New books for YCC!

Fresh Futures have recently received a fabulous donation of brand-new books from Independent Usborne Book Partner, Lauren Sykes (Albie’s Bookshelf).

Back in the Summer, Lauren decided that she wanted to fundraise for a local charity who support families in her local area, so she chose Yorkshire Children’s Centre after hearing about the vital services we provide.

Lauren held numerous fundraising activities including raffling signed rugby league shirts and prizes that were generously donated by local businesses. Lauren was overwhelmed when her final fundraising total was an incredible £720! Usborne then topped this up by 10% taking the grand total to £792.

Fresh Futures staff and supporters enjoyed selecting over 100 books that will be used across all our sites including the Colleges in Heckmondwike and Huddersfield, and our Contact Centres. Books have also been chosen to be used in our Toy Appeal this Christmas; ensuring no child in Kirklees wakes up without a gift on Christmas Day.

Lauren told YCC, “As an Independent Usborne Partner I love getting new books out to people so enjoy running community book pledges. I chose to raise money for the Yorkshire Children’s Centre as I think the work they do is amazing and so many children and adults will benefit from the books in different ways. I love seeing people enjoying reading and learning together.”

Lauren would like to give a special thank you to Hird and Partners Vets, and Tivoli Travel Mirfield & Holmfirth for their amazing donations towards her fundraising.

Trustees’ Week: Meet Dr Ira Laketic-Ljubojevic

6th – 10th November is Trustees’ Week, so we’ve spoken to our Chair of the Board, Dr Ira Laketic-Ljubojevic, about what it’s like to be a trustee at Yorkshire Children’s Centre.  It’s also Living Wage Week so we spoke to her about why Fresh Futures is proud to be a real Living Wage Employer.

Tell us a little bit about yourself Ira.

I was born and raised in Sarajevo, Former Yugoslavia (now Bosnia and Herzegovina), where I studied medicine before the outbreak of the civil war. I was lucky enough to escape the troubles in the Balkans in the late 1992 and come to the UK where I completed my education and progressed my career within the public and charitable sectors. Having experienced adversity myself – including experiencing war and homelessness as a young female, my ambition is about improving people’s experience, quality of life and wellbeing by enabling and enhancing information and support offered that tackles inequalities and isolation, and facilitates inclusion, independence and choice.

What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about and committed to creating a positive lasting difference that will benefit people – especially vulnerable, disadvantaged, and marginalised groups, as well as the wider society. I care about people. That is the driving force behind my passion for equity, quality and improvements. In all my work to date I have been raising awareness of and tackling inequalities and doing my utmost to create conditions for and support culture of inclusiveness and equity of opportunity for all. Participating actively and with accountability, in life and in work, is what I am keen to do with my life. I have a zeal for safety, quality, equality and inclusion, with a focus on accountability, governance, learning and continuous improvement – I am driven by a need for continuous improvements, both personal and organisational.

Why did you decide to become a trustee at YCC?

Fresh Futures is the charity that supports vulnerable and disadvantaged children and young people, and their families. Its vision is for all young people to have opportunities for a better life, now and in the future. That target audience and beneficiaries and those objectives are something that resonate strongly with me and I simply needed to be involved and see how I can be of help and contribute to the accomplishment of the organisation’s objectives.

How do the trustees at Fresh Futures work together to support the charity and its staff?

We are a team and we work as a team. We, as both individuals and the group, bring a range of expertise, insights, experience and understandings to the table that support the work and the wider outcomes of the organisation. We work closely with the leadership team to ensure strategic approaches for the organisation and the governance are sound and effective.

It’s also Living Wage Week and Fresh Futures is a Living Wage employer, why is it important to you that Fresh Futures has signed the pledge to pay its employees real Living Wage?

