Dr Simone Lowthe-Thomas – Continuing to support communities

Dr Simone Lowthe-Thomas, Chair of our Wales Committee and UK Board member shares plans for how we will continue to support Welsh communities as we adapt, recover and thrive.

I’m delighted to have been appointed Chair of the Wales Committee at The National Lottery Community Fund. I look forward to building on the success of The Fund’s grant making in the years ahead and playing a key part in sharing its impact in supporting people and communities to thrive.

I will bring my experiences of supporting communities and the third sector, from supporting grassroots community group, volunteering in my local community and leading a Wales-wide charity, Severn Wye Energy Agency. But most importantly, I will listen to the voices of communities and community organisations to understand what matters most to them, and how The National Lottery Community Fund can best support communities across Wales.

We have all faced challenges over the last 17 months due to the pandemic. As we cautiously start to rebuild and reflect on the uncertainty, there is lots for us to learn, and we should be proud of the way communities have come together across Wales to help each other.

The third sector has responded to the challenges presented by the pandemic with leadership, resilience and compassion. We are proud to have been there to offer support to projects and communities who stepped up to support those most affected by COVID-19.

At The National Lottery Community Fund, we have trusted our grant holders and been flexible, as they know best what is needed in communities. Through our core grant programmes, National Lottery Awards for All and People and Places, we helped organisations react quickly to support their communities, from providing essential food and medicine deliveries to local homes to keeping people connected through online activities.

I’ve joined The Fund at an important time as we undertake our Portfolio review, reflecting on lessons learned and listening to communities and stakeholders to understand what matters most to them. Over the next few months, we will listen to communities, third sector organisations and stakeholder to identify how National Lottery funding can best support Welsh communities to adapt, recover and thrive. You can share your views by completing our survey.

We recently launched Mind Our Future programme which will award £10 million of money raised by National Lottery players to put young people in the lead so that they can imagine and create a more resilient and mentally healthy future for young people in Wales.

As a member of the Wales Committee at the National Lottery Community Fund, I’m working alongside the Young People in the Lead advisory panel, a group of diverse young people, to ensure that the voices of young people are reflected in our decision making.

Next year we will make up to £10 million worth of awards to strategic partnerships that have applied to our Helping End Homelessness programme to redesign and improve services for people experiencing, or at risk of homelessness.

Our funding is for everyone, and we are working hard to ensure that our funding is accessible and inclusive. Our funding will support groups tackling health inequalities and those who endeavour to make a positive impact on the environment. As we recover from the socio and economic effects of the pandemic, we also want to improve lives by supporting more learning and employability opportunities.

We are always keen to hear from organisations who want to apply for funding to support people and communities to adapt, recover and thrive. We’re happy to have an informal chat in advance of making an application and you can contact us on 0300 123 0735 or wales@tnlcommunityfund.org.uk. You can find information about our grant programmes on our website.

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