Creating an environment where our young people can develop is at the core of our charity. I liken it to taking baby steps; and many of these baby steps provide the confidence and self-awareness to give Northern Ireland’s children a more positive view of the world enabling them to be better citizens for tomorrow.
In 2018 the charity was able to make awards to ten varied and interesting projects. These ranged from educational programmes to leadership training and drama projects. Our county assessors visit each organisation selected by the Grants Committee. They look at cross community benefits, sustainability, and achieving project goals. The organisations all make interim and final reports to the assessors. I have often said that it is both humbling and uplifting to see the results on the ground.
In the west of the province one project is to establish a brass band over two years, a second is a fourteen-week programme of arts and drama resulting in production of Guys and Dolls and a third, a dance project for 40 participants. In Derry/Londonderry there is a peace building and digital story telling project and a separate one for citizen and leadership training. In Belfast and the east of the province there is an education programme involving art murals and a summer programme of activities aimed at decreasing the amount of underaged drinking and anti-social behaviour. All of these have a cross community basis.
Looking ahead in the new year, the trustees will be hosting a lunch at The Culloden Hotel on 5th April with Roddy Doyle, the well-known Irish author and dramatist, in conversation with Conor Bradford. This is an opportunity for our corporate supporters in Northern Ireland to get to know the charity. 21st November is the date for the biennial House of Lords v House of Commons Swim for which preparations are well underway. Thanks again go to Leo Callow, Karen and all at Cherton without whose help we would never achieve so much.