Berwick Youth Project Community Crew

The Bernicia Foundation has passed the milestone of £1m in grants, helping communities and young people, just months after celebrating its fourth birthday.

The charitable arm of Bernicia, the North East housing association, has just gifted the region its one-millionth pound of support for projects that deliver lasting community benefits and help inspirational young people reach their goals.

The Foundation, established to support individuals, groups and communities in Bernicia’s operating areas, awarded its first grants in February 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through its Inclusion and Inspiration Grants, the Foundation supports charities, third-sector organisations and individuals across the North East to help people live more fulfilling lives.

In surpassing the £1m milestone, the Bernicia Foundation has now supported thousands of people across the region during a period of unprecedented economic and social challenge. Inclusion Grants of up to £10,000 have been awarded to 95 charities, charitable companies and constituted voluntary and community organisations, while Inspiration Grants of up to £1,000 have been awarded to 33 talented young people, with a further £200,000 in targeted emergency COVID-19 support given to local authorities to deliver to community support charities.


The people and projects supported by The Bernicia Foundation’s grants include charities tackling poverty relief, working with people with addictions and their families, disability support, job creation, health activities, support for care leavers and neurodivergence schemes as well as talented young sports people and musicians.

John Johnston, Bernicia Chief Executive, said: “The Bernicia Foundation was created with a £1m funding pledge from Bernicia Group and we’re delighted to achieve this milestone in supporting communities and talented young people at a time when arguably they need our help the most.

“The grants are made possible due to the success of Bernicia’s commercial company Kingston which gift aids its profits to the Foundation.”

North Tyneside-based charity Headliners received a £10,000 Inclusion Grant in the latest round of funding to become the beneficiaries of the Foundation’s one millionth pound. The funding will support its ‘Tyne on Your Side’ project – providing a platform that enables and empowers young people leaving the care system and those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) to develop skills for meaningful employment and independence.

Charity Manager at Headliners, Holly Ayrton, said: “The Inclusion Grant from The Bernicia Foundation has enabled us to develop a fantastic programme that will give care leavers and young people with SEND the means to make good choices in their own lives.

“We are delighted to receive the Foundation’s one millionth pound of funding and to put it to good use in supporting the professional and personal development of young people across the North East.”

Jenny Allinson, The Bernicia Foundation Director, said: “The Foundation was specifically created by Bernicia to support projects and initiatives that deliver real and lasting benefit to communities where our tenants live and help talented young people striving to reach their goals in life.

“To be able to invest a further  £1m in the North East at a time of such economic challenge for many is a privilege for the Foundation trustees, and we’re thrilled to see the difference it makes to so many lives.

“We’re already looking ahead to the next funding round, which goes live in July, helping even more organisations and individuals at a time when they need support the most.”

The Bernicia Foundation also offers Inspiration grant awards of up to £1,000 to young people aged 24 and under who face barriers in the development of their talents. Past funding rounds have provided grants towards the costs of helping young people reach their full potential in life.

Applications for The Bernicia Foundation’s Inclusion and Inspiration Grants reopen on Monday 1st July 2024, and close on Monday 10th August 2024, with grants awarded in autumn 2024.