A community-led group from the picturesque village of Portballintrae are among the winners of the People’s Projects competition in Northern Ireland.
The Big Lottery Fund teamed up with ITV/UTV and The National Lottery to give the Northern Ireland public the chance to decide how £150,000 of funding could make a difference in their local area.
In Northern Ireland, five projects were shortlisted for National Lottery funding to develop their work to improve the lives of people in their communities.
The projects – which have all featured on UTV Live, Daily Mirror NI and Belfast Live – campaigned to the public for votes over a two week period. The three projects with the most votes have been awarded a grant of up to £50,000.
One of the winners is the B.U.I.LD. project by The Coast Office in Portballintrae, Co Antrim.
They will receive £50,000 to connect visitors and residents, in particular schools and older people, with each other and their local coastal countryside.
The funding will provide staff and equipment to help people feel ownership, belonging and enjoy their local environment. Activities include traditional boat building, a conservation award for young people, a regatta and maritime skills workshops which include making lobster creels.
John Bustard, chairman of The Coast Office, said: “We’re excited and honoured to be voted for by the public. The support throughout the campaign has given us a real sense of hope for our project.
“We’re looking forward to engaging all ages of people in the community and helping them to explore more of our coastal heritage and environment in a fun and inspiring way.”
The other winners are the Down Right Brilliant Youth Club project by Newry & Mourne Downs Syndrome Support Group in Newry and the Food for the Soul project by Via WIngs in Dromore, Co Down.