Group News

Over £54,000 awarded by ACT to causes nominated by Ardonagh colleagues

25 March, 2024 |Ardonagh Group | Ardonagh Community Trust

Throughout the year, ACT, The Ardonagh Group's independent charity, supports causes special to colleagues across the Group and around the world.

Through ACT's Community Grant programme, we provide the opportunity for any Ardonagh colleague to apply for up to £5,000 (or equivalent currency) towards a chosen charity to support a project or initiative in need of funding.

2023 saw a record-breaking £220,000+ donated in grants to over 45 charities, taking ACT's grant total to date to over £875,000.

2024 is set to be another year of giving back big, and in our first round of grants of the year, £54,200 has been awarded to 12 charities put forward by colleagues. Causes supported include a creating a café hub as part of a community allotment garden project, supporting the next generation of STEM leaders and establishing a new podcast to raise awareness of a rare form of cancer.

Read the stories behind each of the causes that have received funding and why they matter to the colleagues who nominated them.

Founding a new podcast channel to raise awareness of germ call cancer
The Robin Cancer Trust

Nominated by Jack Gargrave – Towergate, Ardonagh Advisory

Robin Cancer Trust has a hugely personal connection to Towergate colleague Jack, who grew up close to Robin, even playing in the same band as teenagers. The charity, founded in Robin’s memory in 2012, works to stop young adults dying from rare germ cell cancer (ovarian and testicular cancers) which generally affect younger people. The charity raises awareness of germ cell cancer and provides support to young people and their families to navigate their journeys.

Jack as the charities mascot at a fundraising event in Essex

The £5,000 grant from ACT will be used to create a new channel for the charity to share information and support – a podcast series, which will provide a valuable way to share stories, connect people, and develop understanding. Already, the Trust has received a small grant from Macmillan Cancer to buy recording treatment, and now with the additional funding from ACT the podcast and go into development.

Robin and the Freemans were like a second family to me growing up – and Robin was the drummer in my first band a close friend during my formative years. Seeing his family create something so positive out of his illness is so powerful and I’ve become connected to the charity – volunteering and raising funds. The chance to be part of creating a new source of support is a massive opportunity. Jack Gargrave – Towergate, Ardonagh Advisory

Enabling young people to access employment opportunities

Nominated by Mariana Carravilla – MDS Portugal, Ardonagh Global Partners

Stand4Good promotes youth employability in Porto and across Portugal. Established following the impact of the pandemic on education and opportunities for young people, the charity seeks to help young disadvantaged people access higher education and develop skills to see them succeed.

Members of the Stand4Good programme

In Portugal, 10% of the poorest children do not achieve any form of higher education qualification, affecting social mobility and feeding into generational poverty. The grant of £5,000 from ACT will enable 50 students to take part in Stand4Goods Lead programme, which provides a range of support including mentoring, professional skills workshop and volunteering.

Contributing to Stand 4 Good is significant to me because it has a profound and long-term impact on people's lives, providing them with more opportunities and better job prospects. It has the potential to bring about generational change within their own families and future generations. Mariana Carravilla – MDS Portugal

Investing in tomorrow’s STEM leaders
Future Transformation CIC

Nominated by Neil Stevens – Price Forbes, Ardonagh Specialty

Future Transformation CIC is all about engaging with young people and unlocking their potential as future leaders in science, technology and maths (STEM). Through their work, they’ve already reached over 50,000 students across northern England to inspire them to pursue education and careers connected to everything from research to space exploration.

The £5,000 grant from ACT will be invested into Future Transformation’s ‘Helping communities connected to our people shine brighter’ project, which aim to specifically support disadvantaged young people develop skills. The project has three main areas: specialised training programme to increase employability, acquiring technology infrastructure and software to ensure a high quality learning experience, and a mentorship programme.

As someone who has been fortunate to enjoy an extended education and access to a highly technical career, I am acutely aware of the education gap that exists in disadvantaged areas of the UK. Space is a sector acutely connected to technical capability and its paramount to drive the benefits of diversity into the further expansion of opportunities for those who wouldn't ordinarily have access to education. Neil Stevens – Head of Space at Price Forbes, Ardonagh Specialty

Creating a community café for residents and beyond
Hattersley Big Community Garden Project CIC

Nominated by David Henthorn – Atlanta, Ardonagh Retail

Atlanta colleague, David, has been part of the Hattersley Bigs Community Garden project in Manchester for several years. The garden is so much more than an outdoor space, it is a nexus for community activity and a place where people can find company or solitude as suits them.

David and his wife first got their allotment at the start of lockdown, and experienced first hand the difference outdoor living can have on wellbeing. Since then, David volunteers regularly in the Elderberry Cafe, which despite being loved is in much need of repair.

