Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

How Long Will It Be So Rock Solid? COULD One of the Region's Biggest Charitable Foundations Be Forced to Close Its Doors in the Next Few Years? Political Editor WILLIAM GREEN Reports

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

How Long Will It Be So Rock Solid? COULD One of the Region's Biggest Charitable Foundations Be Forced to Close Its Doors in the Next Few Years? Political Editor WILLIAM GREEN Reports

Article excerpt

Byline: WILLIAM GREEN

IN just a dozen years, the Northern Rock Foundation has become an integral part of North East life.

It has handed out grants of nearly pounds 190m to charities in the North East and Cumbria in that time, with its main goal being to make life better for the disadvantaged.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been helped. And the latest summer round of grants, totalling nearly pounds 3m, underline the foundation's importance to a diverse range of groups.

The Waddington Street Centre, in Durham, was given pounds 100,601 over three years. It supports people with mental health problems.

Another pounds 85,436 over three years went to the Search project that provides information and advice to older people in the West End of Newcastle.

The South Tyneside Citizens Advice Bureau received pounds 110,273, while children's charity Barnardo's was given pounds 270,000 -with three-year terms for both grants. A pounds 38,305 oneyear grant was handed to Newcastle Women's Aid.

But the long-term future of the foundation is unclear with its guaranteed pounds 15m annual donation from Northern Rock coming to an end this year.

Then Chancellor Alistair Darling agreed to the annual pounds 15m donation in 2008 when Northern Rock was nationalised after nearly collapsing in the credit crunch.

Up until then, the foundation used to receive a percentage of the bank's profits. The foundation and its funding were established when Northern Rock demutualised and became a bank in 1997.

Alastair Balls, the chairman of the board of trustees, said the foundation had put aside reserves to continue for "at least" another four years.

Some pounds 37m was held in reserves as of the end of last year to absorb any shock from a reduction in funding, according to Mr Balls in the foundation's accounts for 2009 published earlier this year. "This provides sufficient time for trustees to take appropriate action to reflect any significant change in the level of funding resulting from the covenant by Northern Rock.

"Control systems exist to ensure the level of reserves is monitored at least monthly.

"The current intention is to preserve sufficient funds so that the trustees may, with confidence, continue grant-making for at least a further four years, taking into account only known income and reserves," said Mr Balls. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.