Halifax Opportunities Trust Caps off 21st Year Unveiling Ambitious Plans for the Future.

This past year has marked a significant milestone for Halifax Opportunities Trust (HOT) as they conclude their 21st Birthday Celebrations.

The year has been marked by reflection, joyful festivities, and a forward gaze, as they strive to enhance their impact while remaining committed to their core vision of creating opportunities for a better life.

Since its launch in 2002, HOT has invested almost £70 million in place-based community projects and initiatives, as well as creating opportunities for around 50,000 people throughout Park Ward and the wider Calderdale area through their six core areas; children & families, apprenticeships, inclusive integration, community & wellbeing, employment and enterprise.

The regeneration charity ended its celebrations with the Big HOT review of the year on 16th November 2023 at The Elsie Whiteley Innovation Centre where staff, trustees, partners and members of the community celebrated the incredible impact HOT has had -and continues to have on local lives.

Alison Haskins, CEO of HOT, comments: “Our 2023 AGM and review of the year has been a great way to conclude our milestone 21st anniversary. We’re here so everyone has opportunities to grow and hearing about the experiences of our community through stories from the people we work alongside has motivated us further!

We’ve created opportunities for 50,000 people so far and we’re committed to increasing this significantly in the next 21 years and beyond – our immediate and future plans are instrumental in ensuring this happens.”

Artwork by Beka Haytch

As for the future, HOT are confident they are here to stay and continue to work towards their goals of strengthening communities, advocating for equity and driving progress.

The Trust are delighted to confirm its success in a bid for an asset transfer from Calderdale Council of the Queens Road Neighbourhood Centre, further solidifying its roots in Park Ward.

The Grade II listed building has been closed since March 2020, however, HOT are determined to give the space a well-deserved new lease of life and the community a place to thrive.

Over the years HOT has expanded from a team of 14 to 180 and has naturally outgrown its flagship site at Hanson Lane Enterprise Centre.

The asset transfer will allow HOT to centralise its core teams back under one roof and offer a warm and welcoming environment to individuals and community groups.

Hilary Barber, HOT Chair, says: “In 21 years Halifax Opportunities Trust has become a well-respected community anchor in Calderdale and has stayed firmly rooted within Park Ward. While we have evolved and our ambitions may have changed since official operations began, we remain focused on our purpose for a vibrant multicultural and self-sustaining community.

The Council’s asset transfer of the Neighbourhood Centre to HOT is poignant; it represents our future and commitment to creating opportunities for communities to live and work together. It’s not only a physical symbol of how we have grown up, but we hope it demonstrates our ongoing dedication to the people of Halifax.”

HOT has also partnered with local Calderdale charity WomenCentre and together, have purchased their first house in Central Halifax. This collaboration ensures the provision of high-quality housing for families in challenging circumstances, with plans to broaden their property portfolio in the future reaching more in need.

Similar to many charities in Calderdale, HOT is well-acquainted with innovative thinking, adaptability to change, and a keen awareness of the current landscape. That’s why they have set a goal to take the lead in promoting sustainability and minimizing their carbon footprint.

While HOT already has the splendid Outback Community Kitchen and Garden—a beautiful one-hectare site where dedicated volunteers cultivate fresh herbs, fruits, and vegetables, later sold to the community through The Outback pop-up shop (seasonally open from April to October) and the recently launched community pantry that runs every Tuesday from 1 – 4 pm which is stocked with low-cost store cupboard staples and no-cost Outback produce — there’s a larger aspiration at play.

HOT aims to instill the message of sustainability throughout all its operations.

They are optimistic that their commitment to reducing carbon emissions will serve as an example, inspiring other local charities and businesses to follow suit.

For now, you can help support The Outback via sponsorship packages starting from as little as £3.50 – this will buy a packet of seeds to be planted in the garden, or you can also hire the space for both community or commercial events to find out more please visit: https://www.halifaxopportunitiestrust.org.uk/places/the-outback-community-kitchen-and-garden/

We eagerly anticipate the unfolding of the next 21 years for Halifax Opportunities Trust, and we remain optimistic that the Calderdale community will continue to rally behind and support their endeavours.

Do you or your organisation have inspiring stories that need to be heard? If so, the Community Journalist is eager to listen and share your stories!

Contact Jordan at jordan.baker@cvac.org.uk