On May 18, 2021, my official day of being sworn in as the 814th Mayor of Lincoln in the Chapter House at Lincoln Cathedral, I stated that during my Mayoral year I’ll be fundraising and supporting positive mental health for the residents of the City of Lincoln.
Six months later after a mammoth amount of research I feel educated enough in the workings of and what it takes to run a charity efficiently. (Negotiating partnership agreements, networking, and a mass of fundraising training.)
I’m now able to formally launch and announce publicly what I’ve been frantically working towards since day one. As a church warden and treasurer for the past 10 years – at our most ancient church in the heart of our city centre, St Mary le Wigford Church – I’ve been aware the historical charities of Wigford have laid dormant for many decades. With the Rev Jeremy Cullimore and our current Parish Church Council, we’ve been working hard over the past five years towards getting these charities, dating back as far as 1506, dragged into the 21st century. Not an easy task with complex charity laws that must be adhered to, to the letter.
With the physical and mental health crisis that we’re living through and as there seems no end in sight, my aims, and ambitions to get something set in place to support our most vulnerable residents has been my focal point, dream, and aspiration for the past 22 months.
There’s an awful lot to take on board when contemplating running a charity and the most crucial aspect is sustainability and ensuring enough finances are in place to achieve those aims and ambitions. Garnering support and links with other charities, statutory service providers, and the volunteer sector is equally essential to enable a stable referral system and support those residents most in need!
There has been a high volume of problems and complex needs that have manifested over the past 22 months during the pandemic with serious physical health conditions on the increase, and the added pressure of long COVID on top.
The pandemic has impacted on our mental health, it’s increased poverty, and additional educational needs, with retraining desperately needed across the whole of our city.
Reinstating the very old Relief in Need Charity, constituted in 1977 by the then PCC members of St Mary le Wigford Church, was the best solution to the problems we face. It has laid dormant for decades and needed completely reinventing to bring it inline with the 21st century.
It is currently in the process of being renamed as JAQS Trust – I’ve been working very hard to achieve all of this over the past six months.
In January 2022 I will start to make a dint in those complex needs by setting up solid working agreements with various statutory service providers, social prescribers, and charities based purely within the City of Lincoln boundary.
JAQS Trust will be giving direct financial support to those in urgent need of one-to-one talking therapies and psychological therapies. As finances and resources increase over the months ahead, I’ll be able to widen the level of additional support that will be available to the residents of our beautiful city and help to unravel those issues that have built up over the past two years.
There’ll be numerous ways in which to donate in the months ahead, supporting our most vulnerable residents – this
will be launched as part of the Mayor’s official charity in early 2022.