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From an Olympian to a community campaigner: the heroes connecting communities across Wales

From an Olympian to a community campaigner: the heroes connecting communities across Wales

Lauren Price and Katherine Hughes from Caerphilly are both winners of National Lottery Awards

The National Lottery

5 min read Partner content

The National Lottery Awards are a chance to celebrate the inspirational work of ordinary people and projects who do extraordinary things with the help of National Lottery funding across the UK. More than 660,000 funding awards have now been made throughout the UK, an average of 235 lottery grants in every postcode district.



This year has seen two of the eight amazing winners come from Caerphilly in Wales. From winning a gold medal in Tokyo, to saving a hospital and transforming it into a community centre, they are representing and supporting their community.


Lauren Price, the Welsh boxer who won a gold medal at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, has been crowned Olympian of the Year in the 2021 National Lottery Awards. Lauren was voted by the public as their National Lottery Olympian of the Year from a shortlist of athletes from across Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The 27-year-old was presented with the award at Pontypool Amateur Boxing Club where her amazing career began. It was handed to her by her grandmother, Linda Price, who with her late husband Derek, raised Lauren from an early age and encouraged her love of sport. 

Lauren said, “I don’t know where I would have been without the support of my grandparents. Everything I’ve achieved, I dedicate to them for all the support they have given me and I’m delighted my Nan is here to present me with this award today.” 

Lauren also thanked National Lottery players for their amazing support. She said, “I am absolutely honoured and thrilled to be announced as the first ever recipient of the Olympian of the Year Award and I would like to thank all the members of the public who voted for me. A lot of what I have achieved is thanks to The National Lottery for supporting me as an athlete. The funding has allowed me to focus on what I love doing and to reach my full potential.

"The National Lottery has supported thousands of athletes like me throughout our careers and the funding allows us to compete and train full time and access world-class facilities and training programmes.” 


 Lauren, from Ystrad Mynach, near Caerphilly, is among more than 1,000 elite athletes funded by The National Lottery through UK Sport’s World Class Programme. The programme allows athletes such as Lauren to train full time, have access to the world’s best coaches and benefit from pioneering technology, science and medical support. 

Local MP, Wayne David, commended Lauren’s success and determination: “In winning her gold medal at the Olympic Games, Lauren became the first Welsh woman to win a boxing gold. Lauren is an amazing athlete. She has achieved so much. When Lauren was competing in Tokyo, the whole of Wales, as well as her local community, was fully behind her. She is a very modest individual and really deserves this wonderful accolade. Lauren is a fantastic role model and I'm so pleased for her and her grandmother, who has been behind her all the way". 

As well as representing Caerphilly on the international stage, National Lottery Award winners are also making a difference to their communities at home.  

After picking up gold medals in the middleweight class at both the 2018 Commonwealth Games, the 2019 European Games and the 2019 World Championships, her decision to make the switch paid off with a place at Tokyo 2020. 

As well as representing Caerphilly on the international stage, National Lottery Award winners are also making a difference to their communities at home.  

Katherine Hughes was widowed in 2018 and lost her mother the following year. So, when the pandemic struck, the 72-year-old from Caerphilly in Wales knew she ran the risk of becoming severely isolated. 

Katherine, secretary of Caerphilly Miners' Centre for the Community, was the driving force behind saving the former hospital - where many generations of South Wales families had their babies - for the benefit of the next generation. 
 
When plans to close and demolish it were announced 15 years ago, Katherine went door-to-door to persuade people to fight to save The Beeches building. The mum-of-two, who lives a short walk away and gave birth to both her daughters at ‘The Miners’, helped to establish Caerphilly Miners’ Centre group in 2008, shortly after she overcame treatment for cancer. After a 99-year lease was secured, The Beeches was refurbished and opened in 2015 as a community hub, aided by Lottery funding. 

During the Covid-19 lockdown, Katherine was kept busy making sure the Centre continued to offer as many services as possible within the rules. As well as helping run the building, she also leads chair exercise classes for people with limited mobility.  

Katherine said, “If it hadn’t been for the Centre and having things to do, I would have felt totally isolated. Like many people in my community, particularly those who live alone, I’ve found the pandemic very tough. You need purpose, motivation and the opportunity to do things to get by.” 

Katherine’s unstinting work to save, develop and help run the Miner’s Centre – a building supported by 4 National Lottery grants between 2013 and 2021 – has seen her win the Community and Charity category at the 2021 National Lottery Awards. She was presented with her award by the musician, author and broadcaster, Cerys Matthews MBE. 

Asked how she feels about winning the award, Katherine said, “I think it’s absolutely amazing; I was completely gobsmacked when I was told. I know my community appreciates me, but I actually appreciate my community, so this is something that’s really nice to share.” 

Wayne David MP, former Trustee of the centre, who has worked closely with Katherine and has seen first-hand her hard work and commitment said: “Katherine’s commitment to the Miners Centre has been remarkable. She has successfully applied for grants, organised activities, inspired other volunteers, responded to umpteen challenges on a daily basis, and, more than anyone else, has helped transform a vacated hospital into a community facility which is at the heart of the local community.” 

“Katherine deserves this award for her amazing work over a number of years and especially for her remarkable efforts organising a host of virtual events and ensuring both volunteers and centre users maintained their links with the centre during the COVID-19 lockdowns”. 

Thanks to players of The National Lottery, over £30 million is raised for Good Causes every week, funding world class athletes and projects like Caerphilly Miners' Centre for the Community, helping communities come together across the UK. For more information about The National Lottery Awards visit www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk 

 

 

 

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