The Doncaster Business Awards charity raffle and silent auction raised £4,730 for Real Help Doncaster to help vulnerable people off the streets and into healthier lifestyles. The monies will be shared equally between local charities Changing Lives and Riverside.

Over 800 people attended the Business Awards organised by Doncaster Chamber in December 2018 and participated in the raffle to win exclusive gifts donated by local businesses. Prizes included spa days, hotel & restaurant vouchers, and a helicopter experience.

Michael Wilkinson, President of Doncaster Chamber, nominated the two charities to benefit from the fundraising activities because of their crucial work with local vulnerable people and the positive impact this can then have on the rest of the borough. He presented the money to Carmelle Harold from Changing Lives and Paul Fitzpatrick from Riverside via the Real Help Fund managed by Pat Hagan at Doncaster Council.

Said Michael: “As a strong business community and ambassadors for Doncaster, this is an exemplary opportunity for us to be contributing a solution to the problem of anti-social behaviour and rough sleeping on the streets of Doncaster.

“This donation of nearly £5,000 will positively impact everyone; from those it helps to move into healthier lifestyles to people feeling more safe using the town centre.

“If Doncaster businesses can play a major part in contributing to the local economy then surely we can help the most vulnerable members of our community to get the support they need to get back on their feet and look to a brighter future.”

Carmelle and Paul accepted the money on behalf of their respective charities saying it would make a huge difference to the local individuals needing to access their services; from buying new clothes for an interview or paying for a training course to raising a bond for accommodation.

Real Help Doncaster aims to change the way people give to address homelessness and begging on the streets. It encourages people to donate money via the charity rather than to individuals to ensure that it is used for positive change.   Approved local organisations that provide a service to support people who are sleeping rough, homeless or at risk of homelessness in Doncaster can then apply for pots of the money to help individuals access the services they need.

The local business community also raised funds for Real Help Doncaster by participating in a business survey last autumn where for every response collected, Doncaster Chamber donated £1.