Calderdale Community Spirit Awards
The tough decision of picking just one winner in each category will fall to our esteemed panel of judges, here’s a little more information on who will be making those choices.
Simon Walton is a director of Riley & Co Chartered Accountants and Tax Advisors. He is the longest serving team member, having joined in 1991 and oversees the Tax, Payroll and Pensions, and Administration teams.
Within our local community, Simon is treasurer for Business for Calderdale. He is the finance committee member of the Community Foundation of Calderdale. As Director and Committee member of Halifax 900 Trust, he is part of the fundraising arm for the Halifax Minster. Simon is an Associate Governor at our local Salterhebble Junior and Infant School and in addition he also lecturers regularly on all things tax.
Simon spent the early part of his career working for the Inland Revenue and still sits on the regional panel of Working Together, the consultation forum for HMRC and fellow tax professionals.
Steve is the Chief Executive Officer of the Community Foundation for Calderdale (CFFC) and a Deputy Lieutenant of West Yorkshire.
Steve joined the Foundation in 2000 and became the CEO in 2004. Steve’s background prior to joining CFFC was in graphic design and illustration and in his spare time as a community events organiser and volunteer youth and community worker, with a particular passion for improving the life chances of young people.
Steve has steered CFFC through several significant flood events most notably in 2015 and 2020 raising over £3 million to support flooded households, charities and businesses. As a response to these significant flood events two schemes were introduced, Watermark and FloodSave, to provide financial support to people and organisations vulnerable to future flooding. In 2016 CFFC received two national awards for its immediate response to the Boxing Day 2015 flood and its visionary schemes.
More recently Steve and his team responded to the coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19) raising and distributing significant sums to front line charities to support the frail, elderly and vulnerable in Calderdale. And in 2022 Coordinated online fundraising appeals following fires at Ash Green Primary School and Burlees House Hebden Bridge and has seen a record breaking £2.4m of grants awarded to Calderdale organisations.
Steve is a trustee of Cycling Without Age Calderdale, Calipso and the FC Halifax Foundation and a committee member of Business for Calderdale
“I am a proud Yorkshireman born in Leeds, a passionate Leeds United fan and love living in Calderdale. Calderdale has been my home now for 34 years. I love its people, their warmth and generosity and the stunning countryside and I truly believe we have the best charitable organisations and charity leaders right here in little old Calderdale – resilient, innovative, resourceful and always fighting above its weight.”
Siân Rogers, Policy and Projects Manager, lead for Voluntary and Community Sector, Calderdale Council
Since 2012 Sian has been the lead officer for Calderdale Council working in partnership with the voluntary and community sector. Her team’s work includes running grants and contracts for the voluntary community sector including the Voluntary Sector Infrastructure Alliance, Healthwatch and advice services, developing volunteering, working with other funders to bring more money into Calderdale and some big projects with the sector like community asset transfers where local people have taken on the management of important local buildings (for example the Town Hall in Hebden Bridge, the old Fire Station and Swimming Pool in Sowerby Bridge). Her team also leads the Inclusive Economy Strategy and projects for Calderdale and supports the anti-poverty partnership. In 2018 Sian was awarded the prestigious Public Sector Hero Award, sponsored by CCLA, from Locality, the national network for community organisations for championing innovative partnership approaches to working with the VCSE for her work in Calderdale. During Covid-19 Sian has been supporting the volunteer hub for Calderdale building on the Council’s experience working with volunteers in the floods that hit the Calder Valley in 2012, 2015 and in February 2020. Follow @RogersSian
‘It has been a tough year for everyone but I’ve been inspired again by the passionate people who work and volunteer in the voluntary sector to make a difference across the Borough. It is a real privilege, particularly as a Calder Valley resident, to work alongside the huge range of amazing local voluntary and community groups in Calderdale’.
Emma is the Membership Services & Communications Manager for Voluntary & Community (VAC) and the Communications Lead for the VSI Alliance. Working in the Calderdale Voluntary, Community & Social Enterprise (VCSE) Sector for over a decade, Emma is passionate about promoting and championing the hard work and resilience of the VCSE Sector and its positive impact on local communities. In her spare time, Emma enjoys gardening, sewing and swimming.
Howard Priestley, born and bred in Halifax, has always had an equal interest in African American culture, the world of comic books, television, movies, Soul music and the community. Almost at the same time as he began formal Art training at Stourbridge College of Art , he became a regular contributor to the British Comics scene as well as being a regular writer and illustrator for a variety of music publications from Germany, Finland and England. He has designed CD covers and written sleeve notes for CD compilations and helped to launch community radio in Calderdale and manages Phoenix Radio at Dean Clough. As a qualified youth worker and teacher in Special Educational Needs he has supported many people to be a part of what is a unique community resource and has also developed local trails to help people with disabilities access Halifax town centre. In 2022 New Haven Published “Love Factory: The History of Holland Dozier Holland” which won an Association for Recorded Sound Collections Awards for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research in America.
Chris Harris, a lifelong advocate for Halifax and Calderdale, has dedicated her adult life to community involvement and leadership. With a wealth of experience in various roles, Chris has left a lasting impact on the region.
Her impressive voluntary roles include being a Founder Director of the Community Foundation for Calderdale, a School Governor at Rishworth and Heathfield Schools, and a Trustee of Next Step Trust and the Northern Broadsides Theatre Company.
Currently, Chris serves as the Deputy Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, with responsibilities ranging from Citizenship Ceremonies to community engagement. She’s also a Life Vice President of the Community Foundation for Calderdale and received the Paul Harris Fellowship Award from the Halifax Rotary Club.
Beyond her professional life, Chris is a lifelong resident of the area, deeply connected to the community. She shares her life with her husband, Stuart, and is a proud parent and grandparent. Chris Harris’s commitment to Halifax and Calderdale is a source of inspiration, shaping the future of this vibrant region.