With the Great Exhibition of the North shining a spotlight on all that is great about the North of England, one of the event’s main sponsors has lifted the lid on how much the region’s communities have benefitted from National Lottery funding since its launch more than 20 years ago.

The Big Lottery Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK, has revealed that over £3.4 billion of the money raised by National Lottery players for good causes has been awarded to communities across the region.

More than 45,000 projects in the North East, North West and Yorkshire and the Humber have received this vital funding since 1995 – with supported projects ranging from small village halls to huge local landmarks.

When it comes to grants, 90% are for under £10,000 – going to grassroots groups and charities. This money has helped make a difference to communities in villages, towns and cities across the region.

The Big Lottery Fund is releasing the figures to mark the launch of this summer’s Great Exhibition of the North, where it is funding a programme to boost the skills, knowledge and experience of the army of volunteers working at the event.

It is using the opportunity to look at some of the amazing projects that have used its funding to bring out the best in communities across the North of England.

You may even be surprised to find out some of the projects on your doorstep that National Lottery funding has supported over the years!

  • Millennium Bridge (Gateshead)

The award winning 130 metre bridge spans the quays of Newcastle and Gateshead, and was funded by the National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund.

  • Man Health CIC (County Durham)

Man Health used their National Lottery funding to set up open peer support groups across County Durham for men experiencing depression, to share friendship and support over a common condition. All groups and sessions are run by men with personal experience of depression.

  • Ayresome Community Enterprise (Middlesbrough)

Ayresome run social enterprise activities for children during the school holidays, where they develop their business and entrepreneurial skills by designing, creating and marketing their own products.

  • Emmaus North East (South Shields)

The provision of supported accommodation for homeless people. While people stay here they work for the social enterprise and attend support meetings; obtaining the skills required for independent living.

  • Redcar Development Trust (Redcar)

Coatham Memorial Hall was refurbished to ensure that it was safe, suitable and sustainable for the local community to use now and in the future.

  • Great Exhibition of the North (NewcastleGateshead)

The Great Exhibition of the North will be the biggest event in England this year. It is free to attend and will tell the inspiring story of the North of England and how its innovators, businesses, artists and designers have shaped our present and are inspiring our future. It is expected to reach an audience of three million people, including more than one million visitors from across the UK and overseas. To see what’s on visit www.getnorth2018.com.

James Harcourt, England Grant Making Director for Big Lottery Fund, said: “The Great Exhibition of the North is a celebration of the pioneering spirit of the North of England, which stems from the people and communities that live and work in the region.

“As the UK’s largest funder of community activity we’re proud that National Lottery money is supporting this event. It’s also a great opportunity to reflect on the huge range of inspirational projects we have funded across the North of England that have brought people together to make great things happen in their communities.”

To find out more visit www.biglotteryfund.org.uk.