Community groups in Tyne and Wear are being invited to apply for a share of funding which will support organisations to improve the lives of children and young people across the county in the wake of COVID-19.

The annual High Sheriff’s Awards for Tyne & Wear were established as part of the Community Foundation in 1993 and last year awarded a total of £47,000 to community groups across Tyne and Wear. This year’s awards have a particular focus on supporting young people in ways that help improve their career prospects.

Sarah Stewart, the High Sheriff of Tyne & Wear for 2020-21, explained:

“Voluntary and community groups across Tyne & Wear do a fantastic job in supporting children and young people and these Awards look to recognise and raise awareness of their work in helping young people to achieve their goals – whether that’s through music, sport or activities and training programmes.

“Given the impact of Covid-19 and the resulting economic downturn, this year the Awards will also look to support groups providing skills development, training and employment opportunities for young people.” 

Previous successful applicants to the fund include community football project, Sunderland Samba FC; Gateshead-based Northern Roots, which connects people through music; and North Shields-based Ocean Youth Trust North, which specialises in the personal development of young people through ocean sailing.

Steve Lennon, Managing Director of Ocean Youth Trust, said: “Ocean Youth Trust North helps to shape young people’s futures by taking them away from their everyday routine and inspiring them to make positive changes to their lives through ‘Adventure under Sail’. We would struggle to provide this service to young people in Tyne and Wear without the support of schemes such as the High Sheriff’s Fund, for which we are extremely grateful.”

The fund is open to organisations in Tyne and Wear which work with young people aged between 10 and 25 years, helping them to develop new skills or overcome personal challenges. Up to 50 organisations will be awarded grants from this year’s fund.

Sarah Stewart added: “The past few months have been particularly difficult for children and young people, with many seeing their plans for the future turned upside down.

“The High Sheriff’s Awards give us an opportunity to help young people in Tyne and Wear to overcome some of the difficulties they might be facing by building confidence and gaining new skills that will stand them in good stead as they become young adults.” 

The High Sheriff’s Awards are based on an endowment fund that was set up by two former High Sheriffs of Tyne & Wear, Roger Spoor and Sir David Chapman. Income from the fund is supplemented through fundraising activities and grants from trusts and foundations, such as the Sir James Knott Trust which has generously supported the High Sheriff Awards over many years.

Applications for the fund are open until midnight on Sunday 18 October 2020, and organisations can apply online via The Community Foundation’s website, at www.communityfoundation.org.uk/group_grant/high-sheriff-of-tyne-wear-awards-scheme-2/.

Successful applicants will be invited to attend an awards ceremony in March 2021 to celebrate their work by and for children and young people.

The High Sheriff’s Awards for Tyne & Wear are part of the Community Foundation for Tyne & Wear and Northumberland, which matches generous people with important community causes. Every year, the Foundation award grants to hundreds of small charities in Tyne & Wear and Northumberland, and across North East England, through funds set up by a range of donors.