Volunteer of the Month: March 2024

Volunteer of the month is when we get to shout about our amazing volunteers and the, quite literally, life changing work they do to help Fresh Futures run smoothly and effectively.

This month we would like to say a big THANK YOU to Omar who has been volunteering as the Sustainability Champion at Fresh Futures since October 2023.

We caught up with Omar to hear about his Fresh Futures Volunteering journey so far…

How long have you been volunteering for the charity? 5 months.

Tell us a bit about yourself: I am 18 years old, I enjoy sports, like football and F1, and enjoy reading about business and finance. 

Tell us about your volunteering role: My role as a Sustainability Champion Volunteer entails helping the charity become more sustainable in its day-to-day operations by creating and implementing new sustainability initiatives. 

Tell us about a typical day in your role: A typical day of volunteering includes going into Brian Jackson House and catching up with Lucy about upcoming sustainability-related events. I will then check the Sustainability Action Plan and select a goal which I would like to accomplish. Lucy and I will then form a plan to achieve this goal and proceed from there.

What made you want to start volunteering with Fresh Futures? I started volunteering with Fresh Futures as I saw this as a unique opportunity to gain office work experience, whilst making a positive and impactful change. 

And finally, what advice would you give to people considering volunteering with Fresh Futures? A piece of advice for anyone considering a volunteering role with Fresh Futures is to just reach out and get involved, as there is something for everybody and everyone at the charity is very helpful and supportive. 

If you feel inspired to become a volunteer like Omar, or if you would like to volunteer in any way for our charity, please contact Lucy on 01484 519988 or [email protected]

Young people represent our new service at the first ever Youth Conference hosted by the Mayor of West Yorkshire!

On Monday 19th February, three young adults showcased the volunteering opportunities Fresh Futures’ young adults service has to offer at West Yorkshire’s first Youth Conference. Organised by the Youth Advisory Group and held at Greenhead College, the event was a triumphant call for organisations across the county to champion the voices of young people.


The Mayor for West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin, gave a rousing welcome to the attendees, many of whom were young adults representing organisations intent on empowering youth voices. Also in attendance were colleagues from West Yorkshire Police, members of the councils and creatives, who all shared the common goal of valuing thoughts and ideas from young adults.


Guest speakers delivered a variety of engaging performances and speeches, evidencing how they value lived experience and encourage young people to flourish. Soundproof Box CIC gave a thought-provoking performance which aims to eliminate patterns of abuse through supporting survivors and reminding society to call-out unwanted behaviour. During the Red Flags Interactive Theatre monologue, the audience was encouraged to wave red flags whenever we felt like threatening behaviour was being displayed.


Activist Marvina Newton gave a powerful talk about the journey toward racial trauma informed care through utilising healing and empowerment. She raised awareness of the presence of social privileges through facilitating the Privilege Walk exercise. Participants were encouraged to take a step forwards or backwards depending on their reactions to statements, for example, Marvina said:

if you find it difficult to find make-up for your skin complexion or a hairdressers in your community, take one step back.


Three members of the audience participated in the Privilege Walk, including our very own Zay Alabi (pictured, centre)! Marvina gave Zay a platform to speak openly about their experiences of prejudice and Zay’s words were an impactful reminder of the need advocate for marginalised identities with empathy and compassion.


Samuel, Zay and Nathan (pictured, left to right) networked with members of the public, holding meaningful conversations about how the new service helps young people build their confidence and self-esteem. They also actively participated in workshop discussions across the themes of serious violence, drugs and alcohol, anti-social behaviour and violence against women and girls.


Zay said:

It was a fascinating and eye-opening experience.


Nathan found the conference:

very useful in case I was ever to come across a dangerous situation.


Samuel said:

I found the youth conference interesting and informative. I learned how local administration is working with and for the people to make a positive change and how the police are trying to work in a friendly environment. I opted for the crime against women workshop session. I found that session eye opening and the measures that were being taken by the Mayor and team members were worth praising. I think it’s a positive thing that the mayor’s team were noting down the feedback from the session.


