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Lean In Belfast Social Events
Summer Social- Friday 25th August 8pm
Boden Park Coffee Company

So we had our summer social on Friday at Boden Park Coffee Company, with a major thanks to Fiona Quigley, Rebecca Watterson, Orla McKeating, Linda Clarke, Ruth Flood and Jean Barret-Quinn for organising Starting with a glass of some bubbles (or water for those of us who were driving! ) and a selection of delightful tapas style nibbles.

It was great catching up with friends and meeting new members, all made even more fun with Sinead's Bingo game.  I am still to find a member who has had twins and is it worrying that I am the only one to have admitted to watching too much TV??

We also got to here from Siofra Healy, Director of Philanthropy at The Community Foundation of Northern Ireland.

 "The Foundation changes lives through impactful grantmaking and helping others to give where it is needed most across NI. Since 1979 we’ve distributed over £100m in grants locally
We have about 40 different funds to which groups and individuals can apply - some of which are thematic, such as our older peoples fund or our Brexit Fund or the Thomas Devlin  Fund which is for young people within the arts and some of our funds  are geographically based such as our Acorn fund in Derry/Londonderry where we’ve just launched an appeal and a fund to help people who were affected by the floods this week. 
The fund I want to tell you about this evening is our Women’s Fund for NI which is all about women helping women across NI. 
In recognition of barriers to women in NI the Foundation  set up this fund in 2012  to offer small bursaries and grants ( up to a maximum of £500) for disadvantaged women and girls; Bursaries where this small amount of money could make a big difference in helping them  get into, or back into employment or to help them to overcome a barrier to reaching their full potential.  


The women we help are those who are most marginalised in our community women like Leanne,  a 31 year old single mother of two boys. She had been through domestic abuse and was very passionate to get back to work but needed £200 to cover her childcare costs as she trained as a councillor.  Another women Margaret, who was a working mum when she was sentenced to 15 years in prison. On her release she was keen to get back to work but at every interview once she mentioned the conviction nothing further happened and her only option was to set up her own business . The fund gave her £300 towards a laptop. Another women needed an outfit and coaching for an interview … so you can see the difference this small amount of funding can make.   
Another recent example was a young single mother who had the opportunity to train in the US over the summer months and had raised almost all of the £12,000 funding she required,  and the Women's Fund was able to give her, her final £500 to make this happen . We know hat without this , the girl in question would not have been able to take this opportunity .  

So far the Women’s Fund has given grants to  c100 women but we know there is so much more need for this fund and this work. It is unique in that it give’s to individuals …. Something most funds can’t do and we reach individual women in need through our partners and networks….The fund is a giving circle of women helping women.   
We’re working on ways to build awareness , knowledge and support for this fund and I want to say a huge  thank you again for inviting us and taking the time to  listen to me tonight. We are organising a social evening and information evening on 10 Oct at 6.30 in the Long Gallery and we’d love it if you’d like to come along and hear more about the fund and directly from the women that have benefited. Leave your contact details with us or get in touch and we’ll send you your invitation.  There is something very special about women helping women and the ethos and values of LeanIn fit well with the Women's Fund. Having the opportunity to talk to you this evening is a privilege, thank you."  

For more info and details of the Women's Fund for NI event at Stormont email:

Photo Credits: Jean Barrett-Quinn