Sat, 20 Jun 2020
A CHARITY hoping to raise £10,000 to celebrate a milestone has exceeded its target, helping to “ensure it is here for the next 10 years”.
Young People and Children First (YPACF) set a goal to raise £10,000 in 10 days to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the opening of its first house to help young people in the district.
YPACF provides a home and support to young people who come from a care environment or who are homeless.
Most have suffered trauma, such as abuse or neglect, and more than half are suffering from a diagnosed mental health illness.
The charity provides a family home alongside emotional and practical support.
Support workers help the young people to navigate through difficult, dark and emotional times and help them into independence.
The charity has experienced a 70-per-cent fundraising income drop during the coronavirus pandemic and launched a series of events themed around the number 10, with 10 activities over 10 days between June 1 and 10.
And it exceeded its £10,000 target, raising more than £13,000 in 10 days, rising to more than £14,000 since.
Chief executive Tracy Underwood said: “With the charity’s fundraising events hit hard by Covid-19 restrictions, this campaign was vital to boost our finances.
“We opened the doors of our first house to care leavers and young homeless 10 years ago and as the demand for our services continues it is so important we can continue to support local young people for the next 10 years and beyond.
“We are delighted to have smashed our ambitious target thanks to the hard work and generosity of our supporters.
“We have received particularly generous donations from Thatcham Rotary Club, BNI Newbury, Newbury TaxAssist Accountants, SecureEnvoy, Woolhampton RC Parish, East Woodhay Society and Team Bear Fitness, for which we are very grateful.”
The charity was formed by foster parents John and Patsy Stone in 2008 to help young people leaving care or homeless to live independently.
The charity now owns two properties in Thatcham – Rebecca House, which has rooms for three young people, and Cornerstone, which opened 10 years ago and accommodates five.
Seventeen local fundraising teams took part in the 10 for 10 fundraiser, each setting their own challenges to complete over the 10 days.
Activities ranged from running and cycling to knitting and story writing.
Fundraisers included trustees, staff, local companies and organisations and community supporters.
Challenges included head of trustees Tim Dyson walking and cycling 10K every day, Mrs Underwood and family completing a 350km challenge, trustee Peter Harris hosting a daily radio show on Kennet Radio and founder Patsy Stone knitting one Alzheimer’s fiddle mitt each day.
One special challenge, coinciding with Volunteer’s Week, was the delivery of 10 gifts to 10 special volunteers and supporters of the charity.
Team Harley Davidson, John and Elaine Fisher, surprised volunteers by turning up on their motorcycle bearing gifts and chocolates from the charity, thanking them for 10 years of support and kindness to its young people.
Mrs Underwood said: “With covid and the uncertainty that brings, the charity has been working extremely hard to remain financially sustainable.
“The need to support more young people grows daily as family relationships break down and we start to see the fall out of lockdown.
“Care leavers and homeless referrals continue to come in.
“Our plan to open a third house this year is very much at the forefront of our minds and we will continue to apply for grants and fundraise to make this happen.”
YPACF has supported many young people over the past 10 years, and is rewarded by seeing them go to university, complete apprenticeships, enter full-time employment, start families and become confident and independent adults.
One of its residents described the difference the charity has made to her life: “Coming from an abusive household and suffering from mental health issues, I brought a lot of emotional baggage with me when I first moved in here.
“My autism didn’t make things any easier.
“But the team has given me a second chance to get my life together and has really helped me work though a lot of my problems.
“I am eating better, I wake up in the morning and I’m losing weight.
“I can’t even fathom where I would be without them.
“They have given me structure, confidence and are actively helping with areas of life I find difficult.
“They have given me the support I have needed for years.”
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