Meet the Fresh Futures Sustainability Forum

To help Fresh Futures achieve its 2023 20-point sustainability action plan, the charity has established a Sustainability Forum made up of Fresh Futures employees, volunteers, tenants, governors and service users. The forum will meet virtually three times per year to ensure the charity is on target to achieve the action plan, and to work together to deliver the best possible outcomes.

Currently, the forum is made up of the following individuals:

  • Christine Rhodes (Fresh Futures Employee – Community Connections)
  • Gill Goodswen (Fresh Futures Trustee & College Governor)
  • Jodie Kavanagh (Fresh Futures Employee – Thriving Kirklees)
  • Lucy Martin (Fresh Futures Employee – Volunteering)
  • Rob Edden (Fresh Futures Employee – Senior Leadership Team)
  • Samantha Cashman (Fresh Futures Employee – Children & Family Services)
  • Samantha Latchayya (Fresh Futures Employee – Sustainability Champion)
  • Stephen Halliday (Volunteer – YCC’s Garden Space & Befriender)
  • Susan Greenwood (Fresh Futures Tenant – Kirklees Youth Alliance)

The first 2023 forum meeting took place in January, with special guest Councillor Andrew Cooper, Green Party Kirklees Councillor for Newsome Ward.

You can learn more about YCC’s sustainability plans, HERE.

If you would like to get in touch about the charity’s sustainability, please email the Sustainability Champion: [email protected]

YCC’s Huddersfield offices receive huge modernisation – Check it out here!

Throughout the month of March, our Building’s Manager Emma Cavanagh was busy coordinating a huge refurbishment of the first floor of Brian Jackson House.

The work, which involved a lot of rewiring, painting and new flooring took place in just three weeks and has transformed the space from what was an outdated working area (last refurbished over 2 decades ago!) to a more connected and modern space.

The project did not go without it’s hurdles, and it was particularly challenging in the first week when the lift broke down! Not great timing as all of the organisation’s huge wooden desks needed to travel down two flights of stairs to be removed from the building! But despite everything, the project was completed and everyone is delighted with the results.

The new, modernised space has seen brand new hot-desks with a new layout in bright and airy rooms. We also now have meeting rooms, break-out rooms and quiet spaces for different working styles, plus an amazing service delivery space where service users can take part in group sessions and 121 sessions.

What’s more, for the first time, staff at Brian Jackson House will soon have access to their own private staff room, allowing for downtime during the working day, which is absolutely essential for our teams who often work in pressurised and challenging situations and deserve a space just for them, where they can relax and reenergise.

Emma wasn’t working alone, and she would like to send out a massive thank you to everyone who supported the project:

“Thank you to everyone on the building’s team for all your help with the project at Brian Jackson House. It’s been a tough couple of weeks and if things could go wrong they have!! However the team really pulled together. There has been blood, sweat & tears!”

I would like to thank Katie for all the cleaning she has done in the project rooms, she has been a superstar and made these rooms look and smell amazing. It wasn’t an easy job with all the dust, wires and random bits everywhere.

I would also like to say thank you to Rebecca, Daniella & Janine for being amazing helping with the moving of all desks, being an absolute super team when the lift broke down and for being there when I’ve had a meltdown!!

Thank you to Tony & James for all the shifting, lifting, painting and moving of everything and anything.

Last but not least I would like to send a special thank you to our volunteer Gareth who has donated so much of his time these past few weeks. He has been brilliant and worked so hard. We really couldn’t have done it without him!”

But of course we all also want to say a big thank you to Emma, who has given her everything to complete this project on time and to a high standard. This project will have a fantastic impact on staff and service users alike, who will all benefit from this new and improved space. We are sure that you will all agree when checking out the photos, just how incredible these new changes are.

Check out the before, during and after photos of the new main hot desk office to see the huge difference that has been made!


As a large charity operating across 5 buildings, we always have refurbishment and renovation projects lined up. If you or an organisation you work with would like to get involved in any volunteer or pro-bono work with Fresh Futures relating to decorating or any other building or gardening work, please email [email protected] or call 01484 519988.

Fresh Futures Looks Back at a Successful 2022

And that’s not all. Can you believe we also packed ALL of the below into 2022, too!

