Laurencetown group in lottery boost

A GROUP in Banbridge is using a grant from the Big Lottery Fund to improve the mental health of people of all ages in its rural area.

Laurencetown, Lenaderg and Tullylish Community Association is one of 14 groups receiving grants totalling over £118,000 from the Big Lottery Fund’s Healthy Minds NI programme which supports activities to improve the mental health and well-being of people across Northern Ireland.

The group, based in the village of Laurencetown near Banbridge, has been awarded £8,670 to run a programme of activities and classes to reduce isolation, build self-esteem and boost better mental health.

“As a rural area we have been hit hard by the current recession as many local people were involved in the building industry and associated trades,” said Neil Gillan, the local project development officer.

“Our relative rural isolation means people often feel marginalised, something which is exacerbated too by a lack of rural transport in the area.

“In drawing up this programme we looked at all age sections in our community to identify what their needs were – from the toddlers’ and young mothers’ group, through pre-schoolers and school children right up to older people.”

As a result the association is planning a range of activities addressing each of these groups.

Frank Hewitt, the Big Lottery Fund’s NI Chair said, “The Healthy Minds programme is supporting activities at the heart of local communities. Improving people’s mental health and well-being can have a positive impact on family life, work and social life – the community as a whole.

“I am delighted to be announcing these grants which will make a major difference to the lives of many people.”

The Healthy Mind programme closes for applications on Thursday, March 31 at 5pm. To find out more visit: www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/northernireland.