Christmas came early for good causes across the district after We Love Lichfield donated thousands of pounds in grants at its special festive presentation. The charity, which supports voluntary groups making a difference in our communities, invited recipients, civic leaders, businesses and other guests to the event in Lichfield’s George Hotel last Friday (December 13). Thirteen voluntary groups received grants in front of a packed room of people who immediately got into the Christmas spirit courtesy of carol signing by the Lichfield Friary School Choir Shout it Out.
At the start the Patron of We Love Lichfield and CEO of Arthur Price Simon Price asked all the fund’s advisors to stand up and receive applause from the room. He said: “I stand up here and talk to you about the fund but there are lots of other people who work in their own time to make We Love Lichfield work for our community. Please applaud the team of Terry Turner, John Heeler, Carrie Jahn, Susan Bamford, Tim Matthews, Chris Spruce, Adrian Viles, Tim Munton and Robert Yardley. Specific thanks go Mark Santy of the George Hotel for hosting, Julian Fisher for organising this event and I also welcome new advisors including Keith Eagland, Joanna Churton and Kath Jukes.”
Simon then spoke of the work of We Love Lichfield and how as a nation we owe so much to the wonderful work of volunteers and how humbling it is to help in a small way. He then announced to the 100+ strong room of guests that the Fund has given away grants now on average every 10 days since it started. After more applause, he invited all the organisations who were there to receive grants to talk about themselves and their contribution to the district. Organisations receiving grants included: City of Lichfield Friends, King George V Memorial Scouts and Guides, Kendall and Wall Charitable Trust, Friends 2 Friends, The Lichfield Trishaw Project, Diocesan Digest Sound Magazine of Lichfield Cathedral, Clifton Campville Village Hall, Midlands Soccer Academy, Lichfield and District Talking News, Lichfield Re:Cycle, Cogs Prepares 4 Life, Curborough Community Association and Lichfield Society of Arts.
In addition to their grants, the organisations received goody bags from local businesses. The bags are given to the volunteers themselves as a small thank you for giving up their own to help others. There were gifts inside the bags from Arthur Price, The George Hotel, the Wolverhampton Grand and David Lloyd Leisure.
And in the middle of the presentation a previous grant recipient spoke of their work and how We Love Lichfield had helped them. Step O’Shea of Spark in Burntwood thanked everyone for their support and received a round of applause for the centre’s work in Burntwood and the surrounding area.
The finale of the presentation was a surprise appearance by celebrity and actor Su Pollard to present a special prize. Currently starring in the Dick Whittington panto at the Wolverhampton Grand, Su shouted “hi-de-hi” to the audience who of course responded “ho-de-ho”. Su was the special surprise guest to present a brand-new award – The We Love Lichfield Business Community Champion. Created to celebrate businesses who support the fund through donations and publicity, the inaugural award went to Richard Winterton of Richard Winterton Auctioneers who have so far raised over £5000. A stunned Richard was welcome onto the stage and presented with an engraved silver salver by Su.
He said: “The We Love Lichfield Christmas giveaway is always an inspiring event which highlights such a diverse range of stories from groups across our district. I feel passionately about the fund and its continuous work to help and support so many wonderful local charities and volunteers. It is already a pleasure and a privilege to be involved so to be named We Love Lichfield fundraising champion 2019 is the absolute icing on the cake – as well as a huge surprise! It is an incredible honour which left me completely choked and I would like to say a big thank you to everyone at We Love Lichfield. I’d also like to pay tribute to all those members of the fund who work so hard throughout the year ensuring the continuation of this vital support for our communities.”
Su said: “I’m delighted to present this award and to meet so many people and organisations who support We Love Lichfield. I’m also in awe of all the volunteers who We Love Lichfield support and who do so much good. I thank you all.”
Many businesses across the district presented cheques to the fund on the day including The George Hotel – £1400, Richard Winterton £980, Lichfield Cricket Club £3000 and Poppins Nursery £250 which were all gratefully received.
We Love Lichfield is a local fund that provides small grants to a wide range of projects based in Lichfield District. The fund considers all applications from local groups in need twice a year. Companies and individuals are welcome to donate or fund-raise and all money is invested through a permanent endowment fund by registered charity The Community Foundation for Staffordshire on behalf of We Love Lichfield in line with charity commission guidelines. The interest and dividends earned on the invested money is then distributed by the Fund as small grants across the district. The beauty of this model is that it will provide a source of on-going funding that can be used for small grants, and larger grants as the fund grows, for many years to come. The aim is by 2023 to have created enough capital to give away £50K every year for ever. For more details and to make a donation to the fund, please visit www.welovelichfield.com