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Michael Sheen meets women from Wales' Kick Some Balls project. Picture by Nick Treharne.

Hollywood star kicks off National Lottery awards voting in Wales

This post is also available in: cyCymraeg (Welsh)

Film star Michael Sheen has literally got the ball rolling for the super six Welsh projects competing for votes after reaching the finals of the National Lottery Awards – the annual search for the public’s favourite National Lottery-funded projects.  

The Wales-wide Kick Some Balls project by Street Football Wales, the Building Community project by Swansea’s Down to Earth, the Armistice Cantata project in Cardiff by Goldies Cymru, Project CELT run by the Clwyd Special Riding Centre in Flintshire, Y Dref Werdd in Blaenau Ffestiniog and the Rare Aware project by Mold-based Same but Different, beat off stiff competition from over 700 organisations throughout the UK to reach the public voting stage in this year’s National Lottery Awards, which celebrate the inspirational people and projects who do extraordinary things with National Lottery funding.

Michael Sheen, the star of blockbuster films such as the Twilight saga, Underworld, and Frost/Nixon, has today got behind the Welsh projects to officially kick off the public voting period in Wales.

Yesterday, he travelled to Gôl 5-a-side and 7-a-side Football Centre in Cardiff, and met up with some of the women who have had positive life changing experiences through Street Football Wales’s Kick Some Balls project. Kick Some Balls is the only Welsh contender for the Best Sports Project in the UK. It harnesses the power of sport and has worked with more than 750 homeless, vulnerable and marginalised women to boost their fitness, well-being and social skills.

Three of the Welsh projects shortlisted are battling it out in the same category to be crowned the UK’s Best Education Project. The ‘Building Community’ project by Swansea-based Down to Earth engaged with hard-to-reach groups including former substance misusers to help them gain accredited training and qualifications in sustainable construction and boost their health and well-being.

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Competing in the same category is Flintshire’s Project CELT run by the Clwyd Special Riding Centre. The purpose-built one of a kind equine learning and therapy unit ensures that people with complex needs can benefit from the unique facilities and experience the feeling of horse riding and being with horses. Also battling it out in this category is Armistice Cantata, a two year intergenerational heritage and music project by Goldies Cymru in Cardiff to commemorate the Centenary of the end of WW1 on 11 November 2018.

In the running for Best Environment project is Y Dref Werdd (The Green Town) in Blaenau Ffestiniog, North Wales. The community environment project offers advice to help people tackle fuel poverty, reduce food waste, access conservation qualifications and help them find employment.

Competing for Best Arts Project is the Same but Different organisation based in Mold, North Wales. The Rare Aware project developed by Same but Different uses striking photography to highlight people affected by rare diseases and to help reduce isolation and counteract prejudice.

Throwing his support behind the incredible community projects up for the public vote, film star Michael Sheen, who grew up in Port Talbot, says: “I am immensely proud of the incredible work these National Lottery funded projects deliver day in and day out in our communities throughout the UK. Their truly life-changing work is only made possible through the amazing dedication of all the staff and volunteers who run them. My message is simple – these extraordinary finalists need your support, so please get voting!”

The winners of the seven National Lottery Awards categories will each get a £5,000 cash prize to spend on their project, an iconic National Lottery Awards trophy and attend a star-studded glitzy awards ceremony to be broadcast on BBC One on 26 September 2018.

To vote go to lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/awards.  You can also follow the campaign on Twitter: hashtag #NLAwards. Voting runs from 9am on 27 June until midnight on 27 July.

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