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9th March 2018

Lagan Village Youth and Community Group received a huge surprise after they received a visit from a jackpot winner who shocked them by revealing their application for National Lottery funding has been successful.

Representatives from the Belfast-based organisation broke down in tears after learning they will receive £2,820 from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

National Lottery winner Mary Hamilton, from Belfast, who won £12.9m in the EuroMillions draw in November 2014, went ‘undercover’ as part of The National Lottery’ ‘Thank You Northern Ireland’ campaign, to visit the project and reveal the good news that their weekly music classes for young adults with learning difficulties will receive support.

The workshops allow the young people to be introduced to a series of musical instruments, sounds and songs and will finish with a special concert.

Jill Thompson, chair of Lagan Village Young and Community Group, said: “This project exposes the young people to forms of music they may not be familiar with and encourages them to use music as a form of self-expression.

“The impact this work has is just amazing. At the beginning, some of them do not speak, but once they get involved, they come alive and they blossom.

“It means so much to us to receive this National Lottery funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

“We would like to thank everyone who plays the National Lottery for their kindness and generosity which will allow us to deliver this fantastic music programme.”

Fionnuala Walsh, Head of Participatory Arts at Arts Council of Northern Ireland, added: “It is amazing to see how much this National Lottery grant means to the group. The impact this relatively small investment will have is enormous, allowing a valuable music project to continue for another year, and making a real difference to the lives of all those involved.”

Jonathan Tuchner, from the National Lottery, said: “National Lottery players have raised a massive £1 billion to fund projects which make a life-changing difference right across Northern Ireland. The ‘Thank you Northern Ireland’ campaign is thanking lottery players, without whom none of this would have been possible. We want to make National Lottery players aware of the thousands of fantastic projects across Northern Ireland that would never get off the ground if it weren’t for their money.”

Watch the video of Lagan Village Youth and Community Group receiving their good news here:

Notes to editors

  • Lagan Village Youth and Community Group will receive £2,820 of National Lottery funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland
  • Since The National Lottery began in 1994, players have raised more than £1 billion for 20,000 projects in Northern Ireland
  • For more information of National Lottery good causes in your area please visit:

Pic caption:

EuroMillions winner Mary Hamilton (far right) surprises Jill Thompson and George Newall of the Lagan Village Youth and Community Group with the news their application for National Lottery funding has been successful.

Film: To download the film for use free of charge, please visit:

For more information please contact Ruairi O’Kane on 07788 612804 or email ruairi.o’

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