The Ballymena Sea Cadets are among the first round of successful applicants to receive funding from the Donnelly Group Foundation.
The funding awarded to the Sea Cadets has enabled the Group to purchase much-needed equipment that will allow its Cadets to participate in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.
Darren Gardiner, Site Director at Donnelly and Taggart Ballymena commented:
“The Donnelly Group Foundation was very pleased to provide funding to the Ballymena Sea Cadets which have been a major part of many young lives in the area for over 30 years.
“Our Foundation was established to further enhance the financial support the Donnelly Group can provide to the local community with a particular focus on groups and projects that promote environmental awareness, physical and mental wellbeing, education and skills development.
“The Sea Cadets is a superb example of how young people locally can benefit directly from this funding to improve their skillset and ultimately their employability.”
Launched in 2019, the Donnelly Group Foundation accepts applications for financial, community and volunteering support for groups in the vicinity of the Groups nine locations across Northern Ireland - Ballymena, Bangor, Belfast, Dungannon, Derry/Londonderry, Enniskillen, Mallusk and Omagh.
The Donnelly Group donates a percentage of each retail vehicle sale to the Donnelly Group Foundation, which has already provided much needed funding for many community projects including; a community allotment for First Steps Women's Centre Dungannon, a replacement polytunnel at St John the Baptist PS Enniskillen and an arts and crafts project at the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice.
Ruth Verner, Chairperson, Sea Cadets Ballymena added:
“At Sea Cadets Ballymena we aim to give young people an experience that will help them grow into the person they want to be in a safe and friendly environment, and we are grateful for the support from the Donnelly Group Foundation.
“We offer a range of activities and opportunities to our Cadets which help them to develop their practical and social skills – improving their confidence whilst enhancing their future employability prospects.
“The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is a superb opportunity for young people but unfortunately due to the high cost of equipment required, it is inaccessible for many.
“We started offering this Award last year and the funding from Donnelly Group has allowed us to purchase the necessary equipment meaning the Cadets don’t have to purchase this themselves.”
So far, the Ballymena Sea cadets have purchased inflatable roll mats, sleeping bags and all-weather jackets.
The Sea Cadets Ballymena unit is open to young people ages 10-17. Sea Cadets can gain numerous qualifications both on and off the water in areas including: first aid, cookery and mechanical engineering.
“Thanks to the funding provided by the Donnelly Group Foundation, higher numbers of Ballymena Sea Cadets will be able to take part in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, an invaluable opportunity which will no doubt stand them in good stead for the future.
“It is so encouraging to see Donnelly Group Foundation funds being put to good use within our local communities, If any eligible local groups or projects are yet to apply for the next round of funding I would like to encourage them to submit their application ahead of the 31st January deadline.”