As part of Progress Housing Group's ongoing commitment to community development, an emergency fund has been set up to help support people and communities impacted by Covid-19.

So far, the Group has approved 32 applications for emergency funding and awarded £15,865.42 in small grants to community groups, local charities, and individuals in the areas that it has housing stock.

One of the charities that applied for funding was Miles of Smiles.

Miles of Smiles is based in Leyland and aims to organise 'smiles' for local children and young people who are going through a tough time.

The Group donated £500 to the charity who used the money to make up 20 Christmas present bags. The bags will be delivered to local young children who care for siblings or their parents to help bring smiles to their faces this Christmas.

Karen Rainford, one of the charity's founders, said the charity's aim is to give children something to look forward to and create happy memories.

Karen, said: "Our work helps mainly youngsters who look after their mum or dad, have lost siblings or youngsters who have a sibling living with a life-limiting condition."

"We try to help them remember what it is to be young, as many of them have a lot of responsibilities and worries and see things no young person should have to.

"Thanks to Progress Housing Group, we have been able to make up 20 Christmas bags that are filled with treats such as chocolate, toys, and games that we hope will make them smile and enjoy their Christmas that little bit more."

Some of the ways the charity has brought 'smiles' to young people include family meals out, pamper days, concert tickets, and even the chance to be a princess or captain of a boat for the day.

Throughout lockdown, the charity has continued to give out 'smiles' in the form of Birthday bags to children who weren't able to celebrate properly.

Since launching in 2008, Miles of Smiles has helped 400 children to have a reason to 'smile.'

Robert Porter, Service Director of Operations at Progress Housing Group, said: "To date through our Community Investment Fund's 'Emergency Funding', we have been able to support 32 community groups across the Lancashire area and awarded £15,865. 'Miles of Smiles' was one of the charities that really stood out to us as they are helping to recognise and reward the incredible support provide by the young carers residing within our communities. We are really proud to be able to help in a small way the amazing work that they do, especially after what has been an extraordinarily difficult year for so many people."

To find out more about Miles of Smiles, visit their website at


Please email the Progress Involvement Team at if you require any further information about our Emergency Fund. Application forms are available here.


Karen Rainford from Miles of Smiles has recorded a video to thank everyone at Progress Housing Group for their support.