Written by Rosaleen Curran, Funding Manager Big Lottery Fund
Fancy a sit-down and a catch-up? An innovative art piece created by the charity Action Mental Health and funded by the Big Lottery Fund and Arts Council of NI’s Culture for All programme could double up as a place to sit and tell your story. ‘The Sofa’ was created by the charity in Derry using hundreds of books donated by individuals including local celebrities, authors and the people involved in the project.
Part of AMH New Horizons Foyle’s ‘What’s Your Story’ project, the piece reflects literary and musical cultures across the generations and will now journey around Northern Ireland.
The Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín recently led the unveiling of The Sofa on World Mental Health Day, 10th October. I also got a chance to test it out for comfort along with Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council and Mickey Harkin, AMH Service Manager.
People can view this unusual and interesting piece at the Guildhall in Derry until 10th November, before it moves to Belfast City Hall from 11th – 25th November, and from there to New Horizons in Antrim from 25 November to 2nd December. It will come back home to Foyle Street Library from 2nd – 16th December – and maybe demands will take it to an even wider audience… (come on Tyrone, Armagh and Down – stake a claim early – as long as you can afford the delivery charge!)
Culture for All is a small grants programme that 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.
The aim of the programme was to bring people together to enjoy a range of community-based arts and culture activities, encourage talent and increase skills and opportunities for volunteering. AMH New Horizons have certainly achieved the programme aim – congratulations.
To have a look at the latest awards, view this grants table
Written by Annisa Shirzada
A North Belfast project is using lottery funding to help local men come together and talk – shoulder to shoulder in a shed.
The North Belfast Partnership’s Rejuvenate programme is using a grant of £480,303 from the Big Lottery Fund’s Connecting Older People’s programme to support isolated older men living in north Belfast to come together through a community SHED programme.
This project was launched on the 21st of October 2013 in the North City Business Centre on Duncairn Gardens, despite the lashing rain it was joined and celebrated by a great crowd armed with their umbrellas and hosted by local comedian Tim McGarry.
The shed includes a workshop for the men’s woodwork and the fantastic hand-made pieces were displayed at the launch. The Shed also includes an area for further activities such as arts and crafts.
Geraldine Nelson, Development worker said the men have gained various skills from the project including wood work, arts and crafts, ICT, digital photography, copperwork, picture mounting and much more.
And the men all agreed the most valued place was the tea table which highlights the most important aspect of the shed for men – companionship.
Geraldine, added: “I love standing back watching the men drinking their tea and eating their biscuits, sharing experiences and stories, and chatting about everyday life.”
This sums up the essence of the men’s shed project. The appreciation from the men was apparent in their speeches at the launch; the crowd laughed as hard as the rain fell outside as the men themselves almost outshined Tim McGarry. Many of the men spoke of the hardships they faced such as illness or losing a partner and as described by one of the ‘shedders’ Bill: “the shed for many filled a void in their life.”
Others felt as if: “the shed has given me purpose, I now have somewhere to go and to look forward to.”
The oldest member of the shedders but not at heart, Tom Robinson, 83, told how the project has impacted his life. Tom has led a fantastic life – he was a carpenter but his true passion is dancing.
When Tom received the newsletter about the project he decided to go along and has never looked back. He now can leave the house and use his skills to teach woodwork to other members. He also feels as if he has finally got his ‘dancing feet’ back!
The North Belfast’s Men’s Shed has been a huge success and is already making remarkable progress. But this is only the first year out of the three which will be funded.
Geraldine described the aspirations of the project for the future; they wish to encourage more members to join and to continue to produce and distribute their newsletter three times a year to 22,000 households over North Belfast. However, the most rewarding result from this project would have to be if after the funding has came to its end, that the North Belfast Men’s Shed could be a self-sustained programme.
The men would be able to provide for themselves and their shed. This project is truly admirable; it demonstrates the vitality of men working shoulder to shoulder on projects of their choosing.
This project also highlights the difference that a Big Lottery Fund grant can make. The project would not have been possible without the funding. The men would probably still be in isolation as they would not have been enabled to come so far and never even had met each other or built such life changing companionships. The Big Lottery Fund gives worth-while causes the chance to come alive and helps change the community for the better.
