Arts Council of Northern Ireland

The Funding and Development Agency
for The Arts in Northern Ireland

028 9262 3555

Latest News
Browse Archive

Arts Council Injects £2.4 Million into Local Arts-Led Regeneration Projects

Thursday 24th February 2005 at 2pm 0 Comments

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland today allocated £2.4 million to local authorities to help them target arts projects at areas in need of social and economic regeneration.

The money has been made available through the Arts Council’s new Lottery-funded ‘Art of Regeneration’ programme, in partnership with the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL). The programme supports local authorities throughout Northern Ireland in the development and delivery of arts projects that will tackle issues of concern to local communities, such as good relations, the environment and anti-social behaviour.

Noirin McKinney, Director of Arts Development at the Arts Council, explains, “We developed the Art of Regeneration programme to encourage our local authorities to exploit the rich contribution that the arts can make at local community level. Unlocking the creative potential of groups not traditionally active in the arts will offer fresh positive experiences and creative solutions to those difficulties experienced at a neighbourhood level. The arts projects will help to change attitudes and connect people across the various barriers that divide us.”

The Council areas that benefit directly from Art of Regeneration funding are: Craigavon (£336,681), Derry City (£180,254), Moyle (£147,215), Ballymoney (£168,450), Antrim (£201,750), North Down (£187,000), Strabane (£248,000), Fermanagh (£339,300) and Newtownabbey (£221,350). The projects range from functional public art in children’s play areas made out of recycled materials and drawing on the positive experiences of local community groups; building on a shared community interest in traditional music to enhance cross-community activity; and art and safety projects.

Stressing the need for a long-term, multi-agency, commitment to regeneration, Ms McKinney continued, “There are no quick-fix solutions to our endemic social problems. Effective regeneration requires a sustained, joined-up approach to delivery. Consequently, the Art of Regeneration programme supports arts projects that will normally run over a four-year period and which forge new partnerships between a wide range of public bodies and community groups. This innovative collaborative approach will provide the model and act as the spur for further sustainable developmental activity at local community level. And the legacy for all of us will be an increased level of social and cultural exchange, leading to tolerance and respect, civic pride, local empowerment, and a safer, more prosperous Northern Ireland.”


1. The £2.4 million ‘Art of Regeneration’ programme is funded by the Arts Council’s National Lottery Fund (£2m) along with substantial partnership funding provided by the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (£400k).
2. The Art of Regeneration is strategic in both intent and delivery. For this reason, funding was not spread evenly across the 26 districts of Northern Ireland, but instead used to address key developmental projects where greatest need was identified.

A separate announcement will be made for Belfast City Council under this programme, for Belfast’s centenary cultural celebrations in 2006.
3. National Lottery-funded schemes require applicants to secure additional partnership funding. The minimum partnership funding required from non-Lottery, non-Arts Council sources over the period of the ‘Art of Regeneration’ award is 25 percent.
4. District Council contact information:
  • Craigavon Borough Council (inc. Craigavon, Banbridge, Cookstown, Armagh, Dungannon) – Emma Wilson, Tel: 028 38341618.
  • Derry City Council – Brendan McMenamin, Tel: 028 71365151
  • Moyle District Council – Bridgeen Butler, Tel: 028 20762225
  • Ballymoney Borough Council – Margaret Edgar, Tel: 028 27660229
  • Antrim Borough Council – Gary Shaw, Tel: 028 94428000
  • North Down Borough Council – Gail Prentice, Tel: 028 91278032
  • Strabane District Council – Karen McFarland, Tel: 028 71382204
  • Fermanagh District Council – Robert Gibson, Tel: 028 66325050
  • Newtownabbey Borough Council – Cathy Cole, Tel: 028 90340063
5. The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is the lead development agency for the arts in Northern Ireland, supporting artists and arts organisations through its Treasury and National Lottery funds.
6. Background notes on successful ‘Art of Regeneration’ applicants:

“The ‘Regenerate’ project is something new, fresh and exciting. By placing artists within the community we want to encourage people to look at their locality in a different way and express their ideas and thoughts about making positive changes to their area. This three-year residency project presents a great opportunity for people from different walks of life to make a change to the face of Craigavon by being creative. We are very excited about our partnership with neighbouring councils and we feel that by putting our heads together and sharing our ideas and skill all our services and the communities they serve can benefit.” – Emma Wilson, Arts Development Officer, Craigavon Borough Council.

