The Leeds Fund: Confectioner’s sweet gift for young people

Recipients of Leeds Fund grants meet with Herwig Vennekens, the MD of Haribo.
Recipients of Leeds Fund grants meet with Herwig Vennekens, the MD of Haribo.
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Kids and grown-ups love it so...and these West Yorkshire causes have all got a good reason to be sweet on the happy world of Haribo.

Recipients of a newly announced grant met yesterday with the head of the confectionery giant, after the company donated a tasty £20,000 to support the mental wellbeing of young people in the region.

Grants of up to £2,500 were awarded to 14 community projects by The Leeds Fund, which aims to improve young people’s mental wellbeing and give them the tools to keep their minds healthy.

The company’s generous contribution was inspired by a visit to Yorkshire in 2017 by Prince Harry - who has also backed the YEP’s #SpeakYourMind campaign - where he spoke at a Leeds Community Foundation (LCF) funding event before visiting the Haribo’s sweet factory in Castleford.

Herwig Vennekens, the company’s managing director, said: “Haribo was impressed by the work of The Leeds Fund and wanted to play our part in supporting local communities and young people.

“We are delighted that our donation has enabled 14 fantastic projects to receive Leeds Fund grants to improve the mental wellbeing of young people.

“We’re looking forward to seeing the outcomes of these projects and how this diverse range of activities can help provide local young people with the tools they need to support their emotional and mental health.”

The Leeds Fund was launched in 2016 and since its formation has distributed more than £600,000 in an effort to support a variety of local issues, to help build on the LCF’s vision of creating a city of opportunity for all.

LCF chief executive Kate Hainsworth said: “Thanks to Haribo’s generous donation, we have been able to support more projects that are working hard to support the mental wellbeing of young people.

“We are truly grateful for Haribo’s support and hope their goodwill encourages more companies to get involved with The Leeds Fund, to create positive change in our communities and improve the lives of local people.”

Stitch-Up is one of the social enterprises set receive a grant, which will help them deliver a pilot craft course to teach a range of textile craft skills to young people, aged 16-19 years with learning difficulties.

Founder of the group, Jen Sharp, said: “We know from experience that craft activities are an effective way to support people to improve everyday wellbeing, promote confidence and encourage independence.

“We are truly grateful to Haribo and The Leeds Fund for providing vital funding to enable us to offer sessions to younger people who need our support.”