Hardcastle Crags ceremony for Slow the Flow award

The Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, Mr. Ed Anderson, visited Hardcastle Crags this week to award Slow The Flow the highest honour a voluntary group can achieve. The Queens Award for Voluntary Service is equivalent to an MBE in volunteering.  Slow The Flow was one of 8 Calderdale-based charities to win this illustrious award in 2021, a brilliantly high proportion of only 14 groups in the whole of West Yorkshire.

Guests attended the ceremony at Hardcastle Crags on Sunday 18th July alongside Cllr Pat Taylor, Mayor of Todmorden (who has named Slow The Flow her chosen charity), Slow The Flow Trustees, volunteers, supporters, and their families. 

The short ceremony began with a visit to the National Trust’s Gibson Mill to see the new display and film in the pump room which shows how the work Slow The Flow is undertaking to reduce flood risk in the area.  Their film, Slowing The Flow Together, made by acclaimed filmmaker Andy Clark charts the success of the project at Hardcastle Crags and how the voluntary group came together in 2016 to work with, educate and inspire the community to slow the flow of water as it falls in the hills around Hebden Bridge, using methods that mimic natural processes.

Working in partnership with The National Trust, The Environment Agency, Calderdale Council and over 1000 volunteers, STF is responsible for over 620 leaky dams, contour placed logs and hundreds of additional trees now planted in their flagship project at Hardcastle Crags, making it an ideal venue for the award’s presentation. They continue to utilise this pilot project to help make the case for widespread NFM and SuDS locally, working to increase awareness of the importance and additional benefits of natural flood management.     

Bede Mullen, Chair of Slow The Flow said, ‘The Queens Award for Voluntary Service is the highest accolade any voluntary group can attain. Given that our work here in Calderdale is relatively new, we are delighted to be recognised for the work our Trustees and volunteers have done.   Every single volunteer should be proud of the contribution they have made to reducing flood risk here in Calderdale.  Our work continues, including an upcoming focus on providing school education programmes on the merits of using natural techniques to reduce flood risk. We look forward to seeing an increasing number of natural flood management schemes developed throughout Calderdale.’

Steve Duncan from the Community Foundation for Calderdale said of the event, ‘To see Slow The Flow receive their well-deserved Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service was one of those ‘glad I was there’ moments. Such a wonderful sight, seeing the Lord Lieutenant (Ed Anderson) in his uniform, with the sun blazing down and dozens of trustees and volunteers taking it all in – it was an absolute privilege to be there. Well Done to everyone at Slow The Flow, you’re a credit to the voluntary sector in Calderdale’.

Rosie Holdsworth, project manager at the National Trust, said, ‘The work of Slow The Flow and their dedicated volunteers has been vital to the success of the project at Hardcastle Crags. Working alongside National Trust rangers, there are now hundreds of leaky dams installed in the valleys which are helping to reduce flood risk. This partnership between Slow The Flow and the National Trust, with funding and support from Calderdale Council and the Environment Agency, is a great example of working together to achieve real results. This award is well deserved and we’re looking forward to working with the Slow The Flow team in the future.’