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£400k funding shortfall won’t delay 174 opening

By Evan Short

The development of a multi million pound cultural centre in North Belfast has suffered a setback after £400k of expected funding fell through.

Rev Bill Shaw says the shortfall will not put back the official opening of the 174 Trust’s Duncairn Cultural Arts Centre, but it is money that will now have to be found elsewhere.

“We thought we were in line for around £400,000 but the indications are now that this will not come through.

“It was due to be spent on audio visual equipment and fitting out suites with electronics but that money will have to be found elsewhere.”

Rev Shaw was speaking during a visit by MEP Martina Anderson who requested a meeting with Bill on a visit to North Belfast last week.

He said she had responded positively to the request for help in finding new funding, and would assist them in any way possible.

“I am not downbeat because you couldn’t be when you look at what has been built here,” said Bill. “The centre cost around £3 million to develop so when you think of it in those terms £400,000 isn’t a lot to get it over the line – but we do need it.”

He said the Trust would now be lobbying hard to make up the shortfall.

“We have meetings planned with politicians and we are confident we can get the funding.”

Speaking after her tour of the centre, Martina Anderson said she was hugely impressed with what had been achieved up to now, and with the wider work done by staff towards reconciliation in North Belfast.

“News of this place has travelled far and wide and even over the Glenshane Pass to Derry and it is most impressive.

“I understand there are pressures around funding but what has been achieved here is fantastic.”

She said she recognised the vital work done at the facility to bring the two communities together.

“North Belfast is often reflected though its problems such as suicide and parading issues but there is a great story to be told in North Belfast in places like this, and that is why I’m here today,” she said.

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