Out and About in Kirklees
Monday 15th – Sunday 21st May 2023 saw World Mental Health Awareness Week. Kirklees Employment Service, in conjunction with The Working Together Better Partnership, hosted a Kindness Rocks! Event which saw staff and volunteers creating beautiful pebbles with uplifting colours and messages to brighten up someone’s day.
After a creative session of pebble painting, the team headed down to Huddersfield Canal and distributed the pebbles so that they would uplift the journey’s of any walkers passing by. We were helped by Ali’s son, Teddy, who was chief pebble distributor, and Steve’s youngest pooch, Bronte.
The team had a lovely time thinking of how we can brighten up people’s day, and enjoyed the mindfulness that the session brought, along with a lovely break from the office to walk in the sun. Of course we had to treat ourselves to a Dixon’s Ice Cream too!
Pebble painting was enjoyed so much that Steve has even carried on doing it in his spare time, distributing pebbles on his travels, and Teddy has got the bug for some mindfulness creativity as well!
Here is a small selection of our creations:
Dementia UK hold a yearly Time for a Cuppa week which encourages individuals to host a morning of brews and cake in order to raise awareness and money for Dementia UK and the Admiral Nurses they provide. To continue the amazing work Kirklees Employment Service have been doing as Dementia Friends, we held a Time for a Cuppa Event at the Media Centre.
Staff hosted, and we were very lucky to have Hailey, one of our amazing volunteers on hand to whip up some fresh brews for any customers that came along. We had a lovely chat with members of the public, Service Customers, and other services such as PDAP and Helping Hands, and Richmond Fellowship IT Department, who came down to support us.
In total we raised a lovely £65.66p for Dementia UK.
Here are some pics of the cakes that were on offer!
Hannah was lucky enough to be invited to the annual International Women’s Day celebration at Diamond Wood Academy in Ravensthorpe. The school were hosting the celebration on 3rd March and it saw the chance for services across the Kirklees area to come and show how we can support women within the community. The celebration was opened by the Mayor, and we were then treated to a fantastic performance from the school choir and a reading by one of the pupils. It was then time to network with the ladies who had come to visit us all, and of course with each other. Locala, CLEAR, TSL Kirklees, PDAP, and Auntie Pam’s were just some of the other organisations that were there. The hall was packed with ladies coming to celebrate the day and almost everyone took the opportunity to have their face painted, enjoy the lovely refreshments put on by the school, and take part in the raffle.
It really was a wonderful day celebrating the females in the Kirklees Community.
Karl, our Peer Support Coordinator, switched roles on 21st February 2023 to help volunteer at the concert event hosted by Kirklees Dementia Hub. The exciting event brought together people living with dementia, and their support networks, to enjoy live bands, children’s choirs, dancing, and a very tasty afternoon tea!
Karl said: I attended the Dementia Hub event at Huddersfield town hall as a volunteer on Tuesday the 21.02.23. My main roles were to get the concert hall ready for the attendees, ensure they were kept supplied with food and drink and to mingle and chat to the people attending. I really enjoyed being on the other side of an event and being able to support such a fantastic service in delivering what was a really brilliant get together for those living with dementia’.
Ziona also attended the event to be involved, represent the Team as Dementia Friends, and have a fun morning interacting with a variety of inspiring individuals.
If you want to find out more about Kirklees Dementia Hub you visit their website here: Kirklees Dementia Hub | Community Links (commlinks.co.uk). We also have signposting to dementia support services which you can access by clicking Here.
On Thursday 2nd February 2023 the KES Team donned their wellies and met with the River Holme Connections Team in a field in Meltham to help with the Tree Planting efforts. Karl was unable to join us but he was with us in spirit and we names a tree after him!
The day started with a brisk walk across Meltham, it was very cold and windy so blew away our office cobwebs, but thankfully no rain! We met with Ffion and her team and got going over some health and safety…we didn’t want anyone getting injured!
We were paired up with some fabulous River Holme Connections Volunteers and we went off to our patches to begin our task. We can all definitely agree that tree planting is hard work!
The process of planting trees is: dig the hole, put in fungi, put in the tree, cover and heel, put in the stake, use the equipment to make sure the stake goes below the tree line, then cover with the plastic cylinder and time.
We were all very much ready for a coffee break! By the time we had finished we had managed to fill in a chunk of the field with new tress ready to grow. The River Holme Valley Connections Group would be coming back another day to complete the hedging.
It was a really rewarding day to give back to the environment – and we have such respect for tree planters. Getting out in the fresh air, being together, and doing some physical activity was also great for all our own wellbeing – and everyone in the team said they slept well that night!
Kirklees Employment Service was lucky enough to be given £250 to contribute to a social cause of their choosing. The team met and decided we wanted to give a meaningful donation to several organisations with a focus on what people have been struggling with during the Cost of Living Crisis – particularly during the freezing temperatures we have experienced this winter.
We put together packages of Fleece Blankets, Hats Gloves, Socks, Foil Blankets, and our Peer Support Coordinators Partner kindly knitted lots of scarves for us.
We donated these packages to The Crossroads Project Foodbank in Meltham, CAP (Christians Against Poverty, and the Kirklees Council Homeless Team.
