Cardiff based film and TV producer, Berwyn Rowlands, who founded the biggest international LGBT+ short film prize in the world, is in line for recognition after being nominated for a 2021 National Lottery Award. Also in line for an award is Katherine Hughes, a volunteer, and the Secretary of Caerphilly Miners’ Centre for the Community (The Miners), has been shortlisted in the Community category of this year’s National Lottery Awards. 

Completing the South Wales trio is Bethan Littlewood, a cancer survivor from Bridgend who went on to lead the GB Senior Ladies Canoe Polo Team to European Gold is in line for recognition after being nominated for a 2021 National Lottery Award.   

Bethan Littlewood, Berwyn Rowlands & Katherine Hughes

Berwyn, originally from Anglesey but now lives in Cardiff,  has been shortlisted in the Arts category of this year’ National Lottery Awards for his outstanding work over 15 years as the Founder and Festival Director of the IRIS PRIZE LGBT+ Film Festival. Berwyn is flying the flag for Wales and is one of only five individuals from across the UK nominated in the Arts category.

IRIS PRIZE is all about celebration, and after an enforced break last year, the awards return between the 5th and 10th October.

It has become a leading voice in championing LGBT+ short film and Iris also runs LGBT+ education and community outreach projects in Wales and the UK throughout the year. Iris has cemented itself as a significant event in the British film festival calendar and has featured in the top 50 film festivals in the world by Movie Maker magazine for four years. 

Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival brings filmmakers from around the world to Cardiff, Wales, UK. Iris is home to the largest short film prize in the world – the coveted £30,000 Iris Prize. Supported by the Michael Bishop Foundation, the prize allows the winner to make their next LGBT+ short film here in Cardiff.

Iris also works with Film4 to share all Best British shortlisted films on All 4, the UK’s largest free streaming platform.

The National Lottery Awards are the annual search for the UK’s favourite National Lottery funded people and projects and they celebrate the inspirational individuals and groups who do extraordinary things in their community, especially during these challenging times.  

Established by Berwyn in 2006, the National Lottery funded Iris Prize takes place in Cardiff annually and has developed into the biggest international LGBT+ short film prize in the world.

Understandably thrilled to be nominated, Berwyn, who organised his first ever public film festival in Aberystwyth back in 1989, told us……..

“It’s an absolute honour to be shortlisted as a finalist in the Arts category for the 2021 National Lottery Awards. During the pandemic, film has provided escapism and comfort for so many at a time when it’s needed most, and this is why the Iris Prize continued last year in an online capacity.”

Berwyn Rowlands – Iris Prize

“I would like to thank The National Lottery’ players for supporting myself and the Iris Prize and for helping us to run an unique festival which is dedicated to celebrating amazing LGBT+ film and bringing films from this diverse community to the attention of wider audiences around the world.” 

What happens at Iris Prize LGBT+ Film Festival?

  • See the very best LGBT+ short films and features
  • Panel discussions about filmmaking and LGBT+ life
  • Filmmaker Q&As with every short film screening
  • Special events and networking opportunities
  • Legendary parties

To find out more about this fantastic organisation, and check out the submissions for the awards, just go here – IRIS PRIZE.

A cancer survivor from Bridgend who went on to lead the GB Senior Ladies Canoe Polo Team to European Gold is also in line for recognition after being nominated for an award.   

25 year old BETHAN LITTLEWOOD has been nominated in the Sport Category of this year’ National Lottery Awards for the huge positive impact she has on the people around her through her positive can-do attitude, caring nature, focus on inclusion and unbeatable love of fitness.

Bethan Littlewood

Bethan is Chair of BRIDGEND CANOE CLUB, which received National Lottery funding to set up their training venue. She is also a member of Canoe Wales and a Welsh Member of British Canoeing. She has been an inspiration – not just to the young members of her canoe club, but to paddlers across Wales and the sporting community as a whole.

Although Bethan is only 25, she has already achieved and faced more challenges than most. A fitness fanatic from a young age, at 12 she fell in love with canoe polo. By 14 she was on the GB under-21 canoe polo team and won a bronze medal in the European Championships in 2011. 

However, at the age of 15, whilst training for the 2012 World Championships, she was diagnosed with stage 3C ovarian cancer. Beth’s optimism and determination saw her through this challenging period – and after two years of chemotherapy plus major surgery, she returned to the World Championships in 2014. Progressing through the divisions, she carried on leading the GB Senior Ladies to a Gold medal at the 2019 European Canoe Polo Championships. 

Before her diagnosis in 2012, Bethan also volunteered at the London Olympics and Paralympic games with Sport Wales and became a National Lottery funded Platinum Ambassador, promoting paddlesport to others daily, giving presentations to up to 300 pupils at a time and inspiring a new generation in sport.

