A new community fund will aim to take groundbreaking steps towards addressing the hidden needs of the Harrogate district when it launches in January.
The Local Fund is being set up as a partnership between the Two Ridings Community Foundation, Harrogate Borough Council and Harrogate and Ripon Centres for Voluntary Service.
A well-attended event at The Sun Pavilion on Monday set out hopes for an endowment fund of £2 million to be established by December 2019, for small community groups and local charities to apply for grants.
Guest speakers including the Chief Executive of the Harrogate Homeless Project, Liz Hancock, and Project Manager for Orb Community Arts in Knaresborough, Leon Fijalkowski, highlighted the struggles of competing with larger charities for national funds, and the difficulty of demonstrating need to funders in a more affluent town.
The founders of The Local Fund hope that these barriers will be removed by having grants which recognise issues that are specific to the Harrogate district.
The founding donation to the fund was presented by Coun John Fox - the £1,011 was raised from this year’s Harrogate District Volunteering Oscars tombola and raffle.
Coun Fox said: “Although this first donation is modest, it is symbolic of the way it is hoped The Local Fund will develop.
“Everyone attending the awards ceremony was in some way connected with local voluntary and community organisations and their ticket purchases demonstrate how by working together we can really boost local giving.”
While one foundation of the fund will be donations, another element critical to its success will be the free Friends of The Local Fund scheme.
Those attending on Monday pledged to become the fund’s first friends and ambassadors, agreeing to promote The Local Fund to businesses and individuals who may wish to support the fund financially or in other ways.
A new report by the Two Ridings Community Foundation, Vital Signs, exposes the hidden needs of the Harrogate district and highlights statistics on poverty, loneliness, homelessnes, dementia and mental health.
The Chief Executive of the Two Ridings Community Foundation, Jan Garrill, said the report will show why there is a need for The Local Fund.
Read next week’s ‘Advertiser for analysis of the report.