Rise, a North East charity working with communities across Northumberland and Tyne & Wear to improve access to sport and physical activities, has invested more than half a million pounds in grass roots activity projects since it launched 12 months ago.

The charity has secured £535,000 in funding which it has used to support over 90 community-based activity initiatives that are creating and offering exercise and social opportunities for people of all ages and abilities, to improve health and wellbeing, whilst tackling barriers to participation, social isolation and loneliness.

Rise is funded by Sport England and is one of 42 Active Partnerships across the country. Its strategic focus is to encourage people from all walks of life to be more active, in particular individuals who are currently moving for less than 30 minutes per week.

One of the projects Rise has supported in its first year includes £75k to help young people across Newcastle and Gateshead who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, to cope with their challenges through the power of sport, physical activity and friendship.

Rise secured the funding from Virgin Money and The London Marathon Charitable Trust. It is working with local organisations including Changing Lives, YMCA Newcastle and South Tyneside and the Albert Kennedy Trust to help them offer physical activities and wellbeing support to their service users.

Clare Morley, CEO of RISE, said: “I can’t believe that it’s already been a year since we created Rise. The last 12 months have obviously been so difficult for so many people through the pandemic, but despite this, we are proud to have been able to drive forward the agenda of utilising the power of physical activity to positively impact more lives across Northumberland and Tyne & Wear.

“We still have so much to do in this space, but have thoroughly enjoyed the work we have been able to progress in our first year and we look forward to supporting our partners to maximise their results for our communities through physical activity for many years to come.”

Since its launch, Rise has also supported Veterans in Crisis Sunderland, to help them to continue looking after members during the pandemic. Rise donated £14,000 to the charity which has funded socially distanced and one-to-one exercise sessions.

Paul McLoughlin, business development manager at Veterans in Crisis, said: “On leaving the forces, veterans face the challenge of integrating with society at large.  The camaraderie and humour enjoyed while serving doesn’t always translate well in society, being able to communicate with like-minded individuals during the activities gives our member’s strength in mental resilience and cements new friendships.

“Our fitness co-ordinator, also a veteran, was able to set challenges to the ability of the members making the activities an enjoyable achievement. The financial support we’ve received from Rise has been pivotal in keeping our veterans motivated during the various periods of lockdown.”