The Bernicia Foundation will launch its latest funding round next week to help local charities and voluntary organisations deliver their much-needed work to tackle social and economic isolation.

The Foundation’s Inclusion Grant awards up to £10,000 to voluntary/community groups and registered charities that help people overcome barriers which prevent them from accessing opportunities or participating fully in society.

In the year to March 2023, the Inclusion Grant awarded £212,000 to North East organisations in support of projects that reduce loneliness and isolation, promote independence and help people access financial advice and job training.

Applications open on Monday 20 November 2023 and close on Monday 2 January 2024, with grants awarded in spring 2024.

Berwick Youth Project received a £10,000 Inclusion Grant last year to support its ‘Community Crew’ project to enable young people in North Northumberland to receive positive support and mentoring through fun and challenging activities. Project Manager John Bell said: “The grant from The Bernicia Foundation enabled us to put on a full programme of activities for our Community Crew – giving a fantastic group of young people the chance to come together to support not only each other but their local community.”

The £10,000 grant that Ashington-based ESCAPE Family Support received in 2022 has helped the organisation to support many families of people living with addiction. Brian Charlton, Deputy Chief Executive Business and Finance and Janet Murphy MBE, Founder and Chief Executive of ESCAPE, explained: “During the first six months of this grant, ESCAPE supported almost 220 families – 72 of those family cases have been closed with overwhelmingly positive outcomes and improvements to wellbeing and we continue to work with the other families and new referrals.

“Thanks to the grant towards our core costs, ESCAPE has been able to provide support to families and carers, including children and adults, throughout Northumberland.”

Jenny Allinson, Director of Corporate Governance at Bernicia Group, added: “Through the Inclusion Grant, we want to support the incredible charities and third sector organisations across the North East that are doing tremendous work to help people live more fulfilling lives.

“Those organisations are delivering invaluable services in our communities and this funding can make a real difference in helping people into work and to feel less isolated.”

The Bernicia Foundation also offers an Inspiration Fund of up to £1,000 to young people aged 24 or under who face barriers in the development of their talents. Past funding rounds have provided grants towards the costs of helping young people reach their full potential in life. Applications for the Inspiration Fund also open on 20 November 2023.