In December we say a fond farewell to Kim Warren, one of our valued team members. We wish Kim all the best for the future and now it’s over to Kim for the final word:
Saying Goodbye to River Holme Connections
On December 15th I will be hanging up my waders and saying goodbye to River Holme Connections. It’s a tough climate for funded organisations and try as we might, we have been unable to obtain grants for more than two staff for the year ahead.
It’s over four years since Jane and I began our task of setting up the systems and processes that go to make the voluntary group ‘River 2015’ into the official charity it is today. With borrowed office equipment, dodgy internet connections and a small team of trustees and stalwart volunteers, we steadily ploughed through paperwork with determination. We knew that the River Holme needed help and that there were partners, businesses and individuals out there waiting to join us!
Looking back over this relatively short period of time, it’s amazing what we have achieved together. With a great set of capital improvements under our belt, like the transformed ‘Duck Feeding Area’ at Holmfirth Co-Op and a pristine new path at Sands (where we can walk, pedal or push a buggy without sinking in the mire), past the WI’s orchards and an (almost) Japanese knotweed – free river bank. Downstream at the hidden gem that is Spa Wood on the Riverside Way in Lockwood, I feel a tremendous sense of satisfaction to see the oak woodland free from the tons of litter and dumped debris (not to mention a mountain of burning waste at the old Hunter’s site!). This site is proof positive that being out in all weathers and heaving bags of grot around week after week CAN reap rewards, especially when working alongside some of the most interesting and dedicated people you could care to meet… Last Saturday when I took a ride along the Riverside Way on my bike, the path looked pristine and this is just the beginning: 2019 will be the start of a huge and exciting programme of youth activities, nature conservation and finding out what people from the Huddersfield end of the Holme want from their river, all culminating in a river festival.
Now that the Charity is fully set up and running smoothly, it’s time for me to move to pastures new. My next adventure will involve a small but perfectly formed narrow boat ‘Blackbird’ and a stab at self – employment, so I will not be far from the water, still encouraging others to get outdoors and enjoy the life aquatic.
If you haven’t met Simon Hirst, our new River Steward, you are in for a treat – Simon’s knowledge of rivers is as boundless as his patience and enthusiasm. He settled in immediately and it is a pleasure to hand over to him. I will miss working with Jane for a whole host of reasons, but if I am lucky, I might carry some of her brilliant organisational skills and warm and welcoming manner over to my future endeavours.
Looking back at the photo archives here at RHC headquarters has unearthed some fabulous memories of the people we have had the pleasure to meet and work with, those who have helped us on our way, and hopefully those who we have helped too. Though it has been hard to choose, I will leave you with some highlights that I hope will embody the best bits of working in this, the early years of River Holme Connections.