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BT, the Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) and the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland (CFNI) today celebrated 25 years of a grant-making partnership which has distributed over £1 million to grassroots community organisations across Northern Ireland.

At an event at BT Riverside Tower in Belfast, the Telecommunity Fund launched a new information leaflet and announced five special grants worth £5,000 each.

Established in 1989 with joint funding from BT Northern Ireland, the BT Union Committee (CWU) and CFNI, the Telecommunity Fund provides financial support for small, locally- based projects for teenagers, older people and people with a disability from all sections of the community.

Andrew McCracken, CEO, CFNI said: “We are delighted to welcome everyone here today to not only recognise the work that has gone into making the Telecommunity Fund so successful over the past 25 years but to hear first-hand the difference the grants awarded have made to the beneficiaries of the Fund.

“The Commnity Foundation is proud of its long-standing relationship with BT and the CWU and it clearly demonstrates that when passion-driven charity meets a company with a strong corporate social responsibility ethos, the benefits to the local community are outstanding.

“The Fund has provided invaluable support across a wide range of areas including community education, communication and leadership skills training, creativity and self- expression through the arts and numerous local initiatives to improve community resources and facilities. We are very much looking forward to continuing our work with BT and those most vulnerable in our community.”

Sinead Houston, Senior Project Worker, Newry & Mourne Young Carers said: “Our group started in 1998 and caters for approximately 100 local carers aged between 8-18 years. The group provides much-needed respite, support and youth club facilities which would not have been possible without the support of the Telecommunity Fund.”

Niall Powderly, Director of Solutions, BT said: “At BT, we are committed to making a difference to the communities in which we operate through our Better Future corporate social responsibility programme.

“We have been involved in the Fund since its beginning and are delighted to be here today to recognise and celebrate the contribution it has made right across Northern Ireland.”

David Kennedy, Northern Ireland Branch Secretary, CWU added: “The CWU is proud to be part of the Telecommunity Fund partnership which marks such a milestone today.

Working alongside BT and the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland, the huge difference it has made to so many locally-based projects is clear to see.”

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