Big changes start locally

North East communities to benefit from a further £1 million of funding from the Virgin Money Foundation


  • The Virgin Money Foundation has announced its next round of funding
  • £1 million is available to help people change their communities for the better
  • Grants applications of up to £50,000 are invited from across the North East region

The Virgin Money Foundation (the ‘Foundation’) has announced that the region is set to benefit from the second round of funding from its North East Fund, with £1 million being made available throughout 2016 to help transform those communities that need it most.

The Foundation is now inviting applications for grants of up to £50,000 for projects and initiatives that will make a long-term, sustainable difference to their communities. The response from the region to the first round of funding was extremely strong and the Foundation hopes to have a similar challenge of choosing between high quality applications from the many people in the region determined to improve their local communities.

The first round of funding from the Foundation provided grants of between £10,000–£50,000 for 26 projects, in the North East region, to a total value of £1 million. The projects were assessed on their ability to deliver against the following criteria:

  • enabling homeless people or people at risk of homelessness to find a home.
  • providing opportunities for youth education, training, and employment; and
  • creating and supporting community and social enterprises that sustainably create jobs.

Edward Wakefield, Chairman of Virgin Money Foundation, said: “We are delighted to announce a further £1 million for community projects across the North East. We received a fantastic response from the region to the first round of funding and hope for a similarly inspiring set of applications to for this additional funding. There will undoubtedly be some tough choices for us to make, but we look forward to helping more inspirational people and organisations make long-lasting changes and positive changes in the communities that most need support.”


Media contact:

Tel: 0191 279 4676



New Executive Director

On 28 April 2016, the Foundation announced the appointment of Nancy Doyle as its Executive Director. Reporting to the Board of Trustees, Nancy will lead the Foundation and be responsible for the execution of its mission. Currently Chief Executive of Oasis Aquila Housing, Nancy is expected to join the Foundation in the summer. Nancy is also Vice Chair of VONNE (Voluntary Organisations Network North East) and will continue in that role.

Progress to date:

The Foundation’s 2015 Annual Report confirmed that it has supported projects across the region, from Northumberland to Teesside, through its North East Fund. The first round of funding totalled £1 million and was awarded to projects that included:

  • Nine grants helping disadvantaged young people into employment
  • Nine grants that will support a new or existing social enterprise; and
  • Seven grants helping homeless people find and keep a home.

A further £850,000 was designated for the Onside Youth Zone in Sunderland that will create a safe and stimulating space for young people that aims, in turn, to build confidence and capacity for young people to lead better lives.

What first round grant recipients said:

Beth Armstrong, Manager of Handcrafted in Durham said: "Receiving a grant from the Virgin Money Foundation has been fantastic. It has enabled us to employ a Support Worker to develop and expand our provision. We can now offer more intensive support to help more people turn their own lives around: to have somewhere to live, overcome their disadvantages and move into jobs and self-employment."

Joanne Drew, Director of Housing NACRO, said about the Middlesbrough project: “We are delighted that the Virgin Money Foundation has awarded us a grant of £40,588. This funding will enable us to provide homes for some 30 women and their families who would otherwise be homeless, at a time when vulnerable people face many challenges to meeting their housing needs.”

Sue Ryland, Project Manager of Moving On (Durham) said: “We were delighted to receive an award from the Virgin Money Foundation. It has enabled us to further develop a housing pathway for homeless young people in County Durham by providing private sector tenancies for up to 40 young people.”

Anthony Woods-Waters, Chief Executive of Building Futures East in Newcastle said: “Through the tremendous support of the Virgin Money Foundation we are now delivering a project that provides pre-apprenticeship opportunities for 32 young people from significantly disadvantaged backgrounds, residing in the City’s most challenged neighbourhoods. The project equips them with practical skills in environmental maintenance and horticulture, together with improved functional skills in English, Maths and ICT. Through the project we will increase their personal sense of worth, self confidence, practical skills base and general employability.”

Hazel Marchbank McAllion, Chief Executive of South Tyneside Training and Enterprise Network, said: “Being awarded the grant from Virgin Money Foundation made a significant impact on the organisation and the services we deliver. We will be working with 80 young people during the year and we are delighted that four have already successfully gained apprenticeships.


The Virgin Money Foundation was formally launched in August 2015 as a new, independent charitable foundation that will focus initially on community projects in the North-East of England, and over time will grow to operate nationally.

It will promote the sustainable regeneration of economically and socially deprived communities in the UK. This will include – but not be limited to – providing social 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 £8m over 4 years contributed by Virgin Money and by the Cabinet Office – will go towards helping the Foundation to achieve its charitable objectives.

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