Over the years Calderdale has been hit with catastrophic flooding causing major disruption and heartache for households and businesses, particularly in the Calder Valley (Todmorden, Hebden Bridge, Mytholmroyd & Sowerby Bridge) but also stretching to Elland & Brighouse.
Despite the enormous effort of the community & volunteers from outside the area, businesses have had to work really hard to get the message out that they are open and trading.
An initiative that is aimed at protecting the communities of Calderdale from future flooding but also aiding the recovery for businesses is Watermark Flood Fund Calderdale, an idea born from the Boxing Day floods 2015. 2,781 homes and 4,416 businesses were affected in an event that saw over 60mm of rain fall in 24 hours. This most recent flood event caused huge damage damage.
With this in mind, Chris Sands, brand expert and founder of Totally Locally presented an idea to The Community Foundation For Calderdale (who raised and distributed £3 million during the 2015 floods) – to create a resilience fund that would directly benefit the community in future flood events.
A campaign for that would build a pot of money that can be accessed by businesses and households immediately when future floods hit. And it would be all done by the businesses and community themselves.
Watermark Flood Fund Calderdale started it’s journey in January 2016 and has over 50 members actively selling a WATERMARK product or service, the fund has reached over £250,000.
When you visit Calderdale you will notice the WATERMARK branding in many shops across the valley, these businesses are selling a product that contributes to the fund.
How does it work?
Shops, makers, businesses, growers and service providers produce a WATERMARK product. They badge it up with the WATERMARK stickers or branding.
The shop or business sell their WATERMARK product, and a percentage (or all) the profits go into the
Watermark Flood Fund.
And here’s just a few of the Watermark businesses.
Heart Gallery is a gem in the heart of Hebden Bridge for those seeking contemporary art, timeless jewellery and engaging craft, using talented local and UK artists, Alison, owner of Heart Gallery, is a passionate Watermark member with five unique products carrying the WATERMARK brand, all created with local artists. Alison experienced the flooding first hand in her gallery and is extremely passionate about supporting the fund.
Gin Lane in the stunning, recently renovated Piece Hall in the centre of Halifax, stock the Watermark pure Gin, hand batched in Brighouse by pHure Liquors and created especially for the for the fund.
Gin Lane is set up to be the premium gin destination of Calderdale with over 40 artisan gins, and an amazing setting in which to enjoy them!
The Town Hall in Hebden Bridge is the hub for the community and a huge supporter of Watermark, it houses a pop up shop of merchandise for the campaign such as notebooks, tea towels, bags, books, even bags of coffee. And when you buy from it (it’s an honesty box system) you directly support the Watermark fund. It’s hugely popular and a big talking point in the reception.
The Town Hall also has a weekly contribution to the fund by hosting Watermark Wednesday in their cafe. The Town Hall buzzes with activity and provides a wealth of information for visitors and community alike.
Happy Days Cycles is a cycle shop and cafe that supports community living schemes, they serve and sell locally brewed coffee that supports the fund from their shop overlooking the River Calder in Sowerby Bridge.
Each and every Watermark member has a story to share about why they support the fund and what it means when a Watermark product is purchased, it means a huge amount! it not only supports the local economy here but it feeds a resilience fund that will strengthen the community in times of need.
Enjoy your time in Calderdale and look out for our WATERMARK stickers. When you buy from these businesses and their neighbours, it helps our towns to thrive! You’re guaranteed a warm fuzzy feeling when you do!
This blog was created for Visit Calderdale, visit the website and see what Calderdale has to offer!