In the wake of the floods in the Calder Valley on Boxing Day 2015, the Council allocated £100,000 to distribute to local organisations to organise events in the worst hit towns and communities to help recover from the flooding.
The Community Small Grants Panel awarded the grants, based on the hugely successful Community Festivals and Events Fund, which used £50,000 earmarked by the Economic Task Force to market Calderdale more vigorously, and support festivals and events of benefit to local residents, thereby contributing towards wider community and economic resilience of our towns and villages.
32 grants were awarded between April 2016 and May 2018, from Todmorden to Brighouse. Over 150,000 people attended these events and over £500,000 in match-funding was attracted, much from outside Calderdale, and spent locally. Events supported varied from large festivals, weekend markets, community fetes and workshops, to tree planting and flood alleviation work, and grants ranged from £800 to £5,000.
Although the fund is now exhausted, applications still arrive to fund more events and festivals – nine in August 2018 alone. It is widely accepted that the fund was a great success and has helped to bring communities together and build resilience whilst being a lot of fun.
Royd Regeneration - Reet Royd Waater Do
Date: April 30th/May 1st 2016
A festival of education and entertainment was held over May Day weekend, the aim of which was to raise the profile of the village and say thank you to those helped in the immediate aftermath of the Boxing Day flood. Hundreds of residents and visitors came together to enjoy family activities and help raise funds for the flood hit community.
It was hosted by the Dusty Miler Pub and Coiners Restaurant and included face painting, an egg and spoon race and a piggyback race, which involved parents and kids. The final day saw a festival of beer, food and music all day at the pub – one of the many Upper Valley businesses badly hit buy the flood - and an indoor craft market.
The Mytholmroyd Flood Group and local fire crew were there throughout the weekend leading people through a “flood education journey” in the memorial garden and distributing flood information bags to all those present. The flood group worked with the Environment Agency and Yorkshire Water running up to the weekend. In addition, locally-made films about the floods were screened.
The weather was cold and wet, but that didn’t dampen the spirits of the local residents and considerably increased the tourist footfall in the village.
One of the organisers said: “Despite the cold weather, hundreds of people flocked to the Reet Royd Waater Do. The atmosphere was warm and friendly, a lovely antidote to the horror of the flooding.”
Hebden Bridge Community Association - Hebden Royd Alternative Christmas
Date: 26th June 2016
After the devastation caused by the Boxing Day floods, it was suggested that it would be worth re-running Christmas Day six months later. The event comprised:
- a Christmas lunch served by those whose homes and businesses were flooded to 500 volunteers who helped them in the aftermath;
- carols sung by four local choirs and members of the public as three local bands played;
- street theatre performed by four acts;
- screening of the film Elf at the Picture House;
- a motorcycle ride-through, by the same bikers who provided a roving security “presence” after the floods, when many areas were in darkness following power cuts.
Over 4,000 people took part in the various components of the festival and £5,000 match funding was provided by Community Foundation for Calderdale, as well as hundreds of hours of volunteer time.
The event received considerable media coverage including a presence in national, regional and local newspapers, in national and local TV and radio, and on numerous social media accounts and websites.
Elland & District Churches Together - Elland Christmas Festival
Date: 8th December 2017
On a very cold evening in Elland, 1,200 people turned out for a celebration event combining the traditional Elland Christmas lights switch-on with a town centre market and a lantern parade with Calderdale based arts group, Handmade Parade.
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Communities, Cllr Susan Press, said:
“2017 has been an important year for Elland, marking 700 years since the town received its Royal Charter. The Christmas Festival was a perfect way to round off the year and it’s great that so many people got involved with the event and lantern parade.
“Although the weather was very cold for the event, the skies were clear and it was dry – the perfect conditions to really show the lantern parade at its best.”
Over 50 members of the local community created their own unique lanterns at a series of community workshops, and were proud to walk through the town lighting up the streets of Elland with a fantastic selection of impressive lantern designs.
Prior to the parade, choirs from Cross Lane Primary, St Patrick’s Primary and Elland Church of England school performed songs before the Mayor of Calderdale, Cllr Ferman Ali switched on the Christmas lights.
A busy food and craft market was held until the late evening and entertainment was provided by Hebden Radio and several dance and music bands, including the Elland Silver Youth Band.
The Elland and District Partnership, which continues to support the town, ensured that the event was booked in Santa’s diary and he arrived on his sleigh to give out gifts to local children. A Christmas Loyalty Card Scheme ensured local businesses benefited too.
The event was funded by the Elland Development Board, Calderdale Council’s Events & Festivals Fund and Elland Ward Forum, and supported by the council's Lower Valley neighbourhood team. This was just one of the great events that Elland hosted for its 700th year as a market town.