Minister for Communities, Paul Givan MLA today announced the reinstatement of £200,000 of funding in 2016/17 for Musical Instruments for Bands across Northern Ireland.
The Musical Instruments for Bands Programme, which will be distributed through the Arts Council, is designed to make funding available for the purchase of musical instruments.
The Programme provided grants from £500 to £5,000 for the purchase of instruments 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. It is generally accessed by the marching bands community.
The Minister said: “The marching bands sector is the largest community arts sector in Northern Ireland with well in excess of 20,000 participants. 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 Northern 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, £200,000 has been allocated each year to the Arts Council for the Musical Instruments for Bands Scheme.
The Minister added: “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. It is clearly evident that 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.”