News Update: Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation

In 2021 Fresh Futures were awarded a grant of £9,750 from the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation to support the Nurture with Nutrition Project at our alternative education provisions in Huddersfield and Heckmondwike.

This funding has meant that we have been able to provide up to 50 young people aged 13-16 with nutritious breakfasts, helping them to engage with others, keep their brains active and setting them up for a day of learning. This has also been a good opportunity to teach young people how to look after their physical health, the importance of nutrition, and how to prepare their own breakfasts.

The Sodexo team meeting staff from Brian Jackson College

The partnership with the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation team has enabled us to work together to find solutions to support the young people that access our services. The Sodexo team have also generously volunteered their time at our colleges, spending time with the students and providing advice about employment opportunities in the catering industry. These volunteer activities led to a student at our Huddersfield college being offered a place on an apprenticeship programme.

The partnership has grown from strength to strength, with Sodexo CEO Sean Haley pledging to provide new kitchen facilities which will allow the students to attain their GCSE Food & Nutrition qualifications and provide even more support reaching higher education or employment.

To see a video showcasing Sodexo’s partnership with Fresh Futures and the amazing work they have done CLICK HERE.

For a full list of YCC’s corporate partners, or to find out how you can support the charity by becoming a corporate partner click here or email [email protected].

News Update: Fresh Futures Sees Supporter Win £25,000 Lottery Jackpot… TWICE!

We are excited to announce that Fresh Futures has been able to share the good news with one of our Unity Lottery players that he won the £25,000 jackpot, not once, but TWICE over just a few months!

With the odds of winning a prize being 1 in 63, Unity has some of the best odds of all society lotteries. This was the case for our first lucky winner who, just two weeks after signing up, was called by Sara Eltman, Head of Income and Partnerships at Fresh Futures to let him know he had won the jackpot!

We caught up with him and he said “I was amazed to win the Jackpot on my second draw. It made my daughter’s Christmas more magical than I could have imagined. But to win a second jackpot is the most amazing part of it. This lottery is for an amazing cause, and wins do happen. This will help me out with clearing my debts and getting through this hard time.”

Unity’s fundraising lottery platform is designed to give good causes the chance to raise money through their own weekly lottery and for every person that joins up, at least 50p of every £1 spent goes towards their chosen cause.

Here are some amazing reasons to play:

  • Tickets are only £1
  • You can buy a gift voucher for a loved one to join up
  • Unique lottery numbers mean only one person can win the jackpot
  • Individual odds of winning a prize are better than winning the National Lottery
  • In 2021 the £25,000 jackpot was won 8 times
  • Unity has seen the jackpot won twice in two weeks, it’s all in the luck of the draw!

To be in for a chance of winning the Fresh Futures lottery or to buy a gift voucher for a loved one to join up click here

News Update: YCC’s Pass It On Shop

It’s a new year and we are ready for new challenges that running a large charity furniture store brings each day. We are very fortunate to receive good quality items to sell from our donors and we are grateful to all our loyal customers for the purchases they make, which help to support Fresh Futures with unrestricted funds which in turn assists all the good work that’s done for children, families, and the wider community.

All donated items are checked to ensure they reach quality and safety standards, from sofas and beds to fridge/freezers and kettles.  With the current cost of living increases, we believe that charity shops like ours will become even more important to people to help them get what they need and want.

This January, environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy is launching ‘Buy Nothing New Month’. We will be actively supporting this via our social media page Facebook Pass It On YCC – why not take a look and follow us?

Throughout January, Keep Britain Tidy will be sharing a host of tips and tricks on not buying new items and making the most of what you already have. They will be calling on the public to rethink what they want versus what they need, reconsidering if they can repair versus replace and think about whether they can rent, borrow or, of course, buy second-hand rather than new.

During February the Charity Retail Association, of which Fresh Futures are a member, are highlighting shops like ours with their campaign #CharityShopHome, celebrating the best in furniture and homewares found in charity shops and online charity retail. The campaign will run from 6th – 12th February and posts of members’ stylish room set-ups and expertly curated homewares will be promoted across their social media channels. Fresh Futures have sent in several photos which we hope will be shared far and wide!

Every day is different in Pass It On and we never know what’s in store. Why not call in and see us, one thing’s for certain, you will always receive a warm welcome.

Click here for more information on our Pass It On Shop and how you can support Fresh Futures.

