The UK National Lottery Provides £600m in Covid-19 Support
The National Lottery will provide £600m in funding to support UK charities who have seen donations plummet due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Camelot Group, who run the National Lottery, will provide a comprehensive package that will also help other areas of society who are under pressure such as the sports and art sectors.
50% of the total funding will be provided by the National Lottery Community Fund, legally named the Big Lottery Fund, which is a non-departmental public body responsible for distributing funds raised by the National Lottery for “good causes”. £300m will be distributed over the next six months to UK wide groups and charities.
£50m has also been set aside from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, which will be directed towards investment in essential digital skills training, aimed at relieving current pressures in the heritage sector. The fund was formed in 1994, replacing the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and supports a varied range of projects.
Previous programmes that have benefitted from the fund include Stonehenge Visitor Centre (£10m); renovation of York Minster, including the 600-year-old Great East Window (£10m); preservation and display of the Mary Rose (£26m); restoration of St George’s Market, Belfast (£2m) and the refurbishment of Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow (£13m).
Sport is set to be a significant beneficiary of the National Lottery fund with Sport England being confirmed as one of the organisations that will receive funds.
Sport England run several open funding programmes that encourage the public to become physically active, help individuals lead healthier lives which experts agree has a vital role to play in improving wellbeing.
Areas of funding include physical wellbeing, mental wellbeing, social and community development, economic development and individual development. A mental health crisis is seen as a real threat in the UK; social distancing measures brought in to combat the spread of the coronavirus has led to many feeling isolated and Sport England’s funds can help inclusion. Especially, if expected, the UK government announce a relaxation of the rules of the lockdown.
The chair of the National Lottery Forum, Dawn Austwick said the National Lottery has always supported various projects throughout the UK that help communities thrive. She said that the new injection of money would help those that need it the most. Saying;
Now, the funds available are switching focus to support communities, arts, heritage, sport, education and the environment to mitigate the unprecedented pressure they are coming under as the country rallies to overcome Covid-19.– Dawn Austwick, chair, National Lottery Forum.
The secretary for state for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden paid tribute to the creation of the fund by the National Lottery. He said, “In these uncertain times, lottery funding takes on an even greater significance, as we come together to deliver a national effort. I am delighted that the National Lottery is channelling its support to help those most in need across these sectors”.
Adding that the fund will help to support jobs, economic growth and would help support those that, “continue to keep Britain active, educated and entertained both during and after this pandemic”.