THE National Lottery Community Fund has announced funding to groups in the Newry, Mourne and Down area to improve health and wellbeing and tackle local issues, including challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of the groups funded is Head Injury Support, which is using a £447,984 grant to support acquired brain injury and stroke survivors, and their families or carers.
The four-year project will expand their craft social enterprise in Newry and run a programme of social, recreational and leisure activities in Armagh City, Craigavon, Dungannon and Newry. The project will help members achieve their potential, develop skills, engage with their local community and reduce isolation.
Anne Murphy, Service Development Manager of Head Injury Support said: “We provide support in a safe, welcoming environment to enable survivors of an acquired brain injury, carers and families to benefit through their shared life experiences. This happens while spending time together, engaging in arts, crafts, social and recreational activities. These are fun filled times, featuring company, craic, coffee and cake.
“Thanks to The National Lottery Community Fund and the people who play the National Lottery, we will be able to provide more opportunities, for more support, to more people, including those with a diagnosis of stroke.”
Arbour House, in Warrenpoint, also receivied a £5,120 grant to support adults with learning disabilities and their families/carers. They are running online activities and providing hampers with essential items. Volunteers will help the adults develop their online skills during activities which will give their carers a short break. The project will reduce isolation and improve wellbeing.
Friends of the Arc, based in Bessbrook, is using a £1,629 grant to create a time capsule and promote the lockdown experiences of their members, who have learning disabilities. The project will create drawings which will then be transferred into 3D forms using pottery or weaving. This will be used as therapy to help members express their emotions and improve their wellbeing.
Also receiving funding in the area is Moneydarragh Community Hub Limited, PIPS Hope & Support Limited, Samaritans of Newry, and St Vincent de Paul Immaculate Conception Conference Newcastle.
PIPS Hope & Support Limited in Newry is using a £9,920 grant to enable them to meet the increased demand for their services as a result of COVID-19. The project is making improvements to their telephone help line and providing staff with equipment so they can work from home to support people who need vital mental health and emotional support.
Samaritans of Newry is using a £9,050 grant to make improvements to their premises and buy equipment so they can deliver their services safely. Volunteers will feel safer while helping people who are struggling to cope, feel isolated or are at risk of poor mental health.
Moneydarragh Community Hub Limited, based outside Annalong, is using a £9,900 grant to make improvements to their building to make it safe and accessible. The project will mean more community activities to improve the health and wellbeing of local people can take place there, once restrictions allow.
Glenanne Development Association in Co Armagh is using a £9,924 grant to create a walled garden in their outdoor area. Volunteers are leading the project which will create a safe space to improve mental health and wellbeing.
Rural Support’s Plough On project is using a £428,003 grant to tackle rural isolation and loneliness among older men in farming communities across Northern Ireland. The five-year project will support men who may still be active farmers or retired from farming. Activities include social activities, rural heritage/farming-based activities, excursions, and learning and reminiscence. An advisory group will also be set up to oversee the delivery of the programme, share learning and identify opportunities.
National Lottery players raise around £30 million every week across the UK for good causes like these. The vast majority of grants awarded are for smaller amounts of under £10,000, going to the heart of communities to make a big difference.
Kate Beggs, Northern Ireland Director of The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “It’s great to see such a variety of projects being funded to help people as they continue to be affected by the pandemic.
“We know that even a small amount of money can really change lives. All of these groups are rising to the challenges of COVID-19, supporting wellbeing now and in the future.
"People know best what is needed in their area and we want to talk to anyone who has an idea or wants more information on funding to support their community
“National Lottery players can be proud to know that the money they raise is making such a difference across Northern Ireland.”
For more information on funding from The National Lottery Community Fund please visit www.tnlcommunityfund.org.uk/funding/northern-ireland.