The villages around Denby Dale are very familiar with events that unite them, with traditional events like the Denby Dale Pie festivals, which started in 1788, through to the more regular and more recent Scarecrow Festivals.
Core to the local community, is one of the largest and very active Denby Dale and District Lions Club, which has organised the Denby Dale Scarecrow Festival for a number of years, with only the pandemic presenting a barrier. This year, 2021, restrictions lifting and covid rules permitting, the Lions who have a motto of "We Serve" declared they would coordinate the event with only weeks to make it happen.
The event was scheduled for the August Bank Holiday weekend had a theme of Key Workers and many entries across the village.
The Winner was Postman Pat and the winners agreed to put the prize money to the upkeep of the "Pie Triangle Flowers" in the village.
Entries represented so many kinds of key-workers, including police, fire and NHS, postmen, dustbin men, shop-workers, Sir Tom, and many more - the entries were amazing:
Although the covid restrictions meant that the event was run slightly different this year, and on the day, it was quieter than normal, the funds raised amounted to that of a normal year.
The Lions Club President David Absolon said "...Denby Dale District Lions were delighted finally to host the Scarecrow Festival after so long an absence caused by the lockdowns, so watch Denby Dale District Lions - Home | Facebook for more events soon. Hopefully we're playing our part in building confidence in the community following such a long time "confined to barracks". We'd like to thank the people of the district who came out to support the wonderful work carried out by the Denby Dale Centre, as well as enjoy the trail identifying all of our key workers...."
A week after the event, the Lions Club members discussed and agreed that there should be one main beneficiary of the funds, taking the main share and the remaining money to go to the general community fund that the club operate. The Club donated £3,000 to the Denby Dale Centre, in recognition of there recent and present work in the local community.
The Chief Officer of the Denby Dale Centre, Paul Jones MBE said "...my jaw dropped to my chest when the Lions Club contacted me to inform of their extremely kind decision. It is amazing just how strong our local community is, and how much the charities and community groups look after each other. The Denby Dale Centre is presently operating over 30 projects to help to connect people and we would like £2,000 of this donation to be ringfenced to continue the great work of the local Community Pantry, one of those projects. The remaining donation will be used to help maintain the fleet of accessible minibuses, which before the pandemic were being used by over 80 local groups. The pantry is the continuation of our Covid Response Emergency and General Food Fund, where instead of setting up a Food Bank, we gave local families vouchers to support their grocery shopping - this meant that we were working with local families, rather than at them. The pantry is basically a membership discount grocery shop, where families who are supported with benefits can join free, and enjoy heavily discounted groceries, which are donated by local communities, supermarkets and allotments. This new type of support is one that gives users dignity and respect, and is based in Skelmanthorpe..."
This donation came from the Coop at Sovereign Junction, and other local supermarkets support the pantry, including Morrisons, Coop Kirkburton, Coop Skelmanthorpe and Tesco Scissett.
"...The pantry regularly runs short of drinks and puddings..." Sandra Vass, Retail Assistant explains, "...so we put out pleas on social media; local people are amazing and are so self-less, and donate amazing things. We had one of the members saying that the family used for the first time, branded toothpaste instead of budget poor quality ones, and it has made a big difference to his family, especially his disabled son. Another member explained that she now does not worry about putting her heating on, she doesn't have to decide food or heating..."
The work of the Denby Dale Centre, known as TIMEtogether in other parts of Kirklees continued through the lockdown, and more community activities are starting to reopen, including a weekly cream teas in Denby Dale. All the latest information can be found on their website, but are included in this poster:
On a bright sunny day in Denby Dale, the Lions met with DDC to present the Scarecrow cheque, proving that Scarecrows can connect people!
Lion Charlie Coupe, Lions Secretary Vince Hayes, and David Absolon, President of the Denby Dale & District Lions Club presents Chief Officer Paul Jones MBE, Transport Coordinator Lorraine Holtom and Driver Peter Southwell of the Denby Dale Centre, with the £3,000 cheque!
Further information about the organisations and work of both charities can be found at: