At the start of a new year, when many of us resolve to be better versions of ourselves, we can all remember two little words which have a big impact – “Thank You".
At this time of great change it is worth noting the words of the former President of the United States of America, John F Kennedy, who wisely said: “We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.”
Throughout Wales, unsung heroes help people around them, and ordinary folk often do extraordinary things with the help of National Lottery funding, and we thought it was about time we showed our gratitude.#
Thank You Wales
Recently the National Lottery ran a Thank You Wales campaign to thank Lottery players for raising more than £1.6bn for projects across Wales. We wanted to make our players aware of all the fantastic projects throughout the country that would never get off the ground if it weren’t for their constant support.
So National Lottery players were despatched to the four corners as undercover ‘volunteers’ to find out more about some of the projects that benefit when they buy a Lottery ticket.
They visited four fantastic projects encapsulating the areas in which the Lottery distributing bodies work in Wales. The Point of Ayr Then and Now project in Flintshire, preserving the memory of the last deep mine in north Wales with retired miners, families and local children; Pembrokeshire Disabled Bowlers Club, which will adapt wheelchairs to allow members to access the green and play more fully; Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias Music Centre in Caernarfon, which will buy new instruments, upgrade its facilities and improve its teaching provision for music lovers, including those with learning disabilities and dementia; and Positive Steps, which will help older people in crisis across North and Mid Wales as Red Cross and Royal Voluntary Service volunteers encourage older people to play a more active role within their community, therefore reducing isolation.
In the 22 years since the National Lottery started funding projects like these, it has become part of the fabric of our communities.
The National Lottery family in Wales – mainly Big Lottery Fund, HLF, Sport Wales and Arts Council of Wales - has invested in over 46,000 Welsh sport, arts, heritage, charity, health, education and environmental projects, changing lives for the better across the country.
[quote]“The National Lottery family in Wales has invested in over 46,000 Welsh sport, arts, heritage, charity, health, education and environmental projects, changing lives for the better across the country.”[/quote]
Lottery support provides the building blocks for strong, enduring communities. Projects range from iconic buildings and targeted support to the vulnerable, to small grants for local people in clubs and groups. In the last year alone more than £54m was awarded in Wales.
Grants have ranged from £46m to build the Principality Stadium, down to grants under £100. These have allowed schools and artists to stage exhibitions, and sports clubs to buy equipment and train coaches, making a big difference with a small amount of funding.
The largest grant ever given by HLF in Wales (£11.5m) has been used to help ‘make history’ at much-loved St Fagans museum. In the biggest development project in its history. Museum staff have been working with thousands of volunteers to recreate historic buildings – such as replica medieval farmstead Bryn Eryr - as well as redevelop the museum to include new displays and spaces for interactive workshops – and even historic buildings that can house school group sleepovers!
More than £12m of Lottery funding has been invested in Welsh arts projects in the last year alone. This included £64,000 for Valleys Kids to turn the basement of The Factory in Porth, Rhondda into an Arts Studios for all to enjoy.
Through the HLF our landscapes and townscapes have been regenerated, conserving and improving public spaces, and making them accessible – did you know that over the past eight years 38 projects across 24 Welsh towns and cities have seen an investment of over £34m of National Lottery money in their built environment?
Landmark projects such as the Wales Millennium Centre and the National Botanic Garden of Wales also help attract visitors from near and far and contribute millions of pounds annually to the Welsh economy.
Men’s Sheds projects in Pembroke, Llandudno, Amman Valley, Denbigh, Preseli and Ferryside are helping reduce local men’s isolation, offering gardening, woodwork, bike refurbishment and other activities.
Olympic and Paralympic stars like Jade Jones, Aled Davies and Jazz Carlin receive UK Sport funding to train full time with world-class facilities, and athletes also receive Sport Wales support.
[quote]“If you’ve played the National Lottery, your play has helped make all these projects possible. Thank you.”[/quote]
More than £196m has gone to bolster sport in Wales. Swimming is enjoyed at venues including the Olympic-size Wales National Pool in Swansea and Lido Ponty, while grassroots clubs across Wales support the next generation through health and sport. Virtually every community in Wales has a local sports club that has had Lottery funding.
As well as supporting international successes such as The King’s Speech, the British Film Institute also supports local film projects such as Arts Alive’s Flicks in the Sticks Mid Wales.
Alongside these, the majority of grants are for less than £10,000 – small grants making a huge difference in communities across the nation.
So, as we live through interesting times, there is still much to be thankful for.
If you’ve played the National Lottery, your play has helped make all these projects possible. Thank you.