Big birthday of South Yorkshire charity celebrates £26m of giving

Charities play an important role in the lives of so many - whether because they supported us through hardship or made our lives better, or because we have supported them, believing in their good work.

Friday, 27th May 2016, 7:43 am
Updated Friday, 27th May 2016, 9:23 am
Pix: Shaun Flannery/ Community Foundation (SYCF) - 30th Anniversary Event

This year ‘the charity for charities’ South Yorkshire’s Community Foundation (SYCF) is celebrating its 30th year supporting the charitable organisations helping local people.

SYCF is celebrating its 30th anniversary raising funding for grant awards which are distributed across South Yorkshire to charities and community organisations working across the board to tackle local issues and to make their communities a better place to live.

Pix: Shaun Flannery/ Community Foundation (SYCF) - 30th Anniversary Event

In the 30 years since it was born the community foundation has raised and distributed over £26m in grant awards to over 8,200 different charitable groups, which are estimated to have helped over one million people in total.

Despite its long history working closely with local communities, South Yorkshire’s Community Foundation’s work has often gone unnoticed.

Chief Executive of SYCF, Ruth Willis, is determined for that to change.

Ruth said: “I starting working at SYCF a few years ago now and moved to Sheffield at the same time. It is probably the most rewarding job I have ever had although that isn’t to say it isn’t stressful sometimes! “I remember when I first started I was surprised at how low our profile was considering how much impact we have. 
“I want that to change and I think that this is the perfect year to make that change. Our dedicated staff team, trustees and new chairman are also all very committed to raising our profile.

Pix: Shaun Flannery/ South Yorkshire's Community Foundation (SYCF) - 30th Anniversary Event Wosskow Brown, Attercliffe.

“We are always so busy that in the past we have rarely taken the time to bang our own drum and I think that is part of the reason why we still arent that well known, which is incredible really since we have been doing this for 30 years now.

“I think it is also because what we do isn’t as straightforward as with most charities, but in essence we raise funding through encouraging local philanthropy for community groups and charities to start up, to grow or to sustain their work. We help food banks pay the rent for the community hall they work out of or help women’s shelters run counselling programmes. Each project we help is unique and does an incredible amount of good.”

Some of the foundation’s past achievements include running the 2007 flood relief fund which raised over £1.5m for those affected by the devastation throughout South Yorkshire. 
More recently SYCF has raised over £80,000 to fund projects supporting those affected by child sexual exploitation in response to the Alex Jay report into CSE abuse in Rotherham.

Ruth continued: “We do our best to be responsive to community need. Last year we partnered with other local charities to run the Take2 project which rehabilitates army veterans struggling to adjust to civilian life in Sheffield, after we recognised a gap in support for these people.

Pix: Shaun Flannery/ South Yorkshire's Community Foundation (SYCF) - 30th Anniversary . Hanif Mohammed - In2Change

“We are very lucky in this area to have such a wealth of these small grassroots community groups, often run by volunteers who are doing everything they can to help people who are struggling. It is very rewarding for us to be able to support these organisations in such a fundamental way knowing that the impact our funding will have is huge. It can often be the difference between a group being able to continue or having to shut down altogether.”

At a recent celebration event the staff and volunteers of SYCF came together with some of the community organisations they have worked with to recognise the achievements of the past 30 years, as well as to share ambitions for the future.

“It is important to recognise past successes but we need to look to the future too”, said Ruth.

“The past few years have been a challenge for us to raise more funding and to meet the need which is always growing. Despite that in our last year our grant funds supported one in 10 people in South Yorkshire. We want that number to keep going up. There is always more to be done and more people to help.”

Pix: Shaun Flannery/ Community Foundation (SYCF) - 30th Anniversary Event

As a part of their celebrations, South Yorkshire’s Community Foundation has begun a new fund dedicated to tackling the biggest issues being faced by local people now. It is open to donations and aims to raise £30,000 for communities.

Ruth added: “This is an opportunity for everyone to contribute to our work. All money raised will go straight back to the charity or community group working around the corner to make all ofour lives better.

I think that is something incredibly exciting for everyone to contribute to. Anyone that donates is going to witness the benefit of that generosity first hand. They get to say ‘I did that’ which is so rare.”


To donate to the foundation text SYCF30 £3 to 70070 or visit { Yorkshire Community Foundation|click here} and selecting the charity’s ‘30 years of giving’ page.

You can also donate by visiting the SYCF justgiving page at South Yorkshire Community Foundation Just Giving Page

Pix: Shaun Flannery/ South Yorkshire's Community Foundation (SYCF) - 30th Anniversary Event Wosskow Brown, Attercliffe.

Over 30 years SYCF has distributed over £26m in grant awards to local community organisations thanks to the philanthropy of local individuals, families and businesses.

To find out more about how to give with SYCF go to { Yorkshire Community Foundation - Give|click here}

To find out more about current grant award opportunities at the foundation go to South Yorkshire Community Foundation - apply or call 0114 242 4857 now.

Pix: Shaun Flannery/ South Yorkshire's Community Foundation (SYCF) - 30th Anniversary . Hanif Mohammed - In2Change