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)