Big changes start locally

Virgin Money Foundation passes milestone of £5 million of grants to good causes

Millin Charity


  • New awards of £380,000 from The Virgin Money Foundation will support 11 projects across the region from Berwick to Redcar
  • Projects are focused on supporting women develop new enterprises, helping young people find employment, helping homeless people find a home and supporting young people to lead social action in their communities

The Virgin Money Foundation (the Foundation) has announced its latest grant awards, with 11 North East charitable organisations set to benefit from £380,000 in new funding. Projects working across the region from Berwick to Redcar will benefit from the new grant awards.

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

We are delighted to have been able to provide £5 million of awards to benefit good causes since we launched the Foundation in 2015. This money is supporting innovative and dedicated organisations working for positive change in their communities. The latest awards progress our ambition to regenerate local communities by backing community leaders and in particular those young people who want to make a real difference to the neighborhoods they live in.

Grant recipients in the latest awards include:

The Millin Charity (Newcastle)

The Millin Charity was established in 1999 to meet the needs of a dynamic and diverse local community in the West End of Newcastle. Through the Women’s Trading Collective it works to improve women’s job prospects, promoting enterprise as a way to help women build their self-belief and confidence, and to gain experience and skills.

An award from The Virgin Money Foundation of £27,000 will enable successful, local designers to work with the Women’s Trading Collective to design new products that can be manufactured at scale and bring these to market.

Sara Miller, CEO of The Millin Charity said:

We are delighted to have been supported by The Virgin Money Foundation to elevate our work with local women who are aiming for financial independence through enterprise. This fund will make a huge difference, by enabling us to bring experienced local female entrepreneurs into our ‘Women’s Trading Collective’, to pass on skills and knowledge; helping us to achieve our ambition to build a dynamic, profitable and sustainable social enterprise through which unemployed women can gain the skills they need to set up on their own.

Unfolding Theatre (Newcastle)

Unfolding Theatre is an award winning contemporary theatre company which brings together surprising combinations of people to generate theatre with a sense of humour and strength of character.

The award of £20,000 from The Virgin Money Foundation will be used to support a group of young people to create films exploring the issues that are important to them. As part of the Exhibition of the North, these films will be projected into the hands of young people in arcade booths across Newcastle, literally projecting the future into their hands.

Annie Rigby, Unfolding Theatre’s Artistic Director said:

We are so delighted to receive The Virgin Money Foundation’s support. This funding means the young people we are working with - who are full of talent, energy and thought-provoking ideas - can make their voices heard through an ambitious, inventive arts project. In turn, their creativity will provide a platform for many more young people to think about the world around them, make their opinions heard and explore the change they want to make. We can’t wait to see where it leads!

The Junction Foundation (Redcar)

The Junction Foundation in Redcar provides information, advice and practical support to vulnerable children, young people and their families, through a range of person centered programs. The award of £49,945 from The Virgin Money Foundation will allow the charity to help young people from Redcar to find work.

Lawrence McAnelly, CEO of the Junction said:

Young unemployed people in our area often face a number of issues and challenges which can be significant barriers to getting into a job. The grant from The Virgin Money Foundation means that we are able to work to transform young lives, build on their talents, unlock their potential, overcome barriers and support them to get work and build a life for themselves. We are so pleased to be supported by The Virgin Money Foundation and are absolutely committed to making a difference to the lives of young people.

Details of all the 11 grant recipients are provided below in Notes to Editors.

The latest grants bring the total level of awards made by the Foundation to over £5 million since the Foundation launched in August 2015.

The Foundation is funded through donations from Virgin Money, the Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport and the Big Lottery Fund.

Media contact:

Tel: 0191 279 4676


Young Asian Voices Sunderland £29,904
North Tyneside VODA North Tyneside £44,992
Unfolding Theatre Newcastle £20,000
The Children’s Society Newcastle £59,400
Youth Almighty Project Sunderland £32,847
The Junction Foundation Redcar £49,945
Blue Watch Youth Centre Sunderland £17,500
The Millin Charity Newcastle £27,000
700 Club Darlington £20,613
Berwick Youth Project Northumberland £28,450
Oasis Aquila Housing Gateshead £50,000

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 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

#iwill fund

The Government (DCMS) and Big Lottery Fund have each invested £20 million in to the #iwill Fund which will help to transform the culture of community engagement by getting young people involved in greater social action opportunities.

Over four years the fund will be developed through investment and match funding from Trusts and Foundations, businesses and philanthropists.

This innovative fund, bringing together a coalition of investors, aims to create the conditions to embed meaningful social action into the lives of every young person.

#iwill campaign

The #iwill campaign is being coordinated by the charity Step Up To Serve (Charity No.1154588). It was launched in 2013 after Government research into how the business, education, public and voluntary sectors could support young people to engage in social action (campaigning, fundraising and volunteering) between the ages of 10 and 20.

HRH The Prince of Wales is Patron of Step Up To Serve and the #iwill campaign. To date more than 600 organisations from across UK society have pledged to support the campaign goal of enabling more than 60% of 10-20 year-olds to participate in social action.

Big Lottery Fund

The Big Lottery Fund is the largest funder of community activity in the UK. We put people in the lead to improve their lives and communities, often through small, local projects.

We are responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by National Lottery players for good causes. In 2016/17 we awarded £712.7 million and supported more than 13,814 projects across the UK for health, education, environment and charitable purposes.

Since June 2004 we have awarded £8.5 billion to projects that change the lives of millions of people.

Media contact:

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport General enquiries: 020 7211 6000

For more information and contact details please visit Press Office: Media enquiries (journalists only) 020 7211 2210 Out of hours telephone pager 07699 751 153

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