  • We supported Children’s Mental Health Week, created by Place2Be, through our Thriving Kirklees Team, providing free activity packs and wellbeing guides and more!
  • We got a BRAND NEW website
  • We started a gardening group for our service users with Young Onset Dementia
  • We launched our 3-year strategy
  • We were FINALISTS for the Covid Hero Award at the Yorkshire Choice Awards
  • We ran mental health programmes with the Works Better team at Kirklees Council for our Brian Jackson College pupils.
  • We worked with Our Creative Connection to create a photography exhibition created by our Hopeful Families participants
  • We trained ALL our Service Managers in an accredited Management Training & development PRogramme
  • We hosted Safety Rangers for Year-5 pupils from disadvantaged schools – THREE TIMES!
  • We ‘Walked for YCC‘ taking on TWO walking challenges (Up Castle Hill in Huddersfield and the National 3 Peaks), raising awareness and funds for the charity.
  • We said good bye and good luck to another cohort of Brian Jackson College pupils
  • We launched a 3-year sustainability Action Plan
  • We ran our first ever ALL STAFF team day to develop the charity’s ‘One Team; One Charity’ ethos
  • We held a huge THANK YOU event for our employees and their families in the summer, plus a festive party at Christmas
  • We hosted a fashion show at Brian Jackson House to raise important funds for our services
  • We supported Ukrainian refugees through various projects including a Ukrainian job fayre and Christmas party
  • We hosted Stay and Play sessions for families through Hopeful Families where children could play whilst their parents and carers received essential support from professional mentors.
  • We celebrated Eid and Diwali across our sites with our employees and tenants
  • We were awarded the Household Support Grant by TSL Kirklees
  • We completed a big refurb project at Brian Jackson College, Heckmondwike with a cohort of volunteers
  • We sold Fresh Futures christmas cards, designed by a pupil at Brian Jackson College
  • We presented ‘Speak Volumes – the importance of amplifying children’s voices in domestic abuse perpetrator programmes’ as part of the White Ribbon Campaign with EdShift.

News Update: New Year’s Resolutions – What Will You Achieve in 2023?

New Year, New Opportunities!

January is always a time when we look forward and map out our dreams and goals for the year to come!

This year, why not consider some new year’s resolutions that are not only fun and innovative, but that could make a BIG difference, too!

Here are 6 new year’s resolution ideas for you to consider, and make 2023 a year to remember!!

1. Support YCC’s Charity Shop

YCC’s charity shop in Heckmondwike sells pre-loved furniture, white goods, and decorative items. We are always seeking support from our local community, whether you would like to donate items or your time, don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Charity retail association also suggested three creative new year’s resolutions to support your charity shop!

P.S. Did you know that our Charity Shop has an eBay account for our Vintage pieces?

2. Get your business involved!

Could your place of work support a good cause? From regular giving such as unclaimed client funds, to pro-bono work and sponsored events in the name of Fresh Futures… there’s always plenty of fun ways that you and your colleagues could make a difference!

3. Tick something off your bucket list!

What’s that one thing you’ve always wanted to do? Shave your beard? Climb a mountain? Jump out of an aeroplane? Make 2023 the year that you set up a Just Giving Page in the name of Yorkshire Children’s Centre and MAKE IT HAPPEN! If you decide to carry out any activity or event for YCC, do let us know, and we can support you with sponsorship forms, publicity, and more!

Check out this list of Running Events that you could get involved in, in 2023!

4. Volunteer your time!

At YCC, we have SO MANY different opportunities for volunteers to get involved. From telephone befriending, and gardening clubs… to regular administrational support and fundraising… We’ve listed lots of different volunteer opportunities across our website. But if you have a special skill that you would like to bring to us, we would be delighted to hear from you! If you would like to learn more about becoming a volunteer, please email [email protected]

5. Make a one-off donation or set up regular giving

Perhaps you would like to make a one off donation to support one of YCC’s services, or maybe you are able to set up regular giving each month for the duration of Fresh Futures. Either way, THANK YOU SO MUCH! 100% of all donations made by the public go straight to Fresh Futures to help us continue and improve our services, reaching more and more people in need each year and fulfilling our charitable objective of improving lives and inspiring change. Please CLICK HERE to make a donation.

6. Take 60 seconds to set up a free donation service forever!

Did you know that both Easy Fundraising and Amazon Smile offer really simple ways to donate money… without spending an penny yourself!! Both programmes are linked to your shopping baskets; so that whenever you ‘check out’ online, a percentage of your spend is donated on your behalf by the company. It takes less than a minute to set up and doesn’t cost you anything at all! Why not tell your friends how easy this is and see how many people you can get on board to double… or triple your impact!

