Big Lottery Fund
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BIG research reveals funding for Well-being is well on target

Early evaluation findings out today suggest that projects funded through the Big Lottery Fund’s £160 million Well-being programme are successfully reaching people across the country in need of support.

The evaluation involves a sample of 60 health projects funded by the Well-being programme in England, from fitness activities to healthy eating schemes. It reveals that people with poor health and well-being, particularly in terms of healthy eating, ‘life satisfaction’ and mental health, are being successfully targeted and gives a firm indication that the programme is starting to make great strides in these areas.

One headline statistic reveals that 64 per cent of people showed symptoms of depression when they first joined a project funded through the programme. Survey respondents highlighted ‘never feeling energised or lively’ or ‘never feeling happy or contented’.

Also, interestingly, young people reported poorer mental health and worse eating habits than older people taking part in the projects.

BIG’s £160m Well-being programme was launched in 2006 to provide funding to support the development of healthier lifestyles and to improve the well-being of people across England. It focuses on three ‘strands’ - healthy eating, physical activity, and mental health.

One Well-being funded project is Dudley Healthy Retail, which is part of the Living Well West Midlands portfolio, awarded a grant from the Big Lottery Fund to run healthy living projects across the region.

Dudley Healthy Retail aims to increase fruit and vegetable consumption among families of children at Hawbush Primary School, which has a high proportion of children who eat less than two portions of fruit and vegetables per day and low levels of fresh fruit and vegetables available locally.

Tackling this, the project has organised a fruit and vegetable stall to take place at the school twice a week and also runs healthy eating cookery classes and food-tasting sessions for parents and children to try out new foods without worrying about the cost.

The evaluation shows that there is now a broader understanding among children participating in the project that fruit and vegetables are a healthy option, make them stronger and can be eaten as a snack instead of crisps and chocolate. One child taking part in the project said: “Now I always have a piece of fruit before I go to my boxing club, because I know that it will give me energy”

A summary of the programme’s first-year findings (from November 2008 - November 2009) by the Centre for Local Economic Strategies is available from today at

Full report at:

Gerald Oppenheim, Big Lottery Fund’s Director of Policy & Partnerships said: “While these are early results, they point to a very positive future for BIG’s Well-being programme and the projects it supports, because of the positive impact they have on people’s health over time.”

Further Information

Big Lottery Fund Press Office: 020 7211 1888
Out of hours contact: 07867 500 572
Public Enquiries Line: 08454 102030
Textphone:  0845 6021 659

Full details of the Big Lottery Fund programmes and grant awards are available on the website:

Notes to Editors

  • The Big Lottery Fund (BIG), the largest distributor of National Lottery good cause funding, is responsible for giving out half the money raised for good causes by the National Lottery.
  • BIG is committed to bringing real improvements to communities and the lives of people most in need and has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK since June 2004. The Fund was formally established by Parliament on 1 December 2006.
  • Since the National Lottery began in 1994, 28p from every pound spent by the public has gone to good causes. As a result, over £24 billion has now been raised and more than 330,000 grants awarded across arts, sport, heritage, charities, health, education and the environment.

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