Mencap NI scoops top award for ambitious fundraising campaign

Pictured at the new Mencap Centre is Brian Ambrose, Chief Executive of George Best Belfast City Airport and Chair of Mencap's Big Step Forward Appeal (second from left) and members of the Mencap fundraising team Justine Curran, Area Fundraising Manager, Vanessa Elder, Head of Regional Fundraising NI, and Jonathan Hanna, Fundraising Support Officer. Mencap in Northern Ireland recently won 'Fundraising Team of the Year' at the Institute of Fundraising Awards following the charity's most ambition fundraising campaign to date.

Mencap in Northern Ireland was recently named ‘Fundraising Team of the Year’ at the annual Institute of Fundraising Awards, held at Riddel Hall in Belfast.

The charity, which supports people with a learning disability and their families, received the award for their work on the recent Big Step Forward Appeal, Mencap’s most ambitious fundraising campaign to date. The team surpassed their goal of £1.7m, raising more than £2m, with funds goingto build, equip and help run Mencap’s state-of-the-art new centre in South Belfast. In addition to exceeding the fundraising goal, Mencap quadrupled its supporter base in Northern Ireland during the campaign and saw significant increases in their volunteer force.

Vanessa Elder, Head of Regional Fundraising NI, Mencap said:

“I am delighted that the hard work of our team has been recognised, but this award also reflects the dedication of our Mencap colleagues, the people with a learning disability whom we help and the amazing generosity of the Northern Ireland public. So many people got behind our Big Step Forward Appeal and made this fundraising campaign incredibly successful.

“We would like to thank all the individuals, businesses and organisations who contributed to the Big Step Forward Appeal not only with donations but also their time. During the Appeal, we saw supporters run marathons, host coffee mornings and sky dive out of planes, all in aid of Mencap.  It was fantastic to see people across Northern Ireland come together for one important cause. Their support means we are now able to expand our services across Northern Ireland and reach more children and young people with a learning disability and their families.”

Throughout the Big Step Forward Appeal, Mencap secured donations from Rory McIlroy’s Rory Foundation, Ulster Garden Villages, the ARN Foundation and the Fraser family, long-standing supporters of Mencap. The charity also established high-profile fundraising partnerships with, amongst others, Ulster Rugby, Cool FM and Downtown Radio’s Cash for Kids and the Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon, for which the charity is the official partner through 2018. In addition to donations, the charity also received visits from VIP Mencap Celebrity Ambassadors including U2’s The Edge in order to bring attention to the Appeal.

Brian Ambrose, Chief Executive of George Best Belfast City Airport and Chair of Mencap’s Big Step Forward Appeal added:

“I have been a long-time supporter of Mencap and I’ve seen the organisation go from strength to strength. The Big Step Forward Appeal was an ambitious campaign that saw a multitude of organisations and businesses come together under the Big Step Forward banner. The fundraising teamwas instrumental in coordinating this effort and delivering the important message about Mencap’s work.

“I encourage all businesses to continue to support Mencap. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for this incredible organisation and the work they do for people with a learning disability and their families.”

Mencap is the official charity partner of the 2016 Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon. To sign up in aid of Mencap, visit, email or call 028 9069 1351.