Funding boost for Northern Ireland groups

27 Jun 2017 11:12 AM

Community groups across Northern Ireland yesterday celebrated, after receiving £1 million in National Lottery funding.

Newtownabbey Senior Citizens' Forum has been awarded £249,508 for their three-year ‘+FIVE-0 & On The Go’ project. It is reducing social isolation and improving health and wellbeing for people over the age of 50 in the Newtownabbey and Antrim area.

The funding will be used for staff costs, training volunteers, and to run activities, decided on by the older people, including health checks, day trips, cooking, line dancing, digital photography and events.

They will provide volunteer roles for some older people to lead activities and help others. They will then use their skills to help other community groups. The volunteers will also receive training and support.

This is part of yesterday’s £1,136,909 grants boost from Big Lottery Fund to six groups across Northern Ireland through the People and Communities programme.

Specialisterne NI C.I.C. has also been awarded £153,014 of funding for the three-year ‘2gether’ project. The group is supporting people on the Autistic spectrum across NI by co-ordinating activities to help people using the project become more socially connected with each other and the wider community. Activities will be tailored to people’s needs and will include group workshops, one-to-one coaching, meetings in small groups and other initiatives to provide skills and coping mechanisms to help address the barriers people may experience and provide a potential path towards careers.

Nexus NI also received funding for the Co-NEX-ion project which is supporting 50 men and women per year who are victims of sexual violence. The five-year Belfast based project is using a £374,686 grant to expand their current client forum, provide training and create video case studies for training and publicity. They will expand their current Belfast based client forum to set up new groups, increase members’ self-esteem, confidence, provide new skills, improve quality of life, and improve mental health and well-being.

Four Orange Thursday Club has been awarded £49,364. The Encouraging Neighbours in Their Culture project is supporting older people in the Newtownhamilton area of Co Armagh to meet others, develop new skills and confidence, get more involved in the community and improve their health and wellbeing. The three-year project is using the grant to run activities for older people, including tea dances, trips and craft classes.

Lislea Community Association has received £198,213 of funding for their five-year Lislea Outdoor Community Space project which is creating an outdoor area next to the group’s community centre in Lislea, Co Armagh, so they can provide more health and well-being activities. Based on ideas from the community, the outdoor space will include children's play equipment, adult fitness equipment, an outdoor classroom, a picnic and BBQ area, a community craft shed and an allotment.

Northern Ireland Rare Disease Partnership supports people living with a rare disease and organisations representing them to find practical ways of improving people’s quality of life, treatment and care. The group has been awarded a £112,124 grant to support people across Northern Ireland who live or work with rare diseases to build relationships and work with each other and with other agencies including government and the wider voluntary sector. The project will provide local peer support, training, volunteering opportunities, advocacy to influence decision makers, networking and advice. The project will also improve awareness of rare diseases.

Julie Harrison, Big Lottery Fund NI Chair, said: “I am delighted to announce these grants under the People and Communities programme and I want to say thanks to all the National Lottery players who have helped make this possible.

“We want to fund great projects that work with local people, build on a community’s strengths, and are well connected to other services and activities in the community. We are looking forward to seeing the positive impact these projects will make to people and communities across Northern Ireland.”

The People and Communities programme offers grants of between £30,000 and £500,000 for two to five year projects. You can call our People and Communities advice line on 0300 123 33 31 at any stage to discuss your idea. More information can be found on our website,

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