The Sirius Minerals Foundation is launching its first grant programme after receiving its first £2 million of funding from Sirius Minerals Plc.
The Foundation, which is an independent charity, was set up as a community fund to spend a share of revenues from Sirius Minerals’ Woodsmith Mine near Whitby. The first funding of £2 million has become available following the recent commencement of construction of Sirius’ mine.
Once in production Sirius Minerals will contribute an annual royalty of 0.5% of sales from its Woodsmith Mine to the Foundation. This lasting commitment to the community will see the Foundation ultimately benefit from millions of pounds a year, with some estimates putting the figure over £10 million per year.
In its first funding year the trustees of the Foundation are prioritising an initial grant giving programme of grants between £500 and £5,000. This first programme is intended to help assess initial interest in funding projects throughout the area.
David Archer, chair of the Foundation, commented:
“We are delighted that the Foundation can access its first substantial funding from Sirius, which is the first step in realising our ambition of making a positive difference to the local community and the lives of local people.
“The initial grant giving programme will allow us to better assess the funding priorities within our area of interest and I would encourage people to find out more on our website.”
The Foundation has been set up to fund a range of community projects. These vary from bursaries, scholarships or skills training for local people to improving public spaces and facilities, environmental initiatives and community building projects.
Initially the Foundation will prioritise its support for communities and residents that are located more closely to the construction of Sirius’ North Yorkshire polyhalite project. These include communities within ten miles of the Woodsmith Mine and five miles of the mine infrastructure (such as the mineral transport system access points or the material handling facility at Teesside).
The Foundation will host two open evenings to answer questions from members of the public and to explain its funding programme and early priorities. The evenings will be on Monday 15 May at Performance Hall, TunedIn in Redcar and Tuesday 16 May at St Bede’s Hall, Sneaton Castle in Whitby. Refreshments will be served at 6.30pm with each event running from 7pm to 8.30pm.
The Foundation will provide a lasting legacy for the local community for generations to come. Its initial grant giving launch is the beginning of an enduring project which is expected to continue for at least a century.
Gareth Edmunds, external affairs director at Sirius Minerals and trustee of the Foundation said:
“The Sirius Minerals’ Board and management committed to the establishment of the Foundation in 2012 and it is something that we believe passionately in. It is deliberately designed to put money back into the community and we expect it to become a meaningful part of the local community and for it to support local projects for many decades to come.”
Full details of how to apply for funding are available on the Foundation’s website: www.siriusmineralsfoundation.co.uk.