Updated July 2021
Welcome to Reach 4 Social Justice (Reach4ward). We are a local non-profit community interest company, based in and working with residents of Hebden Bridge, and across the Upper Calder Valley from Eastwood to Luddendenfoot. Our work is based on the principles of achieving social justice; to enable people to fully participate in all that is on offer, and by providing opportunities for the redistribution of resources.
We are a group of 4 women who were born in and have lived in Hebden Bridge and the Calder Valley for over 35 years. We are knowledgeable and have expertise in youth & community work, social care, project and business management, anti-poverty work, welfare reform and law. We are passionate about challenging injustice and promoting social change for the greater good.
Why did the project arise?
We began Reach4ward because of the anti-poverty work carried out by one of the directors and the need for services in our area not currently provided by anyone else. Whilst our area has a lot of wonderful features, these are often not accessible to everyone. The reasons for this include physical and mental health issues, isolation, loneliness, poverty, age, substance misuse to name a few. Often these issues overlap. Many people in our lovely community are struggling & this is all too often ignored.
Reducing isolation and loneliness
Our first event to try and alleviate some of the issues outlined above was The Great Get Together in 2018 on Calder Holmes Park, celebrating the vision of the late Jo Cox- that we have more in common than that which divides us. Through this event we attempted to bring people and communities together to celebrate what we have in common. Feedback from the 300 people who attended was that we should definitely run another the following year, which we did, to an even larger group of participants, in June 2019, where we also, for the first time, delivered our first session of the incredible Human Library which aims to challenge negative stereotypes and discrimination.
We followed the first Great Get Together in 2018 by the incredible Community Xmas Day Get Together, 25 December 2018, where we came together to eat and have fun with 130 people who would otherwise be alone on Xmas day. The whole day was run by committed volunteers and was an outstanding success. We also co-produced a similar event in 2019 with our local community.
The underpinning principle of all of our work is that we provide everybody with the opportunity to deliver it and we as directors of the company help to coordinate it and access funding. Delivery by participation so everyone can take ownership of it.
Work with young people
Using the same principles of reducing loneliness and isolation we are also delivering youth work provision in Hebden Bridge for young people aged 11+, as part of the CLOUD project. We see young people as our future. Young people are often excluded from participating in activities other people take for granted. We have permanent premises at Machpelah Mill Hebden Bridge- see our separate CLOUD web page.
In addition, we have delivered welfare rights sessions to groups of people to support and empower them to challenge the system's adverse decision making. We recognise the barriers that being in poverty & having disabilities can cause & we know that many people in the community feel very isolated because of these factors.
How are we funded?
Many generous people and organisations are supporting our work and contribute financially and in kind with time and resources. Additionally, we fund raise ourselves through our directors and volunteers taking part in community activities where we are sponsored by local people. Currently we have, or have had, funding from TNL [National Lottery], Hebden Royd Town Council, Luddendenfoot and Mytholmroyd ward funding, Mytholmroyd and Hebden Bridge Coop, What’s on In Hebden Bridge, Thompson Reuters, Calderdale Small Grants, and many other numerous individuals who wish to remain anonymous.
What is the plan for the future?
We aim to continue with all we are doing, finances and COVID 19 permitting. This includes our work with young people, our Great Get Together event, our Human Library sessions. We will also continue with anti-poverty awareness work and with empowering people to know their rights and access justice.