The Department of Culture Arts and Leisure (DCAL) has awarded £100k to Newry based children’s organisation Sticky Fingers. The massive cash bonus will go towards the Small Size Big Citizen festival which was rewarded to the local arts group earlier this year from the EU. The prestigious February event will witness thousands of visitors to the Newry area from across Europe to explore the best of local arts and culture on a grand scale. Sticky Fingers CEO Grainne Powell told the Newry Reporter this week that funding for the festival is picking up pace along with plans for the arts project. “The event in Newry is worth several million pounds to the local economy,” said Ms Powell. “Several hundred thousand pounds of investment is coming directly from the EU, a local investment of £122,125 from the Arts Council for Northern Ireland and an additional £100,000 directly from the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure. Sticky Fingers was successful in winning the bid to host this prestigious event beating competition from Spain and Hungary.
This event will firmly place Newry on the international cultural map and encourage future investment for the EU. “The Small Size event will provide over 60 local artists with employment and provide a key professional arts experience of over 10,000 children directly. The Key aim is to leave a legacy in both Newry and across Ireland by inspiring new ways of introducing children to the arts and establish new international partnerships.”
“We have also recently secured a further £259,000 from the Northern Ireland Tourist Board for a Living Storybook project at Slieve Gullion. The Giants’ Lair project which is being devised with Newry and Mourne District Council will see the first children’s interactive arts play space devised to take children through an imaginative adventure inspired by local myths and legends,” added the CEO.
Newry and Armagh MLA Megan Fearon has welcomed the commitment of £100,000 from DCAL. “The commitment of this substantial funding package is further evidence of the DCL minister’s dedication to the arts in the Newry area,” said Ms Fearon. “I brought Minister Ni Chuilin to visit Sticky Fingers in August and I know that she was extremely impressed with the work which the project is involved in. I am delighted that this additional funding will be going to such a deserving children’s organisation,” added the MLA. For those who cannot wait until February a local programme has also been devised and will be in place by the end of November. I will ensure that several thousand Newry area children have the opportunity to engage directly in the programme in the lea up to the Small Size Big Citizen event. Details of the event will be released in the coming weeks.