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How the Upper Calder Valley community pulls together in difficult times

20:31 13 March 2013

Flooding in the centre of Hebden Bridge, Photograph: Lorne Campbell / Guzelian

Flooding in the centre of Hebden Bridge, Photograph: Lorne Campbell / Guzelian

One group of volunteers continue to tackle some of the toughest problems people face in Calderdale. Jenny Green reports

Leaders of a community organisation live up to their promise to take action to make a real positive difference with a series of campaigns to protect vulnerable people in Calderdale.

The Community Foundation for Calderdale not only launched the Upper Calder Valley Flood Fund with a 10,000 donation which grew to 140,000 including contributions from local companies, local councils and the general public from across the country and abroad.

But they have also been key partners helping to lead the Safe and Warm campaign to protect mainly older people during the worst of the winter weather. This year the project has been managed by Emma Woods Bolger from the community foundation and has grown to include over 35 partners offering vital services.

This project is at the heart of what the foundation stands for, linking people who need help with those who can offer it, said 65Emma. The services and items we can offer vulnerable people have increased. At present we are able to offer food parcels, warmth packs including blankets hot water bottles hand warmers, thermals, emergency heating as well as ice-safety products such as ice-shoe grippers, car-care packs for carers, grit boxes, plus advice services including benefit advice, energy efficiency advice and fire safety visits thanks to the West Yorkshire Fire Service.

The aim is to keep vulnerable people safe and warm over winter and by providing these types of items we can help reduce cold-related deaths and admissions to hospital caused by falls in ice and snow.

The project ends this month and has so far delivered more than 1,191 items or services throughout Calderdale.

The Home from Hospital team at Age UK praised the work of the community foundation and the support it gave to one particular resident who needed extra comfort with small but essential items such as an electric kettle to easily make hot drinks as well as microwave oven to ensure he had hot meals. What you (CFFC) is doing is much needed and much appreciated and hopefully working with you will be ongoing to help future vulnerable adults in Calderdale. Once again thank you, said a spokesman.

Flood water engulfed homes and businesses in the Upper Calder Valley where Hebden Bridge was particularly badly hit last summer. The Community Foundation for Calderdales work with flood victims included offering relief grants of more than 55,000 to over 200 households and 12,000 for cleaning materials and other equipment to help dry out businesses and homes.

Once recovery was well underway, the fund was used for resilience grants of up to 150 towards more permanent flood defences for individual households. So far 27 flood resilience applications have been received and those approved amount to a total of 3,750.

And now flood kits, including compact water inflatable sandbags and temporary lighting, are being put together and distributed by the CFFC to flood victims. The fund is also being used to tell the rest of the world the Upper Calder Valley is open for business with several pop-up shops to promote commerce in Hebden Bridge as part of a campaign called Hebden Rising.

To find out more about the Community Foundation for Calderdale go to


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