Halifax Foundation for Northern Ireland has been in operation in NI since 1985. Since then, it has contributed over £40 million to more than 11,500 projects, improving the lives of disadvantaged and disabled people throughout NI. The Foundation is committed to continuing to support our hardworking, dedicated charities. When COVID-19 struck, the Foundation responded immediately to support the most vulnerable during the crisis, providing funding to charities, including PTAs to support people in need.
Brookfield School PSA received a grant of £2,960 in June towards sensory resource packs for children at home. Since the closure of their school in March due to Covid they had to cope with a complete change of routine, no access to in school therapies and no sensory equipment. They also greatly missed contact with their school teachers. In October the group then received a further Covid grant of £2,500 towards outdoor sports equipment for their Key Stage 2 year group. This group of 90 children had no sports equipment of their own so this grant was used to fund outdoor equipment to encourage the children to play safely outdoors.Lockdown had caused some serious mental health issues for some of the children with many of them feeling fearful of Covid and of going outside so this sports equipment is vital in encouraging them back outdoors again.
A parent told us:
“It was amazing, all the packs were thought out for each child's likes. It made my daughter so happy getting her wee things and even more happy that she got to see her teacher. It brought a bit of normality and calm to such a scary situation going from being in school and things to not being allowed out or to see anyone.”
The Foundation also supported PTAs to provide laptops for children at home with no access to devices. Friends of CBS applied for £2,835 to provide students and families identified as having the greatest need with fully refurbished laptops. This enabled them to access, and meaningfully utilise, educational material provided by their schools and the wider educational community. The grant allowed them to purchase 15 refurbished laptops and once lockdown measures eased, the laptops could be used by the school, creating a legacy of support for students in the West Belfast area.
Committee member Conor Kennedy said “The provision of these laptops in the first lockdown has greatly enhanced All Saint’s College’s (formerly CBS, Corpus Christi College and St Rose’s Girls School) ability to enable out most disadvantaged students to access remote learning through successive lockdowns. Where other laptops have become available through the EA for specific years groups, most notably our GCSE & A-level pupils, these laptops have been returned and redistributed to other pupils in need. The flexibility that the Foundation’s generous grant has given the school cannot be understated. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude for how they have worked with the school throughout this process”.
Brenda McMullan, Executive Director said ‘we were acutely aware from the outset that young people would suffer greatly during lockdown. Those living in poverty were plunged deeper into disadvantage with the loss of, for many children, their one meal a day provided via free school meals. Furthermore, they could not access home learning due to the digital divide. We were extremely proud of how any PTAs stepped up to support children and young people during the most challenging of times.’
Should you wish to find out more about Halifax Foundation for Northern Ireland, or apply for a grant please visit us at www.halifaxfoundationni.org
Telephone: 02890 323000