The National Lottery Dedicated To…campaign is this week highlighting the heroes of grassroots sport that have kept us active and motivated during the pandemic.

As part of this campaign, we are delighted to showcase the lockdown efforts of Llanelli Weightlifting, which has recently been awarded a National Lottery grant.

Before lockdown came into force last March, the club quickly shared out the weights and smaller items of equipment so that members could continue training from gardens, patios and bedrooms.

Club Chair Matthew De Filippo explains:

“Whatever weights we had, we shared them out. We also decided to undertake a club challenge. It was designed to keep people motivated.”

And so Kilos for Cash was born. Raising vital funds towards the fitting out of the club’s brand new gym at Coleg Sir Gâr in Llanelli, members asked friends and family for donations in return for lifting weights.

Coaches also led online sessions:

“The sessions gave some structure to the training for our under 18s and it was also a chance for them to get together as a club,” says Matthew. “They don’t go to the same schools and they are not from the same area so there was an emphasis on the social side of belonging to a club as we know they all missed the sessions.”

Older athletes were given individual training programmes, tailored to the equipment they had at home and the items they had borrowed from the club. The coaches were even on hand to deliver one-to-one online sessions once a week to keep the lifters on track.

And to make sure the adult members had a chance to be sociable, a Lift and Chat was organised over Zoom. Lifters would get on with their own session but would take a break and have a chat with other club members.

The new gym at Coleg Sir Gâr is now ready and opened for one or two sessions before the October firebreak.

The level of commitment and kindness from the coaches and volunteers at Llanelli Weightlifting is typical of sport volunteers across Wales who are making the nation proud.

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.

Llanelli Weightlifting received almost more than £1700 in National Lottery funding from the Sport Wales Be Active Wales Fund. The club used the money to help buy new gym equipment, PPE, disinfectant and Covid signage. The new equipment and supplies have been vital in restarting the club and avoiding cross-contamination.

“We owe a big thank you to all the National Lottery players who have made this possible. We are from quite a disadvantaged area and we know that being able to come back to the gym has been a boost for many. We know that it is proving really beneficial to the mental health of our members and is a welcome break for the many NHS and teaching staff that come here.”

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.