North Belfast Men’s Shed is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays from 10am – 3pm. The Shed is for men aged 55 or over living in North Belfast. For more information about the North Belfast Shed contact Alexey Janes or Geraldine Nelson on 028 9075 2990 or firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Written by Lucy Gollogly
Young people from both sides of the community in north Belfast came together to put on a spectacular dance show in front of thousands of people in the Waterworks Park on Wednesday night, all thanks to a lottery windfall from Culture for All.
The New Lodge Arts project saw youngsters from New Lodge, Cliftonville, Mount Vernon, New Hill and Whitewell perform ‘Merge’, an exciting multi-component dance performance fusing contemporary dance with urban street forms in partnership with dance development company DU Dance (NI).
The magical evening also included a spooky lantern parade from Crumlin Road Jail.
New Lodge Arts received £10,000 towards the dance project, which brought together young people from both sides of the religious divide.
It is among 21 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.
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.
Project co-ordinator Anne Delaney from New Lodge Arts said: “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.”
Chloe McLaughlin, 14, from Ardoyne, who took part in the latest dance project, said: “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 every day which in my mind is just incredible. These past few days have been awesome. I hope I can do it next year.”
Another of the projects to benefit from Culture for All funding was First Housing Aid and Support Services. The Derry organisation 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.
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.”
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.”
For a full list of grants awarded, go to http://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/-/media/Files/News%20Documents/Culture%20for%20All%20Grants%20table%20-%20November%202013.pdf
Written by Karen Ireland
A choir which is to be made up of stroke patients and their families and supporters will hit all the right notes by taking part in a spectacular show next month as part of the UK City of Culture celebrations thanks to a lottery windfall from Culture for All.
Stroke Odysseys, was awarded a grant of £9,690, in the latest round of funding, to help patients and their families along with volunteers form a choir. The organisation is one of 24 projects to receive a total of £184,187, 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.
Chris Rawlence, Creative Producer and Lyricist of Stroke Odysseys said creating a choir made up of people who had suffered a stroke will give a voice to those who have previously been unheard and often become invisible because of their conditions.
He added: “The project has been developed from Rosetta Life, which is a creative initiative which helps people with serious life threatening conditions expressive themselves through song, dance and performance and we advocate patients such as those who have had a stroke being able to tell their story and express themselves in this way.”
Stroke Odysseys will be teaming up with the stroke unit at Atnagelvin Hospital and NI Chest Heart and Stroke Association to gain referrals of patients who want to take part in the choir which will put on two special performances in Derry Playhouse in November.
Kay Duddy, from Omagh who volunteers with Chest Heart and Stroke Association, believes the project will make a huge difference to stroke patients.
She added: “This is a way for them to tell their story to express what has happened to them and to feel involved and part of something. I think it is a wonderful idea. I am not the best singer in the world but I am just looking forward to being part of something which is so special and which makes a difference.”
Today Big Lottery Fund has announced a £3m investment in mental health services across Northern Ireland looking at new and innovative ways to provide support.
The funding has been awarded to a consortium of eight partners who will work together for the first time to provide a range of vital services under a joint partnership.
The Together 4 You project is being led by Action Mental Health (AMH) in association with Aware Defeat Depression, CAUSE, CRUSE, MindWise, Nexus, PraxisCare and Relate NI, who will work together to promote mental health and well being in Northern Ireland.
The partnership will raise awareness of positive mental health and encourage early intervention and provide intensive support services for people experiencing mental ill health.
For the first time, a co-ordinated and joined up approach across the eight organisations will support activities in each of the five Health and Social Care Trust areas.
Activities over the next three years will include working with school mental health promotion, activities that promote well being in older people, campaigns to reduce the stigma and discrimination of mental health, suicide/self harm and bereavement support initiatives and improved psychological therapies.
Joanne McDowell, the Big Lottery Fund’s Northern Ireland Director, said: “We are delighted to be working with the Together for You partnership to promote positive mental health in Northern Ireland.
Joanne added: “We are excited that these eight organisations, all with a huge amount of experience in the field of mental health, have come together for the first time to deliver a programme of activity that will make a major difference to the lives of across Northern Ireland.”
“We look forward to working with them and sharing the learning and best practice from this partnership.”