It is very important that people who work for our organisation are properly recognised for their hard work, loyalty and contribution; for the difference they make. Salary is one part of that recognition. It is important to me that there is an equality of opportunity for everyone and that includes the concept that everyone can earn a salary that meets every day’s basic needs, regardless of where they are in the organisational hierarchy. As a charity, we do great things and help some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people within our society. We also want to be a good employer and behave in alignment with our values. One way we demonstrate that we value our teams is by paying them a real living wage.

What are the three most important qualities for a trustee to have?

Integrity, passion for the cause, and empathy. Of course, there are many valuable qualities a trustee can demonstrate but to me those three are most important.

Finally, for anyone who’s considering become a trustee, what advice would you give them?

Go for it if you are given an opportunity. You will make a difference. Giving time, knowledge, empathy and energy can help overcome some of society’s most complex problems and build stronger communities, enabling individuals to improve their experiences and quality of life. Trustees as volunteers make a real, tangible, lasting and positive difference to people’s lives and it is great that so many people are engaged with various causes as trustees.

Thank you Ira for your time talking to us, and for the contributions you and the rest of the Board make to Fresh Futures on a daily basis.

Local business Langricks Chartered Accountants raise £1,550 for YCC!

On 14th September, local business Langricks Chartered Accountants hosted their 6th annual charity golf day at the iconic Woodsome Hall Golf Club in Almondbury and raised an incredible £1,550 for Yorkshire Children’s Centre.

This year, Langricks who combine their team’s love of golf with raising money for charities, chose Yorkshire Children’s Centre as one of their charities, with special thanks to Camilla Langrick who is Langricks’ Business Development Director. Camilla is a Community Friend volunteer at Yorkshire Children’s Centre and has therefore seen first-hand the difference we make in the community to disadvantage children, young people and families. 

Once the big day was announced earlier this year, 80 players eagerly signed up to secure their place to attend the memorable annual event. As part of the day and to boost their fundraising, the team held a big raffle.

Camilla said “When a call out for raffle prizes was shared with the businesses in the Holmfirth Business Community, we were overwhelmed with the number of raffle prizes that were donated, including jewellery, beauty salon vouchers, a glamp at the Holme Valley Camping site, and even an MOT. The Holmfirth Business Community really delivered in the name of charity.”

“It is important to us that each year we give something back to the community that we live and work in, we were delighted to raise £1,550 for Fresh Futures this year, we know it is going to a very worthwhile cause.”

Fresh Futures would love to say a huge thank you to Camilla and the team at Langricks’ for choosing to support Fresh Futures this year.

Are you a local business looking to support a charity this Christmas and in 2024? Why not get in touch with us today to find out more about Fresh Futures and the work we deliver in Kirklees and surrounding areas.

This Christmas, we are running a Christmas Bauble campaign where we kindly ask businesses to sponsor a bauble for £50, and in return we will display your logo on a bauble which will be displayed on our Tree of Wishes in the Brian Jackson House.

Next year, we will be celebrating our 50th anniversary and to mark this special occasion we would like to connect with local businesses to support our exciting upcoming community initiatives and events.

To discuss how Fresh Futures could work with your business, please get in touch with us at: [email protected] or call: 01484 519988


Pass It On charity shop news!

For many years, Yorkshire Children’s Centre have run a charity shop called ‘Pass It On’ in Heckmondwike. 

‘Pass It On’ is currently based on the same site as one of Fresh Futures colleges which provides alternative education provision to young people who have been or are at risk of being excluded from mainstream education.  The provision is unique because alongside offering traditional curriculum lessons such as Maths and English, it provides the opportunity for young people to gain hands-on vocational experience and skills in sectors such as hospitality, beauty, and the trades.

Currently, the college based in Heckmondwike supports 50 young people aged 14 to 16.  However, demand for places is far higher than the current available provision.

Fresh Futures recognises that 2023 is a very challenging time to be a young person. The Covid pandemic has meant that young people have lost almost two years within a traditional education setting, years that are crucial to the development of their core life skills.

