Community groups in £19k grants windfall


Two Carrickfergus groups have received a timely cash boost as part of a province-wide grants roll-out from the Big Lottery Fund.

Carrickfergus Sea Cadets and Bennetts Chosen Few LOL received a total of £18,995 from the BLF Awards for All programme.

The award is part of a funding pot of £909,970 shared between 107 groups across Northern Ireland, offering community, voluntary and statutory groups the chance to apply for small grants of between £500 and £10,000 that will have a big impact on local communities and the lives of people most in need.

Carrickfergus Sea Cadets, which is open to young people aged between 12 and 18, has been awarded £9,995.

The organisation is using the grant to buy two rowing boats that will allow the cadets to take part in national sailing competitions in Britain.

“It broadens horizons for the kids. It’s a chance to go with their friends and peers off to competitions in the mainland and compete at a national level, something that a lot of young people that age never get the opportunity to do. The good thing about it is that it covers all social scales,” explained project spokesperson Nigel Thompson.

The group will also use the grant to partner with Carrickfergus Drug and Alcohol Advisory Group. The two groups will run activities and events aimed at raising young people’s awareness of the dangers of drugs and alcohol.

“They will be doing everything from rock climbing to kayaking and bivouac building.

“ It’s about bringing the two groups together so they can learn from each other, giving the kids the social awareness of the dangers of drugs and alcohol, and showing them that there is somebody who can help them if something does go wrong,” added Nigel.

Bennett’s Chosen Few Loyal Orange Lodge 553, which promotes community spirit through social, educational, cultural and recreational activities, also received £9,000. The grant will be used to run a festival event for the community to mark the 150th anniversary of the lodge.