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Seven New Energy Schemes Awarded Funding By Northern Powergrid Seed Fund »


Seven local groups have been awarded a share of a £50,000 Northern Powergrid funding pot aimed at enabling new energy schemes to flourish in local communities.

The Northern Powergrid Seed Fund, which is in its second year, offers support for community energy projects in the inception stages and seed funding to provide support such as expert advice, feasibility studies and meeting spaces.

Northern Powergrid, the company responsible for the network which delivers electricity to 3.9 million homes and businesses across the region, set up the fund to help fledgling energy generation, reduction, management or purchasing projects get off the ground – as well as encourage more creative renewable energy projects across the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire.

The fund, which is managed in partnership with the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland, received 21 applications from a range of community-based organisations and groups.

An expert panel including representatives from Community Energy England, National Energy Action, Northern Powergrid, Pure Leapfrog, Halltech Energy Partnership and Voluntary Organisations Network North East (VONNE) assessed the entries and selected the groups to become Northern Powergrid Community Seed Fund winners:

  • Yorkshire and Humber: Yorkshire Energy Partnership (York), Yorkshire Energy Doctor CIC (Bradford), and Syrian Community of Leeds (Leeds);
  •  North East:  HartlePower CIC (Hartlepool), International Community Organisation of Sunderland (Sunderland), Allen Valleys Enterprise Ltd (North Pennines), and Seaton Valley Community Partnership (Seaton Valley, Northumberland).

Anne-Claire Leydier, Sustainability Manager at Northern Powergrid, said: “Bringing energy production and energy efficiency in communities is a growing feature of the low carbon economy. As the region’s electricity distributor, Northern Powergrid has a significant role to play in helping those who want to take control of their bills and reduce their energy-associated carbon footprint.

“Last year was a challenging year for community energy with some changes in national policy so this year’s Seed Fund will provide vital local community energy funding. We congratulate the winners and look forward to following their projects as they prepare to get them off the ground in the months ahead.

“In addition to nurturing Community Energy, the Seed Fund is helping us understand the sector, how we can help, and also why we should help. With the support of last year’s winners, we’re finalising research to explore and demonstrate the social benefits of community energy projects in the communities we serve.”

Karen Daglish, Principal Advisor, Community Programmes at the Community Foundation, added: “Through our environmental research with LEAF and Vital Signs, we know that local giving can make a huge difference to community groups that seek to encourage people to ‘do the Green thing’ and so contribute to a more sustainable future for the planet.

“By addressing environmental issues through the Seed Fund we indirectly tackle social issues as they are intrinsically linked. For example, community garden and allotment projects help to reduce social isolation, encourage ‘green exercise’ and enable access to low cost , healthy fresh produce as well as reducing food miles and improving green spaces. Energy efficiency projects can tackle fuel poverty as well as reducing environmental impact. Recycling and redistribution projects enable access to low cost goods and items for those who are most vulnerable, in addition to diverting resources from landfill and reducing consumption.”

Northern Powergrid Seed Fund award-winning projects:

