Loteri Cymru earmarks ‘unprecedented’ £40,000 for pandemic-hit Welsh charities

By Raspberry Jim,

Struggling charities across Wales are set to benefit from an “unprecedented” donation of £40,000 thanks to the all-Wales lottery, Loteri Cymru.

The lottery, which was established to support Welsh charities, has earmarked the sum to offer vital financial assistance to local causes affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

This comes after it was reported by the Institute of Fundraising (IoF) that charities expected to see their voluntary income plummet by 48% due to lockdown measures, while demand for their services continued to increase rapidly.

In a bid to offer a lifeline, Loteri Cymru has earmarked £40,000 to support charities across Wales this year, of which £10,000 has already been donated to Carers Trust Wales.

The funds will be split between the most vulnerable organisations which have been significantly affected during the pandemic, according to Phil Gerrish, marketing manager for Loteri Cymru. Mr Gerrish said:

“Lockdown has been an extremely challenging time for many of us, and for charities which provide invaluable services to millions of people, this concern has been even greater.

“Despite facing hugely concerning funding challenges due to social restrictions, they have continued to provide a vital lifeline to people in need.

“We wanted to show our gratitude to these dedicated charities with a donation of £40,000, which we hope will enable them to continue the life-changing work they undertake.

“We’re grateful to our lottery players who have made this donation possible and to the charities in Wales for their endless dedication.”

Loteri Cymru supports numerous Welsh charities annually, including LATCH – the Welsh Children’s Cancer Charity, Welsh Hearts, The Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales, Youth Cymru, and North Clwyd Animal Rescue (NCAR).

For just £1 a week, players can help raise vital funds for charities in Wales, as well as try their luck at scooping the £25,000 weekly jackpot cash prize.

Play today at www.loteri.cymru

Oil 4 Wales fuel donation aids ‘vital’ Maesteg charity deliveries

By Raspberry Jim,

A Bridgend charity whose “incredible” volunteers are providing invaluable support to vulnerable, elderly and isolated people are getting their journeys fuelled thanks to Oil 4 Wales. 

Special Families Maesteg has received a £100 a week petrol credit from the proud Welsh oil distributor, to enable it to continue carrying out vital deliveries and services in the community during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Bridgend-based charity has been supporting at-risk individuals through its Maesteg Fairfield Centre Coronavirus help group, which was established after lockdown measures were introduced in March. 

As part of its service, the group’s 30 volunteers have been constantly behind the wheel delivering and collecting prescriptions, delivering food and carrying out wellbeing calls to lonely and vulnerable people across 250 homes.

Volunteers are providing around-the-clock service, highlighting those most in need, and dedicating themselves to ensuring that shielding, vulnerable, elderly, Ill or isolated people receive the care they desperately need. 

On the donation from Oil 4 Wales, which supplies over 160 million litres of fuel to commercial and residential customers annually, Chair of Special Families Maesteg Claire Edmunds said they “couldn’t be more grateful”. She said:

“Our trusted team of volunteers are making a real difference in our community.

“We are determined to keep looking after those we have found in the community that need our support during the lockdown and even after the lockdown is lifted. We will be there until they are back on their feet.

“The pandemic has left people struggling in so many ways. Basic essentials have become unaffordable for some families and it’s a real concern. We’ve been issuing foodbank vouchers to people who need them but unfortunately, not everyone will qualify for them. In these cases, we have a small supply of food that has been donated, so we are making hampers and delivering them to those who need them.

“We’ve recently offered a free garden clean up service for those who can’t do it themselves. Being stuck indoors 24/7 can have such a detrimental effect on an individual’s mental health so we hope this service will ensure people have access to some fresh air.

“We’ve linked with social services, GP surgeries, chemists, housing agencies and mental health resources to be able to provide as much support as we possibly can to those struggling in the community.

“To keep carrying out our work we are always in need of support, whether a champion to support us, donations, or anything positive that supports us in making sure that every single person in need gets help really goes such a long way.

