Jan Garrill leaves a lasting legacy for the region as she steps down from Two Ridings Community Foundation and welcomes Celia McKeon as CEO

Two Ridings, the regional grant maker and trusted community foundation for local giving in North & East Yorkshire, said farewell to Jan Garrill at an upbeat event last night and welcomed Celia McKeon as the new Chief Executive.

Dubbed ‘A Foundation for the Future’ and held at the splendid Allerton Castle near Knaresborough, the celebration highlighted the impressive achievements of the Foundation under Jan’s leadership in her nine-year tenure. It showcased the impact supporters’ funds and donations make on people in the region alongside highlighting how crucial collaborations are in making North and East Yorkshire a better place for everyone.

At the evening, held in the grounds and grand hall of the Castle, over 150 donors, supporters, trustees, staff and community groups supported by Two Ridings came together to enjoy drinks and canapes, meet with one another and hear various people talking about the difference Two Ridings had made to them.

Jan highlighted the deep and growing relationships with individuals, families, corporate, foundations and local councils since 2014, which meant that the Foundation had not only raised over £16million in funds, but it had also grown the Foundation’s endowment – vital for Two Ridings to address needs in the region now and into the long term.

She said her proudest achievements were the trusted relationships the Foundation had built with the hundreds of inspiring charity leaders across the region who used Two Ridings small grants to such great effect to improve and change lives, the foundations support to local communities during three major crises – the floods,  the  covid pandemic and right now the cost of living crisis – and the work of the HEY Confident Futures leadership network. All showed the value and impact of Two Ridings in bringing people together from all walks of life to listen, learn and act collectively in the best, most relevant way we can, to make a difference on issues we care about and in places we love.

Jan Garrill expressed her gratitude and privilege at having worked with such a variety of inspiring and generous people saying: “Love underpins everything at Two Ridings, people are at the heart of everything we do.

“I am blessed to have worked with people who care deeply about local people and places and genuinely want to invest in the long-term support of local communities. People who care about the young and old, who recognise the devastating impact of poverty and poor mental health, and who not only want to make a difference, but want that difference to carry on into the future.

“It’s humbling for an ordinary woman from Sheffield to be part of that huge impact. Having recently supported the King in his visit to Malton and hosted the Prince and Princess of Wales in Scarborough last year, to have this legacy behind me and be made a Deputy Lieutenant of this beloved county, this really has been the best job in the world.”

She also sang the praises of Celia McKeon, her successor saying: “I am delighted to have worked alongside Celia in the last two months and to see her belief in all that we do. She will, of course, be a different leader to me, but one with the same vision and determination for a thriving and connected Yorkshire for everyone.”

Celia McKeon

Steve Blower, CEO of Scarborough Sidewalk Youth Project talked about the difference funding from Two Ridings had made to the young people they support: “Two Ridings working alongside the young people we support in Scarborough, giving them their voice in participatory grant making, has empowered them.

“We need to change the narrative from ‘how to engage with hard-to-reach young people’ to ‘how to change the systems that had failed them’. And Two Ridings work with us to do that. Jan has been instrumental in creating change in our town and we look forward to working with Celia in the future for more of the same.”

Sarah Wells of Bettys and Taylors Family Fund talked about the close relationship the two organisations experienced and the trust they have in the knowledge and understanding of the needs of local communities they serve: “We have worked closely with Jan and the team at Two Ridings since 2018 and they have shaped the way we support our local communities. Their breadth of knowledge and understanding of local need equips us to make key decisions in where our funding goes. We love working with the whole team who are all passionate around making Yorkshire a better place for everyone.”

New CEO of Two Ridings, Celia McKeon, ended the evening: “This evening has brought to life the breadth and depth of relationships that Two Ridings has built with people, groups and organisations across our region. At a time when the short and long-term challenges facing our communities can feel very stark, this gathering has been a vital reminder of our collective power to make real, positive change.

“It is an absolute privilege to have been offered the opportunity to build on the tremendous legacy that Jan has created, in close collaboration with Two Ridings staff, trustees, volunteers, donors and partners. I am determined to ensure that we continue to put people at the heart of everything we do, and that we work together to support and enable the meaningful community action throughout our region that enables all of us to flourish.”

It was a special Two Ridings event, showing off the strength of the community foundation in the region and the longevity of the support it provides. It also saw a smooth handover to a new leader with a wealth of experience in grant making and charity management, a strong belief in the power of positive social action, and a deep commitment to the wellbeing of people and communities.

About Two Ridings Community Foundation

Two Ridings are the regional community foundation for charitable giving in North and East Yorkshire, working closely with individuals and businesses enabling them to invest in and support local causes through donations and funds.

From that investment, Two Ridings make grants to local charitable organisations addressing a wide range of issues – from poverty to inequality, wellbeing to sustainability. Those grants provide funding for activities and support for the hardest to reach communities and people through local community groups.   

Two Ridings Community Foundation is one of 47 similar accredited Community Foundations in the UK with the shared aim of helping individuals, families, entrepreneurs, companies, and public sector bodies connect with, support and invest in their local communities.

For more information about Two Ridings and their work, please visit www.tworidingscf.org.uk  and follow them on social media @TwoRidingsCF