Newsquest has donated more than £140,000 to 40 UK community organisations, including special grants to charities connected with the news industry, through the charitable arm of its US owner.
The Gannett Foundation gave the £10,000 each to the Journalists’ Charity and the Newstraid Benevolent Fund, which respectively support current and former journalists and retailers and distributors in hard times.
Another £10,000 was awarded to the National Council for the Training of Journalists’ Journalism Diversity Fund, which gives financial help to people from diverse backgrounds so they can complete their training.
But most of the money went to groups that Newsquest’s trustees thought would “deliver a real and lasting practical benefit” to the communities served by their 200 news titles and magazines.
Simon Westrop, chairman of the trustees, said: “It really is a pleasure for us to find and help people who are giving up their own free time to help others in inventive ways that answer very specific local needs in the community, because this is where our newspapers are too and we want to support what is good about the places we live in and make them even better if we can.”
Other news-related grants include £1,140 for new technology at Tynedale Talking Newspapers in Northumberland, a charity that provides access to audible newspapers for the blind and partially sighted.
Many of the grants went to hospices, community construction projects, support for the elderly or disabled, and projects helping to tackle homelessness and a lack of opportunities for disadvantaged young people.
Westrop said most successful applications are not necessarily “headline-grabbers”, but ones that meet a particular need and “instantly improve daily life”, such as providing appliances needed by a community centre.
Newsquest’s titles will call for the next round of applications in its print and online titles from the end of July.
The Gannett Foundation keeps a modest reserve in case of emergency applications that come in before the next round of grants, and this can be applied for through any Newsquest editor.