Alice Lowe OBE, the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime closed the evening by sharing her appreciation for the first West Yorkshire Youth Conference. She spoke of the importance of listening to young adults’ experiences s to understand how we can improve lives across the county.


Thank you so much to Samuel, Zay and Nathan for their contributions and for giving up their time to promote the young adults service. We are grateful to the West Yorkshire Combined Authority for including us in such a momentous occasion for the youth of West Yorkshire!

Fresh Futures are thrilled to announce the launch of our new young adults service!

Since September 2023, we have been co-creating a service with young adults aged 18 – 26 years old and living in Kirklees. We want to say a massive thank you to everyone who has taken part in the pilot service and contributed their ideas: we couldn’t do this work without you!

Our new service is called elevate, which aims to develop confidence, self-esteem and social skills.
We welcome anyone aged between 18 – 26 and living in Kirklees who wants to make more social connections and develop their confidence. We are especially keen to help those young people who are struggling to find employment or further education opportunities, as we know this group can feel invisible and in need of empowerment.


Are you aged between 18 – 26 years olds and living in Kirklees?
If you’re interested in helping other young people, or you would like to find out more about accessing our service, we would love to hear from you! Please get in touch with our Community Connections team to find out more:
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 07526178180

Volunteer of the Month: February 2024

Volunteer of the month is when we get to shout about our amazing volunteers and the, quite literally, life changing work they do to help Fresh Futures run smoothly and effectively.

This month we would like to say a big THANK YOU to Patricia Hastead who has been volunteering at Fresh Futures since May 2022 as a Community Friend.

We caught up with Patricia to hear about her Fresh Futures Volunteering journey so far…

How long have you been volunteering for the charity? Since May 2022.

Tell us a bit about yourself: I am now retired but was a primary school teacher for many years before having a complete change of employment and working for a friend’s mystery shopping company.

Tell us about your volunteering role: I visit my friend every Monday for about two hours. On cold or wet days we stay inside and chat but during the summer we sit outside in the garden. Every four to six weeks we go out for lunch and we are always looking for new places to try. I now feel that each week I am going to see a friend and look forward to the visit.

What made you want to start volunteering with Fresh Futures? Programmes about loneliness in people of all ages were often on television and when I saw the advert for volunteers to train as befrienders I thought this was how I could do a little to help.

Volunteer of the Month: January 2024

Volunteer of the month is when we get to shout about our amazing volunteers and the, quite literally, life changing work they do to help Fresh Futures run smoothly and effectively.

This month we would like to say a big THANK YOU to Ahmed who has been volunteering at Fresh Futures since October 2023. Ahmed has been supporting Fresh Futures with the recent rebrand by creating engaging content and contributing to the charity’s visual identity.

We caught up with Ahmed to hear about his Fresh Futures Volunteering journey so far…

How long have you been volunteering for the charity? Since October 2023.

Tell us a bit about yourself: I am originally from Egypt. I am a final year graphic design student at the University of Huddersfield.

Tell us about your volunteering role: In my role as a volunteer, I’ve been involved in supporting Fresh Futures with their rebranding effort. A typical day of volunteering involves collaborating with the Fresh Futures team, brainstorming and working on design projects.

What made you want to start volunteering with Fresh Futures? I found Fresh Futures as a result of research for my University project. I was drawn to the charity because I saw their commitment to making a positive impact in the community. Once I was able to volunteer I reached out and they were very friendly and helpful.

And finally, what advice would you give to people considering volunteering with Fresh Futures? My advice would be to find a role that aligns with your skills, so you are passionate about it.

The CE of Fresh Futures talks about rebrand and it what the new name means to the charity.

Today we’re talking to Mark Farmer, Fresh Futures’ CE, to ask him about the new brand launched earlier this week. Mark, YCC has become Fresh Futures – tell us why you’ve decided to change your name.

