The Wellesley Trust Community First
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Community Foundation and The Wellesley Trust celebrate the launch of The Wellesley Trust Community First Fund

The Wellesley Trust Community First Fund was established in 2014 by the Wellesley Trust, a historic North East charity that once ran a nautical school for the Royal and Merchant Navies. The Trust sold its land for housing development and the proceeds, realised over several years, will be used by the Community Foundation to support youth projects. The first gift into the new Wellesley Trust Fund at the Foundation also attracted match from the Government’s Community First scheme. The trustees will be advisors on grant-making from the Fund, with youth groups across Tyne & Wear, Northumberland and County Durham benefitting.

On its establishment, David Watson, secretary of the Wellesley Trust, said: “When we thought about how best to fulfil our purpose going forward, we quickly decided that working with the Community Foundation would be the best option because of its track record and expertise. We are excited to see the Fund set up, and are very much looking forward to getting on with the job of supporting vital youth projects across the region.”

The Wellesley Trust was originally the Wellesley Nautical School, founded in 1868 and accommodated on the HMS Wellesley moored at North Shields. After a fire in 1914 and, following a period in temporary accommodation, the charity raised funds to take over the WWI submarine base at Blyth. It became an approved school in 1933 and, in the 1970s, came under Sunderland Council’s control, latterly being known as Wellesley Community Home. The home closed in 2006. The trustees then sought to sell the land to provide funds so the Trust could continue to support young people in the region. The Trust’s objects are now to provide grants to individuals and organisations for the advancement of education and relief of hardship of children and young people living in Northumberland, Tyne and Wear and Durham.

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