National Lottery grants windfall for Mid & East Antrim projects

National Lottery Fund has awarded 31 grants in NI totalling �9,420,282, among them (pictured) the province wide Family Care Adoption Services.
National Lottery Fund has awarded 31 grants in NI totalling �9,420,282, among them (pictured) the province wide Family Care Adoption Services.

Two community projects based in Mid & East Antrim have together been awarded grants amounting to around £800,000 from The National Lottery Community Fund.

Access Employment Ltd’s five-year Community Shed project is using their £296,677 grant to support men and women from the Mid and East Antrim Council area with learning disabilities or difficulties, autism spectrum disorder, mental or physical ill health and older retired people.

The project is reducing isolation, improving wellbeing, teaching new skills which could lead to new employment and helping people have a purpose and contribute to the community. Activities could include woodwork, producing and selling hanging baskets, redeveloping small plots of land around Larne, pottery, history sessions, and a drop-in service. People will have a mix of abilities and people with disabilities will work with people without. The project is also repairing allotments, installing new flower beds, buying tools, and equipment and resurfacing the existing access road.

Ballymena Family & Addicts Support Group, based in Mid and East Antrim and Belfast, is using their grant of £495,517 over four years to create a network of community organisations to offer flexible, timely and accessible support to people with addiction and mental ill-health, including their families and carers. They are providing counselling, mental health first aid, befriending, complementary therapies, sport, arts and crafts, training, and awareness raising projects. The project is being delivered with Preventing Addiction Larne, Cornerstone in Carrickfergus and Action for Community Transformation Initiative in Belfast.

Kate Beggs, The National Lottery Community Fund NI Director, said: “It’s great to see National Lottery money being used by people who are taking the lead in developing great ideas to help their communities thrive. I want to say thanks to all the National Lottery players who have helped make this possible.”

The grant money is raised by National Lottery players and awarded to communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Since June 2004, The National Lottery Community Fund have made over 200,000 grants and awarded over nine billion pounds to projects that have benefited millions of people. In this latest round of funding, 31 grants totalling £9,420,282 were awarded.

Anyone interested in applying to the Fund will find application forms and guidance notes are available to download at For more details telephone 028 9055 1455, or e-mail