THE charitable arm of Hampshire employer Zurich is to donate £900,000 to support young people’s mental health, provide school breakfasts for poorer children and support people with dementia.

The insurer, which has around 600 staff at Whiteley, chose its charity partners for the year with input from staff.

Zurich Community Trust will support Magic Breakfast, Barnardo’s and Dementia UK with £150,000 a year for the next two years.

It will also give non-financial support, which includes funded apprenticeships; skills-based courses and wellbeing webinars; paid-for online governance reviews; free memberships and subscriptions to third sector bodies; and access to Zurich’s personal development and wellbeing learning hub.

Steve Grimmett, head of the Zurich Community Trust said: “We’re proud to partner with these charities to support their vital work in communities throughout the UK.

"The three issues chosen by Zurich employees – young people’s mental health, support for those living with dementia and the provision of breakfasts for children affected by food security are three issues affecting so many people across the UK.

"The effects of the pandemic and the current cost of living crisis mean that these grants will go towards helping those most in need. We are excited about working with these incredible charities as they help to make a real difference to people’s lives.”

Magic Breakfast provides healthy breakfasts to schools for children at risk of hunger in disadvantaged areas. The grant will support more than 3,000 children each year in 15 schools across the UK.

Lindsey MacDonald, chief executive of Magic Breakfast, said: "This generous commitment has reached us at a crucial time. The combination of both the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis means the numbers of children and young people at risk of being too hungry to learn is growing by the day.”

The grant for Dementia UK will fund two specialist dementia nurses and contribute to running costs for a virtual clinic. Zurich’s help has been worth almost £500,000 to the charity over the past four years.

Dr Hilda Hayo, chief executive of Dementia UK, said: “This support will complement our impactful 2018-2022 partnership with Zurich Community Trust and help us support many more families facing dementia when they need it most.”

The Barnardo’s grant will contribute to the costs of the Barnardo’s Education Community, an online facility which helps teachers and schools support children and young people with their mental health.

Michelle Lee-Izu, corporate director of development and innovation for Barnado’s, said: “At a time when so many children are struggling with their mental health, this partnership will enable us to provide support and guidance to teaching staff so they are better equipped to help children before they reach crisis point.”