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£1m for Whitby Charity Foundation

Anglo American, the owners of the Woodsmith Mine being built near Whitby, have donated another £1 million to the project’s charitable foundation.

A large proportion of the money is expected to be put towards further Covid relief initiatives for charitable organisations around the Yorkshire Coast and Teesside.

It will be in addition to the £350,000 emergency funding paid out to 33 local charities in November last year.  This money helped charities with funding shortfalls or organisational issues caused by the economic effects of the pandemic.

Ian Swales, Chairman of the Sirius Minerals Foundation said:

“Many organisations in the voluntary sector have struggled for survival as a result of the pandemic, through drastic drops in funding and new barriers to their ability to deliver their services,”  “Some people don’t realise how many community health and support services are provided by the voluntary sector, and we expect they’ll need significant help to rebuild and restructure if they are to continue to provide the services that so many people need.”

The Foundation was set up to share some of the economic benefits of the Woodsmith Project amongst local communities within the boroughs of Scarborough, Redcar and Cleveland, and the North York Moors National Park.  Set up in 2013 by the owners of the project, it received a substantial increase in funding when Anglo American bought the company in March last year, with the new London-headquartered owners promising to inject £1 million per year into the charity during the mine’s expected construction period.

Pre-pandemic, the charity had funded skills training, public space and facilities improvements, environmental initiatives and community building projects to the tune of £1.4m.  However, Covid 19 has forced a rethink of the kind of projects that the organisation should fund.

Mr Swales added:

“Covid-19 has affected everyone in one way or another, but none more so than the charitable sector, who have seen their funding dry up while demand for their services has continued, if not increased,”

“We want to help them to help our communities, because they’re needed now more than ever.”

The foundation recently announced the appointment of Leah Swain, who currently runs Community First Yorkshire, to the post of Chief Executive, with a remit to build the organisation into one of the country’s most significant corporate foundations. 

Funding is expected to increase to between £5 and £10 million pounds per year via a revenue royalty from the mine when it goes into production around the middle of the decade.

Further detail of how the funding will be allocated will be made available in due course.

The Sirius Minerals Foundation has been established to distribute funds to local community projects, which can range from bursaries, scholarships or skills training to improving public spaces and facilities, environmental initiatives and community building projects.  The articles of association define the area of benefit as within the North York Moors National Park and the boroughs of Scarborough and Redcar & Cleveland. A small proportion of annual funds may also be deployed outside the area of benefit, provided the Foundation’s objectives are still met.

The charitable objectives of the Foundation are to:

  • Advance education, including supporting projects and training that benefit people by enhancing their skills;
  • Promote the general health of the community;
  • Advance environmental protection and improvement including the enhancing of the local landscape;
  • Provide and improve facilities in the interests of social welfare and leisure time with the aim to improve residents' well-being;
  • Help gain skills to those in need, because of financial hardship by being out-of-work, particularly the long-term unemployed.

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