Funding, Organisations

Arts Council awards £115,000 to fund community projects

19th October, 2022

TWENTY arts projects have been awarded National Lottery funding totalling over £115,000 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 Belfast, Armagh, Fermanagh, Derry/Londonderry, Fivemiletown, Rosetrevor and Rathfriland.

Mezzo Soprano, Carolyn Dobbin during a performance.
Mezzo Soprano, Carolyn Dobbin

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 organisations awarded funding is Ulster Touring Opera, which received £8,454 to support a new production of the Barber of Seville. Rehearsals for the Spring production will begin in January at the Marketplace Theatre in Armagh and Rosemary Street Church Hall in Belfast.

Dafydd Hall Williams, Artistic Director of Ulster Touring Opera, said:

“The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has once again provided invaluable support for Ulster Touring Opera. This Small Grant funding will enable the company to continue to tour international-quality opera to local venues across the north of the island of Ireland. Through presenting a fully staged new production of Rossini’s immortal comedy The Barber of Seville in Armagh, Letterkenny, Belfast and Cavan, this funding will make it possible for Northern Irish singers, stage managers and instrumentalists to share our collective passion for bringing opera home.”

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 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.”

In September and October Small Grants Awards were awarded to twenty organisations including:

Ulster Touring Opera, awarded £8,454
This project is a touring production of Rossini’s comic opera The Barber of Seville to four venues in spring 2023, featuring an international cast of artists. In January 2023, Ulster Touring Opera will begin two weeks of studio rehearsals in Rosemary Street Church Hall Belfast, followed by a week of production rehearsals in the Market Place Theatre, Armagh. The production will premiere in Armagh on Saturday 4th February 2023, before touring to the An Grianán in Letterkenny on Friday 10th February, the MAC in Belfast on Wednesday 15th February and the Ramor in Virginia, Cavan on Friday 17th February. The production will be sung in English and will be accompanied on piano by Ruth McGinley.

Murley Silver Band, Fivemiletown, awarded £2,475
This funding will help to cover the tuition costs of developing young talent to join Murley Silver band. The 'Bob Hall School of Music' provides tuition for beginner players to get them to the stage of playing music in the Concert Band, which is Murley's junior band. The Concert band is supported by a number of senior players who give of their time to help motivate the children by them being involved in a larger ensemble. The band hope to provide each new person with a music stand and mute.

Foyle Women’s Information Network, Derry & Strabane, awarded £4,501
This funding will help to support the group’s Book Club. The project will engage with women from local communities and organisations, as well as minority ethnic groups. The Book Club will be held in Holywell in Derry/Londonderry. Participants will read one book per month and attend monthly face-to-face meeting in Holywell. Initially books will be chosen by the facilitator to create an awareness of the main literary genres and sub genres. As the group develops the facilitator will seek to empower participants to agree on and select a book of their choice. Patricipants will also have the opportunity to meet some writers.

Association of Contemporary Silversmiths, Belfast, £5,683
This funding will support an exhibition; “Collectables and Curiosities” held in Craft NI Belfast for the Christmas period, 10th November- 30th December 2022. The exhibition is open to those working in the broad areas of Jewellery and Silversmithing. Makers will be invited to submit contextually challenging, well-made work of a high calibre to help promote and raise the profile of Contemporary Craft here in Northern Ireland. Emphasis is placed on showcasing serious contemporary works to new audiences and establishing new connections in the wider community. The goal of this exhibition is to ensure that the craft makers of Northern Ireland are given the incentive and opportunity to produce thoughtful and well developed work, which they can then use as a foundational stepping stone to new national and international opportunities.

Rathfriland and District Regeneration Company, awarded £10,000
As part of the Chandler House Arts Venue launch programme, this funding will support associated costs including stage light and sound equipment. This equipment will ensure the venue can provide a fit for purpose professional quality arts performance space,that will help to attract top-quality performers and also provide a top-quality audience experience. The launch programme will bring together performances featuring a wide range of music genres, film screenings for young people and adults, local artists alongside international artists, participatory inter-generational African drumming workshop, and drama performances.

Rostrevor Community Book Festival, awarded £3,590
The funding will support the Rostrevor Literary Festival - a celebration of the written word through poetry, novel writing, script writing and short story telling. It will take place over a weekend in October (28th–30th Oct). The programme will include a range of guest authors and speakers, plus open mic sessions.

Dunlewey Addition Services, Belfast, awarded £5,680
Dunlewey Addiction Services have been providing services for people who have been affected by substance misuse for over 35 years. The purpose of applying for this funding is to deliver a Creative Art programme for young people affected by substance misuse issues. Through drama, dance, poetry and physical theatre techniques they will explore diversity and acceptance of self and others. They will also explore physical, emotional, and social harm caused by substance misuse.

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