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The Big Walk steps up to the challenge of shining a light on communities across Wales

May 21, 2018

33058688_10160348189620564_5195480178280628224_n.jpgThe Big Walk is back! Four teams of walkers are embarking on four routes across each of our four nations, covering more than 250 miles over 18 days across the UK to shine a light on amazing groups and events that bring people together and working up an appetite for the Big Lunch at the end of their journeys.

The Big Walk is an Eden Communities initiative funded with a grant from the Big Lottery Fund.  The grant is made possible thanks to money raised by National Lottery players. The Big Walk shines a light on the people at the heart of the UK’s communities, who work together to make great things happen every day. This annual event sees walkers visit projects and community groups that are making a real difference to local lives. Along the way they will be encouraging everyone to join The Big Lunch. Read more…

£30 million of National Lottery funding available for communities in 2018/19

May 17, 2018

John_Rose_1063_17_col_FF - Copy.JPGBig Lottery Fund Wales Director John Rose:

When you think of the National Lottery you often think of someone popping a bottle of champagne after scooping millions of pounds. These scenes of celebration have been repeated by many thousands of good causes across Wales who have received life-changing grants thanks to money raised by National Lottery players.

Some of these grants are distributed by us at the Big Lottery Fund and in the next financial year we will be awarding over £30 million to communities, giving them a similar jackpot-winning feeling for the things that really matter to them.

Many of these individual grants are big, in the range of hundreds of thousands of pounds but many are much, much smaller too. Read more…

On top of the World with the Outdoor Partnership, Snowdonia

April 24, 2018

The Outdoor Partnership was formed 12 years ago in response to research by Bangor University which showed that the outdoor pursuits industry in North Wales and Snowdonia at that time had almost no local people working in it as instructors. Researchers summed up the local perspective then as “Climbing the mountains is for tourists”. The Outdoor Partnership set out to change that attitude from the grassroots up. They wanted to enthuse and inspire the communities who lived in the area about the benefits of the landscape on their doorstep. The project was awarded a £495,000 grant from People and Places.

One of the strands of the project (Pathways to Employment) works with local people who are unemployed to help them get out and get fitter, learn some skills and enjoy the environment while they are doing it. The project hit all their targets for moving people back into work through the programme. We caught up with two participants who have both been in the project for three months – Carren and Ioan.

Although streets apart in experience and background both have made big changes to their lives, which they credit to the project.

On top of the World

On top of the world with the Outdoor Partnership, Snowdonia, Wales


Carren explained that following an operation on her foot she had been forced to become substantially less active; having expected to be incapacitated for three months, the recovery ended up taking more than a year. Over that time she put on four stone, lost her confidence and was suffering with the menopause, overall she was feeling very low.

“I saw the ad on Facebook and it has transformed my life. I have found a part time job in a shop, but that is temporary as I am looking to qualify as a Mountain Leader. I want to start a group to encourage women over 50 to get out, get active and explore the landscape they are living in.”

Carren gave me some insight into what it’s like to be a participant in the project;

“Owain (who leads the Pathways to Employment Project and the group) is always challenging us, for example we don’t necessarily use the paths to climb, we look for a more direct way to go up, even if it’s harder work.

“Because of the operation, my foot has lost feeling in half of it and when we have to climb up something quite steep I sometimes get scared my feet won’t work. Owain says “Come on, you can do it!” and I can, and I do. This project has meant the world to me, I’ve changed my life because of it!”

Ioan, meanwhile, is a young man who has also used the project to change direction successfully securing a job at a local campsite on the strength of his experiences. The others tease him about not smoking or using his mobile phone while he is climbing, he just smiles and walks on up. As both Ioan and Carren are Welsh speaking much of the chat is in Welsh, but they all happily speak English too, it depends on the preference of the participants. The Outdoor Partnership have an impressive record of encouraging Welsh language users into the sector – increasing numbers of Welsh speaking (full-time equivalent) instructors from 4% to 25% during the life of the project.

Owain’s own enjoyment of being out in the hills with the group is apparent:

“I don’t care what speed we walk at, I love being outside and I love seeing people challenging themselves and getting something from being out here.”

It seems that climbing hills in beautiful North Wales is allowing people to conquer other obstacles in their own lives.

The Summit with the Outdoor Partnership Snowdonia Wales


60 seconds with a Knowledge and Learning Officer…

April 19, 2018

We’ve got an opportunity for someone to join our team as a Knowledge and Learning Officer for people who are passionate about supporting communities in Wales. If you’re not sure what exactly a Knowledge and Learning Officer does, then we asked Dave from our Knowledge and Learning team to give you a flavour of what’s involved.

