CHARITIES and community groups across the UK have been awarded almost £120 million of National Lottery funding since the COVID-19 lockdown began. The money, raised by National Lottery players, is being distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK.
This vital funding has reached over 4,500 community projects across the UK, with activities ranging from a cancer support group that has moved online to a charity distributing care packages of toiletries for those in need.
The COVID-19 crisis has sparked an influx of groups seeking funding to support their communities through these times. Overall, compared to the same time last year, requests for funding have increased by 55%, while visits to the funder’s website have shot up by 47%. The most apparent spike in applications has been for smaller grants, with requests for funding up to £10,000 increasing by 51% year-on-year.
In addition to funding larger and UK-wide charities, 38% of the grants (£24 million) have gone to micro and small groups and a further £46 million to medium-sized organisations, as communities rally to mitigate the impact of the crisis.
Dawn Austwick, CEO of The National Lottery Community Fund, said:
“National Lottery funding is critically important at this difficult time. We have been humbled by the way in which communities have been responding. Communities are the glue that binds us together, even while we are physically distant. From grassroots groups through to larger charities, the strength, determination and support being shown in our cities, towns, and villages is both reassuring and uplifting.
“National Lottery players can be proud that the millions they’ve raised are making a real difference at a time when it really counts. Groups are working flat out to support their communities, and we will continue to ensure this money quickly gets to where it’s needed to help with the ongoing impact of the crisis and the rebuild and recovery effort for the future.”
The Starting Out Charity in London is one of the good causes stepping up to support people during this challenging time. It has been awarded £10,000 of National Lottery funding to run The Kindness Offensive project. Distribution networks have been set up across the city to ensure that care packages of toiletries are delivered to hospitals, care homes, families of key workers, frontline staff and vulnerable people. So far they’ve received an in-kind donation of LUSH Cosmetics including soap and shower gels to deliver and are hoping for other companies to donate products too. The Kindness Offensive team look to inspire as many people as possible, through acts of kindness and community spirit.
David Goodfellow, Founder of The Kindness Offensive Project, said:
“Thanks to National Lottery funding, The Kindness Offensive is currently delivering over 150 tonnes of products to good causes across London. We’re spreading smiles and offering help to those who are struggling at this time. We are happy that we’re able to play our part and we’re so grateful for the support.”
Another group overcoming obstacles to support communities is The Pink Ladies Cancer Support Group. It helps improve the mental, physical and emotional health and wellbeing of people living in Derry/Londonderry, Strabane and Limavady, and their families, both during and after a cancer diagnosis. Thanks to a new National Lottery grant of £10,000, the group has created ‘Immune Boosting’ packs to help local people with a cancer diagnosis fight against the COVID-19 virus. These have been delivered to their most at-risk members, helping feed the body with good foods to support keeping the immune system strong.
Maureen Collins, Project Manager at The Pink Ladies Cancer Support Group, said:
“A lot of our members are coping with a range of gruelling treatments such as chemotherapy, which weakens the immune system or had treatment stopped which leaves them very vulnerable during this scary time. We have moved our National Lottery funded support programme online which includes counselling, carer activities, education and health and wellbeing activities to ensure we are still fully supporting those in need.
“We believe in celebrating life, we are one big family here and want people to feel safe and cared for in their own homes. When you are diagnosed with cancer that’s enough to be getting on with never mind the added worry of COVID-19, so we’re doing our bit to help lessen these burdens. We want to thank National Lottery players for this new grant which will help us continue our much-needed work.”
Going forward, The National Lottery Community Fund will continue to prioritise getting funding to groups best placed to support their communities at this vital time and also towards those seeking to rebuild as the crisis abates.
The National Lottery Community Fund distributes money raised by National Lottery players for good causes. Last year it awarded £1.4 million a day on average to projects that help people and communities thrive.
To find out more please visit: www.TNLCommunityFund.org.uk