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Cash boost for North Tyneside community charity focused on young people thanks to a pioneering energy switching

SwitchAid Director Dom Ryan with Rachel Dyne from YMCA North Tyneside

A North Tyneside charity is set to receive a substantial cash windfall and energy savings which will help its future sustainability and the delivery of vital services to young people and their families in the region.

YMCA North Tyneside has saved almost £24,000 and is set to receive a grant of over £680.

The charity has worked with social enterprise SwitchAid which provides a pioneering energy and communications switching service which has so far unlocked thousands of pounds in funding for the charity sector in the North East.

SwitchAid, now located in Gateshead, has already generated thousands of pounds for local communities on energy and phone bills with the opportunity to redirect cash savings to their favourite good causes or if a charity, to reinvest the savings.

The latest figures bring the total savings the social enterprise has brought local organisations to in excess of £80,000 and grants awarded worth approximately £16,000.

SwitchAid Director Dom Ryan said: “Our whole ethos is to generate revenue that can be redirected into the local community, cash that would normally be lost to energy and telecoms companies and consultants who keep the hefty commissions.

“As a registered Community Interest Company ourselves we have to put at least 65% of our profits back into good works in the local community so ethically we are aligned perfectly within the sector we are helping.”

YMCA North Tyneside operations manager Rachel Dyne signed up to SwitchAid toward the end of last year after a long standing energy contract came up for renewal.

As a charity YMCA North Tyneside helps at least 500 young people with 42 beds located in North Shields, a gym and community café team.

They also offer youth centres and support for families who find themselves struggling for a range of reasons, to have guidance, support and help from the YMCA team.

Rachel said: “The money we have saved and the significant grant we are receiving from SwitchAid will go towards maintaining the valuable services we provide to the hundreds of young people who often only need a friendly face and a little extra help to get them back on track with their lives.

“As a charity we provide an invaluable service to young people and the families of young people who find themselves in very difficult positions confronted with the reality of social and economic deprivation, isolation or have children with complex needs. We can offer accommodation, guidance and sign posting to advice and support services.”

The REfUSE Café in Chester-Le-Street, Co Durham – which turns waste food into healthy meals – also signed up and is looking to receive a boost from the grants. REfUSE Café is part of the UK-wide The Real Junk Food Project, a network of organisations challenging surplus levels of food waste, operating on a ‘Pay As You Feel Basis’ and is entirely run by volunteers.

Nikki Dravers, a co-founder of REfUSE, said: “SwitchAid has been great, they contacted us last year at a time when we were in the middle of stressful building work trying to get the café ready to open and we were approached by various energy consultants who I felt were trying to hoodwink and exploit us.

“What SwitchAid has done is advise not sell, which has taken away all the worry about our energy supplier. This will potentially unlock hundreds of pounds on a regular basis and by supporting us in this way SwitchAid is contributing toward making our not-for-profit business model more sustainable.”

SwitchAid can either work directly with the third sector – helping charitable organisations to cut their bills and win grant funding – or with individuals and businesses that can nominate a preferred good cause to benefit from the savings they make.