Seven charities received a share of £30,000 at the recent launch of the Harrison Centre for Social Mobility (HCSM) in Northumberland.
The centre will provide advice and financial support to organisations that are helping people, particularly from disadvantaged backgrounds, to learn new skills.
HCSM, founded by North-East entrepreneur David Harrison, will also look for new ways to tackle long-standing social-mobility issues in the region.
One of the grant recipients was the Oswin Project, which is based in Northumberland. It helps improve ex-offenders’ chances of finding long-term employment on leaving prison.
Works carried out by Oswin Project clients over the last 18 months include a substantial renovation of the Doctor’s House and the Joiner’s Cottage in Pegswood and decorating the village hall in Netherwitton.
Fiona Sample, founding director, said: “The Oswin Project is thrilled and most grateful to be the recipient of the generous grant from David Harrison and the Harrison Centre.
“It will be used for the mentoring of ex-offenders as they make the transition from prison into work placements.”
Speaking at the launch event at Walwick Hall, near Humshaugh, Mr Harrison said: “Often new ideas are seen as being too risky for bureaucratic public funding, so HCSM will step in where there is a real chance of success.
“We are trying to show what is possible and give young people the chance to reach their true potential.”
Visit www.harrisoncentre.org for more details about HCSM.