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Project nominated for major award

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The team: All tooled up

FIX AND SHIFT TRAINING, based in Carmarthenshire, is appealing for votes after reaching the finals of the prestigious National Lottery Awards.

They are competing against six others in the Best Voluntary/ Charity Project category. It beat off stiff competition from more 1,300 organisations to reach the public voting stage in this year’s National Lottery Awards. This was a record number of entries to the annual search for the UK’s favourite Lottery-funded projects.

The project with the most votes will be crowned the winner in their category. They will receive a £5,000 cash prize to spend on their project, an iconic National Lottery Awards trophy, and they will attend a star-studded glittering Awards ceremony to be broadcast on BBC One in September.

Fix and Shift Training (FAST) started when its manager heard of a vulnerable adult who had sat in the dark for days because he didn’t know how to change a lightbulb, and he didn’t know who to ask to help him.

The community project provides training for vulnerable adults in Carmarthenshire, who then help others, from gardening, decorating, fitting smoke alarms, assembling flat pack furniture, to changing light bulbs for pensioners.

National Lottery funding helps this innovative training programme to help vulnerable people access training, help vulnerable people to feel safer in their own homes, and guides the trainees towards employment. The volunteers have created a Job Club to help each other, and the package of training, real experience and work preparation helps people who pass through the programme to change their lives.

Sarah Phillips from Commodum Ltd said: “We are delighted that Fix and Shift Training has been nominated for a National Lottery Award, and has reached the final public voting round.

“Fix and Shift Training is a DIY service run for vulnerable people by vulnerable people. This public recognition is a real boost for all our trainees, who work so hard to help others.

“It would mean so much to them to win this award, so I’m asking the public to continue to support this project by voting for us as the UK’s best Voluntary/ Charity project in the National Lottery Awards.”

National Lottery Awards spokesperson, Jackie O’Sullivan, added: “National Lottery players raise £30 million every single week for Good Causes across the UK and the work done with that money is truly life-changing.

“The National Lottery Awards celebrate the talent and dedication of the amazing staff and volunteers who run these incredible National Lottery funded projects for the benefit of their communities.

“Fix and Shift Training has worked very hard to become a finalist and they now need your support. So get voting!”

To vote for Fix and Shift Training, please go to lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/ awards or telephone 0844 836 9713 and follow the campaign on Twitter with hashtag #NLAwards. Voting runs for four weeks from 9am on 29 June until midnight on 27 July.

There are seven projects competing for votes across seven categories, reflecting the main areas of National Lottery funding: arts, sport, heritage, health, environment, education and voluntary/charity.

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Community

​​Volunteers offer to wrap your gifts

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Wrapped in Love: Offering to wrap your Christmas presents

A SCHEME set up by volunteers to wrap presents in the lead up to Christmas launched last Saturday (Dec 2).

Wrapped in Love, a new scheme in conjunction with Llanelli Town Council, will now be wrapping presents at Llanelli’s Indoor Market every Saturday between 10am and 3pm before Christmas.

Volunteers from Ty Gwyn Community Church have a stall situated outside Blodau Elli flower shop and are more than happy to wrap two presents per visitor for free.

Minister of Ty Gwyn Ivan Parker said: “A couple of our younger leaders had an idea to do something different and decided they’d like to offer a free Christmas wrapping service, in the run up to the festivities.

“It’s a big help for a lot of people. Not everyone likes wrapping presents and we’ve had a really good response here today. This is the first week of our launch and it’s something that we’ll be doing annually. The Town Council loved the idea and are on board with us.

“We want to connect with people and show that we care. I’ve been Minister at Ty Gwyn since 2006 and I love my vocation.

“We’re here every Saturday prior to Christmas and everyone is welcome. We supply all of the wrapping paper and some added extras of bows and tags if needed.

“There are 39 volunteers involved with this project over the duration of the next four weeks and we alternate doing a two and a half hour slot each.

“The spookiest thing for a few has been us approaching them, some have thought that we’re trying to sell them something. It’s been rather amusing when they’ve realised this isn’t the case.

“We also have white tote bags with information on our services and an invitation to our coffee morning at Ty Gwyn every Monday from 10am-2pm. Everyone is welcome and there is a token for a free cup of coffee.”

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Community

Curry ​evening raises funds for Twinning Association

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THE LLANELLI and District Twinning Association held a successful and enjoyable​ ​curry evening recently, which raised over £600 to enable the association to carry on its work.

The packed-out fundraiser was held in Trinity Road’s Ali Raj establishment was packed out and everyone enjoyed the delicious buffet, plus raffle and an auction.

Llanelli Town Mayor Cllr Jeff Edmunds was in attendance, Chair of Llanelli Rural Council John Evans, Rural and County Councillors, Llanelli Town Council as well as many members of community organisations such as The Multicultural Network, The Community Partnership, Llanelli Tenants Network, Llanelli Ramblers, The Visually Impaired Bowls Club and The Sosban Shredders.

Chair of The Twinning Association Paolo Piana said: “It was a well attended evening with over 70 people, many different agencies attended. Involving a wide cross section of the community is a vital role within the Twinning Association, it gives people the opportunity across Llanelli and the surrounding areas to take part in community led activities and events. I’m thankful to everyone that donated prizes to the raffle and the auction and for being so supportive.”

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Community

Tears and laughter as young and old share experiences

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OVER recent months, in care centres across Wales, an innovative social experiment has been taking place – and the results are astonishing.

In a new series of three emotional programmes on S4C, starting Sunday (Dec 10), ‘Hen Blant Bach’ shows what can happen when six children share their day care with a group of pensioners – and the potential transformational effects it can have.

Three day centres – in Garnant, Blaenau Ffestiniog and Bangor – have taken part in the experiment where hidden cameras follow elderly people and children as they eat, play and build relationships with each other over three days. In addition, two psychologists from Bangor University listen in and set activities to bring the two generations closer together.

In the first programme, a day centre in Garnant, Carmarthenshire comes under the spotlight as children aged between two and four visit the centre from Cae’r Ffair nursery in Gorslas.

Dr Nia Williams is one of the psychologists from Bangor University taking part in the programme. She specialises in the development of children. She said: “The period up to the age of four is a key stage for children. What we want to know is what impact spending time with older people will have on this development.”

Dr Catrin Hedd Jones, a psychologist and lecturer in dementia studies at Bangor University, added: “Solitude can be an increasing problem as people get older and we know the older generation has so much to offer. In this way, older people have the opportunity to contribute rather than simply to receive care. By bringing children into their company, older people are encouraged to move and get out of their seats to enjoy activities with the children.”

One of the elderly people who benefited from the experience was Noel Francis McNamara, or Mac, who is 85. Before the filming started, Mac was concerned about how he would respond to the children because he’d had a very difficult time with mental illness over recent years.

“The change in him by the end of the three days was remarkable,” said day centre manager, Bernadette Thomas. “Initially, Mac was almost afraid of what would happen. But he has come alive with the children and been the Mac we know is there, but don’t always see.”

Through the tears and laughter, we will see that these two age groups have more in common than many would assume.

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