Belfast Telegraph

Lottery windfall for community groups

By Pauline Reynolds

A youth centre is among four south Belfast-based community projects and charities benefiting from a Big Lottery Fund grants windfall of almost £40,000.

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

It’s part of a giant, overall Lottery package of £545,243 which is being allocated to 70 organisations throughout Northern Ireland.

And one of the successful recipients is the St John Vianney Youth Centre in the Lower Ormeau.

It's been given £9,902 to help fund community IT and audio visual training and youth worker Stephen Mulholland said the money has proved invaluable.

“This is a brilliant grant which we received last month and it has made a huge difference to our community in terms of helping to get our young people off the streets,” he explained.

“We now have the resources to encourage them into the centre to learn more audio visual skills.

“This will not only be of benefit to our young people of today but will benefit generations to come.

“We have been able to buy a home cinema projection screen and a 60-inch-wide interactive white board.

“This will help to enhance the training and personal development of many of those who use the centre.

“We have also bought eight PCs with monitors and these are being used for homework in after schools clubs and to help users develop their software skills.”

Action Cancer, based in Marlborough Park, received £10,000 which is going towards work in developing its existing Listening Ear Service.

This service has been set up to help support people who are worried or confused when a cancer diagnosis has been made.

Training and staff development officer Elizabeth Boyd explained how the grant was being spent.

“A cancer diagnosis has a huge impact on the individual’s life and also those around them both emotionally and professionally,” she said.

“The money will be used to provide Listening Ear training to staff in hospitals and schools across Belfast.

“Sometimes it's not easy to confide in those closest to you, so being able to talk to someone you know who is detached from your situation can be the help a person needs to manage the journey better.”

Two other south Belfast-based community groups have also each been allocated £10,000.

PeacePlayers International —Northern Ireland (PPI-NI), based in University Street, uses the medium of basketball to unite young people from both sides of the community.

Managing director Gareth Harper said the funding would help build upon its ‘Primary Schools Twinning Programme’.

“Over the next 12 months our twinning programme will challenge and support six catholic and six protestant schools in hosting each other,” he said.

“More importantly, it will explore how the programme can better reach out to and engage parents.

“This will complement and add further value to the work undertaken directly with the kids at each of the sessions.”

The Family Planning Agency in Shaftesbury Square was also awarded £10,000.

It plans to use this funding to develop a health promotion CD for people with specific communication needs.

Awards For All offers community, voluntary and statutory groups the chance to apply for small grants of between £500 and £10,000, which will have an impact on the lives of local communities.

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