Celebrating the impact of community action in the Harrogate district

Harrogate was abuzz last night with high community spirits as groups representing the 36 organisations supported by THE LOCAL FUND for the Harrogate district this year came together to celebrate the work they do and chat and collaborate with one another.

The High Sheriff of North Yorkshire, Clare Granger, opened the event, describing the impact of her time meeting many inspiring organisations doing life transforming work.

“It’s been an incredibly humbling experience to witness so many community groups doing fantastic and inspiring work. I am truly humbled and really thankful for the work you do.”

She went on to point out that the support and activities are ‘literally a lifeline’ for so many people all across North Yorkshire.

“I have really felt the joy that people I have met feel. They have told me directly the positive impact activities and support have on their wellbeing and mental health. Funding is absolutely crucial for this activity.”

Celia McKeon, Katherine Odom, Karen Weaver, Clare Granger, Ann Duncan

Celia McKeon, Chief Executive at Two Ridings Community Foundation described the wide variety of projects supported by THE LOCAL FUND, from lunches for the homeless to a rural community choir. She talked about how the fund also supports the groups with running costs too, to ensure they can keep their own doors open, and concluded:

“So we celebrate both the amazing work that you do every day with the people you are here for – the activities, the outings, the events, the services. And we also celebrate the often-unseen hard graft of running your organisations, paying the bills, training the staff and volunteers and covering the  costs that are hard to cover.”

Three groups who have received grants this year talked about their work and the impact of the funding on the people they walk alongside.

Speakers: Carl Good, Lindsay Oliver, Si Lawson

Carl from the Lifeline Homeless charity in Harrogate talked of how support for their lunch club was a highlight of many of Harrogate’s most vulnerable people’s week.  Lifeline have been supporting people experiencing homeless for over 10 years now and have six houses enabling them to house 18 residents.

Lindsay told us how New Beginnings were now supporting 100 families including over 150 children, giving vital support following domestic abuse.

“The trauma from the pandemic and now the cost of living crisis has not gone away. We see loneliness and mental health issues are now off the scale.  Our funding has been used to build up the self-worth and resilience of the people we support, increasing the wellbeing of all the family.

“Funding has been crucial over the years for us and without THE LOCAL FUND, and other funding from Two Ridings, we would not be able to do what do for people. We are so grateful.”

Si from Nidderdale Fell and Trail talked about how running had brought a community together and how funding has enabled them to build that network and train up coaches in a rurally isolated area of the region.

Karen Weaver of HADCA and Councillor Sam Gibbs read out a list of all the 36 groups receiving a total £92,388 of funding this year and emphasised how every one of them was making a huge impact.

Supporters of THE LOCAL FUND, Sam Gibbs, Philip Broadbank, Liz Wild, Bruce Warnes

Celia McKeon went on to recognise the donors and supporters of the fund.

“This fantastic work could not happen without the support of local people and organisations who donate directly to THE LOCAL FUND.

“Thank you to Harrogate Borough Council that was, the Harry Bolland Fund, The Shears Foundation, McInroy & Wood, Full Circle Funerals, Presence Church, West Park Hotel and for everyone that plays THE LOCAL LOTTO.

We are very grateful for your support, and welcome new donors along to the fund.”

Clare closed the official event thanking and celebrating the groups and the work they do day in, day out. The buzz in the room, however, didn’t abate as the people chatted and collaborated well into the evening.

collage of people

The groups who received funding this year are: Artizan, Badapple Theatre Company, Bilton Dragon Bowling Club, Boroughbridge and District Community Care, Claro Enterprises, Dales and Bowland CIC, Dancing for Wellbeing, Darley Playing Field Association, Harlow Hill community Centre Association, Harrogate & District Community Action, Harrogate Hospital Radio, Inspire Youth Yorkshire, Jennyruth Workshops, Resurrection Bikes , Knaresborough Museum Association, Knot Another Choir, Lifeline Harrogate, Living Potential Care Farming, Low Harrogate Crown Green Bowling Club, Masham Community Office, New Beginnings Peer Support, Nidderdale Fell & Trail, Nidderdale Plus Partnership, Open Country, Pateley Bridge & Bewerley Memorial Hall, Pinewoods Conservation Group, Reflect, Ripon City Festival Trust, Ripon Disability Forum, Samaritans of Harrogate, Supporting Older People , Taking Baby Steps, The Trauma Centre , The Wellness Gateway, Village Voices Killinghall, Wellspring Therapy & Training

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