HeLP Churchyard Planting

The Heptonstall Lights and Planting Group (HeLP) churchyard planting day is now on Sunday 5 May 2013, between 11:00am and 1:00pm..

HeLP will provide some plants, but if anyone has any spare cuttings (from plants that grow well in Heptonstall), that would be a useful contribution.

Our next HeLP meeting is on Monday 29 April 2013 at 8.00 in the White Lion.

Heptonstall Lights and Planting Group

Now the Christmas lights have gone, the last of the snow is melting and the early spring bulbs are starting to show, we are turning our attention to making plans for our spring and summer activities.

On Sunday 24 March, from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm, we are clearing up and planting in the old churchyard.  Everyone is welcome to join in.  Bring tools and any spare plants if you have them.

On Monday 25 March we are holding our next meeting at 8:00 pm in the Cross Inn.  Everyone is welcome.  Meetings are very informal and we want as many people as possible to come along to share any ideas about brightening up the village.

Hope to see you there.

Thanks – Clive.

Blackshaw Environmental Action Team (BEAT)

BEAT 13 2 13The next Blackshaw Environmental Action Team public meeting will be on Wednesday 13th February at 7.45 PM at the Chapel in Blackshaw Head.

There will be three speakers: Jonathan from the Carbon Coop in Manchester ( who will be speaking about the Carbon Coop, and Phil and Finn who will be speaking about their experience with their solar panels.

Phil will also talk about how ten households in Blackshaw Head got together to have thermal solar panels installed on their houses.

We are happy to hear suggestions on speakers you would like to hear.  We have already got some speakers lined up for future meetings to speak on nature conservation (bats, birds, etc). If you have suggestions please contact

As usual everyone is welcome to these public BEAT meetings.

Heptonstall Signs Group News

For the last twelve months the small Signs group has worked hard to improve signage in the village for our many visitors. We’ve worked together with Calderdale Tourism to develop more effective information in a form that we hope is helpful – but not too obtrusive.

Most people have probably seen the new Heptonstall Trail ‘lectern style’ board near the bus stop and phone box. This uses the attractive drawn map that’s part of the Trail booklet, showing the points of interest around the village. In addition we’ve been able to arrange for the booklet itself to be on sale at both pubs and the Tearoom, as well as the Post Office and Museum, so that visitors have no trouble finding it.

The second Information Board that we’ve put in place is at the Bowling Club and clearly shows the route from their car park into the village centre. We have all met visitors wandering around, unsure of the way!! This links in with the visitor information on Heptonstall Website, as well as the signs (which are often ignored!) encouraging folk to park at the Bowling Club.

Both signs are sturdy, fade resistant and weatherproof, which hopefully means they’ll last for some time.

We’re very pleased that the Parish Council has so generously funded the majority of the costs, with an added donation from Pennine Housing, (who own the garden where the Heptonstall Trail board’s been placed).

We haven’t quite finished!! Still to come are new finger posts, which will be sited both at Weaver’s Square and in the centre, indicating footpaths, and other important places of interest. These will be in keeping with, and enhance, the look of the village. Once all are in place a launch event will be arranged, probably once the weather improves in the Spring.

Please have a look at the new signs – we hope that residents like them!


HEptonstall Lights and Planting – Christmas Wreath Competition

The Christmas Wreath competition was won by Shirley Taylor of Northfield Terrace with these entries.

Heptonstall Xmax holly wreaths_2012 12 21_3716_edited-1 Heptonstall Xmax holly wreaths_2012 12 21_3713_edited-1





Other wreaths entered into the competition can be seen below;

Heptonstall Xmax holly wreaths_2012 12 21_3716_edited-1

HEptonstall Lights and Planting – Christmas

Christmas is almost here, dark evenings and freezing weather. But be of good cheer because the time has come to make merry and turn on the Christmas tree lights.

Place: Weavers Square.

Date: Saturday 1st December.

Time: 5.30pm

The cast of this year’s Heptonstall Pantomime will be there for the big switch on.

Once again, we are holding a competition for the House with the Best Christmas Wreath.  Gordon Rigg Vouchers to be won.  The result will be announced on Christmas Eve. Register by completing the form below, at The Post Office or on the Group’s Facebook Page.