“When we were established 50 years ago, our vision was simple: to support vulnerable and disadvantaged children in Kirklees.  Over recent years, our remit has diversified and we provide many more services.  From our work with young people at our alternative education provision through to our work with perpetrators of domestic abuse, our services are more holistic today, than ever before. We’ve changed our name to one that represents our vision to enable children, young people and their families to have to have opportunities for a better life, both now and in the future.”

What difference will the new brand make on the charity?

“The new brand won’t change the services we deliver or the support we provide – we will continue to deliver consistently and provide support to people who need us in Kirklees and the wider region.. The re-brand is about ensuring that our name demonstrates to the local communities who were are and what we do to help.”

This year is your 50th birthday, has the re-brand been planned with this significant anniversary in mind?

“Absolutely! For us, our 50th birthday is a great opportunity to look back at the fantastic impact the team have made on the local community over the past 50 years.  But it’s also an opportunity for us to look forward about how we can help over the next 50 years.

We all recognise that these are challenging times for many. Between the pandemic and global wars, through to the cost of living crisis, many people from Kirklees are struggling and living in poverty. Fresh Futures wants to be at the heart of finding solutions in our  communities, championing new projects and continuing to diversify and support more people.”

What’s on the horizon over the next year for Fresh Futures?

“We have some exciting new projects coming up over the next 12 months. In January we’ll be launching a warm spaces project, from there we’re developing an employability offering and a support network specifically designed with young adults at the heart of it.  There’s also developments within our education provision, with a move towards more vocational courses, alongside opening our doors to offer education to post 16 young people.

Both I and the trustees feel that Fresh Futures is the right name for the exciting developments ahead, while still representing our core services supporting children, young people and their families.”

Watch this space – exciting times for Fresh Futures ahead.

29th June 2023 is National Work From Home Day

National Work From Home Day offers a chance for us to recognise the technological and cultural evolutions that have changed our work culture and has allowed for many roles that were once considered ‘office based’ to now be carried out just as effectively from home as in the office. 

At YCC, we are proud to have perfected a positive hybrid working culture for our charity’s administrators, coordinators, officers, managers and beyond, who were once ‘office-based’ and have seen plenty of benefits stem from this. We were able to do this by listening to employees’ suggestions, and ensuring that our hardware and software was current and secure, to allow individuals to pick up work from home (and beyond!).

We believe that a positive hybrid working culture allows for more efficient use of time, boosts morale, reduces sick days and parental leave days, promotes well-being and has enhanced productivity, amongst many other things.

Of course, hybrid working means time in our Fresh Futures buildings too. And we also have many staff at the charity who don’t have the opportunity to work from home (such as our incredible cohort of alternative provision teachers and mentors, and building services team members). So, for the times when staff are on-site – we have also developed our working spaces to ensure they remain comfortable, secure, and pleasant. This includes work with our Employee Forum representatives, a recent office refurbishment, and a new staff room for down time.

Not only does our commitment to hybrid working show the trust we have in our employees, but it allows people to take charge of their own work loads and work environments, be flexible whenever they need to be, and facilitates a positive work-life balance.

And if that wasn’t enough… it also has great sustainability benefits! For instance, moving from 5 to 4 days in the office per week can reduce that individual’s carbon emissions (and travel costs!) by a significant 20% – and that’s just ONE day of home working!

So tomorrow (and every other day!) Fresh Futures will continue to support a hybrid working culture as much as possible.

Find out about job opportunities at YCC, at https://freshfutures.org.uk/work-with-us/

News Update: £444,252 loss to low-income families in Kirklees via Healthy Start scheme

Within the Kirklees area there is an estimated loss of £444,252 to low-income families toward free fruit, vegetables, and milk via the Healthy Start scheme.

Analysis released in April 2023 by food charity Sustain shows that families across England, Wales and Northern Ireland will miss out on £68 million in payments this year if uptake rates don’t improve.

The Healthy Start scheme provides fruit, vegetables, vitamins, and milk for young families on low incomes, and could help now more than ever due to the current cost of living crisis.