Easy Fundraising – Learn More

Amazon Smile – Learn More

Whatever you decide to do, make sure you post about it on social media to help spread awareness of our charity. And don’t forget to tag us (@WeAreYCC) so we can follow, repost and support your resolutions along the way! 🙂

News Update: YCC’s 2023 Sustainability Action Plan Announced

During the January 2023 Sustainability Forum meeting, the representatives agreed the following 20-step action plan which will be rolled out throughout this year, ending with a re-assessment of YCC’s carbon footprint, to determine if our actions have resulted in an improvement of our score.

You can also view the full presentation considered during the forum meeting, in PDF format below.

If you would like to join the forum, attend a one-off meeting, or simply make any sustainable comments and/or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact YCC’s Sustainability Champion, by emailing [email protected].

News Update: Meet YCC’s Senior Leadership Team…

Do you know the people behind the faces of YCC’s Senior Leadership Team?

We caught up with them to find out exactly what they do for the charity, and how they divide their management of all of the small pieces that make up the big Fresh Futures picture… Oh, and we asked them a few silly questions, too – just for fun!

Mark Farmer – Chief Executive Officer

I came to Fresh Futures in November 2020, just as we went into lockdown – an interesting way to start a new role in a new organisation in a new area!

As Chief Executive, I am responsible to the Board of Trustees for driving the charity forwards with a clear strategic vision, to maximise the impact we have. In practice, this means managing the leadership team and working with them and external partners and funders to develop our services and promote Fresh Futures.

I believe in being open and available, and try to be visible and accessible to all the teams and sites across Fresh Futures. Although the majority of my time on site is at Brian Jackson House, I do enjoy being out and about, particularly if good coffee is on offer 😊 

For those of you who don’t me, my background is in senor charity leadership across a range of sectors – hospitality, outdoor education; travel, healthcare, and events  – and I try to bring this range of experience to my role to benefit Fresh Futures.

What’s your signature dish that you cook at home? Paella on a Spanish paella ring in the garden with a few beers.

If you won an all-expenses paid trip around the world, where would you visit? I’d take a train coast to coast across Canada then head to New Zealand and walk Te Araroa (google it!!)

What does your perfect weekend look like? In the fells in clear weather soaking up the views – ideally of snow-covered mountains

Catherine McKenzie – Head of Children & Family Services

Based at Brian Jackson House, I oversee a highly passionate team in delivering services to support the wellbeing of children and their families. We focus our support on healthy relationships, loneliness & isolation, and health & wellbeing.

Under the Children & Family Services umbrella we have 5 different teams who work towards different objectives and strive to support different members of the family: Thriving Kirklees, Community Connections, Hopeful Families (Employability), Child Contact, and DAPP (Domestic Abuse Perpetrator Programme).

The main focus and aim of all the support we offer is empowering people, by providing and educating in the skills, tools, and resources required to ensure and encourage the desire to make positive changes, which in turn, improves their lives. In my role, every day is different and every day provides a new challenge, which is why I find my role so enjoyable.  

If you could have one superpower what would it be? I would really love to have the ability to turn back time.

If you could go back 10 years and tell yourself something, what would you say? I would remind my younger self that anything is possible, so dream big!

What is your favourite movie of all time? Without a doubt… Dirty Dancing!

Jacqui Green – Headteacher at Brian Jackson College

I am the Head Teacher of Brian Jackson College which has two sites (Wellington House, Huddersfield & Vision House, Heckmondwike), although I have been working at Fresh Futures since 2013 across various roles.  

You can usually find me at either provision working operationally; researching and improving both schools which are forever evolving. I currently lead on the school curriculum which I continue to develop ensuring that it is broad and balanced providing our pupils with the same entitlement for education as they would receive in a mainstream setting.

It’s difficult to explain a typical day within either provision as one day is never the same as the next. Supporting pupils with SEMH has taught me about empathy, patience and an understanding of trauma and how that can impact a young persons life. I’m extremely proud of the work we do and to be part of something that makes a difference in a young persons life.

What’s the most spontaneous thing you have done in your life? When I was 18 years old, on a whim, I decided to give up my job and take a tent with £50 in my pocket;  jump on a ferry from hull to Hoek van Holland and go tulip bulb picking.

What does your perfect weekend look like? A perfect weekend would involve; sitting outside a caravan in the sunshine with the sight and sound of the sea whispering against shore.

What’s your signature dish that you cook at home? I love to cook Indian and Pakistani food especially curries. Never from a packet! My signature dish is a Dhansak and involves lentils. Its sweet and full of goodness just like me!

