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North East Connected

Hopping Across The North East From Hub To Hub


ByLaura Jones

May 14, 2020

Charities and organisations affected by the unprecedented impact of the coronavirus outbreak in the UK are being given access to a comprehensive package of support of up to £600 million of repurposed money from The National Lottery.

Thanks to National Lottery players, hundreds of millions of pounds of National Lottery funding will be distributed over the next few months to help projects in the UK most impacted by coronavirus and which support some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.

Whether it is funding for good causes that combat loneliness and isolation, provide support for the elderly, or projects that support physical and mental health in the community – the extensive funding packages span the arts, community and charity, heritage, education, environment and sports sectors.

The funding support announced to date in England to help tackle the impact of coronavirus, includes:

  • Up to £300 million from The National Lottery Community Fund over the next six months going UK-wide to groups best placed to support people and communities at this vital time.
  • A £50 million Emergency Fund from The National Lottery Heritage Fund UK-wide to address immediate pressures in the heritage sector over the next four months and provide increased investment in essential digital skills;
  • Sport England announced £157 million of National Lottery funding would go towards a response package to support the sport and physical activity sector including organisations experiencing short term financial hardship or the ceasing of operations;
  • The Arts Council in England announced £144 million of National Lottery funding would go towards an emergency response package to support individuals and organisations across the cultural sector in response to the Covid-19 crisis.
  • The British Film Institute (BFI) has made £4.6 million of National Lottery funding available to alleviate immediate pressure for organisations and individuals in the screen industries hardest hit by the pandemic, ranging from emergency funding for freelancers whose contracts were suddenly cancelled through to grants for audience facing venues which have unexpectedly had to close. The BFI also plays a crucial leadership role, working with the entire screen sector, to help shape measures responding to the crisis and guiding its strategy for recovery.

The figures highlighted today form the total funding package unveiled to date – further funding announcements are expected in the future.

Dawn Austwick, Chair of The National Lottery Forum, comments of the contribution, “The National Lottery has always supported projects that help people and communities across the UK thrive. And 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.”

Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said: “Since the National Lottery began in 1994, its dedicated players have raised more than £40 billion for good causes across the UK, making an enormous difference to people’s lives and the issues they care about.

“In these uncertain times, lottery funding takes on an even greater significance, as we come together to deliver a national effort. So I am delighted that the National Lottery is channelling its support to help those most in need across these sectors.

“This will help to support jobs and economic growth, allowing us to support vulnerable people who are relying on us, and continue to keep Britain active, educated and entertained both during and after this epidemic.”

The Government has also pledged a £750 million package of support for UK charities which was announced earlier this month, to ensure they can continue their vital work.

£30 million is raised every week on average by National Lottery players for projects big and small across the country.  The news is a welcome boost for many National Lottery funded good causes who have been going to innovative lengths to ensure that people who use their support can still access their services in some way during these exceptional times. 

While it is not yet known specifically which projects will receive the funding first, many have already been adapting to the crisis as best they can within the parameters of social distancing including:

The Warm and Toasty Club, based in Essex, is an intergenerational community group that uses music, arts and history to engage and entertain people over 60. In response to Coronavirus, the Warm and Toasty Club have moved online. They are now holding live online Memory Afternoons on Facebook with exciting features, including #BiscuitOfTheWeek, in order to combat loneliness and bring people together virtually during isolation. As well as this, they are providing online interactive content for older people across their social media accounts, including word searches and uplifting videos of past Memory Afternoons.

Join the Movement is a brand-new Sport England campaign, funded by The National Lottery, to help the nation stay active at home during the Covid-19 outbreak. Fun and creative ideas on how get moving can be found on the online hub, which gives access to a range of home workout options and advice from organisations such as the NHS, and workouts from popular fitness brands and influencers such as Les Mills on Demand, Joe Wicks (The Body Coach) and FiiT, many of whom are offering free content and extended trials to help people get easy access to home exercise. The campaign also features an upbeat new television and radio advert, featuring user-generated content of people having fun and getting active at home in creative ways, which launched yesterday. The public are encouraged to share their own experiences and join the movement online using the hashtag #StayInWorkOut.

Tim Hollingsworth, Sport England’s CEO, said: “Despite this time of great uncertainty, we are already seeing people find fun and creative new ways to get moving and come together, even while staying apart. This campaign seeks to help bring together the best of that and encourages people to share what they are doing using #StayinWorkout.”

To find out more about the range of funding support announced by National Lottery distributors across the UK to date, visit the National Lottery Good Causes website www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/coronavirus-pandemic-response