“Banbridge District Council is delighted to be involved in the ‘Regenerate’ arts project which aims to bring the creative arts to local communities driving social exchange, regeneration and change over the next three years. We are particularly grateful to the Arts Council for the essential funding being provided which will ensure the effective delivery of this innovative programme in partnership with our neighbouring councils of Armagh, Craigavon, Cookstown, Dungannon and Tyrone.” – Mike Reith, Director of Leisure Services, Banbridge District Council.

“I am delighted that we have been successful in securing funding under the Arts Council’s ‘Art of Regeneration’ programme. Our partnership with Banbridge, Armagh, Craigavon and Dungannon and South Tyrone Councils is one which we feel is very well placed to offer accessibility of various art forms to a variety of groups of people who would otherwise be unable to participate in cultural life and the arts. The ‘Art of Regeneration’ will indeed go a long way to regenerating our local communities, creating long-lasting benefits and enhancing the all important ‘feel good’ factor which only art can offer.” – Linda McGarvey, Arts and Cultural Development Officer, Cookstown District Council.

“Our aim is to provide equality of opportunity for the residents of the Borough by breaking down the barriers of accessibility to the ‘arts’ and decreasing the marginalisation of groups. Through participation in the arts, the quality of life of local communities can be improved.” – Aine Dolan, Community Arts Officer, Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council.

The ‘Regenerate’ project will place artists in residence in areas in need of regeneration throughout the five Southern Board council areas of Armagh, Banbridge, Cookstown, Craigavon, and Dungannon and South Tyrone. Over a three-year period, the artists will work with diverse groups of people to tackle community issues at a local level, such as tackling anti-social behaviour by providing alternative activities. The project will empower local communities to creatively explore diversity, which will lead to a legacy of civic pride, ownership of their areas and enhanced quality of life. Potential partners in the project would include health agencies, community safety organisations, community and voluntary groups.


“It is anticipated that the projects funded under the scheme will be of benefit to the local community and be in addition and outside of existing provisions in the area. The projects will be established in an effort to encourage local ownership through active participation and be environmentally friendly, imaginative and creative in design, and be of lasting benefit to the local community.” – Councillor Gearoíd Ó’hEára, Mayor.

The ‘Art of Regeneration’ project will combine the resources of seven local authorities in the North West. Derry City Council is investing in nine recycling/community renewal centres spread across its area, and will place artists in these centres to help develop imaginative projects that will actively engage local people in a range of economic, social and community issues. Over a four-year period, the arts projects will promote active citizenship and make positive physical change to the public environment, leaving the legacy of a cohesive and confident community.


The ‘Spreading Wings’ project aims to unlock creativity within Ballycastle and its surrounding district by offering new opportunities for interaction between the arts and society. Exploiting the wealth of storytelling heritage in these areas, the four-year project will develop creative meeting points for participants from varying backgrounds and levels of social inclusion. This will lead to a re-examining of situations with fresh eyes and the development of sustainable relationships formed across previous social and community boundaries.


“Ballymoney Borough Council is delighted to receive funding through this exciting initiative ‘The Art of Regeneration’. We look forward to working in partnership with Coleraine Borough Council and with a wide range of community groups across the two boroughs to bring the project to fruition over the next 4 years. Young people’s play areas are not just about physical activity. We want to make them visually exciting spaces which encourage creativity and inspire imaginations. Funding through The Art of Regeneration will help us to achieve this goal.” - Councillor Cecil Cousley, Mayor of Ballymoney.

The ‘Art of Recycling’ project will improve children’s play areas within the Ballymoney and Coleraine Borough Council areas. Over a four-year period, six artists will be employed to work with community associations to create functional public art for these play areas. The artists, working with women’s groups, men’s groups, mothers and toddlers play groups, youth groups and older people’s and other community groups, will focus on creating artworks that relate specifically to the collective experience of those living in these areas. As waste management is currently one of the major challenges for councils, the recycling of waste and scrap materials in an environmentally-friendly way will be a key theme of the project.


