Paula Bittles from Belfast City Airport joins Director of Whiterock Children’s Centre Deirdre Walsh alongside Linda Momodu who attends some of the clubs at the Centre and staff member, Maura Maguire.

George Best Belfast City Airport Community Fund has provided financial support to Whiterock Children’s Centre in Belfast.

The Centre provides a range of activities and services to support local families including accessible, quality childcare, family learning and also training courses to stimulate the social, educational and economic development of the local area.

It also facilitates a range of group activities that support families that have come to the area to seek asylum.

Deirdre Walsh, Director of Whiterock Children’s Centre, said:

“The funding provided by Belfast City Airport was used to fund sewing machines for our sewing club, which is attended by a group of local women, many of whom are refugees.

“Asylum seekers and refugees find it virtually impossible to access resources. This means that they are liable to encounter further problems such as unemployment, low income and a general lack of opportunity.

“Becoming a member of one of our groups increases their confidence, helps them get support and access to the services they need.

“For many, it is the beginning of building strong and lasting friendships whilst also improving their English skills so they can integrate into our local community.

“By providing sewing sessions for participants; they learn how to use a sewing machine, basic design, pattern cutting andmaking items. Through teaching them basic sewing skills we are increasing their confidence and self-esteem.

Deirdre concluded:

“It is our sole purpose to improve the lives of the families that come to us for help and support. The funds given to us by Belfast City Airport were vital to allow us to continue the successes of this sewing group which is about so much more than making clothes.

“Whilst this investment gives us the tools the group needs, but more importantly it gives them hope and they see a world of opportunities opening up in front of them as they can take all the skills they learn at our Centre and apply them to making lasting improvements to their new lives.”

Paula Bittles of Belfast City Airport, who visited the Whiterock Children’s Centre to see first-hand how the Community Fund was being used, said:

“The work being carried out by the Centre is a superb example of how communities can work together to improve the lives of local families who need help and support.

“It was fantastic to see some of the beautiful handcrafted work being created by the Centre’s sewing group; one lady had handmade an outfit for her little girl entirely out of recycled materials and before joining the group she had never used a sewing machine before.

“At the airport our Corporate Responsibility strategy forms an integral element of our business and we are constantly exploring new ways to support our community.”

For more information on the Community Fund or to find out how your group can apply for funding, please visit: