Eighty-eight arts organisations are set to receive over £1.9 million of Arts Council of Northern Ireland National Lottery funding to deliver a series of high-quality arts projects and events across the region.

The funding will be used to support the development and creation of year round arts activities and events through literature, drama, visual arts, music and community programming. Many of the projects planned for this year have been created in direct response to the Covid-19 pandemic and its negative impact on mental health and wellbeing.

Among those set to benefit from the fund for the first time are: Mid Armagh Community Network, Benedetti Foundation (delivering sessions in Antrim), Grow NI (North Belfast) and Jazz Life Alliance (delivering work in Draperstown, Enniskillen, Armagh). While Beam Creative Network (Mid-Ulster), Stendhal Festival (Limavady) and Newry Chamber Music are returning applicants to the scheme.

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

“Thanks to National Lottery players, £1.9 million of funding raised for good causes will directly benefit communities across Northern Ireland through quality arts programming. This vital source of funding will reach out to the hearts of towns and cities across Northern Ireland, providing arts experiences for all.

“In what has been a year like no other, many of us have missed the experiences of attending an arts event or taking part in a workshop or performance. This funding will go a long way to supporting arts and cultural experiences, some outdoors, some online and live, and all welcoming communities back to the arts safely.”


Mid Armagh Community Network, Music, Dance and Drama, £10,001
1st time Lottery Project Funding recipient
Mid Armagh Community Network (MACN) plan to create a community based project to teach music, dance and drama within an Ulster Scots context in a safe and central location. The funding from the Arts Council is to develop a program to offer to the community low cost music and dance lessons in Scottish traditional fiddle, Scottish Highland and theatre dance, drama, accordion and guitar/banjo and encourage participation in these traditional artforms.

Benedetti Foundation, Sessions, £10,001
1st time Lottery Project Funding recipient
Founded by the inspirational Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti in 2019, the Benedetti Foundation aims to inspire music-making from those with no skills & beginners right up to conservatoire level and their instrumental and class-teachers and ensure equal access to high-quality instrumental participation for all, targeting those who might otherwise be excluded. This project is in partnership with Education Authority and the EA Music Services reaching across the Antrim area and targeting under-represented groups including ethnic minority communities.

Grow NI, Dreamer’s Space, £10,001
1st time Lottery Project Funding recipient
This is the first time that Grow-NI has applied to the Arts Council for funding. This funding will help them to create an illustrated interactive art trail and play space. The project will take place outdoors in the Waterworks in North Belfast. Grow NI will work with vulnerable groups using garden spaces and arts activities as a way to communicate with participants from a range of backgrounds and circumstances.

Action for Children’s Arts (ACA), The Arts Backpack NI, £10,001
1st time Lottery Project Funding recipient
Working with Young at Art, Action for Children’s Art will deliver their successful Arts Backpack experience to Northern Ireland, a model which proved successful in countries across Europe. Working with schools, children will engage with 5 or more arts, cultural or heritages activities each year, collecting their experiences online in their virtual backpack. Among the aims of the project are to help children to develop an awareness and appreciation for creativity in their lives, help the recovery process arising from the trauma of Covid-19 and to remove barriers to accessing the arts from under-represented groups. It is estimated that 210 pupils and 30 teachers will be engaged in the project and that up to 60 artists will be involved

Creative and Cultural Industries Limited (Creative and Cultural Skills), Fair Access Sector Support Programme, £37,260
1st time Arts Council National Lottery Project Funding recipient
Creative and Cultural Skills are an experienced organisation working across all UK regions. With this funding support from the Arts Council they will develop and encourage employment in the creative and cultural sectors, and support a talent pipeline to meet the staffing demands of the creative sector. This will be done through seminars and one to one mentoring opportunities to develop inclusive recruitment policies to ensure that the cultural workforce is representative of the diversity of NI culture.

Jazzlife Alliance, £10,001
1st time Arts Council National Lottery Project Funding recipient
Jazzlife Alliance (JLA) was formed in 2018 to encourage and facilitate the artistic growth of jazz artists through live performance, collaboration, composition and film composition; its mission is to inspire, nurture and develop future performers of jazz; and bring jazz to small and underprivileged communities. Under the guidance of Artistic Director David Lyttle, Ireland’s only MOBO and UMA nominated artist, JLA aims will continue their mentoring support, offer jazz training to children and delivering activities in a number of locations including Drapersown, Enniskillen and Armagh.

Stendhal Festival, August 2021 £34,570
Now in its 10th year, the award-winning Stendhal Festival is a highlight of the cultural calendar and takes place in rural Limavady every summer. Arts Council’s Lottery Project Funding will support Stendhal’s 2021 August Festival, which will this year be split over two separate weekends in response to Covid-19 restrictions and safety guidelines. Arts Council funding will specifically help support the cost of Northern Ireland musicians featured within this year’s line-up.

Stage Beyond, The Great Dictator, £25,000
Derry/Londonderry based Stage Beyond is a theatre company for adults with learning difficulties and the only company of its kind in Northern Ireland. The company host workshops on a weekly basis, throughout the year, as well as monthly masterclass workshop led by professional arts practitioners. National Lottery Project Funding will help support their production of ‘The Great Dictator’, under the direction of Kate Guelke and musician Ruth McGinley.

BEAM Creative Network, Beyond Limits, £10,001
BEAM Creative Network has been awarded National Lottery funding to support its Beyond Limits Programme in Mid-Ulster. The programme engages mixed abilities and combines, drama, music, dance and pre-production skills (set build/paint, costumes). The funding will help deliver a 12 week programme from January 2022 to end-March 2022.

Newry Chamber Music, 2021 Season, £30,000
Over the last 18 years, Newry Chamber has made a significant contribution to the arts and specifically chamber music making in the Newry and Mourne area of Northern Ireland. Arts Council National Lottery Project Funding will support Newry Chamber Music to deliver its 2021 programme of concerts and performances featuring an exciting range of players and composers.

View the full list of awards here.