Mary Creagh MP opened our Charity Shop and Drop In Centre in Springfield Mill, Denby Dale on 9th September 2005, marking our first community action. Later months saw our charity registration and company registration complete.
The Denby Dale Centre originally operated as a village charity, reducing isolation in their local community. Activities were offered and people started to attend groups under the banner of Time Together, with a games group, craft group, and a writing group.
Soon after its launch, the charity had vision to purchase minibuses to address the transport barriers being experienced by a growning membership, and the Valleys Community Transport was born, which soon widened it's operation to include the Holme Valley and Colne Valley, and later in 2006 to a be Kirklees wide support service.
Many projects have been operated in the local area, with many being held at the Kirkburton Salvation Army building, which later was placed on the market and which the Denby Dale Centre purchased and have since operated as a community centre, called the Kirkburton Hub.
As we approached the 15th Birthday Celebrations which were planned for September 2020, the Coronavirus Pandemic affected, everything. The celebrations were postponed, however the charity went into hyperdrive to support the local people. The charity actually increased the staffing level to cope with the demand for support of isolating and shielding vulnerable people and families.
As the "birthday week" is upon us, the Denby Dale Centre has managed to recover some level of normality into what it is doing to support local people:
Food Fund - we have supported over 20 families with a bespoke shopping service, who would have normally needed a food bank to maintain a quality of life. This service included an Emergency Food Fund for one of "shops" for families to bridge the gap from when money ran out to their next welfare payment.
Shopping Service - this has been supported by an amazing army of volunteers who were prepared to take someones shopping list to a supermarket and deliver their shopping. Volunteers were supplied with infection control training, and a Top Up Debit Card to avoid them using their own money. The charity has coordinated over 1,000 shopping lists to be shopped and delivered to local people.
Shopper Bus Service - relaunching the week after the birthday, the weekly door to door shopper bus to Morrisons. The charity has worked with Morrisons to develop a safe experience in store.
Chatterbox - simply a phone buddy service, which continues with volunteers calling between daily and weekly, for a chat, to help keep people in touch with others.
Walkies - a volunteer dog walking service, which may have only been taken advantage of by a few people, but those people were really stuck, some isolating following medical procedures.
Prescriptions - collected and delivered for people who did not qualify for a pharmacy delivery.
Community Anchor - we are proud to be trusted as a community anchor, linking the council and the local GP practices with the community through social prescribing and sign-posting for local people to be more engaged in community activities throughout the area.
Call Centre - we offered a help desk, for people in need to call, and we put out requests to local people to help out, or to local tradesmen to help people.
Volunteer Car Service - this service continued to offer a bespoke one to one service for people needing urgent medical appointments and were stuck. The service has changed to be Covid Secure, with infection control protocols in place to reduce risks.
Kirkburton Hub - has now re-opened to groups who are permitted to meet, within Government guidelines and within our Covid Secure rules we have in place. Restrictions include no singing, shouting or playing wind instruments, and also the guidelines mean that windows need to be opened during and after sessions, to flush out airbourne infection risks.
Charity Shop - in Denby Dale is trading, and taking donations on Thursday and Fridays only. The shop has a one way system and has invested in contactless payments, to reduce contact - infection risks. The drop-in centre remains closed, but the nearby Beanies Bistro will host a household wishing to sit down for a coffee and bun.
Cooked Food Delivery - on Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays, prepared by a local chef and delivered on the same day as prepared.
Digital Dementia Group - NEW on our service list is an attempt to connect people living with dementia digitally, which has it's own challenges. The group will have the chance to virtually visit Greenhead Park, Cannon Hall Farm and other outdoor places, from the safety of their own homes with staff and volunteers linking with them via web-chat.
Dementia Social Groups - reopening soon, with Covid Secure changes to keep our vulnerable members safe from harm, but to make the massive difference that our groups make to the progress of dementia. Our groups are based on real positive emotions, rather than memories, with transport, food, trips and lots and lots laughter through sitting and slightly active sessions.
Training Centre - is now open and taking bookings for first aid, food hygiene, health and safety and other courses. New training changes mean that we can offer Covid Secure protocols to training and offer a blend of classroom and digital courses to ensure quality courses can be enjoyed. Although competitively priced, we also offer a further 50% discount to community groups in Kirklees. The training centre was very busy creating infection control short courses for volunteers, and haad 13,000 hits online - ALL FREE.
15 years connecting people, reducing loneliness and isolation, improving quality of life, and real experience operating community transport, community centres and importantly community activities - and we are still going.
The next 15 years will be very interesting, with more collaborative work with new partners. We are presently working with three School & Family Hubs, covering the whole of rural Kirklees plus north Huddersfield, with projects to improve quality of life.
The recovery from the impacts of the pandemic is ongoing, but the Denby Dale Centre is functioning for the local people in Kirklees. As you can see above, we have services available now, to help improve quality of life. More services will open as restrictions are eased.
We would like to finish our 15 year celebration to say a massive thank you to hundrends of amazing volunteers who have worked with us to make our story such a successful story - thank you, everyone!