About our Branch

The Halifax branch is very active in raising awareness and fundraising throughout the year. We have a Committee of 10 and a group of key volunteers who we rely on to fundraise throughout the year to enable us to offer a wide list of benefits and therapy classes for members throughout Calderdale. We get no financial support from the main charity and rely on these funds together with other donations and legacies left by members.

Recent Years
In 2015 we were chosen as the Calderdale Mayor's Joint Charity, together with the WomenCentre, in Calderdale. Councillor Lisa Lambert was Mayor, her father Ken (who has Parkinson's) was proud to be her consort. This raised the awareness of PD locally, and raised over £10,000 for the branch, to be spent locally. 
Lisa Lambert, after her year as Calderdale Mayor, accepted the position of President of the Halifax Branch and, despite a busy life as a local councillor and a bank official, finds time to volunteer and help at most branch events.

In 2016 we were chosen as Marks & Spencer (Halifax) Charity Of the Year.
After a number of very successful days bag packing, and a fantastic Christmas Raffle with profits of £2,700. 

Thanks must go to all our members and friends, our President Lisa and all our other supporters who volunteered to assist at these bag packing days. 
M & S customers and staff were very supportive throughout the year, and we have to thank them all. 

The total raised for the year was £13,674

Our Aims and Benefits

Our main aim is to offer support and help to anybody diagnosed with Parkinson's, their family, carers and to help all of them through mutual support.
We have 2 monthly meetings to provide support and friendship to those living with Parkinson’s, whether they have the condition or support somebody with it.

Our Primary meeting takes place  at:

Elim Church,
Hall Street,
HX1 5AY,  
on the 2nd Saturday every month,
from 2pm - 4pm (except August and December)

Our 2nd meeting is an informal Parkinson's Cafe, situated in: 

Sainsbury's Supermarket,
Wade Street,
HX1 1SB on the last Wednesday of the month, 
located within the 1st Floor Cafe.
2pm - 4pm  (except December)

Becoming a member is easy, just ring the membership number on  0808 800 0303
(Please mention that you would like them to pass on your details to the Halifax Branch)
or contact Our Local Adviser

Parkinson's UK Local Adviser: 
For a trial period, please contact our Local Adviser through the
Parkinson's UK Helpline number: 0808 800 0303

Our current timetable offers the following exercise classes and therapies:

Conductive Education
These sessions are held at the Mission Hall, in Huddersfield and are subject to availability and prior training. A contribution of £10, for each 2 hour session, is requested to reduce costs to the branch.
Currently we have a number of places available, if you would like a "free trial" or require any other details, please contact Phil Beckett on 01484 713035

For the Joy of Singing Group
The Group meets at Elland Golf Club, on Mondays from 11am - 12.30pm, under the direction of Emma Baylin from "Shared Harmonies."  We ask those that attend to contribute £3  (per week) to help cover the costs of these sessions.
Please contact Eileen on 01422 373566 or Anne on 01422 253368 for further details.

Exercise Groups
Held at the Maurice Jagger Centre, Lister Street, Halifax. HX1 1UZ
Most Mondays 10.15am -11.15am        Tai Chi
Most Tuesdays  10.00am - 11.00am      A Gentle Exercise Class
Please contact Elaine Uttley on 01422 832645 for further details.

Parkinson's Dance Sessions with Izzy Brittain

Held at Elim Church, Hall Street, Halifax HX1 5AY, most Thursdays.
The sessions start at 10:30am prompt, for an hour.
Followed by refreshments 11:30 - 12 noon.
We ask for a contribution of £5 per person to help cover the costs of these sessions.

Games Hour

We are holding a games hour on Thursdays at Elim Church from 12.30pm - 1.30pm (from 16th April 2020.)
Games available include Kurling, Jenga and Shut the Box.
A contribution of £1 per person will go to branch funds to help cover the rent for the room.
Please contact Ian on 07967 419880 or Anne on 01422 253368 for further details.

