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£1.4 million of funding to support young people in Northern Ireland

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Northern Ireland
Empowering Young People
Release date:
13 12 2017

Young people across Northern Ireland are improving their mental health and transforming their lives, thanks to over £1.4 million of National Lottery funding.

Three organisations across Northern Ireland have been awarded funding from Big Lottery Fund’s Empowering Young People programme.

One of the groups, Northern Ireland Youth Forum, has been awarded £590,615. Their Relentless Change Programme is supporting young people aged 16-25 who have experienced homelessness or have been in care from the Belfast, Antrim and Newtownabbey and Mid and East Antrim areas.

Over three and a half years they are supporting these young people to live independently and prepare them for education, training and employment.

Activities include outdoor education, physical activity, basic DIY, cookery and healthy eating, a bespoke university accredited course and work placements. The young people will take control of their action plans and help to organise and evaluate activities throughout the project. The group is working in partnership with the NIHE, Extern and the University of Ulster.

Niamh Louise Foundation also received £516,880 of funding. Their five-year Empowering Young Minds project is working with young people aged eight to 25 from rural areas in the Mid-Ulster and Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council areas. The project is providing one-to-one support for young people who have thoughts of suicide or self-harm. The project is also improving their emotional wellbeing and addressing the stigma of mental health that leads to self-harm and suicide.

Activities include one-to-one therapy sessions and an interactive group programme run by young people. Children and young people will create storybooks on their emotions, and each young person will also develop interactive workbooks according to their emotional needs.

Also receiving funding is Autonomie’s The What Next? Project. It is providing practical support and training for young people aged 14-25 from Belfast. The young people have mild to moderate learning disabilities and some have physical disabilities and have a high risk of mental health issues. The three-year project has been awarded a £334,838 grant to increase the services they provide, and work with more young people to improve their social connections, mental health and skills, and help them be more independent.

Activities include independent living courses, social events, volunteering, peer mentoring, support groups, and a youth led forum. The young people will help design activities, organise trips and lead some of the activities.

Julie Harrison, Big Lottery Fund NI Chair, said: “I am delighted to announce these grants under the Empowering Young People 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 put young people in the lead in increasing their skills and confidence, and support them to have stronger relationships so they can cope better with the challenges they face and reach their potential. We are looking forward to seeing the positive impact these projects will make for many young people across Northern Ireland.”

More information about the Empowering Young People funding programme can be found on our website, www.biglotteryfund.org.uk. Please ring our enquiries line on 028 90 551 455 if you have any questions.
For press enquiries call Lucy Gollogly or Rachel Skinner in Big Lottery Fund NI.
Press Office: 02890 551 432 or 02890 551 450
Out of hours media contact: 07580 811135 or 0774 7532 846

Website:    http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/northernireland
Twitter:    @BIGNIonline #BigLottery
Facebook: www.facebook.com/BigLotteryFundNI  

Notes to Editors:

  • The Big Lottery Fund supports the aspirations of people who want to make life better for their communities across the UK. We are responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised by the National Lottery and invest over £650 million a year in projects big and small in health, education, environment and charitable purposes.
  • Since June 2004 we have awarded over £6.5 billion to projects that make a difference to people and communities in need, from early years intervention to commemorative travel funding for World War Two veterans.
  • Since the National Lottery began in 1994, £35 billion has been raised and more than 490,000 grants awarded.