North East Connected

Local charity calls on region to back funding bid

A Newcastle charity which runs several community projects, helping people start up new businesses, is calling on the region back them in a funding bid.

Reviving the Heart of the West End needs the help of the public to secure funding for Newcastle, which would see more start-up businesses in the city and encourage investment in the region.

The organisation is now calling on North East people to vote for them, to win funding from the NatWest Skills and Opportunities Fund.

The charity has applied for funding for its Business Sparks programme, which is aimed at 16-24-year olds. The programme helps young people set up their own business and offers practical hands-on support in the form of business workshops, test trading opportunities, and a business mentor pairing scheme, as well as one to one advice.

Alexandra Johnson, chief executive of RWHE said: “I am thrilled that we are the only organisation in Tyne and Wear to be shortlisted for the fund. If we are lucky enough to secure the funding, it would allow us to run four Business Sparks programmes next year.

“If successful, it means that we can offer our services and resources to a greater number of young people wanting to explore starting up their own business.

“Business Sparks has helped budding entrepreneurs run successful businesses since launching in 2011. We’ve had lots of great business ideas, including a parkour and freerunning business, clothing companies, and hair and beauty businesses, which have all gone on to be successful ventures.

“It would be great to extend the support and resources to more young people in the future, which the funding would enable us to do, so we really need people to show their support and vote for us.”

The Skills and Opportunities Fund run by NatWest, particularly looks at projects that help people in disadvantaged areas to build on their financial capability and develop the skills needed to start their own business – now or in the future.

This year, £2m has been made available for the fund and with the help of a public vote, regional boards will decide how a grant of up to £35,000 is allocated.

Votes for Business Sparks can be cast by visiting, selecting the ‘North’ region, and voting for Reviving the Heart of the West End.

Voting closes at 12pm midday on November 10.

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