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£1.8m of National Lottery funding for communities across Wales

THE National Lottery Community Fund announced a further £1.8m in funding, for 68 community groups, supporting people up and down Wales to recover from the impacts of COVID-19. Thanks to National Lottery players, millions of pounds have been made available to support communities during the Coronavirus crisis and beyond. Organisations are determined to continue to work with their communities safely and are looking at creative ways to move forward.

WeMindTheGap in Wrexham and Flintshire support some of the most vulnerable young people in their communities to change their lives, helping them to find work or get back into education. They have successfully applied for £59,801 to continue to offer their services with a virtual ‘Future Factory’ mentoring programme which will move to become a face-to-face programme as restrictions allow. They will offer practical support for six months after the initial mentoring programme supporting young people as they progress in education or employment. Rachel Clacher CBE, Chair and Founder of WeMindTheGap said:

“Young people need our attention more than ever. This funding is allowing us to pivot as a charity and to deliver a virtual programme expressly for those 16 years plus that are at risk of not engaging with school. We are thrilled to receive The National Lottery Community Fund’s support for the programme.”

The Aberystwyth and District Hospice at Home Volunteers (known as HAHAV) have also been looking at creative ways to allow their volunteers to continue to give their valuable support. £76,600 will enable them to create a virtual hospice service as a bilingual portal for end of life related information, advice and resources. They will offer online group participation activities. Dr Axford, Chair of HAVAV said,

“We are immensely grateful to The National Lottery Community Fund for this help. The award will allow us to employ a Digital Manager and see the creation of a comprehensive, interactive content management website and broadcast system.

“With these exciting new developments (Virtual-HAVAV) ‘V-HAHAV’ will be able to provide important signposting and online one-to-one counselling, plus a range of new occupational therapy and relaxation activities for clients at home. These include art and yoga therapies and all sorts of online group participation, including exercise, knitting or book clubs. We will have chat rooms, live talks and demonstrations broadcast from Plas Antaron. We will also offer our clients a loan pool of digital equipment.

“In future, ‘V-HAHAV’ will help us reach a wider audience of patients and their carers in Ceredigion and provide a comprehensive virtual hospice hub and information centre.”

Bipolar UK will use their £24,314 to support their ‘face2face’ peer support groups in Wales to move online. The meetings will be open to anyone affected by bipolar disorder including people awaiting a diagnosis and family members, friends and carers. Groups will meet monthly and will be facilitated by volunteers with support from Bipolar UK. Rosie Phillips, Peer Support Services Manager at Bipolar UK said:

“Bipolar UK’s new Wales Video Peer Support Groups project will support communities most likely to face increasing challenges as a result of COVID-19. Our service users, already among the most marginalised and vulnerable people in the Principality, face their darkest time in the current health crisis. People with bipolar are 20 times more likely to commit suicide than others, but thanks to this Lottery grant we can now provide them with lifeline.”

Gelli Life for Living in Rhondda Cynon Taf applied for £10,000 to support the group’s vulnerable individuals during the pandemic, including people with learning disabilities and a wide range of health issues. Gelli Life have been providing food parcels and activity packs. Susan Smith, co-ordinator explains:

“Friends have become family as people looked after each other, kept each other going and truly cared about other’s wellbeing. As lockdown is easing we are organising small groups to gather safely.”

John Rose, Wales Director, The National Lottery Community Fund commented:

“We continue to be impressed by the commitment and determination of the groups we fund to maintain their services, despite the strictures created by the pandemic. Behind the scenes we are continuing to work alongside the other funders to ensure that we can provide a safety net for all the communities that need it as we move into the Autumn and Winter of this strange year.”

Read about all 68 grants worth £1,821,067 awarded in August.

The National Lottery Community Fund’s grant programmes remain open and are prioritising COVID-19 related activity. Find out more by visiting https://www.tnlcommunityfund.org.uk/funding/covid-19 .

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