We feel very lucky to have been able to help out in the local community. Here is some of the feedback we received:
‘Thank you so much for the fantastic blankets, gloves and hats you have donated for our CAP clients. It looks like someone has used their knitting skills to make some fab hats, and when the first recipient saw the bright pink beanie…she instantly fell in love with it! Both her and her partner were really grateful and said that the items will help keep them warm and maybe save on a bit of heating!’
Rough Sleepers Initiative:
‘I just wanted to thank you and Steve for meeting with me and for the kind thoughtful donations that you made. The items you donated to our Rough Sleeper Initiative Team will be invaluable; we have 6 officers who work on an outreach basis with rough sleepers as well as a Social Worker and substance misuse worker also.
It can often take time to build up trust and engagement from new or entrenched rough sleepers, the items donated will help in supporting those rough sleepers who aren’t ready and don’t want an offer of accommodation.
Warm clothing/blankets to offer is vital at times…having our own stock of these will mean they can be given out promptly.
The foil blankets will be really useful for our officers to carry whilst verifying reports of rough sleepers across Kirklees often involving long treks in woods etc or when finding someone cold and not adequately clothed or safe source of warmth’.
The Caring Employers event which took place 22nd November 2022 at the Mission in Huddersfield, this was the first DWP organised Caring Employers Event for Kirklees, which received a great turn out, approximately 100 people attended.
Along with JCP and Richmond Fellowship Kirklees Employment service other providers and employers had stalls to promote their service or organisation.
Guest speakers included: Richmond Fellowship Employment service, Real Employment, NHS IPS, Training providers, Employers and JCP presentations, including Access to Work.
Steve Blinston (Richmond Fellowship Employment Service Manger) delivered a presentation which covered all aspects of the Kirklees employment service offer, including supporting employers and employees in the workplace. also promoted Working Together Better partner services.
Karl Jackson-Lander (Richmond Fellowship Peer Support/Volunteer Co-ordinator) also attended as a guest speaker to share his journey and experiences from being someone experiencing mental ill health and being unemployed at the time for over 20 years, and how he was able to access support with Richmond Fellowship employment service, to progress into volunteering and eventually gaining employment with Richmond Fellowship, Karl went on to share the support received over the last 5 years in retaining employment and supporting his recovery journey.
This was very moving and inspirational, Karl received lots of comments on the day and several emails since, thanking him for sharing his journey with others.
Two attendees comments:
“I was at the conference at the mission last week and I didn’t get the chance to catch up with you after your speech. I just wanted to say that I found your story incredibly moving and inspiring. Thank you for sharing it with us”!
“It was very inspiring to watch you on stage at the event on Tuesday and lovely to put a face the name, sorry I did not get chance to introduce myself as when I came over only Steve was there”
Caring Employer event organiser Francesca Strachan, DWP Senior Kirklees Employment & Partnership Manager comments:
I just want to thank you both in regards to supporting the “Caring Employer” Event, I am very grateful that we have excellent organisations as yourselves working alongside us. Thank you Steve for your brilliant presentation and Karl’s at the Caring Employer event! I personally was so grateful and genuinely felt as a group of speakers we really pulled the event off to a great success. We have had some great feedback.
Just to reiterate you were so brilliant and the Richmond Fellowship offer is excellent and so beneficial for our communities, we are lucky to have you!
The focus of the inspirational employer event, offering practical support, advice and guidance to empower employers to build on/create opportunities for underrepresented people. Enable organisation to build on equality and diversity, and give every individual the chance to achieve their potential!
On the day there were lots of time for networking, which has generated enquires from people attending the event.
All in all a very good day.
On 8th December 2022 Hannah attended a Workability Event at Huddersfield University. We were invited by the Careers Department so that we could link up, and any students, graduates, or staff who have any mental ill health could find out about other support available in the Kirklees area.
Over the 2hr event Hannah conducted 10 drop ins with a mix of staff and students who wanted to find out more about what support is available in addition to what they receive at university – particularly support that focuses on understanding those with mental health challenges. Hannah discussed how to access volunteering opportunities with 2 students, how employer engagement can be a useful tool in the music tech. industry with another – and what we would be able to offer to further support this; and discussed retention support with some of the staff.
Hannah said: ‘I really enjoyed the event and letting people know what’s available for them as additional support, and also meeting such a wide array of students and staff who are studying/teaching different courses. Although 3 of the students lived outside the Kirklees Catchment which is part of our criteria for 1-2-1 support, I was able to share our new microsite with them and let them know that they could still access resources from us to help them’
The team had a busy day on World Mental Health Day this year! To start with Karl and Hannah took it in turns to spend time at Kirklees College, promoting mental health wellbeing and being available to open up discussions about mental health. Hannah then delivered a drop in talk to around 15 of the students, letting them know how our peer pathway and employment pathways could help them.
In the evening Hannah and Karl, joined by Steve and our favourite mascot Stanley, were at Crows Nest Park for the annual Lantern Parade! It was amazing to speak to the Dewsbury community about how we can support them, but also just be there to open up conversations about mental health and give people the opportunity to talk.
If you click the Title you will be taken to an article about the event and see some amazing pictures of the parade!
In Summer 2022 Steve, Karl, and our mascot Stanley, attended the first Pride festival in Kirklees. Everyone had a great day celebrating the inclusivity of the community, and of individuals. It was a great opportunity for us to let the LGBTQ+ Community know what support we can offer as well!
Click the heading to be taken to an article where Steve discusses more about the event!