Giving back to the community: The National Lottery

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The National Lottery conjures to mind the dream of being one of those average citizens who win big. All the stories of people “just like you” who have been skyrocketed to the realms of the rich of famous all because they bought a £2 ticket. But, perhaps the most overlooked aspect of the National Lottery is the benefits it brings to schools, charities, and projects all over the UK.

56p from every £2 ticket is put towards good causes, and has been doing so since 1994. So far, the sum stands at a fantastic £38 billion and rising!

Following this success, the Big Lottery Fund was established in 2004. The Fund saw over £6 billion going towards more than 130,000 projects in the UK. Then, in 2016-2017, 13,000 grants comprised of over £700 million went towards over 9 million beneficiaries. Of those, over 10,000 were charities, and more than £550 million was put towards improving mental wellbeing support.

In this article, we explore which groups have benefited from the National Lottery’s funding.

Scotland

First, we’re heading northward! 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 said: “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.”

North West England

With four golds and a silver to his name, Sir Ben Ainslie was one of the many athletes to benefit from funding from the National Lottery. 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.

Back in 2012, Sir Ben was picked as the first Olympic torch bearer, then the flag-bearer in the Closing Ceremony for his country. For London’s 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, an amazing £2.2 billion was invested by National Lottery players.

West Midlands

The Dads Do It Too project was given a boost from lottery funding, allowing weekly workshops to run for dads and father figures and their children. The project allows you to learn new skills together and enhance your father-child relationship.

The Birmingham sports scene also received support from funding with the Sport 4 Life group. 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

Many of London’s numerous projects have received a helping hand from lottery funds, including the Olympic games. Over 52,000 projects have received money from the National Lottery so far. In June this year, community groups in Newham received £250,000.

The Green Station, which aims to renovate the former North Woolwich Railway Line as a community area, has received around £100,000 in lottery funding. It is estimated that the space will be used by 1,500 residents each year once it opens.

£10,000 was also set aside to fund tuition for young adults and children from disadvantaged backgrounds, as well as projects for English Language and IT classes for women.

North East England

The Angel of the North graces us with its presence thanks to the Arts Council England in 1998. 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 Angel has an impressive 54 meter wingspan, and is crafted from 200 tonnes of steel. 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.”

Wales

Bringing professional-level live music to hospices across Wales, Music in Hospitals is yet another worthwhile endeavour supported by the lottery. 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.

Wales benefited from £30 million worth of grants ranging from £300 to £10,000, according to the 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.

Northern Ireland

Though the club was running strong even without funding, The Knights Wheelchair Basketball Club in Antrim found itself unable to offer a club for children. Thanks to the grant it received, the club was able to buy specially adapted wheelchairs and set up a junior club.

This new resource allowed children with physical disabilities to embrace a sport and take part. 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.”

A £1.3 million support fund was announced in January in order to improve healthcare for the country, as well as combating isolation. 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.

If you have a project that could benefit from funding, check out the application form from the National Lottery. 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.