Lottery funding a lifeline for HERe NI

A Lisburn resident has been front and centre of one of thousands of good causes throughout the UK to share in more than £1 billion awarded by the National Lottery during the last year to support people and projects cope with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 2:45 pm
Cara McCann

HERe NI, spearheaded by Lisburn-based Director Cara McCann, is one of the projects awarded with a grant of £24,000 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

HERe NI is the only organisation dedicated to supporting lesbian and bisexual women in Northern Ireland and was first powered by a £70,000 National Lottery grant awarded in September 2019 to undertake a ground-breaking research project.

The project records, and tells the story of, the history of the LGBT+ community in the country and is the first ever funded Northern Irish LGBT heritage project of its kind.

Cara, who lives with wife Amanda in Lisburn, feared the worst when lockdown first struck but says receiving a slice of the £1billion was a lifesaver – literally.

The 45-year-old said: “The emergency money we got really saved us as an organisation. We’re so unique. Across the north of Ireland there’s no other organisation that does the work that we do.

“If we hadn’t had got that money, it really would have put our Heritage project at risk. It’s the first meaningful project on LGBT history in the North and it would have been such a shame if that would have been put at risk.

“For us to close down, there would be so many people that wouldn’t have anywhere else to go. It was make or break time for us – and The National Lottery stepped in at the right time.

“People’s lives would be at risk. We save lives every day – I am under no illusions about that.

“The National Lottery are helping the most marginalised, vulnerable people in our community. I engage with these vulnerable people every day and see first-hand the difference this money makes. Sometimes it is the difference between life and death.

“National Lottery players are having a small part in saving people’s lives by buying tickets.”

To find out more about how The National Lottery supports good causes throughout the UK, visit