Building society names charities to share £250,000 in grants

Charities supporting unemployed women, young people impacted by cancer and tackling social inequality are among those to share £250,000 in funding from the Leeds Building Society.

Those sharing the funding include unemployment support charity SmartWorks Leeds, which is receiving £55,000 to help women in the most disadvantaged areas of Leeds and provide them with career coaching and job interview support.

The charity’s trustee Tracy Fletcher said the award was its largest donation to date and “will enable us to support even more women in Leeds in securing economic independence for years to come”.

Social inequality charity Zest has been handed £37,000 to fund health cooking classes in deprived areas of Leeds.

Meanwhile, the Laura Crane Youth Cancer Trust has been handed £23,400 to support the mental health needs of young cancer patients, including counselling sessions.

“I wish this offer of one-to-one counselling had been made so accessible whilst I was having treatment,” said Sarah Dransfield, an ambassador of the Trust.

“To have it so readily available and not have to ask especially for it, would have made it feel like a very normal part of the treatment.”

All successful charities were nominated by staff at the building society, who worked with charities to pitch for a share of the funding.

Others to benefit include Help Bristol’s Homeless, which converts shipping containers into micro flats and Ripple, a web browsing tool that signposts crisis support for people at risk of self-harm.

A further 19 charities were awarded £1,000 grants through the funding.

The building society’s head of strategy and responsible business Vanessa Roberts said: “The cost-of-living crisis cuts deeper for people who are already struggling, and we’re pleased that through these grants we’re funding practical support to feed families and helping women into employment, as well as providing vital mental health support for young patients who’ve received a devastating cancer diagnosis.

“We were overwhelmed by and genuinely moved by the many inspirational applications we received from colleagues who shared their personal stories and told us why each cause is so important to them.”

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