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No Fee for reproduction Chris Cooper and Lorraine Gallen, Foyle Down Syndrome Trust, Lucy Gollogly, Joanne McDowell, Big Lottery Fund and Carla Stojanovic, Foyle Down Syndrome Trust celebrate with members of the Waterside based group in Derry-Londonderry, after they won £49,710 in the Big Lottery Fund's People’s Projects competition. The competition which was voted for by the public will enable the Recipe for Success project to build a kitchen and run cookery courses and other activities for young people aged 16-30 with a learning disability to encourage independent living.

The Big Lottery Fund, ITV and The National Lottery have teamed up to give the Northern Ireland public the chance to decide how up to £150,000 of National Lottery funding will make a difference in their local area.

The Big Lottery Fund wanted to celebrate some of the incredible projects it has funded and has worked with UTV to shortlist five projects across Northern Ireland – including one in Portballintrae, Co Antrim

The projects will compete for National Lottery funding to develop their work even further to improve the lives of people in their communities. The three with the most public votes will receive grants of up to £50,000. Voting is open from 9am on Monday 20 March at www.thepeoplesprojects.org.uk until midday on Monday 3 April.

UTV Live will feature the projects at 6pm over five nights from Monday 20 March to Friday 24 March. The Portballintrae based group, The Coast Office, will feature on Monday. If it is successful, the group will receive £50,000 for its B.U.I.L.D. project which will use the funding to connect people including schoolchildren and older people with each other and their local coastal countryside. Activities include traditional boat building, a conservation award for young people, and maritime skills workshops.

The group will compete for votes against Linking Generations NI with their Connecting Care Homes project based in Belfast, the Down Right Brilliant Youth Club project by Newry & Mourne Downs Syndrome Support Group in Newry, Via Wings’ Food for the Soul project in Dromore, Co Down, and the Harmony Hubs project by Everyday Harmony Music Therapy based in Belfast.

Julie Harrison, Big Lottery Fund NI Chair, said: “We are proud to support projects like these every year that use the knowledge and ideas of local people to strengthen communities. The People’s Projects is a chance for you to decide how National Lottery funding can benefit your local community, so make sure you have your say on who you think should win!”

People can only vote once and will need an email address to vote*. To vote go to www.thepeoplesprojects.org.uk

Since 2005, around £36 million has been awarded through the Big Lottery Fund, National Lottery and ITV partnership to 770 Good Causes across the UK.

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