Local groups vie for public votes to win £50k grant aid

April 1, 2019

Two inspirational community projects in Newry have been announced as finalists in a competition that will enable them to win a share of £150,000 in grant aid.

Newry Helping the Homeless and The Drake Music Project Northern Ireland are among five finalists shortlisted as part of this year’s The People’s Projects – a partnership between The National Lottery Community Fund and ITV, which gives the public a unique say in where National Lottery money should go in their area.

The shortlisted groups are now campaigning for public votes and the three with the most public votes will receive grants of up to £50,000.

Voting opens online today (Monday 1 April) and during the coming week, all five projects will showcase their work on the UTV evening news, the Daily Mirror NI and Belfast Live.

Newry Helping the Homeless will feature on Thursday edition (4 April). If successful, the group will receive £50,000 for its Hope Thru Soap project, providing a mobile shower unit for homeless people in Newry and Belfast to have a hot shower in a private space.  They will also provide food, clothes, haircuts and medical check-ups with help from trained volunteers, which include medical professionals. The project will improve hygiene and wellbeing for homeless people, raise awareness of homelessness in the community and attract new volunteers.

Meanwhile, the Drake Music Project Northern Ireland will feature on Friday and it is hoping to be successful in its bid to receive funding its MERGE project, to get 150 people of all ages with physical and learning disabilities, Alzheimer’s and Dementia involved in creative activities and music production.  Workshops will take place across Northern Ireland including, Newry, Belfast and Derry.  The project will give people the opportunity to express themselves creatively and independently with the help of specialist equipment, improving their confidence and self-esteem, and connecting them with the community.

From today (Monday) supporters can register their vote online at  Voting closes at noon on Monday 15th April.

UTV On-Screen Journalist Paul Reilly said The People’s Projects is an exciting opportunity for the public to make a real difference to their own community. 

“We are showcasing some fantastic shortlisted projects across Northern Ireland this week. All you have to do to get involved is tune in and vote for your favourite project,” he said.

Kate Beggs, The National Lottery Community Fund Northern Ireland Director, added: “We are proud to support grassroots groups across Northern Ireland that are using the vision, determination and drive of local people to strengthen communities. The People’s Projects showcases the best of these and is a chance for you to have your say on how National Lottery funding can help your community to thrive.”