The National Lottery Community Fund has announced that it will support over fifty projects which aim to ‘tackle the big issues affecting communities in Northern Ireland’ by providing £2.7 million in grants.

Some of the organisations provided with grants include supporting victims of domestic violence, mental health support for families living with health conditions and reducing isolation.

Mid-Ulster Women’s Aid (MUWA), one of the organisations which has been given a grant, will receive £475,204 from the National Lottery to run its ‘Starfish’ project for the next four years in order to help women who have suffered from domestic violence.

Martina Watson, a MUWA representative, explained: “As a result of the trauma they’ve experienced the women we support have low self-esteem and lack confidence and self-worth. In many cases they will have been cut off from friends and family. They are not able to move on in their lives and without help they might return to be dependent, stuck in a cycle of abuse.

“Thanks to the National Lottery money, our staff will act as professional friends, offering practical one-to-one support so they can live their lives without the ever-present anxiety and loneliness, until they become more confident and have their own support networks. 

“They will have a chance to take part in activities, complete qualifications or get help with things they always wanted to do, such as learning to drive – something they may never have been allowed to do before.”

Other projects which have been announced to receive funding by the National Lottery include Facial Palsy UK which is using its £2,220 grant to deliver virtual support groups for sufferers and their families to improve mental health. 

Moreover, the Cancer Fund for Children will use a £9,986 grant to take its Care Free Choir to a virtual landscape. This ensures that people living with or affected by cancer can take part while at home due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The non-departmental public body has announced that in total it has provided over £11.2 million in grants to 469 new projects in order to support communities in Northern Ireland.

Kate Beggs, Northern Ireland Director of The National Lottery Community Fund, concluded: “It’s inspiring to see all these projects rising to the challenges of COVID-19 and looking to the future, supporting people in need. The wide range of projects funded demonstrates the strength of their members and the importance of staying connected with each other in these unprecedented times.

“People know best what is needed in their area and we want to talk to anyone who has an idea or wants more information on funding to support their community.

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