Fresh Futures launches new Employability Programme for 18 – 26 year olds 

The youth unemployment rate has increased, and young people experience many barriers when looking for a job. From their work with young adults, Fresh Futures have learnt low confidence and self-esteem, social anxiety, emotional issues and mental health challenges prevent young people from accessing work.

Fresh Futures have developed their innovative Employability Programme to help young people get employment ready and equip them with the skills, experience and understanding to feel confident applying for jobs.

Over the course of one week, the Programme will empower young people to build their skill set and feel confident about searching for job opportunities.

The mornings will focus on building core employability skills, e.g., CV writing, interview techniques and how to research for jobs. Fresh Futures will also provide a free lunch to each young adult attending the Programme.

In the afternoons, the focus will shift towards working with the young people to provide useful experiences to overcome the barriers they face on their journey into employment. This might include trips out, visiting guest speakers or learning new, creative skills such as photography or video editing.

After completing the Programme, the young people will be given the opportunity to undertake 10 hours of voluntary work within an employer from across Kirklees to help build their experience and bolster their CV. Placements will be tailored to young adults’ personal career goals for the future.

Christine Rhodes, Community Connections Services Manager, says: “This new programme is an exciting opportunity for young people to gain valuable knowledge about how to access employment as well as gaining experience of the workplace. We’re keen to offer placements for young people in a variety of different industries across Kirklees and if this is something your business could accommodate, we’d urge you to get in touch today to find out more.”

Fresh Futures have a wealth of experience working with different organisations across the region to support young people through a range of projects. Over the last four months, they have been working with Youth Social to produce a podcast series promoting the benefits of youth volunteering. You can listen to Omar, the Sustainability Volunteer and Freya, a Young Adult Volunteer at Fresh Futures on Episode 5, Part 2. Daisy Whitby, the Volunteer Support Officer at Fresh Futures, also features on Episode 6, where she shares her insights on the volunteering opportunities Fresh Futures offers young adults.

These podcasts are now available on all the main podcast platforms including Spotify and Apple Podcasts – Search ‘Youth Social Podcast’, click the following links:

Apple Spotify:

If you’re struggling to find a career path, or don’t know how to progress into employment, Fresh Futures can help you!

Contact the Community Connections team to find out more about Fresh Futures’ Employability Programme email [email protected] or call 01484 415465.

50 Face of Fresh Futures – Lucy Jackson

As part of our campaign to showcase 50 Faces of Fresh Futures to celebrate our 50th birthday, we’re shining the spotlight on Lucy Jackson.

Brian Jackson founded the charity in 1974 and Lucy is Brian’s daughter. Lucy continues her involvement in the charity to this day – she has recently joined the Board of Trustees at Fresh Futures and also sits on the Income and Partnerships committee.

Tell us about yourself and your involvement in Fresh futures?

In 1974 – when I was 11 – my father (Brian Jackson) founded what was then called ‘The National Children Centre’. We had just moved back to Yorkshire, and being a very proud Yorkshireman he was really keen to develop something in his home town of Huddersfield that would make a difference to the people of the town (especially children under 5) and also have a wider impact on national policy and research.

I have a clear memory of going to busy sessions at Longroyd Bridge (the first home of the charity) and seeing lots of colourful activities, toddlers from all different communities, laughing and running around. I used to help empty vans of resources which dad had managed to convince people to give us. It was always a happy place to pop into, which we seemed to do regularly…

Tell us about your dad, Brian Jackson – why did he establish the charity and what was his vision? 

Dad was very passionate about working class communities, and also multicultural communities. He saw the impact that education and wider social, emotional and practical support could make to the future of children from all communities living in poverty. He was also very passionate about Huddersfield (including Huddersfield Town) and Yorkshire (especially the cricket)!

In 1974, when we moved back to Yorkshire from Cambridge, I think he saw an opportunity to bring his passions together. At the time he was working on a study about childminders – the world they lived in and the influence the registered, but mainly unregistered, childminders had on very young children. He was also looking at the lack of support childminders received. For him, supporting childminders was critical to supporting the future development of young children from working class communities.

As with everything dad did, he never wanted to leave it as ‘an interesting research project’ to have published in relevant journals – for him the prize was always making a difference to and seeing action within the lives of children and communities. For him the vision of Yorkshire’s Children’s Centre (as was) was to have somewhere that could both provide both practical support for childminders, parents and others supporting children, and provide somewhere for young children to develop and flourish.

Why do you think Fresh Futures is so important in West Yorkshire?

I don’t think I ever consciously went into my profession of Public Health, because of my dad’s legacy  – but for me my public health values, beliefs and ethics are exactly why Fresh Futures is so important today (as much as it was 50 years ago) to the present and future communities of West Yorkshire.

