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Business & Economy

Open North Foundation pledges to extend COVID-19 support

A not-for-profit venture founded to help North East operators navigate the pandemic has vowed to extend its support to combat the Omicron variant.

The Open North Foundation says it will “continue to do all we can to…help the North East through this dreadful period”.

Founded by members of the business community, who volunteer their time to support firms, it provides targeted funding and free services to help organisations rebuild.

As a non-profit operator, it has raised tens of thousands of pounds from donations, as well as services from within the region’s commercial sector.

Chair Richard Swart, said: “We were set up as a unique business-led response to help firms damaged by COVID-19, and it makes sense with the worsening of the situation, to step up with this change of focus.

“Although the grants and services are free, they are subject to resources and availability.

“We have a duty of care to make sure the best possible judgments are made to use our donors’ money for the intended purposes.

“Due diligence is applied by our grant application committee.

“They will need to demonstrate clear, negative impact, with evidence, and also how they can benefit from the targeted free financial assistance and services we offer.”

Applicants can apply at