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£500K National Lottery funding brings festive cheer to Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon

Christmas has come early for community organisations in the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon areas as they receive a £500,000 share of funding from The National Lottery Community Fund.

The news comes as part of an announcement of £6 million to 157 groups across Northern Ireland this holiday period.

The National Lottery funding is being used to run festive celebrations as well as bringing isolated people together to make connections, and support people with activities to improve their mental and physical health over the coming years.

One of the organisations receiving funding is Carers Unite Carers Support Group in Portadown.

They have been awarded a £6,050 grant to improve the health and wellbeing of local carers. The project will run a range of craft workshops, a Christmas social event and a learning event with another group, to help build relationships and develop support networks.

Alison Hamilton, Secretary, Carers Unite Carers Support Group, said: “We are absolutely delighted to receive this funding from The National Lottery Community Fund. We are all unpaid carers of young people with severe disabilities and this grant has enabled us to meet together in relaxed settings, have quality time out from our caring duties, and be creative while building on our friendships and developing our support group further. Without this support we couldn’t support Carers in the way we do.”

Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Senior Network also received an £8,900 grant to improve the health and wellbeing of local older people.

The project will run activities, produce a printed newsletter for digitally excluded older people, and run wellbeing events, including a Christmas celebration.

ABC Senior Network

David Hammerton, Honorary Chairperson, Armagh Banbridge and Craigavon Senior Network, said: “We are very grateful to receive this funding as it will help us to share news of the group and to connect older people to a range of activities which will reduce loneliness and isolation in the Borough.”

Cohesive Community Partnership received a £9,250 grant to run Mourneview Youth Club in Lurgan, which will reduce loneliness and isolation, provide mental health support and reduce anti-social behaviour in the community.

The project will provide learning activities for young people, mentoring support, and bring young and older people together through social events and visits to the local care home.

Nifty Fifties Tandragee is using a £5,176 grant to reduce social isolation for older people by organising trips to places members would otherwise not have the opportunity to visit and allowing them to share positive experiences together.

Thanks to National Lottery players, more than £30 million a week is raised for good causes across the UK, including The Spring Trust Ltd which recently received £280,755 to build the confidence and self-esteem of local young people.

The project will support young people to build positive relationships, reduce isolation, increase employability skills, develop coping mechanisms to deal with challenges in their lives and reduce risk taking behaviours.

Breaker Breaker, based in Dromore, has also been awarded a £10,000 grant to transform a refrigerated lorry into a mobile welfare hub.

The hub will be transported to events across Northern Ireland to provide information and guidance about physical and mental health to people working in the haulage industry.

Also receiving funding is Ameera Youth Club, Armagh Association Voluntary Welfare Group, Armagh Roma Traveller Support, Ballievey Women’s Institute, Ballymore Cultural Development Association, Ballymore Open Centre, Carleton over 50s Association, Home-Start Banbridge, Loughbrickland 60+ Luncheon Club, Never Too Old, Orchard Social Club for Visually Impaired People and Trustees of Kilmoriarty Orange Hall.

Kate Beggs, Northern Ireland Director of The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “Congratulations to all the groups receiving funding today. These projects are improving the lives of people in their communities, especially during the winter period where many people need additional wellbeing support or help to take part in festive celebrations.

“We recently launched our new funding strategy up to 2030 which will ensure National Lottery money continues to make a difference to communities across Northern Ireland. We look forward to seeing the impact of these projects in 2024 and beyond.”

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