More than £1 million of National Lottery funding is being made available to help mark Derry’s City of Culture year.
Details of the funding boost were announced last night at a reception in the City Hotel by the Big Lottery Fund’s UK Chair, Peter Ainsworth.
Mr Ainsworth, who also visited the lottery funded Playtrail at Racecourse Road while in Derry, says the culture accolade promises to be an historic event for the city.
“This momentous achievement means that the city will play host to a year-long celebration of culture in 2013 for local people and visitors from across the world.”
“The Big Lottery Fund is delighted to be able to play our part in supporting communities across Northern Ireland to take part in activities during the historic City of Culture celebrations.
“We want to ensure that groups across Northern Ireland can develop and deliver arts and culture projects that link to the celebrations and also benefit the lives of people in their local communities,” he says.
The £1million will be made available through a small grants programme. The Arts Council has also added £100,000 to that programme and it is hoped the money will fund “projects that help develop people and communities, increase skills and activities and encourage talent.”
Shona McCarthy, Chief Executive of Culture Company 2013, says the funding is to be “warmly welcomed.”
“This further signifies the positive effect the City of Culture title is generating in the region and the commitment of Big Lottery Fund to continue to generate positive change within communities.
“Through this investment from the Big Lottery Fund and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, communities will be able to improve people’s lives and consolidate community activity in 2013 and beyond.
“This major announcement is a tangible sign that the City of Culture process is already having a direct and positive impact on the city community.”
Foyle Sinn Fein MLA Martina Anderson, who also spoke at last night’s reception, says “these investment proposals will not only be a boost to civic pride but will also establish new community partnerships which will leave a positive legacy well beyond 2013.”
“Enthusiasm and optimism are all well and good but, without investment, our full potential cannot be achieved.
“The benefits must be seen and felt by everyone.
“We must reach out to people who are disadvantaged and suffering deprivation if we are to truly deliver lasting regeneration and a more shared, inclusive and tolerant society.
“This announcement is reinforcement of the Big Lottery’s belief in this region and it will make a tangible difference to celebrations of City of Culture, enabling even more people from all communities to feel involved,” she says.