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Culture for All leaves legacy of new friendships and aspiration

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Northern Ireland
Culture for All Northern Ireland
Release date:
31 10 2013

Lasting friendships which bridge religious barriers and new aspirations for young parents are the legacy of a lottery windfall from Culture for All. 

New Lodge Arts in north Belfast and First Housing Aid and Support Services in L’Derry are among 20 groups across Northern Ireland awarded grants totalling almost £156,460 from the Big Lottery Fund and Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s Culture for All programme which has now closed for applications.

Culture for All is a small grants programme which offered grants of up to £10,000 to communities across Northern Ireland wanting to play a part in the UK City of Culture celebrations in 2013. Community organisations could apply for funding up until the end of August to run arts and culture projects and activities linking in with the historic event, encouraging talent and improving the lives of people in communities.

New Lodge Arts received £10,000 towards a dance project for young people from New Lodge, Cliftonville, Mount Vernon, New Hill and Whitewell, which culminated in a lantern parade in north Belfast this week (Wed).

“This has been a great project to be involved with as we’re seeing a great response from the young people who are building relationships with others from different parts of north Belfast – people they may not otherwise have a chance to get to know,” explained project co-ordinator Anne Delaney from New Lodge Arts.

“The culmination was the chance to take part in this year’s North Belfast Magic Lantern Parade at the Waterworks, a spectacular event attended by 4,000 people from across north Belfast.

“These projects are first and foremost about bringing kids together rather than cross-community work. We want that happen organically rather than being very obvious about it – and it does happen. The fact that these young people are coming back to other programmes shows the work is paying off. Indeed, during the Ardoyne Fleadh this summer a group of the young people went up to it together because they had made friends through a previous dance project of ours.”

Local student, Chloe McLaughlin, 14, from Ardoyne, who took part in this latest dance project: “I enjoyed it because it’s real fun, and there’s dancing involved. Never in my life did I ever see myself doing something like this - but I'm glad I did it. I've made lots of new friends, the supervisors there are amazing. You learn something new everyday which in my mind is just incredible. These past few days have been awesome. I hope I can do it next year.”

First Housing Aid and Support Services received £5,005 towards creative workshops for its service-users at the Shepherd’s View Young Parents’ Project in the Waterside. As a result they have designed a new logo for the organisation’s Shepherd’s View supported housing unit where they live.

“At Shepherd’s View we have 16 individually supported accommodation apartments for young parents aged 16 to 24, and their children, who have been referred to us because they need a bit of support,” explained Niall McCarroll, deputy manager at the unit.

Shannon Hetherington, 20, is one of the residents. She and six-month-old daughter Skye, have been living at Shepherd’s View for a year. She said: “I used to enjoy art but hadn’t had a chance to do much in recent years but designing the logo has really got my creative juices flowing again. I’ve started drawing again and find it a great way to express how I’m feeling, a great stress reliever.

“I became homeless at 16 because of family circumstances and was just staying between friends’ houses when I discovered I was pregnant. I moved to a homeless shelter but couldn’t stay there because of the baby and that’s when I got a place at Shepherd’s View.

“They have been brilliant. They give you great support and sometimes they just listen because sometimes that’s just what you need. Everyone has good and bad days – and you need the bad days to appreciate the good ones. We tried to incorporate that love and support in the new logo we designed.

“I love being a mum. I wouldn’t change a thing – and Skye’s daddy loves her too. Long term I want to get back into education and do an access course so I can study law, specialising in human rights. I want to help people, especially those struggling with debt, and I know I’ll get the support I need towards that goal at Shepherd’s View.”

Joanne McDowell Big Lottery Fund NI Director said: “The Big Lottery Fund and Arts Council of Northern Ireland are delighted to announce grants from this programme which is giving communities across Northern Ireland the chance to be a part of one of the world’s most significant cultural events in 2013.

She continued: “We are delighted with the range of arts and culture projects from across Northern Ireland that we have been able to support which link to the City of Culture celebrations and benefit their local community.”

This programme closed to applications on 30 August 2013. For more details call us on 028 9055 1455, or e-mail us at enquiries.ni@biglotteryfund.org.uk

A full list of awards announced today 

Further information 

Amanda Doherty, Press Office Big Lottery Fund: 028 9055 1472
Mobile: 07760 171 434

Notes to editors 

• The Big Lottery Fund, the largest distributor of National Lottery good cause funding, is responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised for good causes by the National Lottery.
• The Fund is committed to bringing real improvements to communities and the lives of people most in need and has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK. Since its inception in 2004 BIG has awarded close to £6bn.
• The Fund was formally established by Parliament on 1 December 2006.
• Since the National Lottery began in 1994, 28p from every pound spent by the public has gone to good causes. As a result, over £30 billion has now been raised and more than 400,000 grants awarded across arts, sport, heritage, charities, health, education and the environment.
• The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is the lead development agency for the arts in Northern Ireland. It is the main support for artists and art organisations throughout the region, offering a broad range of funding opportunities through its Treasury and National Lottery funds.