Respite Care
We have limited funds available to provide Respite Care if certain criteria are met. 
Please contact Our Local Adviser

Access to Relate Counselling
Sessions can be arranged.
Please contact Our Local Adviser

A Monthly newsletter
Newsletters can be read and downloaded from our website. 
Newsletters can also be collected at either of our monthly meetings.

Annual Programme of Events
An annual programme of events is published each April with contact details and a list of all activities for the year.

Playhouse Theatre
Halifax Members are invited to certain dress rehearsals, free of charge. 
If you would like to receive an email notifying you of an upcoming performance please email ianbarraclough@icloud.com and ask to be added to the list of members receiving email notifications.

All the packages listed above need to be accessed, initially, through the named contact or through the branch. Please do not travel before confirming that the event is running and can accomodate you.

* We ask for a small contribution, for most of these sessions, to reduce the costs incurred by the branch.

Our History

The Parkinson’s Disease Society was founded on 26th February 1969, by Mali Jenkins in Tunbridge Wells. The Halifax branch was co-founded in October 1970 by Hilda Hitchen and her minister at King Cross Methodist Church. Hilda had contacted Mali to discuss PD and mutually support each other. Both had loved ones with Parkinson's: Mali's sister had been diagnosed with Parkinson's and 16 years earlier Hilda's husband had been diagnosed, aged 40, only six years after their wedding.

Hilda Hitchen was a remarkable lady. Despite there being no help or support available and very little known about therapies, she managed to spread the word about PD, care for her husband and work tirelessly within the branch for nearly 30 years to the help those in Halifax, and surrounding areas, with PD.
Even after the death of her husband in 1974, until her own failing health forced her to take a back seat in 1999. She continued in her role of Vice President of the branch, giving out information until her death in 2004.

Hilda was one of the first people to be made an Honorary Life Member of the Society and the framed certificate signed by Princess Diana took pride of place in her living room. One of Hilda’s ambitions was to set up a Specialist Parkinson’s Nurse Service and just prior to her death in 2004 we were very pleased to be able to tell her of our success in securing a nurse in Calderdale. 

Hilda once said ‘Of course, I would rather Parkinson’s hadn’t existed in my life, but through the PDS I’ve learned an awful lot, I have made so many good friends, locally and nationally, and it has expanded my life so much. 

A Present from the Past

According to Parkinson’s UK, 50% of people with Parkinson’s develop dementia within 8 years of being diagnosed. Their research shows that 80% of patients who have had Parkinson’s for 20 years or more will have developed dementia.
The result can be a loss of confidence and increasing isolation.

This fact from Parkinson's UK was the reason that Phil Beckett set up this project. If after reading this, you would like to place your name on a list, to take part in a future session if they become available, please contact Phil on 01484 713035 for further information.

Open to anybody with Parkinson's but the project is aimed, particularly, at people living with Parkinson’s and who are suffering from mild dementia.
Dementia is defined here as some memory loss, slowness of thought and a general reduction in mental capacity.
Phil and volunteers will provide support and assist participants to recall their memories and trigger recollections, through stimulants such as:

  • Music Sharing memories

  • Listening to others’ recollections

  • Seeing and handling artefacts; and memorabilia

Phil and his team also help participants to make voice recordings, if they wish, of their memories, so they can take a CD, or a similar form of storage, to keep and share with their families and friends.
Participants might like to leave the recordings with younger family members as a record of their lives or experiences. Some participants might want to produce written accounts of their memories, or complete a document to leave for their families, answering questions to trigger memories, but often these will just be a starting point, with memories coming tumbling out, especially when they hear others speaking about their recollections.

If participants are willing, they could be radio show guests to talk about the past or some of the recorded memories could be edited to be broadcast and reach and benefit a wider audience. If desired participants could remain anonymous, or elect not to be part of any such radio show. This would be for each individual to decide, there would be no pressure to do so.