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The Virgin Money Foundation has announced the first awards through the Community Anchors' Fund, £300,000 will be awarded to seven community organisations across the North East in the inaugural funding round.

Community Anchor organisations are committed to driving change in the local area. They act like anchors - there for the long-term, trying to provide stability and constantly adapting to different circumstances. They’re independent but work in partnership with other agencies and groups.

Community Anchor organisations come in different forms but one common theme is the fact that they are a driving force in a neighbourhood, the facilitator of community activity and a way for local people of all ages to get involved in shaping their shared future.

The Community Anchors' Fund will provide grants of between £10,000 and £50,000 to organisations in the North East of England. The funds can be used to cover core costs and can also be spent on designing and launching new activity. The award can be spread over one, two or three years.

Some of the organisations receiving a Community Anchors’ Fund grant are:

Riverside Community Health Project, Benwell

Set up in 1993 it is based in the old Carnegie Library Building on Atkinson Road in Benwell. It is a vital resource providing vital support to families and young children living in the area. It has been awarded a grant of £50,000 over three years. The Health Project offers training courses, welfare rights advice, an under 5’s activity group, a homework club and a health group for people who suffer from chronic heart disease.

Anne Bonner, Chief Executive at Riverside Community Health Project said:

“We are delighted to have a grant from the Community Anchors’ Fund to contribute to the upkeep of our community building over the next three years. The building is really important to local people who come for things like advice, support, training and activities with their children. It’s a place for people to meet others and do positive things.”

St. Paul’s Centre, Spennymoor

Once a run-down parish hall attached to the local parish church, the St. Paul’s centre has been completely refurbished and set up as an independent charity to support the needs of the local community in Spennymoor. The centre is used for a wide range of different activities each day. These range from literacy and numeracy classes to help to prepare a CV, the local Brownies to distributing emergency food parcels for the local foodbank.

Maureen Aspey, Chair of Directors at St Paul’s Centre said:

“On behalf of the directors of the St Paul’s Centre, Spennymoor we would like to express our grateful thanks to the Virgin Money Foundation for their generous donation. We are thrilled that we are able to continue with the provision of a community club where independent living skills are developed, together with raising self-confidence through friendship, learning and support.”

Action Station, South Shields

Originally set up by a group of churches working together in the area it was one of a number of regeneration initiatives designed to tackle the high levels of unemployment after the closure of the pits and the shipyards. This busy well used community resource has a long track record of providing support to the communities around Bolden Lane where it is based. Recently it has taken over the local library which is also the base for the local foodbank.

Hazel McCallion, Chief Executive at Action Station said:

“We are absolutely delighted to have been awarded a grant for core costs. Covering core costs is vital and enables us to deliver services and provide support to the community. This grant will give Action Station financial stability and organisational sustainability over the next two years and also help us achieve our development plans.”

Nancy Doyle-Hall, Executive Director of the Virgin Money Foundation said:

“We are very excited to announce the first round of awards for our new grants programme supporting those vital community organisations that work tirelessly at the heart of local neighbourhoods across the North East. Every community needs opportunities to come together, support one another and be part of creating a strong vibrant neighbourhood. These organisations do exactly that.”

The latest grants bring the total level of awards made by the Foundation to £8.1million since it launched in August 2015.


Full List of Funding Awards

Organisation NameGrant Award
Riverside Community Health Project - Newcastle£50,000
Bullion Community Resource Centre - County Durham£49,000
St Pauls Centre Ltd - County Durham£28,953
Action Station South Tyneside Ltd - South Tyneside£44,000
Shotton Partnership 2000 Ltd - County Durham£50,000
Meadow Well Connected - North Tyneside£50,000
Family Gateway - North Tyneside£48,000

About Virgin Money Foundation

The Virgin Money Foundation launched in August 2015 as an independent charitable foundation focused initially on community projects in the North-East of England, and growing to operate nationally over time. It promotes the sustainable regeneration of economically and socially deprived communities in the UK. This includes providing investment in community housing and building projects, promoting opportunities for youth work and training, as well as investing in projects designed to relieve unemployment.