- This story has been updated, please see final paragraph
The Northern Rock Foundation has cut the money available through its grant programmes by nearly 50 per cent.
The foundation will make £8m available for grants and development support in 2011/12, down from £15m the previous year.
It announced in January that it had renegotiated the terms of its covenant with the bank Northern Rock and would receive 1 per cent of pre-tax profits as part of a two-year rolling agreement that will be reviewed annually. Before Northern Rock was taken into public ownership, the foundation received 5 per cent of the bank’s profits.
Penny Wilkinson, chief executive of the foundation, said that all five of its existing grant programmes would continue this year "although with a tighter focus".
Charities and voluntary organisations in Northumberland, Cumbria, Durham, the Tees Valley or Tyne & Wear are eligible to apply. Money will be given out under five programmes. The amounts allocated to each area, and the minimum or maximum grant levels, have not been set.
The five areas are:
- Enabling Independence and Choice, focusing on older people, people with mental health problems. people with learning disabilities and carers
- Safety and Justice for Victims of Abuse, focusing on children and adults who experience domestic abuse, sexual abuse and sexual exploitation
- Changing Lives, focusing on young offenders and young people already within the criminal justice system, people who misuse drugs or alcohol, refugees, asylum seekers and migrant communities
- Managing Money, aimed at supporting people on low incomes to manage their finances and access affordable financial products
- Having a Home, focusing on homeless people, especially the young.
Wilkinson added that narrowing the focus of the grant programmes would "help to ensure that support for the most vulnerable people in the region is sustained during this period of widespread change for voluntary and community organisations".
- The Northern Rock Foundation received £15m last year but only £12m was made available for grants, meaning the budget has reduced by a third. This was not made clear at the time.