Following the success of the Churchyard Clearup the group are meeting again on Sunday 16th December at 11.30 am in the churchyard.  Everyone Welcome.  Bring some garden tools if you have them.

If you are interested in getting involved with the group, leave a message on our facebook page, come along on the 16th or join us for our next meeting in The White Lion at 8.0pm on Monday 21st Jan 2013.

Christmas Wreath Competition Registration Form

Planting in the Church Yard

Thanks to everyone who made it to the Church Yard on the 11th of the 11 @ 11.30 onwards. There were thirteen in all. A good number. Leaves were swept; bulbs and plants planted. Worry not if you couldn’t make it for we shall return with our tools and our enthusiasm on another day.

Next HELP meeting is Monday coming (19th) in the White Lion at 8pm where we shall make further plans about keeping Heptonstall beautiful, especially in the Christmas season.

Ideas and new members always very welcome.


HEptonstall Lights and Planting.



HELP – Heptonstall Lights and Planting Group “Adopt a Patch” Day

HELP – Heptonstall Lights and Planting Group are holding an `Adopt a Patch` Day on Sunday 11th November in the Old Churchyard.

Everyone is welcome to come along at 11.30am. Bring a trowel if you have one. We are encouraging people to adopt a small patch of the churchyard which they can look after.


Hopefully if we get enough people to join in we can make a real difference to the appearance of the churchyard.

Age UK in Calderdale and Kirklees

Age UK Calderdale & Kirklees Health and Community Services team are working with ‘Good Neighbour Scheme’. They aim to alleviate a lot of the problems associated with later life.

A project which the people of Heptonstall are likely to hear a lot more about is ‘LOCAL LINK’.

Local Link is managed by Andrew Fearnley, who has a network of Community Volunteers, mainly in rural areas of Calderdale, who act as ‘eyes and ears’ of their local communities, to support isolated older people. Mary Cockcroft and Jean Leach are our volunteers in the Heptonstall area.

Andrew also runs a scheme called ‘SAFE & WARM’, offering Home Energy Information and Advice, with support in applying for grants and reducing fuel poverty amongst vulnerable older people.

The ‘ACTIVE BEFRIENDING PROJECT’, co-ordinated by Christine Henry offers ‘one to one’ support for isolated people throughout Calderdale. Trained volunteers are linked with lonely older people who feel depressed and socially isolated. The scheme is focused on engaging people in activities with their befriender, in order to restore confidence and gain more out of life.

People are referred to the scheme through various channels; usually by Health Professionals, but often by family or neighbours and sometimes by the person who actually needs the support.

Andrew and Christine can be contacted at Age UKCK Choices Centre, Woolshops, Halifax. For further information Tel 01422 399830.

Update to HeLP Front of House competition

Judging, interrupted by a tremendous thunderstorm, took place over the Bank Holiday weekend. The winning entry was at 24-26 Towngate.

HeLP would like to thank everyone who took part – we were surprised to get so many entries especially given the summer we’ve had.

The next meeting of HeLP is on Monday 10 September at 7.30 in the White Lion, Heptonstall. All are welcome – meetings are very informal.

Traffic, Parking and Road Safety Group

The project group formed following the production of the Community Led Plan has got its first result – new double yellow lines and road markings at the notorious junction of Hepton Drive, Southfield and Longfield. We hope that the bus service blockages and other access problems caused by irresponsible parking at this junction will now be a thing of the past. Thank you Calderdale Council for your prompt action on this one and thank you local residents for your positive support.

The group has also carried out a review of current speed limits in the Parish and has submitted proposals to Calderdale for a more sensible, consistent and safer approach to traffic speed. For example, extending the current 20mph limit in the Village to the side-streets (you will have observed that speed limits currently increase to 30mph on these!), and introducing more sensible speed limits in Slack, Widdop Road and Colden. Unfortunately,  Calderdale’s budget for ‘rural’ speed limit reviews is very restricted and we are in a queue to get action but, we are continuing to press Calderdale Councillors and Officers hard on this one so watch this space.