Sara Eltman – Head of Income & Partnerships

My role is a based at Brian Jackson House two to three days a week, with some remote work from home. I joined the team in June 2021 as Head of Income & Partnerships, which was a newly created role for the charity.

The Income & Partnerships team includes our Fundraising & Communications Co-ordinator and Pass It On charity shop employees and volunteers. The goals of our team are to raise awareness of the work of YCC, and ultimately to raise additional funds so the charity can continue to run and develop its services.

Our team manages the charities social media platforms and website content, and shares news and updates on fundraising and activities of the different services across Fresh Futures. The Income & Partnerships team work together with supporters from across our communities, businesses, groups and organisations, and external funders to generate income through a range of income streams.

If you could go back 10 years and tell yourself something, what would you say? I’d tell myself that you only live once, and you should do what makes you happy!

What’s the craziest thing you have ever done? Been crammed in a bus travelling up a narrow track then jumping off the side of a very high mountain in Turkey paragliding.

Tell us about your favourite holiday? My favourite holiday is to the Greek island of Kos to a little place called Kefalos.

Rob Edden – Head of Finance & Support Services

Based at Brian Jackson House, my role is predominantly finance based, although I do also work a lot with the management of the charity’s 4 buildings; Brian Jackson House, Jo Cox House, Vision House and Wellington House.

On the finance side of things, I am responsible for everything to do with budgets. I work with each department to set realistic budgets that meet the needs of the teams, and then ensure that budgets are adhered to and that the charity runs in the most financially efficient way possible. I report to the Finance Committee and the Board of Trustees, who I provide reports for on a monthly basis. 

Under the ‘Support Services’ umbrella falls everything to do with property. From the day-to-day running to one-off refurbishment and rental negotiations. This means I have two teams, the finance team, based at BJH, and the front of house team who are based across BJH and JCH. 

Tell us about your favourite holiday? Zambia, a working holiday! bit of finance in the day, with Safari, Victoria Falls, white water rafting and being chased by elephant on horse back the rest of the time.

What is your favourite movie of all time? Can’t have one 😊. Highlander – retro fantasy. Blindside – feel good, rooting for underdog, It’s a Wonderful Life, there is no other way to start Christmas and get a bit of perspective on your life.

If you were deserted on an island, what three things would you take with you? Spotify, my golf clubs….my wife 😊

Service Spotlight: Brian Jackson College

Did you know that Fresh Futures owns and manages not one, but TWO alternative provision colleges?

The Brian Jackson Colleges are ‘alternative provisions’ providing vocational and core subject education for students aged 13-16, who have been excluded or are looking at permanent exclusion from a mainstream school. The colleges, based at Huddersfield and Heckmondwike, support students in many ways. Here are just a few….

At Brian Jackson College, we:

  • Teach core subjects in preparation for GCSE examinations,
  • Teach a large variety of vocational subjects, such as hairdressing, food tech and motor vehicle courses – which support pupils into ‘positive destinations’, such as employment or apprenticeships after graduation,
  • Support all pupils with social, emotional and mental health difficulties by working with SENCOs (Special Educational Needs Coordinators) and Nurture Managers,
  • Work together with each pupil to create a bespoke EHCP (Education Health and Care Plan) whenever required.
  • Deliver Key Worker sessions where students learn about conflict resolution, social media awareness and dealing with emotions.
  • Prepare pupils for life after Brian Jackson College, including the accredited Financial Education Award that helps pupils plan to support themselves and live independently in the future.
  • Make sure that the pupils have FUN and access to the normal experiences that teenagers should have – such as fitness coaching sessions, ice cream days, allotment visits, sports days, and MUCH MORE!!!

Leadership Team Coordinator, Samantha Latchayya, told us: “Brian Jackson College isn’t just a safe space for pupils to learn; it offers a new opportunity for these students who often feel let down by mainstream education, to discover their strengths, pursue their passions, and become successful adults. The work that the colleges do is simply inspiring!“.

Our most recent Ofsted report in March 2019 stated that ‘The school’s ethos and culture promotes all aspects of pupils’ welfare. Staff help pupils with previously unsuccessful experiences of school to overcome the barriers that exist and re-engage well with education. One pupil said, ‘They give us a future.’

