The fund-raising efforts of Fylde folk have come in for glowing praise as a family charity gets set to broaden its horizons.
Home-Start Fylde, which supports scores of families across the borough, was left facing an uncertain future 18 months ago, after its core funding was cut under changes introduced by central Government.
The new structure left it reliant on grants and donations for the vast majority of its funding – and officials have been delighted at how the community has rallied round, to such an extent that the charity is preparing for an exciting new era.
Under a new banner of Home-Start Blackpool and Fylde, it is set to expand its activities to its larger neighbour up the coast – and hopes to attract more vital grant contributions in the process.
The change will be formally announced at the organisation’s annual meeting in St Annes tomorrow, which will report on a financial year which saw more than £20,000 contributed to the charity by donations from the community – providing a vital platform for it to plan for the future.
A total of almost £14,000 was provided by Home-Start Fylde being the chosen charity of Fylde and St Annes’ mayors for 2013-4 as well as one of two to benefit from the the St Annes Carnival Fund.
Lytham St Annes Lions also made a £5,000 donation, while other key contributions added to the fund.
In addition, grant aid totalling more than £10,000 came from Lancashire County Council’s Central Gateway and Public Health Funds, while a £10,000 contribution from the Children In Need fund has helped with setting up a toddler group under a new group co-ordinator.
Now the organisation, which was formed in 2010, is hoping for a major financial boost in the new year with the award of a substantial amount of lottery funding.
It is hoped that that the application for £500,000 over five years will allow it to appoint its first full-time co-ordinator in Blackpool as well as further ensuring the best quality service across Fylde.
The charity’s senior co-ordinator Pat Naylor said: “It has been a brilliant year for contributions, and thanks so much to everyone for their backing.
“The decision to extend into Blackpool is part of a plan for both sustainability for Fylde, and the need to offer the service to families in the Blackpool area.
“In the four years since we were formed, we have had more than 200 referrals across Fylde – far more than we ever imagined – and have often been asked if we can also provides services in Blackpool, where the town’s own Home-Start service ended a few years ago.
“We hope that the extension will not only allow us to fulfil that need but also give us more chance of earning grants such asd the lottery funding.
“Although there are clear pockets of deprivation in Fylde, the general assumption when we apply for funding from national bodies is that ours is an affluent area, which often causes us to miss out.
“Blackpool is much further up the national deprivation ‘league table’ so applying under a joint banner will hopefully help us generate more funding to the benefit of everyone.”
Coun Viv Willder, who chose Home-Start Fylde as her charity when she was St Annes mayor for 2013-4 and now serves as a trustee, said: “It is a very deserving cause which does great work.
“The planned expansion into Blackpool is a sensible one all round, with the aim of strengthening the service for Fylde families.”