Sophie Ellis Bextor Claire House National Lottery visit

The charity sector is celebrating over £10.3 billion of funding from The National Lottery since the first draw in 1994.

To celebrate 25 years of funding from The National Lottery, charities and community groups across the UK have been posting ‘crossed finger selfies’ with their beneficiaries, volunteers and supporters.

The selfies have been shared as part of a dedicated day to celebrate the impact of the National Lottery on the charity sector, and have seen over 5,000 tweets using #NationalLottery25 on social media shared over the day – including Rethink Mental Illness, Children’s Society, The Eden Project, Downs Syndrome Society, British Deaf Association, Meningitis Research, Princes Trust Scotland, Youth Action Northern Ireland, The Museum of Colour, Lymphoma Action, Grow Wild, Gatwick Detainees, as well as local charities including Brightlife in Brighton, The Warm and Toasty Club in Colchester, Claire House Children’s Hospice in Liverpool and Herts Boat Rescue. DCMS and Baroness Diana Barran, the Minister for Civil Society, also joined in on the day.

National Lottery players have helped fund over 110,120 charitable projects over the past 25 years, with 80 per cent of grants going to smaller charities. This includes projects run by the smallest of grassroots community organisations right up to national charities, such as Mind UK, The Wildlife Trust, NSPCC, Age UK and The Princes Trust to name but a few.

Ben Harrison, Engagement Director at The National Lottery Community Fund, said:

“National Lottery players can feel proud of the difference they’ve made to communities across the UK. We want to ask everyone, including charities that have benefited from our funding, to join us in our celebrations by posting crossed finger selfies on social media to highlight the fact that money from The National Lottery really changes lives.”

Peter Stewart, Executive Director of The Eden Project, said:

‘This has been a great opportunity to show the real difference National Lottery funding is making to people’s lives and to communities up and down the UK. The Eden Project and The Big Lunch both owe much to National Lottery players, who can be proud of the role they’ve played in bringing people and communities together, creating fantastic assets for the country and enriching lives. Joining in on the 29th October is our way of celebrating and saying a huge thank you – we hope thousands of other grantees join in too.”

To shine a spotlight on The National Lottery’s impact on charities, children at Claire House Children’s Hospice in the Wirral received a surprise visit from singer, songwriter and mother of five, Sophie Ellis-Bextor earlier this week. Sophie visited during a pyjama-themed party and brought along a birthday cake, to celebrate The National Lottery’s support for charities across the UK over the past 25 years.

Sophie spent some time chatting to some of the staff, parents, children and their siblings, and hearing first-hand about the important work they do to and the impact that funding from The National Lottery has had on Claire House Children’s Hospice. Money from The National Lottery has been used in the development of the hospice, including the construction of a new Teenage Wing featuring four specialist bedrooms and two family rooms.

Sophie Ellis-Bextor said:

“I loved spending time visiting Claire House today, it is a bright, happy place and it’s been really special to talk to some of the children and their families, and to see how the amazing staff are helping them to live life to the full. The work Claire House Children’s Hospice do is so inspiring; as a mum, I feel it’s so important that charities like this are able to bring a sense of normality to family life during some of the most difficult times.

“Lots of people won’t be aware that The National Lottery has already raised billions of pounds for amazing charities that are transforming lives every day – today has really brought to life how this makes a difference to families.”

David Pastor, CEO, Claire House Children’s Hospice, said:

“The Pyjama party with Sophie has been amazing and it’s helped create some really special memories for the children, their siblings and parents.

“We’re really pleased to be part of the National Lottery’s 25th. Birthday celebrations. Funding from The National Lottery has helped us improve facilities for children and young people and refurbish our Art Room so children and their families have an up to date, safe and fun place to spend time together.

“Alongside charities in every part of the UK, we want to say a big thank you to National Lottery players who raise so much for charities and community groups.”

Discover the positive impact playing The National Lottery has had over the past 25 years by visiting www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk and get involved by using the 25th Birthday hashtag: #NationalLottery25