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

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.

Meet the Team: Katie Shephard

This month we have caught up with Katie who is the Head of Income and Partnerships at Fresh Futures. Katie joined the team back in September and is passionate about making a difference to children, young people and families. Katie is already planning some exciting events and activities for 2024 so keep your eyes peeled!

Job Title: Head of Income and Partnerships       

Date joined YCC: 11th September 2023

Tell us a little bit about yourself: I’ve worked in the charity sector for the past 15+ years and I’m really passionate about making a difference.  As a parent, Fresh Futures work is really close to my heart and it’s fantastic the way that the charity works to support families holistically so they get the support they need to move forward to a positive future.

Tell us about your role at YCC: I oversee all of the fundraising activity at Fresh Futures which means I get to work with all the wonderful people and companies who do fantastic fundraisers for us.  I also oversee all of the marketing and comms activity, which includes things like our social media channels.

Why do you like working for YCC? It’s fantastic! The charity does amazing work with local people across Kirklees, providing vital support and services to people who need them.  It’s also a great team to be a part of, everyone is so committed and enthusiastic.

And finally, what advice would you give to people considering working at YCC? Definitely go for it! It’s a fantastic place to work, with wonderful people, and there’s always something new and interesting happening. 

If you would like to join the Fresh Futures Team, keep a look out for our current vacancies HERE.

#WeAreFresh Futures #MeetTheTeam

Ukrainian Independence Day

On the 3rd September 2023, the Ukrainian community in North Kirklees joined together to celebrate Independence Day.

To mark this special occasion for our Ukrainian friends, YCC’s Community Connections Team organised a free family-fun event at the United Reformed Church in Heckmondwike. Throughout the day, over 80 people attended, including adults and children, to enjoy lots of activities including flower crafting, face painting and treasure hunts. We were also provided with fabulous music by Yulia Lord, and a Cossack dance performance.

One of the event attendees, Maryna, said: “We don’t get to see each other much anymore with work and stuff, so this event gives us that chance. Thank you”.

Fresh Futures Communities Officer, Ryan Cross said: “Seeing the Ukrainian people that we have been working with come together and celebrate their culture has been a wonderful thing. It’s always a pleasure working with these guys, especially when we can see the progress that has been made in whatever endeavours they have embarked upon. Whether it’s employment, learning English or living independent of their host family, they are all achieving incredible things.”

We would like to say a HUGE thank you to the United Reformed Church for supporting this event, and S2R for co-hosting the event, and a very special thank you to Arabella who helped run our wonderful activities on the day.

News Update: Brian Jackson College celebrates ‘Good’ Ofsted rating!

Fresh Futures Brian Jackson College are proud to announce that they have once again achieved a rating of GOOD during their recent Ofsted inspection!

At Brian Jackson College, we pride ourselves on the quality of work we deliver, and the outcomes we achieve to improve the lives of young people and inspire positive change to encourage better opportunities for their futures.

In June we welcomed Ofsted inspectors into Brian Jackson College, where they carried out a two-day inspection of our education settings across Huddersfield and Heckmondwike. We were delighted that the inspectors recognised the invaluable support, ongoing improvements, and dedication we provide to our young people on a daily basis.

Throughout their visit, inspectors spent time talking to staff and students, and discussing their views around various topics such as safeguarding, bullying and equality and diversity. The staff and students gave glowing feedback and spoke highly of the unique family-feel at the college. The inspectors agreed with the comments and observations made, so much so, they have awarded us, for the third time, a GOOD Ofsted rating.

The team at Brian Jackson College couldn’t be prouder of maintaining this achievement throughout the years.

Headteacher, Jacqui Green, was over-joyed to share the exciting news with parents, carers, students and colleagues. Jacqui said: “This is an excellent report, particularly at a time when the benchmark for ‘Good’ is at the highest level it has ever been. I am particularly pleased that Ofsted recognised the journey of improvements made at Brian Jackson College over the past four years and I would like to thank the parents/carers who have supported the school during this time. Once again, may I thank all those involved in the inspection itself, especially the staff, Brian Jackson College, governors, and the pupils who shone during the inspection process and continue to make a positive contribution to school life.”

Mark Farmer, Chief Executive Officer at Yorkshire Children’s Centre, added: “I am delighted that the great work our team do to develop our students continues to be recognised by Ofsted. Our model of blending academic and vocational learning, in a nurturing, supportive and safe environment, provides a fresh start for young people for whom mainstream schooling has not worked. Brian Jackson College is a shining example of good alternative education provision, and I am proud of the difference we make.”

Brian Jackson College is an alternative provision school, run across two sites in Heckmondwike and Huddersfield, teaching core and vocational subjects to around 60 pupils in years 9-11.

To find out more about Brian Jackson College, please visit:

#BrianJacksonCollege #WeAreYCC