  • Community Energy Kick Starter by Yorkshire Energy Partnership will extend out the support provided by the Seed Fund by providing professional advice to five non-constituted community groups who wish to save energy or generate renewable energy. More on:
  • GreenMoor Community Energy Saving Advice by Yorkshire Energy Doctor CIC will work with community organisations in the Lidget Green and Scholemoor areas of Bradford to tackle fuel poverty through a community-wide initiative. For more information, including a launch event on 3rd February, visit
  • The Sub Zero project by Syrian Community of Leeds aims to educate Syrian asylum seekers and refugees to reduce energy waste, decrease expenditure, switch between energy suppliers and how to apply to the Warm Home Discount Scheme. Visit the organisation’s ‘Syrian community of Leeds’ Facebook page for more information.
  • HartlePower CIC Renewable Energy and Advise by HartlePower CIC will deliver a pilot energy advice project, which will help people to switch energy providers and save money through energy saving measures in the home. Income generated from the project, through referral payments received from major suppliers, will be reinvested into further developments within HartlePower. Visit for more information.
  • The great energy meet by International Community Organisation of Sunderland will run a series of thematic workshops in the Sunderland area, engaging traditionally hard-to-reach people with issues related to energy use. Find out more by visiting
  • Feasibility study for small-scale hydropower by Allen Valleys Enterprise Ltd will explore the potential for a number of potential hydro sites on the Rivers East and West Allen. Visit for more information.
  • Seaton Valley Energy Storage Initiative by Seaton Valley Community Partnership will investigate the possibility of making use of a local asset (‘The Cut’ in Seaton Sluice harbour) as an energy storage and generation unit. For more information visit
Posted on 25/01/2016 @ 7:45 am
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Youngsters take a bow at Cramlington Voluntary Youth Project »

Archery Facility 2

Cramlington Voluntary Youth Project has established a new archery programme thanks to funding from the CNL Young People’s Fund and the North 150 Fund and at the Community Foundation.

Cramlington Voluntary Youth Project received a joint award of £13,710 to establish a new archery programme for young people in Cramlington. The project allows young people the opportunity to learn a new skill as part of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards, and is inclusive for people of all abilities.

Robert Hall MBE, Executive Manager of Cramlington Voluntary Youth Project said:

“We’d like to thank the North 150 Fund and CNL Young People’s Fund at the Community Foundation for kindly supporting our new archery programme. We support a number of young people from a range of different backgrounds including learning and physical disabilities as well as those in care or with a history of offending.

“We have three qualified archery staff and thanks to funding we have now been able to install a covered but still outdoor 20-metre range which will allow young people of all abilities the opportunity to learn new a skill and take part in an inclusive and fun sport as part of their path to a Duke of Edinburgh Award.”

Archery learning

Elaine Holdsworth, Senior Philanthropy Advisor at the Community Foundation added:

“Cramlington Voluntary Youth Project has a wonderful track record of engaging young people in sports and has already seen success with its mountain biking and expedition programmes. Through our funds at the Community Foundation we’re delighted to be able to make this happen and would encourage other youth projects to get in touch if they need help with requests for funding.

The CNL Young People’s Fund at Community Foundation is open for applications until 19 February 2016. The fund will support charities and voluntary and community groups delivering projects to help disadvantaged young people in Northumberland to overcome the barriers to a successful transition to adulthood.

The Fund will support projects that work with young people aged 13-19 (and aged up to 25 if special needs), with priority given to projects serving isolated communities. Awards are available from £250 to £3,000 with one higher grant of £10,000 per round. The Fund was established following the closure of Connexions Northumberland Ltd in 2009.

To apply for funding at the Community Foundation please visit

Posted on 03/02/2016 @ 3:09 pm
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Healthier Homes initiative helps Gateshead residents to cook on a budget »


The Gateshead Housing Company and its partners are helping local people to cook healthily while watching the purse strings.

‘Healthier Homes’ is a project designed to engage families in a short, practical course that will tackle food and fuel poverty through education and hands-on experience. The project applied to the Housing Company’s Fund at the Community Foundation for help to run cooking workshops at Lobley Hill Community Centre.

The Gateshead Housing Company recognised how much this initiative could improve the health and wellbeing of young people, and decided to help out with an award of £4,530 through its fund.

The cookery sessions are being run by Groundwork North East & Cumbria, where attendees will learn how to cook healthily in a fuel efficient manner, reduce food wastage, shop on a budget, and make healthier food choices. The sessions will also promote the idea of cooking together with friends to reduce fuel costs.

Jack Elliott, Project Officer for Groundwork North East & Cumbria said, “This short course is designed to support tenants of The Gateshead Housing Company to overcome the impact of welfare reform, and to improve their health and wellbeing.”

