Published: Monday, 21st August 2017

Ambitious plans to boost funding for the district's voluntary and community sector will be discussed by Harrogate Borough councillors at this week's Cabinet meeting (Wednesday 23 August 2017).

One of Harrogate Council's priorities is supporting local communities. To do this the council wants to ensure a strong and sustainable voluntary sector. This is because the council's team of councillors and officials realise the enormous impact volunteers have on our everyday lives.

A Community Fund will enable more cash to be raised for good causes particularly supporting smaller charities and voluntary groups who do great work but sometimes struggle with fundraising.

The Harrogate District Community Fund is being developed in partnership with Harrogate and Ripon Centres for Voluntary Service and Two Ridings Community Foundation.

The fund's three main aims would be:

  • ensuring that people in the Harrogate district benefit from leading fulfilling and active lives
  • providing a source of funding that can be easily accessed by local voluntary and community groups to help them meet the needs of their beneficiaries
  • providing for tax efficient local giving and offering a variety of opportunities for private and public sector organisations to make an even greater difference in the community

On Wednesday, councillors will hear that for a district-wide community fund to be successful it would need to be ambitious from the start in promoting additional charitable giving to support the local voluntary and community sector.

The fund would be established through a mixture of short term funding for support to groups in the Harrogate district whilst longer term endowed funds are established. Following approval by councillors work will begin to identify money available to kick start the fund from existing local authority grants, fundraising and contributions from developers, whilst Two Ridings Community Foundation work on longer term support from donors and other sources of major funds. An initial fundraising target of £2million has been set.

Councillor Richard Cooper, Leader of Harrogate Borough Council, said: "The charity and voluntary sector is the glue that binds our community. That is why we prioritise supporting the sector through hundreds of thousands in grants and other support. We know that a strong voluntary sector means a strong community.

"I am proud that we are working with the Harrogate and Ripon Centre for Voluntary Services and its Chief Executive Karen Weaver to take this bold, new step. Karen and her team have shown energy and innovation in supporting the voluntary sector for many years. They, with the Two Ridings Community Foundation, are the ideal partners to deliver this boost for local communities and the voluntary sector."