Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Ann McGeeney Trust Fund confers inaugural funding grants

A charitable trust fund set up in memory of lifelong community worker and Crossmaglen native, Ann McGeeney, which offers financial assistance to community-based projects has announced the discharge of its first monetary grants.

Four groups will benefit from more than £2,000 to fund schemes in which Ann held a passionate interest, including minority groups and disadvantaged women’s projects.

The Ann McGeeney Trust Fund, which is managed by the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland, was established last year by Ann’s family and close friends with the aim of “continuing the good” that she did in her life.

Ann passed away in September 2014 at the age of 52. Her life was dedicated to working with communities experiencing deprivation as well as supporting peace-building across Ireland, and in particular working with women to inspire them and build their confidence.

Determined to continue her good work and honour her memory, Ann’s husband Jimmy Murray, their daughters Holly and Daisy, and a wider group including her sisters Mary and Cathy, established the fund to help address issues she was passionate about, specifically building peace across and within communities, helping minority groups both indigenous and newly arrived, and assisting groups seeking to make a positive difference to women’s lives.

The announcement of the Fund’s first grants comes as the Centre for Cross Border Studies recently dedicated its annual journal to the memory and work of Ann, at a special event held in Belfast and Dublin

Speaking about the first round of funding, Jimmy said: ‘It has been a difficult few years for family and friends coping with Ann’s loss however the Fund and the overwhelming generosity of so many people in making the Fund possible has meant that we can in small ways continue the good that Ann did in her life.

“Small things do make a difference – as Ann always said – and these grants, small though they may be in value, will make important differences to the projects they are supporting.”

The Healthy Eating Initiative – a project led by St. Peter’s GAA, Warrenpoint, is to receive £500 and was chosen as Ann was heavily involved with the community health programme educating young mothers, single parents and non-nationals, through information and demonstration classes, on how to eat healthily on a budget.

Dublin-based project, Spirasi, the Spiritan Asylum Services Initiative, has been awarded €1,000 from the Fund.  In 2015, Spirasi assisted 650 victims of torture from across Ireland. Its ethos is the provision of services to assist the most vulnerable asylum seekers and refugees.

Cabbage Patchers, Ann’s Garden Army, a Warrenpoint based group which Ann had previously worked with and sourced start-up funding for, received £500 to continue its work on bringing a range of people together, including older people, the disabled and offenders, to carry out gardening work in the community.

And finally, the Armagh Child Contact Centre will also benefit from a grant of £500 to aid an initiative which provides a safe space for estranged/separated parents to meet with their young children with supported engagement.

In addition to the monetary grants, two awards will be made each year in Ann’s name, recognising the work of inspiring individuals who have made outstanding contributions to community activity across the border and to peace building.

Andrew McCracken, Chief Executive of the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland, says the group is proud to manage the Ann McGeeney Trust Fund on behalf of Ann’s family and friends.

“We were delighted to be able to match the initial contribution Ann’s family made to the fund, with £10,000 from the Pears Foundation. This fund can truly make a massive difference through giving small grants which will have a positive impact on the causes Ann was passionate about,” he said.