Thank you Hebden Bridge

The day after the Boxing  Day floods -  which devastated hundreds of homes and businesses - we opened our doors and became the central flood hub for Hebden Bridge. Most of the town was without power and despite flooding in our cellars, we were lucky to still have electricity and a working broadband connection.

Open continuously for the first 48 hours and for many days afterwards, we were able to operate as a flood relief centre thanks to the help of hundreds of dedicated volunteers and generous donations of food, cleaning supplies and specialist equipment from individuals, charities and businesses as well as support from Calderdale Council staff.

Based at the Town Hall, an amazing team of volunteers achieved the following:

  • Served over 20,000 free hot drinks and over 4000 free hot meals (with many of the meals provided by Sikh Aid organisation Khalsa Aid as well as Muslim charities)
  • Managed a food distribution point – distributing free food to those in need including donations from many individuals as well as businesses including Cooperative, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda and Marks and Spencer
  • Set up a central point for cleaning supplies where people could collect free cleaning items
  • Set up a central database to coordinate and deploy a 750-strong volunteer army – many with highly specialist skills including structural engineers, electricians, gas engineers, telecoms – to clean and fix our town.
  • Sourced, coordinated and deployed over 50 volunteer van drivers to assist people affected by the floods. 
  • Helped people fill in application forms for emergency grants from Community Foundation for Calderdale
  • Offered free mobile phone charging and wifi access.
  • Coordinated the distribution of essential specialist equipment such as water pumps, dehumidifiers and heaters to people in need.
  • Organised space in our building for Citizens Advice and Calderdale Council to give advice to those affected by the flood.
  • Offered a quiet space for a rest and reflection with free massages and reflexology sessions.

 

Rachel Rickards is Chair of the Hebden Bridge Community Association, the charity that manages The Town Hall. She says:

“The response of our community to the floods of December 2015 has been truly amazing. People of all backgrounds, of all faith groups have all joined with us to provide essential help and support for people affected by the floods. We are proud of our town and its community. We are humbled by your kindness, generosity and resilience. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

"This is a community building - your town hall - and our combined efforts have shown what can be achieved when a strong community works together."

The Town Hall, Hebden Bridge, is one of the first community-owned town halls in the country and is run by a charity - the Hebden Bridge Community Association.
 
Volunteers Rachael, Kelly and Alexis. Image Miriam O'Keefe
 
Khalsa Aid preparing food at The Town Hall
 
Human Relief Foundation and Hebden Bridge volunteers