TV spotlight shines on groups in bid for Lottery winnings

A Cloughmills group working to improve the lives of people in the local community has been chosen to take part in a TV competition to win lottery cash to change lives.

The Happiness Project - Peas and Love, which is being developed by Cloughmills Community Action Team, is one of six projects, including one from Ballycastle, that could win awards of up to £60,000 from the Big Lottery Fund’s People’s Millions contest, to be showcased on UTV Live at the end of June (27-30).

The Happiness Project - Peas and Love, if successful, will turn an existing woodland and derelict space in Cloughmills village into the `Incredible Edible Cloughmills’ area where produce will be grown.

The project will also run programmes encouraging the local community to come together to look after the environment and produce, eat and sell the food grown, and will involve people with mental ill health, adults with learning disabilities and young people in the area.

The Cloughmills project will go head to head with the Happy Faces NI project in Kilkeel, which is being developed by Happy Faces NI, on the third night (Wednesday 29th June 2011).

This is the seventh year that the Big Lottery Fund and UTV have given the public the chance to choose where the Lottery good cause cash goes in their region. This year groups were asked to develop projects that really capture the public’s imagination and inspire local people to make a lasting difference in their area.

The TV contest will see two projects go head-to-head each night in the last of week of June. The six projects will make their case for the public’s vote to win Lottery funding on UTV regional news programme, with the winners being decided in a phone vote.

At the end of the week four projects will each have won up to £60,000 Lottery good cause cash - one award for each night, and a bonus award for the runner up who receives the most phone votes across the week, announced on Thursday 30th June.

Voting numbers will be available on the day the projects are due to appear on UTV with Telephone voting lines opening at 9am on each day and winners announced the following day.

Declan Donnelly, Recycling and Education Officer, Ballymoney Borough Council explained: “For 13 years, Cloughmills Community Action Team has pioneered activities which benefit the community and the local environment.

“The Incredible Edible Cloughmills project is starting to yield real benefits for the community and attract the attention of other communities who now look to Cloughmills as an example of best practice. There have been a number of awards and extensive media coverage in the last 18 months and now is the time to capitalise on the potential of this project.

“The Happiness Project will explore what we actually need to make us happy. It considers all of the aspects which make a community sustainable, in other words a community where people feel safe, valued and where physical and emotional needs are met.

“If successful, this project will start in August 2011 and finish in September 2012. It builds on the successes of Cloughmills to date but it also helps build a future where people in Cloughmills are in control. It will help Cloughmills to become a community which makes things happen, rather than one which waits for things to happen.

“You can vote for from any landline up to 10 times and it won’t cost more than £1. This means that if you vote from home and work, we get another 20 votes. If we win, we get almost £60,000 to deliver this.”

* Space to Grow, Ballycastle, is also shortlisted and will go head to head with the Garden of Eden in Londonderry on the second night (Tuesday 28th June).

If successful, Greenlight Gateway’s project will turn a derelict space in Ballycastle into a Diamond Jubilee Garden featuring a fresh air fitness outdoor gym, allotments and a growing, cooking and training programme. The project, run in partnership with the Northern Health and Social CareTrust, local schools and community groups, will help to improve the health and well-being of people with learning disabilities and mental ill health and the wider community.