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Tyneside Charity Sees Big Potential For Enterprise


Rebecca Davis
Jul 14, 2016

Tyne Gateway
(Left-Right: Pauline Wonders, Director, Tyne Gateway Trust, Peter Deans, Social Enterprise Coach and Alison Machin, Consultant, RTC North)

A local charity focused on improving the life chances of vulnerable children and families is one of the first in the North East to be awarded funding from the Big Potential programme.

The funding will help Tyne Gateway Trust embed a new community initiative and work with social enterprise specialists at RTC North to develop their business model. 

The project, which also recently secured a grant funded by the  Virgin Money Foundation is to further develop a package of employability services and establish its new community and social enterprise accelerator unit. 

One of the first enterprises is ‘TG Exchange’ – a hub which sorts and distributes donations to local families or sells items online or through markets to generate additional revenue for the charity.   

Tyne Gateway works with an average of 400 families per year to deliver real and sustainable social impact to children, families and communities and sees the programme as a way of creating a different employment route for the most vulnerable parents and young people in the community whilst developing enterprises that fill a gap in services for those in need.

The idea was developed on the back of a number of volunteer-led community services, which Tyne Gateway Chief Executive, Pauline Wonders, believes can be established as social enterprises in their own right:

“These services are now well- developed and we want to use this unit to create employment for the most vulnerable parents and young people in our communities. It sits very well alongside our other Barefoot Professional support offer and by working with the team at RTC we can create a sustainable business model for each enterprise.” 

Working with organisations and individuals in both the public and private sector, RTC services are designed to help clients innovate, improve and grow. RTC Director, Jamie Ollivere, added:

“Since 2002, RTC has been delivering services in innovation to NHS Trusts and helping them to harness new product and service ideas to improve patient care. Through this work, we have also been working regularly with frontline community based service providers who are making a big difference to the wider health agenda by improving education and wellbeing within our local communities.


“Through the Big Potential project we want to be able to help Voluntary Community and Social Enterprises (VCSEs) increase their social impact and ultimately their ability to change peoples' lives.”

Tyne Gateway is a child poverty charity that works with the most vulnerable and ‘hard to engage’ families in North and South Tyneside and parts of Northumberland to address the underlying issues that prevent them moving forward. The charity was established as a Child Poverty Unit Innovation Pilot and since developed its award-winning approach to early intervention and community enterprise which is based on the 'Barefoot Professional' model.

Big Potential is the Big Lottery Fund’s new £10 million fund aimed at helping eligible VSCEs to improve their sustainability, capacity and scale and help them deliver greater social impact for communities across England. It is administered by the Social Investment Business on behalf of the Big Lottery Fund in partnership with Locality, Social Enterprise UK, Charity Bank and the University of Northampton.

A grant from the fund will help VCSEs, at the very beginning of their social investment journey, to get specialist and tailored support to become investment ready.

Big Potential

Big Potential is a Big Lottery Fund grant programme that will deliver approximately £20m of grant funding over three years to eligible VCSE organisations with the aim of improving their sustainability, capacity and scale in order that they may deliver greater social impact.

The programme has two routes; Breakthrough and Advanced. Big Potential Breakthrough helps VCSE organisations work out how social investment might work for them. Big Potential Advanced helps VCSE organisations with strong proposals apply for investment or challenge for contracts.

Big Potential is administered by Social Investment Business for the Big Lottery Fund, in partnership with Locality, Charity Bank, Social Enterprise UK, and the University of Northampton.

bigpotential.org.uk