Throughout the year, The Ardonagh Group’s independent charity, ACT, supports causes special to Ardonagh colleagues through its Community Grant programme – which provides the opportunity for people across the Group to apply for up to £5,000 (or equivalent currency) towards a chosen charity.
Today, we share the 14 charities from around the world being supported by a bumper round of grants to conclude the year – totalling £66,000.
This means that over 2023, more than £200,000 in funding awarded to charities through ACT’s grant programme, surpassing 2022’s total of £155,000 – and all going towards causes nominated by colleagues. Since ACT’s inception, over £825,000 in Community grants has been awarded to over 190 charities.
Read the stories behind each of the causes that have successfully received funding and why our colleagues nominated them.
The Irish Pilgrimage Trust brings children and young people with special needs on a week-long Pilgrimage Holiday to Lourdes each Easter. Each year, 400 young people with additional needs are invited as guests, these needs range from people who come from a disadvantaged background, have disabilities, to people with lifelong illnesses – and is a unique and often life enhancing experience for all those involved. Thanks to fundraising by the trust’s volunteers, the trip is free to guests. There are 46 groups in Ireland, which each comprise of 15 volunteer carers and 10 guests, depending on a group’s overall needs. The week in Lourdes starts and ends with signing and dancing, and the main focus of the group is to bring joy and enable new experiences.
The £5,000 grant from ACT will be used to fund part of this year trip for the Longford/Westmeath group. Considering the costs for the average trip to bring 10 guests and their medical equipment, each group is tasked with raising €14,000 a year. This supports travel costs, accommodation food and weekly activities for the guests. A significant cost is bore by the organisation to ensure that guests needs are met both through transport and the support, medical equipment needed for the week.
Mindfulness in Schools Project (MiSP) is a charity and community of educators united in their commitment to the wellbeing of children and young people, as well as the adults caring for them. To date, the charity has trained more than 11,000 teachers across the UK.
In February this year, Warrington teen Brianna Ghey was murdered, aged just 16. Brianna was a transgender girl who suffered the ultimate injustice. The traumatic impact was so deep, Brianna’s mother wanted to make a difference to ensure no other teen had to feel this way – launching the Peace in Mind campaign in support of MiSP.
The £5,000 grant from ACT will fund the training of seven teachers in the Warrington area, so they can provide wellbeing support and also enable the young people in their school to develop their own tools to look after their emotional health.
Grão de Areia is a socio-sporting project that has been offering free beach football classes since December 2021 for young people and children aged 7 to 14 (boys and girls) in five municipalities in Rio de Janeiro. The Grão de Areia Project wants to increase the number of beach soccer practitioners on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro, carrying out social work, since most of the existing schools are not free – and the project wants to ensure all children can access sports.
The £5,000 grant from ACT will enable the charity to set up a new beach football club at Copacabana beach, an area surrounded by disadvantaged communities. The funding will pay for the structure, lesson resources and the team leading sessions, so that students can access the classed for free.
CLARE CIC is based in North Belfast and supports older people experiencing health and wellbeing challenges so that they can remain in their homes and active members of their communities for as long as possible. In their one to one work, CLARE identified that many older people struggle with rapidly changing technology, affecting all parts of their lives and independence – from medical support to finances and simply communicating with family.
The £5,000 grant from ACT will enable over 20 older people to receive a suite of 1:1 technology sessions, plus group sessions for 60 people. Through these, CLARE will help people maintain their independence and gain confidence – whether it’s using the National Health Service App, managing money, or getting on platforms like Zoom. Ultimately this aids not just the older person themselves but also the loved ones around them.
Specialty colleague Francis has a uniquely personal connection to Miss Ghana UK Foundation – being one of the original founder members of Miss Ghana UK, of which the foundation is the charitable arm of. Over the past 17 years, MGUKF has made a difference in both the UK and Ghana in a host of ways, including period product campaigns and a girls footballing initiative.
Not just this, Francis has the incredible role of being King in the region of Ghana where his family is from, meaning his is hugely embedded in the local community there. Francis has been involved in the establishment of a local football team to support young people’s growth and development.
The £5,000 grant from ACT will go towards a girl’s football project in Ghana, in the community where Francis is King. The funds will enable the club house to be redeveloped and to construct a training pitch – as well as ensure there are facilities to support female training, including the provision of period products
Somando Mais Ações has existed for 23 years and is present in 54 cities across Brazil – supporting thousands of homeless people, thanks to its 4,000 volunteers. Each project within Samando Maid Ações has its own coordinators and leaders, and there are project embassies in several cities in Brazil. Donations are collected every day and used for the week's actions, or a major event already planned for the month, with volunteers signing up online to turn the plans into a reality.
The £5,000 grant from ACT will go towards the projects ‘summer action’ – providing vital supplies in the form of ‘summer kits’ to homeless people. The kits consist of water, a cap, sandals and fruit, which are all much needed in the heat for those without shelter. The kit also includes basic medical provisions and food. As a volunteer herself, Rayssa has seen the impact that these supplies have on those who need them.
