The prestigious accolade, which is awarded to a business that has excelled in integrating arts and culture through different facets of its business strategy, was presented in front of an audience of 250 business and arts leaders in Northern Ireland at a ceremony at the MAC on Wednesday night.
It is the fifth Corporate Responsibility award presented to the airport over the last 10 months, with previous successes including the Business in the Community Responsible Company of the Year and the Right Place to Work at the Irish News Workplace and Employment Awards last June.
Alongside supporting arts and cultural projects through its Community Fund, the airport shows a strong commitment to investing in the future of young people through the arts by working with many local arts organisations, including a long-standing partnership with Cinemagic.
Michelle Hatfield, Director of HR and Corporate Responsibility at Belfast City Airport, said: “It is a huge honour to receive this award from Arts and Business NI, which is a testament to the commitment and support for all our staff at the airport as well as the strong partnerships we have built with Cinemagic and other organisations that support arts and culture in Belfast.
“At the airport, we have been able to see first-hand the impact that involving young people in meaningful projects can have. Our relationship with Cinemagic has grown from strength to strength over the last number of years and, together, we have been able to deliver some wonderful initiatives.
“These have included a showcase project of two short films produced by secondary school pupils about mental health. We have also supported the Cinemagic film festival and are currently managing a creative young leadership project.
“Through this, 25 inspirational 16 to 18-year-olds are working together to develop lifelong skills and talents, with our employees having the opportunity to volunteer as youth ambassadors for the young people involved.”
To date, Belfast City Airport and Cinemagic have delivered festival workshops for more than 4,000 young people connected to the airport’s Adopted Schools programme and over 20,000 young people have been engaged from across Northern Ireland through the airport’s support of the Cinemagic festival.
Through the collaboration with Cinemagic, young people have enjoyed creative opportunities with industry professionals in areas such as special effects, make-up, filmmaking and TV presenting as well as viewing a series of movie previews and premieres.
Joan Burney Keatings, MBE, Chief Executive of Cinemagic, said: “George Best Belfast City Airport is genuinely very passionate and committed to helping young people and wants to find unique projects that connect with young people and make a difference.
“Our partnership is about much more than branding. The teams meet on a regular basis to develop new ideas together and ensure we are offering high quality, meaningful projects for all stakeholders.”
Alongside the Cinemagic partnership, Belfast City Airport has engaged with a number of arts organisations to deliver new and exciting projects over the last year, including Young at Art, Belfast Children’s Festival, Voluntary Arts Ireland and Ashfield Creatives, NOW Group and Culture Night Belfast.
Michelle concluded: “We deliver an award-winning Community Commitment Plan, which focuses on four key strands – Community, Education, Environment and People. The Commitment Plan is aligned to our core values, which are at the heart of our people strategy and airport operations.
“The main vehicle through which we deliver our Community Commitment Plan is our Community Fund, which has provided over £330,000 worth of financial support to more than 120 local projects.
“Established in 2009, it has enabled us to build sustainable relationships with our neighbours through a range of engaging arts initiatives, sports projects and environmental and educational schemes.”