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THE LOCAL FUND distributes grants to small organisations making a big difference

THE LOCAL FUND distributes £55,340 to 23 community groups

THE LOCAL FUND for the Harrogate District recently funded 23 charitable community organisations to enable them to continue to support local people all over the Harrogate district. 

Focusing on small organisations making a big difference, the grants will help older people have activities they enjoy, provide support and care for people in rural locations, address loneliness and isolation throughout the region and improve the mental health and wellbeing of people living in poverty. 

Lifeline in Harrogate are using their grant for their fortnightly lunch club which is an integral part of their charity, and has been since they were formed 10 years ago. Lifeline work with people experiencing homelessness and those who are vulnerably housed, providing supported accommodation in six 3-bedroomed houses in Harrogate. 

The lunch club is open to current residents but is also attended by former residents who have moved onto independent living and employment and can therefore provide inspiration to those who may be struggling. Sharing food together and a game of pool, in a relaxed atmosphere enables some of the town’s most vulnerable people to discuss things they might otherwise feel they have to keep to themselves.

Boroughbridge and District Community Care are using their £3,000 of funding to train befriending volunteers giving them the knowledge, skills and aptitude to befriend members of their community who are experiencing loneliness and social isolation. Some of those being befriended may be living with dementia, disabilities or experiencing a bereavement. 

Jennyruth Workshops are buying branded t-shirts and fleeces so that their new workers with learning difficulties can represent the workshops when they are out and about and feel proud to do so. 

Knaresborough Museum Association are funding information boards so they can ‘take the museum’ to people unable to visit the museum themselves. They are going to be doing community outreach in care homes, libraries and community centres taking different aspects of Knaresborough's history, geology and archaeology out to the community. 

This will extend their geographical reach while enabling people with access issues to learn more about their area's unique heritage. At sheltered accommodation and residential homes they use the boards to spark memories and conversation and encourage social interaction amongst the most vulnerable and isolated. The project aims to encourage community engagement and to get people talking about their local heritage and sharing experiences. It will reduce social isolation and encourage community networking.

Open Country is using their funding for an allotment project where members get the opportunity to meet with a group of their peers in a safe and pleasant outdoor venue. Here they can learn new skills and benefit from being outdoors and can experience gardening in a safe environment and learn how to grow their own food - and enjoy cooking and eating it. They will also learn about wildlife through bird boxes, bat boxes, wildlife ponds, a minibeast hotel and a hedgehog house. The allotment site is an ideal venue for people living with poor mental health due to its peace and tranquillity, whilst still being part of the community. 

Taking Baby Steps are using their funding to pilot community drop-ins and peer support meetings in rural areas for parents experiencing pregnancy loss, baby loss and mental health problems associated with it. They hope that women and their partners will feel better supported knowing they have access to specialist, unbiased support which in turn will assist with overall emotional wellbeing and a more timely return to the workplace after sickness absence.

Sometime the funding from THE LOCAL FUND goes towards simple and practical things that have a lasting legacy. Village Voices in Killinghall are buying a keyboard and accessories with their grant to keep the village choir running for years to come.  

Celia McKeon, Chief Executive of Two Ridings Community Foundation said:

“Once again, a massive thank you to the council, and local businesses and individuals who generously donate to THE LOCAL FUND and everyone that plays THE LOCAL LOTTO to make the grant-making possible. We are delighted that 23 small community groups benefit, because we know they make a huge impact on the wellbeing of local people all over the district. This round of funding has been really interesting and far reaching, distributing grants to address rural isolation alongside activities and support in the local towns. There is always room for new donors to get involved in THE LOCAL FUND and there is still the opportunity to match fund at THE LOCAL FUND, essentially doubling your giving. If local people and businesses want their charitable giving to benefit the communities they live in, investing in THE LOCAL FUND is a great option.”

Katherine Odom the Grants Coordinator at Two Ridings, said: 

“I love reading through all the applications we receive and preparing all the paperwork to give the panel a real insight into who requires funding. It’s always interesting going to a panel meeting and hearing how local people make decisions on what would work best for their local area. We were delighted to be generously hosted by Ripon Walled Garden on this occasion and want to thank them very much for that.”

THE LOCAL FUND for the Harrogate District has been running since 2017 funding local community groups and charities across the district to improve the lives of local people. It is supported by a partnership of North Yorkshire Council, Harrogate & District Community Action and Two Ridings Community Foundation.

Even with changes to local government boundaries in 2023, THE LOCAL FUND is part of a legacy from Harrogate Borough Council and will continue always for the benefit of local people in the Harrogate District area. 

As well as being a great fundraising opportunity for voluntary groups in the Harrogate district, THE LOCAL LOTTO also directly contributes to THE LOCAL FUND, with at least 10p from every ticket sale adding to the funds available and hence contributing towards a thriving community sector.

 A full list of the groups benefitting from funding is listed on the Two Ridings Community Foundation website

Photo shows THE LOCAL FUND grants panel.