Meet the Team: Katie Shephard

This month we have caught up with Katie who is the Head of Income and Partnerships at YCC. Katie joined the team back in September and is passionate about making a difference to children, young people and families. Katie is already planning some exciting events and activities for 2024 so keep your eyes peeled!

Job Title: Head of Income and Partnerships       

Date joined YCC: 11th September 2023

Tell us a little bit about yourself: I’ve worked in the charity sector for the past 15+ years and I’m really passionate about making a difference.  As a parent, YCC’s work is really close to my heart and it’s fantastic the way that the charity works to support families holistically so they get the support they need to move forward to a positive future.

Tell us about your role at YCC: I oversee all of the fundraising activity at YCC which means I get to work with all the wonderful people and companies who do fantastic fundraisers for us.  I also oversee all of the marketing and comms activity, which includes things like our social media channels.

Why do you like working for YCC? It’s fantastic! The charity does amazing work with local people across Kirklees, providing vital support and services to people who need them.  It’s also a great team to be a part of, everyone is so committed and enthusiastic.

And finally, what advice would you give to people considering working at YCC? Definitely go for it! It’s a fantastic place to work, with wonderful people, and there’s always something new and interesting happening. 

If you would like to join the YCC Team, keep a look out for our current vacancies HERE.

#WeAreYCC #MeetTheTeam

Ukrainian Independence Day

On the 3rd September 2023, the Ukrainian community in North Kirklees joined together to celebrate Independence Day.

To mark this special occasion for our Ukrainian friends, YCC’s Community Connections Team organised a free family-fun event at the United Reformed Church in Heckmondwike. Throughout the day, over 80 people attended, including adults and children, to enjoy lots of activities including flower crafting, face painting and treasure hunts. We were also provided with fabulous music by Yulia Lord, and a Cossack dance performance.

One of the event attendees, Maryna, said: “We don’t get to see each other much anymore with work and stuff, so this event gives us that chance. Thank you”.

YCC’s Communities Officer, Ryan Cross said: “Seeing the Ukrainian people that we have been working with come together and celebrate their culture has been a wonderful thing. It’s always a pleasure working with these guys, especially when we can see the progress that has been made in whatever endeavours they have embarked upon. Whether it’s employment, learning English or living independent of their host family, they are all achieving incredible things.”

We would like to say a HUGE thank you to the United Reformed Church for supporting this event, and S2R for co-hosting the event, and a very special thank you to Arabella who helped run our wonderful activities on the day.

News Update: Brian Jackson College celebrates ‘Good’ Ofsted rating!

YCC’s Brian Jackson College are proud to announce that they have once again achieved a rating of GOOD during their recent Ofsted inspection!

At Brian Jackson College, we pride ourselves on the quality of work we deliver, and the outcomes we achieve to improve the lives of young people and inspire positive change to encourage better opportunities for their futures.

In June we welcomed Ofsted inspectors into Brian Jackson College, where they carried out a two-day inspection of our education settings across Huddersfield and Heckmondwike. We were delighted that the inspectors recognised the invaluable support, ongoing improvements, and dedication we provide to our young people on a daily basis.

Throughout their visit, inspectors spent time talking to staff and students, and discussing their views around various topics such as safeguarding, bullying and equality and diversity. The staff and students gave glowing feedback and spoke highly of the unique family-feel at the college. The inspectors agreed with the comments and observations made, so much so, they have awarded us, for the third time, a GOOD Ofsted rating.

The team at Brian Jackson College couldn’t be prouder of maintaining this achievement throughout the years.

Headteacher, Jacqui Green, was over-joyed to share the exciting news with parents, carers, students and colleagues. Jacqui said: “This is an excellent report, particularly at a time when the benchmark for ‘Good’ is at the highest level it has ever been. I am particularly pleased that Ofsted recognised the journey of improvements made at Brian Jackson College over the past four years and I would like to thank the parents/carers who have supported the school during this time. Once again, may I thank all those involved in the inspection itself, especially the staff, Brian Jackson College, governors, and the pupils who shone during the inspection process and continue to make a positive contribution to school life.”

Mark Farmer, Chief Executive Officer at Yorkshire Children’s Centre, added: “I am delighted that the great work our team do to develop our students continues to be recognised by Ofsted. Our model of blending academic and vocational learning, in a nurturing, supportive and safe environment, provides a fresh start for young people for whom mainstream schooling has not worked. Brian Jackson College is a shining example of good alternative education provision, and I am proud of the difference we make.”

Brian Jackson College is an alternative provision school, run across two sites in Heckmondwike and Huddersfield, teaching core and vocational subjects to around 60 pupils in years 9-11.

To find out more about Brian Jackson College, please visit:

#BrianJacksonCollege #WeAreYCC

Volunteer of the Month: May

Volunteer of the month is when we get to shout about our amazing volunteers and the, quite literally, life changing work they do to help YCC run smoothly and effectively.

This month we are giving a very special THANK YOU to Alison Hill who has been volunteering as a befriender at YCC for nearly 3 years. Alison has been able to see first-hand the difference that befriending has made to the lives of some of our community friends.

