As I write, the big clear up is underway up and down the Calder Valley. Our businesses are focussed on clearing out the debris spoiled stock and damaged equipment. Soon they will start to try to get their heads around the challenges of dealing with insurance, restocking and recovery. Sadly, such is the physical devastation and blow to moral just three years after our last major flood, that some small businesses may never recover this time. Whilst there is a fantastic support from friends neighbours and customers for the clear up, someone has to focus on the short-term needs and medium-term recovery of the valley-wide economy. We felt that this was the best thing we could do to help and provide some positive view of life after the 2015 flooding.

We will be co-ordinating with the town teams: Hebden Bridge Partnership, Royd Regeneration, and the business community representatives in Hebden Bridge, Todmorden and Mytholmroyd. We will also link up with organisations in Sowerby Bridge.

Our aim is to firstly establish what businesses priority issues are (such as insurance advice). And then what the recovery needs are individually and collectively. We will then be in a position to present a helpful case to local authorities for the most appropriate assistance going forward.

We will be contacting and visiting businesses once they have got over the clean up stages.

We also will be looking to compile a list of people with skills that we will need going forward in rebuilding the local economy. If you have felt unable to help in the immediate aftermath of the devastation but have professional skills in any useful fields such as: fundraising, PR marketing, social media, graphic design, printing, legal support, business mentoring, or any other practical or strategic skill, we would welcome a pledge to help sometime in the next 1-6 months.

It is worth noting that the fantastic efforts to raise money for the flood victims does not go to businesses. The UCVR and partners will be making this point to the authorities and that small business are not rich people who can sustain such losses time after time.

Please come back to this website or follow our twitter account for updates on progress.

Thanks for all the support we have had so far.

Stephen Curry

In 2014 the active members of the UCVR steering group took a long hard look at the organisation. There were many positive achievements in the previous 10 years but the group’s ability to act as an umbrella, and forum for the town teams and few remaining sub groups was seriously diminished. With town teams and other groups focused on the few potential regeneration projects there was little enthusiastic or consistent representation from those groups to the UCVR. Add to that diminishing sources of funding and support, the UCVR had to think whether to celebrate ten years success and wind down the organisation was the most prudent thing to do or not. It had shrunk from being a Limited Company to an unincorporated group with a limited remit and few resources to continue any form of project or development work.

Following discussions with Locality in mid 2014 about establishing a Development Trust from the remaining core of the UCVR, the steering group sought to run a conference in November 2014, looking back and celebrating ten years of success with a view to looking forward to new challenges in the future. The result was an enthusiastic response to encourage the UCVR to reorganise and adopt new approaches valley wide issues.

Since then I accepted the challenge of taking the Chair and the steering group has gained a few new members. We have now begun the process of rebuilding the organisation to meet the challenges presented to us by the valley communities.

I have had various conversations with community project leaders along the valley and clarified that the UCVR will endeavour to undertake projects and address wider issues not covered by town teams or individual community groups. It is not our intention to compete with any community groups for projects. We are about co-ordination and co-operation. In fact we are proposing to help and support smaller groups to access funding and act as catalyst to establish groups where actions are required or prospective projects are identified.

Our short-term aims are to: re-establish a corporate form and stronger local and regional presence, and then to re-launch an organisation with the challenges we have been given at the forefront. We have already identified some project work which we hope will draw in new members and we have already begun that process by analysing the community consultation workshop priorities.

As we progress we will update this site, if you want to receive periodic mailings from us please send us your name and address using the form on the Contact Page – choosing ‘Please add me to the associate mailing list’ in the drop down ‘I am contacting you about’.

Stephen Curry
Chair, UCVR