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Last chance to vote for Welsh projects in major awards

The Pembroke Dock Falcon Exhibition tells the unique story of how a small town in west Wales built the Star Wars films' iconic Millennium Falcon starship

Time is running out for you to cast your vote to help a quartet of Welsh projects win the coveted ‘UK Project of the Year’ trophy at the National Lottery Awards 2022.

The annual National Lottery Awards celebrate the people and projects across the UK who do extraordinary things with the help of National Lottery funding.

Since voting for The National Lottery Project of the Year category opened on 7 September, thousands of votes have been cast from across the UK for the 17 finalists to help decide this year’s winner.

But with the 12 October deadline for voting fast approaching, the quartet of Welsh projects are appealing for your support to help them get over the line.

The Pembroke Dock Falcon Exhibition, curated by the Pembroke Dock Heritage Trust and which opened with the support of National Lottery funding for the first time in May this year, tells the unique story of how shipbuilders in the small town of Pembroke Dock in west Wales were commissioned to build the Star Wars films’ iconic Millennium Falcon starship during the 1970’s. The permanent exhibition tells the story of how the iconic 23-tonne prop was built in a hangar over three months.

Mental Health charity, The Jac Lewis Foundation, was set up in memory of a young footballer and popular member of the Ammanford community who tragically took his own life at the age of 27 in 2019 after five years of struggling with his mental health. The charity set up in his honour aims to help people obtain quick access to mental health support, as well as providing counselling for families bereaved by suicide. With National Lottery support, the charity has been able to establish a Wales-wide bereavement by suicide support service, which has helped over 1600 adults and children since opening in December 2020.

Described as a ‘spa for the soul’, leading Welsh dementia charity, Forget-me-not Chorus, brings the joy of singing to people living with dementia and those who support them. Since 2011, the National Lottery funded charity, which began in Cardiff, has run weekly singing sessions for people with dementia and has since expanded its reach pan Wales and to the rest of the UK. Through five community choirs, twenty ‘Singing Strong’ care home choirs, a library of free pre-recorded singing sessions, and a hospital service – the team of highly skilled professional musicians reach over 1000 people a week.

The Black Swimming Association (BSA) was co-founded by Welsh woman, Seren Jones, to encourage more people in African, Caribbean and Asian communities to engage in swimming and water safety education. Working closely with strategic aquatic, water safety and education partners across the UK, the BSA has created a strong partnership with National Lottery funding distributor, Sport Wales, to make swimming and other aquatic sports more ethnically diverse and inclusive. This is the first time a project has focused on this issue in Wales.

At the end of the voting window, the finalist with the most votes will be crowned the National Lottery’s 2022 Project of the Year.

The winning project will receive a £5,000 cash prize, along with an iconic National Lottery trophy to commemorate the achievement.

Encouraging people to get voting, Jonathan Tuchner from the National Lottery, said: “We’re so excited to have such an incredible list of contenders for the Project of the Year category at this year’s National Lottery Awards. It’s always an incredibly competitive category and this year is no different. Thanks to National Lottery players, more than £30 million goes to good causes across the country every week, making vital projects like these possible. So don’t forget to make your voice heard by voting for your Project of the Year in the National Lottery Awards – with your help, any of these projects could be a winner.”

To vote for any of these projects please go to the National Lottery Awards web page lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/awards.  Or simply use the Twitter hashtag #NLABlackSwimmingAssociation , #NLAForgetMeNot , #NLAJacLewis and #NLApembrokedockfalcon . Voting closes at 5pm on October 12th.

The public vote was suspended during the period of mourning for her Majesty the Queen and reopened on Tuesday 20th September.