WHEN the Antrim Fundraising Committee set up in the mid-1990s to help raise money for the first Macmillan nurse in the area, they could not have guessed the incredible local impact of their tireless volunteering and fundraising activities.
Not only have they reached an impressive £1million fundraising milestone to date, this year they have been awarded the prestigious Macmillan Fundraising Group/Committee Award for their ‘exceptional achievements’.
Jill Stubbs from Antrim is chair of the Committee and has been in this role for more than 10 years.
And she is ‘thrilled’ that the Committee has been recognised in such a positive way, and firmly believes that everyone is as motivated as ever to make a difference to the lives of people living with cancer in the local area.
“I joined the Committee around 15 years ago and knew some of the people involved at that time,” she recalled.
“I was delighted to join such a dedicated and dynamic group of fundraising volunteers.
“Two of the original members, Paddy and Maud, are still involved and have so much knowledge and insight.
“Maud has been Treasurer since the outset, and has made sure that every single penny fundraised is chased, checked and tallied.
“It’s a real honour to receive this fantastic award from Macmillan and to be recognised for our work.
“We have seen so many changes over the years, not least the growth in the services and support that the charity provides all over Northern Ireland.
“We feel very proud to have been part of that, and to be able to signpost people locally to the help that’s available for people living with cancer, as well as their family and friends.
“It’s never been more vital than it is right now to know where to find much-needed support.
“It’s extremely important to us to represent Macmillan locally.
“Whether we are participating in a cheque presentation, or doing a street collection, people are not just incredibly generous in the Antrim area but there’s always time for a chat.
“Everyone has a story to tell, everyone has had some experience of cancer among their friends or family, and listening and making time for people is a big part of what we do.”
Jill is also very proud of the relationships that the Committee has developed with schools in the area.
They have worked with many over the years, doing talks, supporting fundraising initiatives, encouraging young people to volunteer their time, and helping to break down the barriers to talking openly and honestly about the impact of cancer in all our lives.
When asked about a fundraising highlight in recent years, she mentions the Santa’s Grotto set up by the Committee on a number of occasions that encouraged much collaboration and good will.
“It was a lot of hard work and the planning would have started in the summer months!
“Even though it took a lot of time, organising and volunteers, and days spent freezing in the cold, people came together from so many different places to help including schools, youth groups and nurseries, to name a few.
“It was magical, and a great example of the wonderful community effort that we see so often in Antrim.”
Jill says that the Committee is as focused as ever on its fundraising activities.
“We love to make connections, build relationships and facilitate others to volunteer and fundraise too. It’s about people helping people. That’s what’s at the heart of it all.”
Jan Forrest, Head of Regional Fundraising for Macmillan in Northern Ireland and Scotland paid tribute to the tireless team.
“The Antrim Committee is a shining example of an active, forward-thinking fundraising committee and so deserving of this award.
“We are incredibly proud of what they have achieved with the help and support of people in Antrim.
“Their energetic and enthusiastic approach is clear for all to see and we cannot thank them enough for helping to make sure that no one faces cancer alone.”
Macmillan is almost entirely funded by donations and can only support the growing number of people living with cancer with the help of its supporters. Visit macmillan.org.uk/getinvolved today to donate or volunteer.