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Belladrum festival names Highland-based Elsie Normington Foundation as its charity partner for 2024


By Andrew Dixon

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Belladrum attracts thousands of people each year. Picture: James Mackenzie
Belladrum attracts thousands of people each year. Picture: James Mackenzie

Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival has named its official charity partner for 2024 as an organisation that helps children and young adults with learning disabilities.

The Elsie Normington Foundation (ENF) will benefit from efforts associated with the annual entertainment extravaganza.

ENF was established as a charity in May 2013 by learning disability campaigner Elsie Normington, following the launch of her inspirational book The Silent Doorbell – a personal memoir of raising her son Andrew, who has a severe learning disability.

Elsie’s story resonated with parents, who shared in her experience of raising a disabled child with no or limited access to play services or overnight respite care.

This desperate need identified by families of disabled children in the Highlands and Islands inspired the ENF, which was set up to raise money for a specialist centre in the region. These ambitions led to the Haven Centre – Scotland’s first multi-purpose centre for children and young adults with severe learning disabilities and complex need – which opened earlier this year in Smithton, providing much-needed play services and respite facilities, alongside a community café.

Dougie Brown (Belladrum), Kirstin Mackay (Elsie Normington Foundation), Rona Matheson (Elsie Normington Foundation) and Naomi Hollas (Belladrum). Picture: Callum Mackay
Dougie Brown (Belladrum), Kirstin Mackay (Elsie Normington Foundation), Rona Matheson (Elsie Normington Foundation) and Naomi Hollas (Belladrum). Picture: Callum Mackay

Festival co-ordinator Naomi Hollas said: "We are delighted to welcome the Elsie Normington Foundation as our official charity partner for 2024. Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival has a huge Highland audience, and through this partnership, we will be able to support the charity in raising money and awareness of the incredible work they do, not only in Inverness but throughout the Highlands."

Every year, Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival nominates a local Highland charity as its partner to give back to the community and support local initiatives that make a positive impact across the region.

There are many ways to support the ENF through Belladrum; customers can choose to donate while buying their festival tickets or enter the Big Bella Christmas Prize Draw in December for a chance to win a huge hamper that includes a Belladrum 2024 family pass, a merchandise bundle and local goodies from Tomatin Distillery, Black Isle Brewery and more.

Miele's Gelateria is also donating a percentage of every gelato cake bought for collection in December, and customers will be automatically entered into a prize draw for tickets to Belladrum 2024.

Representatives of the charity will also be at the event.

Mrs Normington, chairwoman and founder of the ENF, said: “We are absolutely delighted that Belladrum Festival have chosen the Elsie Normington Foundation as their charity for 2024. We are a small local charity but have big ambitions and have recently delivered the £4.8 million Haven Centre.

"Having the support of the Belladrum festival will allow us to reach new audiences and raise vital funds for the foundation and future projects. This year we celebrated our 10-year anniversary and we have been reflecting on the tremendous support of our donors, fundraisers, the local community and grant funders who have helped us to realise the Haven Centre vision and we look forward to the future of the foundation and developing and delivering new projects in the Highlands which will support local children and young adults with learning disabilities, and their parents and carers."

The festival, near Beauly, runs from July 25-27, with the line-up including Deacon Blue and Sugababes.

Click here for tickets information.


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