Lead AchieVe Aspire (LAVA) project to support leaders with lived experience thanks to National Lottery funding

Migrant Centre NI Lead AchieVe Aspire (LAVA) project based in Northern Ireland is celebrating today after being awarded almost £50,000 in National Lottery funding to put people with lived experience in the lead to influence wider societal change and build a network to share good practice and support emerging leaders to influence change.

The new grant from the UK’s biggest funder of community activity will see Migrant Centre NI working in partnership with Trade Unions, local business community, health sector, local councils, and education sector to identify and recruit potential new and emergency leaders from BAME backgrounds.

Migrant Centre NI will develop and deliver a leadership programme and opportunities for these recruits to engage with each other, existing leaders in the wider society, within NI and beyond, in order to generate new and innovate ideas to bring about positive change. Underpinning this work will be the lived experience of the some of the key members of the board, the organisation and their support, which will be key to opening up new networks and opportunities for these new leaders.

Pamela Dooley, MCNI Chairperson, said: “We are delighted to be able to deliver this project with the support of the National Lottery Community Fund. Migrant Centre will have a key worker to develop a bespoke pilot project recruiting and involving people from BAME backgrounds with experience who might lack the knowledge or capacity to lead the change based on what they’ve lived through. We want them to develop their skills and use their experiences to lead the so much needed change and to make the voices of the most marginalised in our society heard.”

The grant is part of The National Lottery Community Fund’s £800,000 Lived Experience Leaders Pilot Programme, an initiative which aims to better embed ‘experts by experience’ in all aspects of an organisation’s operations – and enable the Fund and the wider sector to continue testing and learning about how people with first-hand experience can become leaders and how funders can support them.

Joe Ferns, UK Knowledge and Portfolio Director at The National Lottery Community Fund said:

“Thanks to National Lottery players, people with lived experience will use their unique expertise to lead social change and help their communities to thrive. We know that supporting those with first-hand experience to become leaders is a key enabler for civil society to do more, help more people and for our sector to have a greater impact.”

This pilot programme, which was developed through workshops across the UK involving more than 70 lived experience leaders, is a core part of The National Lottery Community Fund’s ‘people in the lead’ strategy.

Today’s announcement is also a key part of The National Lottery Community Fund’s commitment to enabling civil society to be fit for the future – helping organisations and the social sector create opportunities for people with first-hand experience to be at the forefront of decision making.

To find out more visit www.TNLCommunityFund.org.uk



For more details please contact:

Agnieszka Luczak – aggie@migrantcentreni.org OR call us on 02871414848


Notes to Editors:

About The National Lottery Community Fund

We are the largest funder of community activity in the UK – we’re proud to award money raised by National Lottery players to communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Since June 2004, we have made over 200,000 grants and awarded over £9 billion to projects that have benefited millions of people.

We are passionate about funding great ideas that matter to communities and make a difference to people’s lives. At the heart of everything we do is the belief that when people are in the lead, communities thrive. Thanks to the support of National Lottery players, our funding is open to everyone. We’re privileged to be able to work with the smallest of local groups right up to UK-wide charities, enabling people and communities to bring their ambitions to life.




About the Migrant Centre NI

Migrant Centre NI (MCNI) is a registered Charity with 6 Board members and 11 staff members and project workers. The organisation was initially established as The Belfast Migrant Centre and officially recognised as a charity in March 2012. In 2014, to reflect the work of the organisation the name was changed to the current Migrant Centre NI. MCNI has 4 offices across NI, in Belfast, Lurgan, Enniskillen and Derry~Londonderry.


Our overall aim is to tackle racism and eliminate barriers against new and settled migrant communities in NI. MCNI was established to protect the rights of migrant workers in NI, tackle racism, eliminate barriers against migrant workers, advance education and raise public awareness about their rights.


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Lead AchieVe Aspire (LAVA) project to support leaders with lived experience thanks to National Lottery funding

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