What’s the best thing about working for the Big Lottery Fund?

I’ve been at the Fund for nearly 10 years now so I guess that says something. There are not many organisations whose mission is ‘helping communities most in need’ so because of that it’s a really motivating place to work, especially when you see the difference our funding makes, and being able to demonstrate that to stakeholders. On top of that, the people are great too! Read more…

£150,000 of National Lottery funding up for grabs across Wales in The People’s Projects

April 16, 2018

Five local community groups across Wales are set to compete for up to £50,000 of National Lottery funding each. The People’s Projects is giving these groups a chance to go head to head compete in a public vote to help them make an extraordinary difference to their community.

For 13 years, the Big Lottery Fund, ITV and The National Lottery have been teaming up to give the public a chance to decide where National Lottery money should go in their local area.

The three projects in Wales with the most public votes will receive grants of up to £50,000. This will help them to continue their work to bring people together, build stronger communities and make a difference to people’s lives.

Voting is now open at Here are the projects competing in Wales:

Read more…

Will my National Lottery Awards for All application be successful?

April 3, 2018

National Lottery Awards for All is a very popular programme and we frequently receive many more applications in excess of our available budget. Because of this, we are not always able to fund all of the worthwhile applications we receive, which means we have difficult decisions to make about how to prioritise our funding.

The key areas we will use to make a decision are how strongly your project meets one of our funding priorities and how involved your community is with the design, development and delivery of the activities you are planning.

National Lottery Awards for All has three funding priorities and your project idea must meet at least one of these:

  • Shape the places and spaces that matter to communities
  • Bring people together and build strong relationships in and across communities
  • Enable more people to fulfil their potential by working to address issues at the earliest possible stage

Read more…

What next for Magi Ann?

March 21, 2018

Winning the Education Category in the National Lottery Awards 2017 was a fantastic experience for Menter Iaith Flint and Wrexham. With the lottery funding, we succeeded in creating 6 apps to help children to learn to read Welsh. We have received priceless publicity as a result of the nomination and winning the award. We reached a far wider audience than we would have through our current networks, not only across Wales, but throughout Britain. Read more…

“I love the farm – it’s a great, inclusive place. It’s helped me get my mojo back.”

March 15, 2018

A community farm in Swansea that was on the brink of closure less than 12 months ago is celebrating the news that National Lottery money will open up opportunities for its community. Thanks to National Lottery players, Swansea Community Farm have received £99,992 to support new people in the community with mental health difficulties into volunteering and training opportunities with the help of the animals at their farm. Read more…

60 seconds with our Funding Officers…

March 7, 2018

There are currently many opportunities to join our team for people who are passionate about supporting communities in Wales. So to give people an idea what it’s like working at the Big Lottery Fund, we interviewed Liz, a Funding Officer in our Cardiff office, and Hywel, a Funding Officer in our Newtown office, to give you the inside scoop…

Tell us a bit about what the Big Lottery Fund does.

Liz: The Big Lottery Fund distributes the funds raised by people playing the National Lottery.  We give out money to organisations who make a real difference to people throughout the UK.

What made you decide to join the Big Lottery Fund?  

Liz: I started with the fund five years ago as a temp. Before I was told about the job I didn’t know much about the Fund and what they did so I had to do some research to find out. I have always chosen to work in the third sector because it’s important to me that my job makes a difference. Everything I found showed that the Fund was working to improve the lives of people who are most in need and I wanted to be part of that.

Hywel: I have been with the Fund for over 18 years. I was at a stage in my life when I fancied a new challenge with regular hours. I had previously been self-employed and a director for various manufacturing companies for over 20 years. The thought of giving out money and helping others for a living as opposed to chasing money from creditors appealed greatly. Read more…

A new approach to funding with Helping Working Families

February 26, 2018

The Big Lottery Fund in Wales has launched Helping Working Families, offering grants up to £500,000 over four years for projects working with families affected by ‘in-work’ poverty to improve their lives.  More or less what you would expect from the Fund?  But something is different as Andy Brown, Funding Manager for Helping Working Families at the Big Lottery Fund told us:

“Funding the development phase of a project is a departure for us. Increasingly we have been asking organisations applying to our grant schemes to show how they are putting the people who will benefit in the lead when developing the project. We have been listening to feedback about how best we can help organisations and this programme offers a way for us to do that. We hope that organisations will embrace this opportunity and make an application to us.” Read more…