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Hebden Bridge community groups sparkle, shine and entertain

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Yesterday evening, the Hebden Bridge Partnership hosted an event where representatives from a wide spectrum of around 40 local community groups each gave a two and a half minute short talk on their group and its activities

It could have been tedious or worthy. But it was 2-3 hours of pure entertainment with flashes of live theatre. Contributions were delivered with enthusiasm, energy and humour.

Town Council Mayor James Fearon chaired and commented on the "sheer innovation" he had just witnessed and the "passionate engagement" of all the groups.

Here is just a small selection of some of the points made

  • Martin Whittle: the Friends of Hebden Bridge Station have been trying to get the bus and train companies to synchronise times. The group has taken over the signal box and the lamp room.
  • Mo Ludlam: the Hebden Bridge Walkers Action Group recently produced a booklet of walks between Hebden Bridge and Haworth which is selling very well. As the first Walkers are Welcome town - there are now 117 - Hebden Bridge will be organising the tenth birthday celebrations in 2017.
  • Nick Wilding: the Civic Trust filled the cinema twice this year and now has 70 new members
  • Jane Jackson from the Town Twinning Society said that over the weekend representatives of the town council of Paratico (Brescia, Italy) visited Hebden Bridge to discuss the development of friendship links between the two towns.
  • Michael Coneys from the Trades Club estimated that the club brought £250,000 to £300,000 into the local economy each year. The club now had a national profile with performers keen to play and return again.
  • Dongria from Treesponsibility told how the group was changing from a simple tree planting group into a climate action group, helping to keep the valley safe from flooding by planting trees.
  • Dave Nelson told those present what a remarkable place Wainsgate Chapel is. He has been organising weekend concerts there since 2006. 10 artists now use the studio space in the former Sunday School part of the building.
  • Graham Mynot: Calder Valley Land Trust is taking over the Fielden Centre as a community asset. The group hope to acquire land in Walsden for 6 bungalows, and there is a feasibility study looking at returning housing to the former High Street area of Hebden Bridge.
  • Sheila Wild said the Elmet Trust is reviving plans for a Ted Hughes Centre, lets out Ted Hughes' former home at 1 Aspinall Street as a holiday let and writers' retreat and organises the Ted Hughes Festival - next one in February.
  • David Fletcher told how Pennine Heritage rescued Nutclough Mill and created 200 jobs and invited people to visit the renovated Birchcliffe Centre
  • Kirsty Hall: the Hebden Bridge Women's Institute is modern and informal. It raises moeny for good causes and its next Rag Market is on 24 October.
  • Don Myers: Northlight Studies has taken over the old Chapel of Rest which has been turned into a gallery for hire.
  • Barbara Atack: the Hebden Bridge History Society was formed in 1947 and currently has 150 members. It puts on a fortnightly programme which averages an audience of 50 people at the Methodist Hall.
  • Liz Anstee: next year's Handmade Parade needs £50,000 and is currently looking for a new general manager, it's only paid position.
  • Vicki Uttley - when current work is finished, £1 million will have been spent on Hope Baptist Church to make it a valuable community space.
  • Harry from the Sustainable Transport group said they were still pushing for electrification. A new rail franchise will be announced in December. They were also pushing for a direct connection from Hebden Bridge to Huddersfield.
  • Flood Action Group - there are now a group of volunteers connected by a telephone tree who will swing into action when needed.
  • Anthony Rae: Calder Futures is also focussing on reducing the flood risk. The Environment Agency is going to make proposals for Hebden Bridge but at the moment there is no knowing what they will be.
  • Paul Knight: the Friends of Hebden Bridge Picture House raise money through raffles and the sale of posters, and provide feedback from users to the Town Council and the Cinema management.
  • Cllr James Fearon: the Town Council gave £50,000 to local groups in the past year. It funds the very successful hanging baskets around town. The Picture House turned over £400,000 last year and makes a small profit.

Others groups included the Arts Festival, the Fox and Goose pub coop, White Ribbon Campaign, The Egg Factory, Folk Roots Festival, HebWeb, Community Association, Upper Calder Valley Renaissance, Business Forum, Friends of Calder Holmes Park, Growing Futures, Calder and Colne Rivers Trust, Junior Band, Woodcraft Folk, Millpond Community Alliance, Piano Festival, Calder Valley Voices, Calder Valley Youth Theatre, Hepton Singers, the Factory Line and the Tinderwood Trust

What other small town could boast such a wide range of activities!

The HebWeb had been looking forward to hearing Cllr Richard Marshall give an update on the Hebden Royd and District Swimming Pool Association. Questions have been repeatedly asked on the Forum. However, he failed to appear.

See also:

HebWeb News: Hebden Bridge Partnership - how things get done 2 Oct 2015

HebWeb News: Archive - Hebden Bridge Partnership's celebration of community and activist groups 8 Oct 2008

Hebden Bridge Partnership website