Estate Officer Kate McDermott, from The Gateshead Housing Company, said, “Participants at today’s session have made a bolognese, which is healthy, easy to cook, and costs very little. Lots of people don’t know to cook and can be frightened to try. Today we’re showing that anyone can make something, quick, healthy and cheap.”

Jon Goodwin, Senior Philanthropy Advisor at the Community Foundation, added:

“Encouraging people to look after their own health is a key goal of ours. Eating healthily is a great place to start and, as this project has shown, it doesn’t have to be expensive. By working with partners such as the Housing Company and Groundwork, we can focus resources on the communities that need the greatest support.”

Groundwork North East & Cumbria is part of the Groundwork Federation working across the UK. The organisation aims to be at the forefront of efforts to tackle a range of green economy issues, from regeneration and climate change to employment and business development.

The Gateshead Housing Company Community Fund at the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland is supported by Gateshead Council and Mears.

Since 2006, the Community Fund has awarded cash and in-kind grants totalling over £500,000 to more than 120 groups across Gateshead. The fund’s next deadline is Wednesday 17 February 2016.

To apply for funding at the Community Foundation please visit

Posted on @ 3:05 pm
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It’s Time to Talk in Blyth and Sunderland »


Our “Time to Talk” sessions offer an opportunity to meet staff of the Community Foundation and share questions, learn tips on applying for funding, tell us about your group’s plans, and network with other groups and charities.

Following the success of our Time to Talk Roadshows, we will be in Blyth on 18 February hosted by Northumberland CVA and in Sunderland on 10 March hosted by VCAS.

For more information about our Northumberland session and how to book please click here.

For more information about our Sunderland session and how to book please click here.

Posted on @ 2:58 pm
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Comfrey Project benefits from £39,000 environmental challenge award »

Comfrey Project

The Local Environmental Action Fund (LEAF) at the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland has awarded £90,700 to six environmental projects in Tyne & Wear. During the round, a new LEAF “Challenge Award“ was piloted, with £38,739 awarded to The Comfrey Project in Gateshead for a multicultural garden and growing space.

The Local Environmental Action Fund was established 10 years ago to support and inspire communities in Tyne & Wear and Northumberland to tackle environmental issues in their local area. It is a collaborative Fund with current partners including the Shears Foundation, Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland, and Greggs Foundation, as well as individual and corporate donors. The Fund is hosted by the Community Foundation and is currently open for its first grants round of 2016. Grants are available from £250 to £20,000, with the closing date for applications on 1 February 2015.

The Comfrey Project, who won the LEAF “Challenge Award” in 2015, provides asylum seekers and refugees across Tyneside with a safe, welcoming environment, which promotes personal wellbeing through a sense of place and belonging. The project runs various shared creative crafts including allotment gardening, cooking and crafts. The LEAF Challenge Award will help the group to create a multifunctional outdoor space through the development of a former school playing field. The space will include an organic, multifunctional garden with a ‘shed’ acting as a training room and meeting space. There will be designated outdoor learning spaces, such as a wildlife area and pond, herb garden, food growing areas including a polytunnel, composting and recycling.

The local community will be involved in the design and creation of the garden, providing an opportunity for learning about the environment and sustainability through planning and making choices, such as the best locations for planting and water re-use as well as sourcing goods and materials to be used in construction.

Yvonne Hartnett, Manager of The Comfrey Project said:

“We would like to thank LEAF and the partners involved for their support of our multicultural garden and growing space. Our aim is to create a multifunctional indoor and outdoor space which support education and training, and environmental activity which will create habitat for wildlife. What the project will also achieve is support for the health and well-being of local people from all different backgrounds and we’re really grateful to LEAF, the Community Foundation and its partners for their fantastic support.”

