The Gallaher Trust Commits £150,000 to NIACRO SkillSET Project 

Project to Provide Employment Support to Over 110 People in Ballymena 

THE Gallaher Trust, an independent charity based in Ballymena, has committed £150,000 to the NIACRO SkillSET project, which aims to provide employability support and training to 114 adults in the area. 

Subject to a one-year pilot scheme, funding for the SkillSET project will be spent over the next three years and also plans to assist 21 adults into sustainable employment with 42 progressing into education or training. 

NIACRO has been helping people with convictions to rebuild their lives since 1971 and according to Patrick Anderson, Employability Programme Manager, the lack of essential skills and work history can lead to a “revolving door” of reoffending. 

“At NIACRO, we believe that everyone has the potential to make a valuable contribution to society and the local economy,” Patrick explained. “The organisation has been working to rehabilitate people with convictions for a number of years and we have seen first-hand that the lack of essential skills training coupled with poor self-confidence and self-esteem can mean a high likelihood of reoffending. 

“Given the adversities that most people with convictions have faced, they often require specialist support to reintegrate back into society, including employment, which continues to be a significant factor in helping people to rebuild their lives and desist from crime. 

“The project also stands to benefit local employers by providing them with a pool of prospective employees to recruit from, which will in turn help to boost our local economy here in Ballymena. 

“I would like to offer our sincerest thanks to The Gallaher Trust for supporting the SkillSET project – without funding, projects like this simply wouldn’t be viable and we wouldn’t be able to make such a positive impact on our community and the lives of those within it.” 

Over the next three years, NIACRO’s SkillSET project will offer participants one-to-one mentoring, advice, upskilling and training, which will support them to overcome various barriers in terms of securing and maintaining employment opportunities. The project will work to employ individuals across three main sectors – warehousing, construction and hospitality.  

James Perry MBE, a Trustee at The Gallaher Trust added: “We’re proud to offer our support to NIACRO’s SkillSET project which will make a huge difference to those in our local community that are trying to rebuild their lives after conviction. 

“The project will offer tailored support, comprehensive resources and opportunities to equip participants with the tools they need to not only maintain employment but to thrive in their chosen fields, which has the potential to be truly life changing for some people. 

“The Gallaher Trust aims to support disadvantaged people in our community regardless of their background or adversity and through projects like these, we’re able to do just that.” 

For more information about the NIACRO SkillSET project or to apply, visit

To learn more about The Gallaher Trust and its work, visit: