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Are you seeking funding of between £300 – £10,000 for your project? Read on…….

February 27, 2019

Hello from all of us at The National Lottery Community Fund Northern Ireland. There’s just over a month to go until the end of this financial year so you are probably thinking about getting some funding for your project idea.

Our most popular programme, National Lottery Awards For All, may be worth a look if you are seeking funds to cover a 12 month project.

National Lottery Awards For All can fund voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations. As well as, schools and statutory bodies.

The programme can cover the costs of projects that have been designed and developed by communities to improve people’s lives and strengthen community activity.

Check out our website to find out more about the types of activities we can fund.

In December, we received 73 applications from groups all across Northern Ireland.

We couldn’t review 15% of the applications because they weren’t complete.

Most of these had not been signed by the contacts named on the form or did not have all of the information we require for the contact people included within the application.

Make sure your application is complete by triple checking the following:

  • Two contact people must be included on your form (three if your organisation is a registered company).
  • Your contacts must hold one of the specified positions/roles listed on the form.
  • These people must sign your form and provide their home address and data of birth.
  • You sent us a recent bank statement with your form. This should be for the account you would like us to pay your grant into.

There are no closing dates for National Lottery Awards For All, so you can send us your application at any time. It normally takes us between 6-8 weeks to review your form so consider this when you’re deciding on your project start date.

We want to hear your project ideas so feel free to contact our team on 028 9055 1455 or by email at if you would like to chat about your plans or get advice from us.

Good luck!

Clogher Valley Decides!

February 14, 2019

On 6th December, we held our first ever participatory budgeting event in Northern Ireland when the Clogher Valley Community Centre became a hive of activity.

Fifteen groups from the Clogher Valley area were invited along to pitch their project idea to their local community in the hope of getting funding of up to £500.

Nearly one hundred local people braved the cold to come along and vote for their favourite project.

Ten groups received funding on the night and this is what they will be up to between now and April 2019:

Augher Central Primary School PTFA
Lights, Camera, Action

This project will be a Drama and Music based club, teaching children about the world of the stage and theatre, along with providing opportunities for performance. Funding would enable the school to host the club and would be open to all children from the wider Clogher Valley community. At the end of the sessions the children would perform for friends and family in a community event showcasing the local talent.

Augher Development Association
Defibrillator Training

The group recently installed an outside defibrillator for the use of the whole community. This is located on the town side of the Spar shop. They would like to host a training seminar to have members of community trained in the use of the defibrillator which they hope will be of great benefit to all.

Campa Mhic Artain
St. Patricks Programme

Campa mhic artain is an irish language, sport and music orientated summer camp based in augher, in the heart of the clogher valley. Funding would allow the group to run a project around the St. Patricks Day festivities, which will include an event on St. Patrick’s day itself in and around the village of Augher.

Carntall PTA
Ready, Steady, Read

The group would like funding to create a shared library for children who find reading difficult. To do this they would like to purchase a collection of books which would be levelled according to age and topic and essentially shared between the three local primary schools within the Clogher Valley. (St Mac Cartans Primary School, Augher Central Primary School and Carntall Primary School).

Castlecaulfield Eco Buddies
The “Beyond Limits” project

The group are a cross community youth group from 8 years to 14+. Funding would cover the costs of the “Beyond Limits” project. This is an inter generational programme where the children visit local nursing homes interacting with the residents through various activities.

Clogher Valley Beekeepers Association
Beekeeping Training for Beginners

The group would like funding to hold a series of training classes in the Clogher Valley area, for members of the public who are interested in learning some of the basic practical skills, in the declining craft of beekeeping.

Cúchulainn an Ghleanna
Club Training

This group are a hurling and camogie club, established in late 2016. They would like funding to rent a hall for 8 nights over a two month period to provide training sessions for children living in the Clogher Valley area.

Fivemiletown Women’s Institute
The Clogher Valley Area Events Project

The group would like funding to hold 2 area wide events targeting 120 women from the 8 WI’s across the Clogher Valley Area. The first is a Bowls and Quiz Evening on 28 February 2019 where women can either observe or take part in the quiz and bowls competitions. The second event is a one day Craft School on 9 March 2019 when local tutors will demonstrate and teach women 6 different traditional crafts. Both events will take place in St John’s Hall, Fivemiletown.

Home Start Clogher Valley
The Volunteer Support Project

Home-Start Clogher Valley trains volunteers from within the locality to visit and support families with young children in their own homes. Volunteers willingly give up 2-4 hours of their time each week to help support a family in need. Funding will cover the volunteers’ travel expenses and training to allow them to continue to support families in the area.

Tully Meadow Community Association
The Mindfulness through Creativity & Horticulture Project

Funding will cover the costs of creative craft and horticultural activities workshops for the community. It is a great way of bringing people together, making new friends, learning new skills and sharing existing skills.

All of the groups will be invited along to a celebration event we are hosting during May 2019 to tell their local community all about their project and how it went. If you would like to come along please get in touch with us and we will keep you informed. You can contact our team at:

Jenny Fitzgerald
028 9055 1494 or 079 7138 7154

Colin Howells
028 9055 1434 or 079 7138 7167

Helen Hill
028 9055 1436 or 079 7138 7150

Michael Liggett
028 9055 1429 or 078 3724 8038

Leaders with Lived Experience

February 12, 2019

The National Lottery Community Fund has launched a pilot programme to empower and create opportunities for leaders within communities to use their personal experience to create change for others.

The Leaders with Lived Experience pilot programme is using money raised by National Lottery players to offer grants of up to £50,000 to organisations to support new or existing leaders.

