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Northern Ireland groups enjoy grants windfall from Culture for All

NI groups share in £140,000 first Culture for All announcement
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Northern Ireland
Culture for All Northern Ireland
Release date:
14 11 2012

An organisation using drama to improve the self-esteem of street drinkers in Derry~Londonderry is one of the first groups sharing in a grants windfall from a new Lottery funding programme.

Handful Productions is one of 19 groups across Northern Ireland awarded grants totalling over £141,000 from the Big Lottery Fund and Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s Culture for All programme (See table attached for projects awarded funding in your local area).

Among the projects awarded funding from the first announcement are a drama performance teaching Coleraine young people about the town’s culture, an amateur music concert during a rare blue moon night in Derry~Londonderry and a project giving isolated young people in Co. L/Derry the chance to take part in arts activities.

Culture for All is a small grants programme offering grants of up to £10,000 to communities across Northern Ireland that want to play a part in the UK City of Culture celebrations in 2013. Community organisations can apply for funding to run arts and culture projects and activities that link in with the historic event, encourage talent and improve the lives of people in communities.

Working in partnership with Foyle Haven, a drop in centre for street drinkers in the city, Handful Productions will use £9,000 to work with people involved in the centre’s writing group, helping them turn a script they have written about their experiences into a play. The play will initially be staged in the city’s Playhouse Theatre in 2013 and then in venues including schools and community groups.

An anthology, containing a collection of the group’s writing including the play, poetry and short stories, will also be published by Guildhall Press. Aoidh Barbour, 57, from Derry city, started drinking heavily about 10 years ago, but thanks to the support of Foyle Haven he has turned his life around and wrote most of the script for the play.

“I had a traumatic experience and my life spiralled out of control. My marriage and career in the arts collapsed, I became homeless and I was drinking on the streets,” he said. “Foyle Haven helped me stop drinking. They give you the chance to open up about your experiences. I wrote this play because I want the public to try and understand the lives people living with addiction have had, to see more than just the person lying with an empty bottle on the pavement.”

Mullacrevie Development Association has also been awarded £4,000 to set up a community street samba band involving young people from Armagh’s Mullacreevie estate. As well as taking part in Armagh events, the group also plans to travel to Derry~Londonderry to get involved in the UK City of Culture celebrations in 2013.

“Young people love music and samba, from Brazil, is one of the most colourful and vibrant there is. This is a way of getting them involved in something different, encouraging them to work as a team and opening them up to new music and arts and linking that with the UK City of Culture,” said Chairperson Roy McCartney. “As well as drums, we’ll be using instruments like tambourines, cowbells and whistle. We can’t wait to get the music started.”

Joanne McDowell, Big Lottery Fund NI Director, said: “The Big Lottery Fund and Arts Council of Northern Ireland are delighted to announce the first grants from this programme which is giving communities across Northern Ireland the chance to be a part of one of the world’s most significant cultural events in 2013. We would encourage organisations with an idea for an arts or culture project, which links to the City of Culture celebrations and benefits their local community, to apply for funding now.”

Application forms and guidance notes are available to download now at: http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/northernireland

For more details call us on 028 9055 1455, or e-mail us at enquiriesni@biglotteryfund.org.uk

Full list of awards announced today.

Further Information

Andrew Kennedy, Press Office Big Lottery Fund: 9055 1426
Mobile: 07788 640 791

Notes to Editors

• The Big Lottery Fund (BIG), the largest distributor of National Lottery good cause funding, is responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised for good causes by the National Lottery.
• BIG is committed to bringing real improvements to communities and the lives of people most in need and has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK. Since June 2004 BIG has awarded over £4.4bn.
• The Fund was formally established by Parliament on 1 December 2006.
• Since the National Lottery began in 1994, 28p from every pound spent by the public has gone to good causes. As a result, over £28 billion has now been raised and more than 383,000 grants awarded across arts, sport, heritage, charities, health, education and the environment.