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Northern Gas Networks (NGN) and Northern Powergrid, have updated their annual Community Partnering Fund, which they deliver in partnership with Leeds Community Foundation, so it can now provide vital support for residents in vulnerable circumstances during COVID-19.

The energy network operators, which collectively serve 6.6 million homes and businesses throughout the North East, Yorkshire and northern Cumbria and Lincolnshire, and provide work for more than 5,500 local people, are continuing to deliver essential services to keep energy flowing to homes, businesses, hospitals and critical services.

The Community Partnering Fund, which was established in 2018, provides grants to support grass roots organisations throughout the North of England.  To support the pandemic response the fund is providing £30,000 to the Leeds and Bradford Resilience Funds and £20,000 to the Tyne, Wear and Northumberland Community Foundation.

The funding will be used to address the immediate and short-term needs of some of the region’s most vulnerable residents.  It will pay for essential supplies including food and toiletries and technology to help keep people connected as well as covering local volunteers’ transportation costs.

Tom Bell, Northern Gas Networks’ Head of Social Strategy, said: “At Northern Gas Networks we’re committed to helping our most vulnerable communities throughout the region.  Our Community Partnering Fund, in partnership with Northern Powergrid, is all about providing enduring support to organisations at the heart of the communities that we serve, something that is needed now more than ever.”

Michelle Cummings, Northern Powergrid’s Social Responsibility Manager, said: “We and Northern Gas Networks have a critical role in society in these challenging times.  In addition to powering our customers’ lives during the pandemic, our fund means, together, we can make a bigger impact than we would individually when it comes to providing vital support to those communities and vulnerable residents who need it most.”

Kate Hainsworth, CEO of Leeds Community Foundation and Give Bradford said: “We are hugely grateful to Northern Gas Networks and Northern Powergrid for supporting our Resilience Funds across Leeds and Bradford. To be able to quickly mobilise funds and direct where it is most needed in these extraordinary times is testament to the collaborative success of the Community Partnering Fund.”

The Community Partnering Fund was established to enable community groups to deliver schemes that tackle issues such as affordable warmth, encouraging young people to choose STEM subjects and supporting community energy initiatives. As well as providing a short-term funding boost, organisations become long-term partners. To find out more about the Community Partnering Fund visit leedscf.org.uk/community-partnering-fund.