Nine Newry groups to benefit from Brian Conlon Foundation awards 

Fund & Grant News

Nine Newry groups to benefit from Brian Conlon Foundation awards 

21 Jun 2023

Nine local groups in the Newry area are set to benefit from awards announced by the Brian Conlon Foundation this week, in conjunction with the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland, funding groups in Newry city for organisations and charities to advance education, amateur sport, providing opportunities for young people from the local area, and assistance for communities in disadvantaged areas.

The Brian Conlon Foundation stated:  

“Being able to make these awards to groups in the Newry area is fantastic. The interest shown by local groups in this fund, created in memory of Brian is heart-warming and reflective of the fantastic work that is carried out across the city and the surrounding areas.

“The connection Brian had with Newry is well known. He was passionate about creating opportunities in his hometown and making a real difference to people’s lives.  The Foundation reflects Brian’s values and allows his spirit to live on whilst making a positive tangible contribution to the community he was so proud of.”

Dr Michelle McCormack, CEO of Drake Music NI said: 

“We are delighted to receive the funds to extend the impact of our work in the Newry area, as it is the original home of Drake Music NI, established in Newry 31 years ago!

“Drake Music NI will be introducing Making Music My Way for disadvantaged young people aged 12-18 living in the most challenging of circumstances and who, consequently, do not have the same opportunities as others to take part in high-quality music activity.

“Making Music My Way will involve disadvantaged young people in a series of educational workshops such as song writing, DJ-ing and playing, composing and performing music using both conventional instruments and inclusive technologies to enable participants to make music to whatever level their aspire.”

Speaking today, Orla Black, Grants Director at the Community Foundation said:  

“Nine Newry based groups in total are set to benefit have from awards made by the Brian Conlon Foundation. These will cover activities ranging for arts programmes, the enhancement of sports in the area and projects for young people to get their teeth into making a significant difference for those involved.

“At a time when communities and organisations are hard pressed due to rising costs these awards are a very welcome boost allowing projects including a sports inclusion project, a youth group summer show and kayaking for children and adults with intellectual disabilities to go ahead and improve people’s physical and mental wellbeing.”

About Brian Conlon 

Brian passed away in July 2019 after a short illness, aged 53.  Entrepreneur and founder of First Derivatives, he was a much-loved father, husband, son, brother, friend, and colleague.

Hugely successful in many walks of life, Brian was a high achiever in education, in sport and in business. When a knee injury ended his senior Gaelic football career with Co. Down, Brian turned his attention to business and set up First Derivatives from a bedroom in his mother’s home. It is now one of NI’s most successful businesses employing over 2,500 people globally.

Despite his successes’, Brian remained a humble and grounded family man who faced both challenges and opportunities in his own life and who supported local and national causes in a quiet and understated way.

The awards were made to the following groups: 

  • Drake Music Project Northern Ireland – towards the Making Music My Way project
  • Newry City AFC Special Olympic Club – towards Tandem Kayaking for children and adults with intellectual disabilities
  • Lisdrum Youth FC – towards equipment for their new pitches (storage container and floodlights)
  • Newpoint Players – towards the Newpoint Players Youth Group Summer Show
  • Newry Shamrocks GAA – towards the Newry Sports Inclusion Project
  • Respect Youth Project – towards the Community Youth Champions Programme
  • Sticky Fingers Arts – towards the Imagination Lab project
  • Newry City AFC – towards Newry City Gamechanger Project
  • Well Lane Warriors F.C. – towards room rental and training kit


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