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Lotto Young Heroes Changing Lives

24th April 2014

Investing in young people's futures in Wales

Unemployment, homelessness, obesity and sight loss are among the challenges which inspirational young people from across Wales have overcome to help others.

Young people are teaching, volunteering, and making a difference at projects funded by The National Lottery across Wales, and just some of their stories are told in a new film.

The short film was made by Media Trust, which itself has received National Lottery funding, and can be seen at

Nine years ago as a child Mared was diagnosed with a rare sight condition which affects her central vision. Fortunately she joined UCAN, a Cardiff based performance project, which helped build her confidence, her friendships and her performance skills. Now 19 years old, Mared works for UCAN as a workshop leader, supporting younger members.

When Byron was 11 he weighed 105kg and was too breathless to keep up at football. He was obese and painfully self conscious. Then the Holyhead & Anglesey Weightlifting Club helped him change his life. Six years later he has won championships, and juggles his A levels with working as a trained fitness instructor at the club, encouraging youngsters to have fun getting fit.

10 months ago Luke was unemployed, struggling to find an opportunity like many other young people in the Gwent Valleys. Then he joined the Waterworks canal training project, and began work restoring a disused canal at Ty Coch near Cwmbran. Luke has worked in atrocious weather to return it to its former condition, and now has the skills and confidence to encourage others and apply for other jobs.

Ellie was in a homeless hostel in north east Wales when Save the Family's Include Us project helped her turn her life around. Now she volunteers for the charity, and helps and mentors others who have also lost their way.
Jackie O’Sullivan, Director of The National Lottery Good Causes, said:

“These young people are just a few of many everyday heroes using National Lottery funding to change lives across Wales. National Lottery players raise an astonishing £33 million every week for good causes. They can feel proud of the investment that they are making in our young peoples’ futures.”

To watch the film, visit

Notes to editors

Jackie Aplin on, 029 20678278 or 07917 791873

• UCAN Productions, based in Cardiff has received grants through Big Lottery Fund, Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council of Wales
• Holyhead & Anglesey Weightlifting Club has received funding through Sport Wales
• Waterworks canal restoration project, Cwmbran received grants through Heritage Lottery Fund
• Projects at Save the Family in Flintshire have received grants through Big Lottery Fund (Include Us/ Include Us Too ) and Heritage Lottery Fund (Gateways)
National Lottery Investment in Young People’s Futures in Wales
• Over £71m National Lottery funding has helped over 5,000 projects work with young people in Wales in the last five years alone .
• UCAN is one of over 8,000 Welsh Arts projects which have received Lottery funding
• Over £282 million has helped preserve Wales’ heritage, through over 2,000 projects
• Over £182 million of Lottery funding has gone to Welsh sports projects
• The National Lottery raises £33 million every week for a wide range of sports, arts, heritage, charity and community projects across the UK
• Over £31billion has been awarded to good cause projects across the UK since the launch of the National Lottery back in 1994.
• The funding is awarded through 12 distributing bodies: Big Lottery Fund, UK Sport, Sport Wales, Sport England, Sport NI, Sport Scotland, Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council Wales, Arts Council England, Arts Council NI, Creative Scotland and the British Film Institute