Kinship Care and Brooke Park reach finals in Lottery 25th birthday awards

Jacqueline Williamson, CEO, Gena McDowell-Callan, Business ans Operations Manager and Margret Olgivie, Trustee, from Kinship NI pictured at the Derry Journal People of the Year Awards last year. DER3618GS031
Jacqueline Williamson, CEO, Gena McDowell-Callan, Business ans Operations Manager and Margret Olgivie, Trustee, from Kinship NI pictured at the Derry Journal People of the Year Awards last year. DER3618GS031

Derry’s Brooke Park and local charity Kinship Care NI are appealing for votes after reaching the finals of the 25th Birthday National Lottery Awards.

The restoration of the historic Brooke Park has seen it shortlisted in the Best Heritage project category, while Kinship Care NI is among the contenders to be named the Best Community and Charity project.

The two Derry projects beat off stiff competition from more than 700 entrants to reach the public voting stage in the Awards, which celebrate the inspirational people and projects who do extraordinary things with the help of National Lottery funding. The organisation with the most votes will be crowned the winner and receive a £10,000 cash prize, a trophy and attend a star-studded awards ceremony to be broadcast on BBC One in November.

Kinship Care NI was established by Jacqueline Williamson MBE, who, having come from a care background, has overcome homelessness, the death of her sister and being a single parent, to start the charity. Kinship Care helps and supports children who cannot be cared for by their own parents to live safely and securely within their own families and communities.

Jacqueline said it was a “great honour” to reach the finals.

She said: “At Kinship Care NI, we support the raising of children by family. Members when parents are unable to do so by using extensive volunteer peer networks. Thanks to National Lottery funding, our volunteer team have gone from strength to strength providing much need help and assistance to young people.

“It would mean so much to the whole organisation and those we support to win this award and we would urge the public to get behind us in our quest to be named the Best Community and Charity project.”

Brooke Park was restored with the help of National Lottery funding and reopened to the public in 2016.

Emma Barron, Council Park Manager said: “National Lottery funding played a key role in the restoration of this much-loved public space, which dates back to 1840. It has helped revitalise the park and contributed to fantastic new facilities.

“Brooke Park is known as the peoples’ park and we now need the support of the people to vote for us to help win this accolade.”

Jonathan Tuchner, from the National Lottery, said: “Both Brooke Park and the work of Kinship Care NI are tremendous assets to their local community and the work they do is hugely impressive. They thoroughly deserve to be in the finals and with your support they could be a winner”.

To vote go to lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/awards. Voting opened on Wednesday and runs until midnight on August 21.