Thanks to a grant of nearly one million pounds (£999,889) from BIG’s Bright New Futures programme, Taff Housing Association (THA) will run the Taff Shine project to support 190 young parents aged 16-25 in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan, who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, to develop good parenting skills. Mark Sheridan, the Director of Support Services & Continuous Improvement at Taff Housing Association, explains why there is a need for such a project . . .
Taff Housing Association is delighted to have this opportunity to make a difference.
Becoming a parent for the first time can be daunting for anyone. If you’re young and single it can be even more so. Add being homeless to that and what should be a happy time becomes stressful and frightening.
The young women in Taff’s Ty Enfys project for homeless young mothers know exactly what that feels like. All of them talked about how they had never expected to become homeless, how afraid they were when it happened for them and how desperately they wanted some support for themselves and their babies.
Margaret is 19 and had had a turbulent life before coming to the project. Experiencing street homelessness and with a
substance addiction from the age of 15, she had a very troubled relationship with the police and many of the agencies she came into contact with. ‘I couldn’t think about the future – I was just concentrating on getting through today’ she said. At Ty Enfys she turned her life around. ‘I’ve made friends here and my confidence has grown – personally and as a parent.’ Now she’s looking forward to moving on and living independently and is very happy that the Shine Project will be there for her: ‘It’s good to know that I can get support in the future if there’s something I can’t deal with.’
What all the young women liked most about the Shine Project is that, whether they’re homeless or in danger of becoming homeless, it’s something they can turn to throughout the changes and milestones in theirs and their children’s lives, getting support when they need it and in the way they want it. Taff’s Shine Project will come to their homes and give hands-on parenting support if that’s what’s needed; offer drop-in sessions at places they can get to; set up groups where they can get support from other young mums and dads and get practical advice and support to become confident, nurturing families. Having something for the dads was also something they’re looking forward to using – either as a couple or having activities that give them the chance to have ‘dads only’ time with their children.
When asked what their hopes were for the future, all the young parents talked about being a confident parent, getting a job or back into education, having a nice home and a happy family life and providing a better future for their children. Thank you Big Lottery Fund for helping make this happen.
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Thanks to a grant of £5,000 from BIG’s Awards for All programme, Feelgood Communities CIC will launch the first ever Wales National Laughter Day (12th June 2013) – a project to promote laughter throughout the country. Mr Robin Graham, a Director and Laughter Specialist at Feelgood Communities, explains the multiple benefits of laughter . . .
Laughter based activities have been run around the world for many years. Some are exercise classes, others are for building connections between people or for learning techniques for dealing with difficult challenges. We have been leading these for 15 years. Our interest now is particularly in working with communities. In 2012 in Manchester we ran the world’s first one-week festival dedicated to laughter for no reason. Now in 2013 we are launching Laugh Wales, a project based on the health and wellness benefits of laughter!
Laughter doesn’t always mean happy, and often it is actually an expression of anger, or fear, or just boredom. But its role in our lives can be immense because of the changes it brings to our physiology – to our body and our mind. These physiological changes just happen with laughter!
Research has been carried out for decades to support the idea that laughter is the best medicine. Just by laughing, stress is reduced, because laughter brings down the levels of stress hormones (epinephrine and cortisol) in our body. We feel better after a good laugh because it increases the levels of endorphins, the body’s natural morphine, and releases natural anti-depressants dopamine and serotonin. And it boosts our immune system, helps circulation and supports our health. Many people have benefitted from more laughter in their lives!
So it is a mood altering substance which is legal, free, without harmful side effects, and needs no prescription. And the more we laugh, the happier we can become. We can find ways to use it to help us in difficulties and stressful situations. And also laughter acts as a social glue, can bring people closer together and build bridges across communities. It is already part of our way of life, and we can choose to have more! We can change this world with laughter.
We were invited to Cardiff last year to be part of a wellness event. During the planning I said it would be amazing to have a Wales National Laughter Day, and the idea developed from there. The only country which currently has a government supported Laughter Day is Ethiopia. We would like to make Wales the first in Europe.
Our project involves looking at how we might build a community based programme of wellbeing activities based on therapeutic laughter and laughter yoga as ways to improve mental health and general health and happiness. We want to talk with local organisations and create Community Laughter Volunteer Champions across the country. We want to bring together people from different backgrounds, abilities and experiences. And we will launch it all with the first Wales National Laughter Day.
