24th Feb 2021

The Acorns Project in North Tyneside are the most recent group to benefit from a grant from the Jackie Haq Fund.

The Jackie Haq Fund at the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland is celebrating a notable landmark having given out £50,000 in small grants to local charities and community groups in the West End of Newcastle and North Tyneside. 

The fund was set-up almost three decades ago by Jackie Haq (now Dr Jackie Drew MBE). Jackie was a local woman, single parent and community activist in Scotswood when she was awarded the Jameson Award in 1992 for her work in combatting urban poverty. She made the decision to donate the cash prize (£25,000) to the Community Foundation in order to establish the Jackie Haq Fund, to give grants to local groups and organisations working to make Scotswood a better place to live. Jackie always refers to her fund, from the start, as being from, and because of, the local community: 

“All the achievements that were being recognised by the Jameson Award were a result of collective action, taken by local residents, frequently in the face of opposition. For this reason, my decision to set up the Jackie Haq fund was a ‘moral’ one. I was proud to be part of all that we achieved as local people working collaboratively. Because everything we did together, as unpaid, dedicated, activists (mainly women), often at great personal cost, was a result of collective action, I did not want to keep the money for myself. (My decision was not taken lightly. At the time, as a lone parent of five children, we had very little and life was a struggle financially and emotionally.) 

“As activist, we set up the first Credit Union in the North East, to tackle the loan sharks preying on local people in our working-class community, who had limited resources. We initiated and led campaigns on joy-riding, housing, public transport and more. We set up local-led structures, developing and instigating policy and practice for jobs, training, young people and parents, childcare, housing and tackling crime. The Jackie Haq Fund is a recognition of the power of community in action. 

“The Jameson Award was given in recognition of collective action that I was just one part of, so I was determined to use the money not for myself but to support ongoing community action, with supporting women and girls and tackling poverty being my primary motivations’.”  

Dr. Jackie Drew MBE

The value of the gift has since grown, within the Foundation’s endowment, and is now worth more than £75,000. 

Jon Goodwin, Senior Philanthropy Advisor at the Community Foundation, is impressed not just that Jackie gave the money away, but that she did so via the Foundation:   

“The Jackie Haq Fund combines the power of generosity with the power of endowment. Deciding to give this money away was one thing. But rather than spending it in one go in the early nineties, investing it via the Community Foundation means that the fund has been able to give away more than twice the value of the initial gift – and will continue to exist in perpetuity”.  

Local charities tackling food poverty and domestic violence are the latest recipients of small grants from the fund.  

One such group is Acorns Project, a charity based in North Tyneside who used the unrestricted grant they received to help them mitigate the pandemic’s damaging effects on levels of domestic violence and food poverty in North Tyneside. 

Abby Burton, Manager at the Acorns Project explained how a grant of this type can have an immediate impact: 

“The grant has allowed us to be flexible and responsive in our approach to tackling the needs of our beneficiaries during the pandemic. We were able to increase our staff team very quickly, in an effort to tackle the back log of work caused by the first lockdown and the increased number of referrals coming in for our services, due to the rise in domestic abuse which has been exacerbated by continuous restrictions. 

Funding applications for project work can take months to be processed, so grants such as this, coming at a time of our greatest need, really do make an immediate difference to the children and young people who access our services, and their families.”  

Among the hundred grants that the fund has made over the last three decades, Jackie refers to one shining example of local people’s initiatives growing from a small initial (£500) grant that helped establish a support group for parents and families of drug users in Scotswood; that group became PROPS North East, a regional charity with a six-figure annual budget.  

For more information about funding opportunities at the Community Foundation visit www.communityfoundation.org.uk/apply  

Start giving small amounts today through the Giving Network: www.communityfoundation.org.uk/givingandphilanthropy/the-giving-network 

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