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: 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 😊

News Update: Christmas Gift Appeal 2022

Fresh Futures are so proud to have supported 781 children, across 263 families, from Kirklees this Christmas during our 2022 Gift Appeal.

We asked families living in Kirklees who were at risk of not being able to provide their children with a gift on Christmas Day to contact us and the response was overwhelming. 2022 was a particularly hard year due to the Cost-of-Living Crisis and for those already worried about Christmas, it was an even more stressful time of year.

We appealed to members of the public and businesses who donated 100s of brand-new toys and gifts for children aged between 0 – 18 years.

We were supported by an amazing number of local businesses including Fintel, Trust Ford, Arnold Clark, Turntable Vinyl Café, Barnardo’s, Tesco, Card Factory, Body Evolution, Kirklees Foster Carers Network, Linthwaite Clough Early Years Unit and members of the public through our Secret Santa campaign alongside JCI Secret Santa.

Trust Ford dropping off their gifts
The team from Tesco dropping off presents
The Arnold Clark team with their gift donation
Card Factory donating gift bags
Turntable Vinyl Cafés gifts under the tree at Brian Jackson House
The team from Fintel

Without the support from these companies and members of the public we would not have been able to support so many families and children.

Lynne Haigh, Fundraising and Communications Coordinator at YCC, who helped coordinate the Gift Appeal said “It has been overwhelming to receive so much support from companies and members of the public who have wanted to help Fresh Futures. We were expecting to help around 500 children and surpassed this, reaching almost 800. It was such a heart-warming campaign to be involved in and I can’t wait to do it again, bigger and better, in 2023!”

Presents donated by Steven Morris – Body Evolution

If you would like to support Fresh Futures in any way, then please contact [email protected] and find out how you or your organisation could get involved to Improve Lives and Inspire Change.

News Update: Fresh Futures and EdShift present ‘Speak Volumes’

As part of the White Ribbon Campaign Yorkshire Children’s Centre and EdShift presented ‘Speak Volumes – the importance of amplifying children’s voices in domestic abuse perpetrator programmes’ on Tuesday 6th December 2022 at Brian Jackson House. This is an extremely important topic as The Domestic Abuse Act was amended in 2022 to recognise that children in a domestic abuse household are victims in their own right.

EdShift was founded in April 2019 by Ellie Brook and delivers quality, drama-based violence prevention programmes and digital resources to children aged 7 – 16. Their SpotLight Programme was developed in response to the deaths of two children and 14 women, caused by domestic violence, in the first three weeks of lockdown and aims to give a voice to children so they aren’t silenced or ignored. It ensures children know what to do in an emergency, have a safe place to go and also teaches them key aspects within the law and how to recognise red flags in their own relationships.

EdShift works with schools and other professionals linked to the child to ensure they take a trauma informed approach to how they are acting and give them the support they need.

EdShift Into The SpotLight

Fresh Futures Domestic Abuse Perpetrator Programme (DAPP) is a 17-week high risk programme using both group work and 1:1 sessions. It has been running for 10 years and became RESPECT accredited in 2015. The team assess an individual’s suitability for the course before they join the pre group sessions and then the 14-week rolling programme. During the course they are encouraged to learn skills to help them deal with issues such as anger, negative thoughts, and aggression in their daily lives. Men who have completed the course have come back to discuss how it has changed their mindset and talk about their experiences which is a great way for those on the course to engage and see positive outcomes. Fresh Futures also has a Domestic Abuse Worker who is in contact with the victims and ensures they are supported and will notify the DAPP facilitators if they are experiencing any issues outside of the course.  

EdShift and Fresh Futures started to work together in July 2022 and have completed a successful pilot where individuals on the DAPP course were shown the SpotLight exhibition. The participants were encouraged to understand the impact that domestic violence has on children. A lot of the men admitted to being unaware of the effect domestic abuse was having on their children, especially when they weren’t in the same room when the abuse was taking place.

One of the tasks that had a huge impact on the men was the “Power Tower”, the men were asked to fill in a blank brick and write what they would say to their children if they could. They took their brick home and are encouraged to look at it as motivation to continue to change for their children. One of the participants on the course said “The most impactful exercise was when you asked us to write on the power brick – it was like a light bulb moment. It made me think – oh my god what have I done to my children. It was a period of introspection that really made me think – If I could, what would I say to my children and the only appropriate thing I could say is sorry but I couldn’t get the word out.”

