Valley festival was a shining light at awards

The Valley of Lights was voted 'Best Community and Neighbourhood Initiative' at the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) awards.
The Valley of Lights was voted 'Best Community and Neighbourhood Initiative' at the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) awards.

A one-off festival which drew 12,000 people in to the upper Calder Valley after last year’s floods has won a national award.

The Valley of Lights, organised by Totally Locally, funded by Calderdale Council and supported by hundreds of volunteers, was voted ‘Best Community and Neighbourhood Initiative’ at the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) awards.

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy and Environment, Coun Barry Collins, said: “Winning this nationally recognised award is a real honour for Calderdale.

“It’s a fine example of what can be achieved when the public, private and voluntary sectors all work together. ”

When floods hit the upper Calder Valley in 2012, at least 250 businesses and around 900 homes were badly affected and lots of businesses had to close for months to carry out repairs and visitor numbers in Todmorden, Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd fell dramatically. In response, the council made funds available for a campaign to boost the upper Calder Valley economy, with the aim of bringing visitors to the towns. The council contacted Sowerby Bridge-based Totally Locally, who came up with and delivered the Valley of Lights concept.

The project impressed the APSE judges because of its extremely short delivery period (six weeks from start to finish), its impact on businesses during and after the festivities, and the PR effect it.

Chris Sands of Totally Locally said: “The biggest impact of the Valley of Lights was created by the sheer goodwill of the communities, volunteers and people who worked on the nights or who just got involved to make it such fun. Calderdale Council was very brave to back such a huge idea on such a short time scale, but the rewards have been incredible. Special praise as well to Hebden Bridge Hnadmade Parade and Calderdale Markets.” 

Volunteer Hazel Jones Scott said: “We are over the moon. The Valley of Lights will always be a fantastic memory and so many people still talk about it.”