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Business & Economy

Bernicia commits £1m to create charitable foundation

North East housing association Bernicia has pledged £1m to create a charitable foundation that will support people and communities across the region.

The Bernicia Foundation, which is gearing up to go live in the autumn, will encourage projects and initiatives that deliver real and lasting community benefit and support inspirational individuals to achieve their ambitions.

The new foundation, which will be led by Bernicia chair John Holmes and overseen by a board of trustees, has the priorities of social and financial well-being, and nurturing young talent and innovation.

John Holmes said: “As a responsible business and landlord, we recognise the important role and opportunity we have to support our wider communities.

“We are inspired daily by the creativity and determination of people across our region to support one another, and we want to do all that we can to help.

“The Bernicia Foundation will be an exciting opportunity for us to award grants and bursaries to individuals and organisations committed to delivering real community benefits, such as tackling loneliness, accessing employment opportunities or supporting young talent to flourish.”

Bernicia chief executive John Johnston said: “The Bernicia Foundation will be a superb addition to the Bernicia Group, and adds further weight to our growing reputation as the North East community focused housing association.

“The foundation will create a new channel through which we can provide additional support to our communities, at a time when arguably they need it the most.

“Bernicia’s commercial company, Kingston, which provides estate, property and facilities management expertise to 20,000 home owners, operate under a profit for purpose ethos and gift aid their annual surplus to Bernicia. The Bernicia board determined that £1m of this, over the next four years, should be used to support the work of our newly established foundation.

“This further cements Bernicia as a socially responsible organisation, entirely focussed on the social and economic well-being of the North East region.”

The foundation will operate in addition to Bernicia’s already highly regarded social value commitments, which focus on health and well-being, developing employability skills and creating work experience and apprenticeship opportunities.

A website and media campaign will support the foundation’s autumn launch, where people can find out more about how to apply for funding and the criteria to determine eligibility for a Bernicia Foundation grant.

Recruitment for trustees will begin in April with a timeline set out so that the fund is primed and ready to invest from the autumn.