Northern Ireland: Committee minutes for June 2023

Northern Ireland: Committee minutes for June 2023

Minutes of the Committee for Northern Ireland meeting held on 14 June 2023 at 10am via Microsoft Teams.


  • Mukesh Sharma – Chair
  • Darren Rice
  • Jim McGreevy
  • Olive Hill
  • Patricia Corbett 
  • Sally Montgomery 


  • Nikki McVeigh


  • Anne Jenkins (Teams)    
  • Paul Mullan
  • Margaret Henry
  • Stella Byrne
  • Angela Lavin
  • Sharon Archer
  • Shirlee Beggs (Minutes)


  • Frances McNally
  • Jimmy Laverty
  • Julie Sharpe
  • Anne Walker
  • Hollie Cook

Committee business

Welcomes, apologies and declarations of interest

The chair welcomed all to the meeting. 

Nikki McVeigh had sent her apologies for this meeting. 

No declarations of Interest had been received.

Congratulations made to fellow committee member Darren Rice on obtaining UNESCO status for the Mourne Gullion Strangford Geopark. This was worked upon for eleven years by Newry Mourne and Down DC, with the involvement of many people in his team and those that live within the park. 

Minutes from the meeting held 9 March 2023 and matters arising.

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

Chair’s report

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

  • Attended the Trustees meeting at the end of March. All gave very positive feedback on the visit. 
  • Attended the HMS Caroline visit with Stella Byrne, Head of Investment (HoI), with the Princess Royal in attendance. 
  • Attended the Parliamentary Westminster event for Young People Skills, good media coverage around this. 
  • Met with other Lottery Chairs in NI. A positive conversation on the challenges and overlap faced. 

Fellow Committee Members provided feedback on events attended. 

  • Sally Montgomery (SM) attended the final event for the Dragon in the Hills project. An excellent project with tremendous staff. 

Corporate update

Confidential in confidence.

The Committee noted the highlight of the report. 


  • Species Survival Fund, Grant in Aid – The opening date was deferred. The initial £80million agreed by Government was reduced to £25m. There will now be a soft launch of the programme later this month.
  • Places Initiative in Scotland – A useful partnership approach with Historic Environment Scotland in developing Place. Applications are now in. This is separate to the ongoing Place work that is part of our strategy.

Overview paper NI

The Committee noted the report.

The highlights included:

  • Attending the Ulster University and Queens University Belfast event on the Agreement. An exhibition based on the Good Friday Agreement and the people with the exhibition presently touring local towns.
  • Attendance at the Westminster event.


  • Thanks were made by the Chair to James Laverty who will be leaving his role as Engagement Manager for the NI team.
  • Board Apprenticeship scheme – worth exploring for Northern Ireland. Further discussion to be undertaken by Board on this.


  • The Chair commented on the clear information thus provided within the papers for the new layout on budgets.

No other comments.

Policy and Public Affairs update:

  • Thanks, made by the Chair for the weekly political updates provided which prove to be useful.

No other comments.

Communications update:


  • A number of good projects are coming to an end and so a busy period.
  • Good media coverage overall to date with not just the larger awards but picking up on the smaller awards.
  • Radio coverage has been very good, in particular for the ‘In your Space Circus’ project. Very well supported at the event and enlightening as to how a project can move forward and what it can achieve.


CRESI SKILLS – Covid Recovery Employment and Skills Initiative

Stella Byrne (HoI) provided the update.


  • CRESI being part of the Covid emergency package through the Department of Communities, grants of £50,000–£100,000 and open to applications in January 2022.
  • Grants used to support the costs of one new job role including salary and costs over a three-year period. 
  • To encourage new talent to enter employment in sectors where talent has been depleted, and to gain new skills that are transferable in the workplace.
  • Overall, a good geographical spread along with all main heritage areas included. Landscape and Nature being the largest.
  • Overall organisations reporting the posts are making a significant difference and so are very engaged in the process. They now have capacity to deliver high quality marketing and promotional work, be more strategic in their financial sustainability and greater high quality community engagement. Much added value has been added.

Community Heritage

The Committee noted the update.

SFF Development round applications for discussion and decision

#DYC: Home in troubled times: exploring everyday life and conflict in Northern Ireland using Digital Archives

Applicant: The University of Ulster

Grant request: Development grant of £34,204 (90%) of total eligible development costs, and potential delivery grant of £252,917 (86%)

Project: The heritage focus is the ‘Conflict Archive on the Internet’ (CAIN), a collection of information and sources material on ‘the Troubles’ and politics in NI from 1968 through to the present. The project will work with partners to enhance the collection, allowing the improved archive to be used to promote a more nuanced and sophisticated understanding of contested heritage with improved access to wider and new audiences. 

Decision: The Committee for NI agreed the application represented a HIGH priority for support and AWARDED a development grant of £34,204 (90%) of total eligible development costs, and potential delivery grant of £252,917 (86%).

Clogher Valley Community Hub

Applicant: Early Years – The organisation for young children

Grant request: Development grant of £459,078 (90%) of total eligible development costs, and potential delivery grant of £2,488,674 (90%)  

Project: To restore the Clogher Valley workhouse, a significant B1 listed building currently on the Heritage at Risk register. A community project that has the potential to engage a wider range of people while developing skills in addition to making the local area a better place to live.

Decision: The Committee for NI agreed the application represented a MEDIUM priority for support and rejected the application.

Any other business


The next meeting will be held 5 September 2023.