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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

National Lottery funding is bringing festive cheer to Mid and East Antrim

Christmas has come early for 10 community groups in the Mid and East Antrim area. They have received funding as part of an announcement of £6.8million of funding from The National Lottery Community Fund to 139 groups across Northern Ireland. 


The National Lottery funding is being used to bring isolated people together in warm spaces, to support people struggling with the rising cost of living, and to improve the wellbeing of vulnerable people during the festive period.   


One of the organisations receiving funding is The Open Door Centre in Carrickfergus. They are using a £10,000 grant to deliver activities to support the local community and reduce isolation. The project includes a parent and toddler group, carers support group, activities for older people and a BabyBank for families in need. 


Victory Praise Community Church in Ballymena also received a £10,000 grant to buy energy efficient equipment and refurbish their kitchen facilities so they can organise events to support people during the cost-of-living crisis. This includes community meals, gardening support for vulnerable residents and social outings for young people.   


Home Start East Antrim has been awarded a £10,000 grant to recruit, train and support a team of volunteers. This will help volunteers to be managed effectively, feel valued and feel connected to the wider organisation. 


Thanks to National Lottery players, more than £30 million a week is raised for good causes, including 1st Greenisland Scout Group.

They are using a £3,600 grant to create a sensory room for members with autism and/or ADHD. The project will also repaint the main hall and repair the flooring to make a safer and more comfortable space for the children and young people to take part in activities. 


Positive Carrickfergus CIC has been awarded a £155,850 grant to promote community spirit, give people a voice and create positive experiences within the town.

Over two years the project will bring people together to take part in arts and cultural activities to showcase Carrickfergus’ assets, develop an Arts strategy and highlight the potential of developing the Town Hall into a community hub. Activities include Big Lunches, repair cafes, music festivals, clothes swaps, performances and exhibitions.    


Also receiving funding is Ballymena Sea Cadets, Glenravel Community First Responders, Regimental Association of the Ulster Defence Regiment CGC (Ballymena), Safe Spaces For All (Connect-Ed) and WayMaker Child Therapy C.I.C. 


Paul Sweeney, The National Lottery Community Fund’s NI Chair, said:

“I’m proud to see the impact our funded projects are having in people’s lives and across communities in Northern Ireland. This winter is difficult for many but thanks to these projects, people are being supported to make connections and feel less isolated. 

“We are supporting groups to deal with the rising costs that are challenging their services and working flexibly to ensure that National Lottery funding is continuing to reach people who need support.” 

For more information on National Lottery funding visit:

• Safe Spaces for All, based in Ahoghill, are using a £10,000 grant to provide a welcoming, safe space for young people who are affected by anxiety, to come together to connect and develop life skills to help prepare them for their futures.

Waymaker Child Therapy CIC, based in Ballymena, is using a £10,000 grant to run a pilot project offering support for parents and a chance for them to develop friendships with other parents. This includes group sessions to help parents to manage difficult emotions and behaviours, and parent and baby bonding activities.

The Regimental Association of the Ulster Defence Regiment, Ballymena Branch, is using a £10,000 grant to provide activities for their members to socialise, reduce isolation and share their stories.They will also publish a regular newsletter to keep their members connected.

Glenravel Community First Responders is using a £10,000 grant to set up a volunteer-led first responder scheme in this rural area. The project will buy medical equipment and train volunteers to providelife-saving care to people in medical emergencies while waiting for an ambulance to arrive.

Ballymena Sea Cadets is using a £10,000 grant to buy a safety boatwhich will ensure the young cadets can safely take part in wateractivities and training to improve their communication, strategic thinking, teambuilding and wellbeing.


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