Northern Ireland: Committee meeting minutes, November 2021

Northern Ireland: Committee meeting minutes, November 2021

Minutes of the meeting of the Committee for Northern Ireland held on 23 November 2021 at Kingspan Stadium, Belfast, and also on Microsoft Teams.


  • Mukesh Sharma (Chair)
  • Angelina Fusco
  • Darren Rice
  • Jim McGreevy
  • Olive Hill
  • Sheila McClelland
  • Jacqueline Irwin

Committee Business

1. Welcomes, Apologies and Declarations of Interest

No apologies nor declarations of interest.

2. Minutes from the meeting held 7 September 2021 and matters arising

The minutes were agreed and signed by the Chair as a true record of the meeting.

3. Chair’s Report             

The Chair updated the Committee on his activities since the last Committee meeting. The Committee noted:

  • His attendance of the Trustee’s meeting, which was a very positive experience with site visits in Buxton including the Opera House which has similarities to our own Opera House including an interesting journey towards sustainability.
  • His sitting on the panel for the Heritage Angel awards. Noting that many of those nominated had crossed paths with The Heritage Fund at some stage.
  • Lisburn Museum Shared History Fund (SHF) event attendance, excellent event and very interactive.

Committee members who had attended events provided an update on their own event activities.

The Chair noted that this was Ros Kerslake’s last NI meeting prior to leaving The Fund. He thanked her for work as Chief Executive and her commitment to Northern Ireland.

4. Corporate Report 

Commercial in confidence   

Ros Kerslake presented the report.

5. Country Report 

Paul Mullan, Director of Country introduced the report and key updates.

6. Country Budget

Stella Byrne introduced the report and provided an update of the key details:

  • Development round applications are on the agenda with £3.3m remaining within Committee budget.
    • We have spent approximately 50% at this stage within the delegated budget and Committee were reminded the delegated decisions now have a ceiling of £250,000. The pipeline remains strong for the delegated budget.
    • The application deadline is not until December 2021, we will know at that stage the demand for the March Committee meeting.
    • The Committee were assured the pipeline is looking healthy for 2022-23 applications over the £250k threshold.

SFF Development round applications for discussion and decision

7. Aurora

Applicant: St Columb’s Hall Trust

Request: Development grant of £35,581 (72%) and potential delivery grant of £360,287(83%).

Project: St Columb’s Hall is a Grade A listed former temperance hall in the heart of the Walled City of Derry and near to the Millennium Forum and The Playhouse Theatre. The hall is on the Heritage at Risk register and has been closed to the public since March 2020. In its present condition the hall cannot be reopened due to the deterioration of key aspects of the building fabric. This would be the initial first step in restoring the hall to a multi-purpose cultural campus.

The Committee for Northern Ireland agreed the application represented a high priority and awarded a grant of £35,581 (72%) and potential delivery grant of £360,287 (83%).

8. St Comgall’s – Belfast Heritage      

Applicant: Falls Community Council

Request: Development grant of £115,800 (83%) and potential delivery grant of £516,500 (81%).

Project: St Comgall’s school is a B1 listed building opened in 1857 on the Falls Road in Belfast and was purchased by FCC in 2002. The building has served the community in multiple ways through the years as a school, community recreation facility and an unemployment resource centre. The applicant plans to create a heritage exhibition, community hub and retail space to serve the local community and businesses. We have been asked to fund the development of interpretive content in an area of the overall development.


9. ‘Through the Looking Glass & The Crittal Skills Hub’

Applicant: Northern Ireland Trade Union Educational & Social Centre

Request: Development grant of £212,000 (89%) and potential delivery grant of £2,035,803 (89%)

Project: The project seeks to develop the Grade B2 listed former Strand Spinning Mill complex known as the Portview Centre, situated on a main arterial route in East Belfast. The masterplan is based around five main themes: heritage, education and training, resilience, employment and tourism.


Papers for information

10. Policy and Public Affairs Report

The Committee noted the report.

11. Any other business

No other business.

The next meeting will be held on Tuesday 8 March 2022