Ulster lottery funding tops £1bn
The National Lottery has announced that funding for projects in Northern Ireland has passed the £1 billion mark.
Almost 20,000 projects in the region have received support in the 20 years since the lottery started.
Landmark attractions such as the SS Nomadic and Lyric Theatre in Belfast, the Giant's Causeway visitor centre and Londonderry's Millennium Forum were all beneficiaries of National Lottery grants.
The largest single award in Northern Ireland was £45 million for the Odyssey complex in Belfast in 1997.
Sporting heroes such as golfing great Rory McIlroy and Paralympic gold medallist Kelly Gallagher have also been supported by grants.
Joanne McDowell, of the Northern Ireland National Lottery Forum and Big Lottery Fund NI Director, said more than £350 million has also been given to charities and projects working to improve health, education and the environment throughout the community.
Lottery money is distributed through the Arts Council Northern Ireland, the Big Lottery Fund, the Heritage Lottery Fund and Sport NI.
"Northern Ireland's social, economic, cultural and physical landscape has changed immeasurably since 1994," said Ms McDowell.
"We are proud to have played our part by investing more than £1 billion to improve communities, change lives and fund a better future.
"The National Lottery has helped ensure there is something relevant and local to everyone in the ever lengthening list of Lottery-funded projects.
"The scale and depth of our involvement and investment in Northern Ireland is now interwoven in the fabric of life here - in sport, in the arts, in heritage and in the community.
"Change continues to be the motivator of progress and for the last 20 years National Lottery players can be proud of the role they have played in making a real difference in Northern Ireland."