Jacqui Green, BJC Headteacher

Brian Jackson College shares the same mission as all of the Fresh Futures departments, to IMPROVE LIVES AND INSPIRE CHANGE. And boy do they deliver! Check out the 3 minute video below to gain a greater insight into Brian Jackson College…

Watch our short video to learn all about YCC’s Brian Jackson College!

Did you know that Brian Jackson College is currently recruiting? Click HERE to view the college’s current vacancies and join an incredible team of people!

Learn more about the colleges by visiting their website:

#WeAreFresh Futures #BrianJacksonCollege

Fresh Futures All Staff Team Day a Huge Success

On 6th September, 100 members of the Fresh Futures team came together at Brian Jackson House, Huddersfield for the very first All Staff Team Day.

The day was hosted by Chief Exec, Mark Farmer, Coordinated by Samantha Latchayya, Facilitated by Steve Hargreaves of The Compassionate Leadership Company, and included support from Sam Teale of Sam Teale Productions.

On arrival, staff were greeted with a short talk and refreshments before getting stuck into the ice-breaker challenge – a huge game of staff bingo! Staff had to tick off random facts about one another, such as: Who got married at the top of a ski slope?, Who is left handed?, and who has been to Egypt?

The day then followed with several sessions, which included Lego challenges, a one-team ball challenge, campfire discussions surrounding team achievements, creating Fresh Futures video clips for departments and photo treasure hunts – with prizes awarded to the winning teams.

One of the boards showing the joint achievements accomplished since Covid-19. Working across departments, we were able to really see just how much of a huge and positive difference Fresh Futures has made to the communities over the last 2 years.

The Charity’s Chair of Trustees, Ira Laketic-Ljubojevic told us, “It was a fantastic day – so many people attended, everyone contributed, everyone had fun and lots of new or extended connections were made. A true success and another important step for #WeAreYCC”.

The Photo Treasure Hunt saw a list of 50 items that teams had to try and fit into one photo. It ranged from people playing a game, to a ghost!

We can’t wait to share a video with you from the day, in a few days time…. watch this space!!

Fresh Futures Mourns the Passing of Queen Elizabeth II As a mark of respect Fresh Futures will be closed on Monday 19th September and Re-open on Tuesday 20th September

Fresh Futures are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Her Majesty The Queen.

As we offer our heartfelt condolences to the Royal Family, we reflect with gratitude and admiration on an extraordinary lifetime of service.

During 70 years of remarkable service, the queen demonstrated an unstinting passion for charities and ensured her patronage of hundreds of good causes was integral to her public duties

Many of our children and adult service users will have known only Queen Elizabeth II as the monarch of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth Realms, for their lifetimes; so the next coming weeks may be a strange and upsetting time for many across our communities.

Fresh Futures is here to support the communities, across Huddersfield, Heckmondwike and Batley, through our Community Friend and Community Champion work. and you can find details of these services on our website.

All Fresh Futures staff across all the Fresh Futures buildings will be observing the bank holiday Monday on 19th September 2022, to celebrate the Queen’s life during her funeral, and services will therefore be closed for this day.


Fresh Futures Launches a 3-Year Sustainability Action Plan

This month, Fresh Futures are pleased to be announcing the launch of their new sustainability action plan, which will see the charity take on many environmental responsibilities to tackle climate change.

This is an incredibly important move for the charity, and will involve three significant stages.

  1. Fresh Futures Trustees have agreed YCC’s new Sustainability Policy – the first policy of its kind for the charity.
  2. Fresh Futures has established a Sustainability Forum which is made up of employees, trustees and volunteers, to help steer progress and hold the charity accountable for some needed changes.
  3. The agreed action plan – launched September 2022 – will focus on YCC’s ‘7 Pillars of Change’: Reduce, Recycle, Reuse, Replace, Reject, Educate and Engage.

YCC’s nominated Sustainability Champion, Samantha Latchayya, told us:

“This is a really exciting turning point for the charity. Not only are we going to make so big internal changes that will directly benefit the environment, but we will be able to encourage further sustainable development within our local communities that we work with, heling our service users understand the importance and the benefits of sustainability for their families and the generations to come.”

It’s full steam ahead for Fresh Futures and the Sustainability Forum who have already agreed the first steps on the agenda. This includes introducing the ‘Cycle to Work’ scheme, enhancing recycling facilities across their five buildings and reducing waste such as paper and water as much as possible across all of their departments.

If you would like to learn more, you can view YCC’s Sustainability Policy and Action Plan below, or register your interest to join the Sustainability Forum, by emailing the Sustainability Champion: [email protected].

#WeAreFresh Futures