Belfast Charitable Society continues to benefit the people of Belfast by supporting various charities and philanthropic causes. The Society regularly considers how best it can utilise its limited resources and currently has committed its funds in three broad ways.
1. Our Philanthopy: Grants And Loans
Building Better Futures Fund
The Building Better Futures fund was launched in 2017 and is a unique collaboration between Belfast Charitable Society, Ulster Community Investment Trust (UCIT) and Building Change Trust. The fund, which provides support in the way of a loan, is aimed at community-based groups seeking to make a positive difference to society across Northern Ireland. To date (July 2019) the fund has loaned over £1,100,000 to over 58 groups resulting in ground breaking developments at local level.
Northern Ireland Hospice
Belfast Charitable Society donated £250,000 over the last three years to support a range of transformational projects at the Northern Ireland Hospice including the building of the Palliative Care Learning Academy; enabling transformation change through Project Nurse and Administration Support; remodelling outpatient service to create the Multi-Professional Hospice Hub; scholarships and supporting young people transitioning beyond Children’s Hospice through ‘Beyond Horizon’.
Belfast Charitable Society has been working with the Barbour Fund to create a six-year fund aimed at supporting activities for older people, disadvantaged young people and skills development, in particular in the health and social care sector. To date over £100,000 has been awarded to projects aimed at tackling isolation for older people and enhance employability for younger people through access to training programmes.
North Belfast Heritage Cluster
Belfast Charitable Society is a member, and current chair of a group of voluntary organisations that own or care for an historic building (and graveyard!) in North Belfast. The long term aim is to deliver heritage-led regeneration, using what’s special about the area to create a more confident sense of place.
Great Place North Belfast
Belfast Charitable Society is working with 15 partner organisations on the Great Place North Belfast project, is a 3-year initiative funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The project features their historic buildings and sites stretching for one mile along Donegall Street, Clifton Street, the Crumlin Road and part of the Antrim Road.
Mary Ann McCracken Foundation
The foundation was set up by Belfast Charitable Society to celebrate the life and works of this remarkable woman, and her legacy and relevance today. Looking at issues around poverty, modern slavery, human rights and equality.
Mary Ann McCracken Republication
Updating and republishing her biography by Mary McNeill, another member of BCS, to bring her story to a wider audience and recognise two important women in our history. This has been the first major piece of work of the Mary Ann McCracken Foundation.
BCS is supporting Harmony Choir through annual donation for two years. Harmony Choir provides alternative learning environments; access to collaborations and opportunities to travel; and increased awareness amongst students of their shared cultural heritage, through music and song. Over seven primary schools are currently involved.
Queens University Belfast Pathway Opportunity Programme Bursary
This bursary enables 5 Year two students to access the Pathway Opportunity Programme, supporting students from disadvantaged backgrounds to complete third level education.
Family Early Intervention Support
BCS supports multi-disciplinary teams of more than 60 organisations who work directly with North Belfast families facing financial hardship and requiring early intervention. The Society funds two part-time home visitor posts and vouchers for those most in need: continuing in a modern way our original outdoor relief scheme. To date, over £3,100 of financial aid has been shared with 40 local families including 120 children
Age NI My Life My Way Programme
Residual funds from the handing over of the care facilities has been used to fund a pilot with Age NI for a reminiscence and art programme for the residents. Further work planned.
2. Our Heritage and Philanthropy
Our Heritage Centre is operated as a social enterprise, creating an income stream for Belfast Charitable Society. Our aim is to ‘make the past our future’ by informing visitors of our long charitable history in order to encourage future philanthropy.
Conference and Event Hire
Clifton House is a unique conference and event venue, with the Board Room, Archive Room and McCracken Suite all available to hire, generating a key revenue stream which supports Belfast Charitable Societies philanthropic work.
Facilitating care for older people
Around 90% of Clifton House is still used for its original purpose – to care for those that need additional help in society. Today that focus is on older people. The building is currently leased to Radius Housing who operate sheltered accommodation and a dementia residential home.
3. Promoting Philanthropy
Belfast Charitable Society is supporting the work of the Institute of Fundraising and the NI Trust Group to allow them space to discuss and promote philanthropy.
Our support helps bring together key stakeholders to inform fundraisers and those working in funding about current issues. It facilitates a series of training and best practice sharing sessions.