Volunteer of the Month: July

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 are giving a very special THANK YOU to Martyn Sykes who has been volunteering at YCC’s Pass It On shop for almost seven years. Martyn is a loyal and dedicated member of the team, and is known for going the extra mile for his colleagues and customers. 

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

  1. Name: Martyn Sykes
  2. How long have you been volunteering for the charity? 7 years on the 26th September.
  3. Please explain your volunteering role in a nutshell: I help the Pass It on team in any way I can, but mostly I enjoy working with the logistics team doing collections and deliveries. You never know what we are going to pick up from someone’s house. I make sure on a morning when I volunteer that everyone has a cuppa to start the day off well.
  4. What made you want to start volunteering with YCC? Originally, I came via the job centre on an 8-week placement and I enjoyed what I was doing, so I stayed on afterwards.
  5. And finally, what advice would you give to people considering volunteering with YCC? Just to give it a go – you never know until you try, keep your horizons open and you are helping people out which is a good thing.

If you feel inspired to become a volunteer like Martyn, or if you would like to volunteer in any way for our charity, please contact YCC’s Volunteer Development Manager, Lucy on: 01484 519988 or email: [email protected]

News update: Sustainability improvements continue at YCC

As part of Fresh Futures aim to continue making positive changes and improvements to our sustainability choices across our organisation, we wanted to share with you all what we have been up to since our last update!  


To help make recycling glass easier, Fresh Futures buildings now have ‘glass only’ recycling bins displayed around their premises for all users of the buildings to utilise. This means more glass will be recycled in the correct way, and will avoid being sent to landfill.

Did you know?

  • Glass is 100% recyclable and can be endlessly recycled with no loss of quality. That’s why it’s one of the most sustainable materials to use.
  • In Kirklees, glass cannot go into the ‘General Recycling’ council bin. This is because glass is recycled in a separate location.
  • If you put glass into your ‘general recycling’ bin in Kirklees, it will be redirected to landfill (along with all the other recycling it was combined with!) so please do not put glass in a general recycling bin. Instead, all glass should be taken to glass bottle banks which are located in various locations in your local area, including your local recycling centre.


Fresh Futures have recently been sharing and increasing their staff’s knowledge with information about how to recycle soft plastic items in the best way to avoid them being sent to landfill.

Soft plastic items include: Crisp packets, pasta bags, chocolate wrappers, salad bags, bread bags, fruit and vegetable packaging, and baby and pet food pouches.

Did you know?

  • Similar to glass, soft plastics can NOT go into the ‘General Recycling’ council bin. This is because they can get caught in the sorting machinery at recycling facilities and so can’t be processed with other plastics.
  • Soft plastics are generally defined as plastics that can be scrunched into a ball, unlike ‘rigid’ plastics such as bottles and tubs. Just like glass, soft plastics must be recycled separately. So please do not put soft-plastics in your general recycling bins.
  • All soft plastic recycling should be taken to soft plastic specific recycling bins, found in supermarkets such as Aldi and Co-op. From there, these plastics are turned into things such as bags for life and other recycled plastic items.
  • The easiest way to recycle soft plastics is to collect your (clean) soft plastics at home, and take them with you (along with your reusable shopping bags) every so often when you head to the supermarket.

Click here to find out more about YCC’s sustainability improvements and 2023 plans.

We are looking for a Sustainability Champion Volunteer!

An exciting volunteering opportunity has arisen for a creative and enthusiastic individual to work alongside our charity’s Leadership Team on our Sustainability Action Plan – making positive, sustainable changes within our organisation. For more information, please click HERE.

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: www.brianjacksoncollege.co.uk

#BrianJacksonCollege #WeAreYCC

Walkers hike up Castle Hill for YCC

On Sunday 2nd July, a group of walkers gave up their morning to take on a 2.5 mile hike to Castle Hill (and back again!) to raise funds for Yorkshire Children’s Centre.

Despite the mixed weather conditions of sun, rain and wind along the way, that didn’t stop the 16 walkers from coming together, and smiling whilst taking on the mini peak for Fresh Futures. 

Amongst the group of walkers, included the youngest participant, four-year-old Archie, who wanted to walk with his Mum and Grandma. Archie managed to walk the entire way, even up the big hills! Well done Archie!

As the walkers reached the top of a very windy Castle Hill, they took a few minutes to have a rest and enjoy refreshments before starting the descent back to Brian Jackson House.  

One of the walkers said: “During the trip, we witnessed breathtaking scenery and shared incredible moments together.”

So far, the event has raised an amazing £600! Including super-fundraisers Laura Cumiskey, and her children, James and Emily-Mae who have raised £200!

