Councillor Richard Porch, mayor of Saffron Walden, explains why he's backing our campaign.

"I wholeheartedly support the Reporter’s There With You This Winter campaign.

"For my Mayoral charity fundraising this year I chose three organisations to support: Opendoor, Uttlesford Foodbank and Uttlesford Children's Clothing Bank.

"These three groups were providing services that actively supported those in need in the local area before the pandemic struck and have seen demand for their services substantially increase over the last 18 months.

"I cannot speak highly enough of the people running these services, having visited, and seen them operate in the local area.

"The enthusiasm and commitment of the volunteers involved needs to be experienced to be believed.

"Staffing provided by these volunteers ensures that funding provided goes directly to those in need, unlike many of the larger charities where overheads use up a significant level of money raised.

"Uttlesford Foodbank continues to provide not just food but other essentials.

"Uttlesford Children's Clothing Bank provides children’s items ranging from nappies to school uniforms to families.

"Opendoor provide free counselling and advice to young people between the ages of 13 and 26.

"The National Health Service is very under resourced in terms of mental health provision.

"The Opendoor team of counsellors give their time free of charge and fill the void that the health service can’t meet.

"Immediate income reduction because of the ending of the increase in the £20 Universal Credit and potential redundancies because of the furloughing scheme ending will affect large numbers of low-income families.

"These income reductions combined with the increases in energy, fuel and other prices will create a perfect storm of considerable need.

"The charities I have chosen to support are already working on how to manage that increase in need and what additional resources they will need to do that.

"Fundraising is an essential part of that planning and I will be stepping up attempts to support that goal.

"The recent Rolling Clones concert did raise significant funds and a further dance will be held in the town hall on November 27. Tickets for that event are available from the town’s Tourist Information office.

"If you would like to make a donation to the Mayor's charities please send a cheque payable to Saffron Walden Town Council to: Town Hall, Market Street, Saffron Walden, CB10 1HZ or by BACS to sort code 30 97 24 a/c 01026035 quoting 'Mayor's charity' as a reference."