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Local groups kick-start the new decade with a £55,000 grants boost from the National Lottery

Community groups across the district are celebrating an exciting start to the new year after being awarded their share in £3.7million of grants from The National Lottery Community Fund.

Via Wings is among those groups sharing more than £55,000.

The group based in Dromore offers practical and emotional support to disadvantaged families and individuals. Using a grant of £10,000 they are creating a community sensory play garden to provide an outdoor learning experience for children.

Gail Redmond, Founder of Via Wings said: “Huge thank you to National Lottery for this very generous award which will make a huge difference in creating our new sensory garden. This will go hand in hand with our sensory room, for our children with special needs, where they can play outside as well as inside.

This project will work with our Mini Wings project (afterschool club) alongside our two local primary and nursery schools.

“We are delighted to receive this funding as it will impact on our whole community as the sensory garden will be attached to our social enterprises Wings Cafe and Wings N Things shop.

“Our cafe is run by young people with learning difficulties, investing training for their future and encouraging employment (of which we employed three last year). This money will allow us to do what we do best in meeting need and changing lives. When we all work together, we can do so much more.”

The Birches Cosy Club, based in Portadown, is using a £9,888 grant to deliver a programme of activities for older people in the local community. Activities include crafts, yoga, quizzes, bingo and board games. The funding is also being used to buy new crockery and cutlery, as well as to cover transport costs associated with bringing people from a local day care centre.

Disabled and Friends Association, based in Craigavon, is using a £3,964 grant to run a series of activities and trips for local lonely and socially isolated people.

Children’s Hope Foundation, based in Lurgan, is using a £9,790 grant to recruit and train a Volunteer Co-ordinator for 12 months, this will allow the foundation to support 10 current volunteers and recruit an additional 32 volunteers to engage with children and young people affected by illness, disability or poverty.

Happy Hours Club, based in Banbridge, is using a 7,750 grant to provide a respite trip for 60 people with arthritis, allowing them to socialise and visit areas of interest.

Also receiving funding is Armagh Senior Citizens Forum, Cranagh and Aghagallon Club and The Children’s Law Centre (CLC).

Kate Beggs, The National Lottery Community Fund Northern Ireland Director, said: “Our experience of working with communities is that when you listen, people have amazing ideas to make things better.

“What a fantastic way to start the new year by announcing these grants which are helping fund amazing projects throughout Northern Ireland. It is great to see the diverse work being done through projects funded by National Lottery money.

“Whether it’s small pots of funding or larger grants, people are being brought together to make good things happen and change lives. When people take the lead and develop their own great ideas, communities really do thrive. I want to say thanks to all the National Lottery players who have helped make this possible.”

For a full list of grants awarded across Northern Ireland visit:

For more information on applying for National Lottery funding, please visit our website If you have an idea you would like to discuss or need guidance please call us on 028 9055 1455 or email

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