Katie Wellstead, Principal Advisor for the Local Environmental Action Fund said:

“The LEAF Challenge Award was a pilot scheme alongside our standard LEAF funding. The idea was to allocate one or two bigger grants of £30,000 to £40,000 during our December round to inspire projects to make a real visible difference to the local environment. The challenge has been a success and is something that we may replicate again in 2016 to celebrate 10 years of LEAF. The Fund is now open for the first round of 2016 and we are encouraging applications. For more information please visit our website.”

For more information about the Local Environmental Action Fund and details on how to apply visit

Posted on 20/01/2016 @ 5:12 pm
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Places still available for Building Future Sustainability programme »

From February to March 2016 we will be running a programme for the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) Sector to bring in more money, from more sources, more regularly. The Newcastle events are close to being sold out however places are still available for the sessions in Stockton.

What is Building Future Sustainability?

With support from the Esmée Fairbairn and Garfield Weston Foundations through our Partnerships Programme we are delighted to be working with Mark Butcher Associates to create a programme to support greater sustainability for ‘medium size’ (maximum turnover £500,000) charities, community groups and other VCSE organisations across the North East.

The programme is designed to provide an introduction to a range of income generating activities and help organisations prepare to engage in them. As well as our trainers, attendees will hear from peers who have succeeded in each area.

How the programme works

The programme will build the capacity of ‘medium size’ VCSE organisations across the North East to generate money for their work. To achieve this we’ll seek to:

  • Provide a toolkit of technical fundraising skills
  • Inspire and lift the aspirations of delegates
  • Encourage and support the organisations taking part to be more entrepreneurial, risk taking and visionary.

Where will it take place

The programme will be in Newcastle and Stockton across 5 days in each in February and March 2016. Attendees can attend a single session or the whole series and can mix and match across Newcastle and Stockton,

Who should attend?

The programme is aimed at VCSE organisations with a maximum turnover of £500,000pa. Attendees should be Chief Executives, board members and others who have (or will have) an income generation function within the organisation.


Due to the support of the Garfield Weston & Esmée Fairbairn Foundations the cost of the programme will only be £250 plus VAT for all 5 modules. In addition a free place for a board member or other member of staff will be offered for Module 5. Individual modules cost £70 plus VAT.

For more information on the modules, venues and trainers visit:



Contact Mark Butcher Associates on 0191 213 1447 (or email him: to book.

For more information please download the programme here or visit

Posted on @ 5:07 pm
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Comic Relief brings Sport Relief Community Cash to the North East and Cumbria »

Fund worth £65,000 is ready to reach local projects in your community.

As Sport Relief returns and fundraisers gear up to take part in The Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Games, Comic Relief announce a new £65,000 fund to support community groups across the North East and Cumbria.

Sport Relief Community Cash grants of £500 to £1000 are available to small grassroots community organisations in the North East and Cumbria that are doing great work to help local people living tough lives. Applications are open now, with the Community Foundation Tyne and Wear and Northumberland and the Cumbria Community Foundation working with Comic Relief to get the cash to the groups that need it most.

Applications to apply for Sport Relief Community Cash grants close on Thursday 25 February 2016. Interested groups can apply by going to (North East) or (Cumbria).

Local group, Wooler Cricket Club, benefitted from a Community Cash grant last time around.

Wooler Cricket Club was first started in the 1920s, and then revived in 1962 when there was a strong resurgence of sport in the local community in north Northumberland. The club has one team in a league, and is currently trying to revive the junior section – with ages ranging from 11 right though to senior/retired players in their 80s.

The group was originally founded on the basis that happy and tired children were far less likely to get into trouble within the community, and a number of children who attended the club in the 1960s still volunteer and play for the club today. The ethos of providing a healthy activity for local children remains the same, but the group have had to change and adapt to the competition faced from technology and social media.

John Grey, Wooler Cricket Club committee member said: “I played in Wooler Cricket’s Club first game in 1962, and have been heavily involved in the club ever since. It has been fantastic to see so many new people enjoy the game, however we still face the uphill struggle of getting kids interested in sports and other healthy activities. It’s crucial that we maintain excellent standards of equipment, in order to give our members and players the safest and most enjoyable environment in which to play.”

