Ulster Garden Villages, Northern Ireland’s largest independent charitable trust, distributed just over £1.3 million in donations in 2011, a reduction of £267,000 on the previous year, according to its latest annual report.
This decrease in donations came despite an increase in income but Ulster Garden Villages (UGV) said that the reduction was not down to a change in policy but a reduction in the number of major projects supported. The annual report showed that its largest grant (£250,000) went to Townsend Street Presbyterian Church for the redevelopment of its school house. Other six figure grants were given to Action Cancer for medical equipment and to The MAC arts centre for capital work.
Many grants are in the £10,000 to £30,000 bracket and reflect UGV’s interests in projects supporting disabled people, health, community, research, cultural and heritage and education and training. The smallest grant given was £2,000.
As well as giving grants UGV offers loans to charities and in 2011 provided loans totalling £695,000. Multi year grants are also provided and the charitable trust has forward commitments of nearly £3.6 million to 2014.
UGV has total funds of just over £30 million, with funds generated almost equally between rental income and investments. UGV also made a major investment in the local property market in 2011 when it bought 65 apartments in Victoria Square, Belfast for £6.8 million.