UK Government launches £1 Million Shared History Fund to mark Northern Ireland Centenary
The Shared History Fund launches today, with the Government making available £1million to support the engagement of a wide range of arts, heritage, voluntary, community and other non-profit organisations with the history of the centenary of Northern Ireland.
The Shared History Fund is part of the Government’s New Decade, New Approach commitments around marking the centenary of Northern Ireland in a spirit of mutual respect, inclusiveness and reconciliation. The Fund criteria have been developed to encourage applications from a diverse range of organisations who wish to facilitate wider public engagement with this significant national anniversary in innovative and creative ways. The funding will be distributed by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and is available to organisations across the UK. It will support the work of arts, heritage, voluntary, community and other non-profit organisations, many of whom have faced significant funding challenges as a result of the COVID pandemic.
The creation of Northern Ireland paved the way for the formation of the United Kingdom as we know it today - it is a moment of profound national significance.
This anniversary represents a key milestone in the Decade of Centenaries and provides an opportunity to reflect on our shared history in a respectful and inclusive way.
Speaking ahead of today’s announcement, Robin Walker MP, Minister of State at the Northern Ireland Office, said:
“I am delighted that we are able to fulfil our New Decade, New Approach commitment by launching this Shared History Fund.
“I want to encourage as many groups as possible, from many different perspectives, to get involved in this important project marking the centenary of Northern Ireland. Whether you are a small local community group or a larger heritage institution, this is an exciting opportunity to explore our history, learn from each other and discover untold stories.”
It is also an opportunity to support non-profit organisations in their valuable work.
Paul Mullan, Director, Northern Ireland, The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:
“We are pleased to be distributing this Fund on behalf of the Northern Ireland Office to mark the centenary of the establishment of Northern Ireland.
“We recognise that dealing with contested heritage can be challenging but it’s also important that this significant period is marked, and is inclusive of the many communities and individuals it has impacted. As we approach this important date in our history, we have an opportunity to reflect honestly about our past, and explore how the events of 1921, and afterwards, impacted on people in many different ways.
“We hope that all initiatives will embrace that opportunity, and we’re looking forward to supporting a diverse range of projects and organisations through this Fund. Organisations can apply for funding from today.”
New Decade New Approach is the agreement underpinning the restoration of devolved government in Northern Ireland which was announced in January 2020.
The Decade of Centenaries is a term widely used to refer to the period 2012-2022, which includes many significant national anniversaries for both the UK and Ireland.