A Community Cash grant funded the purchase of a new pitch roller, allowing players (particularly senior players) to play without fear of tips and falls.

John continued: “We have people from all areas of the community participate in the club. In particular, we have a particularly dedicated fundraising team, as we are an entirely self-funded club. The club provides a fun, friendly place for local people to come along and not only socialise, but enjoy some regular sport. The small amount of money we received from Community Cash has made a huge difference in the day-to-day operations of the club and has allowed local people to continue enjoying cricket!”

Victoria Southwell, UK Grants Manager at Comic Relief said: “Sport Relief is delighted to be working with the BBC North East and Cumbria and offering Sport Relief Community Cash once again to local groups across the region.

We have funded some truly fantastic work in the local area, and are looking forward to seeing some new groups applying. Thanks to the hard work of these groups, money raised through Sport Relief can get right to the heart of the local community and make a real difference where it is most needed. I urge as many groups as possible to get their applications in now for their chance to get a grant from the £65,000 on offer.”

Once again, the public is being encouraged to take part in the Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Games, which will take place from Friday 18th to Sunday 20th March. This sees the return of flagship events at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London. There will also be five flagship Games in Belfast, Cardiff, Glasgow, Norwich and Sheffield, plus hundreds of Miles and Swimathons across the UK.

Whether you get sponsored to take part in the Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Games or fundraise with friends and family at home, work or school, you’ll help people living incredibly tough lives. In fact, half of all the money raised by the public is spent right here at home in the UK, with the other half used to make a difference in the world’s poorest communities.

All the latest Sport Relief news and fundraising ideas are available from

Sport Relief 2016

Posted on @ 5:02 pm
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Older people in Gateshead light the way »

Gateshead OPA Walking Sticks

Members of a Gateshead charity will be a little safer this winter, thanks to the generosity of a local law firm.

Muckle LLP has provided 12 members of Gateshead Older People’s Assembly with walking sticks that have a light and an alarm integrated into the handle.

This was made possible after the Older People’s Assembly applied for £360 of funding from the Muckle LLP Fund at the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland.

The Assembly’s Development Manager, Craig Bankhead said: “The chair of our Charity, Esther Ward, came into the office one day with a brand new walking stick that had a light on the front as well as an alarm for emergencies. She was very pleased with it as it means that walking down steps in the dark or finding the keyhole in her front door are now much easier as a result.”

“A lot of our members are unable to afford these £30 sticks so we applied to the Muckle LLP Fund at the Community Foundation and were delighted when we were told that the application was successful. Our members are very grateful to Muckle LLP and the Community Foundation and would like to publicly thank them for their generosity.”

The charity, which is based in Deckham in Gateshead, has more than 2,000 members and runs friendship groups, wellness sessions, a community cafe and a whole range of other projects and activities aimed at promoting the wellbeing of older people in the borough. The organisation also provides many opportunities for older volunteers who provide support for their own communities.

Craig added: “This is just one of the funds we have been able to access through the Community Foundation. With grants that have been managed by them, we have been able to undertake a wide range of projects supporting older people in Gateshead.”

Hugh Welch, Senior Partner, from Muckle LLP said: “This is a great grant.  Our charitable fund exists to help community projects and there can’t be many better examples of a thriving community project than Gateshead Older People’s Assembly.  I am delighted we have been able to help them.”

For more information about Gateshead Older People’s Assembly, visit , email or phone 0191 4381721.

Posted on @ 4:57 pm
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Sport Relief 2016 Community Cash »

Sport Relief 2016


Sport Relief is coming and the people of the North East and Cumbria are being asked to get active, raise cash and change lives. Half of all the money the public raises is spent by Comic Relief right here, with the other half used to make a difference in the world’s poorest communities.

