Belfast Telegraph

British IRA victims moved by £10k gift from secret Northern Ireland donor

By Allan Preston

An anonymous donor from Northern Ireland has handed a £10,000 lifeline to a victims' group representing survivors of IRA violence in Britain.

The group of more than 650 people affected by terrorism - including the Docklands, Harrods and Manchester bombings - were devastated earlier this week when they were turned down for healthcare funding.

Representatives of the group travelled to Belfast in August to submit an application to the Victims and Survivors Service (VSS), hoping for funding of £45,000 a year to secure a case worker to help their members.

Following a report in this newspaper, Jonathan Ganesh of the Docklands Victims Association said it was contacted by a local man who donated £10,000 to the group.

"We were completely taken aback by it," he told the Belfast Telegraph.

"It restores your faith in humanity, it really does.

"The man said on the telephone to our chairman, Wayne Gruba, that he was touched by the story and wanted to reward our good work.

"This means more to us, perhaps, than the VSS funding because somebody said: 'You do great work, you've been treated unfairly, here's £10,000'."

VSS said the funding was granted to groups that could demonstrate their experience in evidence-based health and well-being services, as well as illustrating a need from victims of the Troubles.

On this occasion, VSS added, further funding was given to two health and well-being caseworkers and an existing advocacy support worker based in London and Warrington.

The organisation added: "This was a competitive call.

"Unsuccessful applicants have received communication and are welcome to appeal this decision.

"In addition, we provide direct support to all individuals who are defined as victims and survivors irrelevant of country of residence."

Mr Ganesh, who was seriously injured in the London Docklands bombing in 1996, said the £10,000 gift would make a massive difference, helping volunteers to visit victims.

He said he had plans to hire a minibus to take some of the older victims the group represents on a respite trip to Somerset.

Mr Ganesh added: "Usually we can only take a few people in the car on these trips, but taking someone in a wheelchair to the beach makes a big difference to their quality of life."

Belfast Telegraph

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