Calderdale Community Spirit Awards is a roaring success

Overgate Hospice won Charity of the Year. Photo by Chris Lord.
Overgate Hospice won Charity of the Year. Photo by Chris Lord.

The Community Foundation for Calderdale hosted their annual awards ceremony and celebrated all the brilliant charities, community groups and volunteers in our area.

The awards evening took place last Thursday at the Venue Barkisland and was attended by over 350 people.

Guests enjoying the celebrations. Photo by Chris Lord.

Guests enjoying the celebrations. Photo by Chris Lord.

The Community Foundation for Calderdale funds and supports community activity across Calderdale, tackling issues such as loneliness, mental health and homelessness.

The Orange Box Choir kicked off the evening an emotional performance. Halifax singer Callum Butterworth,who appeared on the BBC's The Voice, opened the awards ceremony.

Chris Harris, the Deputy Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, Founding Director of the Community Foundation for Calderdale, commented: “In 1991, at the beginning of the Calderdale Foundation, our dream was that the foundation became the beating heart of the community in Calderdale, connecting people from all walks of life, working together to improve the quality of life for everyone in this special place we call home.”

The Calderdale Community Foundation Chair, Roger Moore commented, “It was a great pleasure and privilege for me to be able to welcome over 350 guests on behalf of the Community Foundation to the Awards. The many active charities and community groups in Calderdale are something we should treasure and it is very special to have an evening to celebrate their achievements.”

Showing some love to our community. Photo by Chris Lord.

Showing some love to our community. Photo by Chris Lord.

Chris Sands, who founded the Totally Locally initiative, won Outstanding Individual Achievement Award. The award was sponsored by Wilby Insurance, and presented by Richard Blackburn.

"I am completely gobsmacked and speechless to have won this award and am so grateful for everyone’s lovely and kind words," said Mr Sands.

The Volunteer of the Year Award went to Carol Wadley, who runs three clubs for children a week, runs and works in a charity shop, volunteers on the Halifax gala committee, organises a fun day every year in the Illingworth area, and runs a monthly ladies group.

“I do what I do because a kind lady who taught children years ago applied for grants from the Foundation to take the children from Illingworth to a Christian holiday camp for two weeks every year and my children were among those many children.

Cheers! The Overgate team. Photo by Chris Lord.

Cheers! The Overgate team. Photo by Chris Lord.

"I applied for a grant in 1998 from the foundation and that kicked started everything from there. So, the Community Foundation really does play a vital role in community. Over the years, it is impossible to say how many children and youth have been impacted because of the work of the foundation.

"The charity shop in Illingworth road is a great hub of community fun, whether people buy or not everyone is welcome to come in and chat. I organise the Challengers Family Fun Day because it is great to see families having fun and it is so important to keep the community spirit alive.

Verd de Gris walked away with the Arts and Culture Award, which was presented by Croft Myl's Vicky Nolan. Verd de Gris Many Voices Project allows women and girls in Calderdale to get involved with a range of creative activities, and strives to promote inclusivity within the community.

The Best Fundraising Campaign Award was awarded to Still Birth Awareness. Still Birth Awareness are fundraising for a new maternity bereavement suite away from the maternity ward at Calderdale Royal Hospital.

Ben Moorhouse, from Halifax, raised over £16,000 for the charity in memory of his daughter.

“It was an honour to spend the evening with so many dedicated people who help others and make a difference in Calderdale,” said Mr Moorhouse.

The Nick Smith Foundation won the Best Marketing Campaign award. The foundation is named after amateur rugby league player, Nick Smith, who passed away after loosing a battle with Motor Neuron Disease.

The Foundation raised £50,000 in their first year to support the Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience, who are carrying out pioneering research into Motor Neuron Disease.

Stephen Naylor, Chair of The Nick Smith Foundation, said: “The room was full of amazing organisations and inspirational individuals and it was a privilege to be among them.

"Our charity is one we wish didn’t have to exist. We wish Nick was still with us being the amazing daddy, husband, brother, son and friend that he was. But we hope he would be proud of what we, in his name, have achieved with the support of so many.

"New charities can only succeed through making sure people know who they are, what they stand for and how the money donated is used. That is why winning the Marketing Award is so special. We pride ourselves on ensuring every person who donates knows how every pound is spent."

The Award for Best New Charity was given to Slow The Flow, who hope to use science to help prevent flooding in Calder Valley.

Media and Communications Officer Adrian Horton said: "Slow The Flow are absolutely delighted to win this years Community Foundation for Calderdale Award for Best New Charity.

"The work our volunteers have put in over the last 3 years has been incredible and this award will be shared by each and every one of them. Climate Change is having a huge affect on our weather with warmer and wetter seasons.

"The increased flood risk is a direct result of climate change and unless we find ways of combating flood risk, it will only affect more and more communities like Calderdale. We all have a role to play and it is one which Slow The Flow and the community in Calderdale are embracing very enthusiastically”.

21-year-old Nathan Mullhall was awarded the Young Champion Award, which was sponsored by Calderdale Council. Nathan joined Halifax Wheelchair Rugby League Club after being inspired by Hannah Cockroft. Nathan has since played for the England squad and will be representing England at the 2021 World Cup.

Treesponsibilty was the winner of the Great and Green award. The group provide tree planting opportunities for primary school children and educates them on climate change and its link to flood risk.

Phoenix Radio were awarded the Breakthrough of the Year Award for their Halifax themed board game. The game touches on the town's industrial and social history and can help people affected by early dementia to remember their own past.

The Charity of the Year Award went to Overgate Hospice. For nearly forty years, Overgate has provided vital support for people with life limiting illnesses in Calderdale. All of Overgate’s services are free of charge to people living in Calderdale, meaning that the hospice needs to find £9,700 every day to keep their doors open.

Laura Golding explained, “We are absolutely delighted to win the Charity of the Year award at this year’s Community Spirit Award. To be recognised in this way is wonderful and we were so grateful to be shortlisted but to win was amazing. This is award is a testament to the hard work of our supporters, staff and volunteers who each and every day go above and beyond for our patients and their families. “

Overgate picked up a second award, with their veteran nurse Liz Forster winning the Lifetime Achievement award.

Ms Forster started working at Overgate in 1989 as a state enrolled nurse, back when the hospice only had eight beds in their inpatient unit. She also headed the day hospice service, which last year cared for over 370 people. In 30 years of dedicated service, she has never had a day off sick.

The event finished with a rousing speech from CEO of the CFFC Steve Duncan DL and a photo where people used the torch on their phone to make a love heart producing a photo of love hearts in light around the room.