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Jesters Gymnastics Club invests in new equipment with the help of local businesses9 November 2018

Published 9 November 2018
Local children’s gymnastics group, Jesters Gymnastics Club, has been able to buy brand new gym equipment thanks to WDH and Horbury Financial Services. The not-for-profit organisation based in Pontefract and Featherstone received a £1500 Community Grant from WDH and £350 from Horbury Financial Services to buy a new air track to help gymnasts improve their tumbling skills and training. With over 20 years’ experience, Jesters Gymnastics Club works with over 200 children, aged five to 18, to learn and improve their gymnastics skills. Jess Garrett, Head Coach at Jesters Gymnastics Club said: “The children absolutely love the new air track. We bought it from Airtrack UK who have been brilliant. We rely solely on fundraising so this wouldn’t have been possible without the donations from WDH and Horbury Financial Services.”

Local scout club improves the learning experiences for young people9 November 2018

Published 9 November 2018
A WDH Community Grant has helped the 17th Wakefield Scout Club to buy essential kits for expeditions.

Are you ready for Universal Credit?9 November 2018

Published 9 November 2018
We are now less than a month away from the introduction of Universal Credit (UC) Full Service in Wakefield. The Full Service of UC will be introduced in Wakefield from 28 November 2018 and will replace six benefits with a single monthly payment similar to a monthly working wage.

Partnership leads the way in money matters18 October 2018

Published 18 October 2018
WDH and Leeds Credit Union joined forces at their new branch in the heart of Wakefield to highlight the support available for those who need it. As part of International Credit Union Day, WDH’s Cash Wise and Debt teams were on hand to dish out advice on how to manage your money better. In addition, to celebrate the partnership, Leeds Credit Union will be giving the first 50 customers who sign up for a new account with £1 on the day £25 credit to get them started. Terms and Conditions apply. Kevin Dodd, Chief Executive for WDH, said: “This event is a great example of partnership working between WDH and the Leeds Credit Union and the shared support we can offer to our tenants and customers. With the introduction of Universal Credit approaching we are all preparing for the changes to come, supporting tenants to open a bank account and get online. Anyone who feels they would benefit from talking to us should join us and get the advice and support on offer.” Chris Smyth, Chief Executive, Leeds Credit Union, said: “I am absolutely delighted about the new branch in the heart of Wakefield as this will help even more people to access the savings and affordable loans provided by the credit union. I am also very pleased that this branch has been made possible through the cooperation that the credit union has had for many years with our friends at WDH’’ He added: “By working together we can bring a range of services to support residents and families in Wakefield and this is as important as ever as hard economic times continue to bear down on many families.” The event coincides with and National Get Online Week, and for those who are concerned about the introduction of Universal Credit in November, which will be an online only service, the teams will be able to answer any questions or concerns.

Don’t miss out, get online and #Try1Thing this October12 October 2018

Published 12 October 2018
WDH is taking part in Get Online Week between 15- 21 October 2018 and encouraging people to Try 1 Thing online.

Best Garden: Rob Stringer10 October 2018

Published 10 October 2018
Rob Stringer won the Best Garden award in WDH’s 2018 Love Where You Live Awards.

Community Champion: Angela Thomas 10 October 2018

Published 10 October 2018
Angela Thomas won the Community Champion category in WDH’s 2018 Love Where You Live Awards. Angela set up The Bag Fairies in November 2014 at The Pavilion, South Kirkby. The group supports anyone in need in the local community.  Angela and the group have provided clothing for people, ranging from new-borns to older people, as well as providing bedding, towels and homewares for the homeless and vulnerable who are moving into their own accommodation. The Bag Fairies are self-funded and rely solely on donations, there is no referral service and customers can just call in when they need to. They also provide a number of personal hygiene toiletries to the vulnerable and homeless and work closely with WDH Cash Wise to support families in need.  The group is going from strength to strength and their room is packed to the rafters with donations. Angela goes above and beyond to help and all of this is done in her own time. On winning the award, she said: “Community is not just a word, it is an attitude. Bag fairies is a community in action reaching out to help all those around us who are vulnerable and in need, so I am delighted to have won this award on their behalf.”

