CERYS MATTHEWS HONOURS CAERPHILLY COMMUNITY HERO
Written by Gavin on 12th October 2021
The National Lottery Awards celebrate the inspirational people and organisations across the UK who have done extraordinary things with National Lottery funding.
More than 1,500 nominations were received in this year’s campaign and a judging panel selected volunteer Katherine Hughes, 72, as the winner of the Community and Charity category for her unwavering voluntary efforts and as one of the driving forces behind saving the historic Caerphilly Miners’ landmark for future generations.
When plans to close and demolish the former Miners’ hospital in Caerphilly were announced 15 years ago, Katherine, drawing on experience as a town planner and community development consultant, took the lead and rallied the community to take it over. She felt it would have been a “travesty” if the building – where many generations of South Wales families had their babies – would have been knocked down and effaced from memory.
Katherine, who lives a short walk away from ‘The Miners’, helped to establish Caerphilly Miners’ Centre group in 2008, shortly after recovering from treatment for cancer. A 99-year lease was secured on the building and with the support of £250,000 from The National Lottery, it was refurbished and reopened in 2015. It is now a fully accessible vibrant hub for the community where people of all ages and abilities can access affordable services and activities, including language learning, art, fitness, knitting, computer and dance classes, in addition to buddy schemes and other social activities.
Katherine shows no sign of stopping any time soon. She remains heavily involved as a volunteer steward and group leader, as well as the centre secretary, and has been helping keep people of all ages engaged during the pandemic, even teaching the older members how to use Zoom so thy could keep in touch with friends and families and feel connected.
She was previously awarded the British Empire Medal for voluntary service to the community in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in 2015, and attributes the positive attitude and influence of her grandmother, who survived being persecuted and interned in concentration camps during WWII, as her ‘inspiration’ to deliver good in the community.
Katherine will receive a £3,000 cash prize for her organisation, along with an iconic National Lottery Awards trophy, which will be presented by singer, writer and broadcaster Cerys Matthews.