“Our project consortium, consisting of Antrim, Ballymena and Magherafelt District and Borough Councils are delighted to hear that our application to the ‘Art of Regeneration’ programme has been successful. The grant award, totalling £201,750, with additional contributions from each of the project partners, will assist with the development of new collaborative working arrangements for the delivery of progressive community-based arts programmes to address regeneration and community safety themes across each of the Council areas.” – Gary Shaw, Cultural Services Manager, Antrim Borough Council.

The ‘Art and Safety’ project will introduce creative solutions to community safety concerns across the local authority areas of Antrim, Ballymena and Magherafelt. A multi-agency approach, involving partnerships between arts and cultural representatives and the health, education, social welfare, criminal justice, probationary and policing authorities, will tackle local safety priorities such as car crime, anti-social behaviour and substance abuse. The partnership will explore areas of commonality, leading to a coherent approach to local community safety.


“North Down Borough Council was offered an award of £187,000 to work in partnership with the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, North Down Local Strategy Partnership and the Police Service of Northern Ireland to use visual art, specifically public art, to influence regeneration, with the aim of reducing anti-social behaviour and fear of crime in two housing executive extates in North Down.” – Gail Prentice, Arts Officer, North Down Borough Council.

The ‘Art and Anti-Social Behaviour’ project will use public art to influence the reduction of anti-social behaviour and fear of crime in the most disadvantaged wards in the area. Sectarian murals pose a major problem in Loughview, Dufferin and Clandeboye; so artists will work with residents to encourage the replacement of existing gable-end murals with positive murals reflecting a positive sense of community spirit developed through an exchange of ideas and stories based on mutual understanding and respect. Starting with the Kilcooley and Redburn estates, the four-year Art of Regeneration funding should spearhead further regeneration projects in the remaining six housing estates in the area.


“Strabane District Council has been awarded £248,000 for a joint arts regeneration project in partnership with Omagh District Council. It will involve a multi-media arts programme including the visual and performing arts, multi-media and literature. This innovative community arts project will be focused on the Ballycolman and Villages Together areas in Strabane; and Camowen and Carrickmore areas in Omagh. Arts facilitators will work within communities to explore issues such as regeneration, the environment, good relations, and health over a four-year period.”– Karen McFarland, Head of Culture, Arts and Leisure, Strabane District Council.

The ‘Connect’ project will develop arts projects relating to the environment, good relations and anti social behaviour within the Strabane and Omagh District Council areas, specifically Camown Ward, Carrickmore, Ballycolman estate and the rural communities north of Strabane which are represented by the Villages Together Network. A cross-sectoral partnership approach will enable artists to engage with the communities of these areas over a four-year period, leading to an enhancement of quality of life, health and well-being.


“The Fermanagh District Council Art of Regeneration Project is a four-year grass roots multi-disciplinary creative arts outreach project. The main focus of which is on self-perpetuation and high quality creative community arts output. There are five major developmental and social inclusion artistic strands which are carnival arts, environmental, music, drama and contemporary dance.” – Robert Gibson, Director of Environment Services, Fermanagh District Council.

The ‘Arts of Regeneration Grass-Roots Participatory Project’ will provide an extensive range of arts provision to areas with an existing weak arts infrastructure. The four-year initiative will motivate social regeneration through a ‘grass roots’ arts programme that will embrace people from all walks of life and involve communities that perceive themselves as to some extent excluded, whether through cultural difference, physical or learning disability or rural location.


“The East Antrim Traditional Music School and Newtownabbey and Larne Borough Councils are pleased to learn of their success in being awarded £221,350 to develop their project to contribute significantly to the regeneration of the culture of playing traditional music in the largely Protestant communities of South East Antrim and address the mistaken notion that traditional music belongs to only one side of the religious and political divide. The project will introduce a facility for tuition in traditional music within the local communities and liaise with local primary and secondary schools with a view to introducing peripatetic tutors within each partner borough.” – Martin Shane

The aim of this four-year Art and Regeneration project is to strengthen the community infrastructure within South East Antrim by widening access to the culture of playing traditional music in the area and thereby encourage the sense of ownership of this art form across religious, social and political divides. The development of cross-community activity amongst people with a shared interest, and the integration of musicians from different cultural backgrounds, will help to foster better relations and reduce community tensions. The legacy of the project will be its success in addressing those issues of cultural identity that both Protestants and Catholics share and in developing a cultural resource for the benefit of all in the wider communities.

Comments (0)

Add Your Comment

Add Your Comment

* Required fields