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Third sector support directory launched

August 15, 2019

Recently we launched a directory to support the third sector in a variety of ways. Rob Roffe our Head of Knowledge and Learning tells us more:

With constant pressure on public funds, the landscape for the third sector is challenging. While funding challenges are perhaps the most urgent problem that organisations need to address, we know that other organisational needs around issues like financial management, business planning, mission drift and demonstrating impact are also a cause for concern. Read more…

“The National Lottery Community Fund’s Welsh language service is brilliant.”

August 6, 2019

Did you know that The National Lottery Community Fund provides a full bilingual service to its customers in Wales? Sian Jones, our Welsh Language Officer, gives us a little update on what’s been happening over the past year.

If you would like to read this article in Welsh, you can find it here.

Our dedication to offering a truly bilingual service to our customers in both Welsh and English has continued. This was the feedback by one of our grant holders:

“The National Lottery Community Fund’s Welsh language service is brilliant. The website is easy to use and the Welsh is just as good as the English site.  This is a breath of fresh air after dealing with many grant funders and other large organisations that don’t offer a Welsh service to the same standard. Being able to discuss a project or application in Welsh means that I can convey my enthusiasm for the application in a better way with the officers.” Read more…

Theatre workshops for people affected by homelessness thanks to National Lottery players

July 24, 2019

Theatre Versus Oppression received £187,478 of National Lottery money to run their Behind the Label project to provide a series of applied theatre workshops to people affected by homelessness in Cardiff. They are one of over 160 projects that received over £15 million for health and wellbeing projects over the last year. We spoke to Suzanne Phillips about their project and how they are hosting a show starring service users at Wales Millennium Centre.

“Behind the Label is an Applied Theatre project run by TVO in partnership with The Wallich and Wales Millennium Centre. Started in 2016 it uses drama and performance to give marginalised people a voice, tell their story and offer a new perspective on a social issue and the reasons behind it. Our aim is always to create compelling performances that challenge the audience to look at different perspectives.

Read more…

Are you a school looking for a grant?

July 15, 2019

Schools across Wales are at the heart of their communities and have the potential to play a much larger role in the daily lives of the community where the school is based, beyond education in the classroom. We know that schools and Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs) are always looking for new ways to raise money and we receive many applications for grants from our National Lottery Awards for All programme.

Open to everyone

The strongest applications – and the ones more likely to be successful – show that they are applying for something the local community wants, which will bring wider benefits. We can only fund activities which are available to the wider community that the school sits within. Activities should take place out of school hours, in school holidays, and before or after school but importantly must also be available to the whole community and allow other children or families from across the area to join in the activities, not just the applying school’s pupils. As an example, if your community has come up with an idea for new play facilities, outdoor shelters or holiday clubs, then make sure these can be used by as many people as possible, as often as possible. Read more…

Sub-Sahara Advisory panel supports BAME people into leadership positions

July 9, 2019

This month we awarded £800,000 to 20 groups across the UK as part of our Lived Experience Leaders programme. One of the projects that we funded was to Sub-Sahara Advisory Panel (SSAP), who are using £50,000 of National Lottery money to deliver a programme to support BAME people in Wales into leadership positions. We spoke to Fadhili Maghiya, Director at SSAP about the project to find out more about its background and the impacts that it will have.

“My name is Fadhili Maghiya, I’m the Director of South-Sahara Advisory Panel. I can pinpoint two areas that got us to where we are right now. The first one, one of the leaders for this project met with me about three years ago and we got to talking about young, BAME people in Wales and what support they were getting in terms of their progression and terms of developing themselves as people as well as activists through statutory bodies, charities and so on. What we realised was that there was a huge gap in provision and there wasn’t anything tailored for BAME communities in terms of their personal development. If you look at the leadership training that’s provided it’s more aimed towards mainstream organisations and people from BAME communities aren’t taking part in that training. Read more…

Top application tips from Empower – Be The Change

July 4, 2019

Empower – Be The Change in Wrexham was set up in 2016 after Founder, Jo Clay, spent two and a half years in India volunteering and working on various community projects.  She mainly worked on setting up an international volunteer programme for young people from Wales, enabling them to increase their self-belief and strive towards their real interests and goals. It was this experience that inspired her to set up a social enterprise which could empower others to achieve the same. We spoke to her about her work thanks to a National Lottery grant of £246,000.

I set up Empower – Be The Change in May 2016 as I firmly believe that everyone has huge potential and with the right opportunities everyone has the opportunity to become empowered. The best part about my role is working with our participants and witnessing the positive self-belief they develop. It is also great working with the team and being creative and innovative in what we do. Read more…

Welsh Institute of Therapeutic Horsemanship to support disadvantaged women into leadership positions

July 2, 2019

This week we awarded £800,000 to 20 groups across the UK as part of our Lived Experience Leaders programme. One of the projects that we funded was to Welsh Institute of Therapeutic Horsemanship (WITH), who are using £50,000 of National Lottery money to deliver a programme to support disadvantaged women into leadership positions. We spoke to Lindsey Crosbie, Equestrian Director at WITH from the project to find out more about the background to the project.

