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National Lottery funding is bringing people and communities together this Christmas

Across Northern Ireland, 157 community groups and charitable organisations are supporting people to improve their wellbeing and reduce isolation, thanks to £6,105,774 of funding from The National Lottery Community Fund.

With grants ranging from £306 to £500,000, the National Lottery funding is being used for a range of projects, including bringing isolated people together to make connections, supporting people to improve their mental and physical health and organising festive celebrations to boost community spirit.

To find out more about the projects, download the grant table.

One of the organisations receiving funding is Ballykeel Together Development Association in Ballymena. They are using a £3,100 grant to run a tailored youth club for children and young people with Autism or additional needs, to make friends and for parents/carers to make connections and reduce stress.

Brian Alexander, the Treasurer of Ballykeel Together Development Association said: “We are just a small community group trying to create a little haven where children can come in, run around, and be themselves. The children don’t need to ‘fit-in’ or mask any behaviours. We’re very proud that our youth club has become a wee lifeline for families.

“The parents can stay with their kids and socialise with other parents, or they can run a few errands knowing we are there to support them.

“We’re very grateful for the funding from The National Lottery Community Fund as it is helping us to pay rent for the year so we can keep running the club. We only applied for a small amount of money, but it was all that we needed to make a big difference to these families.

“Part of the funding is also for a tailored Christmas celebration for the children. It will be low key but there will be something for every child to enjoy, which might just be climbing on the soft play equipment as this is their usual routine. The parents will enjoy coming together at the party as well.”

Also receiving funding is Sound Around Ards Talking Newspaper. They are using a £6,500 grant to buy new equipment so their volunteers can continue to record a weekly CD containing information from local newspapers to help people with visual impairments to access local news and feel less isolated.

Ark Housing Association Northern Ireland has also been awarded a £5,300 grant. They are using the funding to improve the health and wellbeing of families experiencing homelessness. The project will create creative spaces within hostels across Belfast and run an arts programme to boost their confidence, skills and relationships.

Altnagelvin Parents Group in Derry/Londonderry, which has received a £9,965 grant, is one of the many organisations which benefits from over £30million raised by National Lottery players each week throughout the UK. They used the grant to organise a recent Christmas party for families who regularly attend the children's ward at Altnagelvin Hospital.

Kate Beggs, Northern Ireland Director of The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “Congratulations to all the groups receiving funding today. From a mobile welfare hub to support people with their mental health, to employability skills workshops to help young people reach their potential, these projects are improving the lives of people across Northern Ireland.

“I’m pleased to see that 90% of the grants are for under £10,000, showing that small amounts of National Lottery funding can make a big impact in communities, especially during the winter period where many people need additional wellbeing support or help to take part in festive celebrations.

“We recently launched our new funding strategy up to 2030 which will ensure National Lottery money continues to make a difference to communities across Northern Ireland. We look forward to seeing the impact of these projects in 2024 and beyond.”

For more information on National Lottery funding visit:

Table of all grants awarded, 14 December 2023

Notes to Editors

About The National Lottery Community Fund

We are the largest non-statutory community funder in the UK – community is at the heart of our purpose, vision and name.

We support activities that create resilient communities that are more inclusive and environmentally sustainable and that will strengthen society and improve lives across the UK.

We’re proud to award money raised by National Lottery players to communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and to work closely with Government to distribute vital grants and funding from key Government programmes and initiatives.

As well as responding to what communities tell us is important to them, our funding is focused on four key missions, supporting communities to:

1. Come together

2. Be environmentally sustainable

3. Help children and young people thrive

4. Enable people to live healthier lives.

National Lottery Awards for All Northern Ireland

A quick way to apply for smaller amounts of funding between £300 and £20,000.

Read more about this programme

People and Communities

A larger amount of funding (between £20,001 and £500,000) for projects working with your community – whether that’s a community living in the same area, or people with similar interests or life experiences.

Read more about this programme

Empowering Young People

A larger amount of funding (between £20,001 and £500,000) for projects that work with young people (between the ages of 8 and 25) to face and overcome challenges.

Read more about this programme

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