Here's to 30 more years

A GRANT-giving group will celebrate its 30th year by doing what it does best - providing much-needed cash to good causes.

South Yorkshire’s Community Foundation is marking its 30th birthday by raising money for charities and volunteer groups.

Since it was founded in 1986, SYCF has awarded more than 8,000 grants and distributed more than £26 million, with much of it going to Rotherham groups.

SYCF was the first body to offer a grant to Just Another Dance Event, which is based in Kiveton Park.

JADE began as regular events to get young people off the streets but has grown into a youth centre offering mentoring and non-mainstream education.

More than 800 young people have attended in the past two years, gaining 76 qualifications. Dozens have gone on to volunteer in their own communities.

JADE recently opened a second youth centre in Dinnington, extending its reach into other parts of Rotherham.

Sam Oldroyd (35), one of the founders, said: “There was high unemployment and high crime levels and we wanted to do something about it and to get young people off the streets. From September, we are changing our timetable so we have two sessions for elderly, two for adults, two after-school clubs for the little ones and three youth clubs, including one in Kiveton. 

“I think we can affect better change for young people by working across the whole community.

“We are here as a community centre just as much as a youth centre now.”

Youth worker Lisa Williams added: “Through our partnership work with the police we know that they have very few problems with the young people we are working with.

“So it’s working. It’s doing what it’s supposed to do.”

Ruth Willis, chief executive of SYCF, said: “We have worked with JADE for a long time and I can’t see that changing.

“Watching them grow over the years has been so rewarding and we know that they are only going to go from strength to strength.”

She added: “We work hard to keep funding opportunities open for groups like JADE all over South Yorkshire.

“JADE is a strong reminder of why we need to keep working hard to keep funding available for charitable groups in our region.”

SYCF is building a special birthday fund to help support community groups tackling the most serious social issues.

Anyone interested in donating, volunteering or applying for a grant can find more information at www.sycf.org.uk.