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Charitable Trust rewards local volunteers for Covid-19 response

28 July 2020

Local volunteers in the Strabane area who have been devoting their time to helping the local community during the COVID19 pandemic will be rewarded for their efforts by a local charity.
The Kathleen Graham Trust today handed over £4,450 of Strabane Gift Card Vouchers to be presented to 89 local volunteers in recognition of their tireless work helping others through the crisis.
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane Council, Councillor Brian Tierney, will attend a special reception on August 4 for the volunteers and added his praise to the major community effort that was sparked in response to the pandemic. Hundreds mobilized to support the work of community organisations and charities in the area, helping to deliver vital aid to those in need.
Thanking the Trust for their ongoing support of the community response, and the gift card rewards for volunteers, Cllr Tierney said: "The Kathleen Graham Trust has been extremely active in supporting a wide range of community initiatives right across the Strabane, Sion Mills and Castlederg areas throughout the crisis.
"This donation of gift cards to local volunteers is another wonderful gesture and much deserved by the volunteers who will receive them. It's a fitting way to support local businesses by investing the money back into the local economy via the Strabane gift card scheme."
Vice Chair of the BID group leading on the Strabane Giftcard scheme, Michael Kelly, said: "We are delighted that the Kathleen Graham Trust has chosen to support local and acknowledge the work of our volunteers by further supporting the Strabane community. This means the recipients can spend their rewards at a wide range of local stores, so the gesture is giving back to the community on a number of levels.
"The past few months have seen the focus turn inwards on our local area - we are all spending more time at home and hopefully this will help kickstart the economic recovery for the area to the benefit of everyone."
Caroline Clarke is a Trustee with the newly established charitable group, which aims to support positive initiatives and individual enterprises of merit in the wider Strabane area. She explained more about some of the work the Kathleen Graham Trust has been contributing to in recent months.
"We had been hoping to launch the charity in May but with Coronavirus that was put on hold unfortunately," she explained. "But we have been working behind the scenes with local community representatives and groups, as well as Derry City and Strabane District Council, to distribute support for some of the wonderful projects that have been offering essential aid during the pandemic.
"We've been working with local Councillor Raymond Barr and also Council's Community Relations team, who have been able to give us guidance on how we can best support the local community.
"It's been very humbling to see how proactive the local community has been in responding to this crisis, the many creative and selfless ways that people have reached out to help others. And it's been so rewarding to see how donations from the charity have had such a big impact and how these groups can make the money go such a long way in helping people.
"We've been able to contribute towards PPE for healthcare workers, helped the Scrubs team in Strabane by supplying sewing machines and fabric, provided supplies for the Food Bank, contributed to the Koram Centre, the Altnagelvin Appeal and we will also be supporting a Teddy Bears Picnic being organized by Aodhán Harkin in conjunction with Council.
"We've been so inspired by the work being done on the ground that the Trust wanted to acknowledge the contribution of the local volunteers who have had such an essential role in recent months. The vouchers will be given to 89 of the volunteers who have been engaged on the projects the Trust has been funding as a massive thank you for their selfless work.
"The Strabane Gift Card scheme offered the perfect way to reward local people and also support local business. I'm a strong believer in contributing to the local economy where possible and shopping local, especially at a time when many businesses have been impacted by Covid19.
"I want to thank everyone involved and I look forward to continuing to work with the Kathleen Graham Trust to support such fantastic local causes."