It Could Be Us
Byline: By Sarah Miloudi Western Mail
Eight Welsh community projects are in with a chance of scooping an pounds 80,000 Lottery windfall. But first they have to go head-to-head on ITV1 Wales to convince viewers they are worthy of their votes. Sarah Miloudi meets the people behind the projects, and asks them why they each deserve to win
A SCOUTING group in Flintshire and a youth project in Swansea would normally be unusual candidates for scooping Lottery winnings.
But this year, these are just two of the groups in with a chance of winning People's Millions, a Big Lottery Fund scheme aimed at dishing out thousands of pounds to a variety of community projects.
Currently in its third year, two of the eight shortlisted groups will receive grants of up to pounds 80,000 if they win the nation's hearts in a TV phone poll.
From Monday, ITV1 Wales news will begin screening short films about each of the community projects.
From then on, it will be up to viewers to vote for who gets given the grants.
On every edition of the evening news, details of the all-important voting hotlines will be broadcast to viewers.
The winning projects will be announced at the end of the week, and a bonus award will also be made to the runner-up project receiving the most votes.
Big Lottery Fund Wales Chair Huw Vaughan Thomas said, "We are very keen to ensure the public play a more proactive role in deciding where lottery money goes.
"We do that by openly advertising for committee members, regularly attending events and consulting on funding priorities.
"People's Millions, however, allows everyone to get involved and vote for their favourite projects.
"With almost 350,000 people taking the opportunity to vote last year, we are hoping for an even bigger response this time around, with more viewers playing a crucial role in deciding where Lottery cash is spent in their community."
So who's in line for what? These are the stories of the hopeful eight.
Interviews by Sarah Miloudi. The phone lines will also appear on line from Monday. Find out more at www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/peoplesmillions Clywd Scout Council
AFTER being involved in the Scouts for almost 40 years, former RAF man Eric Warden knows a thing or two about facilities and activities needed to entertain youngsters.
The outside pursuits teacher hopes by extending the agility course and refurbishing the Gladstone Scouts centre living area, more youngsters from North Wales and adults in the surrounding community will have the opportunity to get involved in exercise and leadership activities.
Eric said, "The area hit a bad patch with unemployment and in 2000, we were awarded a grant to improve the centre by fitting a toilet and a kitchen."
The 65-year-old witnessed the positive effect getting youngsters involved in activities such as abseiling and orienteering, and feels the centre - and the area - is in need of another boost.
By extending and renovating the centre, jobs will be created for youngsters to train as activity instructors, additional adult leadership courses could be offered and children sitting their Duke of Edinburgh qualifications will have additional facilities to help them prepare for expeditions.
"The money, pounds 64,860 in total, would really help people enjoy the environment in a safe setting, and help them appreciate the area they are being brought up in," Eric added.
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Eric said, "The Scouts are open to all and involve the young and the old. Older people visit the centre for courses and talks, while others do the physical activities. The centre brings everyone in the surrounding area together." The Cold Barn Farm Youth and Activity Centre: The Cold Barn Farm Youth and Activity Centre
WINNING the pounds 94,000 grant would give the whole community a massive boost. …