Big changes start locally

New grants awarded from the Virgin Money Foundation's North East Fund


  • Five projects across the North East to benefit from grants totaling £175,000
  • Grants focused on supporting young people with finding employment and helping the homeless

The Virgin Money Foundation has announced five new grant awards to support North East charities, focused on helping young people in the region into employment and homeless people find a home.

The new grants, which are the latest from The Virgin Money Foundation’s North East Fund, total just over £175,000.

Nancy Doyle, Executive Director of The Virgin Money Foundation said:

“We’re delighted to announce these new grants, which are the first from a total of over £1.2 million that will be awarded by The Virgin Money Foundation this summer. Tackling the root causes of disadvantage is key to regenerating communities, and these grants are specifically aimed at helping people into work and addressing homelessness.”

Wheels to Work

One of the five projects being supported is Wheels to Work in County Durham. They have been awarded £24,518 to run a scooter hire scheme aimed at helping young people access employment, training or education that would otherwise not be possible due to poor public transport connections. The award will be used to employ staff to operate the project across County Durham.

Young people who secure a job receive training on riding a scooter and are provided with a scooter to enable them to reach their place of work. For young people growing up in rural County Durham, this innovative scheme opens up employment opportunities that previously were out of reach.

Feisal Jassat, Chairman of Wheels to Work County Durham said:

“We are really excited about this award, which will enable the Wheels to Work Project to offer support to young people across County Durham. It will particularly help those living in rural and isolated areas, enabling them to realise their ambitions and to take up job opportunities which otherwise may not have been possible owing to poor public transport.”

“We know that this scheme enables people not only to take up employment opportunities but also to be better socially connected to friends, family and the wider community, and this too will be so important to the new beneficiaries of the scheme.”

Southwick Neighbourhood Youth Project

Another of the awards is to Southwick Neighbourhood Youth Project in Sunderland, which in 2016 benefitted from a grant of £10,340 from The Virgin Money Community Fund, which was used to support young people into employment, building their self-esteem and their prospects for the future.

Building on the success of this work, The Virgin Money Foundation have now awarded an additional grant of £31,609 to enable this community response to go from strength to strength.

Dave Mitchell, Youth Careers Worker from Southwick Neighbourhood Project said:

“We are thrilled to learn of the grant from The Virgin Money Foundation, which will allow us to continue supporting those most at need to find work. We provide much needed help, from creating and updating CVs to assisting with application forms, providing mock interviews and helping with e-mail and job searches.”

“We work in an area which has one of the highest levels of unemployment rates in the North East of England. We are delighted to hear that the Trustees at the Virgin Money Foundation are willing to invest in the young people in our area.”

The North East Fund remains open to applications and further awards will be announced shortly.


Media contact:

Tel: 0191 279 4676



List of all new grants awarded from The Virgin Money Foundation North East Fund
Southwick Neighbourhood Youth Project Sunderland £31,609
Hospitality and Hope South Shields £33,800
Wheels to Work County Durham County Durham £24,518
Changing Lives Sunderland £50,000
East Durham Business Services County Durham £35,200

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.
  • The entire running costs of The Virgin Money Foundation are met by Virgin Money; as such, 100% of donations – including £8 million over 4 years contributed by Virgin Money, the Cabinet Office and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport – will go towards helping the Foundation to achieve its charitable objectives.

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