A new £1m charitable foundation led by North East housing association Bernicia is now open for business to support people and communities across the region.

The Bernicia Foundation will help fund projects and initiatives that deliver real and lasting community benefits, alongside those that support individuals to achieve their ambitions.

Over the next four years, the foundation will channel profits from Bernicia’s commercial property arm Kingston and invest them into people and communities at a time of need.

It will be led by Andrea Malcolm, Bernicia Director of People, Culture and Communications, and a board of trustees with the priorities of social and financial well-being and nurturing young talent and innovation.

“The Bernicia Foundation is an exciting opportunity for us to award grants to organisations committed to delivering real community benefits, such as tackling loneliness and accessing employment opportunities, as well as providing support for young talent to flourish,” said Andrea.

“As a responsible business and landlord, we recognise the important role and opportunity we have to support our wider communities.

“We are inspired daily by the creativity and determination of people across our region to support one another, and want to do all that we can to help.”

The foundation will operate in addition to Bernicia’s already highly regarded social value commitments, which focus on health and well-being, developing employability skills and creating work experience and apprenticeship opportunities.

The foundation will make two types of grant to organisations and people across Tyne and Wear, County Durham, Teesside and Northumberland.

Inspiration Grants of between £5,000 and £10,000 will be made to voluntary or community groups, registered charities, social enterprises and co-operatives with an annual income under £750,000 per year.

Inclusion Grants valued at up to £1,000 will target inspirational young people aged 24 and under or organisations helping young people.

Julien Lake, Chief Executive of Berwick Community Trust, a charity working with Bernicia to give people the skills they need for employment, said: “We are really excited to hear about the Bernicia Foundation coming on stream.

“We think it will be a fantastic opportunity for communities to think about how they can work together with Bernicia and to make life a little better and more rewarding for people right across the North East.”

Bernicia Chief Executive John Johnston said: “The Bernicia Foundation will provide additional support to our communities at a time when arguably they need it the most.

“Bernicia’s commercial company, Kingston, which provides estate, property and facilities management expertise to 20,000 home owners, operate under a profit for purpose ethos and gift aid their annual surplus to Bernicia. The Bernicia board determined that £1m of this, over the next four years, should be used to support the work of our newly established foundation.”