Big Lottery windfall for local groups

Donna McNicholl, Youth Officer, RNIB NI, helping Shauna, left, and Leagh, right, with their pottery session at Share Discovery Village, Lisnaskea as part of the Angel Eyes NI and Share summer scheme. Photo: Michael Cooper
Donna McNicholl, Youth Officer, RNIB NI, helping Shauna, left, and Leagh, right, with their pottery session at Share Discovery Village, Lisnaskea as part of the Angel Eyes NI and Share summer scheme. Photo: Michael Cooper

There have been Big Lottery windfalls for three community based organisations connected to the Londonderry area.

The Men’s Action Network, Royal National Institute of Blind People and Assistance Dogs Northern Ireland have been awarded grants totalling £2,091,251 in the latest tranche of funding.

The Men’s Action Network, which has offices at Londonderry, Enniskillen, Dungiven, Magherafelt and Omagh has been given £698,767. The group is currently working on a five-year Fathering Families project. It is supporting families who may have experienced issues including poverty, separation, divorce, addiction and domestic violence to be healthier, happier and stronger. The project is working with a range of other agencies and activities include parenting and communication skills, peer support, play and art therapy and signposting to other services.

RNIB NI’s five-year Family Insight project is supporting 280 families across Northern Ireland with children aged under 12 with sight loss so they can better understand their children’s condition and build a strong support network. The organisation has received a grant of £694,659.

Meanwhile, the Assistance Dogs initiative has been given £697,825 to offset a five year ‘Supporting Children, Supporting Families’ project to train, place and support 75 assistance dogs with families with a child aged 11 and under with autism or who uses a wheelchair.

The dogs are trained to encourage independence, safety, confidence and well being by carrying out tasks including picking up items and opening and closing doors.

, as well as act as a guide

The project will also include group trips and events so they can share experiences, a support helpline and activities including training sessions and basic animal first aid.

Joanne McDowell, Big Lottery Fund NI Director, said: “We are delighted to be funding these new projects through our Supporting Families programme. They will all strengthen families’ ability to cope with the challenges they face. We hope they will have a really positive impact on the lives of people who need our help the most.”