Finally, we are also pursuing Calderdale on the vexed question of parking more generally, particularly in the Village. Proposals for more off-street parking are on the table and other possibilities for reducing current problems include residents’ parking permits, one way streets, road widening , further parking restrictions, etc. Again, we are in a queue even to meet traffic officers to discuss the issues and have enlisted our Ward Councillors’ help to try and make progress. We intend to keep at it – another space to watch ….


Floral Displays and Festive Lights Group Renamed….


The Floral Displays and Festive Lights Group has been renamed and is now Heptonstall Lights and Planting Group (HELP).

After consulting with Reverend Pask we have arranged to have a planting session in the churchyard on:


Everyone is welcome. We are supplying plants but if you have any to spare from your garden, please bring them along and also a trowel if you have one.

Anyone who is interested in getting involved in our future activities is welcome to come to our next meeting on:

SATURDAY 19th May at 1.00 pm in The White Lion.

Contact Clive Worley on 01422 844219 or email to cworley7* (change * to @) for more details.

Community Car Service

The Good Neighbour Scheme (+ Voluntary Driver) Group have been successful in recruiting a number of local community volunteers – as drivers for the Community Car Service. If you have mobility problems and/or experience problems in using public transport then this service may be of help to you. You might be able to use it, for example, to get to:-

  • GP or Hospital Appointments
  • Food or other shopping
  • Social events and activities

If you think that you – or someone you know – might be interested and/or you would like to find out more, then please contact Phil Kelly on 01422 847328.


Floral and Festive Lights Group

The clue is in the name.

The Group first met in October 2011 and concentrated on getting a Christmas tree and lights for the village and lights at Colden.


Although the Group set the ball rolling, it could not have been done without help from others in the village – a real community effort.

As well as taking on the annual bulb planting, the Group is now thinking of ways to brighten up Heptonstall all year round. Ideas include:

  • Troughs/planters for Weavers Square and other suitable locations
  • Planting in the old churchyard
  • Meadow and verge planting with self-seeding plants
  • Asking local gardeners for any surplus plants to use

Any other suggestions would be welcome.

The Group meets every 5 or 6 weeks usually in one of the local pubs. Anyone who is interested is welcome to come along.

Details of the next meeting will be added to the website shortly….

Children + Young People Initiatives:

Background Information from the Community Survey:

The majority of respondents to this section indicated a general level of satisfaction with current activities and play provisions for the under-10s in the Parish, at the same time indicating that these could be further added to. They also pointed out the lack of adequate facilities for young people aged 11 to 18.

There was little active engagement when we held the series of public meetings on each of the ten potential projects. Just 2 or 3 of us ‘signed up’ for the Children + Young People project. Whilst we did begin to consider re-establishing a local Youth Club, numbers of available adult volunteers were too few to make it a realistic option – at this stage. The decision was, therefore, made to put this project ‘on hold’ until such time as there is more active community support.

Meanwhile, the Parish Council has continued to press Calderdale about funding for provision of additional play equipment for older children. However, no funding is currently available and the only option would be for a community/voluntary group to explore possible grant funding.

So – if you are willing to get involved and/or would like to find out more – please contact:-

Phil Kelly -Tel: 01422 847328 or E-mail: jacandphil* (change * to @).



Green Community Enterprise:

Background Information from the Community Survey:

Support seemed to exist for potential initiatives around local food growing, community supported agriculture, community composting and renewable energy. Many respondents expressed a keen interest in areas as diverse as community beekeeping and mini hydro projects. As regards other types of possible enterprises in the Civil Parish, there appeared to be support for initiatives such as farmers’/local produce markets and smallholdings rather than office or tourism related enterprises.

It was difficult to quantify levels of interest in terms of percentages as the areas of specific interest are diverse, what did emerge was the common idea of a ‘green’ lifestyle, the level of support for which was seen in the number of potentially interested ‘volunteers’ – for example: 38 were interested in community food growing, 36 in renewable energy schemes and 30 were interested in community composting. What emerged was a large group of individuals who appeared to have a common vision.


Report on Progress:

However, the member of Heptonstall Forward who agreed to lead the initial setting up of this group has been unable to do so, to date. Mark was previously instrumental in setting up HAGS (Heptonstall Allotment Garden Society) and is currently heavily involved in developing the local Community Orchards movement. He was, obviously, the right person for the job but, unfortunately, his work and many other commitments have resulted in a delay. We did put an entry in the Newsletter inviting someone else to take on the lead role – but have had no responses.The plan was – and still is – to hold a public meeting as soon as we have a viable leader and/or Mark’s availability improves.

