29th Jun 2022

Nicola Curtin, Professor of Experimental Cancer Therapeutics at Newcastle University and founding donor of the Curtin PARP Fund at the Community Foundation

The donor who set up the Curtin PARP fund at the Community Foundation is celebrating the fund giving out £100,000 in grants since it was established.

Nicola Curtin, Professor of Experimental Cancer Therapeutics at Newcastle University, established the Curtin PARP Fund with royalties from an anticancer drug she helped developed. Like the drug, Prof. Curtin wanted the fund to leave a lasting legacy that will change lives for the better.

Acknowledging the milestone and the difference the grants have made Nicola said:  

“I am very excited that the Curtin PARP fund has given away over £100,000. I am so grateful to the Community Foundation in facilitating this milestone achievement, especially given the impact of the pandemic. The purpose of the fund is to help people who are at a disadvantage reach their full potential and I am delighted with the number of success stories the fund is generating.”  

The fund supports people to realise their potential across all careers but Prof Curtin recently made supporting those interested in careers in environmental work a priority. Through a grant to Groundwork South and North Tyneside, the Community Foundation has been able to help Nicola deliver on her aims and priorities. The grant supported three young people to complete nationally recognised vocational qualifications and gain practical experience as part of Groundwork’s Natural Neighbourhoods programme. All three have gone on to gain employment in the environmental sector.

Amelia, who now works for the National Trust at Souter Lighthouse spoke about the difference the funding made to her:

“I was not in a position to fund this training myself, therefore I could not have achieved these qualifications without the support of the fund. They have helped me to lay the foundations for a career I am incredibly passionate about, yet previously did not know how to get into and develop my knowledge around. I am still at the early stages of progressing into my ideal career of environmental/conservation work but this funding has helped to give me a jump start in the right direction, which I think will greatly increase my chances of success. I am very grateful for the support."

Prof Curtin commented

“I have always considered environmental issues to be important and never more so than at the present time. It is particularly exciting to see how well Groundwork have done with their grant; training 3 young people, enabling them to get relevant qualifications in environmental management and go into employment. I cannot describe how happy this makes me”

Elaine Holdsworth, Senior Philanthropy Advisor at the Community Foundation who oversees the Curtin PARP Fund said:  

“I am thrilled that the Curtin PARP Fund has reached this milestone but it’s just the start. As an endowment fund at the Community Foundation it will provide funding to help people to reach their potential for decades to come. The fund is also inclusive – while environmental jobs are a clear priority, it is also about helping people access opportunities in any career path.”  

Members of the Natural Neighbourhoods team learn coppicing

Alene Lee Business and Funding Manager at Groundwork South and North Tyneside talked about the importance of environmental jobs:

"Green jobs have the potential to provide long-term employment to thousands of people in the UK as well as creating healthier, happier and greener communities for us all - we were delighted to be able to help some of the young people on placement with us, to gain meaningful vocational qualifications in the green sector, supporting them on the pathway to employment. We were very grateful to the Community Foundation for providing funds for this additional opportunity at a time when the green jobs are so necessary to protect our future."

About the fund

The Curtin PARP Fund supports individuals in Tyne and Wear and Northumberland to realise their potential. ‘PARP’ stands for Passionate About Realising your Potential but also harks back to the vital part of the cancer drug that made the fund possible. PARP (poly-ADP ribose polymerase) is a protein which helps damaged cells repair themselves. The drug stops PARP from doing its repair work in cancer cells and the cells die.  

The fund particularly prioritises support for carers of all ages, women and girls, Black and Minority Ethnic people including those with asylum seeker/refugee status, disabled people, homeless people and people who are experiencing disadvantage that prevents them from realising their potential. Grants for people who wish to study or develop a career in environmental/green jobs (e.g. horticulture, parks and gardens, sustainable energy) are also a priority for the fund, but applications related to all careers are very welcome.

The fund is a rolling fund meaning you can apply anytime for support. For more information on this and all our funds visit out our Funding and Support page.

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required