Women’s Aid and blind golf initiative among projects to receive Lottery grants

Members and volunteers of NI Blind Golf which received a £20,000 grant from the National Lottery Community Fund to expand their work to gain new members. Photo: PAMembers and volunteers of NI Blind Golf which received a £20,000 grant from the National Lottery Community Fund to expand their work to gain new members. Photo: PA
Members and volunteers of NI Blind Golf which received a £20,000 grant from the National Lottery Community Fund to expand their work to gain new members. Photo: PA
Women’s Aid and a blind golf initiative are among community projects set to benefit from more than £10.5 million of grants from the National Lottery Community Fund.

Some 123 projects across Northern Ireland ranging from grassroots to larger charities are among the beneficiaries of the grants.

Fermanagh Women’s Aid in partnership with Omagh Women’s Aid have received a £500,000 grant to support young people aged between 12 to 18 years who have been subjected to domestic abuse.

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Kerrie Flood, development manager at Fermanagh Women’s Aid described that age group as one that can fall between services.

“We’re absolutely delighted to receive this National Lottery funding to meet the needs of this specific age group, who are at a transition in life and can fall between services, while experiencing abuse through their family or a partner,” she said.

“Women in our rural area are more at risk due to isolation and take longer to ask for help, due to lack of services and support options, so this project really is badly needed.

“Over four years the project will deliver one-to-one trauma-based support, personal safety workshops, wellbeing activities and social events to help the young people cope with their experiences, improve wellbeing and feel confident to plan for their future.

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“This project really is a game-changer for Fermanagh and Omagh area resulting in recommendations for the whole community to keep people safe and address domestic abuse.”

Northern Ireland Blind Golf has also received a £20,000 grant over two years to expand their support for blind or visually impaired people to improve their wellbeing through learning to playing golf with the help of a sighted volunteer.

Kate Daly, captain at NI Blind Golf, described joining the group as a “lifesaver” for her.

“I lost sight in my right eye when I was a child and my left eye started deteriorating in my 20s but luckily I still have part of my central vision,” she said.

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“I didn’t think being part of a sports team was for me but I’m so glad that I was encouraged to give Blind Golf a go. Getting out and playing golf feels brilliant, mentally and physically, and I’ve made so many friends too.

“We have a mix of ages, abilities, male, female – from people who were born blind and learned to play blind golf, to sighted golf players who have lost their sight suddenly and had to adapt their skills.

“But we all understand the challenges each other faces and have all struggled at some point due to our sight – it can be very isolating – but we are a team and we look after each other.

“We are really thankful for this funding. We’re going to be able to raise our profile and increase the number of people we can support.

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“We have a safety motto, ‘no guide, no play’, so for everyone to be included in our golf days we need to organise a sighted guide for every player and organise travel across NI for everyone as we visit different clubs every month.”

Other organisations being funded include Funky Kids Workshop in Newtownabbey, DadBods NI in Comber, Portadown Wellness Centre, Streetwise Community Circus in Belfast, Portrush Women’s Institute, Cathedral Youth Club in Derry/Londonderry, Bann Maine West in Cullybackey, O4O Cookstown, and Lislea Men’s Shed.

Kate Beggs, Northern Ireland director of the National Lottery Community Fund, said the projects benefiting from the funding do vital work every day.

“We’re proud to invest money raised by people who play the National Lottery back into communities, to strengthen them and improve lives,” she said.

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“As part of our new strategy ‘it starts with community’, we’re developing a new large grant programme to continue to reach people most in need which will open in the autumn.”

Some £30 million is raised each week for good causes by National Lottery players across the UK. For more information on National Lottery funding visit tnlcommunityfund.org.uk/funding/northern-ireland.

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