Intrepid cyclists John Holmes and John Harrison pedalled
130 miles from Berwick to Hartlepool in a bike ride to herald plans for a new
£1m charitable foundation for the North East.
The Bernicia Foundation, which is gearing up to go live
later this year, will support people and projects that deliver real and lasting
community benefit and support inspirational individuals to achieve their
The new foundation will be led by Bernicia
Chair John Holmes, who together with experienced cyclist Bernicia IT Head John
Harrison, embarked on a two-day journey down the North East to see for
themselves the initiatives and people Bernicia already supports.
Their adventure began at Berwick’s Northern Soul
Kitchen – an ethical café based in a Bernicia premises – sourcing unsold food
from supermarkets to be served in tasty dishes to customers.
Representatives from partner organisations the
Berwick Community Trust, Northumberland Community Bank and Newcastle United
Foundation were on hand with Bernicia Chief Executive John Johnston to wave the
From there, the two Johns cycled down the
stunning Northumberland coastal route through Bamburgh and Warkworth to arrive
at Hatchmeadows retirement housing scheme in Ashington.
Their second day on the road saw them call into
Kingston Property Services in Newcastle – Bernicia’s commercial arm – before
continuing on to the housing association’s Durham office, finishing the 130
mile trek at Schooner Court retirement housing scheme in Hartlepool.
Chair John Holmes said: “The Bernicia
Foundation is an exciting opportunity for us to award grants and bursaries to
individuals and organisations committed to delivering real community benefits,
such as tackling loneliness, accessing employment opportunities or supporting
young talent to flourish.
“The bike ride highlights that we are
finalising plans to launch the foundation, raising awareness by visiting the
projects and schemes we already support to show the value of helping people and
“The foundation will use profits from our
commercial arm Kingston and invest them back into the people and communities of
the North East over the next four years.”
Julien Lake, Chief Executive of Berwick
Community Trust, a charity working with Bernicia to give people the skills they
need for employment, said: “We are really excited to hear about the Bernicia
Foundation coming on stream later this year.
“We think it will be a fantastic opportunity
for communities to think about how they can work together with Bernicia and to
make life a little better and more rewarding for people right across the North
Chief Executive John Johnston said: “The Bernicia Foundation will be a great addition
to the Bernicia Group and builds further on our commitment to help deliver
A website, social media channels and media campaign will support the foundation’s launch, where people can find out more about how to apply for funding and the criteria to determine eligibility for a Bernicia Foundation grant.