BWUH Ltd., the company behind ICC Belfast, Waterfront Hall and Ulster Hall, has announced Inspire as its selected charity partner for 2024.

The partnership will see the BWUH team organise various fundraising events in aid of Inspire – the largest mental health, learning disability and wellbeing charity in Northern Irelandwhile also donating its time to the charity throughout the year.

Lisa McElherron, Director of Insight, Engagement and Innovation at Inspire, said:

Inspire is delighted to be partnering with BWUH. Our recent polling shows that one in five people in Northern Ireland have poor/very poor mental health and 60% said that the pressures of the last few years have made them less likely to open up about their mental health as they don’t want to worry others during these difficult times.

It is impressive to see an organisation like BWUH prioritising mental health and wellbeing of their staff team but also the general public. The support BWUH can provide in helping us reach more people has never been more important.

We look forward to working together in promoting the partnership, raising awareness, community engagement and bringing our expertise to the staff team enhancing their approach to positive mental health and wellbeing.”

Inspire was selected following a company-wide call for nominations from almost 300 employees. Three organisations were ultimately invited to pitch to the BWUH Team Engagement Committee. The Committee focused its selection criteria on locality, alignment with organisational values and opportunities for getting involved with volunteering projects.

Clare McCann, BWUH’s HR Manager and a member of its Diversity Champions Committee, said:

Our charity partners are incredibly important to us, helping BWUH Ltd. build a culture that is open, safe and inclusive. We deliver for the selected organisation by fundraising and leveraging our networks on their behalf, along with improving the quality of life for employees by offering the training and development that allows them to learn and grow through our ongoing collaboration.

For instance, throughout our time working with our outgoing charity partner, Autism NI, we worked to achieve our Autism Impact Award, which has supported us in providing greater inclusivity across our venues. We look forward to building on initiatives that deliver a lasting impact, not only for our venues, but for Belfast and Northern Ireland, too.”

Julia Corkey, Chief Executive of ICC Belfast, Waterfront Hall and Ulster Hall, said:

Inspire works with people living with mental ill health, intellectual disability, autism and addictions to ensure that they live with dignity and realise their full potential. Diversity and inclusion are key pillars across our venues. So, it’s wonderful to support another organisation that is aligned with our values.

Our venues make a significant contribution to the region’s economy but we’re an organisation that is also focused on our social and cultural impact. That’s why our charity partners are key in supporting us as we realise our ESG commitments. We’re delighted to announce our partnership with Inspire and we look forward to establishing a mutually beneficial collaboration over the coming months.”

Formerly Belfast Waterfront, ICC Belfast is Northern Ireland’s only purpose-built international convention centre. A £29.5m extension, unveiled in 2016, significantly increased the venue’s capacity. It put Belfast in a position to compete globally and deliver a legacy for the city.

The Harkin Summit, which took place in 2022, saw ICC Belfast undergo transformational change before, during and after the event, enhancing its credentials as an accessible, diverse and inclusive venue. This included over 80% of the staff team completing JAM card training and the installation of a Changing Places facility in the Riverside Foyer, complete with a peninsular toilet, grab rails and a changing bench for visitors requiring additional support.

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