On the 7th April Wrexham charity, WeMindtheGap, was commended by the Chair of The National Lottery Community Fund for its vital work supporting young people in the community.

Blondel Cluff CBE visited the project today to hear from young people who are not in work or education, known as ‘gappies’, about how WeMindTheGap has used National Lottery funding to help them gain new skills and knowledge so they can prepare and plan for their future.
Thanks to National Lottery players, WeMindtheGap is doubling the amount of young people it supports with paid work placements in North Wales and Manchester from 70 to 160 a year by 2023. The work experience comes with wraparound support and preparation for life after the programme.

The visit came as The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest founder of community activity in the UK, launched a Strategy Renewal process that will shape how it supports people and communities into the future as part of its ongoing commitment to putting communities first. Blondel Cluff CBE spoke to young people, staff and volunteers at the charity about the challenges, opportunities, hopes and ambitions of communities.

Blondel Cluff CBE, Chair of The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “It is fantastic to be in Wrexham today to see the huge impact that National Lottery funding is having in the community. The work of WeMindtheGap in supporting young people to reach their full potential is so important and it was great to hear about their ambitions and experiences as they journey towards what we hope will be a secure and prosperous future. This kind of knowledge and insight will shape how we continue to invest in communities over the next decade, doing all that we can to ensure that no-one is left behind as the country continues to re-emerge from the most challenging of times.”

Rachel Clacher CBE, Chair and Founder of WeMindTheGap said: “The National Lottery Community Fund grant has provided vital funding which has allowed us to grow programmes changing the futures of young people in our communities. We are delighted to share the impact of that funding and our young people’s stories. From WeMindTheGap we send a huge thank you to all the National Lottery players.”
Chloe Young (23) from Flintshire, graduated from the programme in 2019 and now leads the WeBelong alumni group as advocate and guest speaker. Since finishing the programme, Chloe has secured a job in the local council as a support worker for the elderly and is working towards studying Adult Nursing at University. Speaking about her time at the WeMindTheGap programme, Chloe said: “I gained experience in a variety of businesses to explore the kind of career I wanted to work towards. The opportunities were endless, and the six-months with the WeMindTheGap programme were life-changing.
“I took everything I was offered with both hands. I learned to reframe all my negative thoughts to positive ones and welcomed the opportunity to deliver a speech at our graduation, which I never thought I’d say! I felt privileged and overwhelmed to receive a standing ovation following my story of my struggles and strengths. I will forever cherish that moment. I have met so many amazing and inspiring people through WeMindTheGap, including my life coach who helped me vision a clear, bright and positive future.”

National Lottery players raise over £30 million each week for good causes across the UK. Thanks to them, The National Lottery Community Fund has awarded £3.4 billion in 72,000 grants in the last five years, supporting amazing things to happen in communities across the UK.
To find out more visit https://www.puttingcommunitiesfirst.org.uk/

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