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Business & Economy

North East business steps up support for charities and communities

Three leading North East businesses have been named as the inaugural Honorary Corporate Patrons of the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland, recognising their long-term generous support for North East charities and communities.

Newcastle Building Society, Procter & Gamble (P&G), and Ringtons were invited to become Honorary Corporate Patrons by the President of the Community Foundation, His Grace, the Duke of Northumberland.

Between them, Newcastle Building Society, P&G and Ringtons have donated nearly £5m to endowment funds at the foundation. The Foundation invests the donations and uses the income to make grants. To date, the income has enabled the foundation to make over 2000 grants totalling nearly £4million. The funds will continue to grow and provide income to make grants in perpetuity.

Rob Williamson, chief executive of the Community Foundation said, “I am delighted we are able to honour Newcastle Building Society, P&G and Ringtons, and their generosity with this new role. They have all been great supporters and partners of the Community Foundation from its early days, leading the way in corporate social responsibility in the region.

“They continue to play a vital role in corporate philanthropy helping us support small charities and voluntary organisations across North East England. So, it was no surprise that this time last year they were the first to respond to our call to support our Coronavirus Response and Recovery Fund, and we look forward to developing this vital relationship further.”

Newcastle Building Society established its fund at the Community Foundation in 1990. To date, the fund has supported over 1200 grants worth nearly £2m.

Andrew Haigh, chief executive, Newcastle Building Society said, “The Community Foundation has been a valued partner for a number of years. Their team’s insight, knowledge and responsiveness to communities in need has been critical in helping us shape and deliver impactful financial support to the amazing charities and community groups that make such a difference across our region.”

“We’re honoured to become a corporate patron. We look forward to a deepening relationship that will continue to support our delivery of one of our core commitments, helping our communities make positive change happen.”

P&G is a large multinational organisation with strong roots in the region. The firm established its fund at the Community Foundation in 1995, which to date has supported 574 grants worth £1.2m.

Lindsay Bewick, scientist, P&G said, “We are honoured to become one of the first Corporate Patrons of the Community Foundation and remain committed to helping tackle and solve the issues most important to our communities in the North East.

“P&G has a long-standing relationship with the North East community, as a major employer in the area, with more than 80 years of community work. Following the acquisition of Thomas Hedley & Co Ltd. in 1930, marking the first UK seat of major expansion outside of P&G’s US operations, Newcastle and the surrounding area has long been a region close to the company’s heart. Since we launched the partnership and fund with the Community Foundation in 1995, we have been supporting local projects and charities which align with P&G’s mission to be a force for good, and a force for growth.”

Ringtons is one of the region’s best-known businesses, famous for its doorstep deliveries.  Philanthropy has a long history in the North East family firm, and it established its fund at the Foundation in 1995. To date, it has given out 234 grants worth over £600,000.

Colin Smith, divisional director, Ringtons, said, “Ringtons has been a part of the North East community since the business was established over 100 years ago by my great grandfather, Samuel Smith. Samuel was a passionate philanthropist who believed in supporting his local community, and his ethos has been passed down through five generations of the Smith family. Impressed by the Community Foundations in-depth knowledge of local needs and its relationship with a network of local charities, Ringtons joined forces with them in 1995 and have built up a significant endowment fund in perpetuity over the past 25 years which has generated funds to support over 200 projects and good causes.”

The Community Foundation matches generous people and businesses with important community causes. Every year, the Foundation award grants to hundreds of small charities in Tyne & Wear and Northumberland, and across North East England, through funds set up by a range of donors.

The Newcastle-based charity, the UK’s biggest Community Foundation, has built an endowment of over £90 million to build a portfolio of funds that tackles the vital issues in our community.

If you are interested in the difference you can make, you can find more information about the work of the Community Foundation at