Virgin Money has announced the launch of the Virgin Money Foundation – a new charitable foundation that will invest in projects designed to benefit the communities in which Virgin Money works.

The announcement coincided with a visit by The Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne to Virgin Money’s store in Stockton-on-Tees, where he announced £4 million of Government funding for the Virgin Money Foundation to support charitable projects in the North-East of England. This funding complements the £1 million that Virgin Money announced in September 2014 that it would invest in North-East community projects.

All money donated will be invested into community projects and Virgin Money will cover the operating costs of the new Virgin Money Foundation, which will be independent from the bank, with its own Chair and Board of Trustees. It is expected that the Virgin Money Foundation will become fully operational during the first half of 2015.

The Virgin Money Foundation’s first projects in the North East will focus on making a positive difference for young people in the region. This will include an investment of £850,000 to help create the first Youth Zone in the North East, giving young people aged 8-19 a place to socialise, be creative and inspire one another in their free time. The Virgin Money Foundation will also work with The Community Foundation (Tyne & Wear and Northumberland), to help young people achieve more by overcoming barriers such as homelessness, mental health issues and low educational attainment. The Virgin Money Foundation will also continue discussions with Newcastle City Council with the aim of creating a programme to revitalise empty properties across the city in 2015, helping to address the need for affordable homes in the area.

Jayne-Anne Gadhia, Chief Executive Officer of Virgin Money, said: “Virgin Money takes its social responsibilities very seriously in all of the communities in which it operates – but particularly here in the North East. We are therefore delighted to be setting up a new, independent Virgin Money Foundation. We are very grateful to the Government for their generous contribution which will enable the new Virgin Money Foundation to make a positive and sustainable difference in the North East.”

The Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said: “I’m delighted to be able to support the new Virgin Money Foundation with £4 million of funding that we will provide from the fines levied on banks.

”The Northern Rock Foundation made a considerable impact in the North East in recent years, but sadly that has come to an end as a result of the deal made when Northern Rock collapsed.

“It is only right that we use the fines from those who’ve demonstrated the worst values, to support the charitable causes in the North East that demonstrate the best of British values on a daily basis.”

Further details of the new Virgin Money Foundation will be announced in 2015.

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