2024 is an important year for Calderdale
It’s the year that marks our 50th anniversary and will be a time to celebrate and reflect on what’s been achieved over the last half century.
But where do we want to be by 2024? How will the Calderdale of then be different from the place it is now? What ambitions do we share?
This digital space is designed to start the conversation about our future by exploring Calderdale through three chapters that help define who we are.
Calderdale is home to one of the most unique, vibrant and inspiring cultural offers in the country. No surprise then that over the past few years, this diverse borough has not been far from the limelight.
We’ve been the proud host to the Tour de France and Tour de Yorkshire; celebrated the amazing Yorkshire Festival and countless other community-driven events and festivals – including the Hebden Bridge Arts Festival which brings the best national and international artists and performers to the area every summer; and we’ve been the backdrop to award-winning dramas like Last Tango in Halifax and Happy Valley.
“There’s real depth to the landscape – it’s so awe-inspiring. Now I see Calderdale – Halifax, Hebden Bridge, Ripponden, Sowerby Bridge and Elland as really beautiful.” Sally Wainwright – series producer
Add to that our mix of historic and eclectic theatres – there are four in Halifax alone – our renowned live music venues showcasing the best independent talent and hosting several BBC Radio 6 Music broadcasts; plus our unrivalled heritage and stunning landscapes, which have inspired films like the silent screen classic Helen of Four Gates (1920) and Fanny and Elvis (1999), and works from Ted Hughes, Simon Armitage and Peter Brook.
We celebrate our history but we’re not afraid of reinvention. The year 2017 kick-started a transformation that is putting Halifax and Calderdale on the map nationally and internationally as a cultural destination. The iconic 18th century Piece Hall reopened as a contemporary leisure, retail, cultural and heritage destination after its incredible transformation, triggering ground-breaking culture-led regeneration. This, and the rest of Halifax’s thriving cultural quarter including the new Central Library and Archives, Square Chapel Arts Centre’s new state-of-the-art performance venue and Calderdale Industrial Museum – plus the constant reinvigoration of the cultural offer throughout Calderdale – make the years leading up to 2024 truly exciting.
Nadeem Mir QPM has been involved in many community events in Calderdale. He said:
“I see Calderdale’s cultural offer as a great way to celebrate diversity, and would like to see more events that bring people together as one whole community. Events where people truly come together, talk and break down barriers. We have beautiful buildings and facilities where this can happen – where we can share our pride as residents of Calderdale and see each other as individuals, not just members of a particular culture, background or religion.
“We need to continue to build confidence and inclusivity, where we recognise and understand difference but we don’t fear it – this is what creates true interaction and participation in Calderdale’s events, festivals and wider cultural offer. This is challenging but we need to be optimistic, and building inclusivity needs to start as early in life as possible – schools are an important part of this.
“Calderdale has excellent community involvement in cultural activities, but in the future I’d like to see more community-led events, which bring out the many skills and talents of local people.”
Pam Warhurst, community leader, activist and environment worker who founded the voluntary gardening initiative, Incredible Edible, said:
“By 2024 Calderdale needs to be bursting at the seams with talented, creative young people. To get there, every school has to respect and support every child’s right to find a creative core and express it through music, the arts and the written word.
“We have an opportunity, through the success of playwrights and poets such as Sally Wainwright and Andrew McMillan, to inspire a new generation of home-grown talent to tell the story of this extraordinary place in which we live.
“It’s nurturing this creativity at a young age that will help us grow our cultural offer and creative sectors and make them truly distinctive. Our festivals will mark out Calderdale’s quirky, creative soul and bring more visitors to share in the fun and swell the coffers of our many independent shops.”
The future of our heritage
What’s the vision for Calderdale’s countryside?
Press the play button to hear the countryside podcast.
Calderdale’s amazing kindness and resilience are summed up perfectly by its vibrant culture of volunteering and community action. We see people of all ages and backgrounds doing their bit to help each other, with a community spirit that’s unrivalled. With a whopping 800 voluntary organisations in the borough, there’s a huge mix of volunteering opportunities at people’s fingertips.
