28 Apr 2021
Written by Suzanne Lagan.
It seems fitting to reflect on one year since my family and I set up the Kate Lagan Fund as we mark our seventh year without our loving mum.
Our mum, Kate, was a great listener and always had time to help others, dedicating a lot of time to a number of voluntary jobs between raising the five of us.
Mum was passionate about helping young people to reach their potential. She helped out a homework club in a local primary school for children living in care. She also volunteered for the Samaritans – something we only learnt years later, often wondering why she was leaving the house at 8pm with a sleeping bag in tow.
Since mum’s passing, our dad sold most of his construction business and as a family, we agreed it would be nice to set up a charitable fund in memory of our mum with some of the proceeds.
Mum would have organised fundraising events for international charities and Trocaire boxes had a firm place on the mantelpiece so we set up a fund to donate to similar causes.
However, as mum was also very involved in the community, we wanted to support locally too and to remember her through continuing to support the causes she held close to her heart, and closer to home. We spoke with the Community Foundation Northern Ireland about the giving options and agreed to set up a fund. As a family, we knew we wanted to support local groups working with mental health and young people, just like mum. Through a number of conversations with the Foundation’s Director of Philanthropy Siofra and Grants Director Orla, we were able to focus on the types of charities and most efficient processes to make this happen. The Foundation’s longstanding expertise working with thousands of local charities has been invaluable in helping us reach some charities that we may not have encountered otherwise. For example, we were delighted to be able to support The Buddy Bear Trust in Dungannon to provide additional safe space for children with cerebral palsy.
We’ve enjoyed the opportunity to attend a number of online events to hear first-hand from charities about their work. This really brings to life the difference a grant can make and it’s been nice to see how charities can connect even with current restrictions.
Through the Foundation’s annual Giving Tuesday event in December, we heard from a number of charities on how they’re supporting young people with improving their skills and experience for employment, particularly relevant at this time. On hearing the impact these charities are having on the lives of young people, we were delighted to offer support to the three charities through the Kate Lagan Fund: Portadown Wellness Center, Women’s Tec and Tools for Solidarity. The Foundation holds various events like these which are useful in helping to inform us about what we may want to support in the future too, as we hope to continue the fund for many years to come.
Seven years on, grief can still catch you off guard but having something really positive to focus on and knowing Kate’s legacy will continue, goes some way in dealing with this. We know our mum would be proud and happy to know she’s still making her mark supporting others in our community.