Many families are not claiming, either because of complications in the application process, or simply because they are unaware they are eligible. Local authorities and food partnerships across the country have stepped up efforts to promote the Scheme but are facing difficulties associated with squeezed public health budgets and changing demographics. The Government had hoped to reach 75% of eligible families by the end of March, but only reached 366,000, or 64%.

Research shows that the number of households where children are experiencing food insecurity has nearly doubled in the past year and according to Food Foundation data, families with babies and young children are especially at risk, with 27.3% of households with children under 4 struggling to afford food.

Yorkshire Children’s Centre, a local charity based in Huddersfield that supports disadvantaged children, young people and their families in Kirklees and surrounding areas promotes the Healthy Start Scheme and are keen to encourage individuals and families that are eligible to sign up to the scheme.

Katie Lockwood, Fresh Futures Service Manager said “Thriving Kirklees are working hard to reach as many eligible people as possible through a targeted partnership approach, anti-natal fayres and Fresh Futures Community Champions. Although we have seen a slight increase in uptake there is still a long way to go, and we know that now more than ever, this additional help is needed.”  

Here’s more about the scheme:

The Healthy Start scheme is open to children under the age of 4, and women who are at least 10 weeks pregnant. In order to qualify, you must be receiving any of the following:

  • You, your partner, or your carer get Working Tax Credit run-on only after you have reported you’re working 16 hours or less per week
  • Child Tax Credit (only if your family’s annual income is £16,190 or less)
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Pension Credit (which includes the child addition)
  • Universal Credit (only if your family’s take-home pay is £408 or less per month from employment)

You will also be eligible for Healthy Start if:

  • You’re under 18 and pregnant, even if you are not claiming any benefits
  • You claim income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and are over 10 weeks pregnant

You can find more information and get advice on how to apply on Fresh Futures website https://freshfutures.org.uk/national-healthy-start/

Meet The Team: Brig Barrowclough

Name: Brig Barrowclough

Job Title: Deputy Head Teacher at Brian Jackson College

Date joined YCC: July 2014

Tell us a little about yourself: When I was 18 years old, I went to work in Dubai

Your role in a nutshell: I am responsible for the daily operations within the Huddersfield Provision           

Why do you like working for YCC? I work with colleagues who are a little bit nuts, like me, have the same passion as me for trying to make a difference within our community

What’s one of your favourite work memories? I have so many, our school trip to build water rafts in Chester ranks highly though

And finally, what advice would you give to people considering working at YCC? Be prepared to work hard and be flexible/adaptable

If you would like to learn more about YCC, click HERE.

Service Spotlight: Healthy Start

If you’re more than 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under 4, you may be entitled to get help to buy healthy food and milk. If you’re eligible, you’ll be sent a Healthy Start card with money on it that you can use in UK shops and your benefit will be added onto this card every 4 weeks.

You can use your card to buy:

  • plain liquid cow’s milk
  • infant formula milk
  • fresh, frozen, and tinned fruit and vegetables and
  • fresh, dried, and tinned pulses

You can also use your card to collect Healthy Start Maternal vitamins (these support you during pregnancy and breastfeeding) and Healthy Start vitamin drops for babies and young children (these are suitable from birth to 4 years old).

Who can access the service?

The Healthy Start scheme is open to children under the age of 4, and women who are at least 10 weeks pregnant. In order to qualify, you must be receiving any of the following:

  • You, your partner, or your carer get Working Tax Credit run-on only after you have reported you’re working 16 hours or less per week
  • Child Tax Credit (only if your family’s annual income is £16,190 or less)
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Pension Credit (which includes the child addition)
  • Universal Credit (only if your family’s take-home pay is £408 or less per month from employment)

You will also be eligible for Healthy Start vouchers if:

  • You’re under 18 and pregnant, even if you are not claiming any benefits
  • You claim income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and are over 10 weeks pregnant

Please apply online by clicking the following link https://services.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/apply-for-healthy-start/where-you-live 

If you have any questions about this service, please feel free to check out our FAQ page