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£1mllion Shared History Fund brings people together to mark the Centenary of Northern Ireland

The National Lottery Heritage Fund has announced that 39 projects will benefit from £1million of funding through the Shared History Fund to help mark the Centenary of Northern Ireland.

The Shared History Fund, which The National Lottery Heritage Fund is distributing on behalf of the Northern Ireland Office, will support groups in marking the Centenary of Northern Ireland in 2021 in a thoughtful, inclusive and engaging way.

The fund received high levels of interest and following acompetitive application and assessment process, 39 projects across Northern Ireland were awarded grants of between £3,000 - £100,000.

The projects are diverse and cover a wide range of subjects and key moments in Northern Ireland’s history - from discovering untold stories of Northern Ireland’s past, to examining the development of sport over the last 100 years, to the contribution of a range of communities to the Northern Ireland we know today.

In awarding grants, The National Lottery Heritage Fund prioritised those organisations which best demonstrated how they were inclusive of different audiences and interpretations of the past, in line with the Principles for Remembering.

These are a set of principles which The National Lottery Heritage Fund developed in partnership with the Community Relations Council in 2011, to help groups navigate difficult history and to ensure the stories told throughout the Decade of Centenaries were thoughtful and inclusive of a range of perspectives.

The Shared History Fund provides another opportunity for these principles to be used in practice, as groups mark the 2021 Centenary.

Mukesh Sharma, Chair, Northern Ireland, The National Lottery Heritage Fund said:

“As a leading funder of heritage throughout the UK, we understand the central role that heritage plays in people’s lives and their communities. We also recognise that there are aspects of heritage that can be challenging.

“However, our experience in supporting partners to navigate difficult periods in our history throughout the Decade of Centenaries demonstrates that there is a way to engage with difficult heritage in a positive way. No one narrative is more important than another, and it’s important we create a space that allows a range of stories to be told.

“We’re delighted to be delivering this funding on behalf of the Northern Ireland Office and have supported projects which will not only mark the Centenary but will show how we can engage with difficult heritage going forward.”

Some of the projects funded through the Shared History Fund include:

• Council-led programmes, with events, resources and opportunities to engage with the Centenary in your area, including Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, Belfast City Council, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council and Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council.

• Projects which build a better understanding of the key events, institutions, people and communities who have been impacted since the establishment of Northern Ireland, with projects led by Cardinal Tomas O Fiaich Memorial Library & Archive and Magherafelt District Orange Lodge.

• 100 years of football in Northern Ireland, from the impact of partition to the role it plays in communities today, with projects by Tollymore Football Club and Crusaders Football Club.

• The role and contribution of minority communities in Northern Ireland with projects led by the Belfast Jewish Community, Chinese Welfare Association and Armagh Roma Traveller Support.

• The creation of new digital resources, online exhibitions, podcasts and events, which preserve and bring the story of Northern Ireland to a new audience from the Nerve Centre, Libraries NI and Linen Hall Library.

• The memories and key moments in history that shaped local towns and neighbourhoods, as well as rural communities, with projects led by Ballynafeigh Community Development Association and Rural Community Network.

• Cross-community projects which educate young people, as well as gain their perspective on the Northern Ireland of the future, by Reach Across and Shared Future News.

The Shared History Fund has been created as part of the UK Government’s commitment to facilitate local and national awareness of the centenary of Northern Ireland, and of the United Kingdom as we know it today.

The fund also reflects the commitment to mark the Centenary of Northern Ireland in line with the Principles for Remembering, as set out in the New Decade New Approach agreement in January 2020.

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Brandon Lewis said:

"It has been fantastic to see the level of interest and diversity of applications for this initiative. I am delighted that the UK Government's £1 million allocation to Northern Ireland's Shared History Fund is supporting such worthwhile and inclusive projects throughout the centenary year.

“I would like to congratulate the successful applicants, whose projects are set to make such a positive difference to a range of communities, and to thank The National Lottery Heritage Fund for their key role in supporting the delivery of these vital grassroots programmes."

A full list of grants awarded through the Shared History Fundis available at


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