Nisa’s Making a Difference Locally charity has helped retailers to support local projects and good causes with over £160,000 in donations with its latest round of Heart of the Community Awards.

Following a successful initial round of funding last October, the Heart of the Community Awards initiative enabled Nisa partners to nominate a local community project to receive up to £5,000 of funding from Making a Difference Locally, with the emphasis in this round being on good causes that encourage communities to enjoy and spend time outdoors as we emerge from national lockdown restrictions.

Nominations were accepted from Nisa partners via a dedicated website throughout April and May and the winning good causes have now been notified.

The latest round of Heart of the Community Awards saw 53 good causes nationwide benefit from donations totalling £163,000, cementing the initiative as Making a Difference Locally’s biggest funding giveaway to date.

Winning donations will fund a wide range of projects and equipment, with just some examples including village fairs, sensory gardens at primary schools, kayaks for a watersports club, equipment for use by Scout groups, outdoor play and gym equipment and community growing gardens.

One good cause to benefit from funding of £5,000 was Penrhyncoch and Trefeurig Recreation and Sports Association (PATRASA), a committee of volunteers who help to maintain the community’s park and recreation areas, providing a safe, fun play space for children of all ages, as well as a pleasant space for the whole community to enjoy with a play area, inclusive activities and features that encourage nature such as bug hotels and fruit trees.

Clare Larke, PATRASA Chair said: “We are extremely grateful to Lynwen at Nisa Local Ty Mawr for nominating us. The team there are a constant source of support to PATRASA and the wider community; they are always willing to support PATRASA and have helped us immensely through the years through promoting and assisting with our events and fundraising efforts.

“As a group of volunteers, PATRASA works hard to provide a safe and enjoyable space in our community for people of all ages.

“The park and play area has been especially important to our community during the Covid crisis; families have been able to use the park, giving children a much needed chance to play outdoors, giving parents and grandparents a chance to exercise and play with their children and grandchildren, and giving everyone a place to take daily walks and to be able to meet up with friends outdoors in a safe way.

“£5,000 will allow us to purchase seating that would be accessible to all, i.e. an inclusive seating space that has easy access for the elderly or others with mobility issues. We will not only be able to provide a lovely space for all members of the community to sit and enjoy the outdoors, but any excess will go towards the new play equipment which is so sorely needed.”

Kate Carroll, Nisa’s Head of Charity, added: “We received a fantastic response to our first round of funding last year and the feedback from good causes that have benefitted has been incredibly heart-warming, so we were delighted to be able to bring back the Heart of the Community Awards for a second round of donations.

“With many of us likely to have spent much of the last year indoors due to national restrictions, we were keen to support causes that encourage or help communities to spend time outdoors this time around and we again received hundreds of very deserving nominations.

“The Heart of the Community Awards have also provided a great opportunity for independent retailers to engage with local causes and projects in need of support and we look forward to seeing how the funding will really make a difference for their local area.”

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