By Joshua Robinson –
Grassroots groups helping people walk, wheel and cycle have all received funding from the Mayor of West Yorkshire’s community grants scheme.
The successful groups were revealed as the Mayor was visiting a walking club aimed at boosting the wellbeing of refugees and asylum seekers by helping them to access friendly football games.
The walk and the football are both organised by Huddersfield Town Foundation, the official charity of Huddersfield Town Association Football Club.
Huddersfield Town Foundation is using a community grant to train and pay people to lead more walks around the town, to improve refugees’ confidence, and help them access support services organised by volunteers and charities across Kirklees.
The club’s walking activities have been made possible thanks to funding from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority – which wants to get people walking, cycling, and wheeling more often.
The most recent round of grants awarded from the £100,000 pot was confirmed in May 2023, with 23 community-based organisations delivering grassroots activity successfully applying to the fund.
At the launch, the Mayor met refugees and representatives from Huddersfield Town Foundation, as well as local councillors and leaders of organisations who support refugees in Kirklees.
Walk leaders and volunteer mentors will help overcome language barriers among the group, who speak over 50 languages between them.
The walking club is being run by Huddersfield Town Foundation in association with the Kirklees Cohesion team, Third Sector Leaders, and Destitute Asylum Seekers Huddersfield.
Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said: “We know it’s not one size fits all with walking and cycling, which is why we are supporting community groups across the region and targeting funds where they can make the biggest difference. This is just one example of how we’re building a better-connected West Yorkshire.”
“I’m delighted to see today how this walking club in Huddersfield, funded through our community grants scheme, is doing just that, while also helping those who are seeking sanctuary from war and persecution.”
Siobhan Atkinson, Chief Executive of Huddersfield Town Foundation, said: “By using walking groups, we can support refugees and asylum seekers to integrate into Kirklees and learn how to find local places of interest. We want to deliver opportunities that bring people together to foster friendships, but also to have healthy lifestyles.”
“Working with those in need is what the work of the Huddersfield Town Foundation is all about, and we are delighted to have the support of the Combined Authority to help us achieve this.”
A wide variety of groups have received up to £5,000. Below are just a few examples from across the region:
Huddersfield Town Foundation
In addition to the led walk to social football visited by the Mayor, Huddersfield Town Foundation work to inspire people, creating opportunities and work with other local organisations to deliver a range of projects across Kirklees. These support people from the ages of 4 to 94.
Leeds Dads put on social walks, barbecues, and other events with dads in East Leeds, supporting new fathers to play an active role in their family lives through suport and encouragement. They previously used a community grant to run a Forest School, leading dads and children in nature-based activities. With their latest grant, they plan to increase participation in the Forest School by 30%.
Bring Me To Life
Working to improve Wakefield women’s health and wellbeing through a community approach, Bring Me To Life plan to use their community grant to run “Walk and Talk” sessions, building confidence for women to walk in outdoor green spaces like Thornes Park and Pontefract Park.
Undercliffe Cemetery Project
The Cemetery Project are using a community grant to create a historical walking tour of Undercliffe Cemetery, The Cemetery is both a Bradford heritage site and a common walking route for children going to Peel Park Primary School and Nursery.
Cargodale Hebden Bridge
A social enterprise based in Calderdale, Cargodale Hebden Bridge help make electric cargobikes a practical option for businesses and families in the Happy Valley. With their grant, they plan to put on cargo bike showcase events, offering subsidised cargo bike training, as well as long term cargo bike trials to help people make a decision about investing in the technology.
Find Out More:
In total, over 60 applications were received from across West Yorkshire.
This is part of a West Yorkshire Combined Authority project that has seen over £600,000 given to organisations that help people take part in walking, wheeling and cycling.
The Mayor’s community grants initiative, first launched in 2017, has so far benefited over 11,000 people across the region.
You can learn more about the Combined Authority’s work with communities on active travel projects on the CityConnect website.