£2 million fund from The National Lottery to bring people together and boost community spirit

  • The £2 million fund coincides with research showing that nearly half of adults (45%) in the West Midlands say community spirit is strong in their local neighbourhood
  • To mark The National Lottery’s 25th Birthday and this fund, Oscar-winning animators Aardman unveiled an uplifting film celebrating community spirit in modern UK, and the small acts that can make a big difference

A £2 million National Lottery fund has opened to celebrate The National Lottery’s 25th Birthday, with thousands of grants available to anyone with a great idea to bring their community together.

Designed to help communities across the UK join in with The National Lottery’s 25-year birthday celebrations, the £2 million fund from The National Lottery – called #CelebrateNationalLottery25 – is open to anyone with a great idea to make a difference in their local community.

The fund offers anyone the chance to win £1,000 to make their idea a reality – and showing that no individual or idea is too small to make a big difference in their community.

Thanks to National Lottery players, lives of ordinary people have already been transformed in Birmingham over the past quarter of a century. This includes Age Concern Birmingham, in Boldmere, Sutton Coldfield, who hosted a 1940s style tea dance to celebrate Armed Forces Day last year. The venue for the dance was their ‘communitea café’ for local older people who may be experiencing isolation and loneliness. There was a live singer, war memorabilia and lots of cake – all thanks to £500 of National Lottery funding.

Veteran and member of staff at Age Concern’s Communitea event www.aaronscottrