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Thursday, 17 October 2013

We've donated over £100k to the community

Michelle Hatfield, HR & CR Director at BCA celebrates the £100k milestone with community fund recipients 

Stormont was the setting for a double celebration on Wednesday as we marked our £100,000 milestone in Community Funding and looked to the future

Stormont was the setting for a double celebration today as George Best Belfast City Airport marked the £100,000 milestone in its Community Fund which is set for further expansion.

The airport’s Community Fund, which currently provides significant financial support to youth projects within east Belfast, south Belfast and North Down, will now be open to youth projects and groups across greater Belfast.

The announcement was welcomed by politicians and community fund recipients who attended the celebration event in the Long Gallery. 

Junior Minister Jennifer McCann MLA who sponsored the event with Jonathan Bell MLA said: “A significant number of local projects have been supported by the George Best Belfast City Airport Community Fund since 2009, Youth Projects, Women’s Groups, Primary Schools and Residents Associations. This is a considerable achievement and shows the breadth of the impact the Fund has made to the lives of local people in a relatively short period of time. 

Jennifer McCann MLA addresses attendees
“The success of the fund would not have been achieved without the care, commitment and dedication of everyone involved. I congratulate everyone for their contribution in reaching this impressive milestone and I wish the fund continued success for the future.”

Junior Minister Jonathan Bell added: “Some sterling work has been supported by this Fund and I know that it has made a real difference to the local community. The list of groups supported is very impressive. More than 50 have been funded so far and this can only increase with the continued success and positive impact of these initiatives.

“The work delivered dovetails perfectly with the Executive’s commitment to improve attitudes of young people in Northern Ireland. We want to build a community where they can have a full and active role in developing good relations. The City Airport Fund has established itself as a strong partner in this work.” 

The George Best Belfast City Airport Community Fund sees the airport fine airlines for operating late flights and, since its inception in 2009, has provided funding to more than 60 community groups, schools and projects in the airport’s neighbouring areas of east Belfast, south Belfast and North Down.

Michelle Hatfield, Human Resources and Corporate Responsibility Director at Belfast City Airport, said: “We officially launched our Community Fund four years ago with the aim of complementing our already significant commitment to the local community.

“In addition to our Adopted Schools programme, recently launched Apprenticeship scheme and other environmental projects, the Community Fund has played an important role in assisting the airport to integrate and assist with local projects. 

“We engage directly with the community to identify projects that can benefit from our Fund. This is primarily projects or groups that aim to promote community, social or environmental initiatives. 

“To date, we have supported groups such as NI Children’s Hospice, Arthritis Care NI, Helping Hands Community Group and the Belfast Children's Festival.

“Through the Community Fund, we want to support initiatives that can influence, educate and encourage young people from all backgrounds. 

“Until now the Fund has been limited to east Belfast, south Belfast and North Down, but due to its success, we will now be considering applications from the entire greater Belfast area.”

The celebration event held in Stormont, which saw Community Fund recipients from the Music Theatre 4 Youth (MT4Uth) Weekend Academy perform, was well attended by politicians.

Michelle continued: “Since the launch of the Community Fund we have had great support from politicians, many of whom regularly take time to visit the projects with our staff. I’m delighted that so many of them made it along to Stormont today to help us celebrate the success of the Community Fund so far and its expansion.” 

The Community Fund committee, which includes staff of all grades from the airport, meets to discuss funding several times per year. Deadlines for applications are January and June.

For more information on how your group or project could benefit from the Belfast City Airport Community Fund, please visit or contact

To join the conversation on Twitter and to read about some of the projects supported by the Community Fund visit @BelfastCity_Air or follow #bca100k.

To eiew a full photo gallery of the event click here.

Jonathan Bell MLA, Michelle Hatfield of Belfast City Airport and Jennifer McCann MLA

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Frocks For Freedom Takes To The Runway

Model Destiny Carlisle joins Belfast Giants' Colin Shields, Ulster Rugby player Paddy McAllister, Helen Cupples advocate for The A21 Campaign, Paul Givan MLA, Kate Richardson the 2012 NI Woman of the Year, Ruth Morgan Communications Manager GBBCA & Paul Shiells GAA Hurling.

The countdown has commenced to a unique fashion event which aims to raise awareness of the horrors of human trafficking on our doorstep.

NI fashionistas, sporting celebrities and gifted musicians will gather to support Frocks For Freedom at Belfast City Hall on Saturday October 5th.

73% of human trafficking in Northern Ireland is in the area of sexual exploitation, and the region is one of the fastest growing sex industries in Europe, with victims enduring horrendous situations perpetuated by the greed of organised criminal gangs.