Child poverty is at its highest level for over 20 years. Families are experiencing a range of issues from poverty to housing crisis, and facing increased physical and mental health issues. All of which impact significantly on future generations. There is a need for practical and emotional support for families, children and young people to support them to reach their full potential which Fresh Futures’ can provide.

The Charity has been established for 50 years, what are the most significant events from your perspective?

Securing Longroyd Bridge was obviously the first significant event. The play bus and taking the vision out into the streets was significant – the charity’s focus of going out to communities is high in my memory in the early days.

I remember as things developed, and as I became a teenager, dad also brought support for young people more into focus. 

However, once we moved to Bristol and my visits to Yorkshire became less I lost touch with what was happening at the charity. – although it was a household joke of how often there were still calls between dad and Hazel (the CEO at the time). I had just completed my A levels and was at a David Bowie concert the day that dad and my younger brother ran the charity race in Huddersfield to raise money for the charity . It was only when I returned from the concert that I received the phone call to say he had collapsed on the run and died.

From there, my connection to the charity over the next years was intermittent – I remember being invited to the opening of Brian Jackson Centre (now House) and feeling really proud of dad’s lasting legacy. I also went to memorial lectures the charity organised each year with Huddersfield Polytechnic, aimed at keeping the cause in the national eye with high profile speakers.

The launching of the Charity’s first alternative provision college for young people was for me the next significant event that I became aware of. Thinking back to the days of the ‘Youth Opportunities Programme ‘ – this felt very much in line with dad’s vision.  Again my own life took over with 3 young children and a career, so it wasn’t until a few years ago when social media connected me to another walk (rather than run) in aid of the charity that I once more became aware of the brilliant work happening 50 years later. Although these events are about the physical buildings – its dad’s ethos has remained which for me is most significant – Fresh Futures today is about people working together can change the future of children and young people, just as it was 50 years ago when it was launched by dad.

The original play bus

Lucy has recently starred in a documentary aired on YouTube, interviewing famous sociologists wives to better understand the support they gave to their husbands work over the years, you can watch it here.

New Patrons scheme launched by Fresh Futures secures early support!

Fresh Futures is celebrating its 50th birthday year by launching a new Patrons scheme to enable companies from across Kirklees to support our work. Companies are being encouraged to donate £500 to the charity and every penny generated by the campaign will be spent supporting our work with disadvantaged children and young people.

The charity is thrilled to have secured early support for the campaign with two new Patrons announced this month: Brewfitt and Zest for Print.

James Paxman, Operations Director, at Brewfitt says: “We’re delighted to become one of Fresh Futures first ever Patrons. As a local company, the cause is very close to our hearts, and I’m personally committed to supporting Fresh Futures. I’m hoping to take part in a wing walk over the summer and I am hopeful I will secure sponsorship to support the charity’s life-changing work.”

Chris Woodhead, Director at Zest for Print, says: “Fresh Futures runs so many vital projects supporting children and families and we know that the money we’re donating will make a significant difference to the charity and the local community. We’re proud to become one of their Patrons to help them celebrate their 50th birthday year.”

Fresh Futures was launched in 1974 by education visionary Brian Jackson, and has become an established way for disadvantaged children, young people, and their families from across Kirklees to access support. We run several services including child contact centres, domestic abuse perpetrator programmes, young adult employability services and alternative education provision for young people aged 13 – 16.

Katie Shephard, Head of Income and Partnerships at Fresh Futures, says: “We’re delighted to welcome both Brewfitt and Zest for Print on board as our first ever Patrons. This year, we’re seeking 50 Patrons to come on board – this support would make a significant and lasting impact on the services we can deliver across Kirklees. We’d urge all local companies to get in touch today to find out more about how to support us and build a lasting partnership making a difference to children and young people.”

For anyone interested in finding out more about the Patrons scheme, email [email protected] and one of the friendly Income and Partnerships team will get in touch with more information.

Fresh Futures and Edshift awarded £39,990.56 from the Mayor’s Safer Communities Fund

We are delighted to announce that our Domestic Abuse Perpetrator Programme (DAPP) at Fresh Futures have been awarded £39,990.56 from the Mayor’s Safer Communities Fund.

This was part of a joint bid with EdShift, a community group who provides a space of safety, belonging and community, using the arts to transform the lives of children affected by domestic abuse and violence.
The Safer Communities Fund is part of an initiative by the Mayor of West Yorkshire, and has seen £1 million awarded to support victims of serious violence, hate crime and trauma and help promote community safety and steer young people away from criminality.

‘Little Nests’ will a rolling programme running over 12 weeks, supporting six children who are victims of domestic abuse. The sessions, run by Edshift will provide a safe and creative environment for them to reconnect with peers, encourage them to socialise through play and creativity and improve their resilience.

