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Funding boost for Northern Ireland groups from Awards for All

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Northern Ireland
Release date:
31 1 2018

Community groups across Northern Ireland are celebrating today after benefiting from National Lottery funding.

A total of 83 groups across Northern Ireland are sharing in £703,307 from Big Lottery Fund’s Awards for All programme. See a full list of awards

Northern Ireland Institute for the Disabled, which is based in Belfast, received £9,664. The group encourages sustainable independent living for people who live with disability or disadvantage. The Awards for All project is providing an opportunity for 50 homeless men to develop their skills and interests, improve their mental health and better equip them for independent living.

The project is helping people like John (not his real name), 60, from Belfast, who has been living in their hostel in the Donegall Road area, for two months.

John said: “I have always worked since I left school. I was in one of my jobs over 20 years and I’m a joiner by trade.

“I was well brought up and well educated – I have my City and Guilds and I worked as a foreman. But I have a bad gambling problem.”

John ended up getting into debt and feeling unsafe in his home so he left with only what he could carry.

“I slept rough in the park that first night. The next day I went to the local Housing Executive and they sent me to the hostel,” he says.

“I have my own room here and it’s quite cosy. As soon as you arrive you’re interviewed and given a key worker who helps you see how they can help, what courses might help you either back into work or better manage your life and your mental and physical health.

“I want to get back into joinery, it’s all I know and I’d go nuts if I thought I’d never work again. I’m walking round the hostel every day looking for DIY jobs to do here.

“I’ve been giving CVs out left right and centre but my age is against me. Places just see my date of birth and don’t think of the 42 years of experience I have.

“It’s stressful, and people can be judgemental once they see you’re living in a hostel.

“The reason I’ve ended up here is down to me and I can’t blame anyone else. But I’m doing the best to make a fresh start with the help of the staff at the hostel.”

Edmund McCullough, manager of the hostel said: “I can see first-hand the tremendous impact the National Lottery funding is having on the ground. Everyone has noticed the new energy and positivity among the residents.

“We want to install a sense of self-worth and confidence in each or our residents. The most important thing to give back to someone who experiences homelessness is their dignity and pride.”

Also receiving funding is Ashes to Gold in Coleraine. The charity supports the long term unemployed and people with mental health issues. They are using a £10,000 grant to develop an outdoor garden area which can be used to provide OCN courses, teach children about fruit and vegetables, and promote healthier lifestyles.

EYEspeak in Omagh has been awarded £6,021. They provide support for adults who are blind or have a visual impairment. The Awards for All project is providing a series of activities and information sessions, including yoga, dance and flower arranging.

Julie Harrison, Big Lottery Fund NI Chair, said: “I am delighted to announce these grants under the Awards for All programme and I want to say thanks to all the National Lottery players who have helped make this possible.

“Awards for All funds health, education, environment and community projects that help people bring about positive change in their lives, improve health and well-being, develop skills and create safer communities.

“The application process is simple and accessible and shall remain so, making it easy for applicants to successfully apply for small pots of funding that can have such a big impact on local communities and lives.”

Application forms and guidance notes are available to download at www.biglotteryfund.org.uk. For more details call us on 028 9055 1455, or e-mail us at enquiries.ni@biglotteryfund.org.uk

For media enquiries, contact Rachel Skinner or Lucy Gollogly at the Big Lottery Fund Press Office on 028 90 551 450, 028 90 551 432

Out of Hours Media Contact: 0774 7532846, 07580 811135
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 £6.5billion 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.