The launch of Local Legends: a £1,000,000 fund through Virgin Unite to support UK charities

Holly Branson
Virgin Management
Holly Branson
Holly Branson's writing
Published on 14 December 2023

It makes me so proud to see our people at Virgin stepping up to support their communities, time and time again by volunteering at local charities that tackle diverse and difficult issues. 

We’ve always supported the volunteering efforts of our people, and I’m delighted that through the Virgin Unite Local Legends fund we are celebrating and encouraging even more of our wonderful people to continue (or start) volunteering and to tell us all about the amazing community charities they are supporting.

Holly Branson with the SHINE group of female engineers at Virgin Atlantic
Kami White

It was our people from across our UK businesses who inspired us to launch Local Legends through Virgin Unite, as a £1,000,000 fund to support charities that are tackling unacceptable issues in the UK. What’s more, the community-based charities will all be nominated by the wonderful Virgin people who volunteer for them. It’s such a powerful way of supporting the charities’ hard work, while also encouraging people at Virgin to keep volunteering and addressing the issues that matter most to them. 

Over the next three years, eligible charities nominated by our people will be able to apply for a Local Legends grant. We opened the first round in June, and we are delighted to announce that 31 charities will receive a £5,000 grant in this round! These charities are tackling issues such as poverty prevention and relief, education, health, advancing human rights, investing in equality and diversity, and supporting people in need. How amazing. I was fortunate enough to meet some of the volunteers whose nominations were successful in the first round, and I was blown away by their dedication and selflessness.

Local Legends – Holly Branson meets the Round 1 volunteers

I really believe our people and the charities they support are true legends and they should be celebrated, so I’m grateful to everyone at Virgin Unite and Virgin Management who helped bring this project to life. We should always recognise the people who give up their time to make a difference in our societies, and in their communities, and I never want to lose sight of how lucky we are to have them working with us at Virgin.  

Here’s a full list of the brilliant charities that Local Legends is supporting in round one, and I’ll be sure to update you on the impact that follows:

  • FreeShop Crawley - Melanie Paul, Virgin Atlantic

  • Crawley Foodbank (The Easter Team) - Anonymous

  • S6 Foodbank (Food and Community Trust) - Adam Holmes, Virgin Media O2

  • Hartlepool Foodbank - John Harvey, Virgin Media O2

  • The Cowshed - Kayleigh Donnelly Scott-Paramio, Virgin Media O2

  • Ten Little Toes - Sara Akbolat, Virgin Atlantic

  • Little Village HQ - Aija Siskova, Virgin Media O2

  • Spread Some Sunshine - David Lodge, Virgin Atlantic

  • The ELBWO Centre - Heather Sancho, Virgin Active

  • The Kids Network - Andy Fishburn, Virgin StartUp

  • Harborough District Scout Group - Chris Moxham, Virgin Media O2

  • Killingworth Young People’s Club - Kayleigh Jobson, Virgin Money

  • Hertfordshire Band Academy - Richard Moore, Virgin Red

  • Prison Fellowship - Judy Brown, Virgin Management Limited

  • Disability Sport Glasgow - Robin Walker, Virgin Money

  • Sussex Sailability - Kate Leigh, Virgin Atlantic

  • Luton Town FC Community Trust - Oliver Williams, Virgin Unite

  • Leeds Rowing Club - Danielle Markendale, Virgin Atlantic

  • Ysgol Dyffryn Y Glowyr PTA - Abigail Jones, Virgin Atlantic

  • Support and Grow North East - Jo Edwards, Virgin Money

  • Pete's Dragons - Kayleigh Hodge, Virgin Management Limited

  • The Listening Place - Miranda Toole, Virgin Unite

  • Controlling Chemsex - Elliot Wood, Virgin Active

  • LGBT Foundation - Ben Newbold, Virgin Atlantic

  • Recap - Kenny Owen, Virgin Hotels

  • New Life Church Leigh - Julian Matthews, Virgin Active

  • Maggie's Lanarkshire - Frances Corrigan, Virgin Media O2

  • The Thames Hospice - Jack Gibson Barton, Virgin Experience Days

  • #TALE: The Adam Lewis Effect - Adam Hardman, Virgin Media O2

  • Glasgow Street Aid - Matthew Muir, Virgin Hotels

  • Warwickshire Search & Rescue - Steve Brown, Virgin Media O2

Here’s more about the work that Virgin Unite is doing to challenge unacceptable issues all around the world.