Concern and The Times are award-winning charity team

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Times readers have helped Concern Worldwide raise nearly £1 million, following an award-winning partnership with the charity.

Concern Worldwide saw off stiff competition to win the Fundraising Partnership of the Year award from the Institute of Fundraising in Northern Ireland.

Working in close partnership with Concern Worldwide, the Times parent company Johnston Press NI, along with UTV and U105, supported the organisation’s Hunger Stops Here appeal, a UK-wide fundraising and awareness raising campaign.

The 12-week campaign which ran from mid-September to mid-December 2014, focused on raising income and awareness to tackle malnutrition among children in the world’s poorest countries.

During the fundraising period, £1.4m was raised UK-wide – with £925,000 coming from Northern Ireland.

One couple donated an incredible £500,000, but the charity has welcomed the generosity of each and every contribution.

All donations to the appeal during this period were matched pound for pound by the UK government through their Aid Match scheme, meaning a total of £2.8 million raised.

Part of the coverage in the Times included reports from Ballymena Times reporter Lorna McKay who travelled with Concern to Zambia last August to see first-hand the problems that some of the world’s poorest communities face because of lack of access to enough nutritious food, and the ways in which Concern is tackling them.

Peter Anderson, Head of Concern Worldwide in Northern Ireland, said: “We are delighted to win the Fundraising Partnership of the Year award for our work with Johnston Press NI, UTV and U105.

“The partnership was a great example of how the charitable sector and the media can work together to help the world’s poorest people.”

The partnership generated hundreds of opportunities to promote the appeal in 17 regional press titles and on NI national TV and radio.

During the three months of the campaign, the Northern Ireland public donated £925,000,out of a UK total of £1.4million, the total amount being doubled to £2.8million by the UK government.

Peter added: “A massive high point during the appeal was the news that two new supporters, inspired by the opportunity to see their donation doubled, decided to make an incredibly generous donation of £500,000 to the appeal.”

Warren Butcher, managing director of JP NI, said: “Johnston Press NI is committed to improving life within our local communities and we were honoured to have been asked to work in partnership with Concern Worldwide, UTV and U105 to play a pivotal role in raising much needed funds to help improve nutrition among children in some of the world’s poorest communities.

“To be recognised with this fundraising partnership award is testimony to the creativity and tenacity of the entire team at JP NI and my thanks goes out to them for all their efforts to make such a difference to so many children across the globe”.