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      Thursday 18 Jul 2013

      Politicians, Simon Hamilton MLA and Michelle McIlveen MLA, jumped for joy in support of an east Belfast project which has received funding from the George Best Belfast City Airport Community Fund to help improve the social interaction and self-esteem of children with autism.
      Financial support from the airport has provided the National Autistic Society NI, Newtownards branch, with trampoline equipment for children with autism and associated learning disabilities between the ages of 4 and 10.
      Shirelle Stewart, Co-Director National Autistic Society Northern Ireland said:

      “Many of the kids here will have autism spectrum disorders (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and sensory impairments. They need one to one support and because of this, are often excluded from other projects or activities.

      “We conducted some market research amongst parents attending the Newtownards group as to what type of activities their children would enjoy. Trampolining was one of the identified activities.
      “The airport’s funding has provided us with the much needed trampolining equipment which the children are already enjoying the benefits of, both physically and socially.”

      The George Best Belfast City Airport Community Fund sees the airport fine airlines for operating late flights.
      Since its launch in 2009, it has provided funding to more than 60 community groups, charities, schools and projects in the airport’s neighbouring area.
      Ruth Morgan, Communications Manager at Belfast City Airport, said:

      “This is without doubt a project that pulled at the heart strings of our Community Fund Committee.

      “Autism is a difficult disability for many families to live with and the National Autistic Society here in Northern Ireland are making great steps in improving the lives of these children and, of course, their families.
      “Our Community fund is about creating lasting benefits to those within our community. It is about influencing, educating and encouraging young people from all backgrounds, and it’s extremely rewarding to see deserving young people reap the benefits.

      “The trampoline club set up by the National Autistic Society N.I. not only supports the sustained physical development of the children but also their engagement with their peers, and, through the eventual achievement of a British Gymnastic Certification, promotes great self-esteem.”

      Simon Hamilton MLA for Strangford, said:

      "It was fantastic to be able to see first-hand how the investment by George Best Belfast City Airport in new trampolining equipment for the Newtownards branch of the National Autistic Society is having a really positive impact on the lives of local children with autism.

      “You only had to look at the smiles on their faces and hear their laughing to know that this is money well spent".

      Michelle McIlveen MLA for Strangford, said:

      "The equipment supplied by Belfast City Airport through its community fund is just one example of how a business through its corporate responsibility programme can have a positive impact in the community.

      “By donating safety equipment to the Newtownards branch of the National Autistic Society, it is clear to see the benefits that this has been to families in the area.

      “The National Autsitic Society is able to make a real difference by running schemes like this and it is important that funding is made available to support these."

      The project offers children in the area two one-hour sessions per week.

      For more information on the National Autistic Society’s Trampoline Club, contact Christine Zwecker at National Autistic Society NI, 59 Malone Road, Belfast.

      For more information on Belfast City Airport’s Community fund, contact

      Politicians Simon Hamilton and Michelle McIlveen MLA jump for joy