With the £5,000 ACT grant, the café roof will be fixed and insulated, which will ensure the space can be used all year round. David plans to expand the café to create a ‘Seedlings Club’ for young people and their families. The forest school area will also be upgraded and the polytunnels recovered – ensuring this much-used community garden can continue to be a welcoming place for all members of the local area.

When my wife and I first got our allotment, we could immediately see the potential to support local families. We volunteered with site maintenance and volunteering in the small garden centre and café. The last year has had challenges, but through the determination of our fellow volunteers, we have really turned the place around. We’ve helped so many families on the Hattersely estate and older members of the community too, and this grant will ensure we can do even more in the future. David Henthorn – Atlanta Ardonagh Retail

Supporting a baby bank to help more women
Motherwell Chesire CIO

Nominated by Tracey Westwick – Autonet, Ardonagh Retail

Motherwell Chesire CIO is a service for women by women, through educational services, resources and mental health support. Their key project areas include a programme to help women whose children are on a protection plan, a wellbeing hub to support long-term mental health, and a community share hub that provides access to vital clothing, equipment and supplies without referral.

The £5,000 grant from ACT will go towards the charity’s summer programme, which runs over July-September, a period when the hub experiences a major increase in demand owing to the school holidays. Over this time, the hub is open for longer hours and provides extra services, such as school uniforms.

I used the baby bank facility with my daughter and was amazed at how many items we were able to access. The people were so helpful and were keen to help my daughter with anything she needed thanks to the donations. The service is a huge benefit and I have seen first-hand how many people visit this baby bank. Tracey Westwick – Autonet, Ardonagh Retail

Inspiring more young people to access the arts
The Lester Prize for Portraiture

Nominated by Jonathan Ross – Grange Insurance – Envest, Ardonagh Global Partners

The Lester Portrait Prize is a Australia-wide initiative which seeks to invest in both community and art. The prize includes a Youth Award programme, which searches across Australia to provide opportunities for young people, no matter their personal circumstances, as well as working alongside children’s hospitals, elderly people in residential care, schools and indigenous groups to broaden access to art.

The £5,000 grant from ACT will be used to invest in The Lester Prize’s reach, to inspire even more artists, of any age and any background. This campaign aims to inspire artistic leaders and educators to mentor young creatives throughout the entry process – so that even more young people can see the arts as a world they can access.

The Lester Youth Prize provides an avenue for aspiring artists from all walks of life to pursue their dreams in art and is a platform for positive change in many communities. The Lester Youth Prize shares significant synergies with Grange, particularly through the Grange education insurance scheme, which provides insurance services to over 70 independent schools across Australia. These schools include students who can participate in the Youth Awards. Jonathan Ross – Grange Insurance – Envest, Ardonagh Global Partners

Making mental health visible in the construction industry
The Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity

Nominated by Emma Jones – Thames Underwriting, Ardonagh Advisory

Every working day, two construction workers in the UK die by suicide – and stress, depression and anxiety account for over 27% of all sickness leave take by workers in the industry. Lighthouse aim to reduce construction workforce suicides and mental health impact ​by offering support and services, and by making mental health visible they hope to help those working within such a tough industry be more aware of the support available to them.

The £5,000 grant from ACT will go towards Lighthouse’s ‘Make it Visible’ tour across the UK and Ireland, with a dedicated team visiting construction sites and businesses to deliver informative yet engaging talks for a whole day, one-on-one support, and help to establish safe places for conversation.

The Lighthouse charity van on its tour.

Construction workers attending a Lighthouse Charity mental health awareness event.

Thames Underwriting work very closely with those within the construction industry it's harrowing to know that each day two construction workers in the UK take their own lives. Mental health is still a stigmatised subject and Lighthouse is the only UK charity that specialises in support for construction workers – making it a uniquely vital cause to support. Emma Jones – Thames Underwriting, Ardonagh Advisory

Educating young people to create strong communities
Community Safety Education CIC

Nominated by Louise Baker – HR, Ardonagh Specialty

Community Safety Education (CS) seeks to reach all primary and secondary aged children (5-16 years old) across the UK to promote safety awareness in the community and strengthen societal connections. CSE has a range of programmes dedicated to key topics, including hate crime, drug misuse and bullying – to inspire responsible future generations.

Student's attending a session hosted by CSE

The £2,200 grant from ACT will enable two schools to benefit from CSE’s Money Wise financial literacy programme, which aims to make sure teenagers leave school with knowledge, skills and behaviour to manage money well, and and Respect Your Life programme, which focusses on crime and bullying.

