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Top tips for managing your project bilingually

July 18, 2018

If you receive funding from the Big Lottery Fund to deliver a project in Wales, you will need to provide certain services bilingually, to comply with Welsh language legislation. Offering your projects’ services in both Welsh and English is a fantastic opportunity for you to make sure that your project is accessible to everyone in your community.

Our Welsh Language Team give their top ten tips on managing your project bilingually. Read more…

How to involve young people in designing your project

July 16, 2018

Interested in applying to the Big Lottery Fund for a project involving young people? You’re more likely to be awarded funding if you can demonstrate that young people have been involved in designing and developing your project idea.

It can be quite easy to fall into the trap of having an idea for a project that you want to deliver, designing the activities yourself and then approaching a school or youth club to consult with young people to see whether that’s something that they want.

We believe that projects and activities are have a stronger chance of success if projects are designed and developed with the people it will benefit. That’s why we look to fund projects that are people-led through involving the community throughout the design and development of the project.

One of the best ways to involve young people in your project is through co-production or co-design. If you’re scratching your head wondering what exactly these are, here’s a definition from Co-production Wales: Read more…

Train-ing for a bright future on our coast

July 11, 2018

Summer’s here and while the sun shines and the temperature soars we can start planning some of the great sunny adventures we’ve been waiting all year for. Now, thanks to the incredible work of some very talented apprentices, more people than ever can join in the fun after the opening of the Vale of Rheidol Railway’s disabled access carriage in Aberystwyth.

After being awarded £251,280 in August 2017 as part of Round 4 of the Coastal Communities Fund (CCF) programme, the railway helped train two young people in the skills to refurbish derelict steam train carriages and to ensure that the expertise stays in the local area for generations to come. This is the second project that the Vale of Rheidol has completed as part of the programme, after also being successful in Round 3 with a grant of £288,000, and has now created a total of 6 new apprentices, 4 trainer posts, while also safeguarding a further 8 roles.

Local resident and wheelchair user Carwyn Daniels had the honour to test out the new carriage and was delighted to ride the train for the first time since he was a young child. After a short journey with stops along the way, the packed train was greeted on the other end of the line in Devils Bridge with an ensemble from Mynach Community School’s choir and a grand buffet to celebrate the occasion.

The effects of the project will also greatly benefit the wider coastal community with the opportunity to partner with other local businesses to provide new experiences like wedding trains, afternoon tea and even murder mystery journeys. On both sides of the line, businesses are sure to reap the rewards for years to come with a forecasted 2,000 extra visitors per year.

Hywel Lovgreen, Funding Officer for the project, said, “It was a wonderful day and a real milestone for the company. The accessible carriages are not just a welcome provision in catering for the needs of all but are also a result of, and a credit to, the hard work of the highly skilled workforce and apprentices that the company now employs – a perfect fit to the Coastal Communities Fund Programme”.

As the Big Lottery Fund administers the Coastal Communities Fund on behalf of the Welsh Government we’re currently awaiting news of a further funding round. If you’d like to register your interest for the programme you can do so by emailing

£34 million to support people and communities across Wales

July 3, 2018

Big Lottery Fund Wales Director John Rose explains how as a funder we want to support people to access National Lottery funding through us to make great choices for communities the length and breadth of Wales through our ‘People in the Lead’ vision and new regional structure.

The Big Lottery Fund believes that people should lead in improving their lives by drawing upon the skills, assets and energy in their communities, and on 4 July 2018 we announced that we have £34 million funding available for communities in Wales to do just that.

We feel that strong, vibrant communities can be built and renewed by the people living in them – making them ready for anything in the face of future opportunities and challenges. That’s why we’ve developed our approach to enable people and communities to lead that change to improve their lives by drawing upon the skills, assets and energy in their communities,” Read more…

Welcome to our Woods

June 20, 2018

Welcome to our woods, Trehebert

We caught up with this project on a lovely, sunny Sunday in June.  The project was awarded £1,282,000 from Create your Space. Welcome to our Woods works with a wide range of third sector organisations including Interlink, Valleys Kids, Keep Wales Tidy, Spectacle theatre, Blaencwm Chapel and Active Nutrition.

