£1.7m Lottery grant to help expand grow your own at Acorn Farm food hub in Derry

The National Lottery Community Fund has announced major funding of £1,697,257 to bring communities together to tackle food sustainability in Derry.

The funding has been awarded to the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland to develop a five-year project through the Acorn Farm in St Columb’s Park. The project is encouraging people to take climate action through better food choices, growing programmes, climate focussed activities and sharing learning to change behaviours. Derry City and Strabane District Council and the Conservation Volunteers are also involved.

The funding comes from Climate Action Fund, which was set up to help communities reduce their carbon footprint and show what is possible when people take the lead in tackling climate change.

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Roisin Wood, CEO, Community Foundation NI, said: “We are thrilled to receive this National Lottery funding to build on the work we have already started. The Acorn Farm has the potential to transform how local families and communities make choices about the food they grow and eat. The benefits will be far reaching as food choice impacts climate, health, mental well-being, cost of living and our social interactions.”

Paul Sweeney, National Lottery Community Fund Chair with Sahuna Kelpie, Shauna Kelpie, Fund Officer from Acorn Farm Project and Aine Kivlehan and her son John pictured on the sight of the Acorn Farm Project at Browning Drive.

The Acorn Farm Project was initially supported by £200,000 from Community Fund in 2020 to support local families to grow their own produce at home and start developing the Acorn Farm. This new funding will support the next stage of the Acorn Farm to become a food growing hub with a learning and skills development centre and sustainable food events venue.

Paul Sweeney, NI Chair, The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “It is inspiring to see the progress made at Acorn Farm and in Derry/Londonderry so far in climate action and we look forward to seeing what they will achieve with this new money.”

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Mayor Sandra Duffy, said: “The Acorn Farm has the potential to really drive change through making more people aware of the many healthier choices out there, and during the current cost of living crisis offering practical ways for people to help reduce household expenditure. Working in tandem with our partners in the Acorn Food Network we can take a proactive approach to climate action and a more sustainable future.”

The Climate Action Fund is now open for applications to groups who are focussing on the link between nature and climate. For more information visit www.tnlcommunityfund.org.uk/funding/programmes/climate-action-fund-programmeSince 2017, thanks to National Lottery players, The National Lottery Community Fund has awarded more than £410 million through over 7,000 grants which involve environmental action, including action on waste and consumption, energy, transport, food and the natural environment. National Lottery players raise over £30 million each week across the UK for good causes.

John and his Mum, Aine Kivlehan (right), who have been growing their own produce as part of the Acorn Farm project, pictured at the site in St Columb's Park, Derry, with Paul Sweeney, NI Chair, The National Lottery Community Fund and Shauna Kelpie, Acorn Fund Officer, Community Foundation NI. The Community Foundation NI has just received a £1.7M grant from The National Lottery Community Fund’s Climate Action Fund for a five-year project at Acorn Farm, which will encourage people to take climate action through better food choices, growing programmes, climate focussed activities and sharing learning to change behaviours.