A key priority of this initiative is to hear and empower the child’s voice through the art program in order to achieve behaviour change in the perpetrators. The learnings from the Little Nest programme will be included within Fresh Futures’ domestic abuse perpetrator programme – their feelings and experiences will be fed directly into sessions with male perpetrators to help them understand the impact of their behaviour.

“This funding is key and will further build on Fresh Futures’ goal of challenging beliefs around abuse. Children are often the ‘forgotten victim’ in domestic abuse cases and this programme puts children at the heart of the intervention and also supports children to disclose the impact their home life has had on them.

The support EdShift offers will create a safe space to develop safety plans and confidence in children. This work, which incorporates art, drama and music therapy, is then presented back to the abusive parent within the programme to hopefully give them the message that their behaviour has been impactful. “

Jonathan Fell, the Domestic Abuse Perpetrator Programme (DAPP) Service Manager.

The programme launched last month and will be running until October 2024 thanks to the funding secured through this vital initiative.

Find out more about DAPP here.

To celebrate our 50th Birthday we are launching “50 Faces of Fresh Futures”

This year is Fresh Futures 50th Birthday and to celebrate, we’re launching our 50 Faces of Fresh Futures campaign. Over the course of the year we’ll be focusing on 50 people who have impacted on Fresh Futures over the past 50 years – showcasing their incredible involvement in the charity, which has helped us grow and develop over the years. 

To kick off the campaign we spoke to Mark Farmer, CE at Fresh Futures…

  • Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work at Fresh Futures.

I joined Fresh Futures as CEO in November 2020 – and we went into lockdown on my third day!  I’ve been a charity leader for over 30 years, at national and regional charities, and the great thing about my role at Fresh Futures is that I can, with the Trustees and Leadership Team, steer the charity strategically whilst still being close to service delivery and see the impact we make.

  • Why do you think Fresh Futures is so important in Kirklees?

The communities across Kirklees face wide range of challenges  – it is a very diverse area with significant deprivation and inequalities,  and we need to play a part in addressing the challenges of today and raising aspirations for tomorrow   –  and our vision that all young people have opportunities for a better life, now and in the future is at the heart of all we do to enable Kirklees communities to realise their potential.

  • The charity has been established for 50 years, this year. What are the most significant events in the history of Fresh Futures from your perspective.

Top of the list would be the inspiration and vision of Brian Jackson,  that education should be the route to addressing inequalities,  and the services that have been developed to realise that vision over the past 50 years continues to drive what we do.  I grew up in the 1970’s and  Britain was very different then to the 2020’s Britain, but the inequalities and challenges in society in many respects have got worse over that time  – and demand for our services continues to grow.   I would also highlight the lease then purchase of Brian Jackson House  – to give the charity a central base and a key part of our financial sustainability;  and the opening of Brian Jackson College as an Ofsted registered independent special school.

  • How do you see the charity growing over the next 5 years?  

We will expand our school provision,  providing alternative education for pupils with additional needs from age 13 -18,  and will open new schools in other areas of West Yorkshire.  Our unique holistic offer of vocational, functional and life skills is recognised by Ofsted, local authorities and schools as delivering for pupils for whom mainstream schools are not equipped to provide for.  We are also investing in research and development of new services  –  very much going back to our beginnings of leading thinking in addressing needs and challenges of our communities faced by some children, young people and families.

  • If you were asked to describe the charity in one word, what would you say?

Passionate (to support and help our service users)

How Fresh Futures aims to ‘erase’ old record from the history books

Fresh Futures are aiming to break a world record and thousands of children across Kirklees are being urged to get involved by simply donating a rubber and 50p. The World Record attempt is part of our 50th birthday celebrations running throughout 2024.

We want to break the World Record for the largest collection of erasers and it will need a massive community effort to achieve it. The existing record is currently over 17,000 and Fresh Futures wants to beat that figure by collecting over 18,000 rubbers.

The campaign, in partnership with by TRU West Alliance and sponsored by Ecofficiency, begins on Monday, April 15, which is National Rubber Eraser Day. Children and families from across Kirklees are being encouraged to visit Brian Jackson House in central Huddersfield to donate their rubbers and 50ps. The collection of rubbers will also be on show for people to view.

Mark Farmer, Chief Executive, says: “The project is a great opportunity for any youth organisation to get involved to support the charity. All you need to do is bring an eraser to Brian Jackson House and you’ll be part of a World Record attempt and play a key role in helping us put our Eraser Collection on the map! The project is being run as a fundraising campaign for Fresh Futures and every penny received will be used to support our work with disadvantaged children, young people, and their families from across Kirklees.”

Schools, nurseries, sports clubs, and other youth organisations can take part in the project. Any organisation signing up will receive a free bumper pack of resources including stickers for children, a participation certificate and activity sheets.

For more information on Fresh Futures please contact Lynne at [email protected]

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!

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.”


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

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