Big changes start locally

North East Community Groups Receive Share of £220,000 From Virgin Money Foundation and #iwill Fund

Kema and Kay

Eight community groups from across the North East will receive a share of more than £220,000 in the latest round of awards from the Virgin Money Foundation and the #iwill Take Action Fund.

The #iwill Take Action Fund is a partnership between Virgin Money Foundation and the #iwill Fund (a £54 million joint investment between The National Lottery Community Fund and The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) which was set up to support youth-led social action projects in the North East of England.

Bright Minds, Bright Futures; Big Ideas, Northern Roots, The Customs House, The Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Patchwork Youth Project, Northbourne Youth Initiative and New Writing North will all get a share of the fund which aims to support children and young people who want to make a positive difference in their communities, and broader society.

The Customs House in South Shields, which serves residents of South Tyneside and beyond, has been awarded £35,000. It offers a varied programme of live performance, cinema, visual arts and projects for children and young people.

Fiona Martin, Deputy Director- Learning and Participation at Customs House, said: “We are overwhelmed with the generosity of Virgin Money Foundation in helping us to realise our ambitions to make meaningful positive change through youth led social action in South Tyneside with our Takeover Festival.”

Stockton based Bright Minds, Bright Futures, a youth-led movement giving young people within Stockton-on-Tees a voice in local decision-making, have secured a grant of £12,000 which will support them to develop a programme of activity aimed at providing ‘safe spaces and places’ for the Stockton community, encouraging diversity and inclusivity.

Sophie Haste, Community Engagement Officer at Bright Minds, Bright Futures based in Stockton said: The funding from the #iwill Take Action Fund will provide so many amazing opportunities for young people of Stockton-on-Tees, encouraging them to feel good about who they are, where they fit in the world and to appreciate diversity.”

Sophie added: “We hope this fund will help to build strong and inclusive communities in Stockton-on-Tees where everyone feels a sense of being valued and belonging. Virgin Money Foundation have been so supportive in our journey so far, providing us with a small development grant that has helped the young people of BMBF develop the project, consult young people and create something really special. I am so excited to see the impact this funding will have!”

Northern Roots in Newcastle have been awarded £30,000. They work with people across the North East developing community engagement programmes as well as working with diverse artists and a variety of grassroots organisations to co-develop projects and showcase a host of opportunities.

Kay Greyson, Programme Lead at Northern Roots said:“We are delighted to receive funding from the Virgin Money Foundation and the #iwill Take Action Fund. It will enable myself and Kema to work with young people across Newcastle inspiring a new generation of positive social change. Bringing the words of Dr. Martin Luther King to young people and inspiring the creative artists and campaigners of tomorrow.”

Kate Bradley, Interim Executive Director of Virgin Money Foundation said: "The #iwill Take Action Fund, a partnership between the Virgin Money Foundation and the #iwill Fund, has had a real impact in the North East. Through this last round of grants we can support a further eight organisations across the North East and the vital work they undertake, enabling young people to make a positive change in the communities where they live.”


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Notes to Editors

Organisations receiving an #iwill Take Action Fund in January 2022

Organisation Award Amount
Bright Minds, Bright Futures £12,000
Big Ideas £27,500
Northern Roots £30,000
The Customs House £35,000
The Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art £34,040
Patchwork Youth Project £35,200
Northbourne Youth Initiative £37,408
New Writing North £10,000
Total £221,148

About The 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 throughout the UK over time. It promotes the sustainable regeneration of communities that have experienced social and economic decline. Since launch it has awarded over £11 million 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.
  • Visit for further details.
  • 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

#iwill Fund
  • The #iwill Fund is made possible thanks to £54 million joint investment from The National Lottery Community Fund and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to support young people to access high quality social action opportunities.
  • The #iwill Fund brings together a group of organisations who all contribute funding to embed meaningful social action into the lives of young people.
  • The #iwill Fund supports the aims of the #iwill campaign - to make involvement in social action a part of life for young people, by recognising the benefit for both young people and their communities.
  • By bringing together funders from across different sectors and by making sure that young people have a say in where the funding goes – the #iwill Fund is taking a collaborative approach.

The #iwill movement
  • The #iwill movement is a collaboration of over 1000 organisations and 300 young #iwill Ambassadors from across the UK. They are united by a shared belief that all children and young people should be supported and empowered to make a positive difference on the issues that affect their lives, their communities, and broader society.
  • #iwill was launched in November 2013 after an independent review into how different sectors could help more young people to make a positive difference.
  • The #iwill movement is supported by an independent coordination hub, hosted by Volunteering Matters & UK Youth.
  • Take the lead by signing up to the Power of Youth Charter at or follow us @iwill_campaign on twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

The National Lottery Community Fund
  • We are the largest funder of community activity in the UK – we support people and communities to prosper and thrive.
  • We’re proud to award money raised by National Lottery players to communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and to work closely with Government to distribute vital grants and funding from key Government programmes and initiatives.
  • Our funding has a positive impact and makes a difference to people’s lives. We support projects focused on things that matter, including economic prosperity, employment, young people, mental health, loneliness and helping the UK reach NET Zero by 2050.
  • Thanks to the support of National Lottery players, our funding is open to everyone. We’re privileged to be able to work with the smallest of local groups right up to UK-wide charities, enabling people and communities to bring their ambitions to life.
  • National Lottery players raise over £30 million each week for good causes throughout the UK. Since The National Lottery began in 1994, £43 billion has been raised for good causes. National Lottery funding has been used to support over 635,000 projects - 255 projects per postcode area.

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