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Business & Economy

Community Foundation Coronavirus funds top £1 million

The Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland today (April 30) announced that its coronavirus funds to support local charities and community organisations working with vulnerable people affected by COVID-19 have topped £1 million.

The foundation has already given out £256,000 to 31 groups across Tyne & Wear and Northumberland from the funds with another 22 groups set to share £160,000 in the coming days. 

The figure has been reached with funds donated locally including £100,000 each from Newcastle Building SocietyVirgin Money Foundation and Sir James Knott Trust alongside donations passed to the Foundation from the National Emergencies Trust appeal 

Rob Williamson, chief executive of the Community Foundation, said:  “When we first set up our Coronavirus Response and Recovery Fund six weeks ago, we hoped to raise £400,000. The total raised now stands at over £660,000. That, together with additional funds totalling £490,000 to date from the National Emergencies Trust Appeal, means we have more than £1 million to give out in grants.” 

One of the groups already supported is Disability North, which promotes and supports inclusion, independence and choice for disabled people. 

Dr Victoria Armstrong, Chief Executive of Disability North said:  “As COVID-19 hit, our team were inundated with requests for advice and assistance from across Tyne & Wear and the wider region. We usually deliver our support face-to-face, but the impact of the pandemic meant that we had to quickly adjust to working differently so that disabled people could access much-needed support.

“This funding has made a massive difference to Disability North in being able to do that. Our work is normally backed by five key volunteers who can no longer support our service for the time being because, following Government guidance, many are classed as ‘vulnerable’ and must themselves self-isolate. The grant will enable us to increase staff hours to backfill lost volunteer hours and continue providing that support as well as develop new programmes. The services Disability North offers are now more vital than ever and we are determined to continue supporting the disabled community within our region.” 

So far, the Community Foundation has been funding local organisations from the hundreds on its database which it knows are responding to the crisis. Now the dedicated Coronavirus funds are opening up to requests for funding from a wider range of charities and community organisations working and based in Tyne & Wear and Northumberland that are tackling the impact of the virus on communities,  

Rob added: “At the start of the crisis our aim was to get money out quickly. The best way to do that was to support organisations we had funded in the past and which we knew were already dealing with the effects of the crisis. Now we are opening to more local groups to apply for grants from our Coronavirus funds through a single application.” 

Applications are open to charities and community organisations based and operating in Tyne & Wear and Northumberland that meet the Foundation’s rules on eligibility and which are providing immediate relief to vulnerable people affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Grants of £1000 to £5000 will be available.

Organisations can read the guidelines and apply online by going to the Foundations dedicated Coronavirus page here If you want to support the funds you can also give at