Christmas came early for 14 community groups in Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon. They have received funding as part of an announcement of £6.8million from The National Lottery Community Fund to 139 groups across Northern Ireland.
The National Lottery funding is being used to bring isolated people together in warm spaces, to support people struggling with the rising cost of living, and to improve the wellbeing of vulnerable people during the festive period.
One of the organisations receiving funding is Rathfriland and District Regeneration Company Ltd. They are using a £10,000 grant to fund running costs, small refurbishments to their hall and running activities for the local community, to improve health and wellbeing and bring people together. Activities include workshops, day trips, and a Christmas dinner celebration.
Aughlish Ulster Scots group in Scarva has been awarded a £6,500 grant to run events and activities to help the community reconnect after the pandemic. The project includes taster sessions for classes, reminiscence sessions, Christmas dinner for older people, educational talks and a community fun day.
Banbridge Lipreading Group also received a £1,290 grant to run lipreading classes for people with hearing loss and their partners. The classes will help boost confidence, communication skills and connections.
Thanks to National Lottery players, more than £30 million a week is raised for good causes, including Derrycarne Rural Community Association based outside Portadown. They are using a £9,600 grant to buy storage and equipment for their outdoor space and organise a Christmas event. The project will bring the rural community together during the festive period and showcase their work.
Building Bridges Community Arts Theatre in Lurgan has been awarded a £34,900 grant to run activities to improve wellbeing and reduce isolation for the LGBTQ+ community. Over two years the project will help fund rent and utility costs and run activities which will bring together the LGBTQ+ community with the wider community.
Taghnevan Community Development Association in Lurgan is using a £4,939 grant to run festive events, including craft workshops and a Christmas party, to increase community spirit during the winter months and improve wellbeing.
Also receiving funding is Bannside Community Group, Bayshore Sports and Social Club, Gilford & District Racing Pigeon Club, Keady Men’s Shed, Lisnaward Rural Association, Tannaghmore Ladies Club, The Appleby Trust Ltd (Print It) and the Westenders Group.
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. This winter is difficult for many but thanks to these projects, people are being supported to make connections and feel less isolated.
“We are supporting groups to deal with the rising costs that are challenging their services and working flexibly to ensure that National Lottery funding is continuing to reach people who need support.”
For more information on National Lottery funding visit www.tnlcommunityfund.org.uk/funding/northern-ireland.