Today's columnist, Ruth Willis: Imagine a world without charity
This year my charity is celebrating its 30th year and we are just getting started at making the most of this landmark year. We are a grant making charity so fittingly we have begun by launching the new 30th Anniversary Community Fund and we have plenty of events throughout this year to spread the word about our work.
It is an exciting time for South Yorkshire’s Community Foundation (SYCF) but here at the office, its business as usual. We are all so busy that we don’t have the time to appreciate this great achievement. Charities and voluntary and community organisations do essential work every day. We are a fundamental part of our society. I think it is fair to say that every person at some point in their lives will be supported by a charity or community group. Yet, here at SYCF and I think in most other charitable organisations also, we forget to give ourselves the credit we deserve for the important work we do, year on year. Since 1986 we have been working in South Yorkshire, giving out grant awards to give organisations the support they need to achieve great things. Whether that means running sports clubs for kids, social groups for people with disabilities or providing food parcels for struggling families, we do our best to give the support we can. Yet, I wonder if anyone has ever asked the question; what if we weren’t here? For me, it really puts into perspective how important our work and that of the diverse range of charitable organisations across South Yorkshire and beyond really is. As we quietly work away here at the office, picking up phone calls and typing away at our computers, it is so easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. Which is why I say, if you work for an organisation like ours or if you or one of your loved ones has been helped by a charity, then ask yourself that question, and ask it often. I hope it gives you a new found appreciation for the positive impact that charity has had on your life or the lives of others. So this year, 2016, is of course a fantastic chance for us to shine a light on our work and celebrate what has been achieved. But more importantly it is a strong reminder that it shouldn’t take 30 years to give ourselves - or for any of the charities out there to give themselves - a pat on the back.