The founder of Glasgowbury Paddy Glasgow is “over the moon” with being awarded almost £90,000 from the International Fund for Ireland (IoF).
The cash boost for the Draperstown-based creative arts company is part of a £2.6m package allocated to community projects across Northern Ireland.
The one year project entitled I AM (inclusive Accessible Multimedia) will equip 15 young people from the Mid Ulster area with the skills necessary to pursue a career within the creative industry.
Music and digital technologies will be used to encourage participants to address issues of isolation and to develop self-esteem and confidence.
Paddy and his team have been operating from The Cornstore in Draperstown town centre for about four years - and he says they have been “flat out”.
The former promoter of Glasgowbury Music Festival, which ran for 13 years until 2013, said “a lot of people” had been in for the IoF award and they had put a great deal of hard work in to their application.
“We’re over the moon that it has been a success,” he continued. “It means a great deal to us and gives people who are interested in doing something in the creative sector an opportunity.”
Paddy said the award would take them “into a different arena”.
The funding, approved at the IoF’s recent Board Meeting in County Donegal, includes £1.5m for 10 Peace Impact (PIP) projects that will assist marginalised communities to resolve complex issues relating to identity and the conflict.
A further £972,000 has been awarded across 11 Personal Youth Development projects that aim to encourage young people to make positive life choices, take part in good relations activities and pursue further education and training provision.
Dr Adrian Johnston, Chairman of the IoF, said: “The Fund is focused on equipping communities, and young people in particular, with the means to resist and disrupt division and disaffection.
“We are pleased to award financial assistance to 22 projects and commend them for their willingness to take risks to support individuals and communities in challenging environments.
“Ground-breaking projects, like these 22, have been successful in tackling underlying causes of youth involvement in anti-social behaviour and the corrosive influence of sectarianism.”
Dr Johnston stressed they knew that “there are risks that still need to be taken for a lasting peace.”