Grant maker is Leeds Chamber’s charity choice

The city’s largest independent grant maker, Leeds Community Foundation (LCF) has been chosen as Leeds Chamber’s charity of the year by new president, Gerald Jennings.

Gerald runs GR Jennings Properties Ltd having left his role at Land Securities as Retail Portfolio Director earlier this year. Gerald and his team were responsible for city centre retail assets in Leeds and Cardiff. In Leeds Land Securities owns and manages the flagship centres, White Rose and Trinity Leeds. 

LCF believes that investing money in grassroots community projects is one way in which they can help to make a significant difference to the lives of local people. Since 2005 the Foundation has distributed over £25 million in grants to over 3,500 community groups and charities in Leeds. 

With LCF currently receiving twice as many applications as they can fund, Leeds Chamber will look to raise awareness and money to help the Foundation support local enterprising projects who assist young people to gain employment, build confidence and develop new life skills. The charity and Leeds Chamber will also be working together to increase awareness of ‘Raising the Bar’, a social responsibility bench marketing tool.

Gerald commented: “I’ve known and worked with LCF for many years and I ensured Land Securities became a member of their patronage scheme, the 100 Club. The work they do is extremely important for Leeds; they direct funds donated by companies, individuals and families to the people and projects that need it the most, and where it can have most impact. I’m delighted to support them during my presidency with Leeds Chamber and our team is excited to be working with them to raise money for worthy causes.”

Gerald recently visited the Hollybush Conservation Centre in Kirkstall to gain an insight into the kind of community projects LCF support. Their volunteers help to manage threatened green spaces across Leeds and many find working in green places beneficial to their emotional, physical and social well-being. Jess Kandola, volunteer co-ordinator, who gave Gerald a quick tour, said they worked with people from many different backgrounds and experiences including those with mental health issues and disabilities. The centre helps to build confidence through activities and provides a sense of worth. Jess added that they are also keen to engage with local businesses wanting to help preserve the city’s green spaces.

Chief Executive of LCF, Sally-Anne Greenfield added: “We have been members of Leeds Chamber for eight years and value the important role they play in supporting the local business sector. We are delighted that Gerald has selected the Foundation as the Chamber’s charity partner. We would love to hear from chamber members and the wider business community as to how we can help them play a key role in supporting and improving their local community.”

Chamber staff and members will help raise money for LCF through internal activities such as the annual bake off, dress down days as well as the Leeds Chamber Annual Dinner which is held in January.

More information can be seen at Leeds Chamber is part of West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce with offices in Leeds, Bradford and York.