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Birmingham Post
Birmingham Post
Coreena Ford

North East business life: charity, community and award events in the region

The Chamber Annual Dinner held at Durham Cathedral last week raised £50,172 for the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Hosted by the North East England Chamber of Commerce, the event welcomed over 800 regional business leaders and saw the North East landmark transformed for the occasion. The Chamber Annual Dinner is supported by patrons Gateshead College, Business Durham, Pulsant and Durham University.

John McCabe, chief executive, said: “The cathedral is the embodiment of our special region – this unique building has stood the test of time and it will endure for generations to come. It’s particularly important to us all that we’re able to support the cathedral’s work with our fundraising through tickets and sponsorship.”

Reverend Canon Michael Hampel, Acting Dean of Durham, said: “At the cathedral, we are grateful for partnerships with many individuals and organisations determined to safeguard precious heritage and to achieve a more just and prosperous future for our communities. Fundraising from this year’s dinner will support Raising a Voice, the cathedral’s flagship appeal for financial support to enable talented young people to find a place within our choral foundation and the Durham Cathedral Schools Foundation. The first £25,000 of gifts received on the night will be matched by a generous donor.”

Jonathan Tan, CEO of Greater Change, helped found the charity which has now helped over 450 people (GREATER CHANGE)

Bellway has donated £34,000 to help support Greater Change, a national charity which supports homeless people by providing financial support.

The funds donated by the Newcastle housebuilder have allowed the charity to help 21 people in the North East and throughout the UK. Greater Change is a non-profit organisation which works directly with homeless people and their supporting charities to provide a one-off financial assistance to help them make positive changes in their lives. The funds are tailored to their clients’ needs and can be used for rent deposits, to pay utility bills, to buy driving licences or to provide items such as mattresses and bikes.

The Bellway donation has allowed the charity to expand its reach to support homeless people through other organisations including HumanKind, The People’s Kitchen, Emmaus, Julian House, Winter Night Shelter, Cambridge Cyrenians, Crisis Skylight and Porchlight.

Jonathan Tan, CEO at Greater Change, said: “Our work is deeply rooted in respecting individual dignity and aspirations and we work closely with partner support work teams to avoid duplicating their existing expertise and experience. We are so grateful for the support that Bellway has given us over the last 12 months. It’s a partnership that has allowed us to expand the scale and scope of people we support across more parts of the UK.”

Lorna Edwards, Bellway’s deputy company secretary, said: “We feel privileged to be able to provide this donation to help support Greater Change and the fantastic and vital work that it does. Bellway is proud of its record as a socially responsible company that not only builds houses but also makes a positive impact within the local communities in which it builds. This is our second year supporting the charity, and we will be staying in close touch to see how we can continue to help and support them in the future. It is wonderful that we can help empower homeless people to improve their lives, fulfilling their goals and aspirations by providing them with flexible funding through Greater Change.”

Neil Hart, Bradley Hall (Bradley Hall)

The group CEO of Newcastle’s Bradley Hall has been named the top regional commercial property dealmaker for 2022.

Completing 163 deals, Neil Hart topped the 2022 EG Radius report, with Edward Siddall-Jones of Siddall Jones in the West Midlands finishing second on 99 deals and Michael Moody of Fenn Wright, in the South East, rounding off the top three with 94 deals. EG’s top dealmakers listings rank the best performing dealmakers across England, Scotland and Wales, taking into account disposals and acquisitions across all sectors and deal type between January 1 and December 31.

Mr Hart said: “I am incredibly grateful for the fantastic recognition of the team’s hard work and dedication throughout the year. While it has been a fantastic year for the firm, this success is testament to the commitment shown every day by our team to provide clients with the most exceptional service, which underpins absolutely everything we do. The heightened activity by our firm not only highlight the hard work and dedication of our team, but also a healthy and active property market. Despite the clouds of economic uncertainty lingering over the sector, activity across each of our key markets hit a new high last year and it is showing no sign of slowing down.”

Sage Foundation and Newcastle Rugby Foundation, with players Will Welch and Sean Robinson (Mike Tulip)

Sage Foundation, the social impact division of Sage , has partnered with Newcastle Rugby Foundation (NRF) to launch a five-week programme called Tackling Insights aimed at making STEM subjects more accessible and engaging for regional school pupils.

The programme, launched at Fawdon Primary School in Newcastle, will involve nine other North East schools and will reach 600 pupils aged nine to 11, with a particular focus on girls. Sage is the Official Insights Partner to Six Nations Rugby and will use data and insights provided by the smart ball technology, currently used for the first time in both the Guinness Six Nations and the Tik Tok Women’s Six Nations Championships, to show the power of STEM in sport.

By working with NRF, Sage hopes the partnership will bridge the skills gap in STEM subjects among young people, including those facing barriers to learning and playing the sport. The initiative will also touch on the sport’s core values, such as teamwork, respect, discipline, and sportsmanship. The programme will culminate in events at Kingston Park, coinciding with the opening TikTok Women’s Six Nations Red Roses match on March 25, and a rugby taster day on March 30.

Cadence Willis, VP of Sage Foundation, said: “Sage has an important role to play in not only plugging the skills gap by inspiring young people to consider careers in STEM. This means developing programmes and partnering with brilliant organisations, such as NRF, to make STEM accessible and fun.”

Newcastle Building Society's Head of Client Services, Suzanne Main, with St Vincent’s Newcastle catering supervisor Jan Cruikshanks (Newcastle Building Society)

A Newcastle charity is making more room at the table at its weekly community lunch club after receiving a four-figure grant from the Newcastle Building Society Community Fund at the Community Foundation.

St Vincent’s Newcastle runs the weekly Vinnies drop-in lunch club at its community centre on Newbridge Street in Ouseburn, where up to 140 people receive a free, hot three-course lunch that is prepared by a team of 40 volunteers.

The lunch club, which has been running for the last six years, has seen an increase in the number of people attending in recent months, as well as a sharp rise in the costs of the ingredients used to make the meals on its menu, which is designed by catering supervisor Jan Cruikshanks. St Vincent’s is now using the £3,000 Newcastle Building Society grant to help meet the growing cost of buying and cooking these ingredients, which it adds to the donations it receives from city supermarkets through the FairShare food redistribution scheme.

Rebecca Stevenson-Read, centre manager at St Vincent’s Newcastle, said: “Vinnies is about much more than just the weekly meal we provide. It fosters a real sense of community and belonging that is hugely beneficial to the people that join us every week, and provides a really positive environment in which they can spend some time.

“Receiving funding such as the Society’s generous grant makes such a difference to what we can do and helps to reduce the worry about how we’re going to cover the costs of helping the people that come to us.”

Suzanne Main, head of client services at Newcastle Strategic Solutions – part of the Newcastle Building Society Group, added: “Vinnies lunch club provides a warm and welcoming place for people in our home city to spend some time each week and we’re very pleased to be able help its amazing team of volunteers keep delivering this invaluable project.”


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