So – if you are willing to get involved and/or would like to find out more – please contact:-

Phil Kelly – Tel: 01422 847328 or E-mail: jacandphil* (change * to @).





Clean-up Scheme (Litter, Dog-fouling)

Background Information from the Community Survey:

In terms of how community life could be improved, over 61% of respondents cited dog fouling as a major problem, but an overwhelming majority, though dissatisfied, have not contacted the dog warden about the problem. An overall 71% of all respondents supported the idea of a Parish clean-up day, with support being highest in the Colden area where 91% of respondents expressed support for such an initiative. A total of 23 ‘volunteers’ originally showed an interest in initiatives focussing on cleaning up the environment.


Report on Progress:

However, this was not translated into active engagement when we held the series of public meetings on each of the ten potential projects. Just 2 or 3 of us ‘signed up’ for the Clean-Up Scheme project. In the circumstances, it was agreed that there was no mandate to go ahead and it was agreed that this project would be put ‘on hold’ until such time as there was more active support.

Subsequently, a member of the community (one of the orginal volunteers), seeing an amount of litter around the village following a period of strong winds (and recycling collection) took it upon himself to initiate an impromptu village clean up. He recruited friends and neighbours to assist and Heptonstall Forward provided them with litter pickers and gloves. At this stage, it remains uncertain as to whether or not any more sustained efforts to address litter issues on an ongoing basis will be forthcoming but this may be the model. We shall see.

So – if you are willing to get involved and/or would like to find out more – please contact:-

Phil Kelly – Tel: 01422 847328 or E-mail: jacandphil* (change * to @).



Cobbling Side-Streets Group:

Background Information from the Community Survey:

The once cobbled side streets of Heptonstall village are undoubtedly charming though poorly maintained and, mostly, in a state of some disrepair. Parish-wide there was very little support for the idea of extending the cobbled areas. However, those respondents living along these side streets understandably showed a greater degree of support for such an initiative, with 18 ‘volunteers’ originally expressing an interest in any such potential scheme.


Report on Progress:

However, this was not translated into active engagement when we held the series of public meetings on each of the ten potential projects. Just 3 or 4 of us ‘signed up’ for the Re-Cobbling Side Streets project. We recognised that the challenges were significant and the support, obviously, very limited. We might have abandoned it at that stage, but we did agree to undertake some preliminary research around planning, ownership and possible grant funding aspects. The initial research has confirmed that there are serious practical issues to be overcome, ownership is uncertain but there do appear to be some potential sources of grant funding and conservation staff in Calderdale are positive. There may just be scope to make an attempt to move forward on at least one side street – as a trial – probably starting with the most obvious and prominent example of Church Street/Back Lane/West Laithe/Church Lane. However, success cannot be guaranteed and we would need much more support than has been forthcoming to date.

The next step is to hold another public meeting but we have not arranged a date, as yet.

So – if you are willing to help and/or would like to find out more about what we are trying to achieve – please contact:-

Phil Kelly – Tel: 01422 847328 or E-mail: jacandphil* (change * to @).


Annual Parish Event Group:

Background Information from the Community Survey:

The idea of an annual community event was supported by 58% of all respondents, with over 30 ‘volunteers’ registering an interest in helping to achieve such an event.


Report on Progress:

However, this was not translated into active engagement when we held the series of public meetings on each of the ten potential projects. Just 3 or 4 of us ‘signed up’ for the Annual Parish Event project. We might have abandoned it at that stage, but we did agree to explore a possible joint approach with Heptonstall School. Preliminary discussions have been very positive and we are exploring the possibility of a joint community event with them – an extension of their planned ‘School Re-Opening’. We have agreed to meet with Mr Perrin (Head teacher) after Easter to agree next steps, once a timescale for completion of all the refurbishment and re-instating work at school has been confirmed. Hopefully, if successful, this could provide a template for a more regular (annual) child and family focused celebration. However, at this stage, there is limited community support; more volunteers are required if this is to go forward.

