Page last updated at 16:37 GMT, Wednesday, 14 May 2008 17:37 UK

Rock resumes grants for culture

Northern Rock
Northern Rock Foundation is run independently of the bank

The charitable arm of Northern Rock is to reopen its grants programme for culture and heritage projects in north east England and Cumbria.

Northern Rock Foundation will invest 2m in areas such as performing arts, and museum and heritage exhibitions.

In December 2007, amid uncertainty over future income, funding for culture and heritage schemes was cut in favour of those tackling social disadvantage.

This was reviewed when the Foundation was promised at least 15m a year.

'Transform lives'

Trustees expect to make their first grants in the reopened programme in July 2008.

Fiona Ellis, director of Northern Rock Foundation, said: "Last autumn, trustees had to make very difficult decisions about scaling back their grant-making, but now with the continuing support of Northern Rock under its new ownership arrangements, we can expand our plans again.

"We know that cultural activities transform lives at all levels, and we have always supported projects that use the arts to connect with and inspire disadvantaged people."

The foundation, which is run independently of the bank and has its own board of trustees, was set up when Northern Rock converted into a plc from a mutual in 1997.

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