After more than three years of work, carried out in secret across South Wales, Loteri Cymru finally launched to the public last week, creating a brand new source of funding for charities across Wales.
Those who had been working on it for weeks, months and years, had been unable to talk about it freely, but now we can spread the message: there’s a new way to raise money for our communities.
What began as the germ of an idea for plugging funding gaps is now a fully-fledged online society lottery, aiming to raise £5million for charitable causes over the next five years. In these unsettled times, it is our hope that Loteri Cymru will bring a fresh way to light up the week, whether you’re a winner or a community in need.
The idea of a new not-for-profit lottery for Wales first came about when a group of individuals, including representatives from groups involved with charitable fundraising, came together to explore ways to raise money to benefit solely Welsh good causes. The idea gathered steam following discussions with S4C about televising the lottery’s draw. As it became clear that S4C’s commercial arm, SDML, was interested in the broadcast rights and the opportunity to engage with communities through new programming, the project also attracted the services of esteemed lottery consultants. A community interest company was born to operate the lottery, and now here we are, with tickets newly on sale for Loteri Cymru, and the first bilingual draw to be held April 28th on S4C.
Of course, over time, the idea has been challenged. Will it work? Will people want to play? Will funding reach the right places in a timely fashion? We believe whole heartedly that people will get behind this pioneering new venture. But that doesn’t come from blind hope; after all, “Hope is not a strategy”.
Our research shows that people in Wales welcome the idea of a lottery that raises money for local causes, and that keeping the money in Wales is a very strong motivation for play. Further, this lottery appeals to those who don’t play lotteries at all, and will be an additional purchase for one third of those who already play. In addition, when considering the UK’s lottery landscape as a whole, a UK government report found that society lotteries sit comfortably within that landscape. Loteri Cymru’s ambition is to complement and enhance this arena.
Yes, we have great ambitions. Five million pounds in five years is no mean feat, but it’s achievable, and making a difference is paramount. Loteri Cymru will pass at least 20 per cent of proceeds to its nominated charity, the newly formed Hanfod Cymru. This charity will use lottery funds to distribute grants to charities with a focus on arts, culture, social needs and education. It aims to plug gaps where funding has been woefully thin on the ground. Many who are involved with worthy causes recognise that while terrific work is being carried out the length and breadth of our country, needs are still unmet because of changes in the funding scene, or because Wales is simply too low down the list within other charitable funds.
And so, we aim to make that desperately-needed difference. In fact, we want to see change in just a few months. Hanfod Cymru is already taking applications for small grants of up to £10,000, with the goal of distributing those grants by the end of June. And that’s just the start. As Loteri Cymru grows, the grants available will grow to £75,000, rising to strategic grants of up to £200,000 for projects of particular significance and impact. The grant distribution will proudly have an exclusive focus on Wales, trying to meet aspirations and needs within our communities.
And Loteri Cymru’s own aspirations go further still. This is a win-win for Wales, and we want people across Wales to really feel that sense of winning . We often talk of ‘six degrees of separation’, but here in Wales, it’s arguably more like one, two or three; so as Loteri Cymru matures, we hope that everyone will know someone who’s won a prize, or know a good cause that has benefitted from the funds, or ideally, know both. This is a lottery will bring us even closer together with our neighbours, as individuals, families and communities win across the nation.