The journey to preserve the captivating landscape and the rich heritage of Lough Neagh and its surrounding area has commenced with the Lough Neagh Heritage Resilience Project led by the Lough Neagh Partnership with £244,000 funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund. 

Lough Neagh Partnership is vowing to safeguard the heritage of Lough Neagh and its future management and protection and to work with partners and local communities to conserve and celebrate Lough Neagh’s landscape and heritage. 

At the heart of the two-year project will be the creation of a ten-year plan which will be open to public review and feedback and will include an economic appraisal and business plan.  

Conference and Consultation 

From February to July this year, thorough consultations will be undertaken with influential stakeholders and groups to evaluate the heritage needs of Lough Neagh. The insights garnered from these consultations will contribute to the formulation of the 10 Year Heritage Resilience Plan. 

After the formulation of the draft 10 Year Heritage Resilience Plan, a forthcoming conference is scheduled to facilitate constructive discourse and gather valuable insights from stakeholders, governmental bodies, as well as representatives from the local and wider communities. It is anticipated that the conference will be scheduled for the spring of 2025. 

These consultations will also identify potential avenues for funding and establish new sustainable management structures to ensure the enduring vitality of Lough Neagh.  

The program will additionally investigate the feasibility of acquiring and transferring ownership of the bed and soil to public and/or community ownership, thus ensuring comprehensive management of Lough Neagh. 

The project’s anticipated completion date is November 2025.

Michael Browne, who has been employed by the project to co-ordinate the Lough Neagh Heritage Plan said: “This Lough Neagh Heritage Resilience Project will consider various aspects of the area’s heritage and how local people engage with it.  

“This is a very exciting project as we will be working extensively to identify and leverage greater value and investment into the Lough and surrounding area. It is important that we identify the preferred management business model and structure for a new ownership and management body and the future management of Lough Neagh’s heritage which are essential for its preservation.” 

Dr Paul Mullan, Director, Northern Ireland at The National Lottery Heritage Fund said: “At the Heritage Fund we are committed to providing funding that builds resilience by providing organisations with capacity and expertise to develop their long-term organisational and financial plans.  

“With the help of our funding, made possible by National Lottery players, the Lough Neagh Partnership is able to employ staff to co-ordinate plans, secure advice and undertake community and stakeholder consultation on future options for this treasured natural and built heritage asset.” 

To stay informed about the project’s advancements, updates will be regularly shared on the Lough Neagh Partnership website and its associated social media channels.

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