Snow Patrol star launches foundation to support NI charities
Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody has announced he has started a foundation to help charities in Northern Ireland.
The Bangor-born musician has called it the Lightbody Foundation, as it's made up of family and close friends.
The foundation is made up of his sister Sarah, one of his best friends Davy Matchett, Candice Cathers who has been with him for years and John D'Arcy, one of the founder members of the Oh Yeah Centre in Belfast.
Lightbody said: "The other reason I named it the Lightbody Foundation is because when I was young I hated my name. People always laughed at it. Now I love it. I'm proud of it. It's strange and wonderful and it was passed down to me by my dear dad. I'm proud to use it for something I have put my heart into."
The Lightbody Foundation plans to donate to five or six charities twice a year, currently Northern Ireland charities, but in time it is hoped to widen this to all of Ireland and the UK.
He said: "We have partnered with the Community Foundation For Northern Ireland. They have been a massive help in connecting us with charities across the country. Thank you to them for their help and support.
"There is no remit. We'll give to causes across the board. Mental health, education, music, dementia, sport, cancer and disease research and many other things ... I don't want to narrow our focus. The focus is Northern Ireland, countrywide. Across communities and divides. As a great man once said, 'there is no them, there's only us'." Lightbody has said he will not be asking the public for donations.
"The money will come from me. We will not be asking for public donations ever (the people of NI give a lot to charity already) but we will at some point in the future be asking businesses that have done well in NI to match our donations. Our first round of donations are going to these wonderful charities. They will get £10,000 each."
- Drake Music Project NI - providing access to music making for children and adults with complex disabilities;
- Youthlife - bereavement counselling for children and young people;
- Youth Action NI - 70 years working with disadvantaged, excluded young people;
- SOS Bus NI - providing a safe haven for vulnerable people on the streets of Belfast;
- Every Day Harmony - the NI Music Therapy Trust - leaders in music therapy in Northern Ireland;
- Alzheimer's Society - creating lasting change for people affected by dementia.