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£1million funding boost for Northern Ireland groups from Awards for All

Groups across Northern Ireland are celebrating after benefiting from £1million of National Lottery funding.

The Ryan McBride Foundation in Derry/ Londonderry is one of 111 groups across Northern Ireland which are sharing in £987,687 from Big Lottery Fund’s Awards for All programme. The Foundation has been awarded £10,000 to run a year-long football programme in schools across the city with workshops to improve mental health and wellbeing. Derry City Football Club players have volunteered to help coach and inspire the young people.

The Foundation was set up in remembrance of former Derry City football captain, Ryan McBride who passed away suddenly in March 2017. Ryan’s sister and board member of the foundation, Caitlin McBride said: “Ryan was passionate about working with young people, and going into local schools was a big part of his life, so for us to be able to carry on his work through the foundation is amazing. This project is something he would’ve been part of if he was here so I’m proud that we are improving young peoples’ lives in his name.

“Sport brings a lot of joy to young people, it’s a chance for them to interact with other children, make new friends and improve their wellbeing. But it can be expensive, so for us to reach young people and provide our programme for free means parents don’t need to worry about paying for it.

“We’re so grateful to receive this funding from Big Lottery Fund, it’s a massive boost for us.”

Last year The Ryan McBride Foundation ran a small pilot scheme for the football programme in the Model Primary school before applying for Big Lottery funding. Its success showed the positive impact a longer scheme could have on young people in the area.

Cianáin Campbell, 10, from Derry/Londonderry, is one of the young people who took part in the pilot last year. Cianáin needs a walking aid or wheelchair to move about which has affected his confidence to take part in sport, but being included in the scheme has given him the boost he needed to get active and join a local wheelchair basketball club.

“Cianáin has always been such a happy child, he doesn’t let anything bother him. He always says ‘I don’t need to walk, I’m fine the way I am’. He didn’t really get involved in sport because he didn’t think he could do it,” said Cianáin’s mum Paula who looks after him full time.

“I was surprised the day Cianáin came home and said ‘I can do football Mummy’. I didn’t understand how he could so I went along to the next class to watch him and I was amazed. I was so proud seeing him taking part just like everyone else.

“Having the players there, who took the time to show him how he could use his walking trolley to play, really helped him. The kids really look up to the players and you could see the genuine interest the players gave to them. He goes to the matches on a Friday now and they always wave to him and will bring him down onto the pitch sometimes. It’s a real boost for him.

“Cianáin’s confidence has grown in school and at home. He’s always been happy but he’s more enthusiastic now. He wanted to join a football club, but it can be a rough game which worried me. Then we discovered wheelchair basketball which he’s been going to and is thriving. He’s really finding himself.”

Also receiving funding is Helping Hands Autism Support Group, based in Dundonald. They are is using a grant of £10,000 to deliver a programme of activities for children with autism or ASD, including sensory play, arts and crafts, health and wellbeing, and counselling and mentoring services.

Glens Wellbeing Group, which is based in Cushendall, are also using a £9,980 grant to run classes on arts and crafts, baking and cake decorating, exercise sessions, meditation sessions, and a Christmas celebration to support local people affected by depression, anxiety and poor health.

Necarne Community Nursery in Irvinestown have also been awarded a £9,816 grant. They are creating an interactive play area outside, which will encourage physical activity and support imaginative play.

Download a full list of grants awarded across Northern Ireland yesterday.

Julie Harrison, Big Lottery Fund NI Chair, said:

“I am delighted to announce these grants under the Awards for All programme and I want to say thanks to all the National Lottery players who have helped make this possible.

“Awards for All funds health, education, environment and community projects that help people bring about positive change in their lives, improve health and well-being, develop skills and create safer communities. 

“The application process is simple and accessible and shall remain so, making it easy for applicants to successfully apply for small pots of funding that can have such a big impact on local communities and lives.”

Application forms and guidance notes are available to download at For more details call us on 028 9055 1455, or e-mail us at

For media enquiries, contact Rachel Skinner or Lucy Gollogly at the Big Lottery Fund Press Office on 028 90 551 450, 028 90 551 432 
Out of Hours Media Contact: 0774 7532846, 07580 811135

Notes to editors

The Big Lottery Fund uses money raised by National Lottery players to help communities achieve their ambitions. From small, local projects to UK-wide initiatives, our funding brings people together to make a difference to their health, wellbeing and environment. Since June 2004 we have awarded £8.5 billion to projects that improve the lives of millions of people. 






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