Belfast Telegraph

Personal stories with Patrick Frew, chairman of Cloughmills Community Association

Lottery cash helped project grow bigger

As the Big Lottery Fund consider applications for this year's People's Millions grants, Patrick explains how its 'Happiness Project – Peas and Love' benefited from winning an award in 2011.

Patrick said: "We used the grant to turn derelict space in the village into a vibrant Incredible Edible Cloughmills.

"People come together here to grow fruit and vegetables, cook their produce and host community events.

"But three years on from the People's Millions, we are doing so much more. We went on to access other funding – including from Big Lottery Fund's Village SOS programme.

"We used the grant to develop a micro brewery and run training courses in horticulture and traditional activities such as weaving and wood cutting. Maybe one day we'll have a Cloughmills beer.

"We're also training young people to cultivate mushrooms like shiitake and oyster and running courses on cooking and bee-keeping.

"We've teamed up with a free range pig expert to allow local people to buy shares in free range pigs and we bake bread, plant trees and press apples to make fresh juice.

"We use our fair trade Mongolian yurt to host get-togethers for people from the village and further afield. We use the fruit and vegetables we grow to cook communal meals for everyone in our outdoor oven.

"Every week we have groups from around Northern Ireland coming to see what we're doing. They go away enthused, and hopefully inspired to change their own communities for the better."

For details of current funding go to: biglotteryfund.org.uk/ northernireland

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