Examiner Community Awards: Friend of the Year sponsored by Locala Community Partnerships

Our values are also about ‘being part of it’ and this sponsorship fits so well with ‘build great communities

Examiner Community Awards 2014

Locala Community Partnerships is a community interest company (CIC) – a type of social enterprise – which provides NHS community health care services in and around Kirklees.

Our services – district nursing, health visiting, school nursing etc. are at the heart of the community which means our teams are meeting local people every day in their homes and in clinics. We see how important support from friends - as well as family and other carers - can be to our patients’ health and wellbeing.

Sponsoring the Friend of the Year Award is part of Locala ‘giving back’ to the community and helping to recognise these often unsung heroes.

Locala is a membership organisation with employee and community members. Membership is free and those who choose to get involved in this way can find out more about the organisation and via the Members’ Council have a say in the way the company operates.

We are driven by our values which are about support and providing care and respect and being inspirational.

Our values are also about ‘being part of it’ and this sponsorship fits so well with ‘build great communities.’

Locala Community Partnerships
Locala Community Partnerships
 

One Good Turn certainly deserves another in the form of a nomination for an Examiner community award.

For this is the name of the charity set up by Sophia Crawshaw which has become deep-rooted within the community.

Sophia, 42, of Marsh, was nominated by husband Tony who said: “My wife suffers with a chronic condition ME and despite being advised by her consultant to only work a few hours a week she is determined to keep going and not give into the condition.”

Sophia has until recently been working for Kirklees Council 24 hours a week and has then founded the charity One Good Turn in 2011 and worked tirelessly for the last three years, giving up all her free time and weekends to developing the charity.

She works up to 60 hours a week for One Good Turn (OGT) and has put together a volunteer team of 44 volunteers all working at least five hours a week and some even full-time to implement the charity’s objective. One is 80 years old.

This is to help the most needy people in society, providing essentials such as white goods, furniture and carpets and also to provide emotional, practical and group support to some of the most vulnerable people in the area. The charity has just expanded into north Kirklees.

OGT holds a coffee morning every Wednesday at the Methodist Mission with up to 150 people attending with the charity helping victims of domestic violence to seek help and also referring people to adult literacy classes and other groups.

Sophia said: “People fleeing domestic violence often have absolutely nothing so once they have found somewhere to live we help them with all the essential items they need.”

Examiner Community Awards nominee - Sophia Crawshaw with husband Tony
Examiner Community Awards nominee - Sophia Crawshaw with husband Tony
 

The charity gets referrals for help from organisations ranging from drugs and alcohol charity Lifeline through to housing associations – and there are now 250 people waiting for large household items.

Tony added: “Sophia’s main objective this year is to encourage isolated people to socialise and get involved in their community. She helps single parents and vulnerable adults who have additional needs or are battling depression and other illnesses or disabilities.

“The coffee morning is lovely. You will see very young recovering addicts talking to elderly people who otherwise would probably never speak to one another person. A big percentage of single parents bring their children to play in the play area and mix with other mums and dads.”

This all costs money and Sophia has raised £34,000 in the last 12 months to run the project.

Sophia does all the book-keeping, administration, volunteer co-ordination, grant applications and manages the volunteers as well as promoting and marketing the charity.

Tony added: “My wife is inspiring. She has a very positive can do attitude, thinks on her feet and I sometimes wonder where she gets her ideas from. She is very thoughtful but quite feisty too with a wonderful sense of humour and bubbly personality.

“More than 600 families have benefited from the charity and I see her exhausted and ill on a regular basis but she continues to push herself to help others.”

Sophia and Tony have two children, Jacob, 19, and Heather, 14.

If you’re aged over 55 and want to meet new friends then the Culture Club is the place to go.

For this innovative project gives people the chance to get out and about trying a whole range of social and cultural experiences. And, perhaps most importantly of all, meet new friends. It has been running for almost three years and has 600 members who all live in Kirklees.