“The donation of petrol from Oil 4 Wales is such an incredible help to our volunteers. They are continuously driving around the town and surrounding areas and the petrol costs add up. We couldn’t be more grateful. The donation will ensure that we can keep providing care to our community during this worrying time.”

Oil 4 Wales, which prides itself on working with communities and for communities, is also offering local NHS staff in Carmarthenshire discounted fuel during the coronavirus pandemic.

Its dedicated staff have been working around the clock to deliver essential oil and fuel supplies across the country, and it also played its part in creating Wales’ largest field hospital at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff supplying fuel for generators at the new Dragon’s Heart Hospital.

Colin Owen, managing director of Oil 4 Wales, said they were delighted to be able to help such a worthwhile cause at this challenging time. He said:

“The work being carried out by the Special Families Maesteg coronavirus help group is absolutely incredible. They are providing vital services to help so many people in the community 24/7, so we are delighted that we could support them.

“The pandemic has had such a devastating effect on everyone, so to see the community pulling together, and supporting each other, has been extremely heart-warming. We hope our donation will help the incredible volunteers to continue carrying out their essential work during this turbulent time.”

To support Special Families Maesteg email Claire Edmunds at sfmaesteg@outlook.com 

Unpaid carers facing ‘extreme challenges’ in coronavirus pandemic to get £10k Loteri Cymru donation

By Raspberry Jim,

Wales’ 370,00 unpaid carers, who are facing “extreme challenges” through the coronavirus pandemic are set to get a £10,000 boost thanks to Loteri Cymru.

Carers Trust Wales, which provides support, services, and recognition for those caring for family and friends, will receive the donation from the all-Wales lottery this month.

Loteri Cymru, which creates winners across Wales and raises vital funds for Welsh charities, chose to support Carers Trust Wales after hearing of the difficulties carers across Wales are facing.

With lockdown forcing millions of people into isolation, the charity is predicting a dramatic 25% drop in its income. This income deficit, coupled with the fact that thousands of carers across Wales are struggling to cope as a result of a reduction of the services they depend on, difficulty accessing essential foods and medicines and not being able to get any break or respite from caring, means Loteri Cymru has made an unprecedented donation.

Loteri Cymru was created to support Welsh charities and causes close to the hearts of the people of Wales.

This year it is supporting LATCH – the Welsh Children’s Cancer Charity, Welsh Hearts, The Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales and Youth Cymru.

Alongside raising vital funds for charities in Wales with 100% of all profits distributed, lottery players have the chance of scooping the £25,000 weekly jackpot cash prize.

Phil Gerrish, marketing manager for Loteri Cymru, said it was a pleasure to support charities such as Carers Trust Wales, and this unprecedented donation reflected the “life-changing” work the charity undertakes. He said:

“Carers Trust Wales is an invaluable lifeline for thousands of unpaid carers across Wales every year, as such we felt it was imperative that they received a significant donation to aid them at this particularly challenging time.

“Without their support unsung heroes supporting family, friends, and loved ones would not have a voice, would lack financial aid, guidance, and would go unrecognised for the selfless care they provide.

“Lockdown has proved to be difficult for many of us, however for carers who are regularly stressed and emotionally drained, they will be feeling even more under pressure as a result of the current pandemic.  As such, we felt it was more vital than ever to donate funds to this extremely worthwhile cause.”

Through their Network Partners, local charities that provide direct services to unpaid carers , Carers Trust Wales supports up to 36,000 carers a year from the ages of 5 to over 100, assisting those with dementia, addiction, ill health, and mental health issues. It provides practical support, advice, engages with Government and educational establishments, and campaigns for carers’ rights.

In order to support unpaid carers in Wales during the coronavirus pandemic, Carers Trust has established an Emergency Fund, which will provide essential grants to cover the costs of vital food, travel and repair costs.

Simon Hatch, Director of Wales at Carers Trust Wales, said that “extremely generous” donations such as this were crucial to enable it to continue helping under-pressure carers. He said:

“We are delighted to be supported by Loteri Cymru. Their generous donation will help us to continue to support unpaid carers across Wales in a variety of ways including through our recently launched Emergency Fund.  

