The Big Walk visited some amazing projects in NI this week

By Helen-Rose Owen, Big Lottery Fund NI


It’s been a busy week for #TeamNI of #TheBigWalk. We were totally thrilled that the walker for Northern Ireland, @Michael_Conlon, and the team stopped at some fantastic projects who received funding through

the National Lottery.

On Friday 18th May, The Big Walk team arrived in Belfast! Check out the photos from their very busy day here.

The team stopped at New Lodge and Duncairn Health Initiative (NLDCHP) during their walk in Belfast, who are funded by the Big Lottery Fund. NLDCHP were awarded £696,836 of money raised by National Lottery players for their project, Supporting Families North Belfast. Over five years, the group will work with families and children across North Belfast to improve their health – both physical and emotional.

By working with local health and wellbeing organisations, NLDCHP will teach children and their parents and carers about nutrition, physical activity and stress management. The project will boost children’s confidence and improve their resilience. Kids will be able to cope better when things get difficult, an important investment for their future mental health.

On Wednesday 23rd May, the Big Walk team visited The Escapists in Fermanagh. The Escapists are a group of women carers who come together to support each other through the ups and downs of caring for a loved one. The Escapists received £35,325 from the Big Lottery Fund in January last year for their project, Me Time. With this relatively small pot of money, they’ve developed a powerful programme that has a real and positive impact on the women it serves.

Have a look at some of the photos taken during the stop at

Caring for a loved one can be a full time job and it can be hard for carers to take time off from their responsibilities. The Escapists offer that chance, giving the women some time away – even for just a couple of hours a week.

“Our aim is to support parents of children and adults with learning difficulties or to any unpaid carer with a heavy caring burden. We’re committed to improving the holistic wellbeing of carers and their loved ones, and supporting carers’ continued personal development,” explains Clare McGovern from the Escapists. “We give carers a chance to relax and meet other carers who are in the same boat. We understand each other! It gives the carers time to chat and have fun and have a cuppa.”


On Thursday 24th, Michael and the team had a very special assignment. He dropped in for a surprise visit to St Eoghan’s Primary School in Draperstown and presented them with a cheque for £10,000!

Watch their reaction to the news here

Paschal Diamond, Principal from St Eoghan’s Primary school said, ‘Getting funding from the National Lottery is fantastic news for our school. It will make such a difference to our outdoor learning space and will allow us to open the school up to become a hub of activity for everyone in the community.’

On Friday 25th, Big Walk team dropped in on an incredible project based in Ballymoney.

Compass Advocacy Network (CAN) are one of many projects funded by the Big Lottery Fund who work with young people with disabilities. CAN help to give young people the power to become self-advocates and gain valuable employment skills whilst they develop their self-esteem and confidence.

Janet Schofield, CEO of CAN, says: “Young people with a learning disability struggle when it comes to leaving school, leaving children’s services and moving into adult services – it’s a massive leap. CAN Pathways will provide a person centred approach to planning that transition by discovering the dreams and aspirations of the young person and the support they want and need to enable them to get the life they choose.”

All of this amazing work has been made possible thanks to National Lottery players. We at the Big Lottery Fund love to support projects that support people to realise their own dreams and ambitions.


    • Hi Morrice Jane,
      Please contact our office on 028 9055 1455 so we can discuss your request in more detail.
      Big Lottery Fund NI

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