This week, the National Lottery Dedicated To…campaign celebrates our grassroots sporting heroes for their community spirit during these last few, tough months.
Covid-19 may have changed the way we go about our lives but one thing remains the same: cricket clubs are the very heart of our communities. Never before have clubs, coaches and volunteers proven their endless commitment to our villages, our towns and our nation. Well done!
And when it comes to community spirit, kindness and innovation in the face of a pandemic, one man stands out. Carl Holding from the National Lottery supported club, the Carmarthen Wanderers. And unless you have been isolating since March without any access to social media, you will understand why.
Carl was the man behind the now-famous Twitter coin toss competition. What started out as a bit of fun ended in clubs across Wales taking part in the social media tournament.
With so many teams clamouring to take part, Carl organised two tournaments; the first involving 64 clubs and the second made up of 128 clubs awaiting their heads of tails fate.
Aided by technology sidekick and fellow club member, Josh Thomas, Carl was filmed conducting the coin toss and the video was uploaded to social media. He succeeded in securing celebrities such as World Cup winner Heather Knight, Scarlets player Dan Jones and a host of Glamorgan and Hampshire cricketers to undertake coin toss duties too.
Carl was often receiving up to 100 messages every day from cricket clubs which he was responding to around his shifts as a keyworker. His efforts to ensure community spirit in Welsh cricket did not wane during Covid-19 restrictions have been recognised by The Cricketer who recently honoured him with its Social Media Award in its Lockdown Heroes project.
Carl explains: “I have two kids at home so it was a bit chaotic. It came out of nothing really but it just took off. It’s quite nice to be recognised as I’ve been involved in cricket for a long time.”
Carmarthen Wanderers recently received £450 of National Lottery funding from the Sport Wales Be Active Wales Fund. This was a huge helping hand towards hand sanitiser, Covid-19 signage as well as grounds maintenance.
Club Chair Nigel Roberts is extremely grateful:
“Thank you to all National Lottery players. This money has helped us to get the club up and running safely. And in addition to this grant, we have also received 16 Community Chest awards over the years which have always been really helpful to providing sporting opportunities in the area.”
With the help of National Lottery funding, thousands of grassroots sports workers and volunteers from local clubs and organisations across the UK, have been be able to continue to help the nation to remain active, happy and motivated during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Thanks to National Lottery players, £30 million is raised every week for good causes, many of which are supporting the most vulnerable in our communities across the UK during the Coronavirus crisis.
Following last week’s announcement, Welsh Government have confirmed that outdoor sports facilities will be allowed to open. Organised outdoor activity for young people (18 and under) can restart from Saturday the 27 March.
Actif Sport and Leisure have been allocated funding to deliver a specific 60+ programme for 2021-22.
Llandovery swimming pool is going to become a leisure centre and more exciting developments at St Clears and Newcastle Emlyn