#GiveLeeds makes it easy for you to support city charities at Christmas

Volunteers who help at charity Getaway Girls pictured before the pandemic.]

Photo: Samantha Toolsie.Volunteers who help at charity Getaway Girls pictured before the pandemic.]

Photo: Samantha Toolsie.
Volunteers who help at charity Getaway Girls pictured before the pandemic.] Photo: Samantha Toolsie.
Two Leeds charities which support thousands of young people have welcomed the launch of a new fundraising platform to make it easier for people to to donate directly to charities and community groups across the city this Christmas.

Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on some of the most vulnerable people in Leeds and on some of the income streams of charities and community groups that support them.

Many of the traditional ways to fundraise - sponsored 10k run, a work bun sale or shaking a tin in a shopping centre - have all but disappeared.

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The new #GiveLeeds platform launched by Zero Waste Leeds at www.giveleeds.org.uk gives people the opportunity to donate directly to the charity or community group of their choice directly through a secure website.

Dennis Robbins, chief exceutive of The Hunslet Club

Picture: Tony JohnsonDennis Robbins, chief exceutive of The Hunslet Club

Picture: Tony Johnson
Dennis Robbins, chief exceutive of The Hunslet Club Picture: Tony Johnson

Gill Coupland, co-director of Zero Waste Leeds, said: “The people of Leeds have a huge generosity of spirit and our hope is that #GiveLeeds will be an easy option to support a local group or charity that gives so much in return.”

Two charities listed on #GiveLeeds are The Hunslet Club and Getaway Girls.

Dennis Robbins is chief executive officer of The Hunslet Club which has 1,800 members and provides dozens of activities each week, from ballet to boxing, football, rugby league, cheerleading and youth clubs.

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The club prides itself on supporting the most vulnerable in the community, offering vocational activities from its base on Hillidge Road.

Mr Robbins said: "I think it's a great idea. It points people in the right direction to worthy causes that are doing fantastic work across the city."

Harehills-based youth work organisation Getaway Girls has been providing practical and emotional support for girls and young women during the pandemic.

Flavia Docherty, director of Getaway Girls said: “It’s fantastic to be part of #GiveLeeds.

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"We hope it will give us the opportunity to support more girls and young women at Christmas and in the future.”

Gill Coupland , said #GiveLeeds - which was inspired by the #BuyLeeds campaign to encourage people to shop locally and independently - has been funded by Leeds Community Foundation.

She said: “Local charities and community groups have been there for us this year like never before.

"But when speaking to many of them as part of our Leeds School Uniform Exchange project, we found that many were not set up to receive online donations so were potentially missing out on much needed funds.

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”At the same time, many people in our city and across the country will spend huge amounts on unwanted Christmas gifts.

"In fact, £42m is wasted each year, that equates to £500,000 in Leeds. What if we spent that money supporting local organisations and local people instead?"

Dennis Robbins said the Hunslet Club has employed three new youth workers and plans to be open longer daily from January.

Mr Robbins said: "It is just to give young people somewhere to be during the dark nights. They have been stuck at home since March.

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"We want to stay open longer and support them. None of us know what impact the lockdown has had on young people, being isolated and not being around friends."

Mr Robbins said:"When they have finished activities the young people can stay at the club in a safe place and the youth workers will supervise.

"We have had some funding from different businesses to run the project . It is something that I really appreciate."

Getaway Girls is a charity which empowers girls and young women aged 11 to 25 to build their confidence, develop new skills and build resilience and aspirations.

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Over the past 30 years, the charity has supported more than 12,500 young women through issues including domestic violence, teenage pregnancy, poverty, low self-esteem, mental health needs, and sexual exploitation.

During the pandemic they have been supporting young women in a number ways, including providing financial and emotional support.

They have also run groups on Zoom where girls can have fun, keep in touch and support each other.

As part of the fundraising on #GiveLeeds, Getaway Girls wants to raise enough money to provide a practical wellbeing pack with pampering items , face masks and a Christmas gift and food.

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Flavia Docherty, director of Getaway Girls said: "We have had an increase in the number of girls needing individual support because they are struggling with what is going on in terms of their mental health."

She said the charity is missing the money from public fundraising, which was used to provide immediate practical help to young women in need.

Getaway Girls is on the lookout for positive role models to help with the charity.

And it is currently looking for a new treasurer. If you can help, email [email protected]

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To find the Leeds community groups and charities you want to support, visit the #GiveLeeds website (click here) for a directory.

Other charities featured on the website include Holbeck Together; Families First; LS14 Trust; Reestablish; St Vincent’s; Tech Angels and The Real Junk Food Project.

Click on your preferred charity and follow the instructions to donate.

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