Acorn Fund Legacy Grants

Public urged to apply for two new rounds of grant programmes that will help support community arts and culture projects across County Derry

The Community Foundation for Northern Ireland’s Acorn Fund has opened two new rounds of grant programmes that will help support community arts and culture projects across County Derry~Londonderry.

The Acorn Legacy Grants, supported by Big Lottery Fund, offers grants of up to £3,000 to voluntary and community organisations that use arts and culture in innovative ways to tackle issues such as social inclusion, rural isolation and marginalisation. The programme is part of the Big Lottery Fund’s three-year City of Culture legacy commitment.

Projects supported by the last round of legacy grants include Eglinton Community Group, who ran dance workshops for older people, and Stage Beyond Theatre Company, who used its grant to explore issues of sexuality, relationships and identity amongst young adults with leaning difficulties. The closing date for this round of applications is Tuesday, April 14.

Frank Hewitt, the Big Lottery Fund’s NI Chair said: ‘The wide range of diverse and exciting projects being supported by the Acorn Fund’s Legacy Grants programme is building on the successes of the first UK City of Culture and the investment we made through our Culture for All programme. We are looking forward to hearing more about the work of these groups.’

The Acorn Inspire Bursaries programme has also opened for applications. Funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, grants of up to £3,000 are offered to young people with disabilities to help them pursue training in their chosen arts. Successful applicants will receive mentored support during and following their award period from the Acorn Fund, and will in turn act as mentors for future bursary recipients.

Previous recipient Donna-Marie Duddy used her bursary to produce her debut EP on a limited edition 12” vinyl.

As an electric wheelchair user with Cerebral Palsy, Donna Marie found it difficult to access the tuition needed to pursue her goals. Donna Marie said: ‘The Acorn Fund Inspire Bursary gave me the opportunity to work in a professional environment with a production team I’m comfortable with in order to gain the highest quality result. Beforehand this was not possible.

‘The sense of freedom I have in the studio or behind the mic is one of the few areas where I feel that my disability does not effect peoples’ perception of me, and the music I make. I’m determined to show that it is no impediment to achieving my creative ambitions.’

Shauna Kelpie, Acorn Fund Development Officer urged community groups to get their applications forms in. The Acorn Fund’s aims are to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to get involved with arts and culture. We’ve already supported so many brilliant local community and voluntary groups and individuals that are all working hard to improve their local communities. I want to encourage as many groups and young people as possible to get their applications forms in.

The Acorn Legacy Grant programme will close on Tuesday, April 14, 2015. The Acorn Inspire Bursaries will close on Monday, April 27.

For more information visit www.communityfoundationni.org/Grants/ or contact Shauna Kelpie skelpie@communityfoundationni.org.