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National Lottery funded project helped keep a roof over my head

£11.8 million from The National Lottery Community Fund goes to Scottish groups

A widower from Edinburgh has welcomed the news of a £180,000National Lottery award to Fresh Start Scotland, a charity he credits with helping keep a roof over his head and cope on his own without his wife of 40 years.   

The group, which supports people at risk of or moving on from homelessness is one of 453 community projects across Scotland today (WEDNESDAY 20 SEPTEMBER) sharing in over £11.8 million from The National Lottery Community Fund. Full list of projects [421KB]

An award of £180,000 will allow Fresh Start Scotland to continue and expand their emergency support and advice service over the next three years helping thousands of people across the country like 64-year-old Billy Walker from Edinburgh. When his wife, Margaret, was moved into palliative care Billy, who is autistic and suffers from a memory disorder, was faced with the overwhelming prospect of running the house and managing all the finances. 

Billy said: “I had a wonderful life before my wife got ill. My wife used to look after me, paying all the bills, cooking, and organising so when she was taken into hospital I didn’t know how to cope. 

“I had just three months of universal credit left and couldn’t cover the bills. I had no phone and no idea how to do anything online. I was faced with the reality of £800 worth of overdue rent and was in danger of being evicted. I didn’t know how to cook and even if I did, I had no money for food. At that point I felt like the worst has happened, my world was collapsing around me. 

“A nurse at my wife’s hospital suggested I go to Fresh Start and it was the first time in this process I had been treated with any dignity. They introduced me to their computer club and the staff there helped me make an appointment with the housing office and the council and to sort out my arrears. So, then I had a roof over my head which was an immense relief. I had access to food at Fresh Start on a Friday and through their Pantry I had the ability to buy affordable food to take home. 

“If there was ever a time for a project like this it’s now, and I wish there were projects exactly like this all over the country.” 

Abigail Jackson, Hub Manager, Fresh Start, said: “Our remit is to help people make a home for themselves and what we find more and more is that we are working with people who are a few steps away from homelessness because the circumstances in their lives have changed. We are not only helping people who have been homeless and now have been housed but we are tackling issues that arise that mean that someone might become homeless if they don’t have all the things they need that could keep them afloat. 

“This National Lottery funding means we can keep this project alive and continue to offer this vital support to those in need in our community.” 

Announcing the funding, Kate Still, Scotland Chair, The National Lottery Community Fund said: “I am delighted to see over £11 million of National Lottery funding going to projects where connections and community action are central to happier healthier lives. 

“It’s all thanks to National Lottery players that we can continue funding these activities which provide such life changing support to thousands of people like Billy.” 

The National Lottery Community Fund distributes funding on behalf of National Lottery players who raise more than £30 million each week for good causes throughout the UK.    

To find out more visit     

Notes to Editors

About us      

We are the largest non-statutory community funder in the UK – community is at the heart of our purpose, vision and name.   

We support activities that create resilient communities that are more inclusive and environmentally sustainable and that will strengthen society and improve lives across the UK.  

We’re proud to award money raised by National Lottery players to communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and to work closely with Government to distribute vital grants and funding from key Government programmes and initiatives.    

As well as responding to what communities tell us is important to them, our funding is focused on four key missions, supporting communities to:   

1. Come together  

2. Be environmentally sustainable  

3. Help children and young people thrive  

4. Enable people to live healthier lives.  

Thanks to the support of National Lottery players, we distribute around £500 million a year through 10,000+ grants and plan to invest over £4bn of funding into communities by 2030. We’re privileged to be able to work with the smallest of local groups right up to UK-wide charities, enabling people and communities to bring their ambitions to life.    

National Lottery players raise over £30 million each week for good causes throughout the UK. Since The National Lottery began in 1994, £47 billion has been raised and more than 670,000 individual grants have been made across the UK - the equivalent of around 240 National Lottery grants in every UK postcode district.  

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