Big changes start locally

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


  • Nine charities across the North East to benefit from new Virgin Money Foundation grants
  • £318k awarded in total in the latest grants from the North East Fund

The Virgin Money Foundation has announced nine new grant awards totaling £318,299 to support charities from across the North East.

The grants, which are the latest from The Virgin Money Foundation’s North East Fund, are focused on the promotion of training and employment opportunities for young people and the provision of housing to vulnerable people in the region.

The awards include a grant of £49,954 to Developing Initiatives for Support in the Community (DISC) to help the charity bring empty properties back into use in County Durham and Teesside; an award of £41,981 to My Sisters Place in Middlesbrough to house women fleeing domestic violence; £43,000 for Justice Prince to help young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in North Tyneside to secure sustainable employment; £48,048 to the Cornforth Partnership aimed at tackling some of the social and environmental problems in Cornforth and surrounding areas in County Durham; and £26,470 to Food Nation to inspire people about good food and provide unemployed young people with practical experience while running Food Nation’s street food stall.

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

“Tackling disadvantage in socially and economically deprived communities is the primary objective of The Virgin Money Foundation’s work, and we are delighted to announce these latest awards to nine charities addressing these issues across the North East.”

Food Nation

Food Nation is an award winning social enterprise with a vision to inspire people about good food. The award from the Virgin Money Foundation is to help set up a training programme for unemployed young people giving them practical experience while running Food Nation’s street food stall.

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.

Joanna Lacey, Director of Operations at Food Nation said:

"We're excited to get started on a brand new employability programme thanks to the support from the Virgin Money Foundation. This programme bridges the gap between the education work of Food Nation and the delicious offering of Harissa Kitchen through building a Trainee Street Food Team. Over the next few months we will be looking to recruit young people who are ready for a challenge, keen to experience work in the catering industry and want to become our very first Street Food Trainees!”

Anyone interested in knowing more about joining the programme can contact Joanna at

The Cornforth Partnership

The Cornforth Partnership was established to contribute to the regeneration of Cornforth and surrounding areas in County Durham by developing and delivering programmes to build skills, improve the local economy and tackle some of the social and environmental problems in the area.

It works across four main themes: health and wellbeing; employment and training; young people and families; and entrepreneurial behaviour. It has established a community hub and youth drop-in on the high street and provides information, advice and support on a wide range of issues. It runs a range of initiatives including a youth drop-in, a befriending service, young people’s texting and helpline service, community transport scheme, family intervention service, employability support and community learning programme.

Tony Cutmore, operations manager at The Cornforth Partnership said:

“We are delighted to receive this grant from The Virgin Money Foundation, which will allow us to support vulnerable young people, raise their aspirations, develop their skills and secure sustainable employment. We recognise that not all young people are college or job ready when they leave school, and this project will allow us to provide the right support at the right time in the right place to empower and motivate young people to make positive changes to their life and future.”

These latest awards from The Virgin Money Foundation take the total amount awarded this year to over £2.3 million.


Media contact:

Tel: 0191 279 4676



Full list of all new awards made from The Virgin Money Foundation’s North East Fund
Developing Initiatives for Support in the Community Teesside & County Durham £49,954
Five Lamps Teesside £12,000
Food Nation Newcastle £26,470
Fourth Action Northumberland £15,658
Justice Prince CIC North Tyneside £43,000
The Community Network CIC South Shields £40,600
My Sister's Place Teesside £41,981
Nacro County Durham £40,588
The Cornforth Partnership County Durham ££48,048

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.
  • Virgin Money funds the running costs of The Virgin Money Foundation Ripple Fund and North East Fund. This helps to ensure that 100% of donations to the Foundation - including £8 million over 4 years contributed by Virgin Money, the Cabinet Office and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport - go towards helping the Foundation to achieve its charitable objectives.

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