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Siobhan Barton, Head of Stakeholder Relations, Jill Walker, Social Strategy Project Manager, Northern Gas Networks, Kate Hainsworth, CEO, Leeds Community Foundation

  • The Community Partnering Fund is now open to applications
  • Fund recognises and supports grass roots projects with economic, educational and social value
  • Brought forward by Northern Gas Networks, Northern Powergrid and Leeds Community Foundation.

Local community groups that demonstrate an innovative approach to sustainability are invited to come forward with the potential to receive a share of a grant distribution worth more than £100,000.
Northern Gas Networks (NGN), Northern Powergrid and Leeds Community Foundation have opened the annual, award-winning Community Partnering Fund for entries, with a bigger fund pot available than ever before.

The first phase will award grants of between £1,000 and £10,000 from a £50,000 fund pot, which will be distributed to grassroots projects and third-sector organisations, enabling the three fund partners to broaden their support for local communities in the process.
This year’s total fund will be the biggest yet, as Northern Gas Networks has also pledged to give back a further £2,000 to a deserving initiative following a fundraising drive that recognised and rewarded customer participation in a survey to help shape its future business plan, for 2021 – 2026, earlier this year.

Pioneering and sustainable programmes throughout the North of England, including projects that assist with the hardship associated with fuel poverty, those that promote knowledge of energy efficiency and initiatives that inform the public about home safety, are eligible to apply for the funding. Likewise, projects that encourage interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects and associated career opportunities, or groups that promote the free Priority Services Register, which supports energy customers in vulnerable situations, will also be considered for the grants and training on offer through the scheme.

The second phase of the programme, scheduled for early next year, will award an additional £50,000 to worthwhile projects.

Previous ventures helped under the scheme include Community Voice FM (CVFM Radio), which used its grant to reach up to 8,000 local people. The station conducted computer classes for ethnic minority groups, which included the opportunity to learn about energy consumption and participate in a live radio show to encourage listeners to compare their energy prices online. To further engage the community, a work club was also set up that supported residents to find employment. After shadowing radio presenters and conducting research on carbon monoxide poisoning, those attending the group created a jingle to educate local people about the dangers of CO and how they can be easily identified and avoided.

Tom Bell, Head of Social Strategy at Northern Gas Networks, the gas distributer for the North of England, said: “The Community Partnering Fund is open and ready to support many of the incredible projects taking place in our communities. This is a fantastic opportunity to boost the great work being delivered by inspiring individuals and teams. As a business based in the heart of communities, we are committed to giving back to the areas that we work in and that our team call home, and we wish everyone entering this year the very best of luck.”

Michelle Cummings, Social Responsibility Manager at Northern Powergrid, the company responsible for electricity distribution network that powers the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire, commented: “It’s incredibly rewarding to see first-hand how the fund can make a difference and how, as a fund partner, we can support the communities we serve beyond keeping their lights on. We’d encourage any groups with outreach activities that develop, strengthen, and educate their local communities about STEM subjects, saving energy and the support available through our free Priority Services Register, to apply for a grant.”

Kate Hainsworth, Chief Executive at Leeds Community Foundation, added: “Here at the Leeds Community Foundation, we’re proud to have been in partnership with Northern Gas Networks since the start of the funding scheme. Over the years we’ve seen the programme develop including joining forces with Northern Powergrid in 2018/19 and doubling the fund pot to £100,000, with awards of £50,000 now made every six months. We are excited to welcome applications from a range of exciting projects across the region.”

Idrees Rashid, Director of CVFM, said: “We are so thankful to have previously received a grant. The money enabled us to deliver some innovative and engaging activities, providing us the opportunity to support our local community and make a real difference to the lives of our listeners in the Tees Valley area.”

Applications for the annual Community Partnering Fund programme will be accepted from 4 September until 15 October 2019. For more information, search for #CommunityPartneringFund on social media or visit www.leedscf.org.uk/community-partnering-fund to apply for a grant.