Research by the Prince’s Trust, published last year, found that (23%) of young people asked in the UK agree they will never recover from the emotional impact of the Covid pandemic. The report reveals the happiness and confidence of 16 to 25 year olds has hit the lowest point in its thirteen-year history. More than a third (36%) reveal that the pandemic has caused a long-term negative impact on their stress levels. Also, almost half (48%) report experiencing a mental health problem, 46% say the pandemic has made their mental health worse, and 44% agree they are more anxious now.

Yorkshire Children’s Charity recognises that now is the time to act to support young people who are at risk of being not able to see positive futures for themselves.  We are excited to announce that moving forward we will be using the space currently occupied by ‘Pass It On’ to expand the college with additional classrooms.  In addition to creating new spaces, it will also enable us to provide provision for over 16-year-olds.  The move into post 16 provision is vital – young people are now required to be in education or training until they are 18, however many colleges do not provide suitable support for our young people.  By providing this new service, Fresh Futures hopes to move a step closer to our vision of all young people having opportunities for a better life, now and in the future.

Mark Farmer, CEO at Yorkshire Children’s Centre, says: “This is an exciting time for Fresh Futures and we’re pleased to be able to move forward with this expansion.  We know that there is a significant need in the local area and this increased provision will make an important difference to local families and young people.  Young people are at risk of becoming a lost generation due to Covid and other significant world events, such as the cost of living crisis and the Ukraine war, which are impacting on all areas of society. By growing our provision, we are helping to meet the urgent need of young people in Kirklees.”

This expansion does mean that from 7th October, Fresh Futures will no longer be running our Pass It On shop.  However, this isn’t the end for Pass It On!  There’s new exciting developments coming soon that will be announced over the next few weeks – watch this space!

In the meantime, we’d like to thank anyone who has kindly supported the charity shop previously, we remain incredibly grateful for all of the support from the local community!

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.

Fresh Futures team up with Pilotlight

Fresh Futures was established in Kirklees almost 50 years ago, and we are here to ensure children and families are given opportunities for a better life when being faced with challenges. We want to still be here in the next 50 years, making a positive impact to even more families.

To future proof YCC, we are delighted to announce that we have teamed up with Pilotlight, a charity that connects senior leaders (also known as ‘Pilotlighters’) from businesses to support and coach charities, such as YCC, through their strategic choices and decision.

Recently, we invited our Pilotlighters to our Trustee and Management meeting where they coached us through a review of our name and brand. Their expert advice is already making a big difference in helping us shape the charity’s future and to sustain longevity.

Fresh Futures are looking forward to continuing to work with Pilotlight and seeing their support come into fruition to enable us to continue improving lives and inspiring change to those living in Kirklees and surrounding areas.

Fresh Futures Chief Executive Officer, Mark Farmer, said “We have already worked with a team of ‘Pilotlighters’ from KPMG to look at our name and brand, and have taken some of that work forwards with our Trustees.  We look forward to joining the Pilotlight 360 programme in the coming months.”


YCC’s sustainability mission continues at Brian Jackson College

As part of Fresh Futures mission to become more sustainable, the Brian Jackson College’s have been making it one of their priorities to educate their colleagues and pupils of the importance of sustainability and the impact each person could make to the community they live in.

With only being weeks away from welcoming our pupils back into the colleges, we are looking back at what the Brian Jackson College Teams were up to just before the summer holidays! Food Technology Tutor, Matt Lumb, created some delicious home-made recipes and demonstrated to the pupils how easy it is to make nutritional food for themselves and their families with sustainable produce.

All the pupils joined in and created some wonderful dishes which were enjoyed by everyone. They have kindly shared their recipes with us so we can try them at home too! You can view the recipes by clicking on your favourite below:

Carrot and Coriander Soup

Tomato Soup

Quorn Mince and Ale Pie

The Brian Jackson College’s have also been placing recycling bins around their buildings for plastic, cans, paper and compost wastage meaning the amount of waste being sent from Fresh Futures to landfill is being drastically reduced.

Here at Fresh Futures we are so proud of the continued changes we are making across all our sites to become a more sustainable organisation.