Projecto Social Luz e Paz is a community-led organisation which supports more than 60 children and teenagers in Rio de Janeiro. The project aims to help young people access education, culture and sport and has a whole host of regular activities for young people to take part in, including Capoeira, theatre and choir – as well as a food bank and offering extra tuition to help with schooling.
The £5,000 grant from ACT will enable a new activity, ballet, to be added to the suite of sessions organised by the charity for young people to attend.
DEBRA UK supports sufferers of Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), the name for a group of life-changing and sometimes life-threatening skin conditions that cause the skin to become very fragile and tear or blister at the slightest touch, ‘butterfly skin’, as it is often termed.
The charity exists to provide care and support to improve quality of life for people living with EB, and to fund pioneering research to find effective treatments and, ultimately, a cure. For its community, DEBRA hosts annual meetups and heavily subsidised weekends away, offering a chance for sufferers to connect and seek emotional support from the people who really understand what it’s like to live with such an invasive condition.
The £5,000 grant from ACT will enable 25 people to have a weekend respite break with DEBRA, so that they too can connect with people who have real lived insight into EB, take part in workshops, and access support avenues they may not otherwise be aware of.
Solas Cancer Support aids people affected by cancer, alongside their families and carers, in and around Waterford in Ireland. Their support services are varied and include counselling, relaxation therapies and group sessions – and all free to those who need them. The centre is able to operate thanks to the dedicated of over 70 volunteers and 30 counsellors and therapists who all give their time to provide these valuable services.
The £5,000 grant from ACT will fund 100 therapy sessions – ranging from music to art and counselling – supporting 10 people affected by cancer. These psychological sessions have a huge positive impact on people, supporting their emotional wellbeing through their journey with cancer.
Sevenoaks Larder provides vital relief to people and families living in the Sevenoaks district in Kent, England. As well as donations, the larder works with local supermarkets to acquire excess products to reduce wastage and ensure supplies reach those who need them. The charity also provides emergency food cupboards to students and their families – as well as items to support school breakfasts and after school clubs for disadvantaged pupils.
The £1,000 grant from ACT will feed a family of four for an entire year with complete nutrition and fresh produce. Some of these fresh items are provided by Sevenoaks Gardeners Group – further illustrating the community effort behind this programme.
The At Team hub, based in Wigan, England, supports children and young people with autism, or on the pathway to diagnosis. The centre is specifically designed and equipped to provide a safe and supportive space to help children and their families who may be experiencing challenges or simply connect. As well as a specially designed play area, the centre provides programmes to help children who may struggle with speech and language.
The £5,000 grant from ACT will enable the hub to transform one of the centres rooms into a dedicated sensory room, and which will connect to the sensory garden which already exists outside. The room will provide a calming environment for children with sensory needs and help with regulation, which is hugely important for many people with autism.
Amanhecer Esperança Association supports people in and around Agualva-Cacém in Portugal. The charity provides as much as possible to support people who are struggling with homelessness or need basic aid – ranging from food to clothes and everything else that makes up a home. The centre also has an internet room, space to shower, and even a hairdresser to help people get back on their feet and find work.
The £5,000 grant from ACT will go towards the replacement of the roof where the charity operates. This is vital to ensure the association can continue to provide the vital services to those it helps. Simple things like a shower and a haircut are immensely valuable to people who use the centre, and these basic but essential provisions are only possible is the centre can remain functional and open.
Projeto Impacto pela Associação Desportiva Santo André is a charity in the outskirts of Sao Paulo, Brazil. The Impact Project, as its name implies, aims to impact children's lives on and off the mats – through the sport of judo. The area is underprivileged and there are many issues with drugs and crime. The project aims to give children a perspective of the future by teaching judo values of respect for others, humility and love.
The £5,000 grant from ACT will fund the structural renovation of the centre. At the moment, there is a waiting list of more than 40 children. By putting up a new aluminium shed to extend the space, the project will be able to serve twice as many students – offering sessions to 300 children.
APELA is a non-profit whose primary mission is to champion the needs of individuals and caregivers affected by Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). ALS is a neurological disorder that affects the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement and breathing. ALS often begins with muscle twitching and weakness, trouble swallowing or slurred speech. Eventually ALS affects control of the muscles needed to move, speak, eat and breathe. More than 90% of patients lose verbal and oral communication capabilities throughout the course of their disease in ALS. Without assistance, this task becomes significantly challenging and restricts the patient and their caregivers.
APELA has an alternative communications project, which is working on a way to support people affected by ALS across Portugal to communicate in ways other than speech. The £5,000 grant from ACT will fund four eye devices, which are being used by the charity to establish a new technical aid to help patients through an eye-computer interface.
ACT runs its grant programme on a quarterly basis, with applications reviewed and selected by our board of Trustees. If you are an Ardonagh employee, and have a charity close to your heart, visit the ACT section on Ardonagh's employee engagement platform, Engage, to apply for funding.
Discover more about ACT Community grants on the dedicated page on our website.