Rathbones, one of the UK’s leading investment management specialists, has pledged £5,000 to support the business-led, Open North Foundation, which is committed to supporting companies in the North East trying to recover from Covid-19.

The newly launched not-for-profit company is calling upon businesses and individuals throughout the region to pledge financial support as part of a private sector-led initiative to rebuild the regional economy. Businesses receiving financial support will be considered to deliver long term positive economic impact and create high quality jobs. In most cases, grants will range from £1,000 to £5,000 but this will be reviewed in due course, subject to funding.

Rathbones’ team in Newcastle provides high quality investment management services to a wide portfolio of clients across the North East. It is part of one of the UK’s largest and longest-established wealth management firms, Rathbone Brothers Plc, a FTSE 250 constituent of the London Stock Exchange, with a heritage dating back to 1742.

James Kyle, investment director at Rathbones and an ambassador for the Open North Foundation, said: “We are delighted to support the aims and objectives of Open North Foundation and we applaud those individuals that have come together during the height of the pandemic to plan and launch what is a truly inspiring response from the private sector.

“Throughout its long history, Rathbones has provided support to others in many ways, donations being just one of them. We are committed to supporting local communities and supporting charities and initiatives that do important work in line with our own values. We have been very fortunate in that we have an exceptionally loyal client base, which has strengthened us during the pandemic. This has made us all the more determined to support what are otherwise very good businesses, that have been hit hard and need financial and practical help to pull through.

“While the immediate aim of Open North Foundation is to provide financial support, there is also a longer term goal to provide technical support, business advice and consultancy to enterprises and individuals adversely affected by the pandemic. The momentum is growing and we are delighted to have made this pledge at the very start of the campaign and we would encourage other businesses to do likewise, if they can.”

Chair of Open North Foundation, is Richard Swart, global sales director, Berger Group Europe and vice chair is Colin Hewitt, partner, Ward Hadaway solicitors. Directors are Teesside entrepreneur, Claire Preston, area business manager for Barclays, David Foreman, director of Wessington Cryogenics, Gill Courtney, director, Stephenson-Mohl Group, Mark Stephenson and MHA Tait Walker, director, Paul Shields.

Richard Swart, said: “Clearly, there has been a great deal of grant aid and other support available from the Government but as we know, that will slowly start to be withdrawn and there is a real need for the business sector to come together and provide financial assistance to help the recovery of smaller, less resourceful businesses who, if they survive, will have a positive impact on the regional economy and create good jobs.

“We are delighted but not surprised that Rathbones, with its magnificent history of supporting community causes, has stepped in to help with a pledge of £5,000. We only launched in July and we are steadily building support and financial pledges from the business community. Our message is that we openly welcome pledges of all sizes, it is what we achieve as a collective, rather than the size of the donation, that counts.

“This is the worst economic crisis in 300 years and in such an environment we cannot afford to be precious about the level of funding on offer. It all helps.

“All involved in the Open North Foundation are working pro bono. The board, our ambassadors and supporters are now calling for the business community to rally together and demonstrate that, once again, the North East is way ahead of the field in looking after its own. The region’s business community and individuals have demonstrated time and time again that they readily support the communities in which they live and operate via their commitment to worthy causes. The vision for Open North Foundation is steeped within that spirit of generosity and caring and we know that we will gain the support needed to give many businesses the opportunity to recover and flourish.”