Welcome to our Woods has built on previous projects in the area to encourage local people and especially children to respect and enjoy the woodlands which surrounds many of the villages in the Valleys. The team are also exploring how they can use the woodlands sustainably to improve local employment.

We were met by Julie, the diminutive ball of energy who 22 years ago began the original project in Treherbert when the estate, which backs onto the woods, was virtually a no go area for social services and the fires then were from burnt out cars and uncontrolled fires on the mountain.   These days the well-used Community Centre faces the path which leads temptingly up into the trees, gentle music and laughter drifts down from the hill.  Read more…

Visiting Ponthafren, Newtown

June 20, 2018

Ponthafren was funded through People and Places (£375,568). The project promotes positive mental health and wellbeing. The centre offers free counselling, 1-1 Recovery and activities including art, gardening, healthy living and mindfulness courses. There is also the opportunity to train as a volunteer or learn new skills and polish up CVs and interview techniques. People are welcome to drop in to see what is going on each week. The project is in the third year of its grant from the Big Lottery Fund.

We visited Ponthafren in Newtown as part of the Big Walk. The organisation first opened its doors in 1992, to cater for people who experience mental health issues or those who may be socially isolated or excluded. Read more…

The Big Walk steps up to the challenge of shining a light on communities across Wales

May 21, 2018

33058688_10160348189620564_5195480178280628224_n.jpgThe Big Walk is back! Four teams of walkers are embarking on four routes across each of our four nations, covering more than 250 miles over 18 days across the UK to shine a light on amazing groups and events that bring people together and working up an appetite for the Big Lunch at the end of their journeys.

The Big Walk is an Eden Communities initiative funded with a grant from the Big Lottery Fund.  The grant is made possible thanks to money raised by National Lottery players. The Big Walk shines a light on the people at the heart of the UK’s communities, who work together to make great things happen every day. This annual event sees walkers visit projects and community groups that are making a real difference to local lives. Along the way they will be encouraging everyone to join The Big Lunch. Read more…

£34 million of National Lottery funding available for communities in 2018/19

May 17, 2018

John_Rose_1063_17_col_FF - Copy.JPGBig Lottery Fund Wales Director John Rose:

When you think of the National Lottery you often think of someone popping a bottle of champagne after scooping millions of pounds. These scenes of celebration have been repeated by many thousands of good causes across Wales who have received life-changing grants thanks to money raised by National Lottery players.

Some of these grants are distributed by us at the Big Lottery Fund and in the next financial year we will be awarding over £34 million to communities, giving them a similar jackpot-winning feeling for the things that really matter to them.

Many of these individual grants are big, in the range of hundreds of thousands of pounds but many are much, much smaller too. Read more…

On top of the World with the Outdoor Partnership, Snowdonia

April 24, 2018

The Outdoor Partnership was formed 12 years ago in response to research by Bangor University which showed that the outdoor pursuits industry in North Wales and Snowdonia at that time had almost no local people working in it as instructors. Researchers summed up the local perspective then as “Climbing the mountains is for tourists”. The Outdoor Partnership set out to change that attitude from the grassroots up. They wanted to enthuse and inspire the communities who lived in the area about the benefits of the landscape on their doorstep. The project was awarded a £495,000 grant from People and Places.

One of the strands of the project (Pathways to Employment) works with local people who are unemployed to help them get out and get fitter, learn some skills and enjoy the environment while they are doing it. The project hit all their targets for moving people back into work through the programme. We caught up with two participants who have both been in the project for three months – Carren and Ioan. Read more…

60 seconds with a Knowledge and Learning Officer…

April 19, 2018

We’ve got an opportunity for someone to join our team as a Knowledge and Learning Officer for people who are passionate about supporting communities in Wales. If you’re not sure what exactly a Knowledge and Learning Officer does, then we asked Dave from our Knowledge and Learning team to give you a flavour of what’s involved.

What’s the best thing about working for the Big Lottery Fund?

I’ve been at the Fund for nearly 10 years now so I guess that says something. There are not many organisations whose mission is ‘helping communities most in need’ so because of that it’s a really motivating place to work, especially when you see the difference our funding makes, and being able to demonstrate that to stakeholders. On top of that, the people are great too! Read more…