Newcastle Building Society has announced its commitment to communities to help the region manage and recover from the impact of Covid-19 will top £1.5m.

The Society’s commitment to its communities includes the launch of a £1.1m partnership in July with Newcastle United Foundation, to deliver the redevelopment of the Murray House Recreation Centre into a hub for sports, education and wellbeing. It will also support the NU:Futures outreach programme, targeting thousands of schoolchildren and hundreds of young people not in education, employment and training across North of Tyne.

This followed a £100,000 donation, at the start of the pandemic, made to the Community Foundation Coronavirus Response and Recovery Fund, which has been distributed to a range of vital local groups making a difference to vulnerable people’s lives across the region.

In addition, the Society has continued to award grants through its own fund at the Community Foundation. In May, £35,000 donations of up to £3,000 each were given to 14 different charities and communities severely affected by the virus. As part of today’s announcement, the Society has also committed to supporting another £165,000 in grants to be distributed before the end of 2020 to North East hospices, cancer charities, food banks, and to support people with dementia and combat isolation in older people, all under significant pressure as a result of Covid.

Andrew Haigh, chief executive of Newcastle Building Society, said: “The impact of the pandemic has been profound and has disproportionately impacted many disadvantaged groups within our region. It means in these challenging times, our focus on communities is more relevant and important than ever.

“This is why we’ve made it a priority to increase our support for our region’s local communities and I’m so proud that we’re able to commit £1.5m to good causes this year. By working closely with our community partners and the groups who are most affected by the pandemic, we’re able to focus our impact where it’s needed most and play a role in our region’s recovery.”

The Society’s financial commitment to its communities in 2020 also includes ongoing financial support to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and The Prince’s Trust.

Earlier this year, Newcastle Building Society also launched a Newcastle-based pilot of a new volunteering app, onHand, which matches its colleague volunteers with older adults in the region who need help with simple tasks.

Andrew added: “The Society’s £1.5m financial commitment is matched by the incredible contribution of our colleagues, who have worked tirelessly to continue to serve our customers throughout the pandemic. Time and again our people demonstrate a genuine passion for their communities and enthusiasm for volunteering; they are the perfect embodiment of our Society.”

For more information about Newcastle Building Society visit www.newcastle.co.uk