Two Calderdale charities are urging people to vote for them to win a cash grant from Lloyds Banking Group’s community fund.
The banking giant has shortlisted four organisations for the West Yorkshire region in with a chance of scooping £5,000 - and two are from Calderdale: homeless charity Calderdale SmartMove and Ravenscliffe High School.
Voting lines are now open and the two with the most votes in each region will win £5,000 each.
This week, the Courier looks at Calderdale SmartMove, which helps more than 300 homeless people each year - finding accommodation and providing vital packs of pots and pans, food, bedding, cleaning equipment and toiletries.
It also provides education as continued support - such as arts and crafts, health and wellbeing, maths and English and CV writing.
The charity’s chief executive Stuart Rumney said the number of people they have helped has grown by 65 per cent in the past two years.
“We’re seeing a lot of people because of the recession - we’re seeing a lot of relationships break down.
“We also see a lot of domestic violence - we find safe properties for them. We also help people with substance misuse issues, or learning disabilities.
“More people need our help than we’re able to give. We have a waiting list which is frustrating.”
Mr Rumney said he was over the moon to learn Lloyds Banking Group staff had nominated the charity for the fund and it will give the charity’s profile a real boost.
Julian Vikse, 56, (pictured above) is one of Calderdale SmartMove’s success stories. He came to the charity having been homeless for a year, after losing his job and his relationship breaking down.
He is now a volunteer and a trustee of the charity and runs their allotment classes at Ryburn House, Clay Street, Pellon.
Mr Vikse said: “I was relying on friends to house me at that time. Someone suggested Smartmove and they sorted me out with a property quite quickly.
“They were amazing people that didn’t keep you waiting around, had a smile on their faces and lots of advice straight from the start.
“I was blown away - totally amazed there were people who did this. They give so much of their time - and in so much detail, because there was advice for anything and everything, like budgeting and how to read a meter.
“You feel like you’ve become part of a family really.
“Their staff have such a level of knowledge, social skills and empathy. “I moved from being homeless, to starting out as a volunteer to pay them back a bit, to being a trustee on the committee.”
Mr Vikse was instrumental in setting up an allotment project - which also benefits other charities - and teaches people how to grow vegetables.
He added: “It’s brilliant really. They’re a great bunch of people, doing an invaluable service to hundreds of people in Calderdale.”
To vote for Calderdale SmartMove in the Lloyds Community Fund, text Vote LS2 to 61119. To vote for Ravenscliffe text Vote LS3 to 61119.
To read those shortlisted and vote - which you can do for more than one - visit www.lloydsbankinggroupcommunities.com
***Next week: Read what Ravenscliffe High School would do if they won the cash