2015 Charity Achievement Awards Regional


The Halifax Foundation today announced that six charities from Northern Ireland which have been shortlisted for the UK Final of the Charity Achievement Awards and will be travelling to London for a prestigious awards ceremony on 8th October 2015.

The Charity Achievement Awards have been created to recognise the amazing, life changing work of small and medium sized charities.

They will each receive £1000 and will now compete against charities from across England, Wales and the Channel Islands, with 6 overall winners to be announced at a UK final awards ceremony in London.

An additional six charities were Highly Commended for their entries and will each receive £500.

The aim of the awards is to showcase how local charities are working at the frontline of tackling disadvantage and bettering lives in their communities. These UK-wide awards recognise the work of outstanding small and medium-sized charities, which have benefited from grants from the Foundations of Northern Ireland, England, Wales and the Channel Islands. Since the launch in 1985 the Foundations have distributed over £575m to charities in communities across the UK helping to tackle disadvantage,” said Halifax Foundation NI Executive Director Sandara Kelso-Robb.

“We had 129 entries for the six award categories and it was incredibly difficult to choose the winners as all had made such a valuable contribution to society. The sector has been facing massive funding cuts in recent years but these awards show how groups and individuals are rallying, ensuring that there is hope of a better future for their communities,” she added.


Outstanding Impact

Foyle Search & Rescue

The panel were not only impressed by the fact that this charity has directly saved the lives of over 2,500 people, but also that they have been instrumental in supporting  groups in other regions set up search and rescue operations. Known as the fourth emergency service locally, they form part of the body recovery team, tragically recovering bodies from the river. Their amazing work doesn’t stop there. They also provide bereavement support to families, water safety education and suicide prevention programmes to the community.

Against the Odds

Dundonald Sea Cadets

The panel were struck by the hard hitting facts in this application - ‘Homeless, £82 in the bank, 3 cadets and 4 staff’. All judges were very impressed at how the unit pulled together and with the help of Halifax Foundation NI are now thriving with a turnover of £50,000 and assets of £40,000. For the past two years they have held the award for being the top unit in NI.

Valuing Volunteers

Learmount Community Development Group Ltd  

The panel were impressed at how this small village is indebted to the volunteers that give their time freely to this organisation. They were struck by how many volunteers they managed to retain in such a small community (120 active volunteers in a village with a population of only 3,508), how many services only offered by volunteers and that they received the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service. 

Championing Change

Autism NI

Again the panel were in agreement that this organisation should win this category because of the influence the charity had on the 2011 Autism Act passed by the NI Assembly. This was at the end of a 10 year campaign led by the charity aimed at enhancing the rights of people with Autism. The panel were impressed that the charity continues to educate people about the implications and legalities of the legislation.

Unsung Hero

Carrickfergus & District Senior Gateway

The judges were overwhelmed by the dedication of Trevor Monteith. One of the longest standing members (over 30 years’ service), Trevor, who had recently celebrated his 80th birthday was the one person everyone turns to for advice. He has given his life to improve the lives of people with a learning disability and was instrumental in the set-up of the new supported living schemes.

Enterprising Collaboration

Council for the Homeless (NI)

The panel were impressed at the achievement of this charity and their collaboration was twofold. They provide food to over 5,700 families through collaboration with over 70 charities in NI, but they have also formed partnerships with large supermarkets in NI who donate food which is close to its sell by date.  This food no longer goes to waste but to people in extreme need.


Outstanding Impact

Kinship Carers

This organisation provides support to children who cannot be cared for by their parents. What deeply struck the panel was the impact the service had on its users as shown by the quotations from children and endorsement statement by a service user now on the committee who cared for her siblings after the death of her parents.

Against the Odds

Goal Line Youth Club

Catering for young people with complex disabilities, the panel were impressed by how the passion of the parents who got involved to form a committee saved this charity. It was evident by this application just how much this club means to the young people and parents who avail of services, and how a grant from Halifax Foundation NI was a turning point in reviving such a vital service for young people.

Valuing Volunteers

Springfield Charitable Trust

The panel was struck by how this organisation supports volunteers who themselves need additional support (unemployed, ex-prisoners, those with disability/mental health issue). The judges were impressed by how volunteers are treated like staff and made feel truly valued.

Championing Change

Public Achievement

The panel were impressed at how this organisation helps young people to become effective engaged citizens – through their WIMPS project. They were also delighted that this is a two way process – not only helping young people to connect with their local representatives, but helping politicians better engage with young people.

Unsung Hero

Mountpottinger Presbyterian Church

The panel were humbled when reading about 77 year old Maud McKitterick. She sets up the room for the afterschools club, makes the snack and has been known to even play unihockey with the children. Donating her own money to help families in need, Maud is a true unsung hero.

Enterprising Collaboration

Angel Eyes NI

The panel liked that although Angel Eyes has its place in supporting families with a visually impaired child through helping parents, that they also connect families with other charities that can help them. The partnerships forged with Guide Dogs NI, RNIB, Disability Sport NI and Blind Children UK is testament to how this charity wants the best for the families they support.

Details on the winners throughout England, Wales, Channel Islands and Northern Ireland can be found http://tinyurl.com/ndpgm7n


Closing Date

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T: 028 9032 3000
E: grants@halifaxfoundationni.org

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Charity Number: NIC101763

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