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I took my wedding vows in Welsh after fleeing for my life

September 19, 2016
Picture by Nick Treharne

“My name is Salah Rasool, I am from Kurdistan, which is known as North Iraq, but generally I don’t count myself as an Iraqi. I am Kurdish and I always belong to Kurdistan.

“In 1980 to 1988, Iraq was in war with Iran, the whole world was supporting Saddam. As a nation we were against the Iraqi government. As a child and teenager, I lived throughout that, and after 1991 after the Gulf War we did the uprising in our cities, I saw my brother get injured; we were children running around playing football and there were bullets and bombs everywhere.

“In 1997 there was civil war after I graduated from studying biology in university. The conflict was really hard for us and as a Kurdish nation at that time, and I had to leave. I left everything behind.

“It took me about nine months to get from Kurdistan to Wales. I had to go from Iraqi Kurdistan and walk through mountains to Iran, and then Turkey, with around 20 people. 14 of us were arrested, 6 of us managed to survive or escape. Read more…

Giving Pwllglas the Plaque Factor

September 15, 2016

image1.JPGWritten by Gareth Hughes, developing local knowledge officer.


Siop Gymunedol Pwllglas
Community Shop in Denbighshire is a great example of how a grant of £30,000 can bring so many benefits to a local community. Winner of the Countryside Alliance Best Village Shop Award in Wales 2015, is just one of the many accolades they have stocked up on in recent years.

My self and Ruth Bates Head of Communication in Wales popped in on Pwllglas in August, we had a really warm welcome and where really impressed with the range of essentials and local produce that they had on offer. A busy community shop, adjoining the village hall it’s a real hub for the community. However, whilst browsing the stock and all the awards, we noticed that we had never given them a plaque. Read more…

Monitoring and Evaluation – Tips and ideas

September 14, 2016

Evaluation-Check-List.jpgKristine Porter, funding officer at the Big Lottery Fund is responsible for supporting and monitoring projects who have been successful in receiving funding. Kristine shares her experience of project evaluation and speaks to a project that stood out for doing it well. 

Working in grant management, occasionally I come across a project that’s clearly making a huge difference but struggling to show the impact of their work.

Soft outcomes, such as increased confidence or reduced isolation, can often be difficult to evidence. And while feedback forms do have their place, they’re not always the best way to evaluate as they can be impersonal and provide limited information. Read more…

From Swansea to The Somme – Sarah’s cycling success!

September 8, 2016
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After hearing of the Action Bikes Cycling Club ladies evening through the press and friends, Sarah Thyer-Hughes went along to one of their meetings and met other cyclists who were considering taking part in the Ride to the Somme event. Taking part in the club has helped her improve her health whilst meeting new people at the same time. Sarah tells more about her figurative, and very literal, journey!

“What can I say! Nearly 52 years of age and at a time of life where I should be considering slowing down slightly and taking up something a little less energetic! After being nagged by Richard Smith of Action Bikes in Swansea for nearly two years, I got off to Sports Direct one Thursday lunch time and bought myself a new cycling helmet with a hint of pink and went to the first Action Bikes Ladies Night in March 2016 to check it out. Read more…

A new chapter to the story of Magi Ann.

September 6, 2016

Main image.jpgElan Jones tells us how Menter Iaith Sir y Fflint used £5,000 to develop apps to support non-Welsh speaking parents, parents who lack confidence speaking the language and learners, to read foundation phase Welsh alongside their children.

“Who could have guessed back in the seventies that Magi Ann, the likeable character of the little books, would become a star on the screens of our phones and tablets forty years later? Generations of children from Clwyd (and beyond) have learned to read with the black and white books, but today those stories are available across the country, free of charge, and animated for the first time. With over 38,750 having downloaded her apps, and her calendar full to the brim with visits at events and eisteddfods all over the country, Magi Ann is quickly becoming an A-lister in Wales, in demand as much as the likes of Bryn Terfel or Tom Jones… Read more…

How making profit can help your community

August 26, 2016
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Relying on grant funding is becoming increasingly hard for community groups as competition for funding grows against a backdrop of funding cuts.  Some groups are meeting this funding challenge head on and starting a social enterprise.

What is a social enterprise?

A social enterprise is an organisation that has a clear social and/or environmental mission which generates the majority of its income by selling goods or services rather than through grants or donations.  Running as a business, a social enterprise aims to make a profit but instead of giving profits to individuals or shareholders they are invested back into the organisation to fund activities or projects that benefit people and their communities. Read more…

Tips for running your Celebrate community event

August 22, 2016

thebiglunch.pngAs we start to make awards through our Celebrate programme, the Community Outreach team at The Big Lunch share some of their top tips for running and promoting a community event.

Jocelyn’s tips on contacting the local media
Jocelyn, Junior PR Executive

“Speaking to the local media is a great way to get the word out about your event or celebrate your achievements. Decide what outlet you would like to speak to or search for British media contacts online.

Make sure you give journalists plenty of notice—aim for at least a week before the event for local newspapers and radio—and explain clearly and concisely why your event is noteworthy. If you’re using a press release template, copy the text into the body of the email and make the subject line eye-catching so it stands out in a journalist’s busy inbox! And don’t be afraid to chase them up if you don’t receive a response—one email may not be enough!” Read more…

What next for internet sensation Hanes Llandoch?

August 19, 2016
Nia Siggins

“Wow, what a fortnight we’ve had at Hanes Llandoch! On August 2nd Ben and Owen from The Big Lottery Fund paid us a surprise visit to announce that our People’s Orchard proposal had been approved for a grant through the People and Places fund! With the collusion of one of Hanes Llandoch’s Trustee Board, Sue “Sneaky” Jones, they played a blinder pretending to be a small documentary team producing a short film about our famous Local Producers Market.

“In mid-flow, whilst waxing lyrical about the market I was stopped in my tracks and asked to read out the letter of approval. For once in my life I was rendered speechless, but not for long as we were overwhelmed with joy, particularly when a rather large presentation cheque was produced with the magical sum of £249,410! Read more…

Helping people live rest of their lives with dignity

August 12, 2016

50% Twitter.JPGBy policy and learning adviser David Rowlands

Last week I had the privilege to visit Skanda Vale Hospice, a Carmarthenshire group funded through our People and Places programme in Wales.

It’s easy to forget the impact our funding can make when you are in the office most of the time but this project really highlighted how our funding can makes a huge difference. Read more…

We’re changing our online community – to make it your online community!

August 5, 2016

Action on Hearing Loss4.jpgIn this blog Steve Keene, our digital manager, talks us through the improvements we will be making to our Online Community.

Bringing people together

Every year we award millions of pounds of the National Lottery’s good cause money across the UK. We know that money makes a huge difference. But we also think there is a real opportunity to do even more to support those we have funded.

I hear lots of stories about groups delivering really valuable work who would like to speak to other groups. They would like to learn from them, pick their brains, share knowledge, problems and opportunities. Sometimes that happens through existing networks. Sometimes it is hard to reach the right people. Read more…