Fresh Futures would like to say a HUGE thank you to every single person who took part in the event, and for everyone who donated towards the event. It’s because of you that we can continue making a difference to the lives of local children, young people and their families.

Fresh Futures would also like to say thank you to Barr Soft Drinks and Tesco’s in Huddersfield who kindly donated the refreshments for Fresh Futures walkers, and kept them hydrated and energised throughout the walk.

If you would like to find out about Fresh Futures upcoming events, visit our website by clicking here.

News Update: Young Onset Dementia Group

After eight years of building and establishing Fresh Futures Young Onset Dementia Group, last Thursday 30th June, the team handed the reins over to Kirklees Dementia Hub and Hoot Creative Arts who will work in partnership to ensure the fabulous work and vital support continues for the individuals and their families involved in this group.

The group began it’s journey with Fresh Futures back in 2015, and was held every Thursday at the Chinese Community Centre on Cambridge Road in Huddersfield before moving to it’s permanent base at Brian Jackson House. The group was set up by Fresh Futures Community Connections Team and over the years, it was run by Christine Rhodes and Gez Walsh.

The group was initially created to support those living with Young Onset Dementia, who are working age adults under 65 years old. The support also extended to partners and their families to offer a safe space to speak to someone and ask for advice over a cuppa.

The group has become a vital asset to the community for the individuals involved and has been a place for people to make friends and feel less alone over the last eight years. The ethos of the group has been around peer support, keeping healthy, being involved with local communities and above all, having fun together!

Fresh Futures Community Connection’s Team are so proud to see how established the group has become and the difference it makes to people’s lives.

It is safe to say that without the help of weekly volunteers, this group wouldn’t be where it is today. Fresh Futures would like to say a HUGE thank you to Tim Varga, Dawn Patrice, Dawn Turner, Stephen Yates, Katharine Marsh and Lorraine Jackson Royal, with a special thank you to queen baker Dawn Patrice, who has baked amazing treats for the group week in, week out, for the last five years!

Fresh Futures Community Connection’s Service Manager, Christine, said: “It’s been a privilege and an honour to facilitate this group over the last six years and be a part of everyone’s journey with dementia, I can honestly say it’s been the best group I’ve ever been involved with and we owe a huge thank you to all of the volunteers (named above) who have turned up rain or shine to support this group.  I wish Kirklees Dementia Hub and Hoot Creative Arts the very best with their future journey with the group”

YCC’s Community Connections Farewell Trip to Yorkshire Sculpture Park before handing the reins over to
Kirklees Dementia Hub and Hoot Creative Arts.

From July 2023, Kirklees Dementia Hub and Hoot Creative Arts will be working in partnership to continue running this group, and ensuring the fabulous work continues. The great news is that the group will be held in the same venue, on the same day and the same time! For information, details included below:

Venue: Brian Jackson House, New North Parade, Huddersfield, HD1 5JP

Day: Every Thursday Time: 1pm – 3pm

If you would like to find out more about this group, please contact Charlene Friedl from Kirklees Dementia Hub on:

Direct Tel: 07387019180

Office Tel: 01484 503 908

Email: [email protected]

Brian Jackson College say a fond farewell to their Year 11 leavers

On 14th June, Brian Jackson College in Heckmondwike saw the last of the GCSE exams for their Year 11 pupils. To give the pupils the best send off, the college put on a celebration which included a barbecue, cooked by the college’s Food Technology teacher, Matt Lumb, and Transitional Keyworker, Kelsey Sweeting.

After the staff and pupils had enjoyed their food, the pupils were invited to an all-school assembly where certificates were handed out, as well as a memorable personalised school hoody as a keepsake.

Dawn Humpleby who is the SEN assessment co-ordinator at the college said, “We will miss the year 11’s so much. We are proud of each and every one of them.”

Staff would like to wish all the Year 11’s the best of luck in their futures.

Here are some photos from their last day…

Thank you so much: Volunteers

Here at Fresh Futures we are so grateful to each and every one of our volunteers who dedicate their precious time and expertise to support Fresh Futures. During Volunteer’s Week (1st – 7th June), it was important to us to let our volunteers know how much they mean to us, by organising events where we could all come together to share our stories, our favourite volunteering moments and to make some new friends.

Fresh Futures Community Connections team held a variety of events during the week including a ‘Walk and Lunch’ at Greenhead Park in Huddersfield and Batley Park, a Drop-In at Jo Cox House in Batley where volunteers could pop in for a cuppa and cake, and a Summer Afternoon Tea at Brian Jackson House for Fresh Futures Community Friends.

