THE Yorkshire Post's Communities in Need appeal total has soared beyond the £200,000 barrier following a wave of pre-Christmas charitable donations from readers and businesses across the region.
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Less than two months after our appeal fund launched in aid of small-scale charity and community projects across the region, a flurry of festive gifts has seen the total amount donated to the appeal move past 200,000 – doubling the amount raised just a fortnight ago.
The Yorkshire Post is running the appeal in partnership with the Yorkshire Community Foundations, a network of charities which give grants to needy projects around the region.
Sally-Anne Greenfield, spokeswoman for the Community Foundations, said she was delighted at the way money has flooded into their offices.
She said: "We have been absolutely amazed by the generosity of Yorkshire Post readers. We have received cheques at the office and via local branches of the Yorkshire Bank, as well as people using the Just giving on line facility.
"Support has come – quite literally – from all corners of the county, from Bradford to Beverley and Halifax to Hull. We have even had contributions from Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Lancashire too, showing what a great reach the Yorkshire Post has.
"People have sent a personal cheque, made a donation instead of sending Christmas cards or held a raffle at work. Several people have also donated their winter fuel allowance to the campaign, too, which is really appropriate as we focus on the needs of vulnerable older people, especially at this time of year.
"And let's not forget the generosity of all those who contributed items for the amazing auction which alone raised 10,000 for the appeal."
Dozens of unique Christmas presents have been purchased by readers through the Yorkshire Post's online charity auction, from a day out with West Yorkshire Police to tickets for an evening with opera singer Lesley Garrett in Leeds next month – for which tickets can still be purchased from Opera North.
The final push to 200,000 came through a flurry of sizeable donations from local businesses and organisations.
These included around 2,000 from Calderdale firm Pennine Pack Ltd, and more than 4,000 from CALM Meditation in Halifax, a conflict resolution service which closes its doors for good at the end of this year.
A further 16,000 has been donated by the estate of the late George Westerman in Kirklees, who left the sum of money "to benefit good causes."
It has been handed over to the One Community Foundation in Kirklees – which was formed earlier this year – and will be poured into the appeal fund.
Chairman of the One Community Foundation Sir John Harman said: "We were delighted that the Yorkshire Post decided to focus on local projects in their special Communities in Need campaign because they are the lifeblood of our local communities. "
Some of the funds will be distributed to local groups early in the new year.
Other monies have been match-funded through the government-backed Grassroots Grants programme and will be used to set up a legacy fund for the future, that will continue to make grants to Yorkshire-based charities.
Mrs Greenfield said: "We know that there are many demands on people's generosity, especially at Christmas, but we are delighted that so many people have come forward to support the Communities in Need appeal.
"It really does support the notion that charity begins at home and that Yorkshire folk are rightly proud and supportive of the work that goes on, often un- noticed, in the local communities in which we live and work."
Three Easy ways you can donate
Log on to www.justgiving.com/communitiesinneed Secure donations can be made at the website using credit or debit cards.
2. SEND A CHEQUE
Make cheques payable to the LCF Communities In Need Appeal, and send to: Leeds Community Foundation, 51a St Paul's Street, Leeds LS1 2TE. When sending in cheques, donors must include their contact details to check if
the donation is eligible for GiftAid.
3. PAY IN AT THE BANK
Simply walk into any branch of the Yorkshire Bank and make a donation to the LCF Communities in Need appeal. Quote the following details: Account No 11479437, Sort Code 05-00-20.