25 August 2023


Beat Carnival Receives £322,000 Grant Funding for OUR SPACE Project

Beat Carnival is thrilled to announce a significant five-year grant award of £322,000 from The National Lottery Community Fund. This generous funding enables the launch of OUR SPACE, a transformative initiative at Beat Carnival Centre to co-create an inclusive arts hub with young people from the Greater Belfast area.

Beat’s Our Space project is designed to empower young individuals to take control of their experiences and contribute to shaping a more equitable society. With a strong emphasis on mental well-being, the project provides a safe haven for creativity, enabling young people to explore their passions, develop leadership skills, and forge meaningful connections within their community. The funding facilitates realisation of this vision through a range of engaging and impactful activities.

Key elements of Our Space include:

  • Art for Social Action: Weekly social-action sessions, where committed young change-makers collaborate to create work that advances progress in their community, including engaging with institutions and governing bodies through advocacy and lobbying efforts.
  • Creative Youth Programme Activities: Weekly activities empower young participants to develop essential skills such as communication, problem-solving, well-being, ambition, leadership, and teamwork through creative tasks.
  • Annual Summer Scheme:  A week-long summer programme of carefully curated, thematic activities.
  • Expanded Outreach: The project engages an additional 100 young people across Belfast annually through outreach classes in schools and community groups that foster creativity and personal growth.
  • Enhanced Support: Support sessions offer focused guidance, mentoring, and a safe space for personal and professional development.
  • Future Leaders Initiative: A group of older participants gain leadership skills, project management expertise and mentoring from Beat staff and experienced freelancers.

Rebecca Boyd, the Project Manager, and Tanya Kearns, the Youth Development Officer, have been instrumental in bringing this vision to life over the past year. The project has been inspired by the SPOTing (Spaces Of Transformation) project that united arts educators in eight European Cultural Centres under Trans Europe Halles and it is a direct response to the feedback and engagement of Beat Carnival’s current youth participants. These voices highlighted challenges including mental health support, recognition of identities, accessibility, training for alternative career paths and the need for space where reflection and self-discovery are nurtured.

Rebecca Boyd, Project Manager said: “We are immensely grateful to The National Lottery Community Fund for their support in making Our Space a reality. This grant enables us to provide a platform for young people to explore their creativity, embrace their identities, and become change-makers in their own right” 

Kate Beggs, Northern Ireland Director of The National Lottery Community Fund said: “We are delighted to award £322,000 of National Lottery funding over five years to BEAT Carnival for Our Space, helping support and empower young people in the Greater Belfast area. We look forward to seeing what will be achieved through this project.
National Lottery players raise more than £30 million every week across the UK for good causes like this, and they can be proud to know that it is making such a difference to people in Northern Ireland.”

OUR SPACE officially commenced in August 2023, coinciding with Beat Carnival’s 30th anniversary. This milestone serves as a testament to Beat’s unwavering dedication to empowering young people through the arts.