STORIES of young people in York who could miss out on life-changing opportunities because of financial struggles inspired a generous couple to set up a new charity for the area.

The couple, who live near the city, have given £10,000 to start the Prime Opportunities Fund so that youngsters in York and Selby can fulfil their potential without worrying about money.

The pair, who have not told even close friends and family about their donation, said that after years of involvement with local charities, they realised that despite the city's affluent appearance some people faced deprivation which hampered their lives.

Barbara* said they had spotted cases reported in The Press of young people trying to raise money to achieve something - for example by buying a musical instrument or taking part in a sports competition.

"They were life changing opportunities for young people that they wouldn't otherwise be able to take.

She added: "The grants are a small, but if you haven't got £200 then that's a lot of money. Or if you have three children and are trying to treat them all equally it seems a shame that a young person could miss out on an opportunity for the sake of a few hundred quid."

The fund will be run by Two Ridings Community Foundation (TRCF), and a year after the couple's first donation applications are now open for grants.

TRCF is expecting to give away up to £3,500 in the first year - in small grants of up to £250 each to community organisations or charities, Barbara's husband Tom added: "We always said that if we won the lottery we would set up a charity, but when Barbara was searching online for something else online she came across Two Ridings, and saw an opportunity to target our area and things we care about.

"We realised that you didn't have to win the lottery to do something."

The couple, who are both retired, spent their working lives in finance and although they had given to charity in the past said they had become more and more aware that there was a specific need around York and Selby.

Their initial donation of £10,000 was lower than the amount TRCF had used previously to set up a new fund, but through Government match funding, and Gift Aid, and investment, the money has already grown to £18,000 in just one year.

Jan Garrill, TRCF's Chief Executive, said: "Two Ridings have really enjoyed working with these donors from the initial conversations to the point where we will soon be making grants.

"They are a wonderful example how anyone can be a philanthropist and we hope that others might consider doing the same."

- TRCF is hosting a reception at the King's Manor on Monday, October 26 from 5 to 7pm, with information on how local giving and how it can make a difference. Places are still available, for more information on the event or the Prime Opportunities fund contact 01904 435277 or visit

*Name has been changed