Since it was founded back in 1985, Comic Relief has helped fund thousands of charities and organisations worldwide. The charity, whose aim is to tackle the root causes of poverty and social injustice, has touched the lives of many. But how has it benefited the people of Cardiff? Let us take a moment to look at how the money raised in the last couple of years has helped our local communities.
In Cardiff alone, over a quarter of a million pounds was donated to various organisations and charities between 2012 and 2014 through Comic Relief. One of these charities was Cardiff Women’s Aid, who received £84,836. They put the money to good use with their Safe As project, which helps young people up to the age of 25 who have been affected by domestic violence and abuse.
‘We were awarded a 3 year grant for a full time post, which we are half way through now. This provides a full-time male IDVA who works one on one with males aged 11-25 who have been affected by domestic abuse either currently or historically,’ explains Safe As manager Steph Healy. ‘Since the project began 18 months ago, our IDVA has supported 127 clients in that age range, and delivered 547 one on one face to face sessions. Over the next few months we are going to be creating a group called Dave’s House, which will be for 17-25 year olds who want to learn more about healthy relationships, and is open to both victims and perpetrators.’
The donation has also enabled the charity to link up with a film producer who will help them create a short film to document the impact of domestic abuse on children.
Cardiff Food Bank, who were awarded £80,000, say the money they received has been put towards the overall running of the project.
‘During 2012/13 and 2013/14 the use of our food banks has risen by 20% year on year and demand for our services continues to grow,’ says operational manager Catherine Williams. ‘Since April 2014 we have fed 8500 people and demand continues to grow.’ She explains that the donation helped to fund the set up of new centres across Cardiff. ‘In May 2014 we opened a 5th distribution centre in Splott which is open Wednesday afternoons and Thursday evenings. The centre opening at night has increased access for people who are working but struggling to make ends meet.’ And they didn’t stop there – the charity have since opened a 6th centre in St. Mellons. ‘Opening new centres is a costly business and requires new signage, uniforms, additional storage crates and volunteer training,’ says Catherine. ‘Comic relief money has been essential to our operations and has allowed us to not only continue to provide our service but also to expand the service to meet the increased need.’
Meanwhile, Bullies Out, a local charity that provides help and support to individuals and schools in the community who have been affected by bullying, received £30,000, which has been put into funding the development of their Cyberbullying workshop. ‘We have also been able to create new Cyberbullying awareness videos which will hopefully engage young people and help educate them also,’ explains a member of staff.
With Cyberbullying rapidly becoming one of the most prominent causes of suicide in young people, it is reassuring to know that the money from Comic Relief is being put towards not only a very noble but an imperative cause. Whilst national Welsh charities such as Wales Cooperative Centre, Hafal, Age Cymru and Diverse Cymru have received generous donations, all of which offer help and advice to people of all ages, it looks like recent donations in Cardiff have been more focussed on the younger community – one which, in previous years, has had a tendency to get pushed to one side.
It will be interesting to see where donations will go in years to come – but for now we can be safe in the knowledge that it is doing a lot of good here in Cardiff.