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HB Partnership Review of the Year: update

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Each year, the review is attended by representatives of local organisations, each of whom have up to 180 seconds to share news of their past activities and their plans for the future. Here's a summary of what this year's groups reported:

Women's Institute : This is a modern WI, founded in 2011, with monthly meetings with a varied programme and subgroups (walking, bookclub, visiting exhibitions). This year has been successful including decorating a tree with over 100 peg dolls. They hold a monthly rag market which raised £1,400 in 2013, giving some to charity and a bursary of £500 for educational courses (this year, arts course and millinery). They are aiming to increase membership and reach more women. 2015 will be the 100th anniversary of the WI.

Rotary Club: 12m members worldwide. Locally £145,000 handed out to charities over the last 5 years, including Brass bands, Xmas lights, Scouts, stroke club, Hope Baptist. Every Primary school in the area has been invited to submit their "wish list" to share £15,000 this year. A majority activity is taking disabled and disadvantaged children for a day out at Lightwater valley. Funds are raised through 3 annual events: Vintage car weekend (8,000 visitors and £23,000 raised), Duck Race (Can it get any bigger ? 7,000 ducks sold this year), and Wadsworth Boundary Walk.

Local History usual programme of 12 lectures but special events included Transport films at the Picture House, and WW1 commemoration in conjunction with the Town Council. A number of working groups eg probate group transcribing local wills. Latest publication on enclosing the moors. South Pennines History group study day on Water in the South Pennines landscape and a new website. Helped with Burnley Rd school Local History Day. Family history – ongoing transcription of Heptonstall, archive session attracting more visitors. Prehistory survey work on Ringstone Edge Reservoir revealed cist burial from Bronze Age. Wainsgate chapel accepted WW1 memorial from Walker Lane Methodist chapel (now a family home) which cost over £1,500 to move: Friends of Wainsgate chapel would welcome donations.

Canal Users group Originally set up to fundraise for the towpath. The Canal Connections project finished this year (improvements made to key access points including Black Pit Lock in Hebden Bridge) and won a Living Waterways Award 2014. Volunteers then worked hard on improving the towpath and surrounds for the TdF. 5 lock keepers were trained and now available to help boaters. OWLS (Observers of Waterways lengths) patrol their length of the canal and report back to the Canal and Rivers Trust.

Walkers Action group: reinvigorated over the last couple of years. HB panel being contributed to a national quilt made at a recent conference (now 117 Walkers towns !). 901 bus booklet just produced (906 last year). Board redone. Asked to do leaflet on Haworth to Hebden by the TIC. Leaflets producing a regular income stream. Now working in collaboration with CROWS especially to ascertain the cost of repairing footpaths.

Handmade Parade: Nicely busy last year. 2 major events: April Fantastical cycle parade; June 7th annual parade (bigger and better). On Dec 6/7: Lamplighters in Todmorden (using the Unitarian church) and Christmas night market. Next year: June 14th parade in Hebden Bridge. Handmade Flags has been set up as a commercial enterprise, making site decoration and flags for festivals etc.

Calder Future: River partnership came out of Friends of the Earth in 1998. Works with partners, using volunteers. After floods of 2012, the Environment Agency asked if river stewardship would get involved with flood resilience. After modelling (the cause/solutions), they have been involved in clearing vegetation in Mytholmroyd. This year's programme has provided 550 volunteer hours (with a huge response incl Lloyds Bank etc). The programme for 2015 will come from modelling in HB and likely to be different and probably involve more paid people. They have a small grant from HRTC. The Green Calderdale website has their calendar of activities.

Hope Baptist: The second phase of work on the building was completed in Jan, so they are now open and used. Activities include Blues Festival, TdF French cafe, George Monbiot lecture, hosting an acoustic spectacular of the street choirs. More activities are planned including more work on the garden. A 3rd phase of work (costing another £0.25m) is needed to complete the work. They are about to put up a "Sanctuary Space" poster, reminding local people that the chapel is for everyone.

Pennine Horizons Digital Archive: purpose to capture and make available the rich heritage of the area. Includes both large and small collections, some gifted and some loaned. Intention to digitise – "scan and save". Material taken out and shown to people in talks and events around the area as well as being available for people to look at on-line. Database now includes some 25,000 images but sometimes incomplete information about them. Aim is to create something in trust for future generations.

Pennine Horizons: Following on from the archive, this is about creating etrails for smartphones etc to help people learn more about the history of the area, also available as a printed guide. People are beginning to use it eg Tod cubs being presented with 2 badges. Walks to promote the trails on Dec 28th and more trails being launched. Arts award for 30yp in the summer. Next event: this Saturday, Big Draw at Birchcliffe (design and make windmills), 30 Oct at 6pm: award presentation, 7/8 November WW1 commemoration and scan and save, Open Day Nov 10, performance on Nov 15.

