A National Lottery community chief has visited Powys to see progress on Open Newtown.

Blondel Cluff CBE visited several National Lottery funded projects in Wales, a few months after being appointed chair of The National Lottery Community Fund UK Board.

After a visit to Cardiff, she came to Newtown to see how National Lottery funding is being invested.

In the last five years, The National Lottery Community Fund has awarded 327 grants worth £11.68 million in Powys, of which 32 were in Newtown and Llanllwchaiarn, with a total value of £2.48 million.

Open Newtown received £1.1 million National Lottery funding to help transform 130 acres of green space, including the development of a new play park, BMX pump track, mountain bike trail, improved river access and a new riverside venue.

Mrs Cluff visited the park and met Open Newtown chief executive Gary Mitchell and Adam Kennerley, manager of Open Newtown. She also spoke to Craig Williams, MP for Montgomeryshire and Mid Wales MS Jane Dodds.

Stuart Owen, enterprise development manager at Open Newtown said: “Thanks to The National Lottery for their funding and continued support, we have been able to unlock the potential of our green spaces.”

While in Newtown, Mrs Cluff also met Claire Cartwright, director and Peter Bayliss, chair of Ponthafren.

The group was set up in 1992 by people who had mental health issues looking for somewhere safe to socialise. Mrs Cluff toured the garden and heard about the support the charity gave people throughout the pandemic, using funding from The National Lottery Community Fund. It enabled Ponthafren to provide free online counselling to support people.

She finished her tour at Treowen Community Hall and met children and families from the local area who have benefited from the new multi-use games area. The hall received a grant of £99,360 to transform the redundant tennis court into a new multi-use games area for children and young people.

Mrs Cluff said: “It’s been a real pleasure seeing and hearing more about the fantastic work that is happening in Wales, thanks to money raised by National Lottery players. I'd like to thank Llanrumney Phoenix Boxing Club, Open Newtown, Ponthafren and Treowen Community for their welcome and giving me a glimpse of the difference they make to the lives of people.”