Belfast Telegraph

Groups celebrate lottery funding

By Lauren Mulvenny

A school and a local community group are among three groups in east Belfast celebrating after being included in a Big Lottery Fund grants windfall.

Earlier this week it was announced the Awards For All programme had earmarked just over £140,000 for 16 local groups across the city.

The grants are part of a giant overall Lottery package of £545,243, which is being allocated to 70 organisations throughout Northern Ireland.

And among those in east selected are the Short Strand Community Forum, which has received a grant of £7,901.

The forum — an umbrella organisation comprising of around 20 local community groups — will use the money to improve the health and education of local people.

The money will specifically go towards a programme for older people, including exercise, education and activity classes.

Welcoming the news of funding for the local community, Niall Ó Donnghaile, a local representative, said he was “delighted” for the group.

“The forum brings together over 20 different organisations in the area,” he said.

“This ranges from mother and toddler groups to pensioners’ meetings.

“The group does great work in the area at bringing everyone together and always uses wisely all funding it receives. Issues of health and education are important issues in today’s society and are very important in the Short Strand.

“I commend all the work that the group does,” he added.

And older people will also benefit from a grant awarded to the Conference of the Immaculate Heart.

The group, based in Castlereagh, which works to support and improve the lives of people locally, will use the grant to organise activities for older people.

Also celebrating news of a windfall is Strathearn School, which has been awarded £10,000.

The school, based on the Belmont Road, will use the grant to provide targeted support for children with special educational needs.

The grant will also be used to work with children who are from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Other local community groups in east are now being encouraged to get involved and apply for funding.

Frank Hewitt, Big Lottery Fund NI chair, said: “The Big Lottery Fund’s NI Awards for All programme funds health, education, environment and community projects.

“The projects 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.”

And the windfall did not only target smaller independent groups and schools, but also well-known charities.

Action Cancer, an organisation based on Marlborough Park Cross Avenue, that provides support and relief for people affected by cancer and related diseases, has been awarded a grant of £10,000 to develop their existing listening ear project.

“One in three people are affected by cancer in their lifetime which equates to 40,000 people living with cancer in Northern Ireland at any one time,” said Elizabeth Boyd, training and staff development officer.

“The money will be used to provide Listening Ear training to staff in hospitals and schools across Belfast so that people here are suitably equipped to help people within their community affected by a cancer diagnosis.”

If you feel your group could be eligible for a Big Lottery Awards For All grant, the application forms and guidance notes are available to download at www.awardsforall.org.uk.

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

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