Ten charities working in Northern Ireland have received a share of £55,561 through the Allen & Overy Foundation, which is funded by contributions from A&O partners worldwide.
The annual funding initiative is managed locally by the Belfast Grants Committee, which administers support to a range of charities that promote access to justice or support and develop education or employment projects across Northern Ireland.
A record number of applications were submitted this year to the Allen & Overy Foundation. Ten were selected to receive a share of the funding package including two successful Belfast-based organisations – The Turnaround Project and Cara-Friend.
Commenting on the popular initiative Simon Wagstaff, Associate Director, Technology Services at A&O Belfast and Chair of the Belfast Grants Committee said; “We had a total of 27 applications this year, which has been the highest number of submissions to date.
“We were impressed by the important work being delivered to support local communities and individuals. Giving back to others through funding, reciprocal volunteering or pro bono opportunities is an important part of the firm’s ongoing commitment and investment in the local marketplace.
“We recognise that many organisations face a challenging winter ahead with rising inflation and running costs so we hope that the Allen & Overy Foundation’s support will help alleviate some concerns around programme delivery at a grass roots level.”
The Turnaround Project, based in South Belfast, received £7,328 to provide strength-based coaching to support people moving into new mainstream employment.
The Turnaround Project runs social enterprises to provide transitional employment opportunities for people leaving the justice system.
Director of The Turnaround Project Richard Good said: “For people leaving the justice system, employment can be hard to find and difficult to sustain. As well as providing transitional job opportunities to prepare people for conventional employment, Turnaround offers individual coaching support to help people identify their own strengths and how they can use them to overcome the barriers and challenges they face.
“As our social enterprises continue to grow, we are providing more people with employment and other support. We are also supporting more people who have moved on into conventional employment. So, the grant from the Allen & Overy Foundation comes at a critical point, and we are delighted that it will enable us to expand our coaching support to match that growth, offering it to more people and for longer periods.”
Cara-Friend has been supporting and empowering the LGBTQI+ community in Northern Ireland since 1974. It provides a range of regional youth services, one-to-one support for individuals, awareness training for professionals and volunteers, community development programmes, a helpline service, an inclusive schools programme alongside policy, advocacy, and campaign initiatives.
The charity will use £5,000 from the Allen & Overy Foundation to provide access to mental health and mindfulness support for secondary level pupils.
John Kivlahan, Fundraising & Development Manager from Cara-Friend added; “Cara-Friend’s LGBTQI+ Inclusive Schools’ Charter is continuing to work with a range of schools across Northern Ireland – inspiring many to ensure they are safe, inclusive, and welcoming spaces for all pupils, but particularly those young people identifying as LGBTQI+.
“This project is funded through the generosity of local businesses such as Allen & Overy. This is the second time Allen & Overy has supported the Schools’ Charter programme and with an uplift in their support this year, Cara-Friend will introduce mental health and well-being support to pupils and teachers, before crisis intervention is required.”
The ten organisations receiving funding include Young Enterprise NI, The Brilliant Club, The Turnaround Project, Ashton Community Trust, Cara-Friend, Extern, Ulster University, the Human Rights Consortium, the Children’s Law Centre and Kinship Care NI.
Allen & Overy’s Belfast office opened in 2011. It is the second largest office in the A&O network by headcount, employing over 600 people.
It includes a Support Services Centre which delivers business services – Document & Design, Finance, Human Resources, IT, Library & Information and Marketing & Business Development – to the firm’s global network.
Through the Advanced Delivery Legal function, Allen & Overy Belfast is also at the forefront of delivering legal services to clients in new and flexible ways, with proportionate lower-cost, tech enabled resourcing and end-to-end managed legal services.