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Medical History of the Poorhouse


Medical History of the Poorhouse From the very beginning of the poorhouse, Belfast Charitable Society was a pioneering force for medical innovation in Belfast. As poverty and sickness are inextricably linked, the Society needed to be able to care for the sick poor who would enter the house.  Before the involvement of the Society, medical relief for the poor in Belfast was practically non-existent and extremely limited. When Clifton House first opened in 1774, it contained seven beds for the sick. These beds mark the beginning of Belfast’s hospitals, and the Society’s first medical report noted the treatment of five patients. [...]

Medical History of the Poorhouse2024-04-09T09:20:38+00:00

The catastrophic consequences of cuts in Education discussed at Clifton House


“Catastrophic”; “Detrimental”; “Widening attainment gaps”; “Neglect”; “Disrepair”; “Breaking point”. These words echoed around the historic walls of Clifton House time and time again last Friday, 23rd February, during a stark but informative conference on ‘The immediate and long-term impacts of cuts on North Belfast’s education sector’. This event, which formed part of Clifton House’s 250th Anniversary programme, looked at the current state of education in North Belfast; how schools are dealing with unprecedented levels of poverty; and the terrifying predictions recent cuts will have, longer-term, on an education system already under pressure. Dr Ciara Fitzpatrick, Ulster University, opened the talks and set the [...]

The catastrophic consequences of cuts in Education discussed at Clifton House2024-02-29T16:35:51+00:00

Marking the significant contribution of The Barbour Fund


Today, Monday 30th October 2023, Belfast Charitable Society marked the end of The Barbour Fund with a special event held in Clifton House. The celebration event brought together members of the Barbour family; Board and staff of Belfast Charitable Society; and representatives of those organisations who, over the last nine years of the Fund, have received grants to carry out projects and activities in north Belfast and Lisburn. The Hilden Society and the Belfast Charitable Society came together to create ‘The Barbour Fund’ in March 2014. Both organisations shared a long and successful history of caring for older people and working [...]

Marking the significant contribution of The Barbour Fund2023-10-30T15:48:04+00:00

Belfast Charitable Society doubles its efforts to feed hundreds of children this winter


No one thought a year on that the impact of the cost-of-living crisis would be worse on families across Northern Ireland (NI), particularly north Belfast. Already one of the most deprived areas in NI, continued pressures on finances has made the situation dire, as families struggle to provide the basics. David Watters, Chair of the Belfast Charitable Society, commented “Last year, for the first time, the Belfast Charitable Society agreed to fund school meals in post primary schools across Northern Ireland to help alleviate some of the financial pressures on families most in need. We hoped that this year the need [...]

Belfast Charitable Society doubles its efforts to feed hundreds of children this winter2023-10-23T10:54:55+00:00

Historian Gareth Russell Confirmed for October Lecture


We are delighted to confirm that historian and author Dr Gareth Russell will join us in October as part of the President's Talks Series 2023 Gareth has been no stranger to our televisions and radios recently. His most recent book is the non-fiction bestseller, The Palace: From the Tudors to the Windsors, 500 Years of History at Hampton Court. His talk in October is titled 'Olaudah Equiano: Aristocrat, Abolitionist, and Activist'. When best-selling author Olaudah Equiano arrived in Belfast in 1791, his life had already taken him from a childhood in the Benin aristocracy to enslavement on a Virginia tobacco plantation. [...]

Historian Gareth Russell Confirmed for October Lecture2023-09-06T10:41:38+00:00

A Mysterious Medical Chest…


At the historic Mulhouse Building at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast (now part of the Healthcare Library of Northern Ireland) can be found a mysterious chest containing medical objects. No-one is sure how it got there. The chest seems to be connected to a local doctor, James McCleery, surgeon to the male side of the Poor House at Clifton House (founded by the Belfast Charitable Society). Read more here: A Mysterious Medical Chest – Epidemic Belfast ( This is a remarkable find and we very much look forward to displaying some of the items during our 250th anniversary year in 2024. [...]

A Mysterious Medical Chest…2023-09-06T10:28:26+00:00

Become a Voluntary Board Member of Belfast Charitable Society


Belfast Charitable Society, founded in 1752 is Northern Ireland’s oldest charity. Between 1752 and the 1880s, this involved building and managing Belfast’s first poorhouse and hospital, delivering many of the municipal services for the town and providing funds to support its poor. From 1880s to 2018, our focus moved to caring for older people given they were the most vulnerable and, in recent years, we have gone back to wider philanthropic roots: supporting activity that tackles grassroots poverty and delivers innovative solutions to help those who tackle such disadvantage. Based in the old Poor House, now Clifton House Heritage Centre, Belfast [...]

Become a Voluntary Board Member of Belfast Charitable Society2023-06-22T11:28:14+00:00

North Belfast Creative Digital Hub Launches


North Belfast grammar school St Malachy’s College has officially launched its new Creative Digital Technology Hub (CDTH) with funding  from the Belfast Charitable Society and The James Kane Foundation. Around 50 guests attended the launch in February including principals and students from neighbouring schools, representatives from our funders, Belfast City Council, local authorities.  The Creative Digital Technology Hub was then officially opened by Sir Ronnie Weatherup, President of Belfast Charitable Society.  He said: “Belfast Charitable Society has been supportive of the Digital Creative Hub from its inception. It’s fantastic to see it open and being so well used by local schools. We saw [...]

North Belfast Creative Digital Hub Launches2023-03-03T09:53:47+00:00

Mary Ann McCracken Post Primary Bursaries in North Belfast launched for a second year


For a second year, the Mary Ann McCracken Foundation and Belfast Charitable Society will support a bursary programme for twelve post primary schools in North Belfast. Along with funding partners The James Kane Foundation and Hunter Smyth Fund, each school within the North Belfast Area Learning Community will receive up to £2,000 to support pupils (16+ year-olds) who face financial barriers which may prevent them from continuing to AS / A-Level, further or higher education, employment or apprenticeship. The schools receiving the bursaries will have the flexibility to use the funds in a number of ways to support those pupils who [...]

Mary Ann McCracken Post Primary Bursaries in North Belfast launched for a second year2023-02-07T16:39:46+00:00

Belfast Charitable Society continuing to support new communities


Belfast Charitable Society continuing to support new communities There is no doubt that the cost-of-living crisis is affecting a huge number of individuals and families this winter. However for marginalised groups, including asylum seekers and refugees, this crisis is often overlooked. The challenges they face are just as tough, as many have arrived in the UK with just the clothes on their backs, ill equipped for the cold winter months ahead. Many of these individuals will be provided with temporary accommodation and food, however little to no allowances are made to provide material items like winter coats or shoes. David Watters, [...]

Belfast Charitable Society continuing to support new communities2022-12-20T10:35:27+00:00
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