28 Nov 2018
Three local charities have boosted their fundraising efforts ahead of Christmas at a crowdfunding event organised by the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland. The NI Gives event which raised £18,522.50 was held on Giving Tuesday – a global day of giving following the shopping overload of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Charities benefitting include Mind Your Mate and Yourself (MYMY) – a mental health charity co-set up to deal with an increase in suicides in a Co. Down community, Families with Ups and Downs – a voluntary group of families of children and young adults with Down Syndrome, and MACS – a charity which helps children and young people, including those leaving care as well as those in general need of support.
Each charity pitched for support for various aspects of their work at the event hosted by comedienne Nuala McKeever. Whilst those offering financial backing to the charities include individuals, families and local businesses. The Telecommunity Fund which is managed by the Community Foundation pledged £1500 in support to each charity, and the Community Foundation doubled donations by match-funding on the night.
Ray Cunningham from MYMY said: “We work with thousands of people each year and offer a confidential one-to-one service for people experiencing difficult issues and feelings. We currently have a long waiting list and an increasing demand for our counselling service.
“We help people to look at life from a completely different perspective, it’s so easy for people to get caught up in their own heads – and I know this myself from experience, but when self-care becomes a priority, life can be wonderful, so this event has been a great opportunity for us to bring in some valuable support for our counselling service and share our message further.”
Laura Denny whose four month old son Nathan has Down Syndrome pitched on behalf of Families with Ups and Downs: “When I was told Nathan would have Down Syndrome, I immediately started searching the internet for any information I could find. I was twelve weeks pregnant and had no idea what to expect.
“As a young mum in my twenties, a diagnosis of Down Syndrome for my baby came as a shock. But I haven’t looked back since being introduced to Families with Ups and Downs. They have offered Nathan and I fantastic support, and I was delighted to share my story of how they have helped me so that others might benefit from the support on offer.
“There are often very few places for families to turn and this charity provides a vital lifeline. It is a huge relief knowing that Nathan has got this group to grow up with, and that he will have days out and most importantly, that he will have friends and people who can help him live the best life possible.”
Trevor McMahon from MACS – supporting children and young people said: “It is our aim that MACS “Muddy Paws” dog walking and pampering service will help improve the overall wellbeing of young people, using the physical activity associated with the new social enterprise to address some of the key issues that the young people we work with can face, including low confidence, disengagement from employment, and a lack of training opportunities.
“To be able to tell people about the work we do and the young people we work with, at an event like this, is a unique opportunity and we are grateful for all the support we have received. It will truly make a positive impact in the lives of the young people we work with and is one of the best gifts we could receive – particularly at Christmas”.
Siofra Healy Director of Philanthropy at the Community Foundation said: “The Community Foundation connects people who care to causes that matter. We aim to encourage and support those who want to give, and to empower local communities to create change for the better, so this event was a fantastic opportunity to do just that.
“I am delighted that we have been able to facilitate support for these three amazing charities and particularly on Giving Tuesday and at Christmas, a time when many of us give to others. Over the last year the Foundation has secured £2m in new funding towards causes that matter in NI and we will distribute over £230,000 this month to help groups continue the inspiring work they undertake in our community.”
The event brought together a wide range of people and provided an opportunity to engage with the charities, privately offer support and have a massive impact on the lives of people in our local community.
To add your support to the three charities, click here.
Check out our gallery of the evening below!