The achievements of the Larne-based Advance Programme have been recognised at a special reception at Stormont.
Ken Nelson and Audrey Murray from Larne Enterprise and Development Company Ltd (LEDCOM), which manages the Advance Programme, joined representatives from groups across the province who received funding from the Lloyd’s Bank Foundation for Northern Ireland.
The guests saw a special video of the Advance Programme, which received the foundation’s largest ever grant of £296,000 to help 40 young NEETS (not in employment, education or training).
They were told that 80 per cent of the young people involved in the programme remain in employment. Members of Slack Press – who made the video – attended the reception, including Marianne Kearns, who was part of the Advance Programme.
Also present was Vickie Shaw and Linda Boyd of the Oxygen Therapy Centre in Magheramorne, which received a grant of £1,468 towards the purchase of equipment.
The Lloyds Bank Foundation for Northern Ireland has distributed grants of more than £1.6m to help the work of more than 500 groups that improve the lives of disadvantaged people.
Representatives from many of these groups visited Parliament Buildings at Stormont for a special event to recognise and celebrate their work.
Sandara Kelso-Robb, Executive Director of the Lloyds Bank Foundation for Northern Ireland, paid tribute to the incredible work carried out by all of the community-based organisations.
She added: “The well-publicised cuts in public sector spending mean that our work is more important than ever. Through these grants programmes we provide significant support for the most vulnerable in society making a huge difference in communities throughout Northern Ireland. It is a privilege to work with many thousands of people in a large number of organisations who are at the forefront of delivering positive change.”
She was speaking at a special reception in the Long Gallery in Parliament Buildings where MLAs and members of the Foundation and Lloyds Banking Group joined representatives from groups across Northern Ireland to recognise and celebrate their achievements.