Newcastle-based, commercial lawyers, Muckle LLP, has made a substantial donation to Open North Foundation, to assist small businesses in the region struggling due to the ongoing pandemic.

The firm, which was formed in 1920 and has a strong history of supporting charities and worthy causes, offered its assistance after seeing the impact the Foundation was making to Covid-hit small businesses in the North East.

The firm was quick to offer support when the pandemic first struck the region’s business community, most notably launching a series of COVID-19 specific podcasts and establishing a free service, which gave local businesses the opportunity to speak to a team of lawyers for advice on legal concerns arising from the coronavirus crisis.

In addition, the firm continued to pledge 1% of its annual profits to good causes, a number of which were COVID-19 related, including a £5,000 donation to the Coronavirus Recovery Fund, £1,000 to Hospitality and Hope, a South Tyneside food bank and support service for vulnerable and homeless people and it donated technology to Laptop for Kids.

Established in July 2020, the not-for-profit, Open North Foundation comprises of a board of directors, ambassadors and supporters, all of whom provide their services free of charge, with all money raised being distributed as grant aid to support SMEs in the North East.

Thanks to the generosity of individuals and a vast, diverse range of companies and organisations, including Northumbria University and Teesside University, 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.

Anthony Evans, partner at Muckle LLP, said: “The pandemic has affected everyone in so many ways. For businesses in our region, and their people, it’s been a hugely tough and uncertain time. The Foundation’s mission to bring the North East business community together to help each other during the crisis is a fantastic aim and something which really resonated with us at Muckle.

“Caring about our clients, people and our community, is at the core of our values and we are delighted to support the Foundation in its work.”

Richard Swart, chair of Open North Foundation, said: “Muckle is a most respected law firm in the region and has a proud and distinguished history of supporting a vast range of charities and worthy causes within the North East.

“I would like to extend the appreciation of the directors for the extremely generous donation and for all the outstanding support and financial assistance the firm has provided to other great causes, especially during the pandemic.

“Whilst we are enjoying the summer months and seeing the easing of the majority of restrictions, let us not forget the furlough scheme will soon end and the impact of COVID-19 upon the region’s businesses will be felt for a long time to come.

“The Foundation can only continue its mission through the generosity of organisations and individuals who are prepared to support our initiative by donating cash, however small, or in-kind support.”