As we cautiously welcome in 2021, Ruth Bates, Interim Director for Wales at The National Lottery Community Fund takes an opportunity to share her reflections, and looks ahead to continuing to support communities and charities through these uncertain times.
Ruth Bates, from Montgomeryshire, will act as the Interim Director for Wales over the next few months. Ruth has been part of the team at The National Lottery Community Fund for six years and is passionate about community action and the impact we can have when we work together to make our communities a better place to live:
2020 was a challenging year for us all. However, throughout all of the uncertainty one thing remained consistent, the drive, passion and goodwill of communities across Wales to come together and to support each other during a difficult time. I have been humbled to witness community organisations rise to the challenge of supporting people and families across Wales.
One of our strengths at the Fund is our extensive understanding of communities through our regional funding model. We’ve been able to move seamlessly to working remotely to support communities to access National Lottery funding.
To put that in context, in 2020 we provided support and guidance to nearly 1,400 people through our advice line and we awarded £32.5 million to 966 community projects across Wales. It’s been quite remarkable too how our colleagues have stepped up and delivered a great service to our customers despite considerable challenges.
The projects we fund
We awarded £59,995 to Medrwn Môn, in partnership with the Isle of Anglesey County Council and Menter Môn to co-ordinate an impressive network of over 850 volunteers to support their community with services such as shopping, dog walking, food parcels and online networks.
Congolese Development Project in Swansea received £10,000 to support people in their community by helping with shopping, spreading awareness of COVID-19 scams, and starting an online wellbeing class. A team of amazing volunteers like Richard has enabled them to make a big impact.
Leonard Cheshire received £9,999 to support the physical and mental wellbeing of disabled people in Newport by providing access to online befriending, group activities, virtual contact with families, and digital skills. You can hear more about how Leonard Cheshire have adapted on our podcast.
We allowed existing grant holders to use their funding flexibly to best support their communities and offered top-ups to their grant to help them adapt. For example we awarded an addition £9,500 to With Music in Mind in Vale of Glamorgan so that they could continue to help tackle loneliness by providing singing and social opportunities for people aged 50+, including those living with dementia and their families.
In the Summer North Wales Wildlife Trust received £2.5 million from our UK wide Climate Action Fund to work in partnership with other Wildlife Trust’s across Wales to empower young people across Wales to take the lead on environmental action in their communities.
Later in the year Datblygiadau Egni Gwledig in Gwynedd received a development grant of £562,315 from the Climate Action Fund to lead a partnership of five community organisations across Gwynedd to address climate challenges.
Through our Climate Action Boost scheme 35 groups from across Wales are receiving support from Renew Wales and Sustainable Communities Wales to develop an environmental plan, which they are currently implementing with up to £15,000 National Lottery funding.
Our flagship funding programmes, National Lottery Awards for All and People and Places will remain to give communities the flexibility to fund the things that matter most to them. Through these we will encourage greater emphasis on supporting communities and charities to become more resilient to support their response to current and future crisis including COVID-19. We will fund groups that:
- Support organisations to adapt or diversify to respond to new and future challenges
- Support communities adversely affected by COVID-19
- Support communities and organisations to become more resilient to enable them to respond better to future crises.
We will award £10 million through our Helping End Homelessness programme and will continue to put young people in the lead through our new Young People’s Programme. Working with the Young People Advisory panel will be an important element to shaping this exciting new programme. We will also be delivering Dormant Accounts funding on behalf of the Welsh Government which will focus on Young People and Climate Change.
We strongly believe in the strength of collaboration. We will continue to work with other funders across Wales through the Wales Funders Forum to share best practice, and insights to avoid duplication and maximise the reach of the available funds for the benefit of communities across Wales.
The National Lottery plays a critical role in supporting people and communities and I want to thank National Lottery players – every time you buy a National Lottery ticket, you’re contributing towards £30 million each week that’s raised for good causes throughout the UK.
I want to wish you all a healthy and happy New Year and to reassure you that we will continue to distribute National Lottery funding to help communities in Wales recover and thrive from COVID-19.
To find out more about applying for a grant to help your community adapt, recover and thrive visit tnlcommunityfund.org.uk/wales. You can talk to us by calling 029 2168 0214 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.