The Great Big Walk – a new initiative made possible by National Lottery funding and run by Eden Communities – came to a close on 17 June. Over 21 days and 1,400 miles the walkers hiked down country lanes, along canals, down roads and over hills to visiting communities doing extraordinary things, including 35 National Lottery projects across the UK. They’ve been able to see first-hand how National Lottery players are helping to create stronger communities in villages, towns and cities.
The team Walking though Wales was made up of three volunteers, Richard Parry, a management consultant from Coleridge who loves a sing along, Merlin Blockley from Llanidloes, who took the challenge head on, despite having cerebral palsy and dealing with cancer and Amelia Thomas, a community artist from Tongwynlais.
The walkers were given a proper Welsh welcome after crossing the border. The first Welsh stop was at a community pub in Minera which received start-up funding from Village SOS after closing and being taken over by the local community.
The second day in Wales led to a quick pit stop at 2016’s UK Local Shop of the Year near Ruthin for some local produce. The shop is volunteer run and received funding from Village SOS.
The walkers had certainly walked up an appetite by the time they reached Y Dref Werdd in Blaenau Ffestiniog and were delighted to join the team for a homemade pizza at their environmental and digital hub.
Next up was a quick stop at new playground in Bala funded by People and Places to try out the new swings!
While in Machynlleth, the Walkers called by at the community shop and café run by Cwmni Cymunedol Cletwr for a cuppa and a chat with the locals
In Llandrindod Wells the walkers were inspired learning about the fantastic service Bracken Trust are providing to people with cancer over a cup of tea and biscuits.
The next leg of the walk brought the walkers to Valleys Kids in Tonypandy where they worked with the community to create giant flag filled with good luck messages to carry for the final few days of the epic adventure.
A huge group of members of the community came out to welcome the walkers as they approached Bargoed to call by St Gwladys PCC where they were welcome with a feast in the National Lottery funded community hall.
The next stop was at People and Places funded Newbridge Memo where the walkers had a tour of the incredible community facility. Watch this clip to find out which famous person is a big fan of volunteer Mary’s welsh cakes!
Last but not least, the walkers stopped for a feast at Women Connect First in Cardiff on the final day of the walk. They met with staff, volunteers and service users who shared their stories and what they love about their community.