Mayor’s community fund returns for fourth year

Local people in the North of Tyne will be able to turn their bright ideas into reality, as Crowdfund North of Tyne returns for a fourth year, thanks to a 300k boost of funding from North of Tyne Combined Authority (NTCA).

Grants of between £1k-up to £30k will be available to businesses, individuals, charities, and community interest companies and groups, to run community projects which help bring people together in Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland.

The fund has already supported 62 projects across the North of Tyne, from turning wasteland into allotments, community beekeeping, fun days out for children, making beaches accessible for wheelchair users, helping people with food poverty and even saving a choir.

North of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll, said: “Crowdfund North of Tyne is different to any other funding scheme out there. It puts power back in the hands of communities. We’re giving people the opportunity to create projects which celebrate and improve their local areas. Anyone can apply, you just need a bright idea – big or small - and be really passionate about where you live.”

Projects must be based in Newcastle, North Tyneside or Northumberland and demonstrate there is public support for the idea, by crowdfunding part of the costs through the online platform, Space Hive. Ideas are then judged on the number of community backers – and not the amount of money raised.

Following feedback from previous rounds, charities, businesses, and constituted community groups, can potentially receive up to 90 per cent of their total project costs. Individuals working outside of these groups can apply for up to £1,000.

North of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll explains: “Originally, we were pledging around 50% funding for each project. But we saw that those communities most in need, were those struggling most with the cost-of-living crisis. We listened and now we fund up to 90% of the project costs.

“If you can prove your community backs your idea, we’ll fund it. It’s as simple as that. I want to reach people who might not usually apply for help. All you need is one bright idea to get started and my team will help you with the rest.”

North of Tyne Combined Authority is particularly interested in grass roots initiatives, projects which support LGBTQ+ communities, rural projects and ideas which bring people together in new ways. Funding can be used to run events and community days out, start a new group or supporting an existing one, buy new equipment, carry out repairs and run training, among many other things.

Big River Bakery received a pledge last year, to provide lunches to school children and run free workshops to teach families how to cook from scratch. In the latest phase of their project, they have crowdfunded over £7k to run the UK’s first ever National Stottie Week in February, with £5,444 being pledged by North of Tyne Combined Authority.

Andy Haddon, Founder said: “The funding we got really helped us get the ball rolling on National Stottie Week and help us be true to the roots of the stottie – to provide affordable food for everyone.

“We wouldn’t have got anywhere near where we needed to without the pledge from Crowdfund North of Tyne, it really helped get us over the line and in fact, lots more companies have come forward since we hit our target to ask how they can get involved and I think it will grow even more.”

By Mark Adair – Correspondent, Bdaily

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