Town twinning: Visits from Todmorden’s two twin towns

Our coach of 43 adults and children was warmly welcomed by our Roncq hosts, despite the late hour (we missed the designated ferry).

ADVERTISING After a free day with our host families, we drove to the historic town of Guise, to learn of a fascinating social experiment, founded in 1846 by Jean Baptiste Godin. Godin was a ‘Utopianist’ philanthropist who channeled the profits from his cast-iron manufacturing business into building the “Familistère” or Social Palace to house his workers – three huge four-story, rectangular blocks of family apartments, each block with a large, glassed-in central courtyard where children could play in bad weather and to encourage ‘social sympathy’ among the inhabitants. This ‘palace’ is set in parkland but within a short distance of the factory.

The site also provided creches, schools, a theatre, shops with goods at minimal mark-up, a cafeteria, swimming pool, communal laundry, allotments, it was in fact, a worker’s utopia. In 1880 Godin completed his vision by converting his project into a co-operative society, to be owned by the workers themselves. The Society survived two world wars and was only wound up in 1968. An amazing man! During our visit we also toured a museum showcasing historic crafts and artifacts; a garden centre and a snail farm where we learned how to breed, prepare, cook and, yes, eat them.

Our visit to Roncq concluded with a social evening together, with food, music and bonhomie. A little less than a month later, it was our turn to host a group of some 40 town-twinners from our twinned town of Bramsche. They arrived in Todmorden on Saturday evening, just in time for (some) to be whisked off to the Town Hall to enjoy an excellent opera-themed concert given jointly by Todmorden Orchestra and Choral Society. On the free day on Sunday, most were entertained by the wonderful Hand Made Puppet Parade in Hebden Bridge during the day and an evening at the Golden Lion, listening to an accompanying band from Bramsche.

Monday saw a walk around Aysgarth Falls in the sunshine where some of the younger german participants were hardy enough to strip off and swim. Then it was shopping and fish and chips in Skipton on the way home. The following day the group visited Cliffe Castle in Keighley and then Haworth where they learned about the Brontes. In the evening we hosted our social evening at the Fielden Centre with an excellent buffet from Ham Corner, music and dancing. Wednesday brought non-stop rain sadly.

Fortunately the organised trip was to the Armories in Leeds with a chance to shop but the visitors were decidedly damp by the time they returned to Todmorden. The group had an early departure on Thursday, intending to spend the day at Bridlington before catching the boat from Hull. However, the weather thought otherwise so I hope there was a Plan B.

Despite the bad weather of the last days, it was judged to have been a very successful trip and we look forward to our return visit to Bramsche next year.

Awards will celebrate Calderdale’s great community spirit

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The Community Foundation for Calderdale (CFFC) is delighted to be hosting the very popular Community Spirit Awards 2017. The Community Spirit Awards highlight local excellence within the charitable sector, recognising and celebrating charities’ recent achievements and best practice, thus raising the profile of charity and voluntary activity in Calderdale. Steve Duncan, CEO of the Community Foundation, said: “Since the last awards in July 2015 so much has happened.


“On Boxing day 2015 much of Calderdale felt the impact of Storm Eva resulting in the worst flooding in living memory, we have had a deep recession and now experiencing austerity and political uncertainty, and to top it all – barbaric acts of terrorism. But one thing is for sure regardless of what is thrown at us in Calderdale we are a resilient lot and CFFC promises you a memorable, heart-warming and inspirational charity awards event to look forward to in September.


“So, if your charitable organisation is doing something great, nominate your organisation. If you have been supported by a local charitable group, nominate them. Or if you have a volunteer you just couldn’t live without, let us know.


“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Calderdale Council for allowing us to use the Shay Stadium to host the awards and a special thanks to our main sponsors BCA Leisure, Ryley & Co and Covéa.” There are 12 award categories – for details visit


The deadline for nominations is Friday, August 4. All forms of charitable organisations can apply along with organisations without a charity number that are “not for profit” and provide a community benefit. Organisations can nominate themselves or be nominated.


The judging panel is Steve Duncan, CEO Community Foundation for Calderdale; Jason Stamp, chief officer of North Bank Forum; Simon Walton, director of accountancy firm Riley & Co; Sian Rogers, the policy and projects manager, lead for voluntary and community sector at Calderdale Council. The ceremony will take place on September 28, presented by BBC Radio 5 Live’s Anna Foster

Waddington and Ledger



Waddington and Ledger and Shark! Design and Marketing, both part of the W&L Group, hosted our monthly meeting in May at their premises at Lowfields in Elland.

Members networked before being introduced to Waddington and Ledger following a tour of their impressive premises.

The W&L Group are a marketing services business helping local, national and global brands grow market share by out-selling and out-thinking their competitors. Their ideas have increased the sales of fudge, fire engines, fish sauces, shoes, paint, silicone and cider.