On Boxing Day 2015 Calderdale experienced one of the worst floods in its history. But it also saw one of the best examples of Calderdale’s incredible kindness. Over 450 residents formally volunteered to support the recovery, and many more helped out informally as individuals or as part of groups organised by businesses, churches and mosques.
The strong links created during and after the floods give Calderdale a great starting point to shape future volunteering efforts. Growing these for the benefit of local people is one of the key challenges in the run-up to 2024. But we know it’s vital to do this, as having more volunteers could lead to a healthier, happier, more confident and skilled Calderdale, with less social isolation – all the benefits that volunteering brings.
As fewer older people are able to volunteer now due to pressures on their time and additional caring responsibilities within their families, this opens up more opportunities for young people to get involved.
Bede Mullen, along with nearly 200 other people, is a volunteer for Slow the Flow Calderdale, an environmental charity working on natural flood prevention measures to slow the volume of water coming down the hillsides into the River Calder. Bede says:
“At Slow the Flow we have noticed an increase in the number of organisations contacting us for corporate volunteering opportunities. By 2024 it would be great to see even more corporate opportunities throughout Calderdale, with a wider range of organisations getting involved, especially small businesses. Some kind of mechanism, like a website or a central agency, would make it easier for volunteers to put their names forward and for activities to be matched.
“Demographic issues are both a challenge and an opportunity over the next few years. At Slow the Flow and other voluntary organisations across Calderdale and the UK, we see a high proportion of older people volunteering. Going forward, we need to encourage a wider range of age groups to get involved; for example, by going into schools. Volunteers have limited time to organise this, so we’re looking for organisations to work together and help each other out, ideally with someone coordinating this centrally.
“By 2024 I want volunteering to be seen as a natural part of life and work, not the exception – something that people just do.”
Rachel Cullen coordinates the volunteer programme at Centre at Threeways in Halifax, giving local people the confidence and skills to get back into work. She says:
“Whether people are unemployed, retired or have physical or mental health issues, volunteering has massive benefits, giving them a sense of purpose and helping them to feel valued in their community.
“I’d like to see a huge increase in volunteering in Calderdale so that more people can benefit. First of all I think we need to dispel the myths and break away from the traditional sense of volunteering where people might think they’ll just be doing menial tasks.
“Secondly we need to make sure people know about the opportunities available. We need to guide people into volunteering – it’s not just a passive thing and often people won’t just ‘come across’ opportunities, especially when they are out of work or isolated. Better promotion is needed in places where people will see the information. For example, many of the people who come to Centre at Threeways are not receptive to messages from the voluntary sector – they would be more likely to take on board opportunities presented by their job centre coaches.
“We also need to incentivise volunteering and give people a real reason to make the effort, go out and participate. That could be things like covering certain costs such as travel expenses, or benefits like free gym memberships for achieving a certain number of volunteering hours. Saying thank you and showing appreciation for a job well done is really important.”
1 in 4 women
Classed as physically inactive doing less than 30 minutes of moderate activity a week (the national picture)
1 in 5 men
Classed as physically inactive doing less than 30 minutes of moderate activity a week (the national picture)
Gap in life expectancy for men and women living in richest and poorest parts
Dementia by up to 30%
Hip fractures by up to 68%
Depression by up to 30%
All cause mortality by up to 30%
Cardio vascular disease by up to 35%
Type 2 diabetes by up to 40%
Breast cancer by up to 20%
Colon cancer by up to 30%
minutes of moderate intensity activity each week or
minutes vigorous activity
strength training a week
minimise the amount of sedentary sitting
minutes of physical activity every day
days a week, these activities should involve exercises for strong muscles, such as push-ups and exercises for strong bones, such as jumping and running
Working with schools, care homes, local shops, youth and voluntary groups to improve the health and well-being of Calderdale.
Engaging businesses to improve workplace health showing the effect this has on sickness, production and employee retention.
Supporting, developing and growing sport participation in Calderdale through local clubs and groups.
Making all areas of Calderdale as accessible as possible for all forms of physical activity.