A number of our colleagues have a long-standing connection to CSE – before and since being part of The Ardonagh Group. It’s fantastic that we’ve been able to honour that legacy. Our ability to influence and educate young people is key to encouraging a society of respect and collaboration. Louise Baker – HR, Ardonagh Specialty

Creating a community library in São Paulo
Instituto Bola Ne Rede

Nominated by Roberto Fujino – MDS Brasil, Ardonagh Global Partners

Instituto Bola Ne Rede is based in São Paulo, Brazil, and supports over 200 children and their families through the power of sport. The charity offers activities from swimming to ballet and football.

Attendees of Instituto Bola Ne Rede taking part in a tennis tournament

The £5,000 ACT grant will fund the creation of a new library – in a space which has already been secured from the City Hall. The library will provide a free service to borrow books and an environment where young people supported by the charity can learn in a positive and safe environment. Initially the library will be for the children and teenagers helped by the charity, but the aim is to then expand its services to adults too.

I have been involved in Bola Ne Rede as a volunteer – helping with their tennis activities and donating equipment. Now, the charity does so much to give opportunities to needy children through sport, and the next step is to expand to support children’s cultural and education knowledge too. Roberto Fujino – MDS Brasil, Ardonagh Global Partners

Providing screening services to prevent deaths in young sportspeople
Dillon Quirke Foundation

Nominated by Catherine Cranley – Arachas, Ardonagh Global Partners

Dillon Quirk Foundation was founded in memory of top hurling sportsman, Dillon, by his parents and sisters, after he died suddenly on the pitch. The foundation raises awareness of SADS (Sudden Adult Death Syndrome) across Ireland, with a primary focus on young sports people. The charity all offers cardiac screening for 12-18-year-olds involved in sport, to prevent other families experiencing the same loss they have.

Catherine's nephew Jaxon pictured with Dillon Quirke taken on 2 May 2022 in Thurles, after Dillon’s last game for Tipperary.

Each week, two people die from SADS in Ireland. However, research has shown that screening can reduce the incidence of SADS by almost 90%. The £5,000 grant from ACT will enable 70 young people to access screening (which costs around ~£70 each) – using a mobile screening clinic.

I am a big hurling fan and this cause has really touched my heart. My nephew comes to the hurling games with me and we were lucky enough to meet Dillon at a game (he was my nephew's favourite player). We all know young people who play sports and if this screening could save a few lives and not put any family through the grief that the Quirke Family had to go through it would be brilliant. Catherine Cranley – Arachas, Ardonagh Global Partners

Using outreach to help homeless people reach opportunities
St Petrocs

Nominated by Michael Bailey – GI Insurance, Ardonagh Advisory

Cornwall, in southwest England, has a low population density – meaning fewer employment opportunities and an often-underappreciated rate of poverty. St Petrocs was the first organisation in the county to provide services and support for people experiencing homelessness. The charity has grown to have 24 properties across Cornwall, providing vital accommodation for over 160 people, and a much-valued outreach team.

In 2023, St Petrocs helped 1,350 people, 189 of which were also support through their employment and skills services. The charity is seeing higher and higher demand and so the £5,000 grant from ACT will be invested into the St Petrocs’ outreach team. This highly skilled team of four people travel across Cornwall, providing a hugely valuable one-on-one approach. Last year, 550 people were helped by the Outreach team, who support in a range of ways including applying to local councils for long term accommodation, accessing benefits, employment skills and job interviews.

As a business, we have always supported St Petrocs, and have continued to be moved by the many stories and examples of how St Petrocs continue to strive to end homelessness in Cornwall with their many support services and outreach projects which continue to be a real lifeline. The stories are very close to our heart, whether a relation, colleague or others, we can all do something to help. Michael Bailey & the Cornwall GI Insurance Team, Ardonagh Advisory

Supporting wellbeing of people with kidney disease
Kidney Care UK

Nominated by Kai Cody – Financial Control, Ardonagh Specialty

In the UK, over seven million people have some stage of kidney disease – meaning nearly 10% of the total population are living with kidney disease. Symptoms can often get worse over time and as a chronic illness treatment journeys are lengthy, with risks of developing other conditions increased too.

Mental wellbeing is a vital part of treatment, as 1 in 3 patients with kidney disease experience depression. The £2,500 grant from ACT will fund 250 counselling sessions for people affected by kidney disease, to ensure patients do not feel alone and have a listening ear to turn to through their journey.

My sister was diagnosed with Solitary Kidney Disease, which meant that she was only born with one kidney but never realised this till she was 24. Supporting Kidney Care UK will mean more people are at least aware of this as this disease, which is often 'invisible’, yet its effects dramatically affect lives. Kai Cody – Financial Control, Ardonagh Specialty

Discover more about how ACT gives back

  • Learn more about ACT's work and impact to date by visiting the ACT homepage at
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