Newcastle Building Society has celebrated surpassing a major £2m milestone in growing the size of its charitable fund, which provides financial support to communities across the North East and Cumbria.

The Newcastle Building Society Community Fund at the Community Foundation provides grants to local charities and community group projects nominated for support by the Society’s customers.  The latest donation of £1m made by the Society to the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland has doubled the size of the Society’s endowment fund, which has now reached £2.1m.

Andrew Haigh, chief executive of Newcastle Building Society commented: “I continue to be amazed by the range of projects from across our region seeking support from the Fund.  It reflects the diverse needs of the communities we serve, and is a tribute to the dedication of local people who tirelessly and consistently work to make things better for their communities and for those in need of support.”

In the course of 2019, the Newcastle Building Society Community Fund expects to provide over £400,000 in grants. Since 2016, the total support provided by the Newcastle Building Society and the Community Fund to benefit local causes has surpassed £1.8m.

This year has seen 85 different projects benefit from small grant support of up to £3,000; including a a number of local food banks, a Gosforth dementia café that tackles social isolation, and a Teesside children’s hospice seeking easier ways for young children with profound learning disabilities to communicate through ipads.

Larger building improvement grants to repair or renovate community buildings and ensure valuable local hubs can continue, are also available, with three North East community groups and charities recently receiving through the scheme.

In addition to the nominated grants, the Community Fund provides ongoing financial support to the Prince’s Trust Team programme and the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation in delivery of their community programmes.

The Fund has grown through a combination of donations from Newcastle Building Society which are made proportion to balances in its ‘Community Saver’ savings accounts; donations from the Society through the ‘alternative’ dormant accounts scheme, and donations and fundraising by colleagues from across the Society.

Andrew Haigh added: “We will continue to make donations to the Newcastle Building Society Community Fund at the Community Foundation to ensure that the Fund is in a position to make a further meaningful contribution to our communities through grants made today, while building up capacity in the endowment to make grants long into the future.

“Reaching this £2m milestone is really just the start of our ambition to create, with the continued support of our customers and colleagues, a funding legacy which will be there to support the hard working and committed communities of the North East for many, many years to come.  ”

Rob Williamson, chief executive of the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland, said: Newcastle Building Society has been part of the Community Foundation family from our establishment over 30 years ago.

“The Society’s commitment to our area through the community fund we hold has benefitted a huge range of vital local projects. And it is a huge privilege for us to work with the Society’s staff and customers, matching their passion for making a difference with important causes on the ground.

“The Society continues to lead the way in charitable giving by businesses as shown by the major donation of £1m into the community fund’s endowment. Through this growing fund, we will help Newcastle Building Society ensure its generosity benefits people and places now, and for generations to come.”