Virgin Money Foundation registers with the Charity Commission

The foundation was set up after the Northern Rock bank, which had set up the Northern Rock Foundation, was bought by the Virgin Money bank

Virgin Money: bought Northern Rock
Virgin Money: bought Northern Rock

The Virgin Money Foundation, which was set up in response to the demise of the Northern Rock Foundation and was promised by the government £4m in Libor fines, has registered with the Charity Commission.

The NRF, a grant-maker that supports organisations tackling disadvantage in north-east England and Cumbria, was set up by the Northern Rock bank in 1997 and received substantial annual donations from the bank until it collapsed and was purchased by another bank, Virgin Money.

Virgin Money’s initial plan to secure the future of the foundation was deemed unviable by the charity, which said it would have to close instead.

In December, Chancellor George Osborne pledged £1m of annual funding for four years to a newly created Virgin Money Foundation, with the money coming from fines levied on banks involved in the Libor-rigging scandal.

Additional funding for the charity will be made by Virgin Money based on the bank’s performance, a spokesman for Virgin Money said in December. He said the charity would initially focus on the north east but would take on a wider remit at an unspecified time in the future.

The foundation was registered yesterday as a charity by the Charity Commission with the object of promoting the sustainable regeneration of socially or economically deprived communities in the UK.

Third Sector contacted the new charity and was told by a member of staff that it was "in the process of setting up", but he refused to comment further on how many staff it had, when it planned to launch publicly or other details about its future.

A spokesman for Virgin Money said today that in 2015 the bank itself was making grants of £150,000 to the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland and £850,000 to create the first Youth Zone in the north east, and that these grants would be managed through the foundation.

A statement on the website of the NRF says: "The foundation has now closed its grant programmes and is no longer accepting applications. Trustees are preparing for the likely closure of the foundation, probably within 18 months from January 2015."

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