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Putting old pallets to good use - first Northern Ireland project gets National Lottery climate action funding

The National Lottery Community Fund yesterday announced the first grant in Northern Ireland from Together for Our Planet, a UK wide funding programme to help communities take climate action.

Tackling waste directly, The Right Key in Loughbrickland is using the £10,000 grant to work with local teenagers on a project to recycle old pallets into beautiful and useful items.

Sheila Smyth, Development Manager at The Right Key explained: “For many years we have been supporting people in recovery from mental health issues or addictions through creating crafts and music. But just like people, our planet needs support for recovery too.

Adrian Boyd from The Right Key creating crafts from waste pallets

“Learning from our joiners and skilled volunteers who use our services, young people from local schools will come together to create something for themselves from old used wood from pallets, such as a pen, lamp or crafted ornament. While gaining new specialist skills in craftmanship and recycling, they will discuss together what needs to be done to reduce the impact of climate change in our area.”

Currently open for applications, Together for Our Planet offers £2.5million in National Lottery funding to support communities across the UK to take action on climate change. Building on interest around COP 26, it hopes to nurture and develop local ideas and support a legacy of ongoing climate action.

Sheila continued: “Our new project will open the minds of young people, helping them think about what they can do personally. We aim to use our influence within the wider community to help address climate and environmental issues, based on our knowledge that a willingness to change can bring lasting recovery.”

The Right Key

Across the UK, thanks to National Lottery players, £30 million is raised each week for good causes and since 2016 we have awarded £397 million through more than 6,000 grants which involve environmental action.

Paul Sweeney, The National Lottery Community Fund’s NI Chair, yesterday said:

“As climate is under the world’s spotlight, it’s encouraging to see people taking action locally and individually. Well done to The Right Key in developing this recycling project, which is not only supporting young people but is also helping start wider conversations around climate.

“Thanks to National Lottery players, we are able to support local climate action, funding innovative projects that are part of the drive towards net zero and that enable people and communities to prosper and thrive. We are excited to see what ideas come in through applications to Together for Our Planet before the programme closes on Thursday 18th November 2021.”

Living Spaces and Places, a new funding programme with the Department of Infrastructure, also opened this week to support climate action through small scale capital grants available to create more sustainable and resilient outdoor spaces.

For more information on applying for funding programmes visit

Notes to Editors

We are the largest funder of community activity 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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