LOUGH Neagh Rescue based at Ardboe have been awarded thousands through a special ‘gifted’ programme for their search and rescue facility.
Lough Neagh Rescue received £4,500 in funding as did St Brigid’s GAC from Diageo Northern Ireland.
Both awards have been made through Diageo’s “Gifted” programme which is now in its second year. The Gifted programme, which runs on an annual basis, allows Diageo employees who volunteer with local community groups or charities to nominate these groups for a donation from the company.
The applicants had to provide details of how a donation would be put to good use by their respective group or charity. All of the nominations were then considered in detail by Diageo, with Business in the Community independently assessing the applications. Finally, a total of 18 groups were chosen receiving a total grant of £44,000.
Colm Hughes, Quality Manager for Diageo Northern Ireland, active volunteer and Director of Lough Neagh Rescue said: “I am delighted that Lough Neagh Rescue has been selected for an award by the Diageo Gifted programme. We are a voluntary search and rescue facility for the Coastguard and provide 24/365 cover for Lough Neagh the biggest body of fresh water in UK and Ireland.
“ We also provide additional body recovery assistance for IOI as requested by police and coastguards. This award of £4,500 is a great boost to us because in these economic times it is very hard for our volunteers to raise the money we need to keep providing the service we do. With this award we will focus on vital training and equipment.”
Michael McCann, Country Director, Diageo Northern Ireland said: “Gifted was created to recognise the significant amount of voluntary work that many of our employees do with charities and community groups. Through the Gifted programme, Diageo wants to recognise our employee’s commitment and strong contribution to the communities in which they live and work. I am delighted Diageo is able to support these two very worthy local Northern Ireland organisations,” he said congratulating Colm on being a leader of active citizenship amongst the local community.
In addition to the Gifted programme, Diageo run a number of other programmes to support communities across Ireland. In 2010, €1m was awarded through the Arthur Guinness Fund and in 2011 funding of €650,000 was made available again to social entrepreneurs who have projects that are innovative and make a real difference to Irish society. In Northern Ireland, the Diageo NI Community Awards scheme, in conjunction with the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA), is now in its 20 year and has donated £330,000 to date to a cross section of worthy charities and vulnerable groups from across the province.