1.5m awarded to four Community Foundations

05 February 2015

The Northern Rock Foundation has awarded a total of £1.5 million in grants to the Community Foundations of County Durham, Cumbria, Tees Valley and Tyne & Wear and Northumberland.

Over the last 18 years, the Northern Rock Foundation (NRF) has funded hundreds of worthwhile causes across the North East of England and Cumbria. The charity is now due to be wound up after failing to secure future funding with Virgin Money, who bought it in 2011. The NRF has begun what is thought to be its final year in operation by awarding £1.5 million in grants of £375,000 each to the region’s four community foundations. Each of these awards mean that local communities will still be able to benefit from the Foundation’s funds for years to come.


As part of the Northern Rock Foundation’s legacy programme and to ensure that the remainder of the Foundation’s funding provides long term benefit for current and future generations across the region, the trustees awarded all four North East community foundations an unrestricted grant of £375,000.

County Durham Community Foundation will use the grant as a ‘Heritage through the Arts’ Endowment Match Fund, using the £375,000 to uplift donations by 50%. Grants will be distributed as a percentage of the fund after a year’s investment to projects that combine local heritage with creative mechanisms to tackle disadvantage, improve social skills and raise aspirations in the communities of County Durham & Darlington.

We believe this will add real value to the vision for County Durham & Darlington as a Cultural and Heritage centre and leave an important legacy for the Northern Rock Foundation. We hope to be able to raise match funds to make a total endowed fund of £1.125 million with an annual distribution of around £45,000 in the early years.

The fund will supports creative arts and cultural initiatives that reflect and showcase the heritage and history of County Durham and Darlington.