New National Lottery scheme to make Arney River a Great Place

29th March 2018

Communities along the Arney River in County Fermanagh are celebrating an investment of £270,000 to help shape their future development.  The award is part of a total £1m injection made through the National Lottery’s ground-breaking Great Place scheme, and is one of the first to be made in Northern Ireland. The funding will allow communities to explore how their unique heritage can be used to shape the future of these places and help tackle wider issues such as poverty, employment, health and education.

The Great Place Scheme responds to the specific needs of local places, from city-wide initiatives to smaller, rural schemes.  Arney River Heritage Corridor – Connecting Our Communities Through Our Heritage, History and Culture will use the funding to place heritage at the heart of joined-up thinking to create a better place for people to live and visit.

Heritage, culture and outdoor recreation will be used to link the rural and semi-rural communities along the Arney River Heritage Corridor that extends from Cuilcagh Mountain to Lough Erne.  The communities of Cleenish, Bellanaleck, Arney, Killesher and Florence Court will be better connected to their local heritage and each other through the creation of new community-led trails, whilst the cultural and natural heritage of the area will be explored and celebrated through a range of activities including archaeological digs, summer schools, folklore and rural craft workshops, citizen science and arts activities.

The project is a partnership between Outdoor Recreation Northern Ireland, Cleenish Community Association and Killesher Community Development Association.  Match funding support has been provided by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council and Outdoor Recreation NI.

Announcing the successful projects, Paul Mullan, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) in Northern Ireland said: “Thanks to National Lottery players, this £1m investment will enable a step-change in thinking as partnerships deliver projects that put heritage and culture at the very heart of their vision for their own future.  It will bring together new and existing partnerships to explore new ways to utilise the unique heritage of these special places, stimulating regeneration and growth, and helping to address the wider social issues that affect each place.”

On the announcement of funding for the Arney River Heritage Corridor programme, Chris Scott, Outdoor Recreation NI expressed his delight: “It has been a real pleasure to work with the local communities along the Arney River to secure this funding from the HLF. As lead partner we are looking forward to building on this local development approach to deliver a range of really exciting community-led projects.”

John Owens, Chairmain of Cleenish Community Association, added: “As development partner in this bid with Outdoor Recreation NI and Killesher Community Development Association we are delighted to receive this funding. We look forward to developing the rich heritage and culture of the area for the benefits of residents and visitors alike in the years ahead.  We would also like to thank Fermanagh and Omagh District Council for their match funding support which will allow the programme work to develop a suite of trails connecting communities and sites of local interest as well as a range of activities highlighting the rich cultural and historical heritage of the area. We can’t wait to get started.”