Park and Warley wards share a boundary, a High School and on Thurday night a glittering, star-studded awards event.
The annual Our Communities Awards event celebrates the individuals and groups whose sterling work strengthens and improves the communities in Warley and Park wards, and the lives of the people who live in them.
The 2019 list of winners included many groups and individuals working to tackle isolation and loneliness in the area. And entertainment saw performances from St Hilda’s Choir, The Landlubbers, and the fantastic Magpie Movers from Pennine Magpie – a centre for adults with learning disabilities.
Zohrah Zancudi, Director of Public Services said,
“Following on closely after Volunteers week, it was an honour to come along and be part of the Awards presentations last night. The amazing contributions made by both individuals and groups within the Park and Warley communities were tremendous and rightly celebrated. Most of all I was touched by the real stories of those lives where these contributions had made such a difference. Everyone in that room plays a huge role towards helping us achieve Calderdale’s Vision for 2024 and demonstrate our values of kindness and resilience throughout the year. They were all well-deserved winners.
Here are some of the Staying Well community winners:
Winner: Angels Corner Café
Loneliness and social isolation is epidemic in the country today but the Angels Corner Cafe volunteers are working to eliminate this.
Angels Corner Café was set up in April 2018 at St Columbas’ Church Hall, after some extensive research and investigations into dementia friendly Cafes. It is a very friendly and cheerful café providing a service for the local community. Supported by Staying Well and receiving funding from Community Foundation for Calderdale it has continued to grow and thrive.
The Café provides a service to people mainly from Pellon, Highroad Well and Norton Tower who may be vulnerable or isolated due to memory loss or loneliness. Activities include arts and crafts, games, quizzes and word searches, and bingo is really popoular!
Trained volunteers provide emotional support to families and/or carers and friends as well as giving the opportunity to those who attend to share experiences with others.
WINNER: Saraj Uddin
The 2019 winner of the Lifetime Achievement award is Mr Saraj Uddin,and deservedly so having being regarded a pillar within the community for the last 45 Years.
He has been involved with community groups for many years this includes The Dil ( a group for older men in the community) he has contributed to many residents groups including as the chair of Horn Street Surgery Patients Group. He is also a walk leader and was involved in the Voices from the Past community project.
Mr Saraj is a person that people to turn to when they are having issues within the community. Involved with the Council of Mosques he is able to advise the community on a range of matters. Considered a caring, active member of the community who is never one to shy away from helping those around him he has been instrumental in building good relationships between different communities, young and old and men and women in the community where he has lived for the last 60 years. A very modest and humble man who deservedly wins this award for all his time and dedication over the years to the community of Park Ward.
WINNER: Linsay Severn – Age UK
Linsay started work with Age UK in 2018 on two pilot projects funded by Calderdale Community Foundation Fund tackling Isolation and Loneliness.
A transport project with a purpose to look at gaps in transport for older people and work with transport providers to reduce the barriers facing people, and the Nearly Neighbours project with Together Housing to develop activities for older people in two of their schemes.
During her first year Linsay successfully found funding for social activities such as a sing along evening, IT support drop in sessions and delivered dementia friends sessions developing awareness around what it is to age across Halifax. She has supported several local groups to source transport where there have been challenges/ barriers for them which has helped reduce isolation for individuals but also help sustain groups that were on the verge of folding due to transport problems.
Working alongside partners she has impacted over 40 older peoples lives by supporting them one to one to access services intended to tackle isolation and loneliness such as befriending services. She has also raised £250 with Calderdale Hospital to go towards projects for people experiencing isolation and loneliness – all this during her 25 hours a week – Linsay has gone above and beyond for Age UK and the people in these communities in so many ways and has unfortunately left for pastures new however Age UK are certain she will continue to go above and beyond for older people in Halifax.
“She always makes me feel comfortable and at ease”; “I couldn’t even switch on my phone when i started, now i can use the phone, make calls, do text messages and use the camera and send photos!” Some of the words spoken by Lindsay’s clients.
WINNER: Margaret McAndrew
Margaret McAndrew was recognised as a good neighbour and a valued volunteer at Mount Tabor Luncheon club. She is a very active resident in Mount Tabot and the community as a whole.
Margaret is a person who is always ready to help others in the village, whether it is picking her neighbours up and taking them to and from the luncheon club or just going visiting for a chat. She is an essential volunteer at the luncheon club and a wonderful asset to the community of Mount tabor.
WINNER: Brew & Chat Group
The Brew and Chat group has now been running since October 2017. Anyone in the community can attend this excellent social activity which offers kurling, crafts, reading or just having a chat with others.
The group has definitely become more popular and attendances have risen to around 55 per session and there is a real buzz among those there.
The success of this group is solely down to the fantastic volunteers who put in their effort and commitment to make the Brew & Chat group such a wonderful and essential part of the community.
WINNER: Halifax Bowling Club
Halifax Bowling Club boast a membership mainly composed of retired people. They offer an opportunity to mix socially in a friendly and welcoming atmosphere whilst taking part in physical activity and keeping the brain active at the same time.
Even when members can no longer be active they continue attending and are encouraged to be part of the club community and enjoy the social interactions. A small number of members have reached significant ages.
The club is run by a core of volunteers who are now retired but who provide a valuable service to the local community.
WINNER: Yasser Arfat
Yasser is a family mentor within the Hopeful Families programme at Halifax Opportunities Trust. He is an outstanding individual who helped to create and deliver a practical and physical understanding of health and well-being to men from a variety of backgrounds and cultures who haven’t exercised for a number of years including people with some physical and mental health issues.
Working with a local fitness service a bespoke fitness and nutritional programme was designed to increase knowledge, skills and confidence around health and lower issues and lower obesity. As the men learned to adapt their eating habits and took part in the fitness programme they began to develop their own support group growing in strength and wellbeing but mostly confidence. Yasser supported the men to address their own barriers, boosting morale and tracking their progress to becoming fitter, lighter and more empowered individuals.
Yasser never gave up – encouraging this group of men to come together and support each other to overcome isolation; enjoying their time together and learning how to laugh again and feel good about themselves and others within their community.
He has inspired others that anything is possible and instilled belief that with the correct level of support and encouragement health and wellbeing doesn’t have to be a struggle but is achievable together with hard work and determination!
WINNER: Umayyah Ahmed
Umayyah is a young person active in several groups that influence change in services for young people or actively engage them in positive activities. She is a positive role model for the local Central Halifax community wherever she attends school and ensures that the voice of young people is at the heart of the conversation.
Umayyah joined the Youth Council last year and for the first few meetings it was very reserved as she did not want to draw attention to her own visual impairment. However in a short 6 months Umayyah began bringing her whole self to the group and drawing on her strengths has now become very active and is involved in the following: Youth Council – representing the views of young people in her local community and attending local and regional meetings. She is now a member of the Regional Steering group for Youth Councils in Yorkshire and Humber. A role in which she has supported the Extremism Summit hosted by the Youth Council and is working on campaigns to prevent Hate Crime, improve transport and Raise awareness of Mental Health issues.
She is also a valued member of SEND Reference Group where she helps create resources/advise for other young people with special educational needs/disabilities.
During the Ofsted Inspection she represented the views of young people and articulated how many opportunities were available to young people of all abilities across the Council. She is also a Young Inspector and is involved in reviewing services to ensure they meet the needs of young people across a wide spectrum of needs.
Umayyah is a member of a Visual Impairment group where young people of different
backgrounds engage in a range of different activities, developing long term positive relationships and building on life skills.