By Ben Hart, Storybeat

Wrexham residents are being given vital access to essential services thanks to a National Lottery-funded project supporting communities bearing the brunt of the cost-of-living pressures.

This comes as new research announced by The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK, this week shows people across the country are predicting mounting difficulties for local services due to the impact of the current economic climate.

We Are Plas Madoc has received £43,725 of National Lottery funding to further develop their electric vehicle community transport scheme.

They provide an affordable and environmentally-friendly transport option to residents in and around the area of Plas Madoc - an isolated community - so that they can access essential services, food, and recreational activities.

As a result of the funding, they will also expand their provision at their premises to further develop their Kettle Club breakfast and lunch club to support their community during the cost-of-living pressures by providing a warm, safe space and access to a range of local services. 

Thanks to National Lottery players, the money has helped some of the most vulnerable people impacted by cost-of-living pressures in our communities.

And new figures released this week through The National Lottery Community Fund’s latest **Community Research Index shows that over half of people in Wales (54%) believe that supporting people with the rising cost-of-living is most important for the wellbeing of their local community, with half in Wales (50%) intending to volunteer in 2023 with young people (18 to 24) leading the way (74%).

Claire Pugh, Plas Madoc Community Manager, has worked in the community for 16 years and believes the current economic climate is as perilous as it has ever been.

“People have inevitably really struggled due to the rising cost of living,” she said.

“Our community is eight miles from the town centre. There is a lack of affordable, good quality food available within our community.

“Residents have to travel outside the community to access shopping and we've also lost our GP practice, so people have to travel to access health services and medical appointments – that is really expensive.

“So in response to that, we put in this application to support the establishment of a community transport scheme so we secured the use of the community vehicle.

“The scheme has allowed people to get to the places that they might not otherwise have been able to and really opened up the world to them.

“The Kettle Club has been great because we know that our parents do everything for their children, making sure they’re warm and fed, but sometimes they may not have that same opportunity.

“It's lovely because we are connecting people together and that helps make them stronger, more resilient and inevitably that's what we want.”

National Lottery funding distributors - encompassing sports, arts, heritage, and community - collectively awarded over £1 billion pounds to support communities throughout the UK during the coronavirus pandemic, to help them cope and recover.

And now the £30 million raised each week by National Lottery players for good causes is at the forefront in supporting communities who need it the most in the face of cost-of-living pressures.

Organisations throughout the UK facing increased demands, challenges, and hardships as a direct result of the pressures are being supported in various ways, as National Lottery funders throughout the UK have responded with new priorities to help communities with an approach that centres around flexibility and support. 

Many existing funding programmes have been adapted by National Lottery funders to prioritise cost of living support. The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK, alone is making an initial £75 million available UK wide to help those most in need – providing community groups with greater certainty at this critical time. All funding will be kept open and available, and ready to adapt, as part of its We’re Here for You commitment.

Whether it’s funding to improve the thermal efficiency of heritage sites, providing energy efficient floodlights for community sports clubs faced with the burden of increased costs, providing thousands of free hot meals and food parcels, warm places for the community to come together during the winter months, or supporting with money management and mental health initiatives  - The National Lottery is making life that little bit easier by providing a wide array of support across sports, arts, community and charity, heritage, education and environment sectors during these challenging times.

And Pugh fears the situation would be much bleaker if it were not for the support of The National Lottery.

She added: “People would definitely be more lonely, isolated and detached from the community and from each other if it wasn’t for The National Lottery’s support.

“Their bottom-up approach is so important. They recognise that and support us and fund us.

“It's imperative because we're integrated, we're embedded in this community and there's lots of other organisations like us in different communities that are the same and also benefit.”

National Lottery players raise more than £30 million a week for arts, education, environment, health, heritage, sport, and voluntary projects across the UK; see the difference it’s making near you at

**NB: Research conducted on behalf of The National Lottery Community Fund by Savanta ComRes between 2nd and 28th November 2022, amongst 8,968 UK adults, including 1,285 in Wales, weighted to be representative of UK adults by gender, age, region, social grade and ethnicity. 8,059 UK adults were previously surveyed between 7th and 22nd September 2021 and 7,009 UK adults were interviewed between 27th November and 8th December 2020.