Rob Williamson & Andrew HaighGood causes across the region are set to benefit from the launch of a new community funding approach by the region’s biggest building society.  Aiming to emulate the incredibly successful charitable funding it achieved for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, Newcastle Building Society has ambitions to create grants which will ultimately be worth tens of thousands a year to local communities.
Newcastle Building Society Community Fund in association with the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland will provide an ongoing source of financial support for charities and community groups that are located in or around the communities served by its 27-strong branch network, and put forward for support by its customers.
 
The Society’s ongoing community support work has already seen around £2.8m donated to over 900 projects over recent years, including £1.8m that has been raised so far for The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.
 
Six grants with a cumulative value of £18,000 will be made available over the next six months.  The Society has also launched a new savings account – the Newcastle Building Society Community Saver – and will pay an amount equivalent to 0.1% of all balances held in the account to its Community Fund, boosting the amount that can be made available in grants to North East causes.
 
Applications for the first grants which can be for a maximum of £3,000 each, are now open to customers who wish to support their local communities.  They can be made in any Society branch or via thenewcastle.co.uk website.
 
Applications will be judged every few months by a panel of Newcastle Building Society staff, with the support of expert advisors from the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland.
 
Andrew Haigh, chief executive at Newcastle Building Society, says: “Supporting our communities is core to what we do, and this latest move brings real focus and impact to our community and charity support.
“To date we have donated over £2.8m to a range of community projects and charities in the region, including the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.  With nearly £2m raised for the Foundation, we will continue to support this well loved North East cause, but we can also see an opportunity to raise significant funds for our wider communities – to create real and beneficial impact and improve things for a large number of communities in the years ahead.
“Many of our branches already have strong, active links to community groups and charities in their respective areas that were set up after customers told us about the excellent work that they do, and the Newcastle Building Society Community Fund will ensure we can provide tangible assistance to the groups that mean a lot to our customers and members.
“Community groups and charities based within across our branch network can be put forward, and involving our staff and customers in the decisions about which nominees receive our support will embed community support even more firmly into our operations.
Rob Williamson, chief executive at the Community Foundation, adds: ““The Community Foundation has enjoyed a long-established partnership with the Newcastle and we see this as an exciting opportunity for us to strengthen this relationship.
We are proud that the Society sees the value in expanding its philanthropic presence in the region via its existing fund at the Community Foundation and we look forward to a continuing strong working partnership.”
Full details of the Newcastle Building Society Community Fund and the criteria on which applications will be judged can be found at newcastle.co.uk/community