York Small Charities Fund “Keep the Lights On” for 12 York groups with £51,000 in grants

David Kerfoot, High Sheriff of North Yorkshire

David Kerfoot, High Sheriff of North Yorkshire

This week twelve small, vital charities in York received grants of up to £5,000 each from The York Small Charities Fund. The Fund was set up to support local York charities keep going by funding essential running costs over the next six to twelve months as groups deal with the dire financial consequences of the double whammy of increased demand and decreased fundraising caused by the Coronavirus crisis and lockdown.

The York Small Charities Fund was set up by partners York CVS and Two Ridings Community Foundation just two months ago to respond to the critical state of the local charitable sector. Many small charities were struggling to secure funds to ‘keep their lights on’ and pay rent, salaries and other essential running costs.

The panel, including David Kerfoot, High Sheriff of North Yorkshire, and five local leaders of charities in York, considered 22 applications totaling nearly £100,000 meaning some really difficult decisions had to be made on this essential funding.

The twelve groups supported by the York Small Charities Fund are a microcosm of the York charitable sector, with groups providing essential support to people in crisis, whether that is through family breakdowns, mental health issues, disability, alcohol-related issues, or bereavement. All are hyper small, largely volunteer-run, facing a challenging financial future due to the drop off in fundraising and limited alternative sources of grant funding, yet without whom people would experience a significant loss of critical support, which they all provide.

  • York Family Mediation Service: Funding for staff and overheads, to provide family mediation, having lost most of their income for five months.
  • Mainstay: Funding for rent, insurance, staff and expenses to continue supporting people with mental ill-health while their offices have been closed.
  • York Women’s Counselling Service: Funding for salaries and rent, in a time when donations have been hugely reduced but demand has gone up, for affordable (or free) professional counseling for women.
  • York & District Riding for the Disabled: Funding for feed for ponies to ensure that lessons can restart to benefit the disabled participants when income is significantly down but costs still must be met.
  • Beetle Bank Social Farm: Funding for staff, volunteer expenses, tools and sundries to allow safe continuation of services for people with dementia, while reducing service user numbers per session to increase safety, which impacts income.
  • Next Door But One: Funding for staff, volunteer costs and equipment to make changes to delivery to become more sustainable.
  • York Alcohol Forum: Funding for rent, as well as handbooks, literature and other resources.
  • Biomation Productions C.I.C Funding for running costs to continue running therapeutic and creative music projects for young people.
  • Kyra Women’s Project: Funding for extra staffing hours to support volunteers, while the organisation is meeting higher demand with lower income.
  • York Polish Organisation: Funding for rent, salaries, trips and advertising; needed as the group suffering loss of income.
  • York Hotshots Funding to be able to continue classes for physical and mental health in a deprived area of York.
  • St Michael’s York Trust: Funding for costs counselling service running, when income has much reduced.

David Kerfoot, High Sheriff of North Yorkshire said ‘I am extremely proud to have been supporting this campaign as High Sheriff of North Yorkshire.  So many of our small charities have been severely affected as a result of the pandemic, and without the efforts of York CVS & Two Ridings Community Foundation, the knock-on effect due to lack of funding would have been devastating to so many.  A great result so far!’

 Justin Mazzotta Co Director: Beetle Bank Social Farm, for people living with dementia: ‘The York Small Charities fund has given us some breathing space and considerably increased our chances of survival during the pandemic. Because of this, for the next six months we will be able to operate safely in response to coronavirus and replace lost revenue’.

 Alison Semmence, Chief Executive of York CVS said: “it has been a privilege to be in a position to support so many local voluntary groups and charities to ensure their survival during these difficult times.  The funds we have distributed will make a difference to the lives of the people these groups support.”

These 12 awards, totaling £51,000 brings the amount distributed by Two Ridings in response to Coronavirus since March 2020 to £1.75m.  Since the end of March grants provided by Two Ridings have allowed groups to respond in the immediate lockdown period to help keep people fed, safe, well and connected, adapt services to vulnerable users so that support can still be provided even if self-isolating and now allow key local groups to sustain themselves financially whilst other sources of funding from fundraising events or activities have dried up.

Jan Garrill, Chief Executive of Two Ridings Community Foundation said: I am pleased that Two Ridings can play its part in keeping the lights on for 12 such remarkable groups. I know that the next few months are critical and we are determined, with the support of our donors, to continue to help local groups with this type of funding.”


York Small Charities Fund

In partnership with York CVS and the High Sheriff of North Yorkshire, we are urgently seeking donations to the York Small Charities Fund. Donations to the Fund will go directly to local small charities and charitable organisations to ensure they can continue to support York’s most vulnerable residents.

The results of a recent ‘Voluntary and Community Sector Resilience Survey’, conducted by York CVS, found that:

  • 40% of York charities said their future is uncertain beyond October 2020;
  • 72% of charities have had to close or put part of their services on hold;
  • 67% (two in three organisations who responded) expect to lose £10,000 or more due to the pandemic.

The York Small Charities Fund has been established to support those small charities and charitable organisations who do not have the capacity or means to run individual fundraising campaigns but are in desperate need of support to ensure they can continue to deliver their services.

Organisations within an income of less than £150,000 will be awarded up to £5,000 to help them ‘keep the lights on’.

The High Sheriff of North Yorkshire, David Kerfoot MBE DL, said:

“The more money we can raise, the more small charities and charitable organisations we’ll be able to support. When it comes to small charities, a little can go a long way and it’s essential that we do not lose any of these valuable services.

“Many of the lesser known charities support those who have been worst affected by the pandemic, so the knock-on effect due to the lack of funding is devastating to them. We must all take some degree of responsibility – no matter how small – and act now.”

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