Twenty-one community organisations in the ABC area have been awarded funding by the National Lottery Community Fund, with the grants forming part of an announcement of £7.2million to 153 groups across Northern Ireland.
The National Lottery funding is being used to support people during these challenging times, including bringing people together, providing mental health support and helping people struggling with the rising cost of living.
One of the organisations receiving funding is the Little Forget Me Nots Trust in Lurgan. They are using a £9,750 grant to run art therapy sessions for families who have suffered the bereavement of a child. The project will also provide resources to make improvements to the group’s policies and marketing strategy.
Catherine Muldoon, Community Connections Officer, Little Forget Me Nots Trust, said: “Thanks to The National Lottery Community Fund we are able to support ten bereaved families to access Art Therapy and help our community thrive. We are grateful to National Lottery Players for making our project possible.”
Another group benefitting from the money is the Drumgor Detached Youth Work Project in Lurgan, who have been awarded a £9,152 grant to run positive community activities for young people in the area to help improve their lives.
“We are delighted to receive this funding which will enhance the activities we provide for children and young people from Craigavon and Lurgan. We will provide street-based support to combat social exclusion and anti-social behaviour in our community,” said Donal O’Hagan, a committee member for the project.
The More than Words Autism Support Group in Armagh have received a £9,985 grant to run activities for autistic children and their families. Activities, including horse riding, balanceability courses and a youth club will improve their skills and wellbeing.
Sharon Digby from the group said: “The impact this funding will have on our autism families is immense. We have already completed one round of balanceability training which improved the children’s balance and co-ordination with many of them mastering riding their bicycles without stabilisers!
“As a result of the funding we’ve received from The National Lottery Community Fund, we now have a full range of activities planned for our children ranging from horse riding to themed youth club sessions. None of this would be possible without this invaluable funding support.”
Craigavon and Banbridge Volunteer Bureau has also been awarded a £193,520 grant to support people with disabilities to take part in volunteering and feel part of the community. Over three years the project will provide disability awareness training and work with organisations to set up inclusive volunteering opportunities.
Mentors will provide support for volunteers who need additional emotional support following the pandemic. The project will improve independence and self-esteem and provide respite for carers.
Richmount Rural Community Association, near Portadown, is using a £257,714 grant to run a weekly day-session for older people to improve their health and wellbeing and reduce isolation. Over five years the project will run activities and provide a hot meal for the older people from this rural area.
The project will ensure everyone has access to the activities by providing transport to and from the centre. The project will provide resources to free-up time for the management committee to develop plans for improving the long-term sustainability of the organisation and supporting people through the cost-of-living crisis.
Also receiving funding in the area are 1st Rathfriland Scout Group, ABC Language Club Banbridge, Armagh Association Voluntary Welfare Group, Armagh Roma Traveller Support, Ballymacanallen Community Association Ltd, Ballyvicknakelly LOL 828, Carleton Street Community Development Association, Craigavon Travellers Support Committee, Drumbeg North & South Residents Association, Friends of St Patricks Aghacommon, Killicomaine Jubilee Club, Lurgan and District Flower Arranging Society, Migrant Support Service, Seven Derry’s Youth Club, Stand To and The Autism Hive.
Paul Sweeney, The National Lottery Community Fund’s NI Chair, said: “I’m proud to see the impact our funded projects are having in people’s lives and across communities in Northern Ireland as we continue to live with increased pressures and uncertainties.
“Our staff are happy to talk with groups about their ideas for funding to help communities. We are also supporting current funded projects to deal with the rising costs that are challenging their services and working flexibly, to ensure that National Lottery money continues to reach people in need.”