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.”


Meet the Team: Christine Rhodes

Name: Christine Rhodes

Job Title: Children and Families Service Manager                                 

Date joined YCC: 5th October 2015

Tell us a little bit about yourself: Everyone who knows me knows that I’m a little obsessed with Astrology and Astronomy; it’s been a passion of mine since I was a little girl. I love travelling and going on adventures, including walking in North Wales. I also love plants, growing vegetables and gardening; I have a tropical garden in Huddersfield! I also love music festivals.

Your role in a nutshell: I manage the contracts and delivery of Fresh Futures Community Connections services. This includes the Befriending Service, the Young Adults’ Research Work to support 18 to 26 year olds, the Kirklees Families Together work and Fresh Futures Community Champions. I also oversee YCC’s Community Anchor Service. In addition to this, I am YCC’s Designated Safeguarding Lead for Adults. I’ve got an amazing team of staff and volunteers who I work with and I am always trying my best to make sure they are looked after! 

Why do you like working for YCC? I love the diversity of my role, and the changes and services that I can implement quickly to help others and of course our communities.  Every day/week is different, and although it’s hard work, I’m never bored! 😊 My plan was to stay at Fresh Futures for six months, but I am still here nearly eight years later so that says it all really.

What’s one of your favourite work memories? This is a hard one, I have many, but I’d probably say all the lovely outings I’ve been on with the Young Onset Dementia Group; That group is amazing and made such a difference to everyone who attended.

And finally, what advice would you give to people considering working at YCC? If you want to make a difference to people and children, and have a passion in that area, then Fresh Futures is for you. Third sector work is extremely fulfilling and varied.

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

#WeAreFresh Futures #MeetTheTeam

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.

#WeAreFresh Futures #MeetTheTeam

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.


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:

#BrianJacksonCollege #WeAreYCC

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]