Summer Of Creativity Ahead As ‘bank Of Ideas’ Recipients Are Announced

Almost 30 local creative projects will take place across Belfast this summer and into the autumn, thanks to funding from Belfast City Council’s Belfast 2024 programme.

29 schemes will share £50,000 from ‘The Bank of Ideas’ – a innovative participatory budgeting scheme which forms part of the city’s biggest ever creative and cultural celebration.

The projects secured the highest number of votes at a special ‘creative market’ held at City Hall on Sunday 2 June, where they showcased their concepts to visitors who had the final say in which schemes received funding.

Among the successful ideas are a multi-sensory theatre show for children with profound and multiple learning disabilities, beginner workshops in sewing and mending, a children’s community library, a drop-in community caravan, an art gallery on a travelling bike, an art club for autistic children and a support group for those with anxiety.

The successful projects will all be rolled out across the city between June and October.

“We’ve had a great response to our invitation for communities to bring forward their own ideas for what they’d like to see, and deliver, in their neighbourhoods as part of Belfast 2024,” said Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Micky Murray.

“From over 100 ideas, these 29 really struck a chord with voters. Their concepts are all unique, and show how creativity can bring people together, encourage them to try something different and provide opportunities for everyone to get involved, no matter what their ability or background.

“Using this voting model has helped bring forward a lot of fresh and fun ideas, with a real focus on community. It has also unearthed people and new groups who are passionate about where they live and the kind of place they want to create. I’m looking forward to visiting some projects this summer.”

The idea of participatory budgeting funding originated in Brazil in the 1980s and has since been rolled out in a number of cities worldwide.

Belfast City Council’s use of the concept for ‘The Bank of Ideas’ – which also included idea generating sessions city-wide prior to votes being cast, as well as an ongoing idea support network for participants in the scheme – has also been nominated for a IOPD (International Observatory on Participatory Democracy) Award in the ‘Best Practice in Citizen Participation’ category.

Amongst those receiving funding is Janine Cousins whose project Give It a Go will deliver sewing and embroidery workshops to learners in east Belfast.

“I saw an advert for The Bank of Ideas, went to a few workshops and found it really accessible, even though I’ve never applied for anything like this before,” she said. “This is a starting point in sharing my own love of embroidery with others and creating a patient, inclusive environment for people to learn. The creative sector can find it really difficult to access funding and other opportunities – this will support local artists and businesses, and provide different things to do in our communities.”

Also coming up this summer as part of the Belfast 2024 programme is Midsummer at the Lyric, a new take on the Shakespeare classic from 4-7 July and the first open air production to be held in the Lyric Theatre’s outdoor amphitheatre space.

Tickets are now sold out, but a waiting list is currently open at

Wild Belfast are holding a number of outdoor workshops through their Safari in the City series, inviting residents to learn more about the butterflies, wildflowers, bats and other biodiversity on our doorstep, while Show Some Love Green House – located at 171-175 Victoria Street in Belfast city centre – is open daily 10am-6pm, with events and workshops.

Ahead of Water Works on Saturday 3 August, which will see thousands of boats of all shapes and sizes launched along the River Lagan, arts organisation PSare also inviting visitors to call into their pop-up shop in CastleCourt every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to get involved in making their own boat.

Keep updated on all upcoming Belfast 2024 events and projects – including ‘The Bank of Ideas’ – at or follow @belfast2024 on Instagram and Facebook.

Voting for The Bank of Ideas in the IOPD (International Observatory on Participatory Democracy) Awards is open until 12pm on 1 July at

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