Vote Derry Heritage Centre for National Lottery Award

St Columba-dedicated Áras Cholmcille is the only project of its kind from Northern Ireland to reach final nomination stage for prestigious title

Having fought off competition from some 600 contending organisations, Derry's St Columba Heritage Centre has reached the public voting stage of this year's National Lottery Awards.

The former derelict school building, dedicated to the city's founding father, opened in June 2014 following a major restoration and now faces six other nominees for a £2,000 cash prize and the chance to attend the awards ceremony broadcast on BBC One in September, as well as the title of Best Heritage Project.

Established to raise awareness of Derry's rich cultural history and in particular its monastic origins, the centre contains resources such as video material recreating the city before its historic walls were built, a facsimile Book of Kells, children's literature and more preserving the legacy of the patron saint for future generations.

St Columba's 2

Based in the grounds of St Columba's Church, Long Tower, the building and its programmes are the only heritage project from Northern Ireland to make the finals this year, with other Lottery-funded projects to be honoured across the fields of sport, arts, health, environment, education and voluntary/charity.

Other finalists from Northern Ireland include The Dark Hedges and Belfast Hills Partnership in the environment category, Armagh Men's Shed in health and Box Clever in education.

Actor John Barrowman (Zero Dark Thirty, Arrow) is set to present the televised awards show. 

Voting closes at midnight on Wednesday, July 29. To vote for the St Columba's Heritage Centre click here. Follow the campaign on Twitter with the hashtag #NLAwards.