Being a Trustee for the Kathleen Graham Trust is awesome, I know because I am one and I get to be involved in so many different and wonderful projects across Northern Ireland. There are so many inspirational groups of people helping their communities in so many ways, from mental health support to food banks to educational and employment programs. To be in a position to financially support these groups and help give them the boost they deserve is really special.
I have a confession to make though, the group of people I personally enjoy supporting the most are the young people of Northern Ireland. It is complete chance as to where and how someone grows up, whether they have access to outdoor and indoor activities, good schools, a supportive family and community network and even whether or not you live somewhere that is properly supported by the government. It just isn’t fair that someone born in one place can have the world at their feet and someone somewhere else seems to have to fight every inch of the way. What is amazing though that the toughest places to grow up seem to produce the most amazing individuals – people who dedicate all of their free time, energy and often their own money to build groups within their communities, groups that make sure everyone gets a fair crack of the whip.
Over the last few weeks I have had the absolute pleasure of working with these amazing people. The Kathleen Graham Trust has been offering a full day of activities for several groups from the Belfast area, from all sections of the community. We collected the young people and leaders by coach and brought them to Portrush….believe it or not they even got sunny weather… in Portrush!! They got a 2 hour surfing lesson with Alive Adventures and then were provided lunch from the Quays Gastro Pub. It was so much fun, as icing on the cake we were even able to organise Matt Wright from Causeway Camera to come and take the most amazing photos with his fantastic (very fancy!) camera with full water housing to capture all the action from amongst the waves! By the end of August we will have brought over 100 young people to hit the surf!!
Check out the photos, class, fun fun fun and some definite converts to the beach lifestyle 🙂
I want to send a huge thank you to everyone involved. Firstly the fantastic community leaders whose tenacity, kindness, generosity and patience (and every other quality you can think of) is beyond anything most of us will ever come close to emulating. The wonderful young people who brought so much energy and fun to the day and were so stoked to get in the sea and try surfing! The Trustees from the Kathleen Graham Trust and most importantly to the one in a million Frances Connolly without whom none of this would happen. Frances is as special a person as there is on this earth.
We are always looking for projects we may be able to help and support – if you feel you may be eligible please go to www.kathleengrahamtrust.org and carefully read our eligibility criteria. If you think you are a match fill in an application form which will be carefully reviewed at our next meeting.