Hardcastle Crags: Visitor numbers growing with increasing traffic being encouraged by the brown signs to use the carpark along Widdop Road. Difficult to extend carpark on Midgehole Rd. Bus well used. NT trying to stage events on days other than at weekend eg craft fair on Friday and Saturday. Tried camping for TdF and likely to develop wild/eco, sustainable camping. School holiday events went well, free (except for materials) and popular. From 50 things to do before you're 11 ¾, developing 11 ¾ things to do before you're 50 ! Looking at setting up informal play activities on the path up to Gibson Mill (planks to walk along etc) in the belief that outdoor play is very important for children's health and wellbeing. Woodland management programme continuing. Gibson Mill has never closed for lack of power !

Community Land Trust: Being constituted jointly with Tod Pride to hold land in perpetuity for the public good to provide affordable housing. Charity run by the community. Local Plan forecasting additional 1,000 homes needed in the Valley: 700 in Tod, 300 in HB. Where ? Preferably brownfield with focus on old housing sites (with a view to asset transfer from the Council) eg in HB, the old "High St" between Bridge Lanes and Heptonstall Rd that once had 100 houses on it. How feasible would that be now ? Meeting on Sat Nov 15 .

SOS: No more supermarkets in HB. Succeeded in the first stage – Calderdale Council recently refused planning permission on site in Valley Rd for Sainsburys. Not the end of the story, likely to appeal. Looking to expand the group in the next year from current core group of 6 with 100 supporters. Date being set in November. www.SosHebdenBridge

Visitor Economy group: From the 2020 Vision, working on a Visitor Economy Strategy led by Nick Shields (Element) with a range of skilled local people, implementing the roadmap which they laid out. Recent workshop of stakeholders identified vision, challenges, priorities. More quantitative research now compared with the Tourism Action Plan from UCVR, involving local businesses and residents. Looking at local control of promotional material.

Sustainable Transport group: part of UCVR, covering the whole of the Calder Valley. Aiming to get people out of their cars, or driving safely and slowly (20mph) concerned about air quality, to improve the quality of public transport. Role as a lobbying group at regional and national rather than local level eg Northern franchise. Currently working on developing transport hub at the station, lift and other improved access at the station, and to improve cycling and pedestrian facilities.

Arts Festival: 21st Arts Festival this year with an amazing programme including 3,500 tickets sold, 13,000 people participating etc etc. Two fantastic street festivals. Young producers from Calder High getting experience of theatre. Over 60s dance to be developed further next year. Partnership working is very important and funding developing (not only ticket sales and grants but also support from businesses). Dates for next year: 26 June to 5 July

Dod Naze Community Centre: Small community centre established by hard work of local people since 2001, bringing the community closer together, with a strong committee. Josie is the part-time worker. Current activities include children's film night, Toddler group, After School Club on a Monday night, Hallowe'en, story-telling and private birthday parties. Bikeability (promoting safe use of bikes by children) over October half-term. Received a grant of £5,000 from the Town Council to refurbish the centre.

Calder Valley Youth Theatre: For young people aged 8 to 18. 70 children participate (90% local). 3 shows during the Arts Festival. Spring concert over 2 nights with 38yp in Ted Hughes Theatre, singing and performing in comedy sketches. October: play in a day for newer, younger children. Rehearsals in the Town Hall 3 times/week. This year also summer skills school at the Orangebox in Halifax with 10 yp referred through the Youth Offending Team. Main show of the year is performed at Halifax playhouse – the flagship production with professional sound and lighting to show young people what they can achieve. Selected through audition. This year: Starlight Express (on rollerskates): a few tickets left !

Friends of Hebden Bridge station: NS now publicity office and Martin Mattell the Chair. Some overlap with the Sustainable Transport group (improvements for disabled people with new lift etc). Question about the cobbles and the need for a wheeling route into the town centre. From questionnaire with passengers at the station, the need for direct service to Huddersfield is a high priority. Gardening at station a regular activity – fruit bushes, flowers. Looks very attractive. Christmas carols again this year (proceeds to Railway Children charity). Signal box due to be decommissioned at end 2017 when signals improved (more trains): now listed.

Business Forum: Year of set-up, sorting governance out and working towards formal launch after public meeting assisted by the Partnership. Key principle of open-ness. Aiming to promote business across the area. Making links, started regular social events. Link with the work on the Visitor Economy. Building the team and developing the mailing list.

