James Hagan donates £1m to Integrated Education Fund

James Hagan, Chair and Founder of Ballyclare-based Hagan Homes, is to donate £1m to the Integrated Education Fund (IEF) for the growth and development of integrated schools.

Mr Hagan will commit the funds over a three-year period in what will be the IEF’s largest ever corporate donation in Northern Ireland since its inception in 1992.

The funds will go towards the charity’s targets laid out within its Strategy 2022-2025 published earlier this year. This includes its mission to see 30 more schools become integrated through the Transformation process.

The Hagan Homes donation will also go towards supporting a number of specific grant programmes that will benefit pupils and schools such as integration through sport, supporting children with additional educational needs as well as helping those existing integrated schools with opportunities for further growth, including new preschool provision.

James Hagan with Harris Inch, Aiden Wilson, Lily Lowry and Faith Millar from Central Integrated Primary School, Carrickfergus. Photograph by Declan Roughan

Mr Hagan said: “I have always been an advocate of integrated education here. I think it is wrong that so many children are still divided into different schools according to their religious and cultural backgrounds and the impact of that division can have financial and societal implications not just in our immediate future but for generations to come.

“The IEF is the backbone to making sure opportunities are there in educational settings that bring our children together. It is the voice and the supporter of the cause and any funding that goes to this drive can only help shape a better society here in Northern Ireland.

“I have been particularly inspired by the admirable efforts both Baroness May Blood and Brian Small have invested into the charity. Their tireless fundraising efforts have been instrumental in bringing the number of Integrated schools to 70. I pledge this further financial support in honour of their work and have every confidence they will continue to drive our communities forward.”

The IEF’s Head of Campaign, Paul Caskey OBE, added: “To receive a donation of this size from one of Northern Ireland’s most successful companies is an incredible act of generosity and will make such a huge difference to our work.

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"The direct beneficiaries will of course be the children experiencing an integrated education in the schools and the donation will enable the IEF to launch a series of grant programmes aimed at supporting the development of their inclusive ethos and growth.”