Minister returns £200k fund for band instruments

Curran Flute Band members Katie, Kimberley, Laura, Nicole and Lucy.INMM2816-336
Curran Flute Band members Katie, Kimberley, Laura, Nicole and Lucy.INMM2816-336

The new DUP Minister for Communities Paul Givan has restored a £200k fund for musical instruments that was disbanded by the former Sinn Fein DCAL Minister.

Minister for Communities, Paul Givan MLA, announced the reinstatement for musical instruments for bands across Northern Ireland.

The Musical Instruments for Bands Programme, which will be distributed through the Arts Council, provided grants from £500 to £5,000 to bands based in Northern Ireland which are formally constituted and who have not received a grant from the fund in the previous five years.

“The marching bands sector is the largest community arts sector in N Ireland with well in excess of 20,000 participants,” said Mr Givan.

“Our parading culture has been described as ‘Northern Ireland’s best kept secret’ and the reinstatement of this funding for the purchase of musical instruments will be welcome news for those who participate in this important sector.

“These bands contribute to our society not just musically, but providing structure, discipline and a social outlet for a huge number of young people across N Ireland.

“They are an integral part of life in Northern Ireland and I will continue to work to ensure that adequate resources are available for this sector.”

Since 2011, £200k has been allocated each year to the Arts Council for the scheme.

“I fully recognise the value of this scheme and remain committed to supporting it going forward. Arts and culture is a highly valuable sector that contributes to the skills, education, confidence and health and well being of all citizens,” he said. “It is clearly evident bands have the potential to add wider value in terms of community cohesion, economic regeneration and social inclusion and the reinstatement of this funding will provide further assistance to enable the sector to reach this.”