Lough Neagh communities to benefit from £2.5m lottery grant
Lough Neagh is to benefit from a grant of almost £2.5m in lottery funding to support projects and jobs that improve and protect the lough shore area.
The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) cash will support five full-time posts as well as providing training for hundreds of people in lough shore communities.
The projects include conserving wetlands, peatlands and boglands and regenerating the area around the lough.
Lough Neagh is the largest freshwater lake in the UK and Ireland.
Its waters and shores are home to many rare species of fish, plants, birds, waterfowl and insects and it has been designated as an Area of Special Scientific Interest.
The grant will fund 27 projects, each to be delivered through the Lough Neagh Landscape Partnership over a five-year period.
They are aimed at conserving the "cultural, natural and built heritage" of the lough.
The head of HLF Northern Ireland, Paul Mullan, said: "Lough Neagh dominates our local landscape and has played an important role in local lives for many centuries.
"We are delighted that, thanks to National Lottery players, this ambitious project will deliver real benefits for the both the heritage of the lough and its current communities, through job creation and training opportunities, while safeguarding its future for the next generation."
The shores of Lough Neagh stretch along five counties in Northern Ireland.
Over the winter, a number of businesses along the lough were damaged by flooding as water levels reached a 30-year-high due to heavy rainfall.