The Foundation is actually a separate entity to Granada Television, because Sidney and Cecil Bernstein settled an amount of money in what was then called the Northern Arts and Sciences Foundation. The interest from that capital was to be used to help arts and sciences in the north. I can’t remember when they changed the name to the foundation, but nobody from television was on the advisory council; nobody from television could interfere with the finances. So it was then, and still is, entirely separate from the company.
It’s contracted in that we no longer do the whole of the north — we just do Granada’s region. Granadaland, as it was. Because, for one thing, there isn’t enough money to spread around anywhere else, and we couldn’t possibly cope with the ITV’s area, which is the whole of Britain. So we’ve kept it to the old Granada boundaries.
We give grants to applicants who we think are worthy of support, and they can range from a few hundred pounds to a few hundred thousand pounds. In our guidelines, we try to encourage people not to ask for too much but, inevitably, they do. More and more, we have actually put money into capital projects in institutions like the Royal Northern College of Music, Chetham’s, the Manchester Central Library renovation — there is now a Granada room — and various other big projects. Liverpool has benefitted enormously from grants from the foundation, and we hope that will carry on.
But the way the Stock Market works, of course, sometimes we have less money than others. We’ve drawn a little on our capital. We sometimes talk about going out with a bang, and using the whole of the money to do something really major, but nobody can decide what that is. So at the moment it’s still business as usual.
We meet three times a year and go over the applications. I used to do the admin for the applications — sorting them, bringing them to the meeting, all the follow-up work — but now that is done by Irene Langford, who used to work in the Chester news base. When that closed, they were looking for something for her to do, and I was about to go, so that worked. Now I just sit as a member of the advisory council, which is very nice. I do some preliminary and follow-up work but, on the whole, it’s just going to the meetings and looking at the applications on the day.
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