As it is Local Charities Day, we are celebrating and showcasing the great work that small local charities and community groups do in Wakefield District. Here are a few stories to celebrate from within the Nova membership...

National Citizen's Service young people supporting Spectrum People

Over the year, 75 volunteers from the National Citizen’s Service (NCS) have given intergenerational support to those who Spectrum People support. From July – November they:

- Led an art project at Spectrum Café, based around the theme of happiness, interviewing people who use the service and Spectrum People staff.

 - Designed collages and posters to promote the Recycle Project.

 - Played Removing Barriers, an inspirational game designed to remove stigma around physical disability, mental health and learning disability.

 - Supported the Spectrum People Open Day at Reflections, preparing mystery boxes.

Spectrum People would like to thank the 17 year old volunteers from NCS who gave their time and created great social projects.

Offering classes and events to improve health and wellbeing

St George's Community Centre, Lupset, offers a wide range of groups, classes and events for the public to take part in, in order to improve health and wellbeing. 

Chris Robertshaw, speaks about how beneficial the Chair Based Exercise class has been for him. 

"Since suffering a mild MI in 1996 I have attended regular weekly exercise classes initially at Pinderfields General Hospital. Over the last 2 years these classes have been poorly run and have lost their effectiveness. In 2015 I underwent surgery for prostate cancer and joined the Prostate Cancer Support Group which meets at St George’s. This in turn led to an introduction to the Chair Based Exercise class, held weekly. I have attended these classes regularly with my wife and have found them to be extremely beneficial. We both feel the physical benefits of the classes – everything is relative! The classes are very well run in a really enthusiastic and motivational manner, and though I might not look forward to them I really feel invigorated once the session is over. Add to this the attendees all help to make it a happy class, thus uplifting everybody’s mood. Finally each session is completed with a visit to the café, in all topping off a very worthwhile morning."

Shiela Cocker attends the Golden Oldie Gardeners session at St George's. 

"Joining St George’s gardening project enabled me to move forward with my life, at a time of great sadness, pain and lack of self-worth, after being widowed. It made me aware that, by helping others I was healing myself, filling a void of loneliness and isolation, pushing my grief to one side, reconnecting with people. Hopefully to share my passion, to create a more pleasurable surrounding for the rest of the community to enjoy. I hope to carry on for many years and encourage people to join. Creating beautiful flowers and vegetables is a rewarding and very therapeutic way of dealing with life’s troubles".

If you would like any information on the groups and activities that St George's offers, please contact the centre by calling 01924 369631 or emailing

Community Foundation Wakefield District champions local causes, bridging the gap between those in need and those that are able to help

The Community Foundation was founded in 2008 and is one of 46 Community Foundations across the UK. They support a wide range of community groups across the District and in almost ten years of continuous operation, have distributed over £1.5 million to in excess of 1,000 community groups. The Foundation is an important contributor to supporting community activity across the whole of the Wakefield District at a time when public funds are diminishing. Currently there a number of specific opportunities:

Fuel Poverty

Community Foundation Wakefield District is currently raising funds to support those in Fuel Poverty. Over the last year, they have raised £10,000 which has enabled the Foundation to make a major contribution towards the growing number of people across the district suffering from Fuel Poverty. It is at this time of year that Winter Fuel Payments are made and they are keen to hear from anyone who feels they would like to donate their winter fuel payment to this fund. You can do this by accessing the Community Foundation Wakefield District website and using the DONATE button. This takes you to the Local Giving website where you can make your donation. Gift Aid can also be added in appropriate cases which is then added to your donation.

Youth Social Action

Community Foundation Wakefield District has just concluded the distribution of funds from the first round of a new, 3 year, Youth Social Action Fund entitled i*Will, from which 8 local organisations received a total of just under £40,000. A similar sum will be available for each of two further rounds in 2018 and 2019, subject to the Foundation raising an equivalent in match funding, thus producing a potential total of up to £80,000 for each of the next two years. They would be very interested in hearing from anyone who feels they would like to participate in helping them to raise the match.

