18th May 2022
This week the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland remembers Brian Roycroft CBE who died 20 years ago on 24 May 2002. Brian made a unique contribution to the lives of young people in the North East and to the Community Foundation.
One of the longest serving and most respected Directors of Social Services in the UK, Brian was also one of the original steering committee members who set up the Community Foundation. He went on to serve as a Board Member representing the Local Authorities until he retired as Director of Social Services.
To mark his outstanding contribution to social welfare, The Brian Roycroft Fund was established at the Community Foundation during Brian’s lifetime. Today, nearly 30 years later, the fund continues to support the hopes and aspirations of care leavers. Since 1993, over £175,000 has been distributed to hundreds of young people to help develop their skills and talents, improve confidence and wellbeing and increase employment prospects.
One beneficiary, Alina* explains the difference the fund has made to her pursuing her preferred career:
"I’ve loved this funding opportunity and I’m already seeing a great difference. I have had six driving lessons so far and we have been working on some of my weaknesses and driving techniques. The fund is going to benefit me long term because once I pass my test I can go in for my c1 and get my licence so I can be a paramedic. I’ve loved not having to worry about the financial side of passing my test or how many lessons I need, it really has taken some stress off so I can learn properly without excess pressure."
Pat Roycroft, Brian’s wife and an advisor to the Fund paid tribute to Brian:
“Brian came to the North East in 1964 as Children’s Officer in Gateshead (the youngest Children’s Officer in the country at that time). In 1967 Brian moved to Newcastle City Council as Children’s Officer then in 1971 became Newcastle’s first and longest serving Director of Social Services. Brian loved his job. He was a proud ‘adopted’ Geordie and a Toon supporter but more importantly, he was passionate about the people of Newcastle whom he cared for as Director of Social Services. His door was open to one and all. Brian said he retired on his 60th birthday in 1993 so as to be able to devote more time to his voluntary sector national and local interests and this he did until his death in May 2002. His fund is a continuation of his commitment to those young people to ‘Dare to Dream’ “
Mike Worthington, Chair of the Brian Roycroft Fund Panel said:
“Since Brian’s death in 2002, I have been honoured to chair the fund panel. As the situation for care leavers has become more difficult in recent years, the fund has helped many young people realise their dreams. From having comfortable accommodation, to a laptop for their studies, or a driving licence to improve their employment prospects the fund has helped them to establish a more stable life.”
Elaine Holdsworth, Senior Philanthropy Advisor at the Community Foundation who advises on the fund said:
“Brian believed passionately about the welfare of children in local authority care and their ability to reach their full potential. Young people leaving care face many challenges and through this fund Brian’s legacy will continue to improve the lives of young people in their difficult transition to adulthood.”
If you want to leave a legacy to help future generations have a look at our giving options here
For more information on the Brian Roycroft Fund and for details on how to apply visit www.communityfoundation.org.uk/apply
*Please note the name of the young person has been changed.