Picture this – a cold November evening, the night is dark outside but through the doors of the Rugby Club a warm greeting awaits in a room full of laughter, conversation, and twinkling lights.
2023 is the year that North Halifax Partnership (NHP) celebrates its 25th Anniversary, kicking things off with its Annual Celebration at Halifax Rugby Union Football Club in Ovenden. The room was beautifully decorated by Bloomin Lovely Occasions, featuring stunning flower centrepieces, a ‘25’ glitter wall and bunting.
Guests started arriving from 5.45pm and had a look at the wonderful display boards designed, decorated, and managed by staff from the Children’s Centres, Staying Well, Reimagining Communities, Neighbourhood Team and the Family Support Team. Each board showcased the wonderful work that each branch of NHP does on a day-to-day basis, emphasising how NHP brings people and organisations together by being a community anchor of Calderdale. The annual snapshot video, highlighting the work and accomplishments of NHP, was playing accompanied by a carefully selected playlist, giving a visual and auditory embrace to all the guests.
Once the Mayor and Mayoress of Calderdale had been greeted and shown to their seats by Tina Wilkes, CEO of NHP, it was time to kick off the celebratory talks and presentations.
Tina began by welcoming all the guests and introduced the Mayor of Calderdale to give an opening speech. The Mayor highlighted the wonderful work that NHP continue to do in Calderdale, congratulating all the staff and volunteers on their hard work and dedication to creating a better future for all generations.
David Eyers, Chair of the Board for NHP, then spoke about how wonderful NHP is as an organisation, how fantastic the staff and volunteers are, as well as the many achievements over the years. A highlight for the past year being finalists in the Calderdale Community Spirit Awards for the Great and Green and Charity of the Year categories.
Nicola Birchall, Family Support Manager, was then welcomed to speak, and spoke warmly and proudly of all the wonderful Family Support achievements. This included some heartfelt quotes about how the Family Support team have impacted the lives of countless families in our community:
“Stacey built trust straight away and I felt I could open up to you. Both children felt they could talk to you and open up too which was a plus for me. Thank you for everything and helping me get back to myself! You have a lovely approach and made me feel that whatever I was going through there was hope.”
“Everything was amazing I felt Listened to and Jade helped me get my voice back. Jade also helped me get my Confidence back and feel like I can function again.”
The talks were in full flow and Nicola Holdsworth, Children and Families Programmes Manager, took to the floor to talk about how the Children’s Centres are thriving, developing and constantly improving. Nicola also talked about how staff retention has improved due to NHP’s commitment to investing in staff through training and incentives.
Rachel Orton, Community Programmes Manager, stepped up to talk about the work the Neighbourhood Team, Staying Well and the UKSPF (United Kingdom Shared Prosperity Fund) have done over the last year. Highlights included how the work at Shrogg’s Park has led to improvements with safety and appearance, how the Telephone Befriending Scheme has continued to grow and adapt, the increased funding for new Staying Well Workers and finally the work on Reimagining Communities and how NHP have continued to gather the voice of North Halifax.
It was then time for Tina to introduce the annual celebration video, which included various interviews with past and present employees. The video featured speakers such as Rob Clegg, Vicky McGee and Jill Webb who have experienced the transformative time for NHP over the last 25 years.
Lynn Mould confidently spoke about her journey through NHP over the years, and how she started as a volunteer running a play group, moving onto a sessional worker to now a full time Senior Early Years Practitioner for Ash Green Children’s Centre. Lynn’s talk emphasised how passionate NHP are about supporting staff in achieving their aspirations.
Sam McCormack from Curious Motion really got everyone involved and moving. People had been sitting around listening to the talks and were ready to get up and do some dancing. Sam showed how to release stress through movement and taught the guests a little dance routine. Everyone participated and there were smiles, laughter and enjoyment radiating through the room. By the end of the session most guests were ready to tuck into the fantastic buffet.
During the buffet guest were able to listen to music and re-watch the snapshot video and view the display boards whilst having a mingle and chat.
At 7.45pm, Tina invited the Mayor back up for his closing speech, where he reiterated how impressed he was by the impact NHP has had on our local community.
Tina then brought the evening to an end, highlighting how we continue to live by our values being inclusive, collaborative, empowering and locally focused. Guests were directed to our website to learn more about our 25-year legacy and to keep an eye out for further anniversary celebrations throughout the year. Everyone left the event with a slice of delicious cake, a feeling of appreciation and a smile on their faces while looking forward to what the future holds for North Halifax Partnership.