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Awards for All Increases Size of Grants available in Northern Ireland

ORGANISATIONS and community groups across Northern Ireland are getting the chance to apply for more lottery cash to improve the lives of local people.

Since Awards for All started almost five years ago almost £14 million has been awarded to nearly 4,000 organisations in Northern Ireland including small community groups, schools and charities, as well as sports clubs, arts projects and heritage schemes.

Until today, the maximum grant available under the National Lottery small grants scheme was £5,000, but that figure will now rise to £10,000.

Awards for All Programme Manager Punam McGookin said: “Lottery distributors are aware of the importance of responding to the changing needs of groups looking to access funds for projects and the rising costs that are incurred in the delivery of programmes.

“We are also aware of the changes in the local funding environment which makes applying for funding increasingly competitive. So we are increasing the upper ceiling on grant size from £5,000 to a maximum of £10,000 in any 12 month period. We have also increased the amount of money that will be available for distribution so larger grants will not necessarily result in less awards being made.”

Ms McGookin added: “The current success rate for applications is 75 per cent, which is the highest it has ever been in Northern Ireland. It is clear there is a real need for such funding and that smaller projects can bring positive changes to the lives of local people.”

Friends of Woodvale Park in Belfast is one of the thousands of groups to benefit from Awards from All funding in the past. The group is using its grant of £4,916 to organise a series of seasonally themed events in the park.

Jennifer Cornell, a member of the management committee, said: “The park is a large public space which has problems with anti-social behaviour and general degradation. It has pleasant features but is in great need of preservation and development.

“Friends of Woodvale Park wants to reclaim the park by providing social activities aimed at the community including young families and older people. We want to bring people back into the park and have a positive presence in it.”

Lisburn Downs Syndrome Support Group used a £4,998 grant to organise a holiday in Scotland for children with Downs Syndrome and their families.

“As a parent of children with Downs Syndrome you can feel quite isolated, and we found it a help getting away together on holidays as a group,” said chairperson Mildred Tate.

Mildred said going away as a group is good for the whole family. “The holiday benefits the siblings too because they get to meet other children in the same situation and realise that they are not the only ones with a brother or sister with Downs Syndrome,” Mildred said

Newcastle Amateur Boxing Club used its grant of £4,100 to renovate a rundown building, bringing it up to the standard needed for clubrooms. 

Club chairman and head coach Noel Magee said the club was established last May. “We got a run down building and have gutted and renovated it.  We have now got our first boxing champion so the club really is going from strength to strength,” he said.

Middletown Friendly Club in Armagh also received a grant of £3,602 to organise activities and outings for older people.  Treasurer Mary Grimley said: “It is not easy for older people to get out and about and to meet with other people, especially in the border counties. Without the Awards for All grant we would not have been able to organise all the activities and outings we have held.”

Derry Youth Dance used its grant of £3,200 to tutor students in contemporary and creative dance, leading to a summer performance at the Millennium Forum in Derry City.  Tutor Kerry Houston said: “This is a unique opportunity for the girls to put the work they have done onto the public stage. Without this grant we may not have been able to put on a public performance because the venue and lighting are expensive. The children would have been very disappointed. It is unusual for students to get the opportunity to perform on stage and this summer production will be a bit different from just having parents come into the studio to watch.”

Tullylish Historical Society used the £4,100 grant to produce a book and video based on the life of life of local man Albert Uprichard, now aged 87. Chairperson Anne Murphy said: “Albert Uprichard had a great life in boxing and hunting. He was born in a castle outside Gilford and still lives by himself. I wanted the community to know more about his life.”


-   Awards for All Northern Ireland is a joint Lottery grants programme supported by the Arts Council Northern Ireland, Big Lottery Fund*, Heritage Lottery Fund and Sports Council of Northern Ireland.

-  *Big Lottery Fund is the joint operating name of the New Opportunities Fund and the National Lottery Charities Board (which made grants under the name of the Community Fund).

-    Application Packs are available to download from the website on or
     by telephoning the Awards for All hotline on: 0845 6002040;
     Minicom number 0845 755 6656.

-    The Awards for All office can be contacted on 028 9055 9090.

-    For general information log on to




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Last modified: Wednesday April 25, 2020.