The Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) Sector has played an integral part within local communities for a long time. As a not-for-profit sector, their work is not driven by sales figures or new product lines. Their work is driven by their communities and the impact they can make to someone who needs a lifeline.
Despite the incredible work VCSE organisations provide, they can also be incredibly modest, not blowing their own trumpets about the positive impact they have on people’s lives day in, day out.
Well, we wanted to not just blow a trumpet for them – we wanted to bring a whole orchestra!
The Decades of Difference project is here to shine a light on the Calderdale organisations that have been supporting their communities for over a decade. The project was born out of a deep respect and acknowledgement of the resilience that our sector demonstrates in swathes.
Russell Davis, Manager at Project Colt comments:
“Being a part of the Decades of Difference project has been a great experience for Project Colt. To be the first ones spotlighted is a real honour.
It is truly fantastic to be involved in something that recognises everything we as an organisation have done to continue supporting those who need us for over 20 years. We can’t wait to see who VAC spotlights next!”
Established in 2003 at the heart of Elland, a typical market town in Calderdale, Project Colt emerged to serve its local community. Over the years, it has evolved into a well-respected social enterprise, actively contributing to its mission of changing lives for good.
Project Colt started as an offer of alternative recovery support for people living with addiction and life-controlling issues. Their work is founded on the core values that each person who walks through their doors is valued, has a purpose and can grow from their past experiences.
Their programmes focus on different aspects, each tailored to a person’s specific needs.
- Pre-detox: The pre-detox groups run twice a week (usually lasting for 12 weeks) and focus on supporting people who are in active addiction. This group helps individuals to initially engage with recovery, with the end goal being to achieve abstinence.
- Recovery: Once pre-detox has been completed, individuals are then further supported via the recovery programme (12 weeks) to help them maintain their sobriety and solidify new thought processes and beliefs.
Project Colt also offers 1-1 mentoring and counselling for those who need a more intense approach to achieve their goal, as well as support to address more complex and specific challenges. During this financial year alone (2023/24), Project Colt has supported 138 individuals through their services.
For those involved in the recovery journey or individuals who want to learn skills and/or disciplines to help get them back into employment, Project Colt offers a range of work and volunteer placements ranging from café barista, barbering, horticulture, up-cycling, artistry and more — these opportunities have been given to 149 people in the local area during 2023, with a further 43 being supported into an employment pathway.
In 2005, Project Colt launched their enterprise — collecting, selling and delivering second-hand furniture to cover the cost of core services such as the recovery programme.
It has since flourished into a well-established business, across its three sales rooms members of the community can find quality new and used furniture, and household goods at low-cost prices as well as products made by local artisans which all contribute to support their ongoing work and offer opportunities to those in need.
Following a stroll along the Calder and Hebble Navigation, you have the opportunity to visit the inviting community hub that is Project Colt.
Treat yourself to a comforting beverage from Rusty’s Coffee Club, and perhaps even a swift haircut at House of Handsome Barbers, explore the captivating studio showcasing artwork by HueTopiArt and Juicy Watercolours — These talented individuals are among those welcome to share their creations in this vibrant space boosting the collaborative spirit.
November 2023 marked a significant milestone for the charity, as they were privileged to receive the prestigious Kings Award for Voluntary Service (KAVS), the highest honour awarded to voluntary groups. In addition, the organisation’s tremendous accomplishments were further acknowledged by the Community Foundation for Calderdale at their annual Community Spirit Awards winning breakthrough charity of the year.
However, it doesn’t stop there! Project Colt is also thoroughly proud of their collaboration with Zarach, a Leeds-based charity, to operate the Calderdale Zarach Hub.
Together, Project Colt and Zarach help children and families living in poverty by providing bed bundles and ensuring ‘every head a bed.’
Each bundle includes a brand-new bed, mattress, duvet, pillow, bed sheets, pyjamas, and a hygiene kit.
The impact of long-term sleep deprivation on a child’s ability to learn at school is devastating and through this initiative, families in Calderdale and the wider West Yorkshire area are being supported through the toughest of times, children can sleep soundly and thrive in their educational environments.
For more information on the Calderdale Zarach Hub and referrals please visit: https://www.projectcolt.org.uk/zarach-hub
As Project Colt enters its 21st year, it is undeniable that the positive impact it has had on the people of Elland is truly commendable and worth celebrating.
Among the numerous charities in Calderdale, Project Colt stands out for its remarkable progress. Even amid uncertainties that are faced by all VCSE organisations, the dedicated team at Project Colt demonstrates an unwavering passion and a formidable commitment to success and changing lives for good.
Donate time, money or goods
As a small independent charity, Project Colt relies on the support of funders, local businesses and people like you!
Your contribution makes a huge difference. There are opportunities for volunteering, financial giving, and donating good quality second-hand (or new) goods.
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer at Project Colt and would like more information, please contact Terri, Volunteer Co-Ordinator at email@example.com | 01422 416520
For all other enquiries please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org | 01422 416520
Project Colt, Bridgefield Mills, Elland Bridge, Elland, West Yorkshire, HX5 0SG