Charity calls for public to help unlock £900k of government funds

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A charity is asking the public in Co. Antrim to help secure a massive funding boost from the UK government.

It has been announced that Trocaire’s Lenten campaign 2012 which launched on Ash Wednesday (22 February) could receive £900,000 of government funding if the campaign is supported by the public here.

“This is fantastic news for Trocaire and more importantly for the families we work with in some of the world’s poorest countries,” said Eithne McNulty, Trocaire’s regional manager, speaking at the campaign launch. “We received terrific support from people in Co. Antrim last Lent and we are hoping they can again support this year’s campaign. This is a superb opportunity for us to help many more people in northern Uganda access land and grow enough food to feed their families but we need the public’s help to be able to access these funds.”

Under the terms of its ‘UK Aid Match’ initiative the government will match donations made by people in Northern Ireland, pound for pound, up to a maximum of £900,000.

Andrew Mitchell, Secretary of State for International Development, said, “Trocaire is helping Ugandan people rebuild their lives after 20 years of devastating conflict. By matching pound for pound public donations to Trócaire’s appeal, the UK Government will help the charity double the support it can provide.”

“That means tens of thousands more people will get help in securing their land rights, along with ploughs, seeds, training and support to help them grow enough food to feed their families, get a fair price for their produce and ensure a brighter future for their children. This is also an extremely good deal for the taxpayer - by matching the generosity of the Northern Irish public in its support for Trócaire, we can ensure that the impact of UK aid goes twice as far.”

Eithne McNulty continued, “We are one of only a small number of charities that have been successful in being granted this opportunity and it is recognition of the quality of Trocaire’s work in the developing world. The Lenten campaign is our biggest fundraising and awareness-raising campaign annually and this year we are highlighting the plight of people in northern Uganda.”

“During the 20 year conflict between the Ugandan authorities and the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army thousands of innocent civilians were killed and thousands of children were kidnapped and forced to become child soldiers. Over 1.8 million people had to flee their homes to escape terrible atrocities – that’s more than the entire population of Northern Ireland. They were herded into camps and have only returned home recently since a fragile ceasefire was declared.”

“These people returned with, and to, absolutely nothing. They lost their homes and their animals. Their farms were totally overgrown. The only thing they returned with was the severe trauma of what they went through in the conflict. Trocaire has been working with the communities of northern Uganda to help them rebuild and start again. We have provided psychological counselling to help people come to terms with what happened. We have also supported them with seeds, tools and agriculture training so they can begin to provide for themselves again.”

“People are now growing their own food and they can see hope for their children in the future. There is still a long way to go but things are improving slowly. We are asking the people of Northern Ireland to support this campaign as generously as they have supported our appeals in the past. This extra money will change many more lives in northern Uganda,” Eithne McNulty concluded.

To make a donation or to find out more about the Lenten campaign log on to www.trocaire.org/lent or call 0800 912 1200. Trocaire Boxes are also available from parishes right across Northern Ireland.