Supported by the Big Lottery Fund, the grants are part of the Acorn Fund’s City of Culture Legacy programme and are available to projects that use arts and culture in innovative ways to tackle issues such as social inclusion, rural isolation and marginalisation.
The fund was established in 2014 to ensure that local people have an opportunity to get involved with arts and culture following the success of the City of Culture and, to create social networks, encourage talent, increase skills and to strengthen community activity. The next round of the Acorn Legacy Grant fund will open on Tuesday 1st March for applications and close on April 5th. More information is available from the Community Foundation NI’s website (www.communityfoundationni.org
Previous recipients include the Waterside Theatre, which was awarded £2,260 to produce an intergenerational visual art project with the residents of Longfield Care Home in Eglinton and, the pupils of near-by Broadbridge Primary School. Amanda-Jane Prow Community Arts Officer explains more about the project.
"The Waterside Theatre is delighted to be working with Longfield Care Home and Broadbridge Primary School on this exciting 12 week intergenerational art project. The workshops will promote the transmission of cultural traditions; help build a sense of personal and societal identity and help foster long term relations between the participants involved, through the medium of visual arts. This was made possible with the support of the Acorn Fund."
Tiernan Devine from Holy Family PS pictured with Shauna Kelpie, Acorn Fund Development Officer at the planting of 500 trees in Marianus Glen in Derry~Londonderry, an initiative of the Acorn Fund to help improve local communities. Tiernan also helped launch the Acorn Fund's City of Culture Legacy Grants programme, now open for applications.
Stage Beyond, a Derry~Londonderry based theatre company for adults with learning difficulties also received funding for its upcoming production of Rashomon in the Millennium Forum. Dee Conaghan, Artistic Manager of Stage Beyond explains how important the funding was to the people involved:
“The Acorn Fund Legacy Grant funding has enabled us to reach out into the community, and bring together those who often find themselves on the margins of society, providing them with a platform for their voice to be heard.”
Shauna Kelpie, Acorn Fund Development Officer said: “These are just two example of how a small amount of funding can make a high difference to communities across Derry~Londonderry. Through the Legacy programme we are particularly looking to fund projects with a strong element of creativity or innovation that will make a tangible and measurable difference to communities.”
Frank Hewitt, the Big Lottery Fund’s NI Chair, said: “We are delighted to see the impact that the Acorn Fund’s Legacy Grants programme is having by supporting a wide range of diverse and exciting projects. This funding is helping groups to continue to build on the legacy of the UK City of Culture.”
Details of the next round of Acorn Giving Circle will be announced at a special celebration event on April 19 in The Playhouse as part of Philanthropy Fortnight. The Acorn Giving Circle (AGC) provides small grants of up to £500 to local groups that work with, or support, children and young people under the age of 16 years in the Derry area.
The Acorn Giving Circle is entirely funded by a group of local female philanthropists who are dedicated to helping improve the lives of children and young people through social, cultural, sporting or educational activities. The Giving Circle was formed in 2012 as a response to the establishment of the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland’s Acorn Fund and as a legacy of the 2013 City of Culture.