Loneliness & Isolation

Round two of the Elderly Persons Social Isolation Fund will be launching in January 2018. This fund offers grants to support activities designed to identify loneliness and help older people deal with social isolation and become more involved in community activity. £35,000 was distributed earlier this year in Round One, and there will £45,000 available for each of Rounds Two and Three in 2018. Again, Community Foundation Wakefield District is looking for match funding to enable them to increase the funds available and thus support more of this important work.

Unsung Heroes

In June this year, the Foundation launched the first Unsung Heroes Awards. These are designed to recognise the extraordinary work being undertaken by ordinary people across the District. Watch their website and social media for further information about the 2018 event which will be available early in the New Year.

Bertha and the Big Lottery

People in Yorkshire diagnosed with aphasia now have a better chance of regaining their speech, communication skills, confidence and self-esteem.

Aphasia occurs when the area of the brain responsible for speech and language is damaged (in some cases, memory is also affected). Though aphasia is predominantly the result of a stroke, damage could also stem from a brain tumour, a haemorrhage, or as a consequence of brain surgery.

"The boost the Big Lottery Fund gave our charity, Speak With I.T., has seen us almost double the number of people we’re able to help."

People like client, Bertha Frear. After suffering a stroke in 2015, and subsequently receiving a diagnosis of aphasia, Bertha would have struggled to even say ‘Big Lottery Fund’.

As someone in her late seventies, it would have been easy to forget about Bertha and any attempt to get her talking again; however, if anyone was silly enough to make that mistake, this feisty lady would have found some other way to set them straight.

Despite the fact she’d never used a laptop in her life, Bertha enjoyed the computer therapy sessions with the Speak With I.T. volunteer assigned to her. Though, thankfully, a good portion of her speech came back naturally, she still had a lot of trouble pronouncing vowels, finding the correct word when put on the spot, and telling the time. Computer exercises helped Bertha practise these aspects.

“Being able to talk to someone who understands aphasia and what it’s like to live with the condition is something I look forward to - even if it’s just for an hour or two each month. I can understand that it’s difficult to have a conversation with me, but I don’t ever feel that I’m inconveniencing my Speak With I.T. volunteer. She helps me enormously. I now feel I can deal with most everyday situations, and she pushes me a little more each visit. Since working with her, I’ve found the confidence to join a local aphasia group, which has helped me even more".

If you’d like to volunteer for Speak With I.T., and help people with aphasia who aren’t able to ask for it themselves, call 01924 580970, or visit the Speak With I.T. website.

Wakefield Parkinson's Support Group - local charity for anyone who is effected by Parkinson's in Wakefield District

Over the last six years, the group has expanded from 9 members attending at monthly meetings to 50-60 members currently.

Meetings, Activities and Trips

At the moment, the group runs two meetings a month, one is a social meeting with speakers of general interest with the other being dedicated purely to the issues that effect those dealing with Parkinson's - giving chance for discussion, debate and mutual support. The group also has a chair based exercise class once a month, a walking group that meets every two weeks, various coffee mornings, a hobbies and activities class that meets every two weeks and a bridge club which meets every few weeks. The group has six days out per year to a diverse range of places.

The group is a very active and friendly group who have a lot of laughs, do not sit around feeling sorry for themselves, but get out there and have FUN.

If you know of anyone who lives in the Wakefield area who has been diagnosed with Parkinsons, their carers, partners or family members who would like more information regarding the group, please get in touch by emailing David Foster

Small, independent registered charity providing advice and information services

Their friendly, passionate staff and volunteers are local people working hard to support others in the District - many wanting to give something back to their communities. DIAL works to give people hope and help them to make informed choices.

DIAL’s Disability Welfare Rights Service is well on the way again to helping people receive over 2 million pounds in welfare benefits and means so much to the local communities as indicated in the comments made to DIAL below:

"I felt so alone and ill-informed and scared but you showed me that you would do your utmost to help and did".

"The help you did give me and my wife took the pressure away and helped us not to worry".

"It made a big change to my life and helped me get the help I needed regarding my health problems".

"I now do not have to worry about putting my heating on & getting out because you helped me to get the extra benefits I was entitled to".

"It has made a huge impact on all the family, taking away the stress".

"Good to know that I have support so I don’t feel isolated".