Seven Hartlepool organisations benefit from Northgate Community Fund

19 November 2014

Seven local organisations in Hartlepool have been allocated a series of grants totalling £28,940, by Northgate Public Services and Hartlepool Council, to help improve local people’s computer skills and digital awareness. The grants have gone to groups that work with young people, the disabled and those in deprived neighbourhoods.

The grant funding comes from the Northgate Community Fund, set up by Northgate Public Services and Hartlepool Council, as part of the partnership between the two organisations, under which the company is delivering IT services to the local authority over the next seven years. The partnership, announced in February this year, secured 235 jobs for Hartlepool and will save the Council £1 million a year throughout the contract.

Northgate is committed to maximising its contributions to the local community.  Both Northgate and Hartlepool Council are keen to help reduce the proportion of individuals, small businesses and charities without basic IT skills and increase the number of people accessing services digitally.  The Northgate Community Fund provides £40,000 each year for the next seven years to enhance IT skills within the local community.

In addition to the above, Northgate has agreed with Hartlepool Council to allocate £10,000 each year as match funding with the Gus Robinson Foundation, to provide a variety of awards and scholarships to local young people. 

The seven successful bids were approved recently by the Council’s Finance and Policy Committee.

The organisations that have benefited are:

·         Incontrol-Able, awarded just over £5,000;

·         The Rifty Youth Project, awarded £4,937;

·         Hartlepool Deaf Centre, awarded £1,400;

·         The West View Advice and Resource Centre, awarded £5,000;

·         Performing Arts charity Red Dreams, given £5,000;

·         The Wharton Trust Annexe, awarded £2,600; and

·         Hartlepool College of Further Education, awarded £5,000.

Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher, the Leader of Hartlepool Council, said: “Our agreement with Northgate Public Services has enabled some very good, worthwhile causes to be supported and this really is excellent news.

“When we asked companies to tender to provide the Council’s IT services, we were very keen to ensure that there would be wider benefits to the town and the Community Fund was just one of the elements put forward by Northgate as part of their bid to win the contract.

“The applications received met a broad range of needs within the local community and this money will provide opportunities to increase many people’s IT skills, which is so important in the world we live in today.”

Joe Bradley, Executive Director, Northgate Public Services, added: “I am delighted to see that this Fund is going to so many good causes in the town and helping a wide range of people with different needs within the community.

“Our Community Fund demonstrates Northgate’s commitment to supporting local people and forms part of our contract with the council.

“Now that we have our Regional Business Centre in Hartlepool, improving local people’s digital skills is a top priority for Northgate and I hope that we will really be able to make a difference to these groups’ skills.”

Northgate is now one of the town’s biggest employers and has the capacity to increase its workforce to 300. A key part of the seven-year agreement, which has a three-year extension option, has involved Northgate establishing its new Regional Business Centre in the town.

A further spin-off as part of the deal has seen the setting up of the new Northgate Academy, in conjunction with Hartlepool College of Further Education. Through the Academy, Northgate has guaranteed 35 modern apprenticeships over the term of the contact and currently employs 15 modern apprentices from within the Hartlepool area.

Over the term of the agreement it is estimated that Northgate’s presence in the town will result in £2.9 million being put back into to the local economy.