The Future of the Community Sector
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Calderdale’s talent, creativity and can-do attitude to business have created record levels of investment and start-ups, which play a vital role in boosting our local economy and making the borough a great place to live, work and visit. More than ever before, it’s a really exciting time to do business here. We’re seeing once-in-a-lifetime regeneration, unprecedented investment in transport thanks to the West Yorkshire Plus Transport Fund, a thriving cultural quarter and the upcoming, brand new Leeds Beckett University Business Centre
Investment of over £150 million will see public spaces, business premises and transport links transformed to create thousands of new jobs, millions of pounds of economic benefit and better connectivity – all vital for unlocking even more business potential.
But what else is needed to attract, keep and support businesses here? Local businesspeople often say that other sectors have an important role to help them thrive and be enterprising. For example, transport, housing, tourism, food and drink, night-time economy, culture and events play a part in attracting people – and potential employees – here.
Heidi Bingham is the landlord of Craggs Country Business Park in Cragg Vale, Mytholmroyd, which is home to a variety of businesses across different sectors and employs over 100 people. Heidi says:
“There is no doubt that Calderdale is a beautiful location and is excellently placed between Leeds and Manchester, giving us a great position to work across the North of England and access skills. Sectors throughout the borough need to work together to ensure we make the most of this.
“Transport and infrastructure are really important. There are a lot of remote areas in Calderdale, including Craggs Country Business Park, so transport links are vital for employment and trade opportunities. The infrastructure around train and bus stations is critical to bring in employees, suppliers and visitors. I’d especially like to see more parking in and around stations, as a lack of this could limit opportunities.
“Education is also a key factor looking ahead to 2024. It’s important that local young people have easy access to further and higher education in Calderdale, as we want to keep skills and talent here to help businesses and the economy continue to thrive.
“I’d like to see young people being as ready for work as possible when the time comes for them to enter the workplace. For example, schools could offer more opportunities for young people to learn practical, day-to-day things such as how to go about getting a job and how to operate in the workplace, and to understand the fast-changing nature of modern business.”
Jeremy Hall, Chairman and Managing Director of Dean Clough, said:
“Existing businesses wanting to expand in Calderdale, or new businesses looking to set up here, want to know it’s an enjoyable place to live and spend time, so that their staff want to stay here and new, talented people are attracted to come here. This is not just about jobs – it’s about the wider offer, including the night-time economy and cultural offer – things that make living here more interesting and diverse.
“With some 150 businesses and over 4,000 workers on site, Dean Clough’s renown as a business centre shouldn’t disguise the effort that has been put into developing its cultural resource over the last 35 years.
“By playing a key role in developing the galleries, the theatre and the performance events here we naturally sought to match the charisma of the buildings with events that would strengthen people’s identification with their place of work.
“In the early days none of this would have been possible without the creative input of artistic companies like Northern Broadsides or IOU; or of artists like Doug Binder (who helped found the galleries).
“More recently the ‘cultural package’ at Dean Clough has been extended to include award-winning restaurants and micro-brewery outlets, while ‘The Arches’ – which has recently played host to both the Prime Minister and the Prince of Wales – has become one of the locale’s leading event spaces.
“What, above all else, has made Dean Clough successful has been the spirit of partnership.
“We know that Calderdale has a really vibrant and innovative cultural offer, but we must not be complacent. We should be thinking about how to build on it to make it even bigger and more diverse, to make Calderdale the most attractive place not just to work but to live, socialise and enjoy.”
Micro (0 to 9)
Small (10 to 49)
Medium (50 to 249)
NVQ Level 1 equivalent – 3/4 GCSE grades D-G
NVQ Level 2 equivalent – 4-5 GCSE grades A*-C
NVQ Level 3 equivalent – 2 A Levels
NVQ Level 4 equivalent – Higher Education Certificate/BTEC
NVQ Level 5 equivalent – Higher Education Diploma/Foundation Degree
Overall GVA has grown by 25.4% between 2005 and 2015
Total value of Calderdale’s GVA