By Andy Hirst, Special Correspondent
A Huddersfield charity has paid for almost a quarter-of-a-million emergency food parcels in Kirklees during the coronavirus pandemic and also helped people struggling with their mental health due to the losing loved ones and the stress of living under lockdown.
It can now be revealed that One Community Foundation Kirklees has helped more than 200 projects from a fund of £600,000 launched to support charities and good causes in Kirklees during the Covid-19 crisis.
The £600,000 fund was set up by One Community in partnership with the National Emergencies Trust which put in around £350,000 and has been a lifeline to many small charities and community groups.
More than half was donated to organisations providing food and essentials which saw £321,862 shared across 105 individual grants.
One Community Foundation Kirklees chief executive Emma Woods-Bolger said: “To address food insecurity in Kirklees during the pandemic we have supported the tireless work of charitable organisations who were working on the frontline. It is estimated that our funding has provided over 240,000 food parcels to individuals and families across Kirklees.”
The second largest amount, just over £100,000, went in 41 grants to mental health support and services.
Emma added: “The coronavirus pandemic will leave a lasting effect on the mental health of so many people locally. The devastating loss of life, the impact of lockdown and loneliness, will inevitably affect all of us in some way. During the pandemic we knew we needed to prioritised funding for projects that support the mental health of local people.”
Other causes supported included charities dealing with domestic abuse who have reported a surge in appeals for help since the start of the pandemic. One Community Foundation figures show £40,000 was awarded to 11 projects supporting people suffering domestic abuse in Kirklees.
A further £26,000 was needed to provide personal protection equipment (PPE) for volunteers and people working on the Covid frontline in their communities.
Emma said: “The provision of PPE for frontline workers and volunteers was of utmost importance in sustaining an effective response to this crisis. By funding local charities to buy PPE we helped to protect thousands of people on the frontline in Kirklees.
“Charities and community groups did not wait to be asked to respond – they met the new challenges in their communities head-on.
“In turn, we needed to match their agility, trust their leadership and provide them with the vital financial support they desperately needed. Funds that would allow them to respond on the ground and have an instant impact on the lives of those who were most affected.
“I am very proud of our small team for the work they have done. They have used their expert knowledge which has been built up over the past 10 years of working with local charities and small community groups in Kirklees to direct funds to where they would make the biggest impact and, in doing so, we have been able to support those in urgent need right across Kirklees.”
The way One Community Foundation Kirklees works is that businesses and individuals make donations to the foundation and the income this huge pot of money – now standing at more than £3m – earns in interest is then given away to charities, community groups and people in crisis in Kirklees.
As only the income reaped from the fund is used it means the Foundation’s future is always secure … and grows every time someone makes a donation.
Although the One Community Foundation has now used all its funds set aside for the coronavirus crisis, charities and good causes continue to need help and it’s vital the pot of money in the fund continues to grow.
Emma added: “The need was great before Covid but now we are seeing charitable organisations struggling to survive so we need more partners to help us to support them.”
The Foundation (https://www.one-community.org.uk/) now runs several funds and go to its website to find out more about each one and if you’re eligible to apply for it.
There is, for instance, a Fast Track fund for applications from small voluntary groups across Kirklees with an annual income of less than £8,000.
Businesses or individuals wanting to know more about the Foundation should email Emma at Emma@one-community.org.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.