A Belfast charity supporting people bereaved or injured by the violence in Northern Ireland has won £30,000 in a UK-wide competition recognising excellence in health and wellbeing.
Over 15 years since the Good Friday Agreement, the impact of the Troubles is still felt across Northern Ireland.
More than 3,800 people died, leaving behind bereaved families, and between 40,000 and 100,000 people were injured.
WAVE Trauma Centre plays a key role in helping victims.
Chief executive Sandra Peake said: “At a time when everyone in the voluntary sector is facing cutbacks, the additional £30,000 in unrestricted funding could not be timelier, enabling WAVE to reach out to more people.
“The need for trauma service provision is great and there have been significant increases in the numbers of people presenting for help, particularly the number of men.”
WAVE provides care and support to anyone bereaved, injured or traumatised by the violence.
It has won a GSK IMPACT award, beating over 350 charities across the UK to win the accolade.
WAVE promotes respect for life and cross-community understanding, encouraging non-violent resolutions to differences.
Its services include: counselling and psychotherapy; outreach support; welfare advice; trauma training; complementary therapy; youth services, and a truth, justice and acknowledgement service that provides advocacy and casework support.
The Troubles are directly associated with nearly half the cases of severe mental health issues in Northern Ireland, research has revealed.
Katie Pinnock, director of UK & Ireland charitable partnerships at GSK (GlaxoSmithKline), said: “Over the past 20 years, WAVE has grown from a small group of passionate women to a highly recognised major trauma centre operating across Northern Ireland.
“Its work for and on behalf of victims is to be applauded. It demonstrates sophistication in its approach and its achievements are impressive. This award is well deserved.”
A judging panel of health and charity experts who chose the winners included broadcast journalist Fiona Phillips; Gilly Green, head of UK grants at Comic Relief; Sir Christopher Gent, chair of GSK, and Sir Chris Kelly, chair of The King’s Fund.
Northern Ireland actor James Nesbitt, who for a number of years has been an active patron of the WAVE Trauma Centre, said: “Whether it is someone who has been bereaved or injured or traumatised during the Troubles or is one of the families of the Disappeared, WAVE has offered and will continue to offer practical and emotional help and support to those who have suffered most.
“To be recognised in this way at a national level is a huge tribute to work that often goes unseen but is vital if Northern Ireland is to deal with the past.”