Antrim and Newtownabbey groups share in grants windfall

Five community groups in the borough are celebrating after being awarded National Lottery funding.

Newtownabbey Men’s Shed, Little Hands Pre School, GUS Health and Wellbeing, Hill Croft Parent Teacher Association, and, St James,

Aldergrove GFC are amongst the 86 groups across Northern Ireland who are sharing £736,023 from Big Lottery Fund’s Awards for All programme.

The Newtownabbey Men’s Shed organisation supports older men including retirees, those who have suffered a loss, and those who are isolated.

They are using a grant of £10,000 to deliver a year-long programme of activities to improve the men’s mental health and wellbeing, and to reduce isolation.

Also receiving funding is Hill Croft Parent Teacher Association. The group supports pupils at Hill Croft School, a special school in Newtownabbey whose pupils have complex needs or face severe challenges to their learning. The Parent Teacher Association used the £5,180 grant to provide a two week long programme of activities and outings over the summer period.

The Little Hands Pre School in Antrim is using a grant of £9,700 to buy new play equipment and furniture to help the children to learn through play. This includes tables and chairs, a mud kitchen, a sand pit, and scooters and bikes.

Another recipient, GUS Health and Wellbeing, which is based in Antrim, are using a grant of £9,980 to create a space for women who have experienced domestic violence to take part in physical activity with a dedicated trainer. The trainer will work with the

women on both their physical and mental health. The grant is also being used for exercise equipment for the group.

St James Aldergrove GFC, which is based in Crumlin, are using their grant of £9,264 to run a series of activities and events for young people in the area to help them avoid risky behaviour and encourage a sense of community. This includes a residential trip with transport and food included, pitch hire for sport activity,

Julie Harrison, Big Lottery Fund NI Chair, said: “Awards for All funds health, education, environment and community projects that help people bring about positive change in their lives, improve health and well-being, develop skills and create safer communities. “The application process is simple and accessible and shall remain so, making it easy for applicants to successfully apply for small pots of funding that can have such a big impact on local communities and lives.”

Awards for All Application forms are available to download at www.biglotteryfund.org.uk