Independent accountants, MHA Tait Walker, has demonstrated its commitment to the region’s pandemic-hit firms with a ‘significant’ cash donation to Open North Foundation.

An award winning accountancy practice founded in 1937, MHA Tait Walker has 165 team members, with offices in Newcastle, Durham, Teesside, Northumberland, Carlisle and Leeds.

Paul Shields, partner, heads up the Durham office and is also one of the founding members and a director of Open North Foundation, which was formed in summer 2020 as a not-for-profit, private sector response to Covid-19. All connected to Open North Foundation provide their services pro bono.

Thanks to the generosity of individuals and a vast, diverse range of companies and organisations, Open North Foundation administers grant aid and in-kind support such as marketing and accountancy to small to medium sized businesses in the region who, but for the pandemic, would be financially viable and offering high quality jobs.

Paul Shields, said: “This past year has challenged North East businesses like never before and that’s why my role in Open North Foundation is so important to me. We wanted to offer our support as a firm, as we are very aware from talking to our clients, how the pandemic can impact businesses at short notice.

“MHA Tait Walker is passionate about helping businesses large and small and doing all we can to protect our clients from the financial burdens this pandemic is placing on their businesses. So, we felt compelled to contribute to the Foundation which is doing a fantastic job in helping businesses to recover. Things will no doubt get harder before they get better, but if the North East business community continues to pull together, I am confident we can come out of this stronger and more resilient.”

Richard Swart, chair of Open North Foundation, said: “Paul Shields is a founding director of Open North Foundation and his advice and guidance in the build up to our launch last summer, through to the current position where we have raised tens of thousands of pounds to support pandemic-hit businesses, has been invaluable. The fact that his firm, whose roots in the region go back nearly a century, has now very generously provided a significant sum to our cause, says everything about its commitment to the North East. When we finally get through the pandemic, the business community will not forget those who stepped forward to provide assistance and support.

“While we are now administering grants and in-kind support to a wide range of small to medium sized businesses, there are a very high number of companies that need assistance. We can’t help them all but as donations continue to come in we can have an impact and play a part in the revival of the region. I would therefore urge like-minded individuals and organisations who feel they can help, to get in touch and get involved.”