Local charity South Yorkshire’s Community Foundation (SYCF) is changing that, one grant award at a time. The grant making charity is determined to spread the word that it is has funding for community and voluntary organisations across the region up for grabs. There to keep vital community projects up and running.
Sue Wragg, 56, Karen Alsop, 56 and Pete Foyle, 61, make up the fund management team at the foundation and each has worked in the local charity sector and lived in South Yorkshire for most, if not all of their lives.
Pete said: “There are cuts everywhere at the moment and venues are putting their prices up so it is getting harder to run community organisations. But our message is that funding is still there and our endowment will stay here forever. People see all the headlines about funding cuts and councils giving out less money and so on, so with all that in front of them they don’t see that smaller pots of funding, like what we offer, are still available.”
South Yorkshire’s Community has worked for 30 years to build up permanent grant funding for South Yorkshire communities. The endowment fund of over £10 million will continue to produce money for grant awards year on year in perpetuity.
Sue added: “Another pressure is that many of these organisations are getting more and more people coming to them for support, they can’t cope with the pressure and they shut down. So it’s more important than ever that we spread the word that we have funding here that they can apply for, so they can meet that need.”
SYCF has a long history of supporting local communities, most memorably it began and ran the award-winning emergency flood relief fund in 2007 in response to the devastating floods across the county that affected so many people.
Karen Alsop said: “I joined the foundation for the flood fund work in 2007. I always felt that working as a part of the flood team has been one of the most significant pieces of work I have done with the foundation. Not just because we were responding to immediate and emergency need but it was the tremendous amount of money, over £1.67 million, raised by the local community to help those affected, that made it such a rewarding piece of work.”
Despite larger grant awards become harder and harder to come by, the foundation team emphasise the massive impact that just a small amount of money can have.
“When I first started at the foundation I went to visit a group in Rotherham, which was for young people. It was just a little community hall and the kids were dancing and they had asked for funding for shoes for the kids to dance in and I thought why would they want shoes? And I got there and there were kids with no shoes at all, they were just dancing in their socks. Some of them didn’t even like dancing but they were going because it meant they weren’t at home getting abuse from their parents. It was a huge eye opener and it showed me just how important our funding is to local people.”
Funding opportunities are open to a wide range of applications and charitable groups, for amounts from £500 up to £5,000 and sometimes higher. Whilst most of the funding is open to general applications South Yorkshire wide, some are more specific.
Sue added: “We have funds that are open all year round and some that open at certain times so it is always worth checking what we have on offer. We will soon be opening to applications for our Comic Relief Local Communities Fund and our Young People into Employment Programme will be opening back up shortly too. We are always working to bring in new funding opportunities too, so make sure to keep an eye on our website as we have some becoming available very soon!”
Pete added: “There is money out there and it really isn’t that complicated to apply. You just need to be able to describe what you do, how it helps people and what you need, not what you want. A classic quote is ‘don’t tell us what bills it will pay, tell us what good it will do’.
“So make sure to get those applications in. Everything you need to know is on our website but we are always hear for a chat if you get stuck.”