Power Tower

The pilot has received amazing feedback from participants and Fresh Futures and EdShift will continue to work together:

  • All of the men agreed the most significant impact was seeing it directly from the children and hearing it from the children’s voices.
  • All of the men agreed that the session significantly increased their motivation to change
  • All of the men agreed that they viewed the impact of their behaviour on their children differently after the session.
  • 98% of the men agreed that their motivation to change significantly increased after the session.
  • 100% of the men agreed that there was a significant difference in how they felt the impact of their behaviour had on their children.

“My motivation changed because I finally started to see things from my daughter’s perspective and not my own. The impact that my behaviour has had on her and what that might mean for her future is terrifying but that makes me want to change.”

To learn more about DAPP click HERE and to learn more about EdShift click HERE.

News Update: It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…at YCC!

We are feeling Christmassy here at Fresh Futures and have several exciting Christmas Campaigns that members of the public can get involved with to help us raise funds for those that need our support over the festive period.

We are so excited this year to have our very own Fresh Futures Christmas Cards that were designed by Sam, a Year 11 student at Brian Jackson College. These are on sale NOW at Brian Jackson House and Jo Cox House.

YCCs 2022 Christmas Card

Our Christmas Tree of Wishes is up at Brian Jackson House and companies can donate a personalised bauble for £50 which will then be proudly displayed on the tree.

Fresh Futures Tree of Wishes at Brian Jackson House

Our Christmas Gift Appeal started in November, and we have already had several companies reach out to help us collect gifts. Members of the public can also get involved and this year we are the Huddersfield collection point for the JCI Secret Santa Appeal. All gifts donated will be given to families in Kirklees that need help this Christmas.

On Wednesday 14th December, members of staff at Fresh Futures will be celebrating Festive Jumper Day and having an internal festive lunch get together. There will be a hamper and raffle prizes available to win on the day.

Lynne Haigh, Fundraising Communications and Coordinator at Fresh Futures said “It has been extremely busy in the run up to Christmas and it is so exciting to have all the different ways for people to reach out and support Fresh Futures. We are pleased that, as a result, we will be able to support so many families and individuals during these difficult times.”

All proceeds raised from our Christmas Campaigns will go directly back to Fresh Futures and support disadvantaged children, young people and their families.

If you would like to support Fresh Futures in any way, then please contact [email protected] and find out how you or your organisation could get involved to Improve Lives and Inspire Change.

News Update: Fresh Futures Christmas Cards

Fresh Futures are excited to announce that this year we have our very own charity Christmas Cards. The card was designed by Sam, a student at our Huddersfield Brian Jackson College and was the winner of a competition we initiated with the students across both sites.

Joolz Cooper, Brian Jackson Colleges Art Teacher, assisted with the competition and said “The brief was for students to design a Christmas card to incorporate the core values of Fresh Futures. We had lots of wonderful entries, and the winner and runner ups were chosen anonymously by our Head Teacher, Jacqui Green. The winner was Sam from our Huddersfield site, and the runners up were Kelsey from Huddersfield and Milan from Heckmondwike. Pupils spent time in lessons working on their cards to get the amazing, finished results. They all embraced their designs across several lessons and had the opportunity to use a range of mediums for their finished designs. The winner, Sam, used mixed media and collage with a range of techniques to produce his superb, finished piece. Prizes in the form of vouchers were presented by the Chief Executive of YCC, Mark Farmer, and all staff and pupils are proud of what they have achieved.”

Sam holding his winning design with Joolz Cooper (Art Teacher) and Jacqui Green (Headteacher)
YCCs 2022 Christmas Card

Mark Farmer, CEO of YCC, visited the college last week to present the students with their vouchers and cards and to also congratulate them on the final designs. Sam was extremely pleased that his card was the winning design and is excited to see them go on sale at the Colleges and Fresh Futures buildings.

Runner up design by Kelsey
Runner up design by Milan

The cards are now on sale at Jo Cox House and Brian Jackson House, they are £5 for a pack of 10 and all donations received from the sale of the cards will go towards supporting vulnerable and disadvantaged children, young people, and their families across Kirklees.

We have been generously supported on this project by Aura Print, a printing company based in Huddersfield. They very kindly gifted us the printed cards, envelopes, and packaging and have been a pleasure to work with throughout the process. Visit their website HERE.

If you would like to support Fresh Futures in any way, then please contact [email protected] and find out how you or your organisation could get involved to Improve Lives and Inspire Change.