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Community spirit shines in Wales as local communities prepare for the year ahead

·   Six in ten people in Wales say community spirit is strong where they live (63%) and they feel part of their local community (68%)

·   A majority (68%) are willing to work with others to improve their local community, and half (50%) say they intend to volunteer in 2024

·   In Wales, supporting people with the rising cost of living is the top priority for improving wellbeing in communities in the year ahead

·   Local groups to receive a boost in 2024 as The National Lottery Community Fund doubles down on its commitment to grassroots funding.

As Wales heads into 2024, new research from The National Lottery Community Fund – the largest community funder in the UK – reveals that local people’s sense of community spirit and desire to support others is in good health.

Eight in ten (79%) say it’s important to them to feel part of their local community and six in ten (63%) say community spirit is strong where they live. Encouragingly, many (68%) say they feel part of their local community, with all the benefits that this entails. 

These include feeling safer, having more awareness of what is happening (both 60%) and a greater sense of belonging (56%) in their local area. Others rate the opportunity it provides to build friendships and connections, with 44% saying that having an opportunity to meet people is a benefit of being part of their community. 

A majority (68%) are willing to work with others to improve their local community, but only half feel they have the opportunity (50%) or ability to play a role (45%).  

Despite this, half (50%) intend to take part in volunteering activities in their local community in 2024, with one in ten (11%) planning to volunteer for the first time.

Among those who intend to volunteer this year, food banks (28%), the environment (31%), supporting older people (30%) and working at charity shops (25%) are where they plan to focus their community-minded efforts. 

The findings come from The National Lottery Community Fund’s latest Community Research Index, an annual survey of over 8,000 people across the UK that finds out how people feel about their local community, and what their ambitions and priorities are for their community both longer-term and in the year ahead.

When it comes to the wellbeing of their local community, dealing with the impact of the cost of living remains people’s top priority in 2024. Three quarters (75%) of adults in Wales predict continued rising demand for local food banks, along with greater local need for debt advice (68%), mental health support (67%) and housing charities (62%). This makes it even more important that community spirit and people’s involvement and desire to volunteer remain strong.

Looking to the longer-term future and people’s aspirations for their community, over a third of Wales’ adults (34%) identify reduced poverty and deprivation in their community as among the top three changes they would like to see for the next generation.

The National Lottery Community Fund has four key missions, which are to support communities to come together, be environmentally sustainable, help children and young people thrive and enable people to live healthier lives. It invests most in places, people and communities experiencing poverty, disadvantage and discrimination. 

John Rose, Wales Director of The National Lottery Community Fund, said:

“We’re delighted to be able to share these findings which set a positive tone for the start of 2024. These results are no surprise as every day The National Lottery Community Fund receives applications which show the sense of community spirit and belonging and a desire to support each other Welsh communities have.

“Local people know what their communities need and have the passion to make it happen. This year even more grassroots funding will be available as we have doubled the amount of our small grants programme, National Lottery Awards for All, to £20,000. It’s a key part of our ambition to use National Lottery money to strengthen society and improve lives across Wales.”

Wales’ top community priorities for 2024  (% ranked among top 3)
Physical environment  Wellbeing  
Safety on the streets (55%)  Supporting people with the rising cost of living (29%)  
Young people having places to go and things to do (47%)  People caring and looking out for each other (26%)
Keeping the area looking nice (39%)  Reducing loneliness and isolation (24%)  
Having access to natural, green spaces (41%) Preventing youth violence (17%)  
Community activities that bring people together (34%) Helping the local economy (18%)
Source: The National Lottery Community Fund’s Community Research Index

National Lottery players raise over £30 million each week for good causes across the UK. Thanks to them, last year The National Lottery Community Fund awarded over half a billion pounds (£615.4 million) of life-changing funding to communities across the UK.

To find out more visit www.TNLCommunityFund.org.uk   

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