Bethan, who is also growing her own fitness company, Bionic Fitness, told us….. 

“It truly is a great honour to be recognised as a finalist in the Sport category of The National Lottery Awards. Fitness has saved my life; I want to help others have their best chance of life by sharing the wonders that fitness has to offer.

“I have always really appreciated everything sport has to give, and The National Lottery has supported many aspects of the sport I enjoy. I have learnt a load of life skills and met the most amazing people at a young age through sport. The opportunity to share that with others is within my gift.”

To find out more about Bionic Beth and her fitness company, go here – BIONIC FITNESS.

Finally, but by no means least, a Caerphilly volunteer who helped save a historic local landmark from demolition and transform it into a vibrant community hub is also in line for recognition after being nominated. 

KATHERINE HUGHES, a volunteer, and the Secretary of CAERPHILLY MINERS’ CENTRE FOR THE COMMUNITY (The Miners), has been shortlisted in the Community category of this year’s National Lottery Awards. 

Katherine Hughes at Caerphilly Miners’ Centre (Picture by Nick Treharne)

Katherine has been nominated for her dedicated and unwavering voluntary efforts over the years and as one of the driving forces behind saving the former Caerphilly Miners’ Hospital for future generations to enjoy. The 71-year-old is flying the flag for Wales and is one of only five individuals from across the UK nominated for a community award. 

When plans to close and demolish the historic landmark were announced 15 years ago, Katherine was at the forefront of the community group that helped save the building which is steeped in history. Originally a private residence, local miners raised funds to purchase the building in 1919 and convert it into a hospital for miners and their families. For almost 90 years, Caerphilly Miners’ Hospital served the local community. 

When Katherine heard about the plans to knock it down, she used her background of working as a town planner and community development consultant to lead the charge and rally the community to take it over.

The Miners was established in 2008 and with the support of National Lottery funding, the building was refurbished and reopened in 2015. It’s now a vibrant hub for the community where people of all ages and abilities are able to access a wide range of affordable services and activities. This includes language, art, fitness, knitting and dance classes, as well as buddy schemes and other social activities. The Miners is owned by its members and shaped by its trustees and volunteers like Katherine. 

Katherine Hughes at Caerphilly Miners’ Centre….with Robert Jones (left), Barbara Scrivens (Pic: Nick Treharne)

Delighted to be nominated, Katherine, who still actively volunteers at the centre, told us….. 

“I was speechless when I found out I had been nominated. The National Lottery has played a vital role in getting this project up and running and in supporting our activities and ambitious plans over the years.”   

“The centre has been a lifeline for many during the pandemic and it would have been a travesty if the building had been demolished. I had seen many iconic buildings across South Wales fall into decay for lack of support, but I believed that The Miners could offer a much-needed community resource. I love volunteering here and being a part of a project in my own community is so rewarding and special.  It is great being part of such an inspirational and vibrant project, with community members and volunteers from all walks of life coming together to support our common cause.” 

To find out more about The Miners, and see the real difference they are making in the community, just go here – CAERPHILLY.

This year, more than 1,500 people were nominated for a National Lottery Award in recognition of the work they have carried out with the help of National Lottery funding.  

Next month a panel, made up of representatives of The National Lottery and partners, will decide the winners in each category from a shortlist of five.  

Winners will be revealed in the autumn and will receive a £3,000 cash prize for their organisation and a coveted National Lottery Awards trophy.    

Jonathan Tuchner, from The National Lottery told us…..

“Since 1994, The National Lottery has made a huge positive impact on life across the UK. Thanks to National Lottery players and the £36 million raised each week for good causes, thousands of organisations are making an incredible impact and difference in their local areas.”

Jonathan Tuchner – National Lottery

“The National Lottery Awards honour those who have stepped up and stood out like Berwyn, who work tirelessly for their community. They deserve great praise and our thanks for their incredible work.” 

Encompassing all aspects of National Lottery good causes funding, the 2021 National Lottery Awards will recognise outstanding individuals in the following sectors: 

  • Culture, Arts & Film  
  • Heritage  
  • Sport  
  • Community/Charity

There will be a special Young Hero Award for someone under the age of 18 who has gone that extra mile in their organisation.   

In September a public vote will be held to find The National Lottery Project of the Year, while online polls will take place after the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games to determine the winner of The National Lottery Olympian and Paralympian awards. 

For more information about projects funded by The National Lottery or The National Lottery Awards visit GOOD CAUSES  and follow the campaign on Twitter: @LottoGoodCauses #NLAwards  

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