By Andy Hirst
A unique charity is running in Huddersfield which asks people to donate just £1 a week which is then donated to charities struggling across the town.
Not surprisingly it’s called The Loose Change Charity and so far has 100 people paying £1 a week which raises more than £5,000 for Huddersfield charities every year.
Ones it has helped recently include Grange Moor Community Association to support its meals on wheels service and Gwennie’s Retreat, a Slaithwaite-based charity which, along with Ruddi’s Retreat, provides free caravan holidays. Ruddi’s helps families with children who have life-limiting conditions or have suffered bereavement while Gwennie’s helps people with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia.
The Loose Change Charity now wants to do more and has appealed for people to sign up and pledge a £4 a month standing order which they can stop any time. It takes a couple of minutes to set up a standing order and every penny donated goes to help others as the charity has no running costs.
The idea is simple yet incredibly effective and was thought up by Ian Lawson when he was corporate social responsibility leader at Huddersfield company Cummins Turbo Technologies – a business which has a rich history helping community projects throughout the town.
Ian, 60, of Almondbury, is now back in his usual IT job at Cummins but during his time in his community role had seen Huddersfield charities struggling for funding which gave him the idea. The Loose Change Charity is thought to be the only scheme of its kind in the UK.
Ian said: “I was amazed when I registered the name on the internet that the name Loose Change Charity was available as I thought these kinds of schemes would be everywhere, but it would seem this is the only one.
“The idea of trying to help was inspired by the many fantastic people I’ve met working in small charities in Huddersfield. All these charities provide essential services and I wondered what would happen to the people they support if these charities were no longer there. Many charities have found it a real struggle financially to keep going so if everyone chipped in just £1 a week just think what a difference that would make to so many charities across Huddersfield.”
Ian set up The Loose Change Charity with two other trustees. One is Jonathan Wales from Mirfield who works for the Lloyds Banking Group and met Ian when he was working in a special Business in the Community role in Huddersfield as a Business Connector finding businesses to help charities and community groups.
The other is Lynva Russell who has worked with charities and social enterprises for 15 years.
Ian first set The Loose Change Charity up in 2017 and since then it has raised more than £20,000 to help more than 40 good causes and charities throughout Huddersfield.
It had banked up some money during the lockdowns so this year has been able to give out £10,000 as charities and good causes have started re-opening again. Such is the demand it has closed to new grant requests until early next year which is why more members are needed.
Ian said: “We can only give out what we can get in but we know that with some more members donating just £4 a month we can help so many more charities. For instance, if we had 500 members we’d be donating £26,000 a year and it really is loose change we are after – money people really won’t miss.
“It will cost you next to nothing yet will do so much good in Huddersfield’s communities. We have seen how £250 grants here and there can make so much difference but it’s not just the money. It’s great for charities and worthy causes struggling out there financially to know there are people wanting to help them.”
One of those helped recently is the Home From Home Friendship Group in Kirkheaton which was set up in September, primarily for people living with dementia and their carers but the group also provides a friendly space for people who may be suffering from isolation and loneliness.
It was founded by Jean Broscombe, Maureen McGlynn, Lorna Idle, Irene Heatherill and Judith Morris.
The group meets twice a month on the second and fourth Fridays from 10am to 12 noon at Kirkheaton Community Centre and offers support, friendship, a chat, a cuppa and cake along with activities such as games and jigsaws.
To become a Loose Change Charity member and start giving £4 a month – you can, of course, donate more – then simply email Ian Lawson at email@example.com
For more information the website is https://theloosechangecharity.co.uk/
* Written by former Huddersfield Examiner Head of Content ANDY HIRST who now runs his own Huddersfield-based agency AH! PR (https://ah-pr.com/) specialising in press releases, blogging and copywriting for business in Yorkshire and across the UK.