The Harrogate and Ripon Centres for Voluntary Service column with Karen Weaver

The HARCVS team is pictured supporting Small Charities Week.
The HARCVS team is pictured supporting Small Charities Week.

This month THE LOCAL FUND partnership team has been “on the road” to launch THE LOCAL LOTTO for the Harrogate District to the good causes who will benefit if they sign up.

On four warm evenings we set up the PA equipment, the laptop and the projector, put tables and chairs out, served refreshments and washed up afterwards. It’s been great fun, and we’re now fully familiar with which wires need plugging into which sockets to get the video clip to play with sound!

We met lots of dedicated people who support our local charities, and saw our beautiful district at its best. The trip to Pateley Bridge was a highlight, with Nidderdale looking so peaceful and timeless at the end of a warm, long and busy day.

So why were we out and about around the District? THE LOCAL LOTTO is being promoted by the partnership which set up and launched THE LOCAL FUND earlier this year (Harrogate Borough Council, Harrogate & Ripon CVS and Two Ridings Community Foundation). Via THE LOCAL FUND we want to make it as easy as possible for local people to support the local charities which make such a huge difference to our lives, and are often described as the glue that holds our community together.

The issue we want to tackle is that recent research has shown that 90% of charitable income is given to the 7% largest charities in the UK. While they do a great and essential job, we want to redress the balance and raise awareness of the difference smaller charities, groups and their volunteers are making in our area.

As well as seeking support from businesses and donors we’re exploring new ways to increase local individual giving, and THE LOCAL LOTTO is an additional fundraising tool for groups which is free and easy to use. It’s all online and 50p from every £1 ticket sale will go directly to local good causes. The ticket purchaser can choose who they want to benefit. A further 10p goes into THE LOCAL FUND pot.

Being out on the road coincided with the 2018 Small Charities Week, during which the Lloyds Bank Foundation published an excellent research report, available via www.lloydsbankfoundation.org.uk. For the first time we have detailed evidence of the vital role played by smaller charities in everyday life in communities across the UK and the distinctive ways in which they support people and communities: “… they plug gaps left by other organisations; being the ‘first responders’ to people in crisis…creating safe, familiar spaces where people can receive practical support or be quickly linked to other local services because of the charity’s local networks.”

The value of the involvement of local people as volunteers is also recognised as creating a sense of community and belonging. This week I heard about a gentleman of 96 who is an active volunteer for a popular local venue, baking cakes and welcoming visitors every week.

He describes the organisation as his family now. Enabling this kind of thing to happen is just one of many reasons why it’s so important to support our wonderful local charities.

If you’re part of a voluntary or community group and want benefit from THE LOCAL LOTTO full details are available via www.thelocallotto.co.uk. Look out for tickets going on sale to the public next week and please do consider signing up.

Who knows, you could win £25,000, but it’s really the good causes, their volunteers and the people they support who will be the real winners as we grow local giving.