January 19, 2021

Longley Farm owner launches fund to support Kirklees groups tackling mental health problems

Local philanthropist, Jimmy Dickinson, owner of Longley Farm, has launched a new charitable fund, ‘The Jimmy Dickinson Fund’; which will make grants to support Kirklees voluntary organisations working to improve mental health amongst children and adults.

In Kirklees 42,000 people aged 18-64 have a common mental health disorder and men are at a higher risk than women of suicide; especially in the 25-39 and over 80 age brackets; which reflects the findings nationally. Increasingly, young people are suffering because of peer group pressure, and an increasing use of social media. In Kirklees one in 25 boys and one in 10 girls cut or hurt themselves if they have a problem or feel stressed.

Jimmy Dickinson, owner Longley Farm, with Katie Kempf from Longley Farm

Jimmy Dickinson said: “We feel that while mental health issues are more readily discussed these days, there is still a reluctance to talk about these problems and for people to seek the help that they need. 

“We are particularly aware of the impact that isolation has on people, not just in rural areas, but in our towns and villages. It is a common misunderstanding that only older people are at risk of loneliness. A recent study by the Co-op and British Red Cross revealed that over 9m people in the UK, across all adult ages, are either always or often lonely. Loneliness can have a big impact on mental health; and is more likely to increase your risk of death.

“We hope that through our new fund we can provide targeted support to local groups helping people with mental health issues; and that they will then make a real difference to local people’s lives for years to come.”

Mandy Fawcett, Head of Personnel at Longley Farm, said: “Providing the correct support for our staff has been a key focus for a number of years now and we recognise the importance of this from our own experience. Longley Farm continues to work hard to promote wellbeing and support our staff in a positive way. Prioritising good mental health is an ongoing commitment of ours and we hope that the Jimmy Dickinson fund will work to improve mental health awareness and support in our wider community.”

One Community, the Kirklees Community Foundation, will manage the fund, and supports many local community organisations and voluntary groups, like luncheon clubs, who work hard to mitigate social isolation and loneliness. The Foundation has also seen a rise in the number of groups being formed to support men’s mental health. Platform One (based next to the railway station in Huddersfield) – is one such group, and provides men with a place to meet, talk and get something to eat; as well as offering practical activities like bike repairing, and joinery.

Paul Johnson, General Manager of One Community, said: “We are delighted that Jimmy Dickinson has established this fund to help support groups working to address local mental health issues. It has never been a popular topic for open discussion; but now happily things are changing; and the media are playing their part by encouraging people to discuss their concerns and seek help. This fund will enable groups to undertake more work locally and help people experiencing mental health problems.”

The fund is open now and closes on Friday 18th October. Applications are invited for up to £1,000. A link to the online application form and full details of the funding guidance can be found on the Foundation’s website: www.one-community.org.uk.