When you think about the National Lottery, you probably first think about luck! Those lucky folks who end up winning millions and having their lives changed all because of a £2 ticket. It's the dream for many of us, but did you know that the National Lottery is an important pillar of support and funding for many projects, schools, and charities around the UK?
Every time you buy a £2 ticket, 56p goes towards a funding pool that is used to support a range of good causes. Since 1994, more than £38 billion has been raised for such projects. This was further boosted by the introduction of the Big Lottery Fund in 2004, which has brought over £6 billion to 130,000 projects in the UK.
Between 2016-2017, 13,000 grants that came to a total of £700 million was distributed to more than 9 million groups and ventures. Charities made up more than 10,000 of these recipients, with £550 million supporting mental health improvements.
Which noteworthy projects have the National Lottery's funding to thank? In this article, we spotlight some of the worthwhile causes.
Basketball in Northern Ireland
Though the Knights Wheelchair Basketball Club in Antrim was doing very well, they didn't have te resources to accommodate kids who wished to join in. Thanks to the grant it received, the club was able to buy specially adapted wheelchairs and set up a junior club. This allowed kids who were previously unable to take part in sport because of their physical disabilities to join. Club treasurer, Aubrey Bingham, said: “I can see a difference in so many of the kids. They’re so much more outgoing than when they started, and they have new skills. Their parents are so proud.”
Northern Ireland also found out in January that £1.3 million would be brought into the country to improve health services and deal with isolation issues. More than £500,000 of this was to help people in County Armagh, with Community First Responders County Armagh & Tyrone, the Brain Injury Foundation in Camlough and Dialogue in Diversity, in Portadown, among those to reap the benefits.
Schooling in Scotland
We’re taking a look at Scotland next. Royal Blind received £45,000 in May thanks to help from the public. The blind charity
revealed that its blind school in Morningside, Edinburgh, was one of three groups in the East of Scotland to receive the top level of funding in a share of £150,000. The money is to be used to buy specialist equipment for outdoor lessons as well as specialist playground equipment suitable for children with disabilities.
The deputy head teacher of the school said that: “We are absolutely over the moon to have secured the funding which will go towards enabling our pupils to learn and play outside. Too often children with a vision impairment are unable to access play areas in the same way as their sighted peers. They are not able to experience the freedom and exhilaration of outdoor play.
“With this funding we will be able to enhance Sensory Play, Active Play and outdoor learning through the creation of a kitchen garden. Pupils can help grow fruit and vegetable from seed to the kitchen.”
Olympic potential in North West England
The National Lottery has also brought funding to athletes. The-now Sir Ben Ainslie, for example, was able to become Britain’s most successful ever Olympic sailor
, winning four golds and one silver across five Olympic Games. The funding meant that Ben was able to train full time and receive the best medical care, coaching and facilities that are available. Seeing such a success from a local athlete often works as an incentive for others to push to be the best they can be, so while this funding was of great help to Ben, it may have help others from his area too as they followed his journey.
Sir Ben was chosen to bear the Olympic torch first in the 2012 London Olympics, and went on to be the flag-bearer at the Closing Ceremony. For London’s 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, an amazing £2.2 billion was invested by National Lottery players.
North East England’s angel and art
Thanks to support from the Arts Council England
in 1998, the Angel of the North came to be. Recently featuring in a photo shoot to celebrate 20 years of National Lottery funding, the 20-metres tall sculpture in Gateshead dominates the skyline and is seen by more than one person every second.
The enormous work of art is comprised of 200 tonnes of steel and a 54-metre wingspan. Of his masterpiece, sculptor, Antony Gormley, told Lottery Good Causes: “The angel has three functions – firstly a historic one to remind us that below this site coal miners worked in the dark for 200 years, secondly to grasp hold of the future, expressing our transition from the industrial to the information age, and lastly to be a focus for our hopes and fears – a sculpture is an evolving thing.”
West Midlands do it too!
The Dads Do It Too project received funding from the National Lottery too, which allowed the organisation to run weekly workshops for children and their fathers or guardians. The project allows you to learn new skills together and enhance your father-child relationship.
Birmingham received funding for its sports sector too, with Sport 4 Life receiving a grant. The organisation
works with ‘at risk’ children and young people as well as underprivileged families and adults from disadvantaged areas. It’s believed that sport can help improve the health, build key skills and raise their confidence while bringing communities together. The fund allowed them to include activities such as football, badminton and table tennis while also providing healthy eating courses and sports coaching.
London’s return to green
The National Lottery has funded more than just the Olympics. Many more projects in England’s capital city have also benefitted from lottery funding, with over 52,000 projects receiving a cash sum since the start of the National Lottery. In June this year, community groups in Newham received £250,000
The Green Station received around £100,000 in funding to transform the old North Woolwich Railway Line into an 8,000-square-metre community space. It is estimated that the space will be used by 1,500 residents each year once it opens. Elsewhere, £10,000 was given to projects including English language and IT sessions for women and tuition for disadvantaged children and young adults.
The National Lottery funded the idea of bringing music to hospices
in Wales through Music in Hospitals. The project provides a crucial distraction from any illness or medical care for both the patient and their family, friends and carers, meaning the happy times don’t have to come to a standstill during this testing period.
Plans were announced in May for Wales to receive over £30 million in funds, according to Big Lottery Fund Wales Director, John Rose. One project that recently received such a grant was Welcome to Our Woods
, who received £1,282 from Create Your Space. The community in Upper Rhondda Fawr, South Wales Valleys, is intent on making to woodland more useful and relevant to the region.
You can head to the National Lottery website to apply for funding
. If you believe your cause can gain from such grants, then don’t hesitate to get in touch and let the National Lottery change the lives of those around you.