A bell tent, buoyancy aids, BBQ, kurling set, marquee, crepe maker, sports equipment, PA system and chairs were just some of the items on the shopping list for Belfast Harbour’s Big Lunch winners, whose plans to make a positive impact on their local community have seen them pronounced winners.
Supported by Belfast Harbour, The Big Lunch initiative is run by Eden Project Communities, a network designed to help ordinary people make positive change in their communities. The competition asked young people, aged between eight and 18 years old, across the whole of Northern Ireland to say what they would do to improve community spirit where they live and submit a three-minute video making the case for why their particular initiative should win a share of the £3,000 funding pot. In total, 9 community groups scooped cash prizes to fund their various outreach programmes across Northern Ireland.
Jenni Barkley, Belfast Harbour Communications and Corporate Responsibility Manager, said:
“Unity within the community is the aim of the game with the Big Lunch competition. Our hardworking community groups do so much to benefit their neighbourhoods, bringing people together and promoting social cohesion, and Belfast Harbour is very pleased to work with Eden Project Communities to support such valuable grass-roots activity. We received some extremely compelling submissions, making it very difficult to choose the winners, but in the end, we selected those projects which we felt could make a real and long-lasting difference. Congratulations to all of those who were selected, whose plans, we felt, were very inspiring.”
Winners and prizes included:
- Arvalee School and ‘Row The Erne’ whose joint plans to help local community groups access the beauty of Lough Erne and learn more about its landscape, has earnt them a £200 cash prize, helping them to buy buoyancy aids so that more schools, youth groups and people with special needs can access the Currach Menapian, a boat built by the community for the community.
- North Belfast’s Fighting Words won a £200 cash prize, which helped the witing group to buy new chairs, enabling them to get more young people involved in creative writing.
- Shankill-based Hammer Youth Club won £200 which helped the community group to buy a PA system, enabling them to open the club to the wider community for fundraising events.
- Resurgam Trust Lisburn used their cash prize of £200 to buy sports equipment, which will be used to support the group’s plans to organise a community-wide, Olympic-style sports day to promote greater inclusivity and relationship-building.
- Coleraine-based ‘Re-Imaging Project and Picnic’ won £200 which will help the group rejuvenate the Christie Park Subway, in order to make it a safer, more inviting community space for everyone.
- Londonderry YMCA’s won £500 helping them to buy a new age kurling set and BBQ, that will be used to make its community-based fun day available to the widest possible audience.
- Newcastle-based Unit T won £500 helping them buy a marquee, crepe maker and art materials which will be used for their future events which aim to promote good mental health in the community.
- North Belfast’s YEHA Project’s plans to build a community garden space have earnt them £500 in The Big Lunch Competition, the money will be going towards a fire-pit, hammocks and a BBQ.
- Downpatrick Venture Scouts want to take their community outreach activities on the road to help elderly and other vulnerable groups. The Big Lunch have provided them a cash prize of £500 which has helped them to buy a bell tent.