Supporting social enterprise and investment in voluntary organisations in Cumbria

13th January 2016

A fund formed to help the future development of charities, support groups and voluntary organisations in Cumbria has been given funding for a further two years.

Since 2011, the Northern Rock Foundation has supported the sustainability of the voluntary and community sector through the Fresh Ideas Fund, helping a number of organisations in Cumbria explore new ideas and opportunities for income generation and new services.

Now, as part of its last legacy grant awards, Northern Rock Foundation has announced it will provide a further £500,000 to continue the successful Fresh Ideas Fund programme in Cumbria in 2016 and 2017.

The Fresh Ideas Fund will be run by the Newcastle-based Northstar Foundation, which will be working closely with Cumbria Community Foundation.

The fund will provide successful applicants with up to £50,000 to fund a feasibility study, apply for expert, specialist advice and cover start-up costs. A mentor from Northstar Ventures will also be on hand to support them at each step of the way.

At the same time, Northern Rock Foundation has transferred its £500,000 shareholding in Charity Bank, to Cumbria Community Foundation. Charity Bank is an ethical bank that uses its savers’ money to make loans solely to charities and social enterprises. This will strengthen existing links between Charity Bank and Cumbria and support the development of social investment in the region.

Alastair Balls, Chairman of Northern Rock Foundation, said: “Trustees are pleased to be able to continue to provide much needed grant funding for charities in Cumbria for the next two years through the Fresh Ideas Fund.

“We also hope that Cumbria Community Foundation’s new relationship with Charity Bank will create social investment opportunities for the voluntary sector that will have long lasting benefits.”