Halifax Foundation for NI appoints first ever patron

The Halifax Foundation for Northern Ireland has appointed Jim McCooe as its first patron to continue to foster close links between the business community and the third sector. 

The Portadown man, who holds the most senior leadership role in Lloyds Banking Group in Northern Ireland, has been a key supporter of the Foundation for 11 years and is a strong advocate for the grant funding body’s work with grass roots organisations helping the most vulnerable in society. 

“I am so proud of the work of the Foundation and the good causes that it funds. In this newly created role of Patron of the Foundation, I will offer support at every opportunity. I speak regularly to politicians and business leaders about the need to help disadvantaged communities and my new role will help cement relations between decision makers and the third sector,” he said. 

The Halifax Foundation for Northern Ireland is entirely funded by an annual donation from Lloyds Banking Group. Over the past 35 years, it has given £39 million to charities in Northern Ireland. 

Brenda McMullan, the Foundation’s Executive Director, explained that Mr McCooe’s unique roles as Lloyds Bank Ambassador and long-standing trustee of the Foundation has strengthened the relationship between the bank and the Foundation. 

“Jim shares our passion to support our grantees not just financially, but strategically. Jim was instrumental in helping the Foundation to tap into the skills and expertise that exist in Lloyds Banking Group and connecting colleagues with the community and voluntary sector. I am thrilled that Jim has agreed to become the first ever Patron of the Foundation, and that he will stand with us as we support the sector in the challenges ahead.” 

Mr McCooe has been employed by the bank for almost 35 years, taking a job as a cashier with Halifax Building Society six weeks after leaving school. He was offered a management trainee post and later ran the largest branch in Northern Ireland before being promoted in 2004 to oversee the branch network. 

Despite his busy work schedule, he was sponsored by Halifax to do a degree in Business and Management at Durham Business School in 2006.   

“I never left the house on a Saturday for three years; I spent all day studying. I was like a sponge soaking it all up. It was an amazing opportunity and I was very lucky to have such great support from my family and my work colleagues,” he said. 

Lloyds Bank took Halifax over in 2008 and the following year Mr McCooe was made Bank Ambassador for Northern Ireland, one of ten roles created across the UK. He is currently Head of Customer Contact for Lloyds Banking Group (LBG) in Belfast and a member of its national Senior Leadership Group. 

In 2010 he joined the Foundation as a trustee and immediately loved the role. “I couldn’t believe how much good work the Foundation was doing. I was so honoured and humbled to be able to offer my support,” he said. 

Trustees can only serve for three terms, so he is delighted that he can continue to be involved with the organisation in this new role.  

He believes firmly in the importance of business supporting the third sector and feels that Lloyds Bank has fostered this ethos among its 2000 strong team in Northern Ireland.  

He added: “Our bank colleagues have a massive sense of pride in the work that the Foundation does and how we are able to contribute as an organisation. As patron I will be looking at new and innovative ways to strengthen this partnership.” 

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Clifton House Heritage Centre
2 North Queen Street
Belfast BT15 1ES

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

Registered in Northern Ireland Number 19019

Company Limited by Guarantee

Charity Number: NIC101763

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