This is a co-ordinated country-wide project, and a first in the UK. It will include laughter professionals in Wales. Next year we would like to build up a Wales Laughter Festival, train more people to lead community based laughter activities, and have lots of fun with laughter.
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Mike Theodoulou, committee member for the Big Lottery Fund in Wales, on the impact of the TV series The Secret Millions. The £10 million partnership between the Big Lottery Fund and Channel 4 highlighted radical ideas for tackling some of Britain’s big issues.
To me The Secret Millions has been a total joy from day one. I was fortunate to be involved with the project right from the start and was bowled over by the number and the quality of the applicants we had to interview so that we could arrive at the final five.Having just watched the final programme I think we made the right choices and that Channel 4 dealt with each issue, each episode with sensitivity and honesty and produced good television in the bargain.
To us at The Big Lottery Fund this was about more than good TV. This project was important for three main reasons.
Firstly, the issues to be addressed where chosen by the public. It is important to us that we encourage public involvement in our work, after all the National Lottery belongs to the people.
Secondly, this was a great opportunity for us to show the British public a little bit of what the Big Lottery Fund does, how we use their money and what sort of projects we support. On a personal note, it was also an opportunity to demonstrate the importance of taking the odd calculated risk with some proposals – for if we do not take some risk we will never change lives.
Finally, we value every chance to highlight key social issues and increase awareness of some of the challenges we face as a society and if we can do this in a way that helps those community organisations who work hard to make a difference by giving them exposure then it is worth doing.
The feedback I have received after each programme has been fantastic and watching these programmes has made me feel very proud of the work that The Big Lottery Fund does, and, more importantly, I know that everyone who works for the organisation and all those who have had projects funded by BIG have shared in this pride.
If you missed The Secret Millions on Channel 4 then try and catch it on 4oD. It’s worth the watch.
By Robert Roffe, Senior Policy & Learning Manager for the Big Lottery Fund in Wales
Raising funds in the current financial climate is a challenge for many third sector organisations. In Wales they are heavily reliant on public bodies like the Welsh Government and local authorities to give them funds, usually in the form of grants, but as austerity bites these funds are starting to dry up.
The difficulty is that there are very few alternatives for these organisations to turn to. Wales doesn’t have the same philanthropic culture as places like London. We don’t have many big companies or wealthy donors to set up trusts and foundations. This is why BIG is taking an interest in philanthropy and we want to help create a new culture of philanthropy in Wales.
As a first step we’ve awarded a grant to the Community Foundation in Wales (CFiW). The Community Foundation in Wales promotes the cause of philanthropy in Wales by creating and managing relationships between donors and those who are running local initiatives. They work to strengthen local communities by providing a permanent source of funding, building endowment and ‘immediate impact’ funds to link donors to local needs We’ve awarded them up to £1million to endow a trust that will form part of their ‘Fund for Wales’, but there is a catch; we will only pay into the Fund for Wales what CFiW can match from other donations. By doing this we hope to incentivise new donations by making donors’ money go further.
We don’t plan on stopping here. Over time, we want to try to engage with Welsh businesses and encourage them to dip into their pockets. This is not without its own challenges, as most of the Welsh business sector is made up of small businesses with relatively modest means. We’re going to explore using a ‘crowd funding’ approach, developing mechanisms that allow small businesses to make donations to a single fund or cause.
Wales also needs to benefit more from the existing UK-wide trusts and foundations. There are surprisingly few applications to UK trusts from Wales, and this needs to be addressed. Working with these other funders, we will explore and respond to the reasons for this low application rate and will consider developing partnerships and joint funding arrangements to lever in their resources.
Finally, we want to try to connect donors to small community groups who do not normally benefit from donations or have the fundraising expertise of the larger charities. We are looking at how we can support these groups to develop fundraising capacity and make better links to donors by publicising their work. We are particularly interested in innovations in giving here, exploiting modern technology and the internet as potential portals between charities and donors.
The challenge is huge and, whilst we can only hope to scratch the surface, we can at least act as a catalyst for philanthropic action and inform the ongoing debate on third sector funding in Wales.
What do you think about this challenge? Leave your comments below.
Matt Johnson from This Morning tells us about some of the Big Lottery Fund projects that have given Welsh communities a renewed hope. The TV Presenter was the host for the third in a series of Big Lottery Fund specials broadcast on the Community Channel. The UK360 programme gives a voice to local communities across the UK and in this episode, four funded projects took centre stage, explaining how they’ve used BIG funding to improve people’s lives.