The tour demonstrated how W&L Group have moved with the times from their beginning as a pure print company, and now provide an in-house design, marketing and print for many local and national household names.

Nick Worsnop, chair of Business for Calderdale and partner in Chadwick Lawrence solicitors, introduced Emma Heslop of Shark! Who gave the presentation on behalf of the W&L Group. Nick said “W&L are a local company with long standing roots in Calderdale. Thank you to them for hosting our event and providing a fascinating insight into their business and how they have gone from strength to strength with incorporating modern printing capabilities with in house branding and design.”

At the event, ABS UK Ltd were presented with the Business for Calderdale award for March. Each month, Business for Calderdale select a winner from the business features in the Courier. All winners then go through to a final where an overall winner for the year is presented with an annual award at the Courier Business Awards.

Skills service provides support and funding

The Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) skills service provides support and funding for training to small/medium sized businesses in Calderdale and throughout the region. Over £100,000 has been awarded to Calderdale businesses to help identify training needs, support with skills planning and provide funding towards training costs. Grants of between £500 and £50,000 are available to eligible businesses and over 40 Calderdale businesses have been successful in securing funding. Funding is time limited and businesses are encouraged to contact the skills service to see how they can benefit. Call 0113 386 1910, email or find out more:

Case study-


A grant from the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has helped a manufacturer of trademarked safety barriers expand its business.
The grant of over £1,500 from the LEP’s skills service is being used by Calderdale-based A-Safe (UK) Ltd to provide specialised accountancy training to new and existing staff, as the company plans to expand the financial administration facilities of its global headquarters.
A-SAFE UK, which invented and manufacturers fixed polymer safety barriers, supplies its products to some of the world’s largest organisations including Jaguar, Nestlé and Coca-Cola. Amongst the company’s product offering are barriers for pedestrian walkways, airport apron protection and car parks.

As the company continues to grow, the skills service from the LEP is enabling A-SAFE UK to introduce more accountants into the business, and train them with skills that are specialised to the industry.
Adrian Banks, finance director of A-SAFE, said: “The LEP has encouraged us to invest faster and increase our product range, which has meant that it’s possible to employ more people. As our plans for 2016 are to expand even further, we’re aware that we need to put a foundation in place that will support our international sites.

Adrian continued: “With the skills service, our expansion plans for next year are becoming a reality as we’ll be able to train new staff in accountancy that’s specialised to our needs. I was pleasantly surprised at how straight forward it was to apply to the LEP’s skills service, and it was easy to guarantee I received the funding that I needed.
We’re delighted that we could provide A-SAFE with the funding that the business needs for the next stage of its expansion plan.”
Mark Ridgway, LEP Board member and chair of the skills service management board, said: “With grants of between £500 and £50,000 available to businesses with a budget to put towards training, employers have the opportunity to work with a team of expert skills advisors, discuss their long term growth plans and skills needs, and put together a robust training plan for their staff.
“Offering a comprehensive service to businesses, the team of advisors support employers to tackle paperwork, source appropriate training provision and submit an application for funding. The LEP is dedicated to ensuring local businesses primed for growth have the skills to succeed.”
As part of the LEP’s wider ambitions to invest in business growth, the skills service can support up to 50% of training costs for eligible businesses throughout the Leeds City Region.

ORCHARD Facilities Management

ORCHARD Facilities Management staff at Elland base.

ORCHARD Facilities Management staff at Elland base.

ORCHARD Facilities Management has bought Independence House, one of Huddersfield’s landmark commercial properties, which it intends to use as a space to nurture start-up businesses.

The three storey Victorian property on Halifax Road has been acquired by Orchard Facilities Management and its charitable arm Henderson Firstfruits and will become Orchard’s UK headquarters as it expands its presence nationally over the next five years.

Orchard Facilities Management works with businesses nationwide looking after their complete facilities management portfolios including waste management, IT managed services, pest control, maintenance and compliance.

It currently employs 30 people at its current premises in Elland and is set to create a further 18 jobs in the next three years.

Russell Dean planning permission granted

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A flood-hit furniture store in Mytholmroyd is to be rebuilt on stilts after plans were passed by council bosses.

Russell Dean is to stay but with the building lifted further off the ground to make it more resilient after it was hit by severe flooding in December 2015 when the River

The plans have been agreed by Calderdale Council’s planning committee and include a partial demolition of the existing structure and construction of a three-storey retail building.

The £3m works will begin shortly and the new store is planned to open on Boxing Day, exactly two years after the floods hit the village.

