Funding, Organisations

Arts Council awards £110,000 of National Lottery funding to support community projects

31st March, 2023

Twenty-two projects have been awarded National Lottery funding totalling over £110,000 as part of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s Small Grants funding programme. The money will be used to support arts initiatives in communities across Northern Ireland, including projects in Down, Mid-Ulster, Armagh, Fermanagh, Antrim and the North West.

Two large carnival heads made with cardboard.
One of the organisations to benefit from the funding are the Lurgan and Armagh George Russell Festival Society, which was awarded £7,330 towards the costs of the 2023 George Russell Easter Festival. The event will open with a spectacular parade on Saturday 1st April.

Supported through National Lottery funds, the Small Grants Programme is designed to encourage organisations in Northern Ireland to get more people to engage with the arts through creative, community-based projects. Grants are awarded by the Arts Council on a monthly basis and organisations can apply for up to £10,000 to support projects in any art form, including music, drama, dance, literature, visual, and participatory arts.

One of the groups awarded funding in March is the Lurgan and Armagh George Russell Festival Society. The grant will go towards the cost of the 2023 George Russell Festival, which will take place from the 1st-10th April. The Festival of history, literature and art will be the biggest yet, with talks, tours, poetry, music and song. Performers will include the Armagh Rhymers, a flash fiction session led by writer Byddi Lee and a session with Irish art expert and Director of the Tyrone Guthrie Artists Centre Dr Eimear O’Connor.

Commenting on the funding programme, Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said: 

“Thanks to National Lottery players and money raised for good causes, we are delighted to announce today funding to support twenty-two fantastic projects, creating more opportunities for people to engage with the arts, from grassroots level projects through to professional productions. This valuable funding programme will support a variety of high quality arts projects in locations across Northern Ireland, including performances, workshops and tuition.”

Small Grants Awards were awarded to twenty-two organisations from January-March 2023. Among those to receive funding were:

Tempo Maguires GAC, awarded £1,750, for Traditional Music Classes

This funding will support traditional music classes in Tempo. Tempo Maguire GAC plan to provide weekly low-cost music classes to people in the local community, of all ages, across a range of traditional music instruments, including fiddle, tin whistle, bodhrán, uilleann pipes and accordion. While the intention is to start with one multi-instrumentalist as a tutor, the group hope to expand, as time progresses, to offer more specialised tutoring, as the abilities of those attending classes improves.

Lilac Cancer Support Ltd., awarded £5,655 for Coalisland Community Development Arts Club

Lilac has set up an Art Development Studio at their Community Hub at Barrack Street Coalisland. The Art Studio will operate one day per week and this funding will be used to recruit an artist to work in conjunction with local people living in identified areas of social deprivation. Some of the aims of the project are: to make art accessible for all, provide a social and creative outlet, support mental wellbeing, promote good self-esteem and develop awareness of local heritage, people and place. Work produced will be exhibited in the community.

North West Cultural Partnership, awarded £10,000 for New Gate Arts

This project will contribute to arts programmes as part of North West Cultural Partnership’s festival in May - July 2023, which will celebrate the opening of the new £1.8 million arts centre. This festival will showcase the best of professional/community and voluntary Arts. It will include a grand opening, featuring local musicians, performance opportunities for emerging artists, talks and workshops, three small theatre shows and the opportunity for audiences to try out new arts experiences through beginners’ classes.

Seaview Integrated Primary School, awarded £1,400 for ‘Jump, Jiggle and Jive’

Seaview Integrated Primary School in Glenarm was awarded funding to support a 10 week block of dance classes for the whole school. Working with a dance teacher from ‘Jump, Jiggle and Jive’, the sessions are designed to be interactive, colourful and fun for all.

Down Academy Pipes and Drums, awarded £8,625 for a piping and drumming tuition programme

Held at Spa Primary School, this programme will be targeted at children aged 7 to 16 years old. The classes will cater for a range of skills from the absolute beginner to those who have been playing for some time. This programme will enable Ulster Scots music to be introduced to a new generation and for players to showcase their skills at future competitions, festivals, tattoos and performances.

Africa House NI, awarded £4,595 for African Community Welcoming Arts

This funding will help Africa House NI run a series of arts development workshops and training for the African diaspora community. These will cover a wide range of activities including, youth drama, arts workshops using a range of materials such as clay, resin and metal, and African and Gaelic intersectional dance sessions. The planned activities will provide training and development opportunities for African artists, help build strong relationships between African artists and those from other communities in Northern Ireland, and creative opportunities for participants, gaining new skills and enhancing lives.

Funding from the Small Grants Programme is awarded to organisations by the Arts Council on a monthly basis. Application forms and guidance notes are available to download at