We want everyone supported by Hft to have the chance to benefit from our fundraising, which is why we launched Funds for the Future. It’s a great initiative that demonstrates how fundraised income truly makes a difference to the lives of you, the people we support.
In 2015 we created a grant scheme that allows all of our staff to apply for up to £5,000 that they can use to fund creative and innovative projects that help the people we support live their life, their way.
Funds for the Future is entirely funded by Gifts in Wills donations, and we hope that, as a supporter, you find it a great source of strength to know that these gifts can have such a positive impact on the lives of others for many years to come.
Initiatives like these are incredibly important to the people we support and their families, as these projects are only possible through fundraising.
We’re partially government funded to provide basic care that is person-centred and designed to achieve the best possible outcomes for the people we support – but that funding can only stretch so far, which is why fundraising at Hft is fundamental to our work.
Gifts in Wills make a big difference in helping us support learning disabled adults to live the best lives possible, by giving us the means to pay for the ‘added extras’ that really change lives.
As of 2019, Funds for the Future has funded 32 projects totalling £89,129.
The Cycle Project
For the Outdoor Pursuits Group based in Bradford, the idea to apply for Funds for the Future came about when they began taking cycling lessons in 2014. A small group aged between 20 and 70, some of whom had never cycled before, began attending weekly sessions at the Cycling Hub in Lister Park, Bradford.
“We’d expected it to work but we didn’t expect it to work quite so well!” recalls the day centre officer in charge of the project. “It was just unbelievable how quickly they took to the cycles – within two minutes they were away.”
Encouraged by the positive response, the group successfully applied for funding to buy its own fleet of tricycles, and the Cycle Project was born.
“Everyone was really enthusiastic,” he says. “Groups of people we support came with us to cycle shops and did test rides. They helped us decide on which bikes to buy, and even voted on the colours – black and red were the most popular.”
Hft in Bradford has funded a specially designed trailer to transport the tricycles, and practice sessions were arranged at a local school. Riders can follow a circuit or just enjoy pedalling around and getting a feel for the bike.
The sessions had a visible impact on the group. We’ve seen a big increase in confidence, and a couple have even been spurred on to do more exercise. Families are also joining in the fun, with some even buying their own cycle for their relative to use at home.
Getting learning disabled people outside in the fresh air where they can get some exercise and improve their fitness has a really big impact on their quality of life. Walking and cycling are social activities that also help to improve people’s emotional wellbeing and, in some instances, has had a positive effect on their behaviour.
The project was so successful, that three years later, the Outdoor Pursuits Group applied for further Funds for the Future grants to be able to build their own storage unit in Bradford. This means the group can use their bikes whenever they like and will be able to keep them forever.
Katie Tennyson, Hft’s Senior Individual Giving and Legacy Manager, explains how gifts in people’s wills are directly fulfilling the lives of the people we support.
The decision to leave a legacy to a charity is a very special and meaningful one, so we wanted to make sure these gifts were used in the best possible way. Funds for the Future grants allow services to explore exciting new projects while also involving staff in decisions and enabling the donor’s family to see exactly how their gift has helped to make a difference.
The committee is delighted with the outcome of the Cycle Project.
Find out about leaving a legacy to Hft in your Will
It’s a shining example of how the gifts we receive in Wills can help someone with a learning disability to live a much more rewarding and enjoyable life. Without the generosity of our supporters, schemes like this might never get off the ground, but we’re confident that we’ll see lots more innovative projects being launched in the future.