“The coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on unpaid carers and the support services that they rely on. Carers are increasingly reporting that they are struggling to cope with the growing physical, emotional and financial pressures of caring. This donation will directly make a huge difference for unpaid carers and it will help us to continue to work nationally to create a better landscape for carers of all ages.”

It costs £1 per week to play Loteri Cymru and support charities in Wales. Visit www.loteri.cymru to take part.

Law firm donates over £45,000 to 12 local charities

By Carys Bryant,

Award winning South Wales law firm, Watkins & Gunn, has been giving back to the local community by donating over £45,000 to 12 different local charities. 

Through ‘Watkins & Give’, the firm’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) arm, it has so far surprised 10 charities with a mystery donation. There are 2 further mystery donations to go over the coming weeks as part of its ’12 days of Giving’ initiative.

With offices in Cardiff, Newport and Pontypool, the firm (with input from the staff) chose 12 local charities – Alzheimer’s Society, City Hospice, Kidney Wales, MIND, Richmond House (Diabetic Centre), Shelter Cymru, Sparkle, Tenovus, The Silverlining Brain Injury  Charity, The Wallich, Wooden Spoon the Children’s Charity of Rugby and Wales Air Ambulance – to receive donations ranging from £2,500 to £5,000.

Staff at the firm have been visiting the charities over the past month taking balloons filled with confetti and a golden ticket to reveal the mystery donation amount.

Natalie Corten, the solicitor at Watkins & Gunn who is championing the charity donations, said: 

“We wanted a different and fun way of making the donations, instead of just handing over the standard large sized cheque. 

“We came up with the idea of going to each of the charities with an extra-large confetti filled balloon containing a surprise golden ticket (think Willy Wonka!) with the amount of the donation written on it 

“As there are 12 charities in total, we have named the project ’12 days of Giving’

“We asked those of our staff with a particular affiliation to the charity concerned to go along to the presentation. We then asked someone from the charity to pop the balloon and read the amount written on the golden ticket to reveal the size of the donation.”

“We chose not to disclose the amount of the donation in advance so that we can capture the moment of surprise!

“This is my first ‘project’ for the firm, and it has been one that I have thoroughly enjoyed. As they say, it is “always nice to be nice”!

Through its ‘Watkins & Give’ initiative, the firm is committed to supporting the local community by fundraising, volunteering, attending charity events and giving pro bono legal advice.

Watkins & Gunn offer a wide range of legal services including Accident Claims, Medical Negligence, Wills and Probate, Employment and HR services, Education Law, Public Law, Business Law, Divorce and Family Law, Childcare Law, Criminal Law, Road Traffic Law and Property.

Children with life-limiting illnesses enjoy first family camp out

By Raspberry Jim,

Children with life limiting illnesses, including Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and Goldenhar Syndrome, have enjoyed their very first family camp out.

The Ty Hafan Scout Group, which was the first hospice Scout group in the UK, took six Scouts and their families to Miskin Mill Scout Village on Saturday where they stayed until Sunday afternoon.

Ten-year-old Seth Burke who has Duchenne muscular Dystrophy attended with his two brothers, Reggie and Elyah, eight-year-old Christopher Jones who has Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome was also joined by his sister Bethan. Two-year-old Matilda Philpott who has Stickler Syndrome was joined by her 2 brothers, Oliva and Alfie, four-year-old Alice Haswell who has Goldenhar Syndrome camped out with her sister Scarlet, and 13-year-old Daisy Stacey who has Vacterl Association attended with her sister Molly.

Child and Adult with happy faces enjoying the Ty Hafan Scout Group family camp out

The weekend saw the families take part in a range of activities from archery, crafts and pop rockets to laser shooting, fire lighting, bush craft and raft making.

