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.
Of course winning the lottery is what many people dream of, but if you are not lucky enough to hit the jackpot, then remember that by buying a ticket you are helping to make an incredible difference to a good cause somewhere in the UK.
Need convincing? In the run up to Christmas we’ve been shining a light on four fantastic projects funded in 2018:
- Y Bont – Read about how they’re are supporting disabled children and their families in Bridgend to reduce the challenges they face, in particular isolation and a lack of social opportunities through activities that include the whole family.
- Theatre Versus Oppression – Hear about how their project is turning lives around with a series of theatre workshops for people affected by homelessness in Cardiff.
- The Mullany Fund – Find out about how they’re 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.
- Llandysul a Phont-Tyweli Ymlaen – Read about how they’re broadening opportunities for a range of community group in rural West Wales through offering a community bus service.
Elsewhere, this year saw us take a new regional approach to our work to better understand the communities we serve and the issues that matter most to them. We now have three teams focused on North Wales, Mid and West Wales, and South East and Central Wales, and this has helped us to build connections with communities and to support them to connect with each other.
We know that sometimes it’s not just National Lottery funding that helps. We want to play more of a role bringing like-minded people together to share their skills and experience and support others to learn. This year we’ve worked with the Wales Centre for Public Policy to launch round two of our Rural Programme and highlight their research into tackling rural poverty. We’ve also brought communities together to help the Welsh Government develop their plans for tackling isolation and loneliness. Next year we will work more in this way and bring people together to make a real difference to communities.
I’d also like to share a personal highlight of 2018. In the summer I attended the Our Bright Future conference in Cardiff and spoke to so many young people that were passionate about the environment and who wanted to make a positive difference in their communities. In a year where we’ve heard so much concern about our environment meeting those young people and seeing their commitment gave me a sense of hope, and admiration for the work they’re doing.
So what next? Well, during the second half of the year we spent much of our time talking to customers, stakeholder and the great Welsh public about what themes we might focus on in the next few years. You told us that you really value our National Lottery Awards for All and People and Places programmes, as they allow you to apply for funds for what matters to a broad cross section of Welsh communities. You also highlighted some themes we could focus on. We’re looking into these in more detail and plan to confirm these in the new year.
Just as I started this message by thanking National Lottery players, I’d finally like to say that from the end of January 2019 I’ll no longer be the Wales Director of the Big Lottery Fund; instead I will be the Wales Director of the National Lottery Community Fund. But I’m not leaving! Our new name reflects what we do and recognises that this is only made possible thanks to National Lottery players.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.