Ballykelly men’s shed funding boost

Members of the Ballykelly Mens Shed celebrating after receiving an Acorn Fund City of Culture Legacy Grant for the development of a new art installation in the Village, which will be created using parts of old computers and hard drives. Pictured (L-R) Robert Shaw, Andy Guy, Barrie Jackson, Brian McCluskey and James Jayson.

Members of the Ballykelly Mens Shed celebrating after receiving an Acorn Fund City of Culture Legacy Grant for the development of a new art installation in the Village, which will be created using parts of old computers and hard drives. Pictured (L-R) Robert Shaw, Andy Guy, Barrie Jackson, Brian McCluskey and James Jayson.

Fourteen community and voluntary groups from across Londonderry are celebrating after receiving funding from the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland’s Acorn Fund.

Supported by the Big Lottery Fund, the grants are part of the Acorn Fund’s City of Culture Legacy. Groups have been awarded funding of between £500 and £3,000 for exciting and innovative cultural initiatives that will promote social inclusion, encourage talent, increase skills and strengthen community activity.

One of the successful recipients was Ballykelly Men’s Shed, comprising 29 members ranging in age from 18-65. It received a grant for the development of a new art installation which will be created using parts of old computers and hard drives. The men will work with a local artist from now until July, to bring their project to life, after nearly two years of planning. On completion it’ll take pride of place in the group’s new premises in the village.

Brian McCluskey from the group welcomed the grant: “We’re all delighted that the Acorn Fund is supporting our project. Not only will it give the men something to work on together as a team, but we will also be sharing and learning new skills. Everyone is looking forward to getting stuck in and creating something that can be enjoyed by the whole village.”

Ulidian Youth Drama Group was also awarded a grant for a series of drama workshops with young people in the Waterside Theatre. The project will bring to life some of the largely forgotten tales about real-life men and women who helped shape the city and will be performed in care homes in Strabane and Eglinton.

Other recipients of the Legacy Grant included; Creggan Country Park Enterprises, 1st Castlerock Scout Group, Destined Ltd, Foyle Parents and Friends Association, Kilcronaghan Community Association, Older People North West, STEM Aware C.I.C, The Glens Community Association, The Pink Ladies Cancer Support Group and The Void Art Centre.

The Acorn Fund Legacy Grants are supported by the Big Lottery Fund as part of a three-year commitment.

Julie Harrison, the Big Lottery Fund’s NI Chair, said: “We are delighted to see the impact that the Acorn Fund’s Legacy Grants programme is having by supporting a wide range of diverse and exciting projects which are bringing local people together. This funding is helping groups to continue to build on the legacy of the UK City of Culture.”

The Acorn Fund’s Legacy Grants were established in 2014 to ensure that people within Londonderry have an opportunity to get involved with arts and culture following the success of the UK City of Culture in 2013. As well as developing opportunities for local philanthropy through the establishment of the Acorn Fund Giving Circle, the Acorn Fund connects those who care with causes that matter. The fund is committed to addressing need through targeted grant making and focused giving.

Shauna Kelpie, Acorn Fund Development Officer said: “The Acorn Fund is working on the ground, supporting communities to help remove the social barriers that prevent people from taking part in arts and cultural activities.

“These are just two examples of projects that are encouraging community cohesion and providing a platform for people, of all ages, to explore and showcase their talents. We are delighted to be a small part of their fantastic work and wish all our grantees the very best.”

More information on all Acorn Fund grants can be found at www.communityfoundationni.org/acorn-fund