And now for some good news…Community projects are awarded over half a million in National Lottery funding windfall

THE National Lottery Community Fund has  announced funding of £594,379 to 71 community projects from across Northern Ireland including many in County Antrim.

As we together face the impact of Covid-19, The Fund continues to support local communities by giving projects the flexibility to delay or modify what they plan for this money.

Projects funded include those that are supporting young people that are deaf to gain confidence, adults with learning or physical disabilities to have a better quality of life, general well-being of older people through classes like DIY and developing a community garden.

For example:

The Irish FA Foundation plans to use £8,000 grant to produce a short film about suicide and mental health to raise awareness of the issues among young people aged 5-14. The group are also using the funding to bring together disadvantaged young people through a shared interest in football, to run a literacy programme.

Chrysalis Women’s Centre, based in Craigavon, is using a £9,390 grant to buy new computers for the centre so the wider community can access IT equipment.

Music to Your Ears, based in Strabane, is using a £9,780 grant to provide musical activities for older men throughout the wider area who are struggling with loneliness and social isolation. Activities include weekly singing, acting, instrument learning and script/song writing rehearsals.

Coleraine Borough 50+ Forum is using a £9,958 grant to purchase ‘Winter Keep Warm’ packs for older people to help them stay warm and well over the winter months. The packs include blankets, scarves, gloves and will be packed by volunteers and distributed.

Kate Beggs, Northern Ireland Director of The National Lottery Community Fund said: “In this time of uncertainty, we want to reassure the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector that we are open, money is still being awarded and we are here to support our communities.

“We continue to deliver our services to applicants, grant holders and communities across the UK as normally as we can with all staff working from home and prioritising keeping money flowing.

“We appreciate that many of the organisations awarded funding today may need to delay the delivery of their project, but we will work with them to ensure that they can do this.

“We will be flexible and trust that all our grant holders know what is best as they manage the impact of Covid-19. We are also looking at ways we can offer further financial support to help people and communities.

“We have heard of brilliant efforts taking place across the sector, of our funded projects helping those in isolation by delivering food packages or checking in with the elderly or unwell.

“We know that as a small community in Northern Ireland we will work together, making a big difference and helping each other, until we can all physically bring communities together to achieve great things again.”

All National Lottery funded projects can contact their Funding Officer if they need advice or have any questions about their grant.

Full updates from the organisation regarding the Lottery’s response to Covid-19 and general contact details can be found on their website

Groups benefitting include:

  • Antrim Community Development Association is using a grant of £10,000 to improve access to its facilities for older people and those with disabilities. The group are using the money to install new stairs and a stair lift so that the upstairs facility where meetings, art displays and events take place is accessible to everyone. They are also using the funding to improve the fire escape and emergency door.
  • Bannvalley Community Association, based outside Ballymoney, is using a £9,950 grant to deliver music classes on the lambeg, fife, ukulele, fiddle, tin whistle. The group are hosting a finale showcase event to highlight their new skills. The project benefits people of all ages, giving them a chance to build relationships and mutual respect through the medium of music.
  • Dervock Young Defenders FB is using a £8,220 grant to develop a programme of activities for young people including cookery, flower planting and creating a mural. The project brings people together to build strong relationships across the community through the creation of a safe and shared meeting space for young people to socialise.
  • Rasharkin and District Rural Cultural and Educational Society is using a £10,000 grant to replace the kitchen and toilets in Rasharkin Orange Hall to benefit all those who use it. The improvements allow the group to organise more events within the hall.
  • Rathlin Development & Community Association is using a £5,140 grant to replace the present oil-fired heating system at the Resource Centre with an electric system. The money is also being used to provide new IT equipment for the office.
  • Northern Ireland Forest School Association is using a £10,000 grant to set-up a Nature Ranger Project and Forest School activity in People’s Park, Ballymena. Activities include den building, nature walks, nature investigations and natural art, to get young people and adults outside, enjoying their natural environment. The money is being used to cover staff costs, a computer, printer and children’s furniture.
  • Taylorstown Cross Community Complex is using a grant of £10,000 to upgrade their outdoor facilities so they are accessible to children with disabilities. They are also using the funding to buy Ipads to help support learning and play for pre-school children.
  • Whitehead Community Association is using a £10,000 grant to run a three-day community music and art festival for the people of Whitehead and beyond, to promote good mental health. The festival brings people from all sections of the community together to address mental health and well-being by providing opportunities for families to be positively mindful. They are also using the funding to run counselling, creative interventions and music lessons.


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