Today we celebrate how The National Lottery have supported Treasured and Historic Places for the past 25 years. To mark this occasion, as the lead member of the Great Place North Belfast project, we would like to share with you what a difference this support has made to our North Belfast Heritage Cluster.
This Cluster is comprised of 15 voluntary organisations with responsibility for historic assets that stretch across 1 mile from the city centre. We aim to use our collective assets to catalyse regeneration in some of the most deprived wards in Northern Ireland.
Next month we will be half way through our 3 year National Lottery funded ‘Great Place North Belfast’ project. Belfast Charitable Society are proud to lead this project, which works towards building the individual and collective sustainability and heritage/cultural offerings of our members.
This funding is highly appreciated by the Cluster as so far, it has enabled us to achieve:
Greater Sustainability
• Worked with our members to identify what they need to protect their historic places for future generations and share their stories with the wider community.
• Provide members with the training and help they need most, whether that is for fundraising, writing business cases, governance or marketing.
Greater awareness
• Supported 13 small member based projects to raise awareness of their historic places. Such as the photographic exhibition hosted by St Patrick’s Church and Redeemer Central or enabling the Indian Community Centre to give cultural awareness presentations and refurbishing Belfast Orange Hall’s hospitality room.
• Raise awareness of all members through the Great Place North Belfast website

Greater connections
• Sharing the stories of members’ connections and affections for their treasured places and with each other. Each member will display an artefact that best tells the story of their past alongside these recent photographs of how they use the building today.
• Build the relationships between Cluster members and the wider community through telling these shared histories
Greater aspirations
• As well as thinking about the future of our historic places, members have also been involved in the urban design of the surrounding areas- from Donegall Street right up to the Antrim Road. These have been valuable conversations about how to make the areas more people friendly and encourage visitors to our assets.
• In considering how our treasured places can stay relevant to the local community for years to come, we are also developing our archives to reveal and share these hidden stories for future generations.

All of these achievements are made possible thanks to the ongoing support of the Heritage Fund UK. Happy 25th Birthday to The National Lottery from all at #Great Place North Belfast.