East Belfast Mission, an Inner City Mission of The Methodist Church in Ireland, based on the Newtownards Road, has helped more than 10,000 vulnerable people from the inner East Belfast area to make positive changes in their lives over the last 6 years alone. The charity offers services which include Hosford Homelessness services, an Employability project which helps people back to work, an Irish Language project to connect a divided community and of course a thriving church community which offers community groups, counselling and pastoral care to those who need it.
The power of the impact of the Eastside Awards, in partnership with George Best Belfast City Airport, is being felt right across the community as the non-profit awards are launched for the fourth year. Eastside Awards, open for entry until 25 October, will celebrate the achievements of the businesses and people at the heart of East Belfast.
The third annual Eastside Awards in association with George Best Belfast City Airport was the biggest and best yet, as 320 guests attended the glittering Burns Night ceremony, hosted by television presenter Tara Mills, recognising the best of East Belfast at Hastings Stormont Hotel. The top accolade for Outstanding Contribution was awarded to East Belfast man Mervyn Hempton, who is committed to creating employment and wealth across the city with entrepreneurship and economic development at his heart. As Chair of East Belfast Enterprise, he was instrumental in the building of the business park and 60 incubation units. Before his retirement, Mervyn was Chief Executive of Allied Bakeries, achieving a major lifelong goal of securing employment or stability for more than 450 families in East Belfast and, as Chairman of Northern Ireland Bakery Council and President of Irish Association of Master Bakers, he was awarded Freedom of the City of London. He is currently Chair of Northern Ireland Piping and Drumming School which provides music tuition to children with special needs. And Ashfield Girls’ School scored a hat trick, with pupil Coleen Bergantinos scooping the Young Person of the Year award, the third year running for the school winning in that category.