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Introducing: The Local Fund for Harrogate District

THE LOCAL FUND for the Harrogate District will provide grant funding to local community groups and charities across the District. It will focus on addressing local need by supporting the work of community groups and charities whose work is dedicated to improving the lives of local people.

Despite the perceived affluence of the area, THE VITAL SIGNS REPORT for the Harrogate District has highlighted some significant issues relating to poverty and social isolation right on our doorstep. Launched in autumn 2017, VITAL SIGNS is a consolidated snapshot of the trends and issues affecting the quality of life in our district. Our inspiration came from the 1000 voluntary and community organisations in Harrogate district of which 700 are registered charities, yet only 26% of all charitable donations go to local causes. With this report and THE LOCAL FUND for the Harrogate District we aim to change that and make local giving the norm. This report aims to encourage you, and people like you, to give right now in the Harrogate district. You can choose to give a charitable donation, a grant, your time as a volunteer, share your expertise, and provide a gift in-kind or pro-bono work to support existing or new activities for immediate or long term impact. THE LOCAL FUND for the Harrogate District seeks to address the issues identified in the report through grants to local agencies involved with assisting local people in our communities. The issues that were highlighted are:

Inequality and hidden poverty

In-work poverty is an unseen and real issue within the Harrogate district and whilst paid work is the most important route out of poverty, a number of workers are still paid wages that are simply not enough to support them and their dependents in achieving an acceptable standard of living. We believe that everyone deserves equal access to meaningful employment and services, as well as opportunities for social and educational attainment, and we are passionate about reducing poverty and inequality in the Harrogate district.

Mental Health and Wellbeing

Generally, the health of most of the residents of Harrogate district is good, however there are some sections of the community who are relatively disadvantaged and have poorer health. We believe that being healthy is an important part of our sense of vitality and wellbeing. We support projects to improve both physical and mental health as well as healthy lifestyle choices and opportunities. Where you live in Harrogate district has an impact on your life expectancy: men in Harrogate district living in the most deprived areas have a life expectancy gap of 5.1 years compared with men in the most affluent areas of Harrogate district. The life expectancy gap for women is lower at 2.8 years.

Loneliness and social Isolation

In the 2014 Minding the Gaps research loneliness and isolation was evidenced as a prime theme in Harrogate, particularly for elderly and disabled people. The associated mental and physical health issues were determined to be key unmet needs in the Harrogate district.

THE LOCAL FUND for the Harrogate District is being formed by a three-way partnership between Harrogate Borough Council, Harrogate & Ripon Centres for Voluntary Services, and Two Ridings Community Foundation in the face of ongoing pressure on public budgets and over subscription to existing funds. The only district-wide fund, it will be particularly beneficial to smaller groups and organisations, who do not always have the resources to develop partnerships with local businesses or to continually apply for funds from grant-giving bodies. The fund also seeks to make funding available for causes that do not always qualify for national grants, due to relative affluence of the Harrogate District.

It will bring together donations from organisations and individuals, the Harrogate District Lottery and dormant trust funds and will be managed by Two Ridings Community Foundation, an independent North Yorkshire charity which specialises in setting up and managing charitable trusts. To ensure the Fund is accessible to all eligible local organisations, it will have a clear and transparent application process and the distribution of funds will be overseen by an independent panel. More information about the Fund is available here.

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