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Local Groups share in Grants Boost from Awards for All

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Garvagh Forest School
Garvagh Forest School

People with arthritis and schoolchildren have new and better facilities, thanks to a grant from Big Lottery Fund.

Arthritis Care Coleraine Branch has received a £2,479 grant from Big Lottery Fund’s Awards for All programme. It is part of a Big Lottery Fund grants roll out today of £693,133 to 82 groups across Northern Ireland with £41,701 to five groups in the Coleraine area. (See separate attachment for a full list of awards)

Arthritis Care Coleraine Branch provides a place for members to meet to with others who have the same condition as them and understand each other, The received a grant of £2,479 to fund training activities and equipment for the group.

Garvagh Development Trust aims to benefit Garvagh and the surrounding area. They are using the £9,982 to create a forest school which will be a shared learning space for the community. The project includes forest school training, cookery demonstrations and crafts.

The Trust is working in partnership with Corrymeela and the Northern Ireland Forest School Association, with the support of Garvagh Enterprise Trust to develop and deliver a Forest School Programme with five local primary schools: St Patrick’s & St Joseph’s PS, Garvagh PS, St Columba’s PS, Carhill IPS, and Gorran PS.

Karin Eyben of the Development Trust and Corrymeela said: “The idea for a Forest School in Garvagh emerged out of the many discussions about the possibilities for the former Garvagh High School site. Local people strongly felt that the heritage of the site next to Garvagh Forest, with its history of education and learning, should be maintained and built on through the idea of a Forest School as a shared learning space.”

The children and the teachers will take part in a range of activities in the forest, learning about trees, plants and animals and developing new skills such as den building and creating bug hotels. Their new learning and skills will be showcased on the Garvagh Big Forest Day on Saturday 25th June when Garvagh Forest will be connected to the former Garvagh High School site and the potential of the heritage, history and eco-system of the whole site showcased to local people.

“Imagine a school where children and young people are learning together in a forest: coming together to do fractions using twigs, trigonometry by climbing trees, science when splashing in the stream, and history by undertaking archaeological digs and interpreting hieroglyphics. This is the shape of how education will be delivered in Garvagh over coming years,” Karin said.

North Coast Integrated College is an all ability, secondary level, integrated school in Coleraine. The received a grant of £9,500 to provide an indoor climbing wall within the College gym which will also be made available to community groups and pupils of other schools.

Gortrighey AOH & Community Hall provides facilities for the community. They received £9,960 to renovate the hall, outside the village of Rasharkin, to facilitate greater use by the wider community.

Ballerin Gaelic Athletic Club is based in a rural area near Garvagh in North Co Antrim and provides a range of sporting activities and a venue for community events. They received a grant of £9,780 to provide a programme of fitness training and mental health workshops for the wider community.

Joanne McDowell, Big Lottery Fund NI Director, said: “The Big Lottery Fund’s NI Awards for All programme funds health, education, environment and community projects that 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.”

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