So – if you are willing to help and/or would like to find out more about what we are trying to achieve – please contact:-

Phil Kelly – Tel: 01422 847328 or E-mail: jacandphil* (change * to @).





Good Neighbour Scheme (+ Voluntary Driver) Group

Background Information from the Community Survey:

The idea of a ‘Good Neighbour Scheme’ was highly supported with over 67% of all respondents agreeing such a scheme would be a good idea in their area. The initial interest in the scheme was reflected in the number of ‘volunteers’ it attracted, 45 in total, from across the Civil Parish. Coupled with the voluntary driver scheme, which attracted 18 ‘volunteers’, it formed a comprehensive group of individuals who had expressed their interest in an active commitment to the community.


Report on Progress:

Despite the large numbers of people originally indicating an interest in becoming involved with this project, there are, as yet, just 7 people who are currently actively engaged in taking it forward. Group members have undertaken some initial research as to what support services may be already provided in our area. We are linking with Calderdale Council (Neighbourhood Schemes Team), Age UK and Community Transport Calderdale (+ others) to obtain information about the actual numbers and needs of vulnerable elderly and/or disabled people living on our area, as well as the range of support services that already operate in our area.

It has been agreed that, rather than ‘inventing (or re-inventing) the wheel’, it would be more effective – and safer – for us to recruit volunteers for existing services that provide support to local residents. We could also assist them in identifying suitable potential recipients for their services. By doing so, we will be able to ‘shelter’ under the umbrella of an established organisation – with its built in systems for vetting of volunteers, training and supervision etc.

Group members decided that we would concentrate, at least initially, on the 2 services that appeared to have most relevance and potential to get off the ground:-

  • The Community Car Service provided via Community Transport Calderdale
  • The Home from Hospital Service provided via Age UK (Calderdale + Kirklees)

And so, we followed this up by arranging a public meeting (an open afternoon) which we held on Monday 5th March at the Heptonstall Social & Bowling Club. Flyers had been delivered by group members to every household in the Civil Parish (616 in total); posters put up in noticeboards and at the Post Office, Pubs and at May’s Shop; an advert was placed on the new Parish website; previously interested people (the original list of volunteers) were e-mailed. Representatives from both services attended to provide information and to take applications. We also had on display information about 2 nearby luncheon clubs (in Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd) – with whom we had made links – and who had confirmed that they had vacancies. Also present was the organiser of the monthly Shopping Bus (provided via Community Transport) that takes people to shop at Tesco in Halifax.

Just a handful of people attended on the day but, together with the members of the group plus a couple of additional interested people who wanted to ‘sign up’ but had given apologies, it did mean that we successfully recruited a number of volunteers for both the Community Car Service and Home from Hospital Service.

Along the way, interest had also been expressed by some other members of the community who, whilst not wishing to go through the formal volunteer registration process, were willing to help in a practical way with both services (offering to help with gardening, shopping, etc.).

We are still open to exploring possible links with other service providers as well as an option that might be about either helping people access resources/facilities out of our immediate area (e.g. luncheon clubs, etc). Transport to these could, of course, be provided via the Community Car Service and our new pool of local volunteer drivers. Alternatively, should there be an identified need – and interest – we might also explore the option of providing events and activities in our own local venues.

However, given the limited active interest and involvement from the community to date, any further action on our part will be dependent on securing additional support. So – if you are willing to help and/or would like to find out more about what we are trying to achieve – please contact:-

Phil Kelly – Tel: 01422 847328 or E-mail: jacandphil* (change * to @)


Next Meeting of the Group: Monday 19th March @ 1:00 pm – details from Phil Kelly.


The Ten Projects – the main components of the new Community-led Plan

Introduction and Background:

When we completed the analysis of the responses to the February 2011 community consultation, and put the results of that analysis alongside the responses to the Volunteering Form that went out with the questionnaires, a number of potential areas for action and community aspirations became evident.

