A NEW £50,000 fund has been launched to help smaller York charities ‘make a significant difference.’

Locally based charities can apply for grants of between £5,000 and £10,000 from The Step Change Grants Fund, which is being launched by the Two Ridings Community Foundation following a donation from the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust.

The foundation says money will help groups invest in their organisation to deliver longer term sustainability.

"This fund is available to York based charitable organisations who want to increase their capacity to respond to identified needs in York," said a spokeswoman.

"These Step Change awards are targeted at small organisations with charitable aims, where a grant of between £5,000 and £10,000 would make a significant difference.

"The aim is for the funds to help groups invest in their organisation to deliver longer term sustainability.

"The Step Change grant fund forms part of Two Ridings Community Foundation’s Vital York programme which aims to make York a better and fairer place to live and address identified needs around loneliness and social isolation, health and wellbeing, and inequality and hidden poverty.

Nick Perks, secretary of the trust, said: “While the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust mainly funds nationally and internationally, York has always been our home and we recognise the importance of local community organisations and the pivotal role they play in York.

"This funding will help ensure organisations continue to sustain themselves and support their local communities."

Foundation chief executive Jan Garrill said the fund was a 'fantastic opportunity' for groups in York and was in response to the growing need of small locally led groups.

"Two Ridings Community Foundation know people often get vital support from smaller local groups based within their communities," she said.

"It is these locally based groups that truly understand the needs of the people they serve and make a huge difference to their lives."

The Two Ridings Community Foundation is a grant making charity that supports North and East Yorkshire, York and Hull, while the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust is a grant-making Quaker trust, founded in York in 1904 by the philanthropist and businessman Joseph Rowntree.