Virgin Money Foundation Launches #IWillTakeAction Fund For The North East

A new fund to support young people from across the North East to engage with their local communities has been launched with £1.7 million committed by The Virgin Money Foundation and the Big Lottery Fund.

The new #iwill Take Action Fund is a three-year social action programme to increase the number of opportunities for 10-20 year olds in the region to volunteer and fundraise for, or campaign on, issues that are important to them. This will enable young people to be enthusiastic, engaged and committed members of their local communities, giving them the opportunity to play a part in tackling the challenges society faces.


Nancy Doyle, Executive Director of The Virgin Money Foundation said:

“The Virgin Money Foundation aims to ask people ‘what do you see for your local community?’ and then provide resources and support to make their vision a reality. As an #iwill match-funder, we will seek to ensure that young people across the North East have a voice and an opportunity to work together and drive positive change in their communities.”


Gemma Bull, England Director, Big Lottery Fund said:

“This new partnership with The Virgin Money Foundation, as part of the #iwill fund, provides an exciting opportunity to support young people to develop their skills and confidence. Thanks to National Lottery players we’re able to work with partners and their networks to reach more young people, enabling them to take the lead in creating new social action opportunities that benefit themselves and their local communities.”


First awards

BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art Gateshead £150,000
Groundwork North East and Cumbria North East £148,950
Middlesbrough Football Club Foundation Tees Valley £150,000
The Key North East £148,214
Youth Focus North East North East £146,097


Creating Change

Creating Change is a three-year programme from BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art which will embed social action in three Gateshead secondary schools. It will work with young people on projects exploring cultural identity, young people’s voices and their rights and community identity.


Vicky Sturrs, Head of Learning & Civic Engagement at BALTIC said:

“BALTIC is thrilled to be working with The Virgin Money Foundation as part of the #iwill campaign. Our new Creating Change project will empower 2,000 young people to use contemporary art to make social change and connect with their communities creating a legacy of skilled young people who continue to volunteer to help others in years to come.“

Middlesbrough Football Club Foundation

Middlesbrough Football Club Foundation’s #TeamBoro will support young people through a three stage social action programme with a focus on health and well-being. Young people will be recruited as Ambassadors who will support other young people coming through the programme.

Helena Bowman, Head of Foundation at Middlesbrough Football Club Foundation said:

“MFC Foundation are delighted to be partnering with The Virgin Money Foundation. The grant will ensure that we can raise aspirations of local young people and support them to become more active citizens who will make positive changes to the lives of local communities in Teesside.”

Youth Focus North East

Youth Focus North East’s You + Us programme will deliver 50 local challenges in 50 local communities, enabling young people across the North East to take action on local issues, working alongside other members of the community.

Leon Mexter from Youth Focus North East said:

“Everyone at Youth Focus North East is absolutely delighted that we have been chosen as one of the partners for The Virgin Money Foundation #iwill Take Action Fund. Young people engaging in volunteering and social action has been at the core of our work for many years, and we are really excited by the opportunities that the #iwill Take Action Fund will create. By being chosen as a partner, we will be able to support young and older people across our region to create a lasting impact in 50 communities with 50 local challenge projects. Each Challenge will involve young people in volunteering and social action that will make a real and lasting difference to our region.”