On 28 June the Charity Grants Committee held one of its regular meetings to discuss and agree which new charities were to be supported. In the preceding couple of months members of the Committee had interviewed or visited charities which had applied for grants and which had passed the initial vetting procedure, and our Charity& Education Officer Geoff Russell Jones had prepared a summary of the preliminary views which had been reached.
Only on a few occasions does the Committee agree to make a grant based only on a paper application. It is always useful to visit or speak to those running the charity, because we get a better idea as to how they will spend our money, and we learn more about the charitable areas which might need more help. There are twelve areas which we focus on, including rehabilitation, disability, education, homeless, leather associated, military, creative arts and medicine & health.
During the June meeting we discussed a large number of charities including the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society, Herts Young Homeless, Down’s Syndrome Association, Special Olympics Great Britain and Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust.
All the charities were noteworthy but a few deserve special mention. Giving World is a small, Leicester based but national charity. It matches charities with companies which have ‘end of line’ stock or other products which they want to dispose of. In the past they may have sent their stock to landfill, but they now have to pay for that service. Instead, they can now advertise their surplus stock on Giving World’s website, and charities can apply for whatever they can make use of. In the past three years over 1,500,000 products have been donated to charity in this way, with zero cost to the donor or recipient.
C-Potential Trust is the only specialist education centre in North London for children up to aged 14 who have cerebral palsy: it was a privilege to visit the school, meet the teachers and interact with the children.
The Markfield Project runs a centre in Tottenham, London, for disabled children and adults. The services they offer include an adventure playground, special needs advice and information, and a Friday evening nightclub for adults with learning difficulties.
A common theme in many applications is the recent or impending removal of council funding from charities, and it clear that sources such as the Leathersellers’ Charitable Fund are becoming ever more important in providing essential funds to charities doing very good work. The fact that we are prepared to give unrestricted funds, allowing charities to use our money for core costs (administration, salaries) rather than specific projects, makes our donations even more welcome. It is also a demonstration of how even modest amounts of funding can have significant impact when the charities are allowed to apply the funds where they are most needed.
The Committee now submits its recommendations to the next Court meeting which will take place on 19th July. Keep an eye on Twitter @LeatherCharity or www.leathersellers.co.uk on the 19th July to see which charities will be receiving awards from the Leathersellers. Our next task will be to ask you and your fellow liverymen to agree to be Livery liaisons for these new charities.