Watermark Calderdale is a campaign to build a resilience fund for our towns for future flooding. Our aim is to build a pot of money that can be accessed by businesses & households immediately when future floods hit (because they will – it may be 5 years time, it may be next week!).

WATERMARK FUND IS A NOT-FOR-PROFIT campaign and is a joint venture between Totally Locally & Community Foundation for Calderdale.


A grass roots, not for profit organisation, which has produced a multi-award winning, free to use campaign that has travelled the world, and has had huge economic impact in towns that have used it. There are currently 50 towns in the UK using the initiative, 20 in Australia and many in New Zealand, Canada, France and USA.

Totally Locally was started by Calderdale resident and brand expert Chris Sands. It works on creating a brand and marketing strategy that people can use by themselves, and allows cross working – with towns sharing ideas and even doing things for each other – sometimes across the globe.

Totally Locally has won many awards, been praised in parliament both in the UK and Australia, and is run totally free – on no funding whatsoever. The Totally Locally team work on paid projects such as the hugely successful VALLEY OF LIGHTS, which worked to promote the Upper Calder Valley after the 2012 floods. Over 12,000 people turned out over 3 nights for huge parades,
night markets, events, late night openings, and 200 rider illuminated bike ride, food events and much more.

The whole project was focused on increasing business for local independent businesses, who had been hit doubly – once by the floods, then by the negative media over how the area was shut many months after. Valley of Lights created over £1.4 million in positive PR for the valley (including TV, radio, press, online) and many businesses declared their takings to be one of the best run ups to Christmas in many years.


An independent grant making philanthropic charity, CFFC has recently celebrated its 25th year. During that time we have distributed close to £18m to over 6500 local causes and 1000s of people in crisis.

The Community Foundation is an accredited Charity that on average raises £500,000 per annum and distributes between £500k and £750k as grants. The Community Foundation has been involved in 4 flood appeals since 2001 all of which have grown in scale. The unprecedented rainfall on Boxing Day from Storm Eva has created a huge wealth of generosity in money and in practical support. The current Appeal total is running at over £2 million – raised from individual and corporate donations and event income.

The Community Foundation’s flood strategy is 4 stages;

STAGE 1 – emergency grants of £200 to householders and people who have lost jobs through businesses that have been flood affected

STAGE 2 – means tested grants of up to £1,500 to the most disadvantaged householders

STAGE 3 – resilience grants to improve flood measures

STAGE 4 – the creation of a legacy fund that can help businesses as well as individuals and looks to future support.



Shops, makers, businesses, growers and service providers produce a WATERMARK product. They badge it up with the WATERMARK stickers or branding. This could be a beer, a book, a coffee & cake special, a climbing course, an artisan lamp, even an insurance policy, a concert or event (yes, these are already signed up!).

The shop or business sell their WATERMARK product, and a percentage (or all) the profits go into a fund. The fund is managed by the Community Foundation for Calderdale (the people who raised over £2 million for our communities in the Boxing Day 2015 floods) who will then distribute the money if floods hit Calderdale again.


If all the businesses hit by the 2015 floods raised just £10 per week from their sales of Watermark goods (a low estimate), the fund would hit over £700,000 in 1 year. Multiply that by a few years of no floods, and a bit more input from other businesses, or some adding more than £10 per week, and the fund could easily hit £2 million. And that money would be there for our communities to access straight away in case of another flood. Literally ‘saving for a rainy day!’. It’s all about businesses and community working together to look after each other.

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