This year £65,000 of Sport Relief Community Cash is being distributed to communities across the North East and Cumbria.

Sport Relief Community Cash grants of £500-£1,000 are available to small organisations in the North East and Cumbria that are doing great work to help local people living tough lives.  If this sounds like you, make sure you apply for a Sport Relief Community Cash grant now!

  • Groups in Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, County Durham and Tees Valley should apply via the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland at

Get ready to walk, run, swim or cycle yourself proud, because the Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Games are back, from Friday 18th to Sunday 20th March 2016. With flagship events at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London and in Belfast, Cardiff, Glasgow, Norwich and Sheffield, plus hundreds of events across the UK, there’s bound to be one near you. Register your interest now at

Posted on 14/01/2016 @ 12:00 pm
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Groups in Hendon and Ryhope benefit from Commonwealth games legacy »


Young Asian Voices in Hendon, and Ryhope Community Association are two of the groups who have benefited from over £360,000 from the Fourteen programme at the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland.

Fourteen is a £3.5m national programme funded by Spirit of 2012, a charity set up by the Big Lottery Fund. It aims to tackle disadvantage by supporting opportunities in sport, physical activity, culture and the arts, volunteering and social action as part of the XX Commonwealth Games, Glasgow 2014 legacy. In Hendon and Ryhope, a group of local people have come together to advise the Community Foundation on applications to a large grants pot. Match funding for the programme has come from Sunderland City Council and the Community Foundation, with £360,000 available locally for grant making.

Young Asian Voices has received £20,000 to develop a sports academy, which will offer opportunities for children and young people in Hendon to try new sports, gain coaching qualifications, and set up several new teams to sustain activity. Two youth workers and a qualified sports coach will run weekly supervised community sports sessions from its own centre on Villiers Street, Hudson Road school, and Sans Street Youth & Community Centre. Sessions will be offered in football, cricket, badminton and table tennis, with up to 20 participants anticipated per session on a drop-in basis.

YAS_GJmr-9900Mr Kumareswaradas Ramanathas, Project Manager at Young Asian Voices said:

“We’re delighted to receive a large grant from the Fourteen programme at the Community Foundation. The project is in response to a lack of opportunities for children and young people in Hendon to try sport outside of school. Feedback from our local school tells us that young people are becoming less active due to a lack of opportunity outside school. We know that young people want to engage in sport and take part in healthy and fun activities so this funding will really make a difference to their lives in Hendon.”

Karen Daglish, Principal Advisor, Community Programmes at the Community Foundation said:

“Our Vital Signs research suggests that healthy living is a main concern in our region. Whilst we are gradually improving, statistics indicate that life expectancy in Tyne & Wear remains amongst the very lowest in England. Through the Fourteen programme’s large grants pot we are able to make a big difference by tackling this issue head on in Hendon and Ryhope, and we would encourage groups to apply for our next round of funding which is now open until February.”

The Fourteen Programme has launched a large grants programme where awards of £15,000 to £50,000 are available to organisations that meet the national and local aims. Nationally, the programme aims to improve individual wellbeing, improve perceptions towards disability and impairment, help people to overcome isolation, and connect communities through new opportunities. The local priority for Fourteen is social action and volunteering.

Deputy Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor Alan Emerson, who has lived in Ryhope for more than 40 years, is a ward councillor on Sunderland City Council’s East Area Committee which has provided £50,000 to the programme. Cllr Emerson added: “Fourteen is a fantastic opportunity for the people of Hendon and Ryhope and as a resident I’m extremely proud of the work of voluntary organisations such as Ryhope Community Association.

“What this group and others do brilliantly well  is connect our community by providing opportunities for individuals to engage and actively contribute to the area in which we live.

“This is hugely important and I’d encourage groups to take advantage of this wonderful funding opportunity.”

The current round of Fourteen is open for applications until the 1 February 2015. For more information about how to apply to the fund please visit

Posted on 06/01/2016 @ 3:03 pm
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