The Court House in Bangor named as finalist in National Lottery Awards

The Court House in Bangor has been shortlisted for the National Lottery Project of the Year Award.

The prestigious nod is a very worthy acknowledgement of the non-profit arts venue’s vital home in the County Down seaside city. Announced just a few weeks before its first anniversary, having opened its doors last October following seven years of fundraising, lobbying, planning and refurbishment, the nomination brings into sharp focus the hard work of the venue’s owners and operators, local arts charity Open House, who are also responsible for Open House Festival.

Made possible with a major grant of almost £1 million from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the venue has now beaten off considerable competition from 3,780 organisations across the UK to become one of only 17 organisations shortlisted for the public vote in the annual search for the nation’s favourite National Lottery-funded project, which will walk away with a £5,000 cash prize and the National Lottery Awards trophy.

No Northern Irish project has ever scooped the prestigious award, nor has a Bangor-based organisation ever been shortlisted. In a statement, Open House development director Alison Gordon said: “It is both an enormous honour and a massive surprise to receive this nomination, The support we’ve had from local people and our partners, including The National Lottery Heritage Fund, has had an incredibly positive impact on the work we’re doing. It would be wonderful recognition for all involved to be named National Lottery Project of the Year – and the best birthday present ever!”

“We knew from years of running our annual August Festival in Bangor that there was a thirst for a permanent music and arts venue in the city, which is what drove us to persevere with the Court House refurbishment project,” added Kieran Gilmore, Open House director. “But even we didn’t expect the reception we’ve received since opening the doors last October. The majority of ticketed events sell out really quickly, and as around 50% of our events are free, including regular jazz, trad and DJ sessions, the building is always buzzing. We know that collectively all the people involved in the Court House have done something good for Bangor, and it’s humbling to receive this recognition from the National Lottery Awards. Obviously we’d love to win it, for Bangor and for Northern Ireland, but getting to the public vote is an achievement in itself.”

Jonathan Tuchner from the National Lottery said: “The transformation of Bangor Court House has had an incredible impact on the local community and they thoroughly deserve to be in the finals of the National Lottery Awards Project of the Year 2023. With your support, they could be a winner.”

To vote for Bangor Court House, go here and enter your e-mail address when prompted. Alternatively, you can vote on social media by visiting the Court House pages on Twitter or Instagram, or the National Lottery Good Causes Facebook page, and comment under the relevant posts using the hashtag #NLACourtHouseBangor.

Voting runs from 9am on 11th September until 12pm on 9th October. For further details about how to vote, go here.

Photo by MeetDean