General, Funding, Organisations

Arts Council awards over £2m of National Lottery funding to support arts projects across Northern Ireland

8th July, 2024

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is investing £2,060,487 of Arts Council of Northern Ireland National Lottery funding to deliver a series of high-quality arts projects and events across the region.

A group of young musicians are pictured with their instruments and a microphone. Also pictured is tutor and mentor David Lyttle
Jazzlife Alliance is one of 73 organisations to receive National Lottery Project Funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. The organisation, which delivers specialist music tuition and mentoring in Belfast, Armagh and Omagh, will receive a £19,952 share of over £2million, which will be invested by the Arts Council to support a range of high-quality arts projects this year.

73 organisations have been awarded grants, of between £5,000 and £54,500 each, from the Arts Council’s National Lottery Project Funding, to support the development and creation of year-round arts activities and events through festivals, literature, drama, visual arts, music and community programming.

14 of the 73 organisations to be offered funding are new to the National Lottery Project Funding portfolio this year. They are: Action Mental Health, Arlen House Ltd, Cappella Caeciliana, eduSOIL CIC, Fresh Minds Education Ltd, Glengormley School of Traditional Irish Music, Green Shoot Productions, Jazz Promotion Network, Newtownabbey Arts & Cultural Network, Northern Ireland,International Organ Competition, Poetry Ireland, Sailortown Regeneration, Sticky Fingers Arts, Wandsworth Community Association.

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 artists and groups such as those from minority ethnic 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,

For 30 years National Lottery funding has supported arts initiatives across Northern Ireland. That investment has been a game changer for so many, helping individuals and communities connect with the arts. Today we are pleased to announced details of a further investment of £2.06million which will assist the development and roll out of 73 arts projects.

“This funding will support our core infrastructure of artists and arts organisations, in line with the Arts Council’s 10 Year Strategic Plan, as we strive forwards with them in our ambition to deepen, widen and diversify audiences and participation to make the arts accessible to all.”


Craic (Community Recreational Arts in Coalisland), £24,120


Craic provides drama and dance classes for 190+ young people from age 4 to 25 throughout Mid Ulster. Funding from the Arts Council will be used to sustain drama classes, workshops and enhance the Young Leaders Programme (aged 14-20). Young people will have the opportunity to work and perform alongside experienced artists developing confidence, skills, a sense of community and a passion for performance and stage.

Training and arts activities for younger members of the group will be provided through the Young Leaders Programme. There will also be the opportunity to learn about other aspects of the theatre including essential front of house skills, social media marketing, budgeting and planning.

eduSOIL, £6,845


Funding from the Arts Council for eduSOIL will support Art for Change which will empower 50 youth from immigrant, asylum-seeking, refugee, and vulnerable backgrounds. The programme will guide participants to identify issues affecting their mental health, equip them to choose an art medium to address these issues and provide a platform to share their stories of change and artwork in a showcase event. Outcomes and findings will be shared at Queen's University Belfast through the Centre of Children's Rights as well as NI Mental Health Arts Festival

Jazzlife Alliance, £19,952

Belfast, Armagh and Omagh

This funding will support the Jazz Juniors improvisation scheme for under 18s, continuing students' training in Belfast and Omagh for a fourth year and adding a new hub in Armagh. Students from all NI counties will continue their monthly group training and extended termly one-to-one sessions with lead coach and artistic director, MOBO-nominated David Lyttle. This core training will be enhanced by masterclass visits from three internationally-acclaimed musician/educators, with an additional guest selected based on student need. Other elements of the programme will include a retreat and roadshow.

Newtownabbey Arts & Cultural Network, £16,160 (New to Arts Council National Lottery Portfolio for 24/25)

Antrim and Newtwonabbey

Funding from the Arts Council will support the Creative Future project, which will run from July 2024 through to June 2025. Creative Futures will be an intensive Performing Arts programme, specially crafted for participants that want to explore the creative arts world but face barriers such as affordability, accessibility, and the lack of knowledge of the industry.

The programme of activity will include musical theatre workshops for young participants and an adult drama participation and writing programme. Both will guide participants through a curriculum tailored to nurture their unique talents and foster their growth as a performer and artist.

Paragon Studios, £19,033


Paragon (PS2) is entering their 30th year as an artist led studio collective based in Belfast’s city centre (Rosemary Street). Their objectives are to make contemporary art and artists more accessible to society and communities. Paragon (PS2) Belfast supports individual and collaborative visual arts practice, research & critical writing with some programmes specifically targeted towards socially inclusive community co-design, including PeasPark in North Belfast. Their annual program of artist/curators in residence develops individual or collaborative work that is experimental, thought provoking and challenging. Funding from the Arts Council will support the work of their gallery in Rosemary Street, including initiatives like Late Night Art.

Abridged, £21,900

Derry and Strabane

Abridged is an art and literature organisation based in Derry with international contributors and a growing profile in Northern Ireland and further afield. This funding will support the production and design of three issues of Abridged, that make up a trilogy reinterpreting Paradise Lost, exploring fear, exclusion, anger and pain. Each issue will be available on the Abridged website and free to read.

Abridged aims to commission and publish contemporary/experimental poetry that does not always fit into the more traditional editorial remits of other publications, plus contemporary art specially chosen for the magazine. Abridged in 2025 will go into its 21st year and has established itself as an innovative and imaginative part of Northern Ireland’s arts landscape.

Fresh Minds Education, £8,000 (New to Arts Council Lottery Project Funding portfolio for 24/25)

Antrim and Newtownabbey

Fresh Minds Education is a charitable social enterprise which supports the emotional health and wellbeing needs of people, through harnessing the power of creativity and connection.

The project LEARN GROW INSPIRE will develop a community of trauma-informed arts practitioners who will deploy new trauma-informed learning and skills by developing creative activities to co-produce a new body of original art works, focusing on key mental health themes, with targeted rural communities across the region.

Action Mental Health, £6,000 (New to Arts Council Lottery Project Funding portfolio for 24/25)

North Down and Ards

The I am someone campaign will tackle stigma and challenge the secrecy and sense of taboo that still shrouds mental illness in Northern Ireland. The aim of the project is to develop the growth of arts within Action Mental Health Services located across Northern Ireland including, Antrim, Foyle, Fermanagh, Belfast, Newtownards, Lisburn, Portadown, Newry and Downpatrick. The proposed programme will engage with 116 current Action Mental Health clients who live with mental ill health. Clients will be given the opportunity to work with a number of professional artists experienced in different art mediums.

Preliminary workshops will explore the theme through facilitated group discussions and creative exercises to brainstorm ideas for their respective art medium. Under the guidance of professional artists, clients will learn the necessary artistic skills and begin to design and create their individual thematic responses, working towards a final exhibition of work.