Child playing with a hoola-hoop enjoying the Ty Hafan Scout Group family camp out
Child smiling and enjoying the Ty Hafan Scout Group family camp out

The weekend saw the families take part in a range of activities from archery, crafts and pop rockets to laser shooting, fire lighting, bush craft and raft making.

The camp was a real Scouting first – the first time the referred children have been on a Scout Camp, something leaders have been hoping to achieve since the start of the Group.

Ruth Weltch, Group Scout Leader of the Ty Hafan Scout Group said:

“The opportunity to regularly set up camp in the great outdoors is one of the main reasons young people enjoy Scouting so much and we wanted to give our children, who would not normally have the opportunity, the chance to take part in a weekend of outdoor activities and to sleep under canvas with their families. 

“We have been overwhelmed and humbled by the amount of help offered by Leaders, not just from Cardiff and Vale Scouts but from other Scouting Areas in Wales. This reflects the scope of the hospice itself which is open to all children with life limiting illnesses throughout Wales.

“We have been able to give these children the opportunity to take part in activities not usually accessible to them and that we take for granted. It was an absolute joy to see them and their families take part in the weekend’s activities, seeing them smile and forget about their worries for a while was heart-warming.”

Lynne Phelps, from Ty Hafan, said:

“The hard work, time and effort put in by the Scout Group since its inception has been truly amazing. The Group has brought so much happiness to the hospice and given the children referred to us an opportunity to take part in activities with their families that they wouldn’t have had access to if it wasn’t for Scouts.

“The group has had a really positive impact not just on the children in our care, but also their families and our staff. We really can’t thank the Ty Hafan Scout Group enough.”

The Ty Hafan Scout Group was set up on the Scouting Centenary in 2007 for any child referred to the hospice along with their siblings, parents and family, to spend time together having fun and making memories.

A growing need for sibling involvement was soon recognised and so the Group began to run regular sibling camps. The sibling camps have given the young people who have brothers and sisters in the care of the hospice the opportunity to attend events such as Scarefest and the Jurassic International Jamboree, as well as the chance to spend quality family time with their loved ones.

ScoutsCymru gives over 14,000 young people in Wales the opportunity to enjoy fun and adventure while developing the skills they need to succeed, now and in the future. Open to all young people in Wales regardless of faith, gender, sexual orientation, race or social background, the movement encourages its members to do more, learn more and be more.

Britain’s Got Talent Finalist ‘X’ to perform in concert with children and young people from across South Wales

By Raspberry Jim,

Mysterious Britain’s Got Talent finalist ‘X’ was revealed to be none other than last year’s semi-finalist – magician Marc Spellman.

Spellman, a mind-reader and magician, impressed Britain’s Got Talent judges in 2018 with his emotional performances, which earned him the elusive Golden Buzzer, but this year went on to the final to scoop the runner-up prize.

ITV viewers and the judges were left in shock on Sunday night as the performer revealed his identity at the grand final missing out on the main prize by a nose to Chelsea Pensioner Colin Thackery.

At the end of his performance, ‘X’ played a video which revealed who he really was, adding: “It was always about hope and never giving up, it has been an honour sharing X with you. I am X.”

This revelation also came as a shock to hundreds of school children and young people across South Wales, involved in the Beyond Words-Hitting the Right Note concert, of which Marc is a patron.

A thousand children from 36 schools across South Wales have volunteered to sing in a musical extravaganza at the Motorpoint Arena Cardiff, supported by a host of celebrity acts and professional musicians.

The Beyond Words concert, now in its sixth year, will take place on 15th July 2019 at the Motorpoint Arena and will feature local school children and young people aged between 8 and 23, with a team of young people aged 16 to 23 organising the event.

The theme of the concert will be based on the smash hit song A Million Dreams from the hugely popular musical The Greatest Showman but adapted to create a story about charity and young people’s dreams.

The concert is set to be a showcase of different talents with the children learning new skills as a result of performing alongside world-renowned artists.

Paul Zerdin, a British comedian, ventriloquist and winner of America’s Got Talent in 2015, along with his ‘dysfunctional’ puppet family including popular ‘teenager’ Sam, will also be performing alongside ‘Mystery artist’ Marc at the concert.