We hear from the Ffrindia project in Gwynedd, North West Wales which helps people over 50 who are at risk of being socially excluded finally get the support they so desperately deserve. Thanks to BIG’s AdvantAGE programme, which awarded Ffrindia’ over £900,000, the scheme is set to thrive over the next four years.
And we drop in on Chris Dowling who was on a self-destructive, alcohol-fuelled path towards either prison or death until he linked up with Grwp Gwalia’s Street Football Wales project. A grant of £172,000 from BIG’s People and Places programme has helped the project to launch football leagues in Newport, Swansea, and Colwyn Bay, along with the new “Score a Goal for Change” campaign. The project is also entering a male and female team into the Homeless World Cup in Poznan this August.
The episode also takes us to Wastesavers in Newport. Not only are Wastesavers responsible for recycling collections in the city, they also run the PEAK project which helps disengaged young people gain practical skills and qualifications for the workplace. Although the Peak project is currently running on a small scale, a successful bid for a Big Lottery Fund of £160,000 means things are set to improve. As well as a revamp of the current programmes they offer, young people will also have the opportunity to learn about sexual health and smoking awareness over the next three years from May.
And last but not least we drop in on the Bron Afon Aspire project which is building a diverse volunteering workforce that has developed to support local people in their community. The volunteers benefit from getting opportunities through support, training and work experience, with some going on to full-time work and setting up their own businesses. In turn, tenants in Bron Afon retirement housing are less lonely and spend more time with new friends. BIG’s contribution of £168,000 has helped employ more staff, run more community activities and build an employability hub to help get people into work. The volunteers themselves have seen improvements in their daily lives and their confidence increase, while the people they have supported have benefited from a better social life.
Community Channel is broadcast on Virgin 233, 24/7 on Sky 539 and on Freeview 87 from 2am-8am. Community Channel is available on BT Vision and Sky Anytime’s On Demand service.
What do you think of these films? Leave your comments below or join the conversation on Twitter using #biglf. Follow @BigLotteryWales on Twitter for more information.
After leaving his previous job of nearly 30 years due to ill health, 58 year old Hywel Selway from the village of Margam near Port Talbot was low on confidence and struggled to see himself ever working again. However, thanks to support from a Life Skills project run by Shaw Trust, Hywel has improved his skills, is high on confidence and has even found himself a new job as a courier. This is a far cry from the shell of a person who walked through door at Shaw Trust early last year . . .
I’d been in the same job for nearly thirty years but I started to get sick and depressed. I was on sick leave for about twelve months. It was recommended that I take early retirement, so that’s what I did.
Two or three years later, I felt that I was ready to go back to into other employment. However, I felt I was no good for anybody and I just wanted to sit in the corner, curl up and cry all the time. And being over 50, I thought my age was against me.
I felt there was nothing in life for me at all until I came across Shaw Trust. I’d been looking for positions on the computer before I came here but I didn’t get any responses. The first time I came through the door I was really depressed and I thought life had come to an end with nothing out there for me at all.
After speaking to the Development Officer at Shaw Trust, it was recommended I go on a developmental course called Work Skills. This course helped a lot. I met a lot of new friends and life started to get much better after this. I was also a bit apprehensive about going back to a classroom for the first time since 1971 but Shaw Trust gave me the confidence to go on this course and I haven’t looked back since.
Before coming on the course I could just about switch on a computer and ping out a few emails. Now I can do lots of different things on the computer and it’s all thanks to the skills they’ve helped me develop. I’ve also improved my communications skills. I was able to stand up in front of a group of people and present a report. I never thought I would be able to stand in front of a crowd and present before. The communication and presentation skills were essential in developing my confidence.
When I came here I had no confidence but now I have plenty. When I found that I had secured a position as a courier I was over the moon because I thought I would never get another job. I love the new job and I like going out to talk to people and meeting new people. I’m now helping other people who feel the same as I used to and I’m putting them in touch with Shaw Trust so they can get the help they need. I feel worth something and that I can help people and tell them that there is a life out there for them.
I travel a lot with this job and I’m surprised at how many new friends I’ve made. I’ve even met up with old school friends and we have a good chat and meet up. It’s really made a big difference to my life.
Without the support I’ve had from Shaw Trust I’d probably be sitting in the house moping around, depressed and still wondering if there’s a life outside for me. Now life is so fabulous, you wouldn’t believe it.
