Gary Lightbody, lead singer with the popular band Snow Patrol, has announced the launch of The Lightbody Foundation in partnership with the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland. The newly established Foundation will make funding available to charitable organisations and community groups across Northern Ireland over the next twelve months in areas that include special educational needs, mental health issues and mentoring for young people – all matters very close to the musician’s heart.
The announcement was made at a low-key event held last week in Belfast. SOS Bus, Everyday Harmony, Youth Action NI, Youthlife, Drake Music and Alzheimer’s Society, will be the first charities to benefit and we only learned who was behind the Foundation at the Belfast event where we were thrilled to meet Gary Lightbody and several trustees of the Lightbody Foundation.
Speaking at the launch, Gary Lightbody explained how the Lightbody Foundation would support the voluntary and community sector: “We will be making donations to five or six charities twice a year. Because of both a looming Brexit and having no government in Northern Ireland for two years, charities (especially smaller ones) are being marginalised and underfunded. We want to try and help some of those NI charities that struggle in these tough times.
“We have partnered with the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland, who have been a massive help in connecting us with charities across the country. Thank you to them for their help and support.”
Commenting on the launch of the Lightbody Foundation, Andrew McCracken, CEO of the Community Foundation, said: “This is immensely generous of Gary Lightbody, he really wanted to make a difference here, even hand picking the first recipients to benefit from his Foundation’s support. The launch of the Lightbody Foundation reflects his focus on making a real difference to communities and families and so many people will benefit from his generosity. It is truly inspiring and I’ve no doubt that his leadership will encourage others.
“The setting up of the Lightbody Foundation further highlights the importance of, and indeed need for more philanthropic giving to support charities and communities here, many of whom are struggling with basic everyday living. As a Community Foundation we are about connecting people who care to causes that matter; and this is a great example of us putting that into practice”
Youthlife will use the funding to provide counselling and peer mentoring to promote positive mental health strategies amongst young people. Working with the Lightbody Foundation will be a perfect fit for us. Having read about Gary Lightbody’s personal struggles with mental health issues, makes it even more relevant to us and our young people. We have enjoyed a positive relationship with the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland too, we’re absolutely confident that this funding has and will be awarded to organisations where it can truly add value and make a difference.
For further information on the Lightbody Foundation talk to firstname.lastname@example.org at the Community Foundation about giving, visit www.communityfoundationni.org.uk