Paul says of his role in the project, “It’s terrific being involved with a project that can really reach out and have such a positive effect on young people. Also being a ventriloquist, I have more than one voice which does help make up the thousand voices!”

Cardiff Bus delivers Christmas presents to dementia patients

By Raspberry Jim,

Cardiff Bus took over from Santa’s sleigh in December when it made a special festive delivery to dementia patients at a local hospital.

Cardiff Bus staff transported an abundance of donated gifts to Llandough hospital on December 21st.

Gifts including chocolates, perfume, socks, books, and nail varnish, which have been collected by Cardiff Bus staff throughout December, were delivered to patients during the day.

They were gifted to those being treated on Ward East 18, which provides specialist support to people living with dementia and other progressive brain diseases.

The donations are part of Cardiff Bus’s ongoing charitable support of the ward, with staff having hiked up Penyfan, and undertaken the Cardiff Half Marathon to support its vital work and its facilities.

Earlier in 2018 it also donated one of its bus stop signs and timetable displays to the hospital, in a bid to prevent patients living with dementia from becoming unsettled and anxious during their stay.

Cardiff Bus commercial manager Gareth Stevens said they were delighted to support the “invaluable” ward and its patients during the Christmas period.

He said: “Christmas is such a special time of year for everyone, so we were pleased to bring a little bit of festive cheer to the patients at Ward East 18.

“Ward East 18 and Llandough Hospital provide such invaluable care to people living with dementia across south Wales and their families, so we are only too happy to support their work.

“We are delighted to have been able to offer ongoing support to this fantastic ward, and we aim to continue doing so in 2019.”

Techniquest makes crucial appointment ahead of “game-changing” 2019

By Raspberry Jim,

Educational charity Techniquest has recruited a brand-new Head of Engagement and Partnerships ahead of a “game-changing” 2019. 

The appointment is the result of an open recruitment process which saw one of its longstanding employees, Clare James, being promoted to this exciting new role.  Clare was previously the centre’s Fundraising Manager.

As part of her new role, Ms James will lead the charity’s stakeholder engagement programme across its wide range of partners, including corporate sectors, academic institutions, and local communities.

Working with relevant organisations and STEM partners, Ms James will develop crucial relationships and provide essential support in shaping Techniquest’s programmes,  demonstrating the relevance of science to people’s everyday lives. 

After securing £5.7million in funding, the organisation will now march forward with its Science Capital project, set for completion in 2020, which will encompass a radical transformation and extension of its current building in Cardiff Bay.

Discussing her new role, Ms James said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to be taking on this new role during such a pivotal and exciting time for Techniquest. I’ve worked diligently to support the charity on its mission to inspire generations of scientists and great thinkers to come, and I’m looking forward to taking on a new challenge and building upon our recent achievements.

“While Techniquest has always been loved by young children and families, we’re now diversifying our audiences and we’re working with our partners, particularly within our communities, to find out how to make science relevant to them and the assets they bring to the partnership.

“2019 is set to be a game-changing year for our organisation. After an incredible year in which we secured a mammoth £5.7million in funding, we’re looking forward to seeing our Science Capital project come to life.”

Lesley Kirkpatrick, CEO at Techniquest said: “We’re delighted to see Clare achieve such great success during her time with us. With her unique insight and expertise, her work as Fundraising Manager has made an incredible difference to the charity.”

“Since starting at the organisation in 2016, Clare has been committed to helping us on our mission to create a scientifically literate society across Wales. Nurturing positive relationships with incredible partners, Clare has been instrumental in our recent successes and we’re all thrilled that she has been successful in this recruitment process.”

Techniquest joins forces with “ground-breaking” global initiative

By Raspberry Jim,

A worldwide initiative led by a leading US museum has selected Cardiff’s science discovery centre, Techniquest, to join its “ground-breaking” mission.

