Today the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) announced initial support for a £3.4 million project to the Causeway Coast and Glens Heritage Trust (CCGHT) for the Binevenagh and Coastal Lowlands Landscape Partnership Scheme.

HLF has awarded an eighteen-month development grant of £204,200 to enable CCGHT to develop the five-year project which will be assessed for final approval for the full project amount of £3.4 million through HLF’s Landscape Partnership Scheme (LPS). A dedicated office and three-person development team will be established in the area from January 2018. When the project gains final approval, expected in 2019, five staff will be employed for the five-year delivery phase.

The scheme will explore and enhance the natural and cultural heritage of the area, with a focus on defence heritage, as well as outdoor recreation opportunities. The project has been developed throughout 2016/2017 in consultation with partners across the area including environment and heritage groups, community organisations and statutory bodies. The development team will consult widely over a period of 18 months with local communities, businesses, interest groups, government agencies and political representatives to develop projects which secure a sustainable future for the area’s heritage and connects the area’s:

• Outstanding natural heritage, which includes six internationally recognised habitats and ten sites of national significance;
• Wealth of internationally and nationally important Napoleonic, WWI, WWII, Cold War and Troubles era defence heritage features;
• Unique status as the only area in Northern Ireland where outdoor recreation can be actively enjoyed in the water, on the land and in the air.

Ultimately the project will help develop a better understanding and sense of ownership of these features within the local community, so that the landscape and heritage can be valued and shared by the entire community, across all generations and with visitors to the area.

Key project and delivery partners include Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, the Department of Agriculture Environment and Rural Affairs (NIEA and Forest Service), the Department of Communities, the Ministry of Defence, the Department of Justice (HMP Magilligan), the Education Authority (Magilligan Field Centre), Loughs Agency and the National Trust. In addition, three advisory groups on the themes of natural heritage, defence heritage and outdoor recreation will be established.

Announcing the award, Head of HLF Northern Ireland, Paul Mullan, said: “Binevenagh and the Coastal Lowlands is an area of breath-taking natural beauty, rich cultural heritage and untapped potential. We were impressed with these exciting proposals that put people right at the heart of this outstanding landscape, helping them to get involved in its future management, protection and use.

“Now, thanks to National Lottery players these outline plans can be fully developed to deliver a range of benefits for the heritage and the people who live, work and visit there.”

Chairman of CCGHT, Bill Harpur commented:

“This is a very welcome decision by Heritage Lottery. It provides a wonderful opportunity for employment and economic development in the area. I’m confident the scheme will have the same positive impact and benefits as have been achieved in County Antrim through the Heart of the Glens LPS, again supported by HLF.”

Andrew Bratton, CCGHT project manager commented:

“This is fantastic news and a great opportunity for the Binevenagh area and for the people living, working or visiting there. This area of Northern Ireland has been bypassed in terms of heritage research, investment and promotion. The funding from the HLF will provide an opportunity for everyone to explore and enjoy the spectacular landscape and heritage on their doorsteps. Never have such a variety of stakeholders come together with a collective goal, backed by significant resources, to ensure that the Binevenagh and Coastal Lowlands area is firmly marked on the map as a special place to get out and learn about nature or explore our ancient and recent history”.

Funding will be provided by HLF at a grant level of 79% which means CCGHT and its project partners will have to work hard to secure £714,000 in match funding over the life of the project.

To keep up to date with project progress and all planned events, please visit . To join our mailing list for the project please email or contact the head office on 02820752100

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