20th Nov 2019
The first release of dormant account money directly from a building society to a UK charity has been announced. The Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland has received £1 million from Newcastle Building Society under the ‘alternative’ dormant accounts scheme. The transfer builds on a long-term relationship between the two organisations and takes the value of Newcastle Building Society’s charitable endowment fund at the Community Foundation to over £2 million.
The Dormant Bank and Building Society Accounts Act 2008 allows institutions to participate in a scheme overseen by the Reclaim Fund to channel funds from dormant accounts to good causes. The main scheme involves the National Lottery Community Fund managing funds with each devolved administration deciding on their use through a national pot. However, building societies and others with balance sheet values below £7 billion can use an alternative scheme where qualifying dormant accounts can support a favoured local and aligned charity. Newcastle Building Society is the first to take advantage of the alternative scheme.
Andrew Haigh, Chief Executive of Newcastle Building Society, said: “We have bold ambitions at Newcastle Building Society to grow our charitable giving. We have a strong relationship with the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland, a charity with whom we have a built a significant community fund through Society donations and colleague fundraising. The arrangements for managing dormant assets through the Reclaim Fund have enabled us to make a substantial addition to the Fund, which will further strengthen our ability to make a positive difference for the communities we serve. Through the scheme, we have now doubled the size of the endowment in the Newcastle Building Society Community Fund at the Community Foundation to over £2m.
“For us it is important to be able to make a difference here in the North East, where our members and branches are, rather than contributing to a national pot. So, we are delighted to be the first building society to agree this arrangement with the Reclaim Fund and we look forward to seeing others using the Alternative Scheme to support their own local communities.”
The Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland is the largest of its type in the UK by asset size. In the last financial year, it awarded 1,515 grants totalling £7.8 million. Most grants are funded through its endowment, which stands at £85 million. It also awards grants through programme and partnership funds. The Newcastle Building Society Community Fund at the Community Foundation was established in 1990 and supports community organisations in North East England and beyond where the firm has branches.
Rob Williamson, Chief Executive of the Community Foundation, said: “Newcastle Building Society has been part of the Community Foundation family from our establishment 30 years ago. The Society’s generosity and commitment to our area through the fund we hold has seen support go to a huge range of projects, including people living with dementia in Tyne & Wear, community associations in County Durham, hospice care in Northumberland, and supported housing in Cumbria. It is no surprise, then, to see the Society leading the way on dormant account funds and we are honoured to be the recipient of this first-of-its kind donation. We look forward to continuing to make a difference through our work with Newcastle Building Society and all our other individual, family and business donors.”
Diane Millward, Head of Operations and Finance at the Reclaim Fund, said: “We are delighted to welcome Newcastle Building Society as the first participant in the Alternative Dormant Accounts Scheme. We look forward to continuing our work with the Society which facilitates their charitable donations in North East England whilst continuing to protect the interests of dormant account holders.”