16th Oct 2017

13.5 million people in the UK live in poverty according to leading research charity the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. The Community Foundation is responding to its call for philanthropists and businesses to do more to tackle poverty.

Guy Readman was a leading business figure in North East England, and established funds at the Community Foundation for his philanthropy. Guy died in 2014, and his two daughters now advise the Foundation on where funding should go.  JRF’s call to action has proved inspirational so, based on the Community Foundation’s advice, the family has established the ‘Guy Readman Philanthropy Tackling Poverty Fund’ focusing on helping individuals and families overcome problems like debt, homelessness and ill-health.

10 organisations are receiving funding totalling £150,000. Foundations Furniture in Gateshead is one of them. It has been tackling poverty and debt since 1996 by providing free or low-cost household furniture. The organisation supports low-income families, lone parents, young homeless people and unemployed residents. It also provides volunteering and training opportunities to help people on the journey out of poverty and into employment. Their grant is supporting two young apprentices who recently finished level 2 NVQ qualifications in customer service and business administration, and who are progressing to Level 3. Their roles allow the charity to increase capacity to respond to the growing number of enquiries and visitors to its showrooms.

“We’re really mindful of the complex issues around poverty, and that philanthropy cannot be the only answer,” says Sandra King, the Community Foundation’s Chief Philanthropy Officer. “But we also know that philanthropic funding can make a real difference to people’s lives on our doorstep.”  Several other Community Foundation donors have been motivated by JRF’s call to refocus their philanthropy on poverty.  The lessons learned from these first 10 grants will be instrumental in ensuring the Community Foundation can make the most impact possible on the issues in its area.

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