Hebden Bridge Quakers: providing a collective experience of silence and stillness. Very egalitarian – can speak in meeting if feel strongly that have something to say. Known nationally for peace, justice, equality and sustainable activities. Founder, George Fox, felt God talking to him directly. Not special, everyone is. Trying to make selves known and have occasional meetings to examine issues. Rent space in building.

Calderdale Community Energy: Long gestation. To work to Calderdale Council's aim of reducing carbon emissions by 40% by 2020. Just incorporated. Acting as hub/enabler of smaller projects coming together. Taking some actions depending on what people want. Clean energy.

Hebden Bridge Community Association: Runs the Town Hall but has wider charitable aims and potentially a large agenda. The Board has 3 priorities this year: 1. To make the Town Hall financially viable (all the business units are let; 24 groups meet regularly in the building; cafe now in-house; weddings and large number of events etc); 2. To restore the old Council offices (bid to HLF failed because not adding value to the heritage of the building) 3. To ensure the Town Hall is used by wider sections of the community (applied to the CCG to be HB's Staying Well and Ageing Better hub, groups like Alzheimers support, WI, Healthy Minds already meet in the building)

Hebden Bridge Town Council: Consists of elected Councillors supported by a Town Clerk and other paid staff. Now also runs the Picture House. Committees such as Community Funding. Good year with the TdF, commemoration of WW1, twinning committee and event in St Pol with Warstein. Environment Committee looks after allotments and hanging baskets etc. Tony currently working up plans for the future of the Calder Valley Club as a service for people with disabilities. Next year there are elections for the Council so looking for people to be candidates for election as Councillors.

Calder and Colne Rivers Trust: Main focus is training 24 new monitors for river water sampling (7 groups of insects once/month). Looking after fish passage and wildlife, and structures on the river.

Hebden Bridge Flood Action group: Two current activities: drafting the community flood action plan which is now ready. There will be a siren test on 30 October. Developing flood stores: strategically placed containers with equipment, first one in Garden St car park unless a better site can be found, then the other end of town, Charlestown near the ATC, Sandbeds/Callis.

Hebden Bridge Piano Festival and Wainsgate Baptist chapel: 3rd year of the piano festival over the weekend of 17/19 April next year. This is not a competitive event but a celebration of the instrument with a wide range of performances and performers. Free concerts in the bar (in the Town Hall). Largely funded by ticket sales (nearly doubled in the first two years). At Wainsgate, good things happening. Summer concerts since 2006, starting in April.

Swimming pool: Planning permission has now been granted for the pool to be built on land of the Community Centre. Funding is in place so the future is now looking positive.

HB Partnership Review of the Year

Friday, 17 October 2014

How to summarise twelve months of activities into three minutes: that's the challenge facing Hebden Bridge groups and organisations participating in Monday's (20th) Hebden Bridge: our town Review of the Year event organised by Hebden Bridge Partnership in Hebden Bridge Town Hall at 7pm.

The event, which is now a regular feature in the local calendar, is normally attended by representatives of more than 25 local organisations, each of whom have up to 180 seconds to share news of their past activities and their plans for the future. Members of the public are also warmly welcomed to attend.

"Our Review of the Year provides a unique opportunity to hear just how much is going on in our community," says Andrew Bibby, secretary of the Partnership (the town's umbrella group which links the community and voluntary sector locally with business representatives and the parish and town councils). "The breadth of the organisations participating in the event and the range of their activities always astonishes me, and almost everyone manages to keep to time!"

The "Hebden Bridge: our town" event also constitutes the Hebden Bridge Partnership's Annual General Meeting, and the Partnership's elected management board will be briefly reporting on their own activities over the past twelve months.

The following organisations will be presenting (order to be decided):

  • HB Walkers Action,
  • Visitor economy group,
  • SOS campaign against Sainsburys,
  • Rochdale Canal initiatives,
  • HB Local History Society,
  • Pennine Horizons, Digital archive,
  • Hope Baptist Church,
  • Calder Future,Quakers,
  • Dodnaze Community Centre,
  • Calderdale Community energy,
  • Piano Festival & Wainsgate events,
  • Community Land Trust,
  • Hebden Royd Town Council,
  • HB and Mytholmroyd Business Forum,
  • Swimming Pool,
  • HB Arts Festival,
  • Calder Valley Youth Theatre,
  • Little Theatre,
  • HB Community Association (Town Hall),
  • Rotary Club of HB, Sustainable transport group,
  • HB Women's Institute,
  • Friends of HB station