise, I reckon, and we look forward to the next two years of this project and see what the fabulous women and girls of Calderdale come up with!

In the meantime, watch this lovely short video about our Mixenden girls.

This post was written by Square Chapel.

New Click-and-collect Farmers Market for Calderdale.

Calderdale has its own click-and-collect farmers market – Calderdale Food Mixer – thanks to a grant from the Community Foundation for Calderdale.

The Food Mixer is a web portal showcasing local food businesses, hosted online by the Open Food Network and in Calderdale by Halifax Opportunities Trust.

It has received £10,000 from the foundation to develop its webshop and for a series of free taster events in Halifax and Hebden Bridge. The grant will also support weekly ‘mixers’ and fund work to reduce food waste.

Food Mixer host Marie-Claire Kidd explains: “The Food Mixer enables consumers in Calderdale to shop for local food online just as they would shop at a supermarket’s website. They can browse from hundreds of products – from Saker fruit buns to Yorkshire Dama cheese – then pick up their shopping at one of our weekly mixers.

“Our mixers are a chance for producers and customers to meet and mingle. Producers are already finding ways to work together via the mixers.”
In time, Calderdale Food Mixer will also sell good quality surplus food online, to reduce both prices and food waste. Marie-Claire says: “There’s a lot of work to do on food waste in Calderdale and we hope to be part of the solution to that.
“The Food Mixer already works in that respect because producers have confirmed orders, so there’s no waste. Producers of fresh food can harvest/bake exactly to order. For shoppers, it means their produce is as fresh as it can be.”

A mixer has been up and running at the Queen Hotel, opposite Todmorden Railway Station, since November 2018. Starting this month, a second mixer will take place at the Egg Factory every second and fourth Thursday of the month.

A free Hebden Bridge launch event at the Egg Factory this Thursday (March 28) between 5-7pm will feature Ferret Down the Trousers and Stoodley Hoopla games. There will be lots of tasters including organic cheeses from Pextenement of Eastwood, vegan delicacies from Sacred Lotus of Cornholme, cakes featuring parsnips and beetroots from organic veg bag scheme Pennine Crop share and a range of fresh produce from Incredible Farm, Lumbutts.

The Food Mixer is inviting local producers, however small, to come along and find out more. It is also inviting prospective hosts to come forward to run the food mixer in Halifax.
Marie-Claire says: “We’re looking for someone to build on the success of the Halifax Food Assembly, which had over one thousand members and traded well. We know Calderdale residents want to buy local food and that our local food scene is thriving. Getting involved in the Food Mixer, as a host, producer or shopper, is a great way to be part of Calderdale’s local food network.”

Emma Woods-Bolger, Assistant Director of Community Foundation for Calderdale, says: “Independent businesses and shops are the bedrock of our communities, and when they thrive they create real jobs, cohesive towns and strong economies. For example, if every adult in Hebden Bridge diverted just £5 of their weekly spend from the supermarket to local suppliers, it would bring in an extra £2.6 million into the local economy over 12 months. Which is probably enough to make a difference to whether a town thrives or not.”

Foundation Funds App

Thanks to funding from the Community Foundation for Calderdale 21st-century technology is bringing Shakespeare’s 16th-century drama to life in an exciting new project launched by Northern Broadsides and its partners.

A brand new mobile app provides background information, learning resources and even drama exercises based on Shakespeare’s language and stagecraft. The app runs alongside the current touring co-production of Much Ado About Nothing by Northern Broadsides and New Vic Theatre. By scanning a map of Messina, where the action is based, students, audiences and lovers of the Bard can “lean in and listen” to the play’s backstories, immersing themselves in an interactive, augmented reality tour of key locations from the play.

As they move around the city through the screen of their mobile device, they can watch videos and listen to music, enhancing their understanding and enjoyment of the production, which is set in the 1940s after World War II. The app, which is available at the Apple and Android App Stores, and augmented reality content are the result of a collaboration between Northern Broadsides, Filament Projects, Stute Theatre and augmented reality specialists ooh-AR.

Further to the new app, actress Sophia Hatfield, who is playing Margaret and a member of the Watch in the show, has written A Muddle In Messina, a new storytelling piece aimed at school children aged 4 – 11, which will play in libraries alongside the tour. The interactive map and performance work in tandem to create a world of music, language and so much more. Everyone who attends A Muddle In Messina will receive a printed map so they can enjoy the Augmented Reality content on their very own devices. A pdf of the map is also available at Download the Much Ado About Nothing AR app, print out the map and put it flat in front of you before scanning it.

Northern Broadsides Artistic Director Conrad Nelson said

This Spring we tour our critically acclaimed production of Shakespeare’s, Much Ado about Nothing. It’s been my desire to explore the effective marriage between digital content and the live theatre experience and I am delighted to be working with Filament Projects, Stute Theatre and Ooh-AR in launching our first interactive, augmented reality app. This will run in conjunction with the excellent Northern Broadsides on-line education pack written by award-winning playwright, Deborah McAndrew and a new live show, Muddle in Messina, written by Sophia Hatfield. This production for 4-11 year olds will tour to libraries across the UK. It is an ambitious project that has received support from ACE and generous donations from trusts and individuals for which, many thanks.

We have funded the Calder Valley Search & Rescue Team.

In November 2016, Community Foundation for Calderdale shocked the whole of Calder Valley Search and Rescue Team by presenting them with a cheque for £60,000. This unparalleled donation has enabled them to achieve great things.

Thanks to the generosity of the Community Foundation for Calderdale, Calder Valley Search & Rescue Team have a brand new state-of-the-art Incident Control Vehicle, affectionately known as ‘Calder Mobile 4’.

Not long after taking delivery of the vehicle, Calder Mobile 4 was called into action on a large multi-team incident last November, where it was used to coordinate 11 different Mountain Rescue Teams, Police and Coastguard personnel, vehicles and helicopters in the successful search for a missing person in Haworth. The new vehicle performed admirably and the latest communication technology included in the conversion was fully utilised.

CVSRT will also use the vehicle to coordinate their Flood Response Team when they deploy to help those who are in need due to flooding.

In January 2019 CVSRT members attended the CFFC AGM with the new Calder Mobile 4 to show how the grant has helped the team, CVSRT are now better prepared and equipped than ever for any eventuality.

Here’s a short video about the vehicle that we prepared for the AGM: