Big Lottery Fund Press Release: East Belfast Scoops £23M for Lottery Living Landmark

Big Lottery Fund Press Release

A groundbreaking Northern Ireland project has been awarded £23.5 million under the Big Lottery Fund’s Living Landmarks programme to transform an area of East Belfast.

The East Belfast Partnership’s Connswater Community Greenway has secured £23.5million to create a linear parkway following the course of the Connswater and other rivers through east Belfast.

East Belfast Partnership will use the grant to connect 379 acres of public open space, build 43 bridges and create 19kms of cycle and walkways. The project will benefit more than 40,800 people living in the area, improving the living environment and providing opportunities for leisure, exercise, recreation and supporting healthier lifestyles.  

The £23.5 million grant will also be used to develop a 9km linear park through East Belfast, following the course of the Connswater, Knock and Loop rivers, connecting people and places from Castlereagh Hills to Belfast Lough.

Breidge Gadd, NI Chair of the Big Lottery Fund, said: “After lots of hard work from the projects and some extremely tough decisions taken by the Living Landmarks committee we are delighted to announce the three successful initiatives. I’m looking forward to seeing these truly ground-breaking projects come to life and capturing the imagination of the surrounding communities and individuals across the country.”

Sammy Douglas from the East Belfast Partnership said: “Everyone across Northern Ireland is absolutely delighted in getting this vote of confidence from the lottery to provide new opportunities for our communities through the development of the Connswater Community Greenway which will turn the rivers and open spaces into community assets and provide a living landmark for our children.”

Due to decades of underinvestment in the area the open spaces alongside the rivers are underused, inaccessible, unsafe and unconnected to the communities. The Connswater Community Greenway will create a safe, welcoming and open public space for residents and visitors to East Belfast.

The Connswater Community Greenway project is one of three successful schemes in the UK that have in total been awarded just over £70 million by the Big Lottery Fund. Kerrier District Council’s Cornwall’s Heartlands has been awarded £22.3million; and Falkirk Council’s The Helix has been awarded £25million.

The aim of the Living Landmarks programme is to provide funding of up to £25 million to create major new capital projects that transform, revitalise and regenerate their communities. In August 2006, 23 projects made it onto the final Living Landmarks shortlist and were each awarded up to £250,000 to develop their proposals, leaving them much better placed to take their schemes further.

Projects that applied were given extensive scrutiny by the Living Landmarks Committee, which included experts in the areas of architecture and regeneration, and have substantial professional experience of large-scale capital projects.

In this extremely competitive funding programme, Connswater Community Greenway and the other successful projects were selected from a total of 313 initial applicants [received by the January 2006 deadline].