These ‘Ten Potential Projects’ – as we called them – reflected those areas, issues and aspirations that were most supported by respondents to the consultation, and also those that appeared to have the most potential community volunteers interested in delivering on them. At that stage, we had 80+ members of the community indicating an interest in volunteering. Previous experience suggested that, whilst it is possible to have lots of good ideas and plans to improve our local community, they can only become a reality if they have sufficient active support from the community. Whilst we had an encouragingly large number of potential volunteers, we needed to see how many went on to translate that initial interest into active participation. The next task was to develop what we felt to be practical – and practicable – areas for action, supported (at least potentially) by a sufficient number of community volunteers. As part of that process, we did exclude a few issues raised in the questionnaire that were clearly beyond our control and were rightly the business of others (including Calderdale Council and/or central government).

The Ten Potential Projects were:-

  • The Floral + Festive Light Displays Group
  • The Communications Group (including the Parish Newsletter + Heptonstall Website)
  • The Traffic, Parking + Road Safety Group
  • The Information Boards + Signage Group
  • The Good Neighbour Scheme (+ Voluntary Driver) Group
  • The Annual Parish Event Group
  • The (re) Cobbling Side Streets Group
  • The Clean-Up (Litter + Dog Fouling) Group
  • The Green Community Enterprise Group
  • The Children + Young People Group

We held an open public meeting on 17 July 2011 where we presented the main findings from the consultation and introduced the Ten Potential Projects. Actual attendance at that meeting was quite limited (a couple of dozen people) but we had a large number of apologies from ‘volunteers’ who could not attend but were still interested.

We took some initial ideas from those present as to how we might proceed with those projects and invited those that were prepared to do so to ‘sign-up’ for the specific potential projects in which they were particularly interested. We followed this up with a further – much smaller – meeting for some of those that hadn’t been able to attend and then went on to arrange 2 full days (on 16 October 2011 + 6 November 2011) where we scheduled a series of separate sub-meetings on each of the ten potential projects. Again, attendance was fairly limited and we had quite a lot of apologies.

Some projects were, and have continued to be, better supported than others and have ‘got off the ground’ quicker than others. Two projects were extensions to work that had been previously pursued (with varying degrees of success) by members of Heptonstall Forward (Traffic, Parking + Road Safety and Information Boards + Signage). One project, the Floral + Festive Light Displays Group, took off immediately – with a really enthusiastic and very practical approach to introducing additional Festive displays – with a Christmas Tree + lights on Weavers Square and new lights at Colden.

At the time of writing, in early March, we have a number of the Projects that are no longer “potential” but that are a very active and very productive reality. Those projects are:-

  • The Floral + Festive Light Displays Group
  • The Communications Group (including the Parish Newsletter + Heptonstall Website)
  • The Traffic, Parking + Road Safety Group
  • The Information Boards + Signage Group
  • The Good Neighbour Scheme (+ Voluntary Driver) Group

Other projects are still at an early stage and have, as yet, very limited volunteer/community support. They are yet to prove that they will be viable in the longer term but even with those there has been some progress. Those are:-

  • The Annual Parish Event Group
  • The (re) Cobbling Side Streets Group
  • The Clean-Up (Litter + Dog Fouling) Group

There is just one project that has not yet started, due to the competing commitments (on other local green + environmental projects) of the person who had offered to lead the development of the group/project. Whilst there is little doubt that this will be well supported and will happen, at this stage, there is no clear timescale for making a start. That group is:-

  • The Green + Environmental Group

It has been agreed that, given the very limited support and minimal number of interested volunteers:-

  • The Children + Young People Group – is not viable – at this stage. The potential project will be put ‘on hold’ until such time as there is more interest.

March 2012

Community-led Plan 2011

In 2010, having recognised that the original Parish Plan had probably run its natural course and needed updating, Heptonstall Forward sought and secured funding from Rural Action Yorkshire and Heptonstall Parish Council to develop a new plan, which is now to be known as the Community-led Plan.

In May 2010 we organised a Community Showcase Event, at which local groups and organisations showcased their activities, and along with individual residents, shared their initial thoughts and aspirations with us on the future of our community. Having taken some initial views, issues and ideas, we went on to develop a comprehensive community consultation questionnaire which was sent out to all households in February 2011.

The analysis of the completed/returned questionnaires was undertaken over the summer, and the finalised Community-led Plan – with its new action plan and ten potential projects – was published and distributed to each household in November 2011.