Volunteer Development Manager, Lucy Martin, said: “Thank you to everyone who attended the events over Volunteer’s Week. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did! The contribution of our volunteer’s often goes unseen, but the impact they have in the lives of the children and families they support through their volunteering role is HUGE. We couldn’t do what we do without you, and we’d like to give our thanks and show our appreciation, not just during Volunteer’s Week, but all year round. We’ll look forward to doing it all again next year 😊.THANK YOU.”

We are also very excited to announce we now have 200 volunteers supporting YCC!

Volunteer of the Month: June

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 are giving a very special THANK YOU to Chris Sinclair who has been volunteering as a community friend at Fresh Futures for the last 9 months. Chris has already created a lasting relationship with his friend, and has become an invaluable support to him and his wife.

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

  1. Name: Chris Sinclair
  2. How long have you been volunteering for the charity? 9 months. 
  3. Please explain your volunteering role in a nutshell: I am a Community Friend for YCC, and I visit my friend once a week. Every other week, I take my friend and his wheelchair in the car to see his wife who suffers from Dementia, and is in a care home. It’s the best thing I can do to help him, and he appreciates it immensely.
  4. What made you want to start volunteering with YCC? I started volunteering with Fresh Futures after a friend told me about her experience and how rewarding it was.
  5. And finally, what advice would you give to people considering volunteering with YCC? If anyone asked me whether it’s worthwhile doing it, I’d say that it’s very fulfilling, and one day someone may do something like that for them. I’d suggest that they try it – there’s little to lose, and everything to gain.

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

News Update: Fresh Futures Charity Loses Parking After 35 Years Due To Railway Redevelopment

Yorkshire Children’s Centre (YCC), which has its headquarters at Brian Jackson House, Huddersfield has recently been impacted as a result of the redevelopment of Huddersfield train station.

The changes come from the Transpennine Route Upgrade plan. In the plan, Network Rail plans to invest in the railway that runs through Huddersfield to Leeds and beyond, to improve connectivity and help support economic growth in the North of England.

To achieve this expansion, Network Rail have acquired the land next to the station, which was owned by company HD1 and has been used, in part, by Fresh Futures for 35 years!

After a long period of planning and consultation, Network Rail officially commenced the redevelopment of the station on 8th May 2023. In doing so, Fresh Futures – situated next door to the station – has with immediate effect, lost all access to the rear of their building.

This move means that Fresh Futures have zero rights to access the back of their building which was used for deliveries, staff parking, and an entrance for service users amongst many other things. Fresh Futures ultimately only own and have a legal right to access the land which the building sits upon – and not an inch more.

The instant effects of this to the charity are huge. Financially, employees, trustees and volunteers have lost access to free parking in the town when delivering services – an extra cost of around £4 per day per individual, which must now be burdened by the charity itself, which is working tirelessly to Improve Lives and Inspire Change throughout the community.

CEO Mark Farmer, said, “Whilst we are in support of improving the local area for communities, by way of both the Huddersfield Blueprint and the Transpennine Route Upgrade, it does seem that the needs of the charity – a huge part of the community – have been overlooked. We now face additional financial and holistic impacts when delivering some services – all whilst in the middle of a cost of living crisis. These billion-pound projects have failed to consider this and to date, we have been unable to reach any level of agreements with the organisations involved to reduce the impact to the charity”.

The goal of both Network Rail and Kirklees Council in these projects is to enhance connectivity. One of Kirklees Council’s 5-pronged approach to the Blueprint is ‘Better Access’. This in part is to be achieved by Huddersfield Rail Station Connections, a project which aims to ‘make it easier for everyone to make their way between the railway station and the places where they live, learn, work or visit in Huddersfield town centre’[1]. Although in doing so, it does seem that YCC, a local employer of over 100 staff, established in Huddersfield for almost 50 years, and operating from Brian Jackson House since 1988, has not been considered.

Fresh Futures Head of Children and Family Services, Catherine McKenzie, explained, “in terms of service delivery, we have already been impacted by simple things such as access into the building which has affected delivery of our much-needed child safety equipment. This has resulted in precious staff time being utilised to make alterative arrangements rather than spending time supporting families.”

Fresh Futures continues to operate within Brian Jackson House including delivering services such as Stay and Play, Child Contact and Domestic Abuse Perpetrator Programme work.

Fresh Futures are appealing for any individuals or local organisations who may know of any free parking opportunities/may have a few parking spaces to spare close to the Brian Jackson House building, to please get in touch with Fresh Futures to support the delivery of the charity.

To learn more about Fresh Futures and the impact it delivers across communities to young people and their families, CLICK HERE

#WeAreFresh Futures #ImprovingLivesInspiringChange

[1] https://www.kirklees.gov.uk/beta/transport-roads-and-parking/transpennine-route-upgrade.aspx

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.