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Over £1 million from The National Lottery Community Fund to support communities across Wales this Christmas

This month, 63 groups are celebrating receiving a share of more than £1 million for their community, thanks to National Lottery players. The grants awarded will help support communities all over Wales this Christmas, as the impact of the pandemic and cost of living crisis is still felt by many, including:

  • £68,890 for The Cwtch Angels Abergavenny CIC to provide food parcels, clothing and everyday essentials to people who need it.
  • £6,300 for The Rhondda Polar Bears Disabled Swimming and Sports Club to train new instructors so more swimmers can be supported. 
  • £10,000 for The Bluetits Chill Swimmers Ltd in Pembrokeshire to provide mental health and conflict resolution training for its members. 
  • £100,000 for Eternal Media in Wrexham to extend their film-making project for people in early recovery from addiction across Wales.

The £68,890 National Lottery grant awarded to The Cwtch Angels Abergavenny CIC will help support two initiatives. Their Community Fridge/Full Table project will provide food parcels for people who are struggling to buy food due to rising costs. The Walk-in Wardrobe/Community Shop project will also combat the cost of living crisis by providing people with clothing and everyday essentials such as toiletries. 

Alison Platt and Annie Hartwright from Cwtch Angels CIC explained that the grant has been a lifeline for them and their community:

"We are so excited about our funding. Honestly, we were at the stage of wondering whether we could carry on. We had exhausted all the money we had from grants and our normal channels; local councils were unable to help because they were having budget difficulties too. But we knew how much good we were doing for our local communities so had to do something big to keep going. 

“We applied for a National Lottery grant. This took approximately six months to apply and be awarded. When it was awarded, we literally had £540 left in our pot. It was a pure miracle and we are so grateful. Thank you, The National Lottery Community Fund, for helping us help our community. We, and our community, are extremely grateful.” 

In Rhondda Cynon Taf, The Rhondda Polar Bears Disabled Swimming and Sports Club has received £6,300 to create videos to train more instructors, allowing more swimmers to join the club. 

Dawn Moore, Vice Chair of The Rhondda Polar Bears Disabled Swimming Club, explained more about their work and the difference the National Lottery grant will make:

“We are extremely grateful to The National Lottery Community Fund for awarding us a grant to make training videos to help train more volunteers in using the Halliwick Concept. The Halliwick Concept has been used for over 70 years by those affiliated to the Halliwick Association of Swimming Therapy. It is specifically designed to teach water safety and water happiness to children and adults with physical and learning disabilities. 

“Training more volunteers is vital for our club as we provide a voluntary swimming environment where our swimmers feel safe, inclusive, and able to have a good social life within the community. For some, this is their only social interaction during the week. As you can imagine, our waiting lists are extremely long and by enabling us to make more training videos, we are able to support more volunteers to help our swimmers in the water and for our social events on dry land.” 

Meanwhile in Pembrokeshire, The Bluetits Chill Swimmers Ltd will use a £10,000 grant to provide mental health and conflict resolution training for its members. This will enable participants to better support their peers, family and friends while simultaneously improving their mental wellbeing and confidence. 

Sian Richardson from The Bluetits said, “Receiving this generous funding from the National Lottery is a game-changer for the Bluetits Chill Swimmers. It's not just about the financial support, but the recognition and validation of our efforts to promote the physical and mental health benefits of cold water swimming. 

“This grant will enable us to reach more people, provide better facilities, and continue to build a supportive and inclusive community around this exhilarating sport. We are incredibly grateful for this opportunity to make a bigger splash in the world of open water swimming.” 

Bluetits chill swimmers in action

In Gwynedd, Eryri Cydweithredol Eryri Co-Operative Cyf will use a £10,000 grant to address isolation by offering face-to-face events such as music sessions, dancing, arts and crafts and wellbeing activities. Over twelve months the project will bring people in the community together at specific times of the year, including Christmas, Santes Dwynwen and St David's Day. The project will support residents of local care homes, unpaid carers and their families, and there will be a special focus on individuals living with dementia.

Gwenda Hughes, Director at Eryri Cydweithredol Eryri Co-Operative Cyf, said: 

“Thank you very much to The National Lottery Community Fund for awarding our Diddanu project a grant. We are really looking forward to our first event which will launch Diddanu (‘to entertain’) in Llanberis on 20 December. Over the next year we will be organising many exciting events and activities in north Gwynedd which will bring communities and generations together. The project will be piloted in residential homes in the area too, so interesting activities can be organised for the residents.”

In Wrexham, Eternal Media successfully applied for £100,000 to increase and extend their Recovery in Focus project for two years, delivering across Wales. The group support people in early recovery from addiction by involving them in filmmaking. The cost of living crisis and its associated mental health conditions has been identified as a significant factor in causing relapse. 

Eternal Community Media celebrate their award

Jill Whittingham, Lead Therapist at Eternal Media and Facilitator of Recovery in Focus, said:

“To be awarded this funding by The National Lottery Community Fund is an incredible validation of our Recovery in Focus project. We are passionate about supporting people in recovery from addiction and using photography in this way offers a unique and creative way to develop tools and skills that really support a recovery process. We are immensely proud of Recovery in Focus and now have the funding to make sure this can be offered to so many more people in Wales.” 

Communities across Wales will also benefit from Wales Epilepsy Association Cyf’s grant. The group applied for a £90,020 grant to continue and expand its Wales wide individualised support and outreach work for people impacted by epilepsy, whilst addressing the impact of the cost of living crisis. Fiona Kettell, Operations Manager at Epilepsy Wales said:

“Thanks to all National Lottery players and the award of this grant, Epilepsy Wales will be able to continue its vital work, supporting people with epilepsy and their families across Wales. We are delighted that with this funding we can provide a range of services, including our groups and outreach support, with a focus on issues that have been exacerbated by the cost of living crisis, including social isolation, benefits and employment support.” 

John Rose, Wales Director at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “The Fund is dedicated to supporting projects like these that are vital to communities, especially this time of the year. It’s amazing to see these groups bringing people together, creating stronger social connections and helping to develop new skills. National Lottery players raise over £30 million each week for good causes like these throughout the UK.”   

This month The National Lottery Community Fund has awarded £1,079,984 to 63 projects across Wales. Follow this link to read the full list.

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