Name and role: Mark Farmer, CEO
Organisation: Yorkshire Children’s Centre (YCC)
Sector: Charity sector
Describe what your organisation does?
What began 40 years ago as one man’s vision, is now a revolutionary network of practical projects, partners, and services, dedicated to helping Kirklees residents achieve their full potential. In a nutshell, YCC is a Huddersfield-based charity with the community at its heart.
Our vision is a future where everyone in Kirklees – children, young people, adults, families, and the elderly – feels supported and empowered, and has the opportunity to live a better life.
We offer a wide range of services for people of all ages, including a befriending scheme, which helps older and vulnerable people to feel less isolated and lonely, a domestic abuse prevention programme, and a key stage 4 college which helps to support vulnerable young people in having access to improved life chances – to name but a few.
How many staff do you employ?
We have around 100 staff members and 300 volunteers.
What does your role entail?
I came into the role of YCC’s CEO at the latter end of 2020 and I’m responsible – alongside the Board of Trustees – for developing the long-term strategy of the organisation, to grow the positive impact we have on our community. As well as steering the strategy forward, another important part of my position is promoting our work and services externally and building key stakeholder relationships.
In addition, I also oversee the implementation of YCC’s business plans and budget – ensuring our resources are used effectively to provide the best outcomes for our clients, customers, and service users.
Name some of your biggest business achievements:
I’ve been in the third sector for more than two decades – working in organisations such as St John Ambulance and Youth Hostel Association – and there have been so many highlights over the years. For me though, I love working with people, so I’ve particularly enjoyed coaching and mentoring a wide range individuals and teams – helping them to develop personally and professionally, in order to achieve their goals.
I have a real passion and drive to help organisations – and their people – within the third sector to thrive and succeed.
What advice would you give to someone looking to set up or relocate their business in Huddersfield?
Having come into post during Covid restrictions and lockdowns, I can see the impact 2020 has had on the town. However, I can also see the positivity of our people, and the strong desire every single one of our team has to help improve people’s lives.
It may be our strapline here at YCC, but it’s clearly a deeply held passion. And if our amazing group of staff and volunteers reflect the people of Huddersfield, then such commitment and drive should encourage anyone to do business here.
What are your hopes for Huddersfield 10 years from now (2030)?
The town needs to shout more about its location – it’s well connected, situated between major city hubs, and is part of the new and growing West Yorkshire mayoral region.
Over the coming years, it will be great to see the impact of the Huddersfield Blueprint project, which aims to regenerate and rejuvenate the town’s central areas.
On a personal level, what do you love most about the town?
Despite the restrictions from the pandemic and the darkness of winter, I already have a soft spot for the town. Being situated in the centre, means that we have all facilities and amenities close at hand, and this, coupled with being surrounded by beautiful countryside, makes it a very special place.
Where is your favourite place to eat/drink in Huddersfield?
This one is tricky, as, sadly, the hospitality sector has been largely closed since I’ve been in post. However, I’m collecting many recommendations for when we can all go and enjoy venues once more.
Are there any recommendations or local knowledge you’d like to share with a visitor?
It’s a town with a number of hidden corners housing some real gems – take time to get to know it.