Local AM helps DIY project nail final push for votes

Joyce Watson AM today helped a local DIY project nail their final push for public votes.

West Wales charity Fix And Shift Training has one week to gain as many votes as they can, to win the prestigious National Lottery Awards.

They are the only Welsh project competing to be crowned Best Voluntary/Charity Project in the National Lottery Awards. More than 1,300 projects entered, and Fix And Shift Training are now in the final six in their category. They are the only West Wales project in the annual search for the UK’s favourite Lottery-funded projects.

The Labour regional AM joined a street stall in Carmarthen town centre to ratchet up local votes, before presenting certificates to trainees [details below] to mark their hard work.

Fix and Shift Training (FAST) provides training for vulnerable adults in Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and parts of Ceredigion, with a workshop in Ferryside. Once trained, the volunteers then help others – from gardening, decorating, fitting smoke alarms, assembling flat pack furniture, to changing light bulbs for pensioners. The community project started when Ferryside resident David Williams heard of a vulnerable adult who had sat in the dark for days. He didn’t know how to change a lightbulb, and he didn’t know who to ask to help him.

National Lottery funding enables this innovative training programme to help people learn new skills, guiding trainees towards employment. The volunteers have created their own Job Club, and the package of training, real experience and work preparation has been life changing for some.

Mrs Watson said: “It was lovely to meet such talented trainees, and I hope we hammer home the message to vote for them. Local people should be proud of this local project, which brings together people to learn DIY with people who benefit from their new skills.”

Sarah Phillips from Commodum Ltd said: “We are delighted to reach the final public voting round of The National Lottery Awards. Public recognition is a real boost for all our trainees, who work so hard to help others.

“We hope that local people will continue to support us, as it would mean so much to our volunteers to win the UK’s best Voluntary/Charity project in the National Lottery Awards. It’s easy to vote – just go to lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/awards, telephone 0844 836 9713, or vote on Twitter with hashtag #NLAFixandShift. Voting runs until midnight on 27 July.”

The project with the most votes will be crowned the winner in their category. They will receive a £5,000 cash prize to spend on their project, an iconic National Lottery Awards trophy, and they will attend a star-studded glittering Awards ceremony to be broadcast on BBC One in September.

Trainee details

Joyce Watson AM will award certificates to the following three trainees:

Megan volunteers with Fix And Shift Training’s administration department two days a week. She is responsible for producing the project’s monthly newsletter, and also give invaluable help on the project’s computer.

Lewis has volunteered for Fix And Shift Training since day one, when he was involved with setting up the pilot project. He has showed great aptitude towards all things DIY and is particularly interested in restoring old furniture. He is married with two children.

Ollie has discovered he is a natural for working with wood, and is currently building a bird feeding table to his own design. Ollie is also becoming a fine painter and decorator, and his long term aim is to become self employed as a decorator.


Caption (l to r): David Williams, Megan Schlaepfer, Kylie Sheridan, Joyce Watson, Jess Fletcher, Ollie Hicks, Lewis McDougall and Jean Taylor