BIG grants to help NI community venues save cash

Today we’ve announced grants for organisations across Northern Ireland to carry out improvements to their venues so they can make savings and continue to improve the services they provide. 

Grants totalling over £439,000 have been awarded to 22 groups from our Energy Efficient Venues programme.  The programme, which is now closed for applications, offers Lottery cash to local groups to carry out improvements to their community venues so they make savings on their heating and lighting costs and cut down on their spending.

Among the organisations awarded funding is the Share Discovery Village, Northern Ireland’s largest outdoor pursuit centre, which receives £46,738. The residential centre welcomes 15,000 visitors a year and this grant will allow it to put LED lighting in its pool and external areas, upgrade insulation and install new solar electric panels.

This means Share can put more money into activities for people from all backgrounds. Chief Executive Robert Livingstone is delighted. “Our energy costs were just crippling us. With these improvements we will save £8,500 a year on the electricity bills,” he said.

The Nexus Institute provides counselling support for adults whose lives have been affected by sexual abuse. It has received £9,946 to carry out improvements to its Belfast offices, including replacing a boiler, updating radiators and lighting and putting in insulation.

“We work with very vulnerable people and it is important that we have a warm and inviting environment to bring them into,” said regional manager Peter Lockhart.  “The money we save will be deployed to front line services rather than going into heating costs.”

In Coalisland, theatre goers are set to reap the benefits of a £44,919 grant to CRAIC (Community Recreational Arts in Coalisland). Thearts group offers drama and music activities and the grant will allow it to install a new heating system and add a porch to reduce heat loss.

“This is a great group and these improvements will help us save money which we will use to make things even better for everyone involved,” said management committee member Brian Duffin.

Ballyrashane Parish Church has long had a problem with condensation in its 200-year-old parish hall.A grant of £37,441 will enable the parish to make the hall warmer and cut heating and lighting bills.

Reverend Amanda Adams said: “The hall is very cold and takes a long time to heat up. Because of the cold stone walls we get a lot of condensation which makes the floor very slippery.”

The boiler will be replaced, and the floor, roof and walls insulated. Gone will be the need to boil kettles simply to get hot water. “This meant we were very restricted in what we could do in the hall, especially for our older folk. We will now be able to better reach out to the community,” said Amanda.

A grant of £46,723 to Dunnygarron Cultural Society, Ballymena, will secure the future of its hall, which will be insulated, draught proofed and benefit from new windows, doors, boiler and energy efficient lighting. “This will safeguard the hall for community use,” said chairperson William Armstrong.

The Energy Efficient Venues programme is closed for applications. To find about more about the programme visit

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