Next year’s ball will take place in May 2023, with organisers starting to look for event sponsors and contributors

After a sell-out event, hosted at The Queens Hotel in Leeds, organisers of Leeds Digital Charity Ball have donated a total of £50,000 to five charities across the city, with the aim of bridging the digital divide in the region.

Working with Leeds Community Foundation to distribute the funds, the annual Leeds Digital Charity Ball brings together members of the tech community to highlight causes of digital exclusion whilst raising funds for projects that support digital inclusivity.

Over 350 people from across the city attended this year’s charity ball raising more than £50,000. The funds were then passed to Leeds Community Foundation, who have now distributed the funds to five worthy causes. This year there were 21 applicants who applied for funding. Each charity received £10,000 to put towards an annual project which focused on improving access to technology for those in less advantaged or vulnerable positions. The five charities in receipt of the funding are:

Smart Works Charity
A charity that supports women, helping them build confidence to get back into employment by providing coaching and work clothing.

Burmantofts Senior Action
A charity dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for older people in the community.

Your Back Yard
A Leeds based social enterprise passionate about helping people live healthier, more active, and happier lives across West Yorkshire.

The Highrise Project
A project to highlight the stories, benefits, and challenges of living in social housing, as well as related issues, including sense of community, family history, impact on health and wellbeing, and class.

Meanwood Valley Urban Farm
A charity providing services to inner city communities. It’s not only a working farm with a wide variety of animals but also a major centre for community and environmental work.

Cleveland Henry, Leeds Community Foundation Trustee and Leeds Digital Ball board advisor said: “The digital divide in Leeds was really highlighted during the pandemic. For example, some children were left unable to study due to a lack of access to technology at home, and the elderly and less fortunate were cut off from vital online services. Economic pressures facing everyone this winter, could truly exacerbate this position for many across the city.

“Events like the Leeds Digital Ball are vital to raising funds to help bridge the digital access and skills gap and it’s something I’m incredibly proud to be involved with. Each funding applicant was incredibly worthy of assistance which made choosing which charities to support extremely difficult. However, it also brought to light how important the funding is and the team behind the ball are really keen to look for further funding opportunities in 2023.”

Following the success of this year’s ball, organisers have confirmed the next event will take place at the Royal Armouries on 11th May 2023. The event promises to be another night to remember as representatives from across the city come together to raise money for new projects. The board wants to emphasise the importance of inclusivity of the event and have pledged to guarantee more free and subsidised tickets for digital leaders of the future.

The charity ball organisers are made up of a board of members and advisors from across the Leeds region. The board’s founding members - Sandra Patel Stewart, Eve Roodhouse, Sarah Tulip, Elly Nettleton and this year’s chair Mike Quate, have been joined by Cleveland Henry, Sat Mann, Matt Osbourne and Rebecca Hallinan. The members have come together as a collective to help represent the tech community in Leeds and create a powerhouse that is fighting a common goal, helping the less advantaged communities, abolishing digital exclusion, and driving a positive change.

Mike Quate, chairperson, said: “We organise the ball to help celebrate the city’s growing tech and digital community but it is so important that we shine a spotlight on digital inclusion and raise funds for charitable organisations that aim to narrow the digital divide. It’s with massive thanks to the support of our sponsors and the wider digital community in Leeds who made this year’s event so successful. We hope to build on that further for 2023.

“We’re also delighted to work in partnership with Leeds Community Foundation whose vital services create meaningful social impact throughout the region. Working with advisors which included event sponsors and the team from 100% Digital Leeds, we reviewed over 20 very worthy applications for funding. Decision making was incredibly tough, but Leeds Community Foundation brought objective support to help distribute the funding as fairly as possible”

As the region’s largest independent funder, Leeds Community Foundation is the only organisation of its kind in Leeds and Bradford, working with hundreds of Community Organisations each year.

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