17s: Geoff Dunning is a fundraiser for The Local Fund for the Harrogate District. He was the CEO of the Road Haulage Association, for 5 and a half years he ran the lobbying group. He was a frequent guest on the Today programme and on other media channels.
1min 13s: What is The Local Fund? It was established to help small local community groups and charities who are finding funding difficult. Harrogate is a wealthy place though! That hides a number of the significant social problems. The big foundation for The Local Fund is some research that identified 3 fundamental problems: loneliness and social isolation, mental and physical problems, inequality and hidden poverty.
3mins 19s: How does The Local Fund work? There are 3 partners: Harrogate Borough Council – this covers the whole of the Harrogate District from Masham to Pateley Bridge and to Knaresborough, Harrogate and Ripon Council of Voluntary Services, Two Ridings Community Foundation – experts in managing the fund and all of the donations and grants.
4mins 46s: Who are the people who receive monies? A couple of months ago, about 20 organisations that received almost £40,000 in grants. Some examples were: a coffee morning for vulnerable and lonely people in Boroughbridge, one was supporting the wages of staff at the food bank in Harrogate, helping the youth club that supports lonely children in Kirkby Malzeard, a cookery group in Knaresborough which supports people with mental health problems.
6mins 24s: I was watching a TED talk and what was recommended to me was about the Harvard Research review, 75 years ago they found 100 male Harvard students and went to Boston and found 100 poorer kids. They wanted to find what factors allowed people to live the longest. The answer was the qualities of people’s relationships. It’s interesting that the fund is targeting social isolation.
7mins 55s: What is the goal? To build up a significant fund of around £2 million and we can then use the interest and income to make substantially more grants in the future. The target is to make grants of around £100,000 a year rather than the £39,000 that we gave out last year. We are looking to generate donations which can go out directly in grants which can supplement the total that we can give away to the worthy causes.
8mins 51s: Who will be giving money to the fund? The fund will welcome donations from anyone. Very large donations from philanthropists are of course welcome and there are mechanisms that would allow those individuals to have some say in how the money is used as long as it is going to one of the three causes we mentioned earlier. For example, it could just go to Pateley Bridge if the individual wanted the money restricted in that way. Or the money could go into the general fund but they could be involved in the process with choosing groups that are selected for support. We’re also looking to local businesses to support us in donations to the fund or donations we can use for grants. We also have the Harrogate District Lotto which is generating around £40,000 next year.
10mins 23s: What will the supporting businesses get? They can be confident that the donations will stay in Harrogate and help people in Harrogate. You know you will be supporting a number of different charitable activities. You’ve got the feel-good factor and be part of the wider community. We are planning to run events for the local supporters so there will be opportunities for networking. You can use the fact that you’re supporting the fund in your promotional material to demonstrate you are a good member of the community.
13mins 25s: Why are you doing this podcast? One of the biggest challenges we face is that we are a new activity. It was only launched this year and we are trying to get the message out as much as possible. We are encouraging people and business to become friends of the local fund, there is no fee for that. We are hoping for people to spread the word of The Local Fund, possibly identify local donors that could support the fund, promoting the ways people can give to the fund, obviously we are encouraging people to make donations. You can consider setting up your own fund that The Local Fund could manage as part of its own activities. You could even consider leaving a gift to the fund in a will. The best way is asking people to become ambassadors to help get these messages out to the community.
15mins 27s: Geoff has brought in some publications. One is The Vital Signs report of the Harrogate District put together by the Two Ridings Community Foundation – one of the partners for The Local Fund. I will read some of the stats “against the backdrop of relative affluence across the District, there are pockets of deprivation. There are 8% or 2,100 children living in poverty in the Harrogate District. There’s up to 25% of families in some areas who are struggling financially. 5,900 households are living in poverty which is some of the highest rates in the land, particularly in High Harrogate, Low Harrogate and Masham. Our population is a little higher and a little older than the rest of the country. The average house price in Harrogate is 10.6 times the average salary which is 10% above the national average”.
17mins 49s: How do you get involved? You can go online, you can become a friend of The Local Fund, you can contact me on Twitter @GeoffDunning or call or text me on 07979 531 470.