We want you to help us to decide how we should spend National Lottery money in Wales. Rob Roffe, Head of Knowledge and Learning for The National Lottery Community Fund explains more:
Back in February, I said that we had started reviewing our funding priorities for Wales. As well as looking at the impact of COVID-19, our review has highlighted several areas where future action might be needed to support communities and the people who live there to thrive:
- Equity and inclusion
- Environment and climate change
- Making voluntary organisations stronger
- Involving citizens and working together
- Supporting communities to act
We are inviting people to take part in our survey to share their views on these areas, and to tell us about any other issues that they think are important that we should consider.
COVID-19 had had a big impact on us all. Lockdowns have had a negative effect on our wellbeing, and some of the worst effects have been felt by the most vulnerable in our communities and within Black, Asian, and other ethnic groups. Voluntary organisations have been under a lot of strain to provide much needed support alongside our public services when many have been affected by the pandemic themselves through a loss of income. Some are now struggling to continue.
It hasn’t all been bad, though. More people are volunteering, communities have come together to support each other, and many organisations are now working together to help people and communities in a way that seemed unlikely before COVID-19. We want to make sure that the Fund can support that to continue to happen with help from National Lottery funding in the future.
Many that we have heard from so far think that getting back to where we were before the pandemic would not be a sign of success. Instead, they want to focus on emerging from the Pandemic in a way that truly tackles the challenges and issues that existed before COVID-19, but which it made worse. While The National Lottery Community Fund cannot address everything alone, we do want people to help us to understand how we can play our part in ‘hitting the factory reset button’.
One important thing that we have noticed is that many of those communities and people needing support are not just affected by one issue. While they might be struggling with their mental health, for example, they might also be struggling with poverty, or isolation, or a lack of access to services. They might be experiencing all of them. That might mean that, in the future, a programme that just focusses on one issue – like mental health – might not be enough to give people and communities the support that they need. The Fund might need to re-think its approach to developing programmes in the future, by putting people and communities at the centre rather than focusing on one or two issues.
This is just a taste of what our review has found out so far. As we move into the autumn, we will reach out and speak to more groups, more communities, and the public to develop our understanding of what matters and where we can make a difference.
To help us decide the future priorities of National Lottery funding in Wales, we would really welcome your views. The survey will remain open until midday on 20 September.