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We enjoyed a great day in Derry~Londonderry yesterday when we announced £1 million to support the first UK City of Culture celebrations next year.

There was a fantastic atmosphere in the packed function hall of the City Hotel as local community organisations, politicans and people from across the city gathered to hear the news.

And they weren’t disappointed as Big Lottery Fund UK Chair, Peter Ainsworth, stepped onto the podium to rapturous applause to announce the significant investment that will support communities across Northern Ireland that want to run arts and culture activities as part of the historic celebrations in 2013.

Speaking at the event, the UK Chair said: “We want to ensure that groups across Northern Ireland can develop and deliver arts and culture projects that link to the UK City of Culture celebrations  and also benefit the lives of people in their local communities.”

Cheers rang out across the crowd and as the guests chatted excitedly about the news,  local band Plantin struck up and played a series of tunes to keep everyone entertained.  The band, made up of pupils from the local Foyleview Primary School which supports young people with learning disabilities, soon had the room rocking and were a huge success.  

It was a great day for everyone involved, including our UK Board, who also visited  a range of projects across the city earlier in the afternoon to see the difference Big Lottery funding is making to their work.

UK Chair, Peter Ainsworth, dropped into Liberty Consortium’s Playtrail project, which has been awarded over £700,000 from the Big Lottery Fund, to find out how they are improving the education and job opportunities of young people with learning disabilities.    

While other members of the UK Board visited Bonds Street Community Assocation, in the city’s Waterside area, to find out how they have used Big Lottery funding to transform a run-down space into a fantastic community garden and play area.

Speaking after the announcement, Shona McCarthy, Chief Executive of Culture Company 2013, said: “This further signifies the positive effect the City of Culture title is generating in the region and the commitment of the Big Lottery Fund to continue to generate positive change within communities.”

Check out coverage of the announcement on the BBC NI website:

Follow the link below to find out more about our investment:

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