16th Oct 2017

Berwick Youth Project supports young people aged 16-25 with accommodation and starter packs

Ronald William Edward Murray’s unrestricted legacy gift to the Community Foundation will benefit local groups for generations to come.

A retired master flour miller, Ronald had served in the Royal Navy during the war and was a keen ballroom dancer. Like many people, Ronnie, as he was known to friends, made provision in his Will for his extended family. But he also made a very significant decision to help the broader community. While he was keen to support local charities he did not have a specific group in mind. It was his advisor and friend, John Kilner, who suggested the Community Foundation.

Ronnie died in 2015, and the Community Foundation needed to think how his generosity might be best honoured. Having consulted Ronnie’s executors, the Foundation launched an initiative in his name – Mr Murry’s Million Pound Match – to encourage other people and business to give back to their community. The challenge uses Ronnie’s legacy gift to offer match on donations to start or grow endowment funds at the Community Foundation.  The scheme launched in autumn 2016 and by September 2017, nine new funds totalling £677,812 have been started, with gifts totalling £933,975 added to a number of existing funds.

Pattinson Estate Agents, based in Newcastle, is one business that has been inspired by the match to set up a new fund at the Foundation. Keith Pattinson explains: “To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the firm, my daughter and I decided to do something special and establish a Fund at the Community Foundation that will help us give back to the area in which we have grown as a business.” The particular focus is on homelessness because, Keith adds, “one thing that hasn’t changed in 40 years is that there still exist members of our community who are homeless, at risk of homelessness and who need our support.“

The first grants from the new Fund are being shared across 10 projects from Berwick-upon-Tweed to Stockton-on-Tees.  Berwick Youth Project is one of the recipients. Its manager, John Bell, says that its grant is already making a difference: “The transition from our supported accommodation to living independently is a huge challenge for most young people, as although our continuing support is only a phone call away, it can still be a lonely and daunting experience. The grant is allowing us to arrange resettlement packs to help young people over the first few days and weeks of a new tenancy, and help make their accommodation a home to be proud of.”

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