Integrated Education Supporters Celebrated At The House Of Lords
BARONESS May Blood, Campaign Chair of the Integrated Education Fund (IEF), welcomed around 120 guests to the House of Lords on Tuesday 5 November for a dinner celebrating the crucial role played by the Fund’s supporters around the world.
Sponsored very generously by the Carson family, the London event was a chance to thank the stalwart friends who assist the IEF in our work to help make integration, not separation, the norm in Northern Ireland’s schools.
The party was addressed by Kathleen Gormley, Principal of Hazelwood Integrated College, and by Christopher Madden, who is a former pupil of Ulidia Integrated College in Carrickfergus.
Donors were joined by a number of politicians and senior diplomats as well as past pupils of integrated schools. Supporters travelled from far and wide to enjoy the celebration and Baroness Blood took the opportunity to acknowledge the contribution of the many steadfast friends of the Fund who had not been able to make the journey on this occasion. South Down MP Margaret Ritchie was also in attendance at the event.
Declaring that the IEF would continue to campaign at a crucial time in Northern Ireland, Baroness Blood said: “We have had 100 years of separate education. We know it will not change overnight but change has started and mark my words – change will come. We will continue to provide the evidence that public opinion is on the side of change.
“We will provide a vision for a better education system based on integration and a road map as to how to get there.”
The event, in the Cholmondeley Room of the House of Lords, included an excellent dinner and a fine view, from the terrace, of the Guy Fawkes’ Night fireworks.
The IEF is an independent charitable trust that targets financial support for the development and growth of integrated education. Its aim is to make integration, not separation, the norm in the Northern Ireland education system.
On the basis of parental demand the Fund continues to support the establishment of more integrated school places, the transformation of existing non-integrated schools to integrated status and cross-community school initiatives that provide meaningful interaction between pupils, parents, staff and the wider community.