BUSINESSMAN Dave Barron is hoping to use 2014 to expand the Community Link Foundation into West Lancashire.
Dave, who owns Barron’s Financial Solutions, decided to set up the foundation last year to raise money to help those in the community who need it most, in Ormskirk, Tarleton, Southport and Formby.
The aim of the foundation is to provide support that helps improve and enhance the lives of people in the community.
The foundation makes grants to individuals and groups who are struggling through adversity to help them improve their lives in whatever way possible.
Last year, it held several fundraising events, mostly in the Southport area, but now the aim is to branch out into West Lancashire.
Dave spoke to The Advertiser about his hopes for the future.
“This year, we hope to grow and extend our influence in the community. We’ve done well to get where we are so far.
“We’ve got our official charity registration number now, which enables us to start giving out grants to people.
“We’ve held seven large events and raised £25,000 which has gone directly into the foundation pot.
“We’ve done a lot in Southport, but this year we really want to get among the Ormskirk, Tarleton and West Lancashire community. “We’re particularly interested in raising our profile among local businesses.”
The foundation is headed by a board of unpaid volunteers and Dave is especially keen to get people from West Lancashire onto the committee.
“We’ve got four places available on the board and we’d love those to be filled by people from West Lancashire.
“The ideal candidate would be someone who’s got the time, the experience and the contacts that they can bring to the table to help us help people in that area.
“We’re also looking to get people to host events and have mini-launches in West Lancs, that’s our big aim for this year.”
Last year, the group concentrated on fundraising events to increase its profile and to generate funds to give to charitable causes.
Anyone who has lived in Ormskirk, Tarleton, Southport or Formby for the last three years can apply to the foundation, providing they meet certain criteria.
Charity groups that specifically benefit those who live within the specified areas are also suitable for a grant.
Dave continued: “We’re here to help and we want people to know about us.
“One of the most significant initiatives is the 600 Club, which is a charity lottery supported by Southport Football Club that launches on March 1.
“People pay £5 per month to enter the lottery, which has a maximum of 600 tickets.
“This will generate £3,000 which is split between the charity and the prize money, so there’ll be one first prize of £1,000 and five runner-up prizes of £100.
“We hope people will support it and someone has to win it – the odds are better than the National Lottery by far.”
So far, the foundation has helped Southport soup kitchen after it was flooded over Christmas and they’ve also bought a trike to help an 18- year-old girl with learning difficulties to improve her co-ordination.
The applications have started to flood in now and the foundation are hoping to begin awarding more grants.
“It’s so important to tell people that we’re here and what we’re all about.
“If you want to apply for a grant, fill in an application form, and we’ll hopefully be able to help you as long as you meet the criteria,” said Dave.
The fundraising events have so far mostly centred around entertainment and Dave is keen to look into alternative events such as running marathons, midnight bike rides and more community events.
Now he says he is on the lookout for helpers and volunteers to help host these events.
“We’re hoping to do a mufti day for every single business within the area. We want to speak to every business and hopefully we’ll be able to get everyone on board. We’ve also got a golf day planned.
“All our sponsors so far have been amazing, giving us £500 to be sponsors, which gave us a terrific head start.
“Our ultimate aim is to be as big and well-known as other charitable foundations.
“We’d like to continue to grow and maybe one day we could be everyone in the area’s chosen charity.
“This is the perfect chance for businesses that rely on the trade of the local community to give back to the community.”
For more information, see: https://www.facebook.com/ CommunityLinkFoundation