Young people in North East to benefit from £2m fund

The Wellesley Trust has donated money from the sale of its land to the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland

From left to right: Rob Williamson, David Wilkinson, Roger Windass, Doreen Elwell, David Watson and Karen Daglish
From left to right: Rob Williamson, David Wilkinson, Roger Windass, Doreen Elwell, David Watson and Karen Daglish

Young people in the North East are to benefit from a £2m fund set up by a historic charity in the region.

The Wellesley Trust, which once ran a nautical school for the Royal Navy and Merchant Navy, has donated money from the sale of its land to the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland.

The Trust has sold its land for housing development and the proceeds will be used by the Community Foundation to support youth projects. The first gift of £1.3m into the new Wellesley Trust Fund at the Foundation has also attracted matched funds from a Government scheme, taking the total founding value to nearly £2m, which includes a sum for a first round of grants. In time, the fund will total more than £5m, with grant-making each year expected to exceed £250,000.

Rob Williamson, chief executive of the Community Foundation, said: “We are delighted that the trustees of the Wellesley Trust came to us to set up the fund, and that we were able to add to the founding gift through our match scheme.

“As part of our endowment, the fund will be invested to support young people for generations to come, and we look forward to showing the trustees the inspiring work across our communities that their giving will be able to support.”

The Wellesley Trust was founded in 1868 and accommodated on the HMS Wellesley moored at North Shields before a devastating fire in 1914.

David Watson, secretary of the Wellesley Trust, said: “We have been occupied by our efforts to sell the trust’s land because we had to realise the assets so we could benefit young people in the area. When we thought about how best to fulfil our purpose going forward, we quickly decided that working with the Community Foundation would be the best option because of its track record and expertise. We are excited to see the Fund set up, and are very much looking forward to getting on with the job of supporting vital youth projects across the region.”

The trustees will be advisors on grant-making from the Fund, with youth groups across Tyne & Wear, Northumberland and County Durham set to benefit.

A first round of grants will be made before summer.

Segedunum Museum is hosting an exhibition, which will run to July 13, to mark the 100th anniversary of the destruction of the Wellesley training ship by fire.

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