The shocking figure has prompted George Best Belfast City Airport to announce its partnership with The A21 campaign to host Frocks for Freedom, calling for the abolition of human trafficking in the province.

"We have been deeply compelled to act and raise awareness about the sad prevalence of trafficking in this country," said Helen Cupples, Advocate for The A21 Campaign in Ireland and an organiser of Frocks for Freedom.

"Most people don’t know about this problem in Northern Ireland; they think it is too small a country for this to be happening in, but it is occurring, and on a fast growing scale. 

"The word freedom gives a clue to the nature of this event and yet its importance cannot be underestimated by any measure. The A21 Campaign exists to abolish injustice in the 21st Century, focusing primarily on the horrors of the growing organised crime, Human Trafficking. In fact, 27million people are enslaved globally.

"A strategy of public education, improved legislative and judicial measures, together with consolidation of a community-based system of support and vigilance to assist with the rescue and ultimate restoration of victims and prosecution of offenders is crucial."

A recent announcement by the Department of Justice to roll out an information programme about human trafficking into the Northern Ireland school curriculum was welcomed by the A21 Campaign that has grave concerns about the industry’s rate of growth. 

Paul Givan MLA, Chair of NI Justice Committee said: "The trafficking of human beings is an abhorrent crime that destroys the lives of victims and their families through this heinous exploitation. 

"Tackling this crime requires the co-ordinated and dedicated efforts across all Government Departments and Criminal Justice agencies."

With support from top Northern Ireland Fashion designers from Unify Fashion Collective, GAA and Rugby players, dancers from Vibe Academy, musicians, including highly- acclaimed singer/ songwriter, Rosie Carney, Frocks for Freedom promises to be an incredibly special evening.

Ruth Morgan, Communications Manager at George Best Belfast City Airport, said: "I was deeply moved when I met with A21 and heard some of the horrifying stories. It’s incredibly sad to think about the sheer scale of human trafficking and sexual exploitation in Northern Ireland and disturbing to think it is going on right under our own noses.
The scale of human trafficking in NI is horrifying

"The aim of the airport’s Community Fund, which fines airlines for operating late flights, is about supporting projects which change and improve people’s lives, particularly our young people, and we were shocked to hear the average age of trafficking victims around the world is just 12 years old. We couldn’t sit back and let this happen."

GAA hurling star Paul Shiels said: "Myself and other players were horrified to learn of the scale of human trafficking in our towns and cities. "We want to participate in Frocks for Freedom to help highlight the plight of victims and in particular encourage young people to be vigilant and understand how serious this issue is."

Dave Henderson from Unify said: "It s a privilege to be able to showcase our collections in support of and in the name of those victims who are trapped in lives of cruelty and fear, just a stone’s throw from many of our doors. We are both thrilled and honoured to participate in this great event."

According to the U.S. Tipp report, 2012, Ireland is a key source, transit and destination state for human trafficking.For further information on this SOLD OUT event see Frocks For

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Win Tickets For Departure Lounge

Win tickets to see Departure Lounge in the Grand Opera House or Theatre at The Mill. Click here to enter

Do you fondly remember your first holiday abroad without your parents? If so then you’ll love departure lounge, a drama based on four hormonal teenagers, one delayed plane, and a holiday that they’ll never forget!


Submit a photo from a holiday abroad. Both old and new pics welcome!


We have 3 pairs of tickets up for grabs for Theatre at The Mill this Friday Oct 4th & 2 pairs for GOH on Tues Oct 8th!

*Competition closes 3pm Thurs Oct 3rd. 

Good Luck 

Social Development Minister Gives Youth Workshops Lift-Off

Mark Beattie, Operations Director GBBCA, joins 'Departure Lounge'  cast & Nelson McCausland MLA
A series of workshops are set to take place in George Best Belfast City Airport to address issues experienced by young adults in Northern Ireland.

Minister for Social Development, Nelson McCausland MLA, launched the workshops, hosted by Pintsized Productions, on Friday, ahead of their run of ‘Departure Lounge’ in the Grand Opera House Belfast.

The workshops are supported by our Community Fund and will address issues such as employment, transition, drug and alcohol abuse and anti-social behaviour.

After attending a showcase preview of ‘Departure Lounge’ in the airport’s terminal, the Minister said: “I am delighted to have had the opportunity to participate in the launch of the workshops.  They will provide much needed access to help and support for young people so that they can build self-esteem, confidence and skills. 

