Charitable Sector
September 19, 2019

Following the recent closure of their 2020 grant application programme, cross-community charity Hope for Youth NI is celebrating a significant milestone, having supported over 450 youth-oriented projects in Northern Ireland during its 47-year history. The charity, formerly known as the Women Caring Trust, was founded in 1972 and provides valuable funding to a range of projects which are geared toward young people with the hope of inspiring skills development, relationship building and creativity in a safe environment.

Each year, the charity encourages local youth-orientated organisations to apply for much-needed funding to help support their initiatives which span across the fields of music, art, drama and the great outdoors and this year Lisburn’s award-winning Fusion Theatre, a registered charity set up to unite children and young people from across the religious divide in Northern Ireland with the aim of giving them a positive common goal of producing spectacular theatre performances, was among the recipients of these grants.

The grant received from Hope For Youth enabled the team at Fusion Theatre to put on their most spectacular show to date, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, which featured a cast and crew of over 60 local young people, with a full-scale production running from 4th – 7th September to a combined audience of over 1600 theatre-goers at the Island Hall, Lagan Valley Island. The team were also enabled through this grant to include professionals in the production like Director James Huish, Musical Director Matthew Milford, members of the orchestra and a deaf signer who interpreted the show for members of the deaf community during the Friday evening performance, increasing accessibility to all audience members and also stepping up the production value of this memorable performance.

Commenting on the impact of the funds for Fusion Theatre, Patricia Glover, Chairperson, said, “Fusion Theatre are delighted to have received funding to support our production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Without the support from Hope for Youth we would have been unable to provide our young cast with the opportunity to perform in such a well-known, spectacular show.”

To generate the funds dispersed annually by Hope For Youth, the charity hosts a series of fundraising events each year. These efforts culminate in the biennial House of Lords v House of Commons Speedo Charity Swim and Gala Dinner, sponsored by Speedo, which is set to take place this year on Thursday 21st November in London’s Porchester Hall. The event will include swimming representatives from the Houses of Lords and Commons going head-to-head alongside well-known competitive swimmers from the Speedo brand team in a friendly rivalry to raise awareness and funds for Hope for Youth’s good work.

Reflecting on the charity’s work over the years, Hope for Youth NI Chairman Noel Lamb said, “It’s a real pleasure to be a part of Hope For Youth and to support projects which have helped foster community development across Northern Ireland.

“It’s so rewarding to see how we, as a whole community, are embracing diversity, whether it be differing ethnicities or religious backgrounds. Building inter-community relationships is a contributor in building a positive and peaceful future for Northern Ireland. We are incredibly grateful to Speedo for its continued support of our charity Swim and look forward to welcoming both participants and guests for what will be an excellent event in raising funds for Hope for Youth in November.”

For more information on Hope For Youth NI and this year’s charity swim visit or follow on and @H4YNI.