A lived experience leader is someone who uses their first-hand experience of a social issue to improve the lives of people who share this experience; working with and for the community.

An example could be someone who experienced homelessness and is working to improve homelessness services; or a person who lost a loved one to suicide sets up and runs a support group for others who have experienced the same trauma.

This pilot will enable us, and the wider sector, to continue learning about how people with first-hand experience can become leaders and how funders can support them; putting them at the forefront of the design, development and delivery of community activity.

Voluntary or community organisations set up, or run, by leaders with lived experience can apply for funding, showing that they meet at least one of these priorities:

  • pilot and learn about different ways we can develop leaders with lived experience
  • support work to change the way lived experience is viewed and valued in decision making
  • encourage innovative examples of how to develop lived experience at all levels of an organisation

The application deadline is 5pm on 25th February 2019. See our website for information on how to apply and to download an application form.

If you need more information, advice or support in completing your application (or need the application materials in an alternative format) please contact us at or call our advice team on 0345 4 10 20 30.

Text relay users, please use 18001 plus 0345 4 10 20 30.

The National Lottery Community Fund

February 8, 2019

From 29th January 2019, Big Lottery Fund will be known as The National Lottery Community Fund. You may have noticed the change on our social media channels, and with the name change we also have a brand new logo.


Our new name reflects our commitment to working more closely with communities and the fact that we are proud to distribute funds raised by National Lottery Players. We have a new name but we’ve been working in this way since 2015 now and want to celebrate that, as much as our new name. Working more locally means we’re better placed to put people in the lead, and when that happens – communities thrive. People understand what’s needed in their communities better than anyone else – this is why we ask them what matters to them, not what’s the matter with them.


Will this have an impact on any organisation who is funded in my area?  

This will not have an impact on National Lottery funded work in your area. The only changes are to increase National Lottery players’ awareness of the excellent projects they make possible. We will be changing our digital addresses: web, emails and social media. We have been in contact with all of our stakeholders in the run up to the change to let them know about that.


Will local organisations need to change their websites/headed paper etc.?  

We won’t be asking grant holders to replace any of their existing merchandise, and we will make every effort to ensure that grant holders keep using merchandise and signage they currently use. We will ask grant holders to make as many digital changes as possible in order to assist with the switchover, such as website and social media, and we will help them along the way.


When will grant holders be informed of this change?  

We emailed all grant holders on 28 September, explaining the reasons behind the change and assuring them that there is no need to change any of their materials at this stage. Letting them know ahead of the public launch in January 2019 means we have had time to talk to them about the change, answer any questions and prepare resources to support them when the time comes to transition to the new name and logo. We emailed all grant holders on 29 January when our new name and visual identity went live.


How will we be able to find you online?

You will be able to find us on Twitter on our new handle @TNLComFundNI and on Facebook at @TNLCommunityFundNI.

Our social media will be redecorated for our name change, and we will have plenty of exciting content celebrating our new name and our projects through the week so keep an eye out.

You can find our website at:

If you have any other questions you can always get in touch through our blog or social media.

Down Special Olympics

January 21, 2019

‘Most of us will only ever dream about it…’ boomed the tannoy over the cheering crowd.

But as Co. Down’s Fintan O’Connor climbed to the top of the Olympic podium in June last year, he’d made dreams come true.

Arms aloft in a victory salute, the Downpatrick sportsman was crowned undisputed golfing champion at the All Ireland Special Olympic Games in Dublin, held at St Margaret’s championship golf course last summer. In fulfilling his own personal ambitions though, Fintan was also nurturing those of others within his wider autistic community.

Fintan’s mum Celine wasn’t even sure what autism was when Fintan was diagnosed. But now, Fintan is blurring all the boundaries between ability and disability, thanks to Down Special Olympics Club.

The club, based in Downpatrick, are using £37,350 of money raised by National Lottery players to continue and expand their work bringing people with learning disabilities together to learn new sports and build relationships. Members are offered a package of Olympic sports and activities including, bocce, football, table tennis, and golf.

Fintan joined the group seven years ago having discovered his talent for golf when he was 15.

“I used to wallop balls down the fields,” recalls Fintan, nodding towards the countryside around his Ballynoe home.

“That bog down there must be full of golf balls,” laughs Celine. “And sure when he was only a wee thing he used to play what he called his Concrete Golf round the yard with the drains as the holes. He even did his own sound effects and commentary!”

Now 39, Fintan’s come a long way from his concrete golf course – and Down Special Olympics Club have played a crucial role in that journey. Celine says being part of the Club has made a huge difference to aspects of Fintan’s life beyond just his sporting ambitions.

“The social and life opportunities the Special Olympics have brought are so important,” she explains. “Fintan has had experiences which otherwise he probably wouldn’t have had the confidence to tackle.

“For instance, going to the Triple Crown in Dublin was something right out of Fintan’s comfort zone. Then he travelled to the Ireland Special Olympics in June 2018 with the rest of the team on the train and stayed with them in accommodation at Dublin City University – we were able to give him his independence and stay in a separate hotel.”

Thanks to National Lottery players, Down Special Olympics Club can provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults. This provides them with opportunities to develop physical fitness, experience joy and take part in skill-sharing and friendship with their families and other special Olympic athletes.

Chairman of the group, Frank Donnelly said: “As one of our gold medallists Fintan represents everything which Down Special Olympics is about. The new funding from Big Lottery Fund will enable us to help more people develop their talents, building new skills and friendships.”