Our Coronavirus response

On 5 March 2020 the first case of coronavirus in North East England was detected.

On 18 March 2020 we launched our Coronavirus Response and Recovery Fund and appeal. The Community Foundation set up the appeal with an initial £200,000 contribution from our unrestricted funds. Newcastle Building Society became a founding partner in the fund with a donation of £100,000. Virgin Money Foundation and the Sir James Knott Trust also supported us with donations of £100,000 each. Many others, outlined below, joined them.

On 20 March 2020 we made our first Covid-related grant.

Now, having raised £2.73m in donations and distributed £2.83m in grants to 225 organisations, we have closed the appeal.

Highlights of our response

A message from Rob Williamson, our CEO

I want to pass on our huge gratitude to the brilliant local charities and community organisations whose vital work in response to the pandemic it has been our privilege to support. We have shared lots of feedback on the difference that funding has made to local people who were most adversely affected by Covid19. Reflecting on the data we’ve gathered, and the feedback from our grantees, the overwhelming message is the power of core funding for organisations based on trusting them to do what’s been needed in a period of great uncertainty and stress. Time and again we’ve been told that grants to help organisations run their day-to-day work gave them the ability to adapt quickly and address emerging needs and changing scenarios. 

It’s also clear that core funding will be essential as we continue to recover from the immediate impacts of the pandemic and focus on community renewal. So, we’ll carry on encouraging applicants to apply for core running cost support, or – if they have a specific project – to ensure their budgets include a sensible contribution to core costs.

Through our Coronavirus Response and Recovery Fund, we supported a wide variety of organisations across Tyne & Wear and Northumberland, enabling them to support those most in need. We could only have achieved this with the enormous generosity of our donors and partners. Please accept our huge gratitude for the vital part you played.

Thank you to all our supporters

Our grants and grantees

As part of our commitment to openness and transparency you can find a full list of all our Covid support grants on 360 Giving's Covid Tracker. This lists all the grants from our dedicated Coronavirus funds and those from other funds supporting Covid-related activity.

Despite the closure of our Coronavirus response and recovery fund, we continue to make grants for activity linked to the pandemic and this data will continue to be updated.


Feedback from some of our grantees

Connected Voice

"As a Foundation you have been so quick to respond to this crisis, raise additional funding, and get the money to where it is needed most – thank you for everything you are doing."

Gem Arts

"Thank you for your valuable support. We will be able to work with a range of artists to create and publish bespoke culturally diverse arts activities and packs, which will be delivered with our food parcels, connecting and engaging people in positive cultural experiences to improve their physical, social and mental health and wellbeing."

Northumberland County Blind Association

"It’s a great feeling to know that we are helping so many people during this unprecedented time, when they need us most. So thank you, we couldn’t do what we do without your support."

Scotswood Natural Community Garden

“This grant will enable us to provide a speedy response to some of the most isolated older people in the West End of Newcastle and across the city….we will set up a telephone befriending service, provide food, medicine and craft deliveries and refer people for hot food. We will also deliver craft and delivery packs.  Without this grant we would not be able to do any of this"


"This will give us the opportunity to develop what we have started and reach those who cannot connect digitally and need a trusted organisation to respond to some of the very practical issues ‘staying at home’ raises."  

The Cedarwood Trust

“The difference the grant will make will be have a wide reaching effect in our ability as a charity to continue at the current level, increase the levels of support and as we move towards the recovery stage, carefully consider how we support peoples transition from self-isolation to community connectivity.”

Ongoing support and grants

Whilst our Coronavirus Response and Recovery Fund and appeal has now closed we're still open for applications.

If you require support for your work, whether it's related to the impact of Covid-19 or not, you can make a general application which can be considered for any of our funds by going to our apply page. From there you will also see our latest calls for applications from specific funds 

As well as grants, the Foundation has a sector support programme to help organisation's strengthen their governance, income generation and planning. We offer advice, broker training and development and match individuals with time and skills to help organisations in our area be more effective and resilient. You can find out more here.

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