The Bannatyne Charitable Trust has helped focus Duncan Bannatyne's charity activities to support a group of worthy causes whose excellent work has a positive impact on the lives of people across the world.
Every penny donated to The Bannatyne Charitable Trust will be sent to its chosen charities to fund their wide and varied projects.
In 1999 Duncan saw for himself the abject poverty of Romanian street children who have to survive by living on rubbish dumps and in sewers. Duncan was incredibly moved by extreme conditions they deal with every day, but encouraged by the efforts being made by UNICEF to change the children's lives. The money he has helped raise has gone to train care workers who are helping street children and those living in orphanages and institutions.
He has also supported Romanian projects run by Scottish International Relief. Here he witnessed the disgraceful conditions Romanian orphans experience in the country's hospitals. Scottish International Relief has given these children new hope with the opening of two hospices, one of which, Casa Bannatyne, he has helped fund and support. The hospice has given a new home to 10 AIDS and HIV infected children.
Duncan was there when the children moved in and the genuine joy they showed was extremely moving. From that moment he committed himself to try and improve their lives and give them hope of some kind of future. Scottish International Relief also operates Mary's Meals, which Duncan also supports. Mary's Meals is an international movement to set up school feeding projects in communities where poverty and hunger prevent children from gaining an education.
Through Mary's Meals The Bannatyne Foundation feeds almost 16 thousand children every day in Malawi.
The charity is also operating in Haiti feeding children who were affected by the major earthquake, which hit the island. Duncan was honoured with the Order of the British Empire for his contribution to charity and he is also a UK Ambassador for UNICEF, a Trustee of Comic Relief and President of No Smoking Day.
On one of Duncan’s first trips to a Romanian orphanage in the 1990s, he met a lovely little girl who had become deaf/blind because she’d had food trapped in her cleft palate that had gone unnoticed. The resulting infection had eventually caused her disability. It was so unnecessary and could have been avoided with a simple surgery when she was a baby. This was one of the reasons Duncan was so motivated to travel to Guadalajara, Mexico with the charity Operation Smile. This medical charity provides free safe surgeries to children with clefts in over 60 countries.