Grassroots groups across the North East are celebrating today after receiving over £138,000 of funding for projects aimed at improving their local communities.

The money comes from the latest round of the Crowdfund North of Tyne programme. This combines direct funding from the North of Tyne Combined Authority (NTCA) together with donations from generous members of the community.

In Northumberland, the much-loved Kielder Observatory used its £15,000 cash boost to buy a new wind turbine – helping the project to reduce its carbon emissions and energy costs.

Hannah Matterson, Operations and Marketing Director at Kielder Observatory, said: “We’re over the moon… This sees us taking a huge step towards achieving our crowdfunding target and installing a new wind turbine, keeping us environmentally friendly and securing our energy supply for the future.

“This pledge will hopefully mean that more people can enjoy the magic of the dark skies for many years to come.”

Beautiful picture of Kielder Observatory illuminated against the night sky

Kielder Observatory used its £15k cash boost to buy a new wind turbine

Elsewhere in the county, the Women’s Outdoor Kitchen Project, received almost £4,000 to create a safe space for local women where they can learn skills such as cooking and DIY. The project provides vital support to vulnerable women including those who have experienced bereavement, mental health issues, and domestic violence.

In Newcastle, more than £7,000 went to ‘The Power of the Stottie’ scheme, run by Andy Haddon of the popular Big River Bakery. The project provides ‘breakfast bags’ to schools attended by children living in food poverty. Andy and his team also host free baking sessions for local families.

Commenting on the grant Andy said: “We’ve been making up breakfast bags for a while but needed more funds to keep things going through the winter.

“The pledge from [the NTCA] was tremendously significant as it was the boost we needed to get near our target and meant we were able to continue, right through the winter, delivering breakfast bags to school children and family baking sessions in our cosy bakery too.”

Three women share a laugh together as they take part at a baking session at the Big River Bakery. A member of bakery staff is second from right. The Big River Bakery sign can be seen in the background.

Elsewhere in the city, just over £25,000 went to Boho Arts as they seek to transform an old and dilapidated building into a buzzing community arts venue, bringing people together.

Boho Arts co-founder, Bev Fox, said: “This takes us one big step closer to our ambitious aim of opening a new accessible and unique space in Newcastle where artists, communities, and audiences can come together to connect, collaborate, and be creative.”

Funded initiatives in North Tyneside include ‘Walk The Line’. Produced by Workie Ticket Theatre, the project utilises performances and workshops to explore lived experiences of domestic abuse in the local community.

Elected Metro Mayor for the North of Tyne, Jamie Driscoll, said: “We’ve come out of a pandemic, and into a cost-of-living crisis. There’s never been a more important time to come together and improve each others’ lives.

“I’m so glad we could secure some cash to help these local community heroes turn their great ideas into reality.”

Created by the NTCA, #CrowdfundNorthofTyne gives local people the opportunity to create and fund projects which celebrate and improve their local areas.

Since launching in 2020, during the pandemic, the NTCA has awarded more than £200,000 to 33 community projects.

Have a community project that needs funding? #CrowdfundNorthofTyne can help you.  Find out more: