Arts Council awards £2.25m of National Lottery funding to support arts projects across Northern Ireland

11th July, 2023

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is investing £2,250,000 of Arts Council of Northern Ireland National Lottery funding to deliver a series of high-quality arts projects and events across the region.

Belfast Photo Festival exhibition on the Quad at Queen's University Belfast.
Belfast Photo Festival is one of 72 arts organisations awarded grants from the Arts Council’s National Lottery Project Funding.

72 arts organisations have been awarded grants, of between £7,789 and £67,559 each, from the Arts Council’s National Lottery Project Funding, to support the development and creation of year-round arts activities and events through literature, drama, visual arts, music and community programming.

Five organisations are new to National Lottery Project Funding from the Arts Council and will be receiving awards for the first time this year. They are St Louise’s Comprehensive College, Amadan Ensemble, The Brain Injury Foundation, IMRAM Féile Litríochta Gaeilge and An tSnáthaid Mhór Teoranta.

This year, the Arts Council encouraged applications in a number of key areas and these have been reflected in the awards made. This included applications which encouraged the involvement of under-represented groups including those from black and ethnic minority communities, programmes which involved children and young people, older people, or people with disabilities, and applications that promoted innovative, original work by Northern Ireland artists.

Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented: 

Today we are announcing a significant investment in a diverse range of arts organisations who will deliver exciting, innovative, high-quality arts-based activities and events to communities across Northern Ireland.

“Thanks to money raised for good causes, over the last three decades the National Lottery has made an important contribution to the social, economic and cultural growth of Northern Ireland. This vital source of funding allows the Arts Council to support our core infrastructure of artists and organisations, as we strive forwards in our ambition to make the arts accessible to all.”


Amadan Ensemble, awarded £12,500

Amadan Ensemble makes devised theatre specialising in the practice of Clown and Bouffon. This funding will support a tour of the company’s new non-verbal children’s show Geppetto to special schools and regional theatre venues. The work is non-verbal, incorporating puppetry, and built around performer Jude Quinn’s clowning skills, making it very accessible for audiences. This clown-based physical comedy at which Amadan specialise is unique within the Northern Ireland theatre scene, and particularly within theatre for young audiences.

Allegri, awarded £15,080

Allegri is an intergenerational, cross-community arts group established in the UK City of Culture year 2013 based in Faughan, Derry~Londonderry and drawing participants from Derry~Londonderry, Strabane, Omagh, Dungiven, Limavady, Draperstown, Coleraine and Enniskillen. They founded the Every Voice Festival in 2018 and deliver an orchestra, junior and youth choir as well as a ladies choir. This funding will support its annual programme for 2023/24 and give 1,360 participants the opportunity to engage in 373 hours of music through choral or instrumental sessions.

An tSnáthaid Mhór, awarded £25,000

An tSnáthaid Mhór is an island-wide arts organisation producing original Irish language children's content through print, Braille, broadcast, digital and performance. The organisation provides opportunities which directly support local artists in Ireland and beyond, for example by commissioning local artists to create individual and original content, nourishing the local Irish language sector, selling this content in the form of hard copy books for children, and nurturing international profiling opportunities.

Spectrum Centre (Greater Shankill Partnership), awarded £31,743

This award to the Greater Shankill Partnership (GSP) will support the continuation of their well-established in-house and outreach arts programme based at the Spectrum Centre. The centre has developed high quality artistic programmes which specifically meet the needs of children, young people with autism, adults with dementia and socially isolated individuals with mental ill-health living in the north and west Belfast. Programmes are shaped by community need through participant feedback and interest, and are underpinned by strong partnership working. Many programmes are based on an informal social prescribing referral basis. This includes referrals to the arts programmes through Integrated Services (Based within the Spectrum Centre) the Belfast Trust, Extern and GLOW (Giving Life Opportunities to Women).

Carntogher Community Association, awarded £35,000

Carntogher Community Association was set up to help deliver a range of initiatives aimed at creating healthy, happy and confident individuals and a prosperous and sustainable rural community. This funding will support a comprehensive programme of arts activities covering a wide spectrum of art forms including youth, visual, and music/drama. The programme of arts activities presented are tied into the environmental, reconciliation, economic, cultural, and social projects being promoted by the Association. A combination of existing and new artists will deliver the proposed programme bi-lingually through Irish and English.

Live Music Now, awarded £40,000

Live Music Now (LMN) is a UK wide charity with a Northern Ireland branch, set up by internationally renowned violinist Yehudi Menuhin in 1977. The organisation supports and develops talented young musicians across all genres. They also provide high-quality music experiences for a diverse range of people who have limited access to live music, due to disability, illness or social disadvantage, including children and young people with special educational needs, as well as older people, including those living with dementia. Funding from the Arts Council will specifically support their project entitled Creating Access to Music for Children and Older People in rural areas. This will run from July 2023 until June 2024.

Belfast Photo Festival, awarded £42,867

As Belfast Photo Festival prepares to mark its 10th year, this award will support what has grown to be the largest annual festival of international photography in the UK and Ireland. The festival will run for a month, from 6th to June 30th June 2024, showing 20 photographic exhibits across the city in both indoor venues and public spaces across Belfast. Outdoor sites will include Botanic Gardens, the City Hall lawn, St Annes Square and Donegall Quay. Alongside the public showcases, the festival is committed to developing local talent and building public knowledge of photography through a participation and education programme including portfolio reviews, master classes, talks and workshops in schools.

View a list of all those awarded National Lottery Project Funding

About the Arts Council of Northern Ireland

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is the lead funding and development agency for the Arts providing support to arts projects throughout the region, through its Treasury and The National Lottery funds. Our funding enables artists and arts organisations to increase access to the arts across society and deliver great art that is within everyone’s reach.

Every week National Lottery players raise more than £30M for good causes.

More than £47 billion has now been raised by National Lottery players to support good causes since 1994.

More than 670,000 projects have been supported with National Lottery funding, the equivalent of around 240 lottery grants in every UK postcode district.