NEW figures out this week reveal that over £400 million has gone to communities across the UK since lockdown, thanks to National Lottery players. Despite the challenges presented by COVID-19, players have continued to support The National Lottery, enabling many millions in much-needed funding to continue to flow to amazing local projects and good causes.
The money, distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK, has been used by communities to help tackle local problems caused by the pandemic, as well as to continue longer-standing projects designed to improve lives and help people thrive.
The money has reached more than 8,200 community groups to date, funding activities ranging from respite care for families with children who have additional needs to support with odd jobs around the home for vulnerable disabled people, as well as projects focussed on helping communities cope with the crisis.
Good causes of all sizes – from grassroots groups to UK-wide charities – have benefited, making it possible for them to continue their inspiring work supporting people and communities through these tough times. There are many amazing examples of community spirit, neighbourliness and civic action. The money from National Lottery players is helping to keep that spirit going.
In the East of England, Disability Peterborough was awarded almost £50,000 so that a team of staff and volunteers could provide a range of support, including a new handyperson service to local disabled people, helping them with small jobs around the house during the pandemic. Wearing PPE and adhering to social distancing, the staff and volunteers have helped people with all sorts of tasks such as replacing light bulbs, delivering jigsaws, cleaning bedsheets and gardening. The team have made hundreds of visits to disabled people’s homes in the last three months – many of whom have little or no social contact with others.
Handyman and armed forces veteran Jeff, pictured far left (above), is just one of the team who has been working around the clock to help those in need. Not only has he been doing odd jobs in their homes, but also recognised other issues people are facing, such as struggling financially, and referred them to other Disability Peterborough services that can support them further.
Sandie Burns, CEO at Disability Peterborough, said:
“As soon as the crisis hit we knew that it would negatively impact people with disabilities, especially those who were shielding or told to self-isolate. Since setting up our new handy person scheme, we have been supporting the 100 most vulnerable disabled people across the city following a huge demand for the service. It has made such a difference to people’s lives – one lady was so grateful for our help that she burst into tears. Small acts of kindness mean so much and give people a sense of self-worth. We’ve become their extended family during these tough times. I am so thankful for all of our staff and volunteers, as well as National Lottery players for making this vital support possible.”
Sólás in Northern Ireland is using over £95,000 to support children and young people who live with a sibling with additional needs. Based in Belfast, they are currently helping high-risk families who are struggling during COVID-19 by providing three hours of respite care for their child with a disability. Donna Jenning’s 12-year-old son, Micah, both pictured, has autism and a severe learning disability and has been going to Sólás for the last eight years.
“Micah relies on a lot of structure, familiar places, people and activities to help him through the day. This has all been suddenly taken away so he’s really struggling and we’ve seen a spiral in his behaviour and anxiety levels. That means life is very hard for us as a family. We are so thankful to The National Lottery Community Fund who have allowed Sólás to put everything in place to help families like ours during these uncertain times. He’s safe and he’s happy at Sólás. When Micah’s there it gives us time to breathe and spend quality time with our nine-year-old daughter, Tabitha. It is really brilliant for us all.”
Huggard, Wales’ leading centre for people who are sleeping rough in Cardiff, has received almost £50,000 to continue providing specialist counselling support for people experiencing homelessness in the city and to help address the additional challenges presented by COVID-19. Running for over 30 years, its day centre and hostel are open every day for anyone seeking help and refuge from the streets.
Mind Your Head in Scotland recently received £100,000 of National Lottery funding to support people across Shetland in improving their mental wellbeing. This includes wellbeing activities such as yoga, reading, baking and crafts, as well as a free and confidential service for people who are supporting, caring for, or living with someone experiencing mental health problems. The project will benefit over 1,500 people thanks to 15 hardworking volunteers.
Kirsten Nicolson, Chair of the Board of Trustees at Mind Your Head said:
“We’re delighted that The National Lottery Community Fund has recognised the importance of our work, and appreciate that every penny we receive goes towards helping the people of Shetland with their mental health and wellbeing. We cannot stress enough how much more important this is likely to be in the coming weeks and months due to COVID-19.”
Dawn Austwick, Chief Executive of The National Lottery Community Fund, said:
“Thousands of inspiring groups and projects across the UK have been providing phenomenal support to their communities since the crisis hit and continue to do so, all thanks to National Lottery players. We’ve now distributed over £400 million since March when lockdown began – this life-changing money is making a real difference and has helped communities rally together through these exceptionally challenging times.”
Thanks to National Lottery players, £30 million is raised every week for the UK’s good causes, and £41 billion has been distributed to 565,000 good causes across the UK since 1994.
To find out more visit www.TNLCommunityFund.org.uk