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CO3 2023 Leadership Awards: Championing the change-makers 

The Action Trauma Network team and our partners were delighted to be finalists at this year’s CO3 (Chief Officers 3rd Sector) Annual Leadership Awards on Thursday 23 March.  

CO3 is a membership-based organisation focused on supporting, developing and connecting Third Sector leaders in Northern Ireland. We are one of its 760-strong membership of not-for-profits, charities and community and voluntary organisations, however award nominations are open to any third sector organisation in NI. 

The Action Trauma Network, together with our Associate Partners, were finalists in the ‘Team Up and Save The Day’ category, celebrating the best examples of collaborative work in the sector. Although we didn’t win the award, our inclusion as finalists in such a strong category was a wonderful recognition of our work. The other amazing organisations in this category were:  

  • NI Chest Heart and Stroke 
  • Inspire Wellbeing 
  • Womenstec and Bolster Community 
  • Children’s Heartbeat Trust, NIAS and NISTARNI  
  • Praxis Care  
  • Kids Together Belfast 
  • NIRDP – NI Rare Disease Partnership and MEAAP 

Children’s Heartbeat Trust, NIAS and NISTARNI were the worthy winners on the night, for creating Northern Ireland’s first Children’s Ambulance.  NI Chest Heart and Stroke, Inspire Wellbeing, and Womenstec and Bolster Community received ‘Highly Commended’ recognition.  

Attending the ceremony in Belfast’s Europa Hotel was a lovely opportunity for our team to get dressed up and spend time together outside the office. We were delighted to be joined at our table by Associate Partners Michelle McMaster of Kintsugi Healing, and Vivian McKinnon from Hydro-ease (don’t miss our Belfast screening of Vivian’s film on 26 April!). 

We also got to meet new people at our table, including Anita Yakkundi of Ausome Growsome. We shared some great conversations and were delighted when she was Highly Commended in the Newcomer Category. Anita’s innovative social enterprise supports marginalised and autism communities via sustainable green produce farming. 

Another highlight was the on-stage conversation between host Pete Snodden and guest of honour Lady Mary Peters. She was witty and entertaining, but also deeply passionate about her own impact on the sector, via the Mary Peters Trust which has helped thousands of athletes of all abilities to achieve their sporting dreams. 

We’ll give the final word to Anne-Marie McClure, who opened the event by speaking passionately about the need to adequately support the Third Sector in Northern Ireland. With the sector still reeling from the news that DoH Core Grant Scheme has been suspended without award for 2023/24, Anne-Marie took the opportunity to highlight the necessity of the services and support provided by NI’s charities and non-profits.  

Echoing our own philosophy about the power of coming together, she said: 

“Success is only achieved through collaboration and teamwork.”  

We send thanks and congratulations to CO3 on such a successful night. Being in a room with so many impactful organisations and individuals was inspiring for our whole team. Here’s to working together to bring real change to the world. #HealingTraumaTogether