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Armagh community group secures £320,000 funding over next three years

West Armagh Consortium's Stephen Fields alongside its Chairperson, Fiona Kelly. Also pictured in Lola the dog.

An Armagh city-based community group has successfully secured almost £320,000 over the next three years.

The West Armagh Consortium securing the money thanks to recent application to the Big Lottery Community Fund.

They were awarded £319,367 for a programme that will run for the next three years.

This will enable the group to continue to deliver its Community Development and Support Programme over these three years.

Fiona Kelly, Chairperson of the West Armagh Consortium, said: “This funding is a great boost to community development and support in Armagh. It is particularly welcome at a time of such harsh economic realities.

“The West Armagh Consortium is conscious of the demand for funding on the organisations such as the Big Lottery who increasingly are having to respond more and more groups applying for help because of the shortfall in public funding spending. We are pleased that the Big Lottery are happy with our track record and ability to deliver for the community.”

This is the second time that Big Lottery has backed the West Armagh Consortium in delivering a community based project in Armagh.

Their previous programme unfortunately coincided with the worst of the Covid -19 pandemic, and the lengthy restrictions imposed to combat it.

However it left the Consortium ideally placed to help with the community response. That response saw a bringing together of over 18 separate groups, that included residents associations, sports clubs, parish office and others who combined their efforts into a single and very successful response.

Other projects delivered under this funding included support for our constituent groups such as Westenders Seniors and Armagh Mens Sheds Project, a Social Prescribing Programme, a free one-to-one counselling service and a variety of physical and mental help programmes.

Ms Kelly continued: “Along with other community groups we will continue to deliver the Community Development and Support Programme from our premises at Sherry’s Field on the Cathedral Road. The very nature of this programme is wide a varied, covering projects with a physical and mental health theme, cultural, environmental, and educational themes.

“Its delivery is designed to help improve the quality of life for the local community by delivering a mixture of programmes in line the above mentioned themes.

“The consortium is looking forward to delivering the programme and are grateful for the financial security that this funding will afford us. In these trying economic times, it is an enormous benefit to have this sort of financial security.

“We are also conscious of the continuing faith and support shown by the Big Lottery in us, given the fact that they supported us previously in 2018.

“We have a full action plan laid out as part of our Community Development and Support Programme and are looking forward to delivering it over the next three years.”

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