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The National Lottery Community Fund has announced funding to groups in the Newry, Mourne and Down areas to improve health and wellbeing and reconnect with their local community.  

Groups funded in Newry include: The Brain Injury Foundation, Greater Linenhall Area Community Association, Newry Shamrocks Gaelic Athletic Club and Three Ways Community Association. 

Brain Injury Foundation

The Brain Injury Foundation is using a £297,000 grant to provide a programme of activities and support services to help survivors of Acquired Brain Injury and their carers. Over three years the project will provide family support including home visits, information service, and a mentoring service. Activities, which will take place online or face to face at their Camlough, Milford or Armagh City venues, include respite breaks, cookery skills, day trips, mindfulness sessions, strength and balance classes, horticulture and IT classes. 

The Stroke Association

One of the groups funded is The Stroke Association which is using a £498,771 grant to provide emotional support to stroke survivors and their families, helping them build resilience and adapt through counselling and events so they can meet new people and share experiences. 

Sean O’Hare, 45, a sport obsessed teacher from Warrenpoint, had a stroke in August 2020. During his recovery he needed emotional support and received counselling to help him adapt and move on with his life.

Sean O'Hare

Sean said: “It was the strangest feeling. I was at work and my friend noticed something was wrong immediately. My facial expression changed and my face seemed to droop on one side and my speech became different all of a sudden. I was quickly taken to hospital where I spent almost a week getting treated.  

“A big thing for me was the emotional changes around how I’d been so fit and strong before and now I had to accept depending on other people. It was a lot for me to handle. I’ve always been into sport, playing football, running marathons and generally exercised until I couldn’t go any further. My family are great but I found that I could open up more and say things during the counselling sessions that I couldn’t to my loved ones, helping me to come to terms with it all.” 

“After the counselling, I felt that I had a platform to start from again. I’m delighted that this project has been funded so others can get the help I did. A big high point was starting back to teaching in March and I’m now looking forward to a new school year, this may not have been possible without the support from The Stroke Association.” 

Ursula Ferguson, Service and Engagement Lead at The Stroke Association, said: “Stroke survivors and carers tell us that they struggle emotionally with the impact of stroke, and this National Lottery funding is allowing us to come together with NI Chest, Heart and Stroke, to use our expertise to get vital support to people across Northern Ireland. Thank you to National Lottery players for making it possible, truly changing the outlook for people and families affected by stroke.”  

Greater Linenhall Area Community Association

Greater Linenhall Area Community Association in Newry is using a £10,000 grant to provide health and fitness activities for older people, personal development activities for young people and physical activities and trips for younger children. 

Bosco Youth Centre

St John Bosco Youth Centre in Newry is using £9,520 grant to create a Youth Room to run activities to help improve the health and wellbeing of young people, strengthen friendships and teach new skills. Activities include photography, podcast training, a Youth Leadership OCN and Mental Health workshops. 

National Lottery players raise around £36 million every week across the UK for good causes like these. The vast majority of grants awarded are for smaller amounts of under £10,000, going to the heart of communities to make a big difference. 

Newry Shamrocks

Newry Shamrocks Gaelic Athletic Club is using a £9,800 grant to refurbish their kitchens and social room to make their facility better suited for community activities. 

Three Ways Community Association

Three Ways Community Association in Newry is using a £10,000 grant to run a series of events and activities to improve the health and wellbeing of the community and help people to get involved in the community again post COVID-19. Activities include the development of a men’s shed.

Newtownhamilton Rural Community Development Association

Newtownhamilton Rural Community Development Association is using a £9,916 grant to buy equipment to allow them to reopen their centre safely. The project will enable the organisation to bring the local community together to reduce the isolation caused by COVID-19 restrictions.

Cosy Corner Playgroup

Cosy Corner Playgroup in Crossmaglen is using a £7,500 grant to continue to provide a pre-school service for the local community. This will provide vital learning and play opportunities for young children.

St Oliver Plunkett Youth Club

St Oliver Plunkett Youth Club in Crossmaglen is using a £10,000 grant to run activities to improve emotional and physical wellbeing for children and young people. Activities include healthy cooking, music and art therapy, and exercise.

Brackenagh Busy Bees Playgroup

Brackenagh Busy Bees Playgroup in Kilkeel is using a £9,091 grant to upgrade their venue to better support children with sensory issues. This will improve the children's development and help them to readjust back into the playgroup following the pandemic.

Gallaun Residents Association

Gallaun Residents Association in Downpatrick is using a £2,462 grant to develop an orchard in the estate. This will get residents involved in outdoor activities and promote good mental health and pride in the local community.  

Maya Goodfellow, Chairperson of Gallaun Residents Association said: “We are so grateful to have been awarded funding from The National Lottery Community Fund.  We have achieved over and above what we thought and supported local businesses when buying equipment and supplies. So far we have a big fence erected and planted trees and we have much more planned.” 

Paul Sweeney, The National Lottery Community Fund’s NI Chair, said: “I’m delighted to be able to announce these grants today supporting such a diverse range of projects, who are meeting the needs in our local communities.   

“I’m looking forward to seeing how these projects improve the lives of people from across Northern Ireland as we start to re-build and re-connect following our experiences of the pandemic over the last 18 months. 

“National Lottery players can be proud to know that the money they raise is making such a difference to lives.” 

Across all council areas, 81 projects are receiving £2,651,839 with grants from £1,000 to half a million pounds helping isolated older people, children as they return to school, those living with poverty or challenges around long term health conditions or disability. 

For more information on applying for funding please visit www.tnlcommunityfund.org.uk/funding/northern-ireland

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