We are currently looking for volunteers to support us with our ongoing sustainability plans and to join us in making a positive impact. If you are interested in becoming part of the team, please email: [email protected] or call: 01484 519 988

Volunteer of the Month: August

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 Helen who has been volunteering as a Community Friend for two and a half years. Helen has been an incredible volunteer and support to her friends, June and Joanne, and has made a positive impact on their lives through her uplifting, encouraging and motivating presence.

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

How long have you been volunteering for the charity? Two and a half years

Tell us a bit about yourself: I work in an adult social care front door service. I am married with a son who is about to make the leap into University life.

Tell us about your volunteering role: I started supporting a lady with weekly phone calls during Covid, and when lockdown was lifted, my Community Friend asked for in-person meet ups; We now speak or meet up every two to three weeks. About a year ago, I was asked if I could befriend another lady who had asked for home visits, and I now visit or phone her every couple of weeks. Sometimes, I will take my friends out to places such as the cinema, shopping, or the garden centre.

What made you want to start volunteering with YCC? Like some of my family and friends, I decided to volunteer as a Community Friend during Covid when I saw social media adverts looking for volunteers. I also knew of others who were also volunteering and I was aware through my work of the impact that social isolation had on people.  

If you feel inspired to become a volunteer like Helen, or if you would like to volunteer in any way for our charity, please contact Fresh Futures Volunteer Officer, Daisy, on: 01484 519988 or email: [email protected]

Meet the Team: Lynne Haigh

Name: Lynne Haigh

Job Title: Fundraising and Communications Coordinator

Date joined YCC: February 2020

Tell us a little about yourself: I have two young children so I don’t have much time for hobbies that don’t include soft play, but before kids I was a keen skier and runner and I worked a ski season in France after I left University.

Your role in a nutshell: I work in the Income and Partnerships team and do everything from fundraising events, social media, website articles and networking with local companies to raise awareness and funds for Fresh Futures.   

Why do you like working for YCC? The role I am in is very varied and there are so many new and exciting opportunities that come up all the time, so I am always busy.

What’s one of your favourite work memories? I recently took part in a podcast in the air where I was asked questions about Fresh Futures in a 4-seater plane – you can watch this HERE.

And finally, what advice would you give to people considering working at YCC? It’s a really good place to work with a lot of opportunities and the people are amazing.

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

Fresh Futures Lynne Haigh takes to the skies!

Back in June, Fresh Futures Fundraising and Communications Coordinator, Lynne Haigh, went the extra mile and flew over 3000ft in the air to be interviewed by private pilot, and director of Digital Energy Agency, Daniel Todd.  

Daniel of Digital Energy Agency is one of Fresh Futures corporate partners and is aware of the support our charity needs and the impact our services have on the lives of those living in and around Kirklees. So, earlier this summer he invited Lynne to take on her first small flight experience and be a part of his ‘On-Air Club’ Podcast to talk all things Fresh Futures.

The flight took off from Sherburn-in-Elmet airfield and the pair took in breath-taking views of the Yorkshire countryside, flying over Harrogate, York and even reaching the Humber Bridge.

Despite feeling some motion sickness, Lynne enjoyed her experience which was all for a good cause. Lynne said, “It was a glorious day which meant we were able to fly for over an hour and got to see landmarks like York Minster and the Humber Bridge! The aim of the video was to raise awareness for the charity whilst also having a fun day out and it was great to be able to discuss the amazing work Fresh Futures does and the people we support! I just wish I hadn’t felt as queasy towards the end!!”

When Fresh Futures thanked Daniel for the fantastic opportunity to enable us to reach out to more families, and supporters, Daniel said, “I chose to interview Fresh Futures as they’re a charity that are close to our hearts and have a fantastic cause. I had a great time chatting with Lynne about the amazing work the charity does and hope that we can continue to provide support in the future – the podcast is an extension of that!”

Click here to watch the full ‘On-Air Club’ podcast.