Helping first time buyers onto the property ladder

blog 6First-time buyers in Calderdale are invited to an open day to find out about affordable ways to get on the property ladder. The focus is on ‘shared ownership’ and Calderdale Council is working with local housing providers to encourage more people in the borough to take up this option. Shared ownership schemes are mainly aimed at first-time buyers who are struggling to pay for a mortgage on 100 per cent of a home. Instead they buy a share of their new home, starting at 25 per cent, and pay a discounted rent on the remaining share. There is the option to buy a bigger share later on. Councillor Daniel Sutherland, Calderdale Council’s cabinet member for planning, housing and environment, said: “Shared ownership is a great way to get a stake in a home when you can’t afford or can’t borrow enough to buy outright. Giving more people access to affordable homes is a key part of our priority to reduce inequalities in Calderdale.” A new shared ownership housing scheme in Southowram was completed by St Vincent’s Housing Association last December. Rachel O’Connor, Development Manager for St Vincent’s said: “St Vincent’s has a long history of working with the Council to provide affordable housing solutions in the borough. The new homes at New Street represent a fantastic opportunity for local people to buy a quality home at a reasonable price.” People can find out more about shared ownership through an open day at the scheme, at New Street, Southowram, on Saturday, February 25, from 10am until 12 noon. To register your place on the open day, call the housing association on 0161 772 2120.

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ROKT raise their game


Work has begun on what is believed to be the UK’s highest man-made outdoor climbing wall. Higher than both the Tower of London and the Angel of the North, the towering ROKTFACE wall at ROKT climbing centre in Brighouse, West Yorkshire, will see people climb routes up to 36 metres. The climbing wall will be created on one of the faces of a sky-scraping disused flour silo, which sits alongside the Calder and Hebble canal. Around 2,500 anchors are being drilled to create up to 28 unique routes. The £75,000 project is being led by ROKT climbing centre in partnership with Calderdale Council to help raise the profile and participation of healthy activity as well as tourism for the area.

It will give daredevils views of up to around 20 miles across Yorkshire when completed in spring. Bosses hope it could create around 10 new jobs. Euan Noble, ROKT’s commercial director, said: “ROKTFACE will give people of almost all climbing abilities the chance to effectively climb into the clouds and go higher than ever before. Thanks to our partnership with Calderdale Council, we’re turning dreams into reality. “We opened six years ago with a dream of creating something different and inclusive – for climbers of all ages and abilities – and this is another step towards that. “On Boxing Day 2015, we were under several feet of water and some thought ROKT wouldn’t survive. Just over a year on we are bigger, better and stronger than ever thanks to our customers and the community.


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Bridge reopens a year after flooding demolishes it


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Elland Bridge which was devastated by the Boxing Day Floods and had to be demolished has finally re-opened to vehicles. The Canal & River Trust and Calderdale Council worked on the project to rebuild the bridge and this morning the first vehicle made its away across the structure.


Coun Tim Swift, Leader of Calderdale Council said: “This is a hugely important day for Elland. The community has been incredibly resilient since the devastating floods, but we know that everyone has been eager to see the bridge fully open. Now that we’ve reached this major milestone the community can start to properly get back on its feet. “The Council and the Canal & River Trust have worked extremely hard to reach this stage, as we know how important the bridge is for residents, businesses, commuters and tourism. The rebuilt bridge will be much stronger and more flood resilient, whilst preserving most of the original historic features, and it will serve the community well for many years to come.”

A minibus carried people from all parts of the Elland community, from business people and community groups to school students and nursery children, as onlookers gathered to cheer them on. Elland C of E Junior and Infant School choir sang the song that they had written about Elland Bridge.


Simon Bamford, director of asset delivery for the Canal & River Trust, said: “We couldn’t be happier that the main road works have been completed and that local people can once again drive over Elland Bridge. This has been a complicated and challenging project but the local community have shown great patience and understanding and we’re very grateful for their support. “With the road now open we’ll be focussing on completing the remaining works at canal level, building the new towpath underneath the bridge and repairing the canal bed which was damaged during the floods. The whole project is expected to be finished by March.”


The newly-rebuilt Elland Bridge re-opened to pedestrians and cyclists in mid-January after being out of action for more than a year. However, construction workers suffered some setbacks which forced the Council and the Trust to delay the full re-opening by a month. There have been complications with installing essential cables and pipes for utilities and the cold and wet temperatures caused problems laying waterproof material to the bridge. The rebuilding of the bridge is being financed through the Department for Transport flood recovery fund.


Local Soap Co comes up smelling of roses

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Local Soap company Yorkshire Soap Co is celebrating after experiencing its best ever trading period, despite being hit by the winter floods of 2015.

The Yorkshire Soap Company employs 65 staff and has premises in Leeds, Beverley, Knaresborough, two stores in York as well as the original Hebden Bridge site.

Two years ago the Hebden Bridge store was hit by floods with nearly all the stock destroyed. However, soap base manufacturer Stephenson Personal Care came to the rescue.The Horsforth-based firm delivered nine pallets of emergency soap base material free of charge which Mr Warren and Mr Doyle were able to turn into £10,000 worth of saleable stock, effectively keeping them afloat.