Three local groups get Big Lottery boost

Three groups in the area have been awarded a total of £29,118 from Awards for All.

This is part of a grants roll-out of £592,282 to 70 groups across Northern Ireland. It comes as Big Lottery Fund celebrates its 10th birthday.

Banbridge VIP club has been awarded £10,000 for the Celebrating 25 Years of Providing a Lifeline project. The club, which is run by volunteers, provides activities for visually impaired people in the Banbridge and Craigavon areas. The project will provide a range of events for older visually impaired people, including a respite trip to Scotland and tandem riding.

Doreen McFarlane has volunteered for over 20 years and finds it very rewarding. “I’ve got time to give to someone else and that’s what volunteering is about. A visually impaired person finds it hard to get out on their own, so the club volunteers are essential for helping with day to day tasks like ordering food, shopping and getting about. Quite often the volunteers connect with the visually impaired person and they build a strong friendship and spend a lot of time together.

“There is nothing else in the area for visually impaired people so the activities we organise are really beneficial. The members enjoy socialising with others who understand the day to day difficulties, it gives them comfort.

The Tanvally and Anaghlone Project has been awarded £9,118. The grant will be used to purchase equipment for local groups which use its services, including educational toys for the mothers and toddlers group.

Iveagh Branch of The Pony Club Banbridge received £10,000. It provides instruction in horse and pony riding and promotes character building in young people and will use the grant to buy lighting for their arena.