The club is run by manager Rachel Massey, administrator Charlotte Carroll and Deborah Munt and has been nominated by club member Laura Lambe, who said: “I recently moved to Huddersfield and this club has been a ‘life saver’ for me, introducing  me to so many new friends and providing opportunities to expand my horizons. The staff are so kind and thoughtful, thorough  in their professional approach and totally committed to all their members.

“It’s free to join and offers a varied programme of trips .events  and activities designed to stimulate mind, body and soul.”

The club states: “Our programme of workshops, events and special occasions offer something for every taste – gardening or galleries, opera or printmaking, singing or walking or both at the same time.”

Since last November Laura has been on club outings which have included the ballet in Sheffield, Christmas dinner, a laughter workshop, a history  talk at Greenhead Park, the fortnightly Film Group, monthly meeting at Queenie’s Café and a trip to Manchester Art Gallery organised  with guide to a special exhibition.

More than 70 members attended a question and answer session with former reporter Kate Adie at Huddersfield Town Hall as part of Huddersfield Literature Festival.

Examiner Community Awards nominees Charlotte Carroll and Rachel Massey of Culture Club with Laura Lambe who nominated them
Examiner Community Awards nominees Charlotte Carroll and Rachel Massey of Culture Club with Laura Lambe who nominated them
 

Laura added: “No, we are not a Boy George group but happy members who are delighted with these young ladies looking after our needs for companionship and  enjoyment.”

Culture Club is run by We Do Creativity Ltd, a creative organisation that has been developing projects in Kirklees and throughout the north for 17 years.

Company administrator Charlotte Carroll said: “It really does broaden people’s horizons and give people over the 55 the chance to be positive, learn new things and try new experiences.”

Everything is affordable for £3 or £4 for a coffee morning up to £25 maximum for a theatre trip outside the area.

Rachel Massey added: “We are a Huddersfield organisation passionate about the potential of the arts and culture to enhance the lives we live and the places we live and work in.”

After retiring from a working life that had included nursing and social work Martha Leek just wanted to carry on helping others.

And since 2007 she’s more than done that helping women at crisis points in their lives.

For that year she began volunteering at Huddersfield Pregnancy Crisis Centre (HPCC). The centre had a limited number of available counselling appointments due to the lack of trained staff so Martha trained in pregnancy choices, pregnancy and baby loss counselling. During her six years at the centre Martha has worked with many women facing unplanned pregnancy, miscarriage and baby loss, providing more than 270 counselling hours in the past three years alone and supporting them through difficult situations while helping them to move forward.

Martha manned drop-in sessions and the out-of-hours centre phone taking calls from clients whenever they needed support, helped to train new counsellors, sat on the Talkthru management team and was instrumental in recruiting 12 of the centre’s current 21 volunteers. Martha has secured grant funding crucial to the growth and development of the centre, promotes fundraising events, has worked tirelessly at networking and represented the charity on the Kirklees Teenage Pregnancy Strategy group.

A woman who suffered the loss of both her children at 32 weeks was wonderfully supported by Martha – and this was instrumental in leading to the charity’s name change.

Examiner Community Awards nominee Martha Leek
Examiner Community Awards nominee Martha Leek
 

She said: “It left me in a state of despair, anger and sadness so deep I was totally lost and had no idea how to deal with the grief.

Martha said all the right things and promised to help. The support Martha gave me and my husband was invaluable and I would not be the person I am today without the help she gave me to rebuild my life, my confidence and my belief in myself.

“My marriage is much stronger from the advice and support Martha gave me and I’m much stronger, wiser and happier following Martha’s guidance.

“Martha is a lovely, caring person working hard to support others in their quest to deal with difficult situations and, in some cases, devastating situations. I will always be eternally grateful for the help she gave me.”

Martha, who retired in December, is married to David and they have four children and five grandchildren aged from two to 19.

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