Big Lottery Fund
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Trustees Appointed to Start Work on Building Communities

The Big Lottery Fund has appointed the Chair and Directors of a new charitable trust to distribute £15 million to tackle poverty in some of Wales’ most deprived communities over the next 10 years. 

Graham Benfield, the retiring Chief Executive of the WCVA (Wales Council for Voluntary Action) will take the helm at the new Building Communities Trust supported by an experienced team of directors including Carol Green, Tony Graham and Tony Colville.   

The funding in the shape of a £15 million endowment will seek to make a lasting impact in those communities in greatest need of support. The Trust will work closely with local people to develop sustainable solutions to the problems they face.          

The newly-appointed Chair is under no illusion of the challenges that lie ahead.  
Wales has the highest percentage of people living in poverty and child poverty in the UK currently standing at 23% and 31% respectively.  

Graham Benfield said, “Poverty within communities doesn’t happen over-night and those who dedicate their lives to tackling social deprivation will tell you, that there isn’t a quick fix.  We also realize that the people best-placed to address the needs of their communities are the residents themselves.   Building Communities is a 10 year commitment which very much reflects those sentiments.   Community empowerment may be a phrase that’s over-used but that’s what this project is all about – building strong relationships with communities and, together, developing solutions that will deliver a lasting impact.”

He added, “The work now starts in earnest on this important and challenging project and I’ve brought together a dedicated team of people who are determined to make it succeed.  Carol Green is the Director of the Swansea Council for Voluntary Service and brings a wealth of experience to the Building Communities Trust.  Highly regarded, her commitment to tackling issues of social deprivation has seen her appointed to several senior positions – overseeing the distribution of the Deprived Area Fund in Swansea Bay and a former Member of the Welsh Government’s Ministerial Advisory Group of Funding Cohesion.   

“Tony Graham has also worked very much on the front line in helping people living in poverty.  After qualifying as a lawyer he moved to a charitable trust, working in the fields of debt relief, homelessness and food poverty in Merthyr Tydfil. He has worked hard to deliver programmes aimed at mitigating the effects of poverty in Welsh communities.  Tony is currently the Wales Foodbank Network Manager at the Trussell Trust – a demanding and critical job during this prolonged period of recession.  He has responsibility for managing the existing network of 34 Foodbanks reaching directly into over 80 communities across Wales.

“Adding to the experience of the team is another Tony – Tony Colville.  He has a background in community development and venture support. He also holds a senior position at the Young Foundation for Wales - one of the world’s leading centres for social innovation. Tony is a member of the board of Vi-Ability and Swansea City AFC Community Trust.”

Closing Graham Benfield said, “I’m fortunate to have such a tenacious and experienced team of Directors whose combined experiences will be invaluable as the work of the Trust gets underway.”    

Further Information

Hywel Thomas - Big Lottery Fund Press Office: 02920 678 207
Out of Hours Contact: 07580 805662
Public Enquiries Line: 08454 102030 Textphone:  0845 6021 659
Full details of the Big Lottery Fund programmes and grant awards are available at:
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Notes to Editors

  • In Wales, the Big Lottery Fund is rolling out close to £100,000 a day in National Lottery good cause money, which together with other Lottery distributors means that across Wales most people are within a few miles of a Lottery-funded project.
  • The Big Lottery Fund, the largest of the National Lottery good cause distributors, has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK since its inception in June 2004. It was established by Parliament on 1 December 2006.
  • Since the National Lottery began in 1994, 28p from every pound spent by the public has gone to Good Causes. As a result, over £29 billion has now been raised and more than 383,000 grants given out across the arts, sport, heritage, charities, health, education and the environment.

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