The National Lottery Community Fund has announced funding to groups in the Causeway Coast and Glens area to improve health and wellbeing and reconnect with their local community.
Across all council areas, 81 projects are receiving £2,651,839 with grants from £1,000 to half a million pounds helping isolated older people, children as they return to school, those living with poverty or challenges around long term health conditions or disability.
One of the groups funded is The Mae Murray Foundation which is using a £9,983 grant to take 115 people with complex disabilities from across Northern Ireland surfing using a sit-down surfboard during Summer/Autumn 2021 at Benone beach. The project will enable them to feel empowered, meet others safely and take part in physical activities following a long period of shielding during the pandemic.
Kyleigh Lough, Operations Manager, Mae Murray Foundation, said: “Since receiving the National Lottery money we’ve been putting the only ‘sit-down’ surfboard in Northern Ireland to good use with 100 members taking to the waves so far, seeking the thrill of the surf, giving them such a boost.
“Family members have joined in either on the water or back at shore too, meaning over 300 people have benefited from this inclusive project already, having so much fun together. I can’t thank The National Lottery Community Fund and National Lottery players enough for helping us empower people and improve their wellbeing by giving them a chance to take part in activities on the beach together, that most of us take for granted.”
Causeway Multi-Cultural Forum has also been awarded a £1,300 grant to run a health and wellbeing programme to improve physical and mental health. Activities include laughter yoga, breathing exercise and Chinese stretches.
Dr Margarita Vidinova, Causeway Multi- Cultural Forum vice chair said: “We’re excited to start our project which will bring people together and encourage good relations in and across communities, by offering exercise and fun experience in an informal and healthy environment. The programme will help people from BAME communities to build relationships in the local community and improve their mental well-being. Thanks to The National Lottery Community Fund and National Lottery Players for making our project possible.”
Also receiving funding in the area is Agherton Parish Church and Magilligan Community Association.
National Lottery players raise around £36 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.
Paul Sweeney, The National Lottery Community Fund’s NI Chair, said: “I’m delighted to be able to announce these grants today supporting such a diverse range of projects, who are meeting the needs in our local communities.
“I’m looking forward to seeing how these projects improve the lives of people from across Northern Ireland as we start to re-build and re-connect following our experiences of the pandemic over the last 18 months.
“National Lottery players can be proud to know that the money they raise is making such a difference to lives.”
For more information on applying for funding please visit www.tnlcommunityfund.org.uk/funding/northern-ireland.