Scottish businesswoman, Marie Macklin CBE, today (Wed 22nd April) announces a further £10,000 of funding to help communities in Belfast impacted by COVID-19.

In collaboration with the Greater Shankill Partnership, the funding will be distributed to various organisations in Belfast to help them provide vital services and cover running costs at this extremely challenging time.

Each organisation will be able to use its allocation for urgent requirements such as food and services for the vulnerable including mental health counselling, education and activities for young people, and the provision of health and social care.

The organisations set to benefit are:

  • Greater Shankill Partnership
  • West Belfast Scout District
  • Good Morning North Belfast
  • Berlin Swifts FC
  • Rathcoole Neighbourhood Renewal
  • Queens Park Women’s Group
  • Newtownabbey Community Relations Forum

Having seen first-hand how the COVID-19 pandemic is directly affecting the communities of her home town, Kilmarnock, in Scotland, Marie launched the Lift Up Your Hearts campaign there to encourage communities to come together and support each other through this crisis. The campaign has already funded a package of support that will see 20,000 free meals delivered to the most vulnerable people in Kilmarnock and across East Ayrshire.

Marie, who was awarded the prestigious Belfast Ambassador Medal as part of the Belfast International Homecoming event in 2018, is Founder and Executive Chair of the HALO Urban Regeneration Company. Phase I of the first HALO project is currently under construction in Kilmarnock and will be the first town centre net zero carbon energy project in Scotland, setting the standard for low carbon energy sites across the UK.

Marie said: “It is heart-breaking to see the COVID-19 pandemic severely impacting communities all over the world and I believe that it is vital we all come together and support each other where we can.

“My Granny Maggie McBride was raised in Belfast before moving to Scotland in the 1800s. I’m extremely proud of my family’s roots in this city and I just know the people of Belfast will pull together to help those who need it the most during this exceptionally difficult time.

“I hope the Lift Up Your Hearts campaign will support the most vulnerable communities in Belfast and help as many people as possible to get through these extremely difficult times.”

Alderman Phillip Brett, DUP Group Leader, Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, said: “I am overwhelmed by Marie’s generosity to the people of Belfast over many years, this most recent donation will have a transformative impact upon the most vulnerable in our community.

“On behalf of those who will benefit from these services, I would like to thank Marie for once again supporting the people of Belfast.

“Dr Macklin truly is a friend of Belfast.”

Nicola Verner, Chief Executive of the Greater Shankill Partnership, said: “We are delighted to receive this very generous donation on behalf of Greater Shankill and North Belfast.

“To be able to distribute funds to local groups, doing sterling work is a privilege.

“Community groups across the province have been instrumental in responding to support those most at risk, and I would like to thank Marie Macklin’s donation in recognition of this work.  At times of crisis, North Belfast shines with genuine and inspirational community spirit.”

On Monday (20th April), in partnership with Belfast City Council, Marie announced £10,000 of funding to support the virtual COVID-19 response hub set up for residents who need help with food deliveries or prescription pick-ups.

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