Young people, older people and community groups are among those celebrating today after receiving a Big Lottery Fund grant.
Lisnabreen and Clanmorris Community Association, based in Bangor, recently received a£10,000 grant from Big Lottery Fund’s Awards for All programme to help transform their community. They are using the £10,000 to clean and spruce up the general area and create activities and events for the whole community.
It is part of a Big Lottery Fund grants roll out today of £635,016 to 78 groups across Northern Ireland. (See what’s been funded in your area)
Paulina Andrews has lived in Lisnabreen her whole life but in more recent years she said the sense of community started to falter. “Thirty years ago, this was a completely different place. I remember flowerbeds everywhere, and the place was well kept and friendly. It went downhill slowly. People were tired of the problems but felt hopeless to change anything,” she said.
“I felt that we needed to voice our concerns and that we should have a right to be proud of our estate. Years of illegal dumping and antisocial behaviour have deprived us of those chances. We wanted to change that for our kids.”
So earlier this year, after speaking with other residents, Paulina called a public meeting to address these issues, and from this they formed Lisnabreen and Clanmorris Community Association.
The group applied to Awards for All earlier this year and was successful in securing £10,000 to put the group’s ideas into action. They were especially keen to involve young people in their plans.
“We sat down with the kids and talked about how they spend most of their time outside of school. They said they’re mostly on social media and the internet. So we thought about how they could help show our community in a different light through social media. They came up with the idea for a movie to share on social media and we ran a series of kids’ filmmaking workshops in the summer. The kids came up with the storyline for Made in Lisnabreen. They directed and produced it, decided on special effects and we let them run with their imaginations. It will be screened at the end of September,” she said.
They also used the money for a community clean-up. “There was an awful lot of rubbish needing picked up around the estate. We had a 15 hour clean-up one weekend involving the whole community from kids aged three to people in their 70s, then had the fun day afterwards as a thank you. The playpark and nature park have been cleaned up and we can be proud of them again,” she said.
Paulina said the activities funded by Big Lottery Fund have re-energised the community.
“With this Awards for All grant, we are getting our neighbourhood back to the way it was, and better. Our voices are being heard. Before, nobody thought about complaining because they thought there was no point – no one would listen. But look what we have achieved in just a few months. Who knows what we can achieve in the future?”
The Conservation Volunteers also received £10,000 in this funding rollout. The group, which promotes conservation through activities with local communities, are using the grant to provide a horticulture project for unemployed young people in Portadown and Craigavon.
Belfast FM, which runs a radio station aimed at people over 55 in the Greater Belfast area, has been awarded £5,100. The organisation is staffed by volunteers and they are using the grant to provide training for volunteers in location interviewing and studio editing techniques.
And Women’s Centre Derry Ltd received £9,525. The group provides learning and development opportunities for women in Derry/Londonderry. They are using the grant to provide 40 women from disadvantaged communities with activities to increase their skills, confidence and wellbeing.