Spearheaded by Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History, the OF/BY/FOR ALL Change Network recently announced the educational charity as part of its prolific list of partner organisations.

As the only science centre to be chosen as part of its First Wave initiative, Techniquest will join a prestigious international network of 20 civic and cultural organisations over the next six months to fulfil its mission of nurturing and creating robust communities.

The initiative, which started last month, aims to deepen community engagement and strengthen relationships across the globe.

The news comes after the recent announcement of crucial funding for the educational charity. In July, the centre secured a whopping £5.7million in funding which will see its Science Capital project brought to life.

The Science Capital, which encompasses a radical transformation and extension of Techniquest’s current building, aims to create a scientific literate society across Wales, inspiring people of all ages with interactive STEM learning experiences.

The OF/BY/FOR ALL Network is a long-term programme which aims to create a world where cultural and civic organisations grow of, by and for their communities, sharing resources and connecting individuals.

Clare James, fundraising manager at Techniquest said: “As we march forward on our mission to make science accessible for everyone, it is incredibly important to us to work with our local communities to bring this vision to life.

“We’re delighted to be part of this ground-breaking programme. It’s incredibly exciting to have this opportunity to work alongside such a diverse range of organisations that are on a similar mission to Techniquest. To be selected by the network as one of only two UK organisations is all the more pleasing.

“Led by the inspiring Nina Simon from Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History, we’re looking forward to learning from other organisations and how their teams work to tackle different problems.

“Looking ahead, we’re working towards becoming a sustainable, vital part of the community, and ensuring that Techniquest is a welcoming, relevant space where our communities feel comfortable, confident and connected.”

Techniquest submits plans for Science Capital project

By Raspberry Jim,

Techniquest has submitted a planning application for its £5.7m Science Capital project, which will see the radical transformation and expansion of its science discovery centre in Cardiff Bay.

Planning has been submitted to extend the educational charity’s current building on Stuart Street to create an additional 900m2 of exhibition floor space.

The scheme, designed by local architecture practice HLM, will significantly increase Techniquest’s footprint providing an additional 60% exhibition space to house brand new innovative content related to, and developed with, Welsh STEM innovators, academics and communities.

The new immersive and innovative exhibition areas and experiences will help Techniquest to diversify its audiences and increase visitor numbers by at least 40%.

Lesley Kirkpatrick, CEO of Techniquest said: “Since securing funding, it has been full steam ahead in our Science Capital project. We’ve been working closely with our consultants to marry up our objectives, with the space we have available, and our ultimate goal of ensuring the charity has a sustainable and long-term future in Wales.

“We’re delighted with the final plans, which are contemporary, inclusive, flexible and eye-catching. Gaining planning consent is naturally a crucial factor in the future of this project so we’re hopeful for a positive result.”

As well as creating a new vibrant public entrance, the plans include a designated community space overlooking the Bay, a new café and shop, in addition to a roof terrace and courtyard designed to host interactive artworks and features to complement exhibitions.

Patrick Arends, leisure and culture sector lead at HLM said: “Techniquest has been providing inspiring scientific education for over 30 years and the new extension will reflect this with a contemporary design that will showcase this unique and much-loved facility in Cardiff.  The Cardiff HLM studio has been working closely with the project team, drawing on its extensive experience in designing top class educational and leisure spaces, to create a vibrant space that is flexible, active and relevant.”

The scheme is being project managed by Lee Wakemans who are working alongside HLM (architects), Hydrock (project engineers) and Wardell Armstrong (planning consultant).

Paul Wong, Director at Lee Wakemans said: “Techniquest is on a marvellous journey of renewal looking to reach a much wider audience. We feel privileged to play our part in helping to translate what the client is seeking to achieve, into an exciting design which will get built and ready for summer 2020. It’s great to have reached this milestone of submitting the planning application and we’re grateful to all team members who have helped us reach this point.”

Subject to planning permission being granted, it is anticipated that work on the extension will commence in Spring 2019, with the new space being open to the public by Summer 2020.

  • 1
  • 2