The donation, by the Gallagher team based in Belfast, was made through the firm’s Making a Difference scheme, a nationwide initiative which invites colleagues from across its UK office network to nominate charities to receive vital funding for projects.
Founded in 1984, Children’s Heartbeat Trust is a local charity in Northern Ireland providing practical, emotional and financial support to children and young people and their families affected by congenital heart disease (CHD), a condition suffered by over 200 babies born each year in Northern Ireland.
The charity works closely with the paediatric cardiology team at Clark Clinic and the Children’s Heart Centre, in the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children - funding medical equipment and pioneering medical initiatives to ensure that children and young people receive the best cardiac care, support and information.
As well as in-hospital support, the charity also provides support groups as well as funding research projects and campaigning for young people and families who are affected by CHD.
The donation will go towards the charity’s support programme of grants for families who have to travel outside of Northern Ireland for their child's life-saving heart treatment to help alleviate the financial strain and impact of having a sick child in hospital. Last year, the charity granted over £75,000 to families.
The charity holds special significance for Gallagher’s Client Account Manager Theresa Jackson, whose son Aaron was born with a hole in his heart and underwent open heart surgery in September 2020 at just seven months old. Aaron has now fully recovered, and to honour the support provided to him and his family during his illness, the Children’s Heartbeat Trust has been nominated by Gallagher’s Belfast office as its charity of the year for 2022. Over the coming year, the team will be organising various fundraising events.
Gallagher, one of the UK’s largest insurance brokers, has had a presence in Belfast for 65 years, employs over 60 people, and looks after the insurance needs of many businesses across Northern Ireland, from small to medium-sized enterprises through to large, multinational companies.
Commenting on the donation, Theresa said: “I know first-hand just how valuable the support provided by Children’s Heartbeat Trust is for families whilst dealing with the stress and anxiety of caring for a sick child who requires major surgery. At an extremely worrying and uncertain time, the team were always at the end of the phone offering practical advice and an ear to listen.
“I am absolutely thrilled that my application to Gallagher’s Making a Difference scheme has secured the top prize and am so happy that we are able to support this good cause, and help them continue their vital, local work.”
Lynn Cowan, Fundraising Manager at Children’s Heartbeat Trust, commented: “We are absolutely elated to be chosen as the winner of the Making a Difference competition and receive this donation of £25,000. As a small charity in Northern Ireland, we are proud to be chosen from hundreds of worthy charities from across the UK. We rely heavily on public donations to fund our services, and are indebted to Gallagher for its contribution which will make a huge difference to families of children affected by heart disease.”