“In the last decade we have seen unprecedented changes for young people in Northern Ireland, particularly those in our most disadvantaged communities.  Dramatic transformations in family structures, work patterns and mobility have all contributed to pressure on young people, which is why workshops such as these are so valuable. 

“I would also like to commend George Best Belfast City Airport for their efforts in not only engaging with the local community but also clearly, through their ‘Community Fund’, giving something back.  This is a fine example of the business sector working in partnership with the wider community.”

The showcase preview of ‘Departure Lounge’ in the airport’s terminal was also attended by Basil McCrea of NI21 who said: “Finding effective ways to communicate with young people is really important.
Basil McCrea, NI21, Joins 'Departure Lounge' Cast

“The actors on displayed huge talent at the Belfast City Airport launch and I have no doubt will provoke some lively discussions on matters that are particularly important to young people.

“I commend all involved for this innovative and exciting initiative."

The airport’s Community Fund was established with the aim of changing the lives of young people within its neighbourhood through financial support to encourage community, education, social and environmental initiatives.

Mark Beattie, Operations Director at Belfast City Airport, said: “These workshops are an opportunity for youths from greater Belfast and North Down to come together and tackle the issues that can make the transition from young adult to adult extremely difficult.

“The decisions they are faced with as teenagers and young adults will have a significant impact on their future and we want to make sure that’s a positive impact.

“Hosting the workshops here in the airport allows us to play a truly valuable role, along with Pintsized Productions, in ensuring our local young people are equipped with the support and knowledge they require throughout this transition period.”
Pintsized Productions showcase 'Departure lounge' in the terminal
The free workshops will take place on 6th and 7th October between 6.30pm and 8.30pm, can be attended by individuals aged 14 - 21. Those who express their interest to attend the workshops will be invited to an exclusive performance of ‘Departure Lounge’ on Friday 4th October in Theatre at the Mill, Newtownabbey.

The cast of ‘Departure Lounge’, a coming of age musical about four young males delayed in a Spanish airport after a holiday in the Costa Del Sol, will be present at the workshops to share their own experiences of life as young adults, as well as the experience of their character.

Gerard McCabe, Director of ‘Departure Lounge’ said: “Every individual will have a unique experience and different memories of growing up, but ultimately we will all be faced with the same decisions and the same issues.

“It’s important that our young people here in Northern Ireland are given the opportunity to understand issues such as race, sexuality, alcohol and drugs, and this is exactly what we aim to achieve through our workshops in Belfast City Airport.
Director Gerard's twitter profile pic

“The support we received from the airport’s Community Fund has not only made these events happen, but has also ensured they are fun and interactive whereby attendees can actually learn through doing.”

To register for the workshops please visit

Tickets for ‘Departure Lounge’, which will be performed in the Baby Grand Studio in the Grand Opera House, Belfast, 8-12 October, can be also be purchased through the website.

For more information about the George Best Belfast City Airport Community Fund, or to find out if your community Group is eligible for funding please visit

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

A bag of wigs, a stool and even a prosthetic leg! Passengers leave behind a host of mysterious objects

With over 2.5 million passengers travelling through the airport each year it's no surprise that our lost and found department provides plenty of revelations.

Bizarre items left behind in the airport show people do try to pack everything but the kitchen sink. Strange items found at GBBCA include:
  1. A prosthetic leg
  2. Toaster
  3. Curtains
  4. Wigs
  5. Flat screen TV
  6. Fluffy handcuffs
  7. False teeth
  8. Stool
  9. Kettle 
  10. Binoculars 
Billy Carson, PRM Team Coordinator at the airport, said the lost and found items reflect the amazing cross section of people travelling through the terminal. 

He commented: "We have a lot of  people rushing around the airport. Business people are closing deals, speaking on phones and concentrating on getting from A to B, they leave things down and forget about them. 

"You also have travellers getting into the holiday spirit. After two weeks away they realise they can do without an item left behind and don't call back to collect it."

A bundle of lost iPads in the lost property office
Billy has also noticed how reliant passengers are on technology. There has been an increase in the number of smart phones, tablets and e-readers left behind.

"We always try our best to get lost items back to their owners. We recently sent items of lost property to Hong Kong and Australia," he added.

Map showing where lost goods have been posted to 
The most popular items left behind in the airport are:

    • Mobile Phones
    • iPads
    • Jewellery
    • Coats
    • Cameras
    • Glasses
    • Money
    • Passports
    • Teddy Bears
    • Shoes
    Items of lost property are held at the airport for three months, after this time they are donated to charities such as Cancer Research, Tiny life, NI Hospice and St Vincent de Paul. 

    If you think you have left an item behind at the airport contact the information desk 44 (0) 28 9448 4848