We caught up with Alison to hear about her YCC Volunteering journey so far…

  1. Name: Alison Hill
  2. How long have you been volunteering for the charity? Nearly 3 years since the beginning of Covid. 
  3. Please explain your volunteering role in a nutshell: I’m a telephone volunteer who calls two friends each week. I call them less now because they are starting to get out and about a little more which means we have even more to talk about. I started during the pandemic calling people who were alone. We still speak every couple of weeks.
  4. What made you want to start volunteering with YCC? I couldn’t take my friends out at the beginning of Covid and I thought telephoning people would help them as much as it helped me.
  5. And finally, what advice would you give to people considering volunteering with YCC? Just give it a go, I think both parties get a heck of a lot out of it, I certainly do. I’ve been volunteering for nearly 9 years with different charities and it’s the best thing I ever started.

If you feel inspired to become a volunteer like Alison, or if you would like to volunteer in any way for our charity, please contact Lucy on 01484 519988 or email [email protected]

YCC’s Huddersfield offices receive huge modernisation – Check it out here!

Throughout the month of March, our Building’s Manager Emma Cavanagh was busy coordinating a huge refurbishment of the first floor of Brian Jackson House.

The work, which involved a lot of rewiring, painting and new flooring took place in just three weeks and has transformed the space from what was an outdated working area (last refurbished over 2 decades ago!) to a more connected and modern space.

The project did not go without it’s hurdles, and it was particularly challenging in the first week when the lift broke down! Not great timing as all of the organisation’s huge wooden desks needed to travel down two flights of stairs to be removed from the building! But despite everything, the project was completed and everyone is delighted with the results.

The new, modernised space has seen brand new hot-desks with a new layout in bright and airy rooms. We also now have meeting rooms, break-out rooms and quiet spaces for different working styles, plus an amazing service delivery space where service users can take part in group sessions and 121 sessions.

What’s more, for the first time, staff at Brian Jackson House will soon have access to their own private staff room, allowing for downtime during the working day, which is absolutely essential for our teams who often work in pressurised and challenging situations and deserve a space just for them, where they can relax and reenergise.

Emma wasn’t working alone, and she would like to send out a massive thank you to everyone who supported the project:

“Thank you to everyone on the building’s team for all your help with the project at Brian Jackson House. It’s been a tough couple of weeks and if things could go wrong they have!! However the team really pulled together. There has been blood, sweat & tears!”

I would like to thank Katie for all the cleaning she has done in the project rooms, she has been a superstar and made these rooms look and smell amazing. It wasn’t an easy job with all the dust, wires and random bits everywhere.

I would also like to say thank you to Rebecca, Daniella & Janine for being amazing helping with the moving of all desks, being an absolute super team when the lift broke down and for being there when I’ve had a meltdown!!

Thank you to Tony & James for all the shifting, lifting, painting and moving of everything and anything.

Last but not least I would like to send a special thank you to our volunteer Gareth who has donated so much of his time these past few weeks. He has been brilliant and worked so hard. We really couldn’t have done it without him!”

But of course we all also want to say a big thank you to Emma, who has given her everything to complete this project on time and to a high standard. This project will have a fantastic impact on staff and service users alike, who will all benefit from this new and improved space. We are sure that you will all agree when checking out the photos, just how incredible these new changes are.

Check out the before, during and after photos of the new main hot desk office to see the huge difference that has been made!


As a large charity operating across 5 buildings, we always have refurbishment and renovation projects lined up. If you or an organisation you work with would like to get involved in any volunteer or pro-bono work with YCC relating to decorating or any other building or gardening work, please email [email protected] or call 01484 519988.

YCC Looks Back at a Successful 2022

And that’s not all. Can you believe we also packed ALL of the below into 2022, too!

  • We supported Children’s Mental Health Week, created by Place2Be, through our Thriving Kirklees Team, providing free activity packs and wellbeing guides and more!
  • We got a BRAND NEW website
  • We started a gardening group for our service users with Young Onset Dementia
  • We launched our 3-year strategy
  • We were FINALISTS for the Covid Hero Award at the Yorkshire Choice Awards
  • We ran mental health programmes with the Works Better team at Kirklees Council for our Brian Jackson College pupils.
  • We worked with Our Creative Connection to create a photography exhibition created by our Hopeful Families participants
  • We trained ALL our Service Managers in an accredited Management Training & development PRogramme
  • We hosted Safety Rangers for Year-5 pupils from disadvantaged schools – THREE TIMES!
  • We ‘Walked for YCC‘ taking on TWO walking challenges (Up Castle Hill in Huddersfield and the National 3 Peaks), raising awareness and funds for the charity.
  • We said good bye and good luck to another cohort of Brian Jackson College pupils
  • We launched a 3-year sustainability Action Plan
  • We ran our first ever ALL STAFF team day to develop the charity’s ‘One Team; One Charity’ ethos
  • We held a huge THANK YOU event for our employees and their families in the summer, plus a festive party at Christmas
  • We hosted a fashion show at Brian Jackson House to raise important funds for our services
  • We supported Ukrainian refugees through various projects including a Ukrainian job fayre and Christmas party
  • We hosted Stay and Play sessions for families through Hopeful Families where children could play whilst their parents and carers received essential support from professional mentors.
  • We celebrated Eid and Diwali across our sites with our employees and tenants
  • We were awarded the Household Support Grant by TSL Kirklees
  • We completed a big refurb project at Brian Jackson College, Heckmondwike with a cohort of volunteers
  • We sold YCC christmas cards, designed by a pupil at Brian Jackson College
  • We presented ‘Speak Volumes – the importance of amplifying children’s voices in domestic abuse perpetrator programmes’ as part of the White Ribbon Campaign with EdShift.