A Scottish businesswoman honoured for her commitment to the revitalisation of Belfast has donated £10,000 to Covid-19 relief efforts in the city.

Former Scotland Businesswoman of the Year Marie Macklin has been working with communities across the peace line for the past four years in order to identify a suitable site for a mixed-use development similar to those she has pioneered in Glasgow and Kilmarnock.

Marie Macklin's Lift Up Your Hearts campaign has already pumped £100,000 into vulnerable communities in her native Scotland but now she has teamed up with Belfast City Council to give local groups a cash injection. 

 Homecoming Banquet in Cityhall, Marie Macklin[/caption]
Homecoming Banquet in Cityhall, Marie Macklin[/caption]

Marie, who was awarded the prestigious Belfast Ambassador Medal as part of the Belfast International Homecoming event in 2018, is Founder and Executive Chair of the HALO Urban Regeneration Company. The first phase of the first HALO project is currently under construction in Kilmarnock and will be the first town centre net zero carbon energy project in Scotland.

Maire said: “The coronavirus pandemic is affecting communities across the globe and it is vital that we come together and support each other.

“Belfast is a city close to my heart. It’s where my Granny Maggie McBride was raised before moving to Scotland in the 1800s, so I truly hope the funding from the Lift Up Your Hearts campaign can help as many people as possible get through these extremely difficult times.

“I’ve been really impressed by Belfast City Council’s COVID-19 response hub and I would urge anyone who feels they can benefit from this service to please call the Belfast Community Helpline.”

Belfast Lord Mayor Danny Baker gave the donation the thumbs-up.  “I have been overwhelmed by the generosity of people at this time of crisis, and I am really encouraged to see communities pulling together to help and support each other," he said. 

 “I want to personally thank Dr Macklin for this extremely generous donation which will go towards providing essentials for the most vulnerable in our community.”

Those views were echoed by West Belfast MP Paul Maskey: "I would like to thank Marie for her generosity, her gift of £10,000 will go a long way in helping those vulnerable and people suffering during this pandemic. Marie has been a true friend of Belfast over the years and this gift proves that all the more. She was not asked to donate as it was her that made the contact and made the offer of £10,000. I would like to thank her for this and I have no doubt when we get to the other side of this pandemic Marie will be visiting Belfast again and we can show our gratitude to her face to face.”