The People’s Projects


We are pleased to announce that training for our Food For the Soul started on the 24th October. Dromore Elim Church have kindly allowed us to use their coffee shop space for the training, due to the delay on our new premises. This training is running to the 13th February and is providing certified training in health and safety, food hygiene, customer care and interview skills. So far the group have came together really well and are taking part in group discussions. It is lovely to see their confidence grow as the sessions develop.

We are very pleased to announce that Via Wings were among the winners of The People’s Projects 2017. 

This was a competition which gives you the chance to decide how National Lottery funding can make a difference in your local community. £3 million of National Lottery funding was up for grabs. With 95 organisations shortlisted across the UK and the groups were competing for up to £50,000 of funding to improve the lives of people in their communities.

We are so delighted to have won this funding and we have been totally overwhelmed by the response and support we have received since launching our voting campaign a few weeks ago. There are little support services of this kind, especially for young adults with learning difficulties, so this project will is a unique opportunity. We currently have 5 young people with learning difficulties volunteering in our coffee shop, so we have already got an insight into the difference it is making in their lives. The project is to be carried out in the Olive Branch, but we are hoping to move to a larger premise in the coming months.

Gail Redmond, founder of Via Wings, said: “As a faith based organisation we can’t put into words the difference this will make to the people involved, their families and the wider community. This support will help people develop their skills, give them hope for the future and live up to their full potential. The heart of what we do is community so we want to thank everyone who voted, campaigned and supported us in any way.”

Below is a snippet from our competition entry:


Via Wings

The group will use the funding for a year-long catering and hospitality and work placement programme for young people and adults facing issues, including unemployment and learning disability. This will take place mainly in their social enterprise coffee shop, the Olive Branch, in Dromore, Co Down. They will learn how to prepare meals, and do training in fire safety and first aid. They will also distribute meals to vulnerable local people. The project will support people to gain new skills and increase their confidence.

Location: Dromore, Co Down
Funding requested: £48,900