UK National Lottery pledges £600m to coronavirus relief efforts

The National Lottery has pledged £600m to COVID-19 relief efforts in the UK.

Today, the UK’s National Lottery announced a £600m support package for charities and organisations negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Funds from the support package will be distributed over the coming months to help charity projects in the UK, including initiatives that will combat loneliness and isolation, providing care for the elderly and mental health support in communities.

Support will also be available to organisations and charitable projects across several sectors including the arts, community and charity, education, environment, sports and heritage.

The £600m pledge

Of the National Lottery’s pledge, up to £300m from the National Lottery Community Fund will be distributed to groups best placed to support people and communities affected by the pandemic over the next six months.

A £50m Emergency Fund from the National Lottery Heritage Fund will be used to tackle the pressure facing the heritage sector over the next four months while at the same time providing increased investment in essential digital skills.

Organisations in the cultural sector that have been impacted by the pandemic will receive £144m from the Arts Council. The Welsh Government and the Arts Council of Wales will also put £5.1m from the National Lottery into a £7m Arts Resilience Fund for Wales.

Creative Scotland will repurpose more than £10m in National Lottery funding for the arts, screen and creative industries. At the same time, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland opened a £500,000 National Lottery-funded Artists’ Emergency Programme for freelance performers, artists and creatives.

Sport England will use £157m of National Lottery funding to support the physical activity and sporting sector. Sports Wales has announced a Sport Resilience Fund worth £4.8m, while Sports Scotland will inject £16.4m of investment funds to help support Scottish governing bodies, community organisations and local partners.

On top of this, the British Film Institute (BFI) has made £4.6m of National Lottery funding available to help support organisations and individuals in the screen industries during the pandemic. This will include emergency funding for freelancers who have had their contracts cancelled as well as grants for venues that have been forced to close.

Comment from the Lottery

Dawn Austwick, Chair of The National Lottery Forum, said: “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.”

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