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The Virgin Money Foundation has announced a series of grants totalling more than £850,000 to help fund organisations in the voluntary and community sector in the North East, which is facing an unprecedented challenge in supporting local communities during the Covid-19 pandemic.

£500,000 has been made available through a new Virgin Money Foundation Community Resilience Fund. These grants will be awarded to organisations already funded by the Foundation, to replace lost income or to meet the cost of innovating to meet local need in response to the pandemic. For many groups, demand on services has increased as organisations step up to support the most vulnerable members of the community, at the same time as protecting their colleagues and their families.

The Virgin Money Foundation has also announced a £100,000 award to the Community Foundation for Tyne and Wear and Northumberland’s Response and Recovery Fund. This will help small but critical community organisations supporting groups who will be impacted the most by Covid-19.

In addition, £252,731 has been announced through the current Community Anchors’ Fund. Community Anchors are locally-led organisations, supporting local people of all ages. They play a vital role in responding to local need during the pandemic.

One group who has been a recipient of a Community Anchors award is Pallion Action Group. Based in Sunderland, the group run a variety of projects offering a wide range of recreational and educational opportunities for the whole community.

Karen Wood, Manager, Pallion Action Group, Sunderland said:

The call to say we had been awarded the Virgin Money Foundation grant was a huge blessing and came at just the right time. Our staff and volunteers are working 12 hour days to meet demand and we are doing absolutely everything we can to support our local community through this crisis.

We started by picking up prescriptions and making up food parcels. We have now made and distributed just over 1,000 emotional and wellbeing packs for children right across Sunderland. The grant from Virgin Money Foundation allows us to continue to do just that. It has been amazing to see the community pull together during this time.

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

We are thinking of our incredible grantees at this time and the vital support they offer to their local communities. We know many are already distributing food parcels, activity packs for children and young people, contacting and supporting those in need who are isolating and setting up digital platforms to continue much needed services.

The impacts of COVID-19 will undoubtedly have a significant effect upon the charity sector as a whole, which is often on the frontline of supporting local communities, and we know they are working hard to balance the wellbeing of their staff with the needs of the communities they support. Through these latest funding announcements we hope to equip and enable Community Anchors to play a full and vital role during the pandemic and beyond.

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Full list of organisations receiving a Community Anchors’ Fund Award.

Organisation NameGrant Award
Bilton Hall Community Trust - North Tyneside£24,960
Fenham Association of Residents - Newcastle£50,000
Footprints in the Community - Redcar and Cleveland£27,771
Pallion Action Group - Sunderland£50,000
Women's Health in South Tyneside - South Tyneside£50,000
Upper Teesdale Agricultural Support service - County Durham£50,000

Note that Virgin Money Foundation has also donated £20,000 to the Charles Burrell Centre in Norfolk and The Feed CIC in Norwich.

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 communities that have experienced social and economic decline. Since launch it has awarded over £9million in grants to community organisations across the UK.

Virgin Money Foundation seeks to work jointly with other funders, making additional funds available for great local projects. They have developed a partnership with Clay Hill Charitable Trust to extend the funding available in the North East of England.

The Virgin Money Foundation. Charitable company limited by guarantee. Registered in England and Wales Company No. 9457101. Charity No. 1161290. Registered Office: Jubilee House, Gosforth, Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom, NE3 4PL.

The Community Foundation for Tyne and Wear and Northumberland

The Community Foundation for Tyne and Wear and Northumberland grow giving and philanthropy, matching generous people with the region's important community causes. Every year, it awards grants to hundreds of small charities in Tyne & Wear and Northumberland, and across North East England, through funds set up by donors.