Charitable funding is vital to the community

While Northumberland is a great place to live and work, issues such as youth unemployment and poverty are major concerns.

Saturday, 8th October 2016, 7:07 am
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 7:35 pm
Becci Murray with Joanne Douglas of the Here For You project

That is the finding of research carried out by the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland.

It has been working on Vital Signs 2016, a global initiative which gathers data and knowledge to influence how philanthropic support can best tackle issues in communities.

As part of its fact-finding, the Community Foundation asked local people and organisations where philanthropy could make most difference.

Funding for community buildings, voluntary sector projects and encouraging volunteering emerged as top priorities.

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Rob Williamson, chief executive of the Community Foundation, said: “Our consultation suggests that Northumberland residents recognise charitable funding is vital to the work of community organisations and their work underpins the good quality of life enjoyed by people across the county.”

As well as presenting research into the needs of the area, Vital Signs includes views from some of those donors who give in Northumberland and stories about charitable projects that are making a real difference to the lives of local people.

An example of this includes the Northern Angel Fund for Berwick which helped to plug a gap in funding for Here for You, a service provided by the Berwick Community Trust.

The scheme is a lifeline for many Berwick residents by supporting job seekers with search activities and enhancing employability skills through accredited training.

It has helped employees from Jus-Rol and Seton Hall after they lost their jobs.

Becci Murray, project manager, said: “The project is able to increase digital and social integration, as well as employment through access to IT, support and training opportunities specific to the individual whilst helping to address challenges faced by the rural community.”

Vital Signs 2016 also reveals how philanthropic funding through the Community Foundation is unevenly distributed within Northumberland.

Mark Pierce, director of Community Knowledge and Funding at the Community Foundation adds: “The Community Foundation is trying to encourage more local giving to fill the gaps in philanthropic funding across Northumberland.

“An overall shortfall in the south east is a concern given the disadvantage there, but we are targeting our funding on key issues like unemployment, health and learning. However, we also need to consider how to provide support to address needs that can be hidden even within more apparently prosperous rural communities.”

For more information about Northumberland’s Vital Signs 2016 visit http://www.communityfoundation.org.uk/vital-signs- northumberland/