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Charities and community groups across Glasgow and the North East of England are set to benefit from a cash boost thanks to the Virgin Money Foundation.

74 organisations that have previously been awarded grants as part of the Community Anchor programme will share additional payments totalling over £213,000 as cost-of-living increases continue to impact local communities.

These community groups offer both ongoing support and emergency provision to people affected by the rising cost of living, all while tackling increased operating costs themselves. To help relieve some of the financial pressure, the Virgin Money Foundation has awarded a further 10% increase on Community Anchors’ Fund grants made in the North East of England and Glasgow during 2022. Each organisation will receive the additional payment by the end of January.

This comes as the Virgin Money Foundation continues to work hard to support communities that are hardest hit by the impact of poverty.

As more people struggle with food and heating bills, there is a danger that the services supporting them will collapse. The current cost of living crisis has compounded the existing pressure on charities and their colleagues which was there due to the Covid pandemic. This is highlighted in a survey carried out by the Charities Aid Foundation*, which found that the number of people giving fell by 4.9 million in 2021 compared with two years earlier, compounding the issue of available funds charities need.

One of the organisations to receive the extra funding in Glasgow is Bridgeton Community Learning Campus. They are a community-based charity whose aim is to improve the lives of local residents by offering a variety of educational courses and workshops, children's clubs, youth groups, literacy and numeracy, personal development, counselling and support and employability support.

Lesley Ward, Manager at Bridgeton Community Learning Campus said: "We are so grateful for the uplift payment, we decided to use it towards our ‘warm spaces’ program and have bought gift cards for groceries for local people facing hardship. This has enabled our organisation to reach out far more than we had anticipated this winter and allowed us to support more families who have been desperate and unable to afford to buy adequate food in the quantity they need."

One of the Community Groups located in the North East of England to have benefitted from the extra funding is Hospitality and Hope. They are a local charity working at grassroots level in South Shields. Founded in 2002 with help from local church volunteers, Hospitality and Hope support individuals experiencing poverty and homelessness, while some are living with addiction, poor mental health and have experience of the offending system.

Brian Thomas, Chief Executive Officer at Hospitality and Hope said: “Our partnership with the Virgin Money Foundation enables Hospitality and Hope to develop ‘Your Community Shops’ at which we provide sustainable food support and wellbeing activities for our community. The stark reality is that food supplies now cost almost double that which we paid when the project commenced. This additional support from the Virgin Money Foundation will go directly towards purchasing food enabling us to maintain essential support to our community.”

Nancy Doyle-Hall, Executive Director of Virgin Money Foundation, said: “The cost of living has impacted not only families but community groups who offer vital support to people across our communities.. Growing demand for their services combined with rising costs mean some charities have never been more tightly squeezed. The additional funding will allow organisations to worry a little less and focus more on the essential services they provide.”