By Andrew Kennedy

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We were in Derry~Londonderry yesterday for the vibrant launch of our new £1.35 million Culture for All programme.

Culture for All is a small grants programme run in partnership with the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. It offers grants of up to £10,000 to communities across Northern Ireland that want to play a part in the UK City of Culture celebrations which are taking place in Derry~Londonderry in 2013.

Community organisations in Northern Ireland will be able to apply for funding to run arts and culture projects that link in with the historic event, encourage talent and improve the lives of people in communities.

Thankfully the bad weather stayed away for the launch and we enjoyed bright sunshine and plenty of dancing, music and laughter as a range of local groups involved in arts activities came together at the city’s spectacular new Ebrington Barracks public square to help us celebrate.

Against the backdrop of the eye catching Peace Bridge and the city’s famous Guild Hall, the gathered crowds were entertained by a group of local musicians who brought their fiddles, tin whistles and guitars with them and performed traditional tunes that kept spirits high and feet tapping.

Rural dance group ‘Tongues, Tones, and Tappin’, were on hand to perform highland and line dancing routines that had everyone clapping and cheering along, while there was plenty  of clowning around as young people from groups in Belfast and Derry donned fancy dress and painted faces that kept everyone amused.

Our NI Director, Joanne McDowell, was joined at the event by the Deputy Mayor of the city, who remarked: “It’s fantastic that the Big Lottery Fund and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland are coming together  to offer this opportunity for groups across Northern Ireland to play their part in the UK City of Culture celebrations. It’s been a great launch and great fun for everyone.

Commenting on the success of the launch, Joanne said: “Derry~Londonderry made history last year when it became the first ever UK City of Culture. This momentous achievement means that the city will play host to a year-long celebration of culture in 2013 for local people and visitors from across the world.

“It was nice to meet the groups today and chat about their activities and to launch our new programme is just a great setting. We want to ensure that groups across Northern Ireland can develop and deliver arts and culture projects that link to the celebrations and also benefit the lives of people in their local communities.”

The guidance notes and application form for the Culture For All programme are now available to download from Big Lottery Fund’s website. 

Go to:

If you have any queries please contact the Outreach team in Big Lottery Fund’s Belfast office on 028 90551455.

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