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There was a boost for community groups across Tyneside today as the Port of Tyne pledged to increase its commitment to support local communities.


The record-breaking Port, which saw its best ever financial performance last year reporting profits of £9m, has announced that from January 2013, it will donate one percent of profit before tax every year to activities that help young people, improve the environment and involve communities.

In the past five years, the Port has donated £30k a year to charitable groups through a fund at the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland. The commitment of one percent of profit means this will now be greatly increased and directly links the Port's business performance on an ongoing basis to community giving.

In addition, the Port sponsors arts, business and community activities, events and cultural institutions in the region at a cost of around £150k each year and this, as well as substantial "in kind" support to events, will continue.

"We know the Port's community support to date has made a real difference to thousands of people and we wanted to take this even further, by aligning our activity and growth directly with what we put back into the community," said Andrew Moffat, the Port of Tyne's Chief Executive Officer.

"The Port is committed to supporting the region in many ways through being an active partner in regional bodies and sponsoring major events. We believe in giving a return to all of our stakeholders who include the people living in communities around the Port and the River - and we have now made this commitment to facilitate this through the Community Action Fund from January next year."

The potential for the new Port of Tyne Community Action Fund at the Community Foundation is substantial and will be used as a positive force for change in areas of most need.

The Port of Tyne is a major asset to the region, generating around £500m in Gross Value Added and supporting 10,000 jobs, but it also has a strong ethos of corporate responsibility to the communities around its operating area.

The Community Foundation undertook a study commissioned by the Port to identify where there was most need and also where there was real commitment and positive assets in communities that were driving change. Grants from the new fund will be awarded by a panel of Port employees, and the focus will be on three areas: opportunities for young people to help them into work, environmental improvements and community involvement.

Rob Williamson, Chief Executive of the Community Foundation, said: "This makes the Port of Tyne one of our largest corporate donors and is an ongoing commitment which means it has the potential to have real impact and help to make a difference for people and communities in the years to come."

Some of the 100 organisations and projects that have already benefitted from the Port's sponsorship activities include training and skills based activities for young people, work chances for people with disabilities, junior grass roots sports, education initiatives in schools, community centre improvements, advice centres, and environmental improvements across Tyneside, helping in areas of most need.

Jim Beirne, Chief Executive of Live Theatre, said: "The Port of Tyne's support has given young people a chance through theatre to learn new things, gain confidence and is helping to bring young people from different parts of the City together."

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Lisa Donohoe Assistant Marketing & Communications Manager
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