Basic community projects receive £ 700,000 in funding from the Bank of Ireland


SOCIAL isolation prevention groups that work with migrants, women’s educational skills and development, and interactive theater for people with disabilities are among the nearly 100 community and arts projects that receive financial support from the program. Begin Together ”from the Bank of Ireland.

Over £ 700,000 is allocated to community groups, social enterprises and artist groups across the island.

Funding is allocated under two headings: the Begin Together Community Fund, in partnership with the Community Foundation for Ireland and supported by the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland; and the Begin Together Arts Fund, in partnership with Business to Arts and supported by Arts & Business NI.

Recipients of the Community Fund will receive up to £ 17,000 for projects covering financial literacy and well-being, mental health, disability, inclusion and diversity and social isolation.

And recipients of the arts fund will receive up to £ 8,500 to support the creation of new works in music, theater, film, crafts, dance, traditional arts and the arts. visuals.

Ian McLaughlin, Managing Director of Bank of Ireland UK, said: “We are extremely proud to support a wide range of community groups, charities and social enterprises working on the island of Ireland.

“Their passion and commitment in everything they do help unite, support and protect some of the most vulnerable in our local communities.

“Although the road ahead looks much more positive, communities still face many challenges. We hope this support will help them face and overcome these challenges.

He added: “As the arts enrich our lives, the sector has been one of the most severely affected during the pandemic.

“The Begin Together Fund for the Arts has helped support the development of new works and artistic practices during the pandemic and the new projects announced today will continue to be a force for good in our lives and communities in the future. . “

Among the groups from Northern Ireland that will receive funding under the Begin Together program is Beat Carnival, an organization that for almost 30 years has been creating carnival arts, organizing and producing shows, training and developing artists and encourages community participation and ambition.

The funding provided will allow artists Kathryn Boyle and Ciara Dunne to work in partnership with Beat Carnival to create an outdoor winter lantern parade connecting neighboring communities through the making of floats and festival lanterns.

David Boyd, director of Beat Carnival, said: “The carnival arts creatively connect communities – and after the long and difficult period of isolation, people are hungry for ways to reconnect, to gain new confidence. and enjoy a creative experience together.

“Beat Carnival is pleased to have the support of the Bank of Ireland’s Begin Together Arts fund for a local neighborhood program that will result in festive celebratory parades by residents on their own streets and with neighboring communities. “

Another group to receive funding in Northern Ireland is Cara-Friend, which has supported and empowered the LGBTQ + community for almost fifty years.

Its Executive Director, Steve Williamson, said: “We are witnessing a real mental health crisis in the LGBTQI + community, with a significant number of young people having spent their lives dealing with homophobia, isolation and depression and are really in trouble, especially after an 18-month drastic lockdown. limiting their access to circles and support services.

“With the Bank of Ireland’s support for Cara-Friend’s new mental health pilot project, we can get the support and resources that the most vulnerable people need now, not later, saving lives in our community. community.”

Other projects to be supported include Age NI – Check in and Chat; Fermanagh Rural Community Initiative; Limin-Alley; and Takeaway Theater.

A full list of 2021 grantees is available at


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