For the past two years, The National Lottery Community Fund team in Northern Ireland have been out visiting groups across Northern Ireland more than ever before. We had the opportunity to
visit Newtownabbey Senior Citizens Forum (NSCF) earlier this year to join in with their celebrations for 25 years of the National Lottery.
NSCF received just under £250,000 funding, raised by National Lottery players, for their +Five-0 And On The Go project. The project reduces social isolation and improves mental health and wellbeing for people over the age of 50 in the Newtownabbey and Antrim area. They have various activities running weekly that range from bowling and boccia to walking clubs and line dancing.
To mark the quarter of a century celebrations, NSCF held a very special bowling tournament at Lilian Bland Pavilion in Glengormley. Joanie Arthurs, Mark Baine, Jerome Grace and Bronagh Diamond (otherwise known as team Crossed Fingers) from our office stopped by to join in.
40 people from seven different groups divided into seven teams to compete in a friendly (but competitive) games of bowls. Bronagh Diamond, Communications Officer for The National Lottery Community Fund, told us:
“There was a lovely celebratory atmosphere, and everyone was in great spirits. The sun was also shining which is a rarity for Northern Ireland. After the first matches were played, everyone got together for some tea and cake and a good chat. It was amazing to hear how much of a difference NSCF’s work has made to people’s lives.”
Telling us more about the project and the impact it has on people’s lives, Robert McQuiston, Project Coordinator, said;
“The funding we receive not only enables us to change lives but, in some cases, save them.
“The result of taking part in our project has not only had a positive effect on the physical health of our participants but also their self-esteem, social life and general wellbeing.
“We have also had feedback from family members and friends of our participants saying how it has been a great relief to them, removing the stress of worry and knowing that the project is having such a positive effect and seeing the changes it has made to their mother, father, friend etc.
“To celebrate the National Lottery’s 25th Anniversary we organised a Bowling Tournament in Lilian Bland Park Bowling Pavilion. The event was support by teams from Antrim, Randalstown, Newtownabbey and a representative team from The National Lottery Community Fund.
Big thanks from all of our participants to the National Lottery Players, without whom projects like ours would not be possible.”
If you are interested in finding out more about Newtownabbey Senior Citizens Forum and the +Five-0 And On The Go project visit their website.