Polyhalite mine charity creates Covid response fund

The Sirius Minerals Foundation, the charitable arm of Anglo American’s Woodsmith Project being built near Whitby and on Teesside, has launched a new round of funding aimed at helping local charities and voluntary groups on the North Yorkshire coast recover from the coronavirus crisis.

A total pot of £250,000 is being made available to help local voluntary, community and social enterprise groups with their costs as they adapt their ways of working to the new and challenging environment created by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Awards of between £500 and £15,000 are available for the development of new digital services needed as a result of the pandemic, or to help cover funding gaps caused by the economic effects of the pandemic.

“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,” said David Archer, chairman of the Sirius Minerals Foundation.

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

Charities can apply for one of two schemes, a ‘Digital Success Programme’ and a ‘Regroup and Rebuild Programme.’

The former is designed to improve the digital capability and capacity of groups to deliver their services through digital platforms, for example through the purchase of new IT equipment, virtual office infrastructure, or online services.

The latter is aimed at helping groups with their core outlays, such as premises costs or skills development and support for staff.

“Frontline workers in the NHS have attracted much of the attention of the media during the pandemic, and rightly so for their heroic work, but many don’t realise how many community health and support services are provided by the voluntary sector,” said David.

“And because of the economic downturn the pandemic has caused, many of them are now facing a struggle for survival. The whole point of the Foundation is to make a positive difference to local people’s lives, so it seemed only right that we help organisations who make a tangible difference on a daily basis.”

The Foundation is funded by Anglo American, the company which is building the multi-billion pound polyhalite mine in Whitby and associated infrastructure in Teesside.

It was established to share some of the economic benefits of the project, with Anglo American currently injecting £1m a year. Longer term, the Foundation will be funded by a revenue royalty when polyhalite production begins.

Interested voluntary groups should apply online via siriusmineralsfoundation.com, where the full funding criteria and guidelines are available to read. The closing date for applications will be 12 noon on Tuesday September 15, and decisions on funding will be announced by October 19.