“My name is Lindsey Crosbie and I come from a background of multiple, multi-generational disadvantage. I, my mother, my grandmother and my great grandmother have all had direct lived experience of poverty, domestic and sexual abuse and mental health issues. My great grandmother committed suicide because in the 1940s she was unable to access help for her anxiety, a condition that today is fully treatable. My mother and grandmother, though both bright and creative women, worked as a dinner lady and a zero hours contract carer respectively and never achieved their full potential because the disadvantages they suffered, and their resulting poor mental health held them back. I broke the cycle because, with the support of my mother and a teacher who really believed in me, I was able to win a scholarship to private school when I was 11 which gave me access to more choices and a greater variety of opportunities than the women who went before me ever had. Read more…

Street Football Wales makes sure that you’ll never walk alone

June 19, 2019
Street Football Wales team photo

Football is, as they say, the beautiful game. All around the world it brings people together in so many different ways, and whether you understand the offside rule or not, being part of a crowd of people witnessing a strike that reaches the back of the net is something that thousands, if not millions of people, are part of at that moment.

Homelessness on the other hand puts people in completely opposite situations. Loneliness, fear, and worry are things that we commonly associate with being homeless, and for some getting themselves back on their feet takes a long time. Read more…

Building Gellideg Wellbeing Centre – a journey into the unknown

June 14, 2019
Reception at Gellideg wellbeing centre

With hindsight, we now appreciate the scale and significance of what is involved in creating a big, new building. If we had known at the beginning what we know now, it is possible that we would not have contemplated taking on such a challenge. Luckily for us we did not, and on the plus side not only have we grown in the process, but we are about to open our brand new, bespoke, beautiful Wellbeing Centre .

Our Centre is being built on what was wasteland between residential roads on the Gellideg Estate on the edge of Merthyr Tydfil.   A newspaper article back in 2009 described why the Foundation was set up, explaining that years of unemployment undermined the aspirations of people living on this isolated estate.  The new Wellbeing Centre is intended to counter feelings of hopelessness, becoming a beacon of aspiration – a beautiful, purpose built gift to the Community to inspire and encourage them to find and build on the strengths and skills they may not know they have yet.

Little did we realise what we were letting ourselves in for when our Trustees went to visit the Centre for Alternative Technology at Machynlleth back in 2015. They learnt about passivhaus a technique from Germany intended to make a building as energy efficient as possible, which was extremely appealing given our substantial heating bills at the time.  The trustees also fell in love with the Sheppard Theatre – a circular, wood lined room. Our quest for a passivhaus design with a round room began.

Never having commissioned a capital project of such magnitude, we originally expected to tell the architects and builders what we wanted and then wait to move in. In reality I am here to tell you it doesn’t work like that, we have lived through every brick being laid while keeping the work of the charity going in the background.  It is not possible to be hands-off in a project which means so much to the people who are commissioning it. Over the years we have had to get up to speed with procurement, architectural design, planning, health and safety, environmental impact, security by design, external landscaping, building control requirements, passivhaus, installation of fixtures and fittings, IT requirements and much more.

Once the Centre had been designed, it was costed, and we had to fund raise to meet this sum. It took two years to find the £ 3. 2 million required. We have had to

  • provide reports to our various funders and followed their guidelines for spending their grants,
  • ensure that the community are still being supported
  • and take on the massive workload required to get this building up.

Above all, we’ve had to monitor the spend on the build to make sure it meets the grants we have available. We haven’t been able to find a funder to pay for our time to do any of this.

The build is on budget but we’ve had to downsize some of our expectations. We have paid what seemed to us to be enormous sums for expert advice, which often conflicted and which tried to pull the project in all sorts of different directions.  In the end we had to take the decisions whether to follow the advice or not, ultimately which way to go is a matter of judgement .

The building has taken longer than anyone anticipated. We’ve been stymied by the discovery of unexpected water seeping under the building, but this is now finally being resolved.

We have learnt how to manage the ever growing number of different contractors engaged on a project of this size.  We have learnt how important relationships are – they last for years over something like this and will make or break the project. We have also learnt that the clarity of our vision is a key factor, for example we found that architects really don’t like round rooms and if we hadn’t been absolutely determined to have one, we would have lost it.  We have stuck to our vision for a space which can be zoned and used by the community in a variety of ways as their vision grows and changes. .

colourful doors on the toilets in the new nursery

We are now so proud of everything, the little colourful doors on the toilets in nursery room, the extending blinds to keep the nursery cool, the airy multi-purpose meeting rooms, the mezzanine balcony and of course our beautiful, wood-lined, round room.

We now know so much about capital builds we are thinking of offering seminars for other charities and organisations to learn from our hard won expertise – contact us if you are interested.

It has taken months to get to this point but finally we are ready to finish the build this month and open our doors so the real work can begin –the work the community of Gellideg want to get started on, in their lovely new centre.

As told by Helen Buhaenko


If you want to read the newspaper article mentioned in the blog – here is the link:


Working up an appetite for a Big Lunch

May 31, 2019

Communities all across the UK are set to come together  over the weekend 1 and 2 of June over a cuppa and cake for this year’s Big Lunch. In preparation for their local Big Lunches, teams from across the UK have embarked on journeys covering hundreds of miles, visiting community projects and passionate people to see the amazing work that they do in their communities, and to join in their celebrations.

The Big Lunch is an Eden Communities initiative funded by The National Lottery Community Fund and made possible thanks to National Lottery players.

Alex Davies from our Mid and West team joined this year’s Wales walkers, Katie and Sian, on their journey on a gloriously sunny weekend as the traveled through Lampeter in Ceredigion to visit the beautiful Long Wood Community Woodland just a few miles outside of the town, which was awarded over £700,000 through our Community Asset Transfer programme. Read more…