Community groups across Northern Ireland receive a share of £10k grant fund from Boost Drinks

Boost Drinks, the owner of Northern Ireland’s largest selling soft drink brand within the local independent convenience channel*, has awarded nine local community groups with a share of £10k. 

Of the groups who benefitted, Foodstock (Belfast), Newry City Afc Special Olympics Club (Newry) and Crossfire Trust (Armagh) were the three main grant winners of the ‘Choose Now, Change Lives’ fund. 

The ‘Choose Now, Change Lives’ funding initiative was developed by Boost Drinks in 2021, offering grants to groups that would benefit their local communities and help drive positive change within their livelihoods, something Boost champions by working with local independent retailers in the heart of the community.

Groundwork NI, a specialist charity group working with local communities to transform the lives of the disadvantaged, supported Boost throughout the initiative by administering grants to successful applicants.

Foodstock, the first-round main grant winner, is a community-led organisation who rely on the hard work and dedication of volunteers who very generously give up their time for others.  The grant they received from Boost will assist in funding its distribution and transport of supplies throughout communities, allowing them to reach even more people who need their support throughout West Belfast.

Newry City Afc Special Olympics Club, the second-round main grant winner, provides sporting activities to people with learning difficulties in Newry and Mourne. With the funding they received, Newry City Afc Special Olympics Club will purchase paddle boards and dry suits to introduce stand up paddleboarding to their range of activities for young adults with learning difficulties.

Crossfire Trust, the third-round main grant winner, has been running for over 40 years and is a registered charity caring for the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of people, primarily in south Armagh and whose aim is to build a peaceful and harmonised society, providing support to those in need within the local community. With the help of the Choose Now Change Lives grant, the charity will create a multi-purpose accessible garden with raised wooden beds and a home for hens.

Dramability, Ballykelly Men’s Shed, Tree NI, The Rainbow Project, Cruse Bereavement Support and the Now Project were the six other groups to benefit from the ‘Choose Now Change Lives’ fund. These groups equally provide a broad range of life-changing support within their local communities, through projects such as inclusive mixed ability drama, the facilitation of spaces to help improve the mental and physical health of those living in isolated rural areas, the provision of care and life-changing bereavement counselling, as well as LGBTQIA+ support and assistance for those with learning disabilities, difficulties and autism.

“We at Boost Drinks are in awe of the incredible work done by the Crossfire Trust, Newry City Afc Special Olympics Club, Foodstock, Dramability, Ballykelly Men’s Shed, Tree NI, The Rainbow Project, Cruse Bereavement Support, and The Now Project, we’re extremely honoured to support these groups in their ongoing community service that changes lives for the better on a daily basis.” explained Adrian Hipkiss, Marketing and International Business Director at Boost.

“We are delighted to award a cash boost to these wonderfully worthy groups in their journeys as the life and soul of the areas we all live in. As firm believers in supporting activity at a local level, we are very much looking forward to seeing the meaningful changes the Choose Now Change Lives fund will help make in these communities. Over 2,500 votes were cast by the people of Northern Ireland asking for funding for our final nine groups, which shows just how cherished they are across the province.

“Massive congratulations to all nine groups from everyone at Boost Drinks and please accept our thanks for the dedication you show to your local communities every single day.” said Adrian.

Cara Cash-Marley, Chief Executive, Groundwork Northern Ireland, said: “We recognise the importance of these nine deserving local causes which have been awarded funding through the Choose Now, Change Lives campaign.

“Our aim at Groundwork NI is to change lives and that is precisely what these projects are doing every day. It is without doubt that these groups offer a lifeline to many.

“Whether this is by providing mental health and wellbeing support, easing food insecurity and poverty, or creating inclusive sports or arts or spaces, their dedication to vital community action should not go unrecognised and we are proud to be able to support them.”