In 2015, shocked by a piece of homophobic graffiti in the town, four strangers from Hebden Bridge met in a pub to brainstorm ideas. Happy Valley Pride was born and the strangers became a team.
The brief was simple: promote equality through art and education.
Word spread fast, and the team of volunteers grew bigger and bigger. People travelled from Todmorden, Mytholmroyd, Halifax and even further, to give their time and passion creating something truly positive for the community. I had taken on the role of volunteer coordinator, and I was overwhelmed by the number of applications from people wanting to help – and by the vast array of skills that people had to offer.
The first festival took place in the summer of 2016 and there was so much momentum we were able to get local hero Sally Wainwright to cut the ribbon. Over the years, our team has grown and grown. Some volunteers joined the Board, some help out during the festival, and some are ready to lend a hand whenever it’s needed. I hope that because of what we do people feel supported, connected and part of something truly unique and special. I certainly do.
Alongside the hard graft of putting on the festival, many friendships have been formed. Happy Valley Pride is entirely volunteer led and run, and every single person who has ever been involved should be immensely proud of what they have helped to create. This Volunteer Week we want to say thank you to every single one of you, you are truly amazing.
I can’t wait to work with you all again soon. I miss you all dearly, especially at the moment.