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Hitting the right note with surprise celebration

October 20, 2016

Watch the magical moment when a choir of people affected by cancer surprise RainbowBiz Limited with news of their Celebrate grant.

Tenovus Cancer Care’s Sing with Us choir pretended to be from the Big Lottery Fund before breaking out in song with news of the £1,893 grant.

They were joined by Big Lottery Fund Chief Executive Dawn Austwick who presented the cheque at Mold Rugby Club. Read more…

“I’m deafblind but I can still drive a car just like any other teenager”

October 19, 2016

Teenager Emma Gaylard has a severe visual and hearing impairment but one of her proudest moments so far was when she drove a car for the very first time.

“A day was organised with Sense and a driving school that does days where people with disabilities can be taught how to drive a car on a track. I didn’t know how well I’d get on with it, and I was really nervous but after I finished the actual driving the instructor said that I was really good. It was brilliant being able to drive – something I never thought I’d do!

Read more…

7 myths about the Big Lottery Fund in Wales

October 17, 2016

Main (E).jpgWritten by Andrea Clarke, communications manager.

As the biggest funder outside of Government distributing around £30 million in Wales every year, you would think we would be a popular choice for community groups. When I am out in communities, I am often struck by the myths about our funding and those that choose not to apply because of them.

Here are the top 7 myths about the Big Lottery Fund in Wales that I’m happy to debunk…

  1. You need to be a fundraising expert to apply

The majority of applications that we receive are written by volunteers. For larger grants of several thousands of pounds, organisations sometimes have a paid fundraiser. However there is no evidence that this produces a better application. It is important to us that the person writing the application knows about the project. Read more…

The reaction when Canolfan Y Fron find out their grant application made the grade

October 12, 2016

Watch the incredible moment Canolfan Y Fron in Gwynedd receive a Surprise Lottery Letter worth £946,851 of money raised by National Lottery players.

Communications Officer, Rosie Dent and Developing Local Knowledge Officer Gareth Hughes told the group they wanted to film some footage of the project before the upcoming decisions being announced.

Canolfan Y Fron is made up of hard working volunteers from the local area. When local school, Ysgol Bronyfoel closed in August 2015, they came up with a plan to transform the building into an A* community facility.

14697078_10157558384810564_347828050_o.jpgThe group were ecstatic when the news was revealed that their grant application for £947,851 to the Big Lottery Fund’s Community Asset Transfer 2 programme had made the grade.

The now disused building will become a heart for the village and surrounding areas with two community halls, a small shop, a treatment room and a 16 bed bunk house.
Upon finding out the exciting news, the Jim Embrey, Chair said “this is probably the best day for this village, since the end of the Second World War”.


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

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

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…