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Communities across UK receive £3.4bn of National Lottery cash in five years

Over the last three years as much as half (51%, totalling £568 million) of National Lottery funding for communities has gone to the most deprived neighbourhoods in England – according to new figures released today by The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK.

  • Half of National Lottery community funding (51%) goes to the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods in England
  • The National Lottery Community Fund distributed £3.4 BILLION across UK communities in the last five years
  • During the pandemic, in 2020 alone, The National Lottery Community Fund gave out almost £1 billion to charities and community organisations across the UK
  • On average, each year, National Lottery-funded projects supported around 5.2 million people across the country – with improved mental health and increased social contact among the most reported benefits
  • Money raised by National Lottery players helping to tackle most urgent issues: including climate change, supporting young people, employment, and mental health.

Between 2016-17 and 2020-21 The National Lottery Community Fund distributed £3.4 billion to communities across the UK. £1 billion was awarded in 2020 alone, as charities and grassroots groups rushed to respond to the COVID-19 crisis and subsequent lockdowns.

The figures are from the distributor’s newly released report, Putting Communities First, which sets out the impact National Lottery funding has had on communities across the UK over the last five years.

it shows that between 2016-17 and 2020-21, National Lottery-funded community projects have supported well over 5 million people across the country each year – with 97% of grant holders reporting improvements in their participants’ mental health and self-esteem as well as increased social contact.

In addition, every month almost 2 million people enjoy the benefits of National Lottery Community Fund-supported venues such as parks and village halls.

Services provided by these charities also contributed to a wealth of community-wide benefits: over half (60%) reported providing people with increased opportunities to engage in their local communities, offering more events and activities. Some 42% of projects said people had more local pride and a better sense of belonging as a result of their funded work.

Throughout the UK, National Lottery players raise more than £30 million* each week for good causes. Putting Communities First reveals that this money is helping to tackle some of the most urgent issues – including tackling the climate emergency; and supporting young people, employment, and mental health.

Since 2016, the distributor has awarded almost £400 million through more than 6,000 grants, enabling environmental action on issues such as food, waste, and consumption, as well as energy, transport, and the natural environment. In 2019, it launched its most ambitious environment-focused programme yet: a £100 million commitment delivered over 10 years, the Climate Action Fund supports local communities to take meaningful action against climate change.

One of the largest non-statutory funders of opportunity for young people over the last five years, The National Lottery Community Fund has supported more than £1.2bn of local youth projects. Each year this support has had a hugely positive impact: 80% of projects working with young people pointed to improvements in confidence and self-esteem, while almost two thirds (65%) reported young people building stronger friendships and relationships.

Over the last 12 years, National Lottery-supported initiatives have helped more than 181,000 people facing barriers to employment. The largest of these, Building Better Opportunities, has supported some 127,000 people since 2016 – almost half of whom identify as disabled (49%) and nearly a quarter are from Black and Minoritised Communities (23%).

Between 2016-17 around £1.3 billion in National Lottery funding was awarded to almost 17,000 programmes and projects focussed on helping people experiencing some of life’s most complex and difficult challenges, such as homelessness and substance misuse. The overwhelming majority (91%) of organisations working with people facing these multiple disadvantages reported seeing better mental health for participants; two thirds (68%) said they saw improvements in physical health, too.

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