A Huddersfield project which aims to divert youngsters away from anti-social behaviour and gun and knife crime has been given a big cash boost.

The Model Citizens project run by community interest company Locorum has received £7,795 from West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin’s Safer Communities Fund which is financed from money recovered by West Yorkshire Police under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Model Citizens is run by Franklin Castle, a director at Locorum, and he’s now setting up workshops to encourage youngsters aged from eight to 25 to learn new digital skills such as making videos and to then use them in a positive way.

Franklin, who has a background helping young offenders – especially those involved in drugs and alcohol – says too many use the internet in negative ways such as making Drill videos that focus on crime.

His aim is to teach them skills such as animation, slow motion techniques and video-making while giving them an insight into the wide range of jobs available in the film and TV industries.

Franklin Castle receives a cheque from Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin

Franklin said: “People never usually notice the credits at the end of the film but if you read them you’ll see the vast amount of opportunities in the industry.

“The idea is to spark an interest in the young people, widen their horizons and encourage them into education to learn the skills they’ll need for creative employment in the future.”

For instance, Franklin revealed there are colourists who work on films to enhance the colour where needed after filming and before it’s screened to the public.

Locorum was set up four years ago and is just moving from its current base on the Piazza to the former Yorkshire Linen shop on Market Avenue in Huddersfield town centre.

Locorum was originally set up to influence health and social care services in Huddersfield on how to meet the needs of the black and south Asian ethnic minority communities, ranging from food through to cultural and religious sensitivities such as praying at the bedside of someone in the final moments of life.

It now runs several projects including distributing an emergency crisis fund from Huddersfield charity One Community to help people struggling to keep warm or pay their power bills.

Locorum director Portia Roberts-Popham will be at the Henry Morris Felt School at the Piazza next Friday and Saturday (March 3 and 4) and the Friday and Saturday after (March 10 and 11) from 10am to 4pm advising people how they can benefit from the fund.

Locorum has just received £21,000 from the People’s Health Trust charity to enhance and develop the Windrush Anniversary Garden in Springwood set up by Huddersfield’s Building African Caribbean Communities group.

Windrush anniversary gardens in Springwood

The project was inspired by Denzil Nurse from Salendine Nook who was determined the Windrush generation should be remembered. Sadly, he died in October 2021 aged 77.

Many immigrants from African Caribbean countries settled first in the Springwood area of Huddersfield which made this the ideal setting for the memorial.

Now Denzil’s vision will be taken a step further by Portia, who said: “We aim to turn it into a traditional Caribbean garden featuring everything from flowers to vegetables over the coming year.

“We have sorted out a gardener and will also be looking for volunteers and involving Kirklees College students in the project.”

Other Locorum projects include the WHEAT digital allotment programme that encourages people from the Caribbean community to develop allotments in Fartown and then connect with others on YouTube to share their experiences and build a sense of community online.

They are working with students from Kirklees College on the project. Theo Joseph, who is involved in this scheme, will be the gardener at the Windrush Anniversary Garden.

Theo Joseph (second left) with other people involved in the WHEAT digital allotment programme

An upcoming project is a celebration of the 70 years of British culture and heritage while Queen Elizabeth was monarch with people encouraged to create artwork, pottery, poetry – anything creative. Their work will then be exhibited in Huddersfield town centre.

Locorum is also a local community anchor organisation for Third Sector Leaders (TSL) in Kirklees which means they help and advise charities and community groups on health and wellbeing.

Locorum also developed a community champions programme with TSL to encourage more conversations about health and wellbeing and showed communities how they could be a voice for change.

Locorum’s website is just being revamped and you’ll find it at https://locorum.org.uk/

The Locorum Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/LocorumUK

  • Written by ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire freelance journalism agency AH! PR (https://ah-pr.com/) specialising in press releases, blogging, website content and copywriting.