Shaw Trust is the largest third sector provider of employment services in the UK. The Trust, set up in 1982, helps people with disability or disadvantage to find and stay in work.
The scheme was funded under the £14 million Life Skills project, a funding stream, which, for the first time, matches Big Lottery Fund (BIG) money with European Social Funds – distributed through the Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO). The project aims to help people who face multiple barriers to improve their life skills by increasing their confidence and re-engaging them in education, learning, volunteering or employment.
For further information about the Big Lottery Fund and how you can apply for funding visit www.biglotteryfund.org.uk
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Today BIG’s Wales’ Director John Rose writes about the launch of a £1.5million pound search for brand new ideas in Wales that have never been tried anywhere else in the UK:
This is the third round of the BIG Innovation programme which will invest money into projects that seek to find new solutions to address emerging and existing social problems.We’re committed to bringing about real improvements to communities most in need but recognise that existing ways of meeting need do not always work and that some needs are new with no ways of addressing them.
Many organisations want to develop new ways of addressing needs but they often lack the staff and financial resources to try out new ideas. Trying out something new also carries risks – it may only partially work or it may not work at all. In the current economic climate, being innovative is challenging, especially if there is no guarantee of success. This is why we launched BIG Innovation in Wales. It can help turn people’s big new ideas into a reality.
We will be making grants of between £20,000 and £1 million with the deadline for applications being 2pm on Friday May 17, 2013. We’re interested in applications from a broad range of sectors and organisations to allow the “best and truly innovative” ideas to be identified and funded. We will consider an idea as being new if it hasn’t been tried anywhere else in the UK and will fund local, regional or national projects as long as at least 75 per cent of the people who will benefit live in Wales.
Other key requirements include a demonstration that the project is new and innovative, extensive consultation with people interested in the work and other service providers, thorough research to identify needs and demonstration of working with local regional or national organisations to make the best use of expertise.
Projects already funded by the programme include £489,143 to Swansea University in 2012 to enable them to run the Wales-wide Interactive Health: Student Sex Workers project. The money has seen the launch of a project to promote learning and understanding about student sex worker needs and associated issues and to provide them with an innovative sexual health service. The project will provide student sex workers, who live and work in Wales, with advice and support and will sign-post them to local services. The project will also provide sexual health information and best practice guidance for Welsh Universities and local services.
In January this year, Cyrenians Cymru Cyf received £793,893 to provide the Community Horse and Pony Scheme’ (CHAPS), a new community-run equine centre in Swansea which aims to tackle issues around urban horse tethering and abandonment whilst involving and supporting the unemployed, substance misusers and disengaged youth in the community.
You can read more about the programme here. We look forward to funding more brand new ideas that will benefit Wales.
Cathy Shortland from the Papworth Trust tells us what’s next after appearing on The Secret Millions. Viewers of the Channel 4 TV series saw the Big Lottery Fund giving the Papworth Trust £2 million to offer farm breaks in Wales for disabled people and their families:
I’m so happy to see our project out there and so excited that we’ve won the money to make it a reality. Families from anywhere in the UK can now apply to have the experience you saw on The Secret Millions.Our farm will be about families going away to have some respite together, rather than the disabled family member going off for respite alone and the family having a break without them. It’s about doing something different together, somewhere other than their usual environment.
The Jimmy’s Farm experience on The Secret Millions was a trial run for Papworth Trust’s Kerry Farm. If you come to Kerry Farm you’ll try something really amazing. You can do some things as a family, some things apart and have a brilliant experience. Everybody should be able to take things from that week forward and continue with those changes in their lives.
Find out more about the Big Lottery Fund’s work in Wales.
The first community electric car club in Wales is gearing up for its official launch next month thanks to a grant of nearly £25,000 from the Big Lottery Fund’s Village SOS programme. Vicky Moller from the Cilgwyn Community Group in Pembrokeshire looks forward to the launch and discusses the benefits of the project . . .
In rural communities such as ours, car use and ownership is embarrassingly excessive. Those without cars simply can’t get to things. We have a bus within 2 miles and shops within 3 but the bus doesn’t run in the evenings so I can’t get to evening meetings. Young people pressurise their elders into being part time chauffeurs or live on the phone seeking lifts.
The electric car project is amusing and exciting people locally. It looks as if it could topple a load of fixed ideas such as that only the very wealthy can afford top of the range electric cars.
