Kindness in Todmorden
Kindness in Todmorden
Last week our Kindness Ambassadors visited Todmorden to find out how kindness is spread across the town. We’d heard of some fabulous examples of the work they do to keep Todmorden a welcoming and supportive town and we wanted to see for ourselves what kindness meant to the people living there.
The first thing that hits you about Todmorden is that the word ‘kindness’ is everywhere. There’s a huge Hollywood style KINDNESS sign above the Morrisons car park, you can’t miss it, and then small ‘kindness’ signs pop up in unusual places. All the Ambassadors agreed that as soon as you find another sign and read the word ‘kindness’ you smile. It’s like a kindness hunt across the town.
Whilst on our travels we spoke to lots of people about kindness and what it meant to them, we left our kindness postcards with business owners and they were all keen to hand them to their customers, especially those young people this campaign is trying to connect with. We particularly loved our visit to the market area. The people were friendly and welcoming and excited to have their photo taken with our very own #SpreadTheKindness boards.
We even met the Mayor of Todmorden whilst in the market, Patricia Taylor, she told us: “It’s the kindness town – it’s well known for its kindness. It’s an honour to be mayor of this town. During COVID-19 there was nothing more evident than the town being full of fantastic charitable groups of people doing great work. From the individual up to the organisations, it’s what we’re known for.”
We ended our visit at the Kindness Hub, at the heart of which is a café, where you can pay it forward by leaving a donation for another person to have a meal. Stuart Honor runs the café and he says: “Here in Todmorden we pride ourselves on being kind, helpful and welcoming and kindred spirits like yours spreading the same message across West Yorkshire is fantastic to see.”
Whilst at the café we had a chat with Caroline Beardsmore. Caroline is the Co-op Member Pioneer and Calder Community Care’s Ambassador. She helped arrange our visit to Todmorden and whilst she showed us around the town and introduced us to everyone we met we could tell that kindness was at the centre of all she does. Caroline told us: “Seeing the word dotted around everywhere reminds people that the focus is kindness and it doesn’t matter how you’re kind, it could be an action or a word or a smile and I think places like Todmorden are so positive because there’s that acknowledgment that there are people here and it’s not unusual to say hello to people in the street.”
Caroline also brings different groups together such as Food Share which is a daily pickup and distribution service who collect surplus from local stores and deliver it to families who need support. Incredible Edible is another organisation that has plots around the town where they grow vegetables, herbs and flowers where people can pick to their liking and garden together. The Kindness Hub is a cafe where people can get together over a nice brew and share ideas. She also champions inclusivity by working with mosques to organise pushchair walks for women in the community. She says: “It’s about being inclusive and being together. We used the church for the planning meeting and the pastor said he wanted to pray for us and we said that was wonderful! Doesn’t mean we have to have the same belief structure but there’s a great respect for each other’s belief structures.”
We learnt a lot from our visit to Todmorden and we were sad to leave such a kind and caring community. Our Kindness Ambassadors will be taking that kindness with them and sharing it across West Yorkshire.