Catalysing Community Businesses with £200,000 in Grants

Catalysing Community Businesses with £200,000 in Grants

Hekla Goodman

Oct 6 2023

In partnership with Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland, Northstar Ventures announces a grant opportunity to North East charities and community organisations alongside loans provided by the North East Social Investment Fund (NESIF).

The fund will award approximately £200,000 in grant funding until December 2024 to lower the barriers community businesses face when accessing finance. By partnering together, our intention is to better support communities in the North East of England with a blended finance offer increasing the social outcomes in the region.

Organisations will be assessed to receive grant funding alongside a new NESIF loan, with a maximum intervention of 25% grant on the first £150,000 of loan.

The grants, when combined with the eligible organisation’s NESIF loan, can be used to benefit the organisation by:

  • assisting to overcoming barriers when accessing finance for the organisation’s work;
  • providing additional intervention during the lifetime of the investment, addressing opportunities or challenges facing the organisation;
  • increasing the organisation’s intended social impact;
  • funding resource lead-in or development periods, including the costs of investee organisational development work and professional advice;
  • supporting the viability of innovative or higher-risk work.


Grants will be restricted and are only to support activities related to one or more areas of social need which NESIF seeks to address: the reduction of homelessness, the reduction of debt and poverty, the improvement of health and social care needs, the improvement of mental health provision, the improvement of offender rehabilitation, the reduction of unemployment, and the regeneration of deprived communities.


Naomi Allen Seales, Investment Manager at Northstar Ventures, said: ‘We are delighted to have this opportunity to further support charities and social enterprises in the North East with grant funding alongside the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland. This blended offering will benefit the amazing organisations we invest into by increasing accessibility of social investment and ultimately giving them a platform to grow their social impact, become more sustainable and benefit more people in the region.’


Rob Williamson, Chief Executive of Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland, said: ‘We know that offering grants alongside repayable finance helps make the social investment market work better for organisations on the frontline. The Community Foundation is excited to be able to offer this grant funding alongside loan finance from Northstar Ventures to organisations in North East England. We hope it will result in more local organisations being able to take up the opportunity of social investment so they can do even more to benefit people and places in our area.’



Editor’s notes:

For more information contact: [email protected]

About Northstar Ventures

Northstar Ventures is a North East venture capital company investing in successful high growth SMEs and social sector organisations across the North East.  The North East Social Investment Fund is one of the Funds we manage.

The North East Social Investment Fund invests in social enterprises with individual investments ranging in size from £100k to £1m.  The Fund is targeted at organisations which exist primarily to deliver social impact and which reinvest the majority of their surpluses to further their social mission; including: charities (limited by guarantee or CIO only), CICs (limited by guarantee or shares) and Registered Societies (previously known as ‘Industrial and Provident Societies’, for community benefit).  NESIF is backed by Big Society Capital, the Community Foundation serving Tyne & Wear and Northumberland and Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

Northstar Ventures Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Northstar Ventures Limited is a limited company registered in England and Wales with company number 05104995. Registered office: 5th Floor, Maybrook House, 27-35 Grainger Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 5JE.

Further information can be found at

About the Community Foundation

The Community Foundation grows giving and philanthropy, enabling people and businesses to support vital causes across North East England. Every year, it awards millions of pounds in grants to hundreds of local charities and community organisations through funds set up donors. The Newcastle-based charity, the UK’s biggest community foundation, has built an endowment of nearly £90 million as a community asset to support people and places in its area in perpetuity.

For the North East Social Investment Fund, the Community Foundation took over assets and responsibilities transferred by the former Northern Rock Foundation, which had set up the initiative with Big Society Capital and others.

Further information can be found at

About North East Social Investment Company (NESIC)

North East Social Investment Company and its first social investment fund, NESIF have been set up to provide an innovative, regional, strategic solution to developing the market for social investment in the North East and to reducing disadvantage, deprivation and social need in North East communities. The Board of NESIC will provide leadership regionally and nationally for the development of social investment.

About Big Society Capital (BSC)

Big Society Capital is the UK’s leading social impact investor. Our mission is to grow the amount of money invested in tackling social issues and inequalities in the UK. We do this by investing our own capital and helping others invest for impact too.

Since 2012, we have helped build a market that has directed more than £9 billion into social purpose organisations tackling issues from homelessness and mental health to childhood obesity and fuel poverty, a ten-fold increase in ten years.

Further information can be found at

About Esmée Fairbairn Foundation (EFF)

Esmée Fairbairn Foundation aims to improve the quality of life for people and communities throughout the UK both now and in the future. It does this by funding the charitable work of organisations with the ideas and ability to achieve positive change.

The Foundation is one of the largest independent grant-makers in the UK.  It makes grants of £30 – £35 million annually towards a wide range of work within the arts, education and learning, the environment and social change. It also operates a £26 million Finance Fund which invests in organisations that aim to deliver both a financial return and a social benefit.
Further information can be found at

About Joseph Rowntree Foundation 

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation is an independent organisation working to inspire social change through research, policy and practice. For more information visit

About Northstar Foundation 

The Northstar Foundation is a registered charity (registration number 1158262) with wide charitable goals with a particular focus on supporting entrepreneurship and social enterprises that benefit excluded and deprived communities in the North East of England. Northstar Ventures Limited is committed to supporting our community and The Northstar Foundation has been set up to do this. For more information contact: [email protected]

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