Our first car arrives in eight days and we have a public meet the car and presentation day on April the 7th. The car is a new Nissan Leaf and has a solar panel on the roof to contribute to the power. It can be charged from a domestic plug with an official range of about 100 miles per charge. Fast charging is already available in places like Haverfordwest and is expected to be installed shortly in other towns and routes locally.
We believe this project could really take off in Wales. The Electric Car Club allows a community full use of a car, making top quality green cars affordable. As car ownership and driving costs go up, car clubs and electricity as a fuel will come into their own in future.
We have a great alliance between the technically minded car loving young men in the community, some older fluffy environmental types (like me) and people who just like good ideas and sharing in the community. The first car will arrive in time for the public meeting and will be available to people in Cilgwyn and Newport in Pembrokeshire. The second will arrive shortly afterwards, with other vehicles expected to follow in response to the demand.
The club could be a wakeup call for local people to see why we need a generous source of renewable electricity close at hand. The group aims to associate charging with spare renewable power. In Cilgwyn it will take advantage of spare wind power, especially at night. In Newport it will use spare solar power from the hall in the daytime. Electric cars really have just one main advantage. We can make electricity, we can’t make fossil fuels. That is an argument stopper and a key to veering off the climate destruction path.
A software programme will allow people to book the car either online or on their phone. The programme will work out what they owe and the car will be opened by their smartcard. Onboard telemetrics will feedback each customer’s driving style to protect the battery life. There is an introductory price of £2 per hour and 5p mile. The goal is to create full use so that these low prices can be maintained, and the idea spread.
The additional advantages of being a member of the club is free membership of a national car club – allowing cars to be available to members throughout the UK, including free charging at public charge points.
This electric car club is the first in Wales and the second in the UK. The first started in October 2012 in Milton Keynes and they have been giving us vital tips. We know it’s the right direction of travel but we have yet to explore the route. We are very excited at the journey ahead.
For further information about the project, email email@example.com or call 01239 820971.
For further information about the Big Lottery Fund and how you can apply for funding visit www.biglotteryfund.org.uk
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The Big Lottery Fund is giving away four bumper awards of £50,000 in Wales as the People’s Millions TV funding competition 2013 launches today. Community projects could be in with a chance of bagging the cash provided that entrants can convince their community through a broadcast on ITV Wales news that their idea is worthy of the prize.
In 2010, Chapter Community Arts Centre in Cardiff won a slice of the People’s Millions cash and transformed the Chapter frontage into an edible landscape of fruit, flowers and vegetables. Chapter and the local gardeners, Canton Community Gardens, also use the project to help raise awareness of food production and allow local residents, volunteers and schools to learn practical gardening and recycling skills and find out more about sustainability. Carol Jones from Chapter recalls the night they won the competition . . .
I still have a vivid memory of the minute the announcement was made that we’d won the People’s Millions vote. We were all standing in the cinema foyer at Chapter, the film cameras were rolling and some of us were dressed as giant vegetables – a red pepper, a giant pea-pod, an aubergine. It was a bizarre and nerve-racking experience. We really were on tenterhooks until the last moment.
There was a huge, spontaneous cry of delight when we found out we’d won. Many people had worked really hard to take the idea of a community garden at Chapter from the first fledging thought through to the wonderful edible landscape that’s there today. Canton Community Gardens were the real heroes and campaigned like mad in the weeks leading up to the vote. Local residents and a huge range of Chapter customers also helped out to spread the word and get as many people as possible involved.
The People’s Millions money has made an enormous difference. It’s meant that we could sort out the hard landscaping, buy tools and equipment and make our initial efforts bear fruit – literally! Last year we had great crops of broccoli, beans, kale, raspberries and much more. Everyone can help themselves to the pickings and many come along, pick what they need and leave the rest for others. It’s brought so many new people into Chapter and people love the chance to get involved with the planting.
We’ve worked with local schools and community gardens to make the garden grow and on the production of a beautiful set of illustrated recipe and how to grow cards. We’ve also hosted many things in the garden from a theatre performance based around a garden shed, a Jubilee Big Lunch to regular food and festival events. But perhaps a highlight is the work of our very busy bees who last year produced a bumper crop of honey.
I’d definitely urge anyone who’s thinking of applying to go for it. If you’re passionate about your project it’s a great way to make something wonderful happen.
For more information about Chapter Arts Centre, visit www.chapter.org
To find out more about The People’s Millions competition and how you can apply for funding, visit www.peoplesmillions.org.uk
Or watch the video below to find out how you can apply . . .