Northern Rock Foundation grants are a breath of Fresh air

GRANTS totalling £280,000 have been dished out to eight good causes across the North East by the Northern Rock Foundation.

GRANTS totalling £280,000 have been dished out to eight good causes across the North East by the Northern Rock Foundation.

The charity’s Fresh Ideas Fund supports organisations to help them look at new business models and explore new ways of generating income.

One of the successful groups was the Newcastle-based Youth Charity Keyfund which has received £30,000.

Keyfund recognised the need to build the ability and confidence of young people to effectively manage their own finances and to avoid sliding into debt.

As a result they created “Kerching”, a programme aimed specifically at tackling the growing issue of youth debt.

Way Up North, a group of friends from Hexham Youth Initiative, took part in the pilot and decided to manage money for real by setting up a clothing design business. The group sought advice from local entrepreneur, Kieran Irvin from Memoir Apparel, who helped them set up a website and promote their T-shirt business through a Facebook and Twitter feed.

The selling process was a success and the group are already planning to reinvest the profits in the business.

Keyfund’s Fresh Ideas Fund award will mean they can now roll out “Kerching” across the North East and Cumbria. They plan to sell Kerching packages to customers like social landlords and sponsors, like banks, accountancy firms and financial advisers.

Dianne Sharp, Keyfund chairwoman, said: “This is fantastic news for Keyfund. Our model for rolling out Kerching will help us to benefit the lives of thousands more young people, whilst creating a sustainable financial framework for both Keyfund and our Licensees.”

Penny Wilkinson, chief executive of the Northern Rock Foundation, said: “We are delighted with the wide range of projects we have been able to support through the latest round of Fresh Ideas Fund awards.

“Economic conditions mean that organisations need to think differently and Fresh Ideas Fund gives charities the chance to do just this and become more effective.”

Last year the Northern Rock Foundation made an award to Groundwork North East to help it to buy the Butterwick Tree Nursery which provides training and employment opportunities in Horticulture for offenders on Probation or on a Community Payback sentence.

“The Fresh Ideas award allowed us to purchase a viable business which helps us to achieve our wider social aims and to generate income at the same time,” said Kate Culverhouse, executive director of Groundwork.

“So it’s a win, win for both the organisation and the people it helps.”

We are delighted with the wide range of projects we have been able to support

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