Vision Fountain’s Richard Jones ‘delighted” to be announced as a finalist in the ‘Outstanding Individuals’ category of the 2023 #NationalLottery Awards #NLAwards @LottoGoodCauses @HeritageFundCYM

Finalist in 2023 National Lottery Awards

We are delighted to announce that Vision Fountain’s Creative Director, Richard Jones has been chosen as a 2023 National Lottery Awards finalist in the “Outstanding Individuals” heritage section.

Richard was nominated with four others from 3780 entries.

The press release from the National Lottery follows:


For Immediate Release: Monday July 24, 2023


A Cardiff based Audio-visual Journalist who captured the faces of the last generation of coal miners who built modern day Wales is in line for recognition after being nominated in the ‘outstanding individuals’ section of the 2023 National Lottery Awards.

The National Lottery Awards are the annual celebration of the ordinary individuals and organisations who do extraordinary things with the help of National Lottery funding.

Richard Jones, 56, the Creative Director at Vision Fountain CIC, has been shortlisted in the Heritage category in the outstanding individual’s section of this year’s Awards for his remarkable National Lottery Heritage Fund supported The Last Generation of Coal Miners project, capturing the faces and testimonies of former Welsh coal communities, preserving their stories for future generations.    

This year, 3,780 people and projects throughout the UK were nominated for the National Lottery Awards in recognition of their unwavering efforts to improve their community. After a panel sifted through the thousands of nominations, Richard is now one of only five individuals across the UK shortlisted in the Heritage category, waiting to see if he will be crowned outstanding UK individual in his group.

Wales’s underground mining workforce has dwindled from a quarter of a million in 1913 to less than one hundred today. Richard was brought up in a coal-mining community in South Wales but spent 23 years living in the Far East. On his return, he was struck by the erasure of the last remnants of the coal mining landscape that he grew up in.

This is when the idea for The Last Generation of Coal Miners project came into fruition. He began photographing the miners and recording their voices in 2018. Thanks to National Lottery funding in 2021, Richard Jones of Vision Fountain continued photographing the relatives of miners and Wales’s last surviving coal miners.

The community-based heritage project has been capturing the oral histories and full 3D portraits of the last generation of Welsh coal miners. Their faces and stories have gone on to be shared at two public exhibitions which attracted over 80,000 visitors. Through workshops with primary schools, children inspired by the oral histories and 3D portraits created large collages that were displayed as part of the exhibitions.

The result is an impressive archive featuring a range voices and recollections spanning decades of mining history, from the days of young teenagers working bare-handed underground, through to the devastating impact of the miners strikes.  

Delighted to be nominated as a finalist, Richard Jones, said: “As a nation we should never forget that these coalminers, along with their forefathers, built modern Wales. It’s been an honour and a pleasure to work with the miners across the coalfield and take those memories into schools to inspire the children. This project simply wouldn’t have existed without National Lottery funding, so I’m delighted to have been nominated in this category as it clearly demonstrates how oral history and storytelling resonates with people. We use gaming technology, familair with young people, in order to create a meaningful pathway, between their world and their heritage.”

During the summer, a panel made up of representatives of The National Lottery and partners from across the UK will decide the winners in each of the individual categories. Winners will be revealed in the Autumn and will receive a £5,000 cash prize for their organisation and a coveted National Lottery Awards trophy.  

Jonathan Tuchner, from The National Lottery, said: “The National Lottery Awards honour those who have stepped up and have gone the extra mile to make a difference in their communities, especially during these challenging times.

Thanks to National Lottery players and the £30 million raised each week for good causes, thousands of individuals throughout the UK, like Richard, have been making an incredible difference in their areas, and this is our chance to highlight and celebrate the exceptional work of these selfless local heroes.” 

The outstanding individual’s section of this year’s National Lottery Awards honour unsung heroes in the following categories:

  • Culture, Arts & Film 
  • Heritage 
  • Sport 
  • Community/Charity 
  • Environment
  • Young Hero Award (for someone under the age of 25)
  • Special Achievement

In addition to the outstanding individual’s category, an online public vote will be held this year to find The National Lottery’ UK Project of the Year. These nominees will be whittled down to 16 finalists, with a UK-wide public vote in September deciding the winner.  


For further information please contact: Oswyn Hughes at the National Lottery Promotions Unit on 07976 324 179 or email   

Notes to Editors:

  • and follow the campaign on Twitter: @LottoGoodCauses #NLAwards
Audio Visual Journalist and Creative Director at Vision Fountain, Richard Jones © Vision Fountain
Some of the indivuduals who kindly collaborated on “Last Generation of Coalminers” at the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea. (Left to Right- Esta Lewis (RHP), Ben Price (BP),
Steph Mastoris (ACW), Darren Macey (RHP), Richard Jones (VF), Chieko Jones (VF), Rob Appleby (AF), Ceri Thomson (ACBP) and Jacqui Roach (ACW).
ACBP-Amgueddfa Cymru Big Pitt, ACW-Amgueddfa Cymru Waterfront, RHP-Rhondda Heritage Park, VF-Vision Fountain, AF-Afon Valley Schools Fed.
©Tiz/Vision Fountain
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Kings-of-The-Underground.small_.-1024x582.jpg
Some of Wales’ ex-coal workers that featured in the “Last Generation of Coalminers” project. The project was made possible with National Lottery funding. ©Vision Fountain
One of four Audio Visual Installation’ of 3D portraits and oral testimonies created for the “Kings of the Underground Exhibition”.