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Virgin Money announces plans to invest in North East community projects


  • Virgin Money to invest £1 million in the region in 2015
  • Virgin Money pledges £850,000 to help OnSide establish the first Youth Zone in the North East, working alongside the Northern Rock Foundation
  • A new £150,000 grant-giving fund to be set-up with The Community Foundation (Tyne & Wear and Northumberland) to help young people realise their potential
  • Discussions continue on a proposed new housing regeneration scheme with Newcastle City Council

Virgin Money has today reinforced its commitment to the North East by announcing it will invest £1 million in 2015 into community projects designed to make a positive difference to young people in the region.

The first project will see Virgin Money and the Northern Rock Foundation (the “Foundation”) work together to support OnSide in creating the first Youth Zone in the North East, giving young people aged 8-19 a place to socialise, be creative and inspire one another in their free time. Virgin Money has pledged £850,000 towards building the first centre in the region and the Foundation has confirmed its intention to work with OnSide, alongside Virgin Money and other organisations to achieve this.

Virgin Money will also extend its existing links with The Community Foundation (Tyne & Wear and Northumberland), by creating a £150,000 charitable fund. Applications will be invited for grants to help young people achieve more by overcoming barriers such as homelessness, mental health issues and low educational attainment. Grants will also be made to support adults and young people to get into work and to become more enterprising through schemes that support them to develop their own businesses. Applications will be invited from January 2015.

Virgin Money is also in preliminary discussions with Newcastle City Council to create a programme to revitalise empty properties across the city in 2015, helping to address the need for affordable homes in the area. Further information will follow in early 2015.

Virgin Money’s investment in 2015 follows its offer to donate £1 million per year, for five years, to the region through the Foundation, with the Foundation raising £3 million per year from the private sector locally. After serious consideration by the Foundation’s Trustees, and discussion between the Foundation and Virgin Money, it was concluded that the existing charitable commitments of other businesses in the region meant that this was not a viable option. Given this, Virgin Money will invest £1 million directly into local projects.

Virgin Money Chief Executive Jayne-Anne Gadhia said: “We are serious about our commitment to the North East community and today’s announcement will see us invest in the future of young people in the region.

"We are excited to be working alongside the Northern Rock Foundation to support the creation of the North East’s first Youth Zone, which will benefit young people in the region for generations to come.

“We are also delighted to be extending our long-standing relationship with The Community Foundation, to help young people realise their potential, and I am looking forward to opening the grant application process in January 2015.

"Virgin Money takes its social responsibilities very seriously in all of the communities in which we operate as we seek to deliver on our ambition to make everyone better off. We are grateful to all of the organisations we are working with for helping us to deliver on this ambition in the North East."

Sir Peter Vardy, who is championing OnSide Youth Zones across the North East said: "We're absolutely delighted to receive the commitment from Virgin Money and Northern Rock Foundation to help make our dream of bringing the first Youth Zone to the North East a reality.

"Youth Zones are more than just buildings, they provide young people with the right opportunities to realise their potential. This project represents an investment in young people, demonstrating our belief that they deserve the best, and ultimately it is an investment in the future of the North East itself."

Rob Williamson, The Community Foundation (Tyne and Wear and Northumberland) Chief Executive said: "With this extra support through the Virgin Money Fund, we will be able to support vital local organisations which help make a tangible and positive difference to people’s lives. We are looking forward to getting started in early 2015."

Leader of Newcastle City Council, Cllr Nick Forbes, said: "We are keen to work with partners to develop housing which is currently unused; turning empty properties into homes tackles our housing shortage and revitalises communities. While our discussions with Virgin Money on this project are at an early stage, talks so far have been very promising and we are looking forward to seeing what we can bring to fruition together, here in Newcastle."

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Media Contacts:

Virgin Money Press Office:
0191 279 4676


About Virgin Money

  • Virgin Money provides savings, mortgages, credit cards, current accounts, pensions, investment and protection products
  • Virgin Money’s business ambition is to make “everyone better off” – this philosophy underpins our approach to business by offering good value to customers, treating employees well, making a positive contribution to society and delivering a profit to shareholders
  • Virgin Money is the official sponsor of the London Marathon, the biggest annual one-day fundraising event in the world. Virgin Money has helped London Marathon runners raise over £¼ billion including funds raised through Virgin Money Giving the not-for-profit online fundraising service, since 2010.

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