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Merry Christmas from the Big Lottery Fund

December 10, 2018

With Christmas just around the corner and the year drawing to an end, Big Lottery Fund Wales’ Director John Rose would like to take this opportunity to share his personal appreciation to the many people and communities that have enabled great things to happen all over Wales during 2018.

Firstly, I want to start by thanking National Lottery players. Sometimes people forget that buying a National Lottery ticket helps good causes and this year alone we will have distributed £34 million in Wales. So thank you to every one of you that buys a National Lottery Ticket. You all play a part in supporting communities the length and breadth of Wales and indeed the UK.

You cannot always appreciate the difference this makes until you speak to funded projects and meet the people they support. Then, once you delve a bit deeper, you see that every day the National Lottery is making a positive difference and changing lives for the better. Read more…

Elsa’s smiling more than ever thanks to her new role as Engage to Change Ambassador

December 8, 2018

IMG_0257 - Copy.JPG“Hi Elsa!” The calls ring out as Elsa Jones walks down the street in Llanidloes. Clearly well-known in the community, Elsa has a learning disability and has been volunteering at the Severn Hospice charity shop in the town for the past four years. Now, following work placements and job coaching through Engage to Change, she has been successful in her application to become an Ambassador and promote the Engage to Change project across Wales.

“I enjoy going out to work. It gives me confidence, meeting people, socialising, and I enjoy keeping busy,” says Elsa. “I really enjoy it so much.” At the charity shop she spends her time at the shop serving customers, dressing mannequins, sorting donated items and putting them out on the shop floor. “I always like to make sure it’s presentable.” One of her favourite aspects of her work has been the opportunity to learn new skills and to develop her existing ones, such as time management and money handling. Read more…

Community mini bus brings people together thanks to National Lottery

December 7, 2018

This week in the run up to Christmas we’re celebrating some of the amazing projects that we’ve funded recently, making an amazing difference to their communities.

Earlier this year we awarded Llandysul a Phont-Tyweli Ymlaen Cyf a National Lottery grant of £98,300 to run a community transport scheme in Carmarthenshire. They are one of 29 projects that received £2.77 million for community facilities in 2018.

We went to visit the project for the day to see the bus in action helping local groups.  We joined the bus carrying people with Alzheimer’s and their carers to a local dementia group. Madelaine Richards, one of the carers told us how much she valued being able to get out of the house, joking “I can’t leave my husband alone, if I was in prison it wouldn’t be much different and at least I’d get my meals.”

Read more…

Mullany Fund supports young people to develop new skills thanks to National Lottery players

December 6, 2018

The Mullany Fund received £486,630 of National Lottery money earlier this year to expand their e-mentoring 1+1 project to new areas. The project works through schools and voluntary organisations who are working with harder to reach young people, to widen participation within life-science professions and raise aspirations and educational attainment among young people from under-represented communities with low social mobility. They are one of 12 projects that received £3.26 million for employment projects over the last year. We spoke to Jarrod Thomas who has been through the programme.

Hello, I am Jarrod Thomas, 20 years old, a former mentee of the Mullany Fund and an incoming mentor in the next cohort of mentees, and will be the sole mentor based in Aberystwyth. I am currently an undergraduate student studying Biochemistry at the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS), an internationally-recognised teaching research centre at Aberystwyth University.

I joined the Mullany Fund when I was in Comprehensive School, back in 2015, three years ago, the reason was to received tailored advice on careers in life science, and to talk to someone in the field, whether they were studying or a clinician. I was matched with a junior doctor and then later a medical student, very similar – but incredibly distinct roles which highlighted the significant differences between clinical education and clinical practice.

Read more…

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

December 5, 2018

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…

National Lottery players make Christmas special for disabled children

December 4, 2018

This week in the run up to Christmas we’re celebrating some of the amazing projects that we’ve funded this year that are making an amazing difference to communities.

Earlier this year we surprised Bridgend and District Resource for Children with Disabilities (Y Bont) with the news that they were successful in applying for a National Lottery grant of £530,000. Read more about it here.

Over five years will support disabled children and their families in Bridgend to reduce the challenges they face, in particular isolation and a lack of social opportunities, encouraging them to develop peer support amongst each other, build relationships and enjoy an active lifestyle through activities that include the whole family.

Read more…

Top tips from Milford Youth Matters

November 27, 2018

“Hi I’m Dayle Gibby, I’m the Project Coordinator for Milford Youth Matters which is a charity based in Milford Haven. Currently we have a Routes to Opportunity project which is a partnership between ourselves and Pembrokeshire County Council, and what we provide here is an eight-week vocational learning project for young people that are not currently in education, training or employment.

But it’s not just that, we offer so much more, and that has come from young people. Our project has evolved from what young people have said what they want, what support they need, and how we can support them into achieving their goals.

Read more…

“I’m only here today because my friends stopped me from doing something stupid.”

November 19, 2018

“Hi, I’m Alex, I’m a third year Politics student at Cardiff University. I got involved in the project over the summer as mental health became a really big part of my life in my second year at university, and I wanted to make sure that other people didn’t feel the way that I did, in that I felt very afraid and trapped and afraid to tell people how I felt. I thought that they might pass heavy judgement on me because of the ideas surrounding being a bloke, the idea that you’re meant to be big, strong, tough, boys don’t cry, that sort of thing.

“But for me, keeping my problems and struggles to myself was one of the worst things I ever did. I struggled so much in my second year with issues dealing with identity surrounding my coming out as bisexual, dealing with stress issues that caused anxiety, and the more I kept them to myself the more I lost control, and one day it resulted in me spiralling and trying to take my own life.

“I’m only here today because my friends helped me down and stopped me from doing something stupid, and once I started people how I felt, and how I was feeling, I felt that the entire weight of the world had come off my shoulders rather than being on me.

Read more…

Golf sessions give a confidence boost to stroke survivors

November 16, 2018

Stroke survivors have been celebrating the success of cross-Wales New2Golf Back2Golf sessions in helping to boost their confidence and wellbeing. The Stroke Association in Wales’ Stroke Community Steps is a four-year project funded by the Big Lottery Fund Wales. The programme enables people affected by stroke to access community facilities and activities, including accessible golfing sessions, organised in conjunction with Wales Golf and supported by additional funding from the Sports Foundation for the Disabled and the Stroke Research and Innovation fund.

Former golfers and those new to the sport have been gathering weekly at clubs around Wales, going from taster lessons to getting out onto the course. Their success was celebrated at Clays Golf, Wrexham on 1 November and The Vale Resort, Cardiff on 13 November. One person who attended the celebration at the Vale Resort was Paddy Pratt from Pembroke Dock, whose confidence has really been boosted by getting out onto the golf course. Following a stroke four years ago, Paddy, 84, felt she wouldn’t be taking part in anything active ever again. Read more…

5 Top tips on getting funding for your project

November 6, 2018

1. Find the right funding programme for you

When developing your project, speak to the people you are working with and listen to what they tell you. Ask them about what matters to them and find out what strengths they can bring to the table that would help others. You could also chat to their families, the wider community, local community groups and similar organisations you might work with. Projects tend to be more successful when communities are involved in them from the very start and remain involved during the life of the project.

Once you have an idea for a project Visit our website to find out what funding programmes we have available. Remember that we may not be the best funder to support your project idea so having a look at other funders will help you find the best funding option for you.  You might want to speak to other National Lottery funders or chat to helper organisations like WCVA or your local County Voluntary Council to find out what other options are available. Read more…