Funeral directors give out ten grants to local causes

The team from John Blenkiron Sons Funeral Directors present the money to Hipswell Village Hall.

A funeral directors has given grants to ten local causes following the launch of their first ever community fund.

The £20,000 John Blenkiron & Sons Community Fund opened earlier this year with the aim of supporting charities within a three-mile radius of John Blenkiron & Sons Funeral Directors branches in Richmond, Barnard Castle and Catterick.

The successful applicants have now been awarded their grants following an application window in the spring.

These include Richmond Refugee Support Group who are using the money for welcome packs for people arriving into the country, 1st Richmond Scout Group who will be spending their grant on outdoor cooking equipment and Richmondshire Dales Amateur Swimming Club who will use it support their disabled team with travel to compete at home and abroad.

Amongst the other recipients were The Witham in Barnard Castle and Hipswell Village Hall in Catterick.

A new cycle of applications is now open, with other causes being invited to apply.

Senior funeral director Rebekah Taylor has been co-ordinating the fund and hopes to create relationships with the groups they have supported.

“Working with these charities has been absolutely amazing,” she said.

“I’ve always been passionate about supporting the community. We have a lot to offer, not only as a business but also as individuals.

‘We hope that the community fund will enable us to forge lasting relationships where we can offer support and assistance long term.

“We’re not purely donating money, we are also showing these causes that we do care and we can support you.”

Rebekah urged any eligible applicants who could benefit from funding to get in touch before the application deadline on September 1.

“If you applied before and weren’t successful, don’t let it put you off for this cycle,” she said.

“We’re looking forward to hearing from all sorts of different organisations again.

“It’s been great to get to know more about charities we didn’t know about before we launched the fund.”

James Blenkiron is business principal for the funeral directors which his father set up back in 1968.

“It is really rewarding to know we are giving back to the community,” he said.

“I’m so proud we’ve been able to do this.”

Grants will be available to projects which align with one or more of the fund categories which are health, education, employment opportunities and poverty or social deprivation.

Applicants must demonstrate they can improve the quality of life for local residents.

Each applicant can ask for a grant between £300 and £1,500, with each entry judged by an impartial panel from John Blenkiron & Sons.

For full terms and conditions, and details about how to make an application visit

Anyone with any questions relating to the fund should contact the team via email on