Venator, the experts in pigments and additives, has announced the first ever winners of its £10,000 Together Fund, following an online public vote involving thousands of people from across the North East region.

Last month, more than 64,906 people voted for 109 shortlisted community groups, sporting clubs and other organisations as they went head to head in an online public vote for a share of the £10,000 Together Fund.

Now Venator has declared the 40 ‘most voted for’ winning applicants. Each of the winning groups will now receive a grant of £250 towards activities that inspire teamwork, one of Venator’s core values.

The 40 winners include successful teams, clubs and groups from the following areas: Newcastle (1), Durham (9), North Tyneside (1); South Tyneside (2), Hartlepool (2), Middlesbrough (6), Stockton (8), Redcar & Cleveland (6), Darlington (2) and North Yorkshire (3).

Winning not for profit and community groups include: schools, Scouts, a homeless café, dementia project, Polish Saturday School, a Giving Garden, sea cadets, boys’ club, carers’ clubs, theatre groups and town bands.

The top performing project with the most number of votes cast was Neighbourhood Welfare in Middlesbrough, with 3,074 votes – more than double the next project: Grangetown Netball Club, Middlesbrough (1,533 votes), Guisborough and East Cleveland Sea Cadets (1,530), and Darlington Harriers & Athletics Club (1,497).

A vast array of sports are represented in the winners’ honours – including dance, netball, football, angling, rugby, cricket, gymnastics, athletics, hockey, rowing, roller hockey, roller derby and Hapkido.

Karen Fenwick, Vice President Corporate Branding and Communications, said: “We are delighted with the volume and variety of applicants, as well as the wide range of community groups represented.

“To see over 64,906 people voting for their favourite local projects shows what a really great community we have here in the North East. There are some fantastic and humbling stories among our winners and, without exception, all of our successful applicants and winners, represent the very best community spirit.

“With 800 employees from across the North East, we think it’s important to give back to the communities where we live and work, so we are delighted to reward the winners who share our values of togetherness and teamwork. We send our congratulations to them all and can’t wait to see the winners spend their grants for the benefit of their members and local communities.”

The Together Fund – one of two to be set up under the £20,000 Venator Community Fund – was launched in July 2018 to promote teamwork and innovation amongst groups and organisations across the North East of England.

Venator is a New York Stock Exchange listed business with its global HQ at Wynyard Park and sites at Greatham and Birtley. The company established its first ever £20,000 Community Fund in July 2018 in a bid to support the communities in which its employees live and work.

The £20,000 Venator Community Fund incorporates The Together Fund and the Bright Ideas Fund, with the latter to be launched in early 2019 to inspire innovation, another Venator value, through ideas in science, engineering, technology and maths.