Digital in the Community: Friends of Fryston Woods10 October 2018

Published 10 October 2018
Friends of Fryston Woods Group took the Digital in the Community Award in WDH’s 2018 Love Where You Live Awards.

Working with Older People: The Open Heart Memory Café 10 October 2018

Published 10 October 2018
Janet Ward runs the Hemsworth Open Heart Memory Café each month. The café is run by a group of volunteers and is regularly attended by 30 to 40 people from across the South East of Wakefield. The café is for people with Alzheimer’s and their carers and provides a place where they can come along and socialise with others. They provide a number of activities suitable for people with dementia and older people including boccia, jigsaws, bean bag activities and regular sing alongs. The group also hold another weekly session for older people which aims at reducing social isolation amongst the older community and are looking at organising some trips for them.

Community Group: 5 Towns Community Radio10 October 2018

Published 10 October 2018
5 Towns Community Radio won the Community Group Category in WDH’s 2018 Love Where You Live Awards having beat previous champions Havercroft Parents Forum after a fierce battle for digital votes.
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Let’s write the future, together
wdh

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Let’s write the future, together

Published 13 November 2014

 

What will the Wakefield district look like in 2020?

This was the focus of our first-ever major stakeholder event which was held last month at Unity Works in Wakefield. How can we make the greatest social impact? What problems will the district face? And how can we work better together with our partners?

Looking at where Wakefield is today, the situation is stark. Unemployment remains higher than the national average and not enough affordable homes are being built. Nationally we have an ageing population living with a range of complex health conditions, and a significant digital divide exists between the district and the rest of the country.

With the area facing such a diverse range of challenges, our plans need to be as bold as the task is difficult. We’re prepared to invest as much as £700 million to offer tenants and residents a better quality of life, but I’m clear that we must spend wisely and work together to get the best possible value for money.

Considering our recent work in reducing unemployment, the WDH Academy and WDH Foundation are making an impact at reducing the number of NEETs (young people not in employment, education or training). This work remains important, but to break the cycle of inter-generational joblessness we need a more robust approach that considers the whole family.  Raising the aspirations of primary school pupils is another area that’s important if we’re to give more young people the confidence to gain employment.

In terms of generating more affordable housing, our recent contribution, although significant, has simply not been enough. The district needs 1,600 new homes every year to meet demand, and last year we built 294 affordable homes. Investing £650 million here will make a difference, but this money must also continue to improve our existing estates to create more vibrant communities for our tenants. We’re backing the National Housing Federation’s Homes for Britain campaign and I would suggest that everyone with a vested interest in providing more homes in Wakefield does the same.

The work of our Wellbeing Case Workers is also impressive and a lifeline to their customers. In the last five years they've supported 5,000 people. With widespread poor health across the district - 25,000 people report their health as being ‘bad’ or ‘very bad’-  continuing our work with tenants is logical, but can we do more? Are our plans ambitious enough? With the help from partners, we need to explore this topic further to ensure the £30 million we have available supports a universally accepted district-wide goal.

Finally, in February this year we opened the WDH Hub, and we have plans to spend £10 million on providing our tenants with free WiFi and a tablet device so they can access online services at home. Over 60 per cent of all WDH tenants tell us they don’t have access to the internet, so whilst we’re looking at adopting a broad-brush approach, the reality is that we can’t afford for our tenants to miss out financially – especially as we prepare for the roll out of universal credit.

Looking towards 2020, I’m confident we can make a difference. But what the future will look like, none of us have a crystal ball! To drive change locally in the future, we need to put the groundwork in today.

Our stakeholder event was bold and I was delighted at the joint desire to work closer to ensure we join all the dots in the four key areas of our work – providing opportunities for all, building better places, health and wellbeing and a digital future.

Hopefully we will, because together we’ve got the expertise to write a great future for our district.

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