St Catherine's application to the Big Lottery Fund has been successful!
We asked for £104,066 to complete our fund for salaries for the children's worker (St Catz Kidz) and senior worker (St Caths Plus) and the Big Lottery have granted us £109,106 - because they say we made an error in our National Insurance calculations, and so we need slightly more than we thought.
How amazing! More than we asked for!
The Big Lottery Fund has been more than helpful throughout the whole process, and though the application process is not easy, they have been fair and several times asked us again to check details - right up to the last minute as they were making decisions. We found them excellent.
And of course we are really grateful - to them, to everyone who helped us in the course of the application, to all who wrote in support of us, to political voices across the spectrum, and to our God who answers prayer. This is the most wonderful Christmas present.
It means that both workers are now secured for three years - full time. And as we have only just begun the St Caths Plus project, this is especially exciting there. We shall take time to make sure we are making all the right decisions and hope to have further news on that front soon. Our aim as a church with these projects is to make people's lives better in every way we can, and we are thrilled that this grant makes the work we are doing secure for the foreseeable future.
Jane Davidson, our Assembly Member, is also delighted with this award. She says:
“I am delighted that the team at St Catherine’s has received this much needed funding, and look forward to seeing the great benefits the money will bring. I would like to offer my congratulations to all those involved, and would encourage anybody interested in the facilities on offer to pay a visit to St Catherine’s.”
Esther Sowerby, who headed up the fundraising, is pictured here with me, holding the cheque from the Big Lottery Fund. (It's a publicity cheque - we can't actually take this one to the bank!) She also runs the St Caths Plus pilot project at the moment, and today, as the news is announced, is taking 30 of the members of that project on a trip to see the BBC National Orchestra of Wales at the Hoddinott Hall in Cardiff Bay.
Over the first term of St Caths Plus project, up to seventy older people have benefitted from the work Esther and her volunteers have done - and that's from a project that has been running just two days a week. As we now consider how to make it full time, alongside Trish Tazzini-Lloyd and the very successful St Catz Kidz programme, we face an enormously exciting time. Jesus tells us to love God and to love our neighbour. We believe in caring for all in our community and hope these projects go some way to making life in Ponty better for many, many folk.