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£600,000 National Lottery funding boost for Northern Ireland groups

The Right Key was yesterday awarded a £199,136 grant from The National Lottery Community Fund (formally Big Lottery Fund). They are one of four groups sharing £559,232 of National Lottery funding.

Based in Loughbrickland, Co Down, The Right Key uses music, instrument making and crafts to help people in recovery, including those with addiction or mental health issues, to rebuild their lives. Building on a previous project the group has been awarded further funding over two and a half years to help more people to improve their mental health, support them through recovery, make new friends and build their self-confidence.

The money is being used to convert part of the group’s building into residential accommodation, train members to be peer mentors, increase outreach work, and staffing costs to allow the group to run more activities.

Peter (57) from Co Down is a current member – he is eight years sober from an addiction to alcohol and says The Right Key has been a lifeline to him and given him back his self-worth.

“When I stopped drinking all I had in my life was AA meetings,” said Peter. “I had lost my life and I felt useless, but The Right Key has turned that around for me. The encouragement and kindness that I get here is brilliant. I have structure in my life again and the music and singing is a great therapy - it’s helped me keep my sobriety.

“The wood work activities have been really special for me. I’ve been able to put a memorial message inside one of the guitars we crafted for my late brother and I’ve been able to carve a wooden rocking horse for my one year old granddaughter from scratch. When I look at it I’m so proud of myself, I can’t believe I made it.

“There are many people here with many different aspects of recovery, like drink and drugs, or mental health, but it all crosses over and we all understand each other which is a real help. This group has been a lifeline for me and lots of other people.”

Sheila Smyth, development manager for The Right Key, yesterday said: “This funding has been amazing for us. The people who come here have found a renewed joy for life and they have been able to start working, to be creative, and give hope to others.

“Thanks to National Lottery players we have been able to form a brand new recovery community of people who are moving forward with their lives.”

The other groups that received funding yesterday were Tamba (Twins and Multiple Births Association), Triangle Housing Association Limited, and Mayfield Village Community Association. Click here to download more information on these grants.

Kate Beggs, who was recently appointed as The National Lottery Community Fund Northern Ireland Director, yesterday said:  “I am delighted to announce these grants in my new role and under our new name, which we hope will help National Lottery players to better understand the difference they make when they buy a ticket.

“It’s lovely to see National Lottery money being used by people who are taking the lead in developing great ideas to help their communities thrive. I want to say thanks to all the National Lottery players who have helped make this possible.”

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

Notes to Editors

We are the largest community funder in the UK – we’re proud to award money raised by National Lottery players to communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Since June 2004, we have made over 200,000 grants and awarded over £9 billion to projects that have benefited millions of people.

We are passionate about funding great ideas that matter to communities and make a difference to people’s lives. At the heart of everything we do is the belief that when people are in the lead, communities thrive. Thanks to the support of National Lottery players, our funding is open to everyone. We’re privileged to be able to work with the smallest of local groups right up to UK-wide charities, enabling people and communities to bring their ambitions to life.

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