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Highcross Leicester names local charities that will receive a share of £20,000 donation

Highcross Leicester has revealed the ten charities that have been awarded a grant through its Giving Back Project. Launched in August, the Giving Back Project is a new scheme which will see Highcross Leicester donate a total of £20,000 to support local groups across Leicester that have been hit hard by COVID-19.

Hammerson, which owns Highcross Leicester, has launched the scheme across nine of its flagship destinations in the UK, meaning charities across the country will receive £180,000 to help them overcome the impact of the pandemic.

Highcross Leicester will award ten £2,000 grants to the following charities and organisations:

Quetzal – The local, female led organisation provides mental health support to women that have experienced childhood sexual abuse. These experiences can have a lifelong impact on their wellbeing, mental and physical health. By providing free counselling our committed volunteers help hundreds of survivors to rebuild their lives each year.

Leicestershire Cares – Tackles poverty and exclusion. Working with business, community and government partners to support young people to make successful transitions in work and their wider lives.

Soft Touch arts – With the use of arts, media and music activities the charity makes positive life changes for disadvantaged young people by supporting them to develop creative, social and employability skills.

Action Homeless – A local charity and social enterprise committed to improving the lives of people affected by homelessness. Since the impact of Covid-19 Action Homeless is aiming to return its services to as close to normal as possible, prioritising it’s 38 bed emergency hostel, so it can safely provide accommodation and full support again.

Trade Sexual health – Trade Sexual Health is a HIV prevention and sexual health promotion charity operating across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. Trade has primarily worked with anyone who identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender (LGB&T), men who have sex with men (MSM) and women who have sex with women (WSW).

Citizens Advice Leicestershire – Delivers a network of free, confidential, independent, and impartial advice services to support residents to solve their problems.

East Midlands Sexual Health – The longest standing Sexual Health Service in the region, originally set up in response to support people living with HIV/AIDS has delivering award winning sexual health and wellbeing services since 1987.

Community of Grace – Empowers homeless and socially isolated people to transform their lives by providing support and accommodation and encourage them to develop their physical, mental and spiritual capacities so that they may become full members of society playing their part in the local community.

Head Strong Well Being – Specialists in delivering counselling and psychotherapy to adults, children and couples. This service is for short-term therapy aimed at managing feelings and challenges being experienced through remote sessions using phone or face-to-face via video calling.

Eyres Monsell Club for Young People – A registered charity youth organisation, which provides information education to young people aged 8-25 years. Based in one of the most deprived areas of Leicester, they aim to provide opportunities for their member to take part in positive activity, to gain essential skills in personal and social development, and encourage life skills.

The Highcross Leicester scheme was developed in partnership with Leicestershire and Rutland Community Foundation, who worked with the destination to allocate the grants to those in greatest need. Local organisations were invited to apply to the foundation and each submission was carefully reviewed to identify those that made a significant impact in the community and would benefit from further support.  Each of the ten charities were selected based on meeting the following criteria:

Food bank support and tackling food poverty

Providing support services to people affected by domestic violence and abuse

Supporting those who are homeless or rough sleeping

Providing employment opportunities, enterprise, or skills development

The team at Highcross Leicester has worked hard to support its local community throughout the pandemic and provided free parking to NHS workers throughout the summer.

Jo Tallack, General Manager at Highcross Leicester said: “This has been a really challenging year for everyone, and we know that charities and other organisations across Leicester have really gone the extra mile. This project is all about giving something back to those groups that have pulled out all the stops over the past few months, and need a helping hand to ensure they can continue to carry out their valuable work. We are so grateful for everything they have done.”

 Katy Green, CEO of Leicestershire and Rutland Community Foundation said: “We are delighted at the generosity of Highcross Leicester. Some communities in Leicester have been very hard hit by Covid 19 and we have had many requests for support  from voluntary groups working hard throughout the lockdown to provide food, shelter, remote support for acute mental health needs and other challenges caused or made worse by the pandemic. The Highcross Leicester Fund means more people can be helped, and we are so grateful for this welcome boost.”

Deb Knight, Development Manager at Quetzal said: “We really excited to be receiving a donation from Highcross. As a proudly local organisation it means a lot to us to be supported by such a well-known Leicester business. The funding will make a huge difference to the number of women we can support”

Charlotte Robey, Turner Head of Children and Young People at Leicestershire Cares said: We are delighted to be supported by the Highcross Fund. The pandemic has been difficult for everyone in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland but has been particularly challenging for isolated and vulnerable young people who lack the support networks that many of us take for granted. This much needed funding will enable us to deliver targeted work with this group to help them build positive social networks, improve their mental health and wellbeing, and start to progress towards their education and employment goals.”

Joe Crofton, Director at Soft Touch Arts said: This funding gives the young people we work with the ability to participate from home online in our sessions or the confidence to work safely in our studio. It’s a huge help, funding a change in how we work so we can safely carry on giving young people the chance to develop their creativity, express themselves and overcome issues, such as poor mental health. Thank you Highcross.”

James Riviere, Funding and Communications Coordinator at Action Homeless said:We are grateful to the Highcross for their support. This project will provide much needed accommodation by addressing our main barrier to creating safe spaces where we can provide full support, the cost of adapting buildings. It will cover renovation costs and measures required at Mayfield House to make it a safe environment to live in and for support work for vulnerable adults to take place.”

Makinder Chahal, Senior Health Promotion Lead at Trade Sexual health said: Many of the people I support have been struggling with not accessing therapy services and support through face to face. This award is going to benefit so many people to stop feeling isolated and improve their mental health because of Covid-19.

Richard Evans, Chief Executive at Citizens Advice Leicestershire said: “Our fantastic staff and volunteers have kept on supporting the people of Leicester and Leicestershire throughout the pandemic. We are enormously grateful to The Highcross Fund for funding the laptops that enable them to provide the advice and support that our communities need during this difficult time.”

Alastair Hudson, CEO of East Midlands Sexual Health said: East Midlands Sexual Health – EMSH formerly LASS are very excited to be working with Highcross Leicester, the grant we most gratefully received will be used to build community capacity by supporting the delivery of Project 100 Peer Mentorship training.

Ben Brown, Trustee at Community of Grace said: “We are delighted to have this support from the Highcross to enable us to provide a safe and welcoming space for people to meet, following long periods of social isolation.  It has been difficult for people to feel part of a community, but we are working to make this possible once more.”

Louise Wylie, Centre Manager at Eyres Monsell Club for Young People said: “We are absolutely delighted to hear we have been successful in receiving funding from the Highcross. As we are a charitable organisation, we rely heavily on grants to keep our projects alive. Your funding will enable us to continue with our COVID-19 support project, providing essential food packages to vulnerable members of the local community. Whether they are self-isolating, financially unstable, suffering from health issues or have been significantly affected by the pandemic, we are here to support them. Your funding is truly going to have a huge impact on the estate of Eyres Monsell, and we can’t thank you enough.”

Kathleen Connell, Director at Head Strong Well Being, said:In these strange and challenging times we are all living, we’re delighted to receive this much valued funding that means we can provide therapy for those who need it. Thank you.”

Credit Highcross Leicester