Big Lottery Fund
Printable version

£700K National Lottery funding boost for Northern Ireland groups

National Lottery funding is being used to breathe new life into the historic docks area of inner north Belfast. Sailortown Regeneration Group is one of six groups celebrating after receiving a share of over £700,000 from the National Lottery Community Fund to improve people’s lives.

Sailortown Regeneration Group has received a £184,928 grant to help turn the rundown St Joseph’s Church in Sailortown into a community hub, which will be used to bring people together and help rejuvenate the community.

Once home to more than 5,000 people on cobblestone streets off York Street, the enclave survived the Blitz but was largely demolished to make way for the M2 and other development. Sailortown Regeneration Group has long worked towards bringing St Joseph’s Church, which was deconsecrated in 2001, into community use.

Now the National Lottery funding is being used for essential maintenance on the church including roof flashing, heating and toilets, to make it safe and suitable for community activities.

The money is also being used over two years to employ staff to coordinate the renovation and set up a programme of community activities in the hub, including a parent and toddlers group, young people’s creative art, parents/grandparents meet ups, older people activities, ex-seamen’s sessions and social events. The group is also setting up a plan to develop the building further and fully refurbish it as part of a wider strategic plan for the area.

Chair of Sailortown Regeneration Group, Pat Benson, who was born and grew up in the area, said: “We are delighted that the National Lottery Community Fund are supporting us in our work to bring the historic docks area back to life. There are no community facilities at the moment so having a place where past and present residents can come together will make a huge difference.

“This funding means we can keep a historic building in community ownership and that it can be used for people led regeneration in Belfast. We're really looking forward to opening the doors of St Joseph's again after almost 20 years of campaigning.”

The other groups sharing the £727,496 of funding from The National Lottery Community Fund are Friends of Antrim Castle Gardens, SOS NI, Drumragh Evergreen Senior Citizens Club, Multiple Sclerosis Society and Davina’s Ark. To read more about these projects please download the grant table by clicking the link below.

Kate Beggs, The National Lottery Community Fund Northern Ireland Director, said: “I am delighted to announce these grants. The money is being used for everything from this community hub in Belfast’s Sailortown, through to support for people affected by addiction and café style meet ups for people with Multiple Sclerosis. It’s great to see National Lottery money being used by people who are taking the lead in developing great ideas to help their communities thrive.

“This year we’re celebrating the 25th birthday of the National Lottery, and I want to thank all the National Lottery players who have helped make work like this possible.”

Full list of grants awarded 14 August 2019

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.

People and Communities

Supporting positive change in the community. The People and Communities programme is designed to support you to work with local people to bring about positive changes in your community. A community could be a geographical area or a community of interest.

Read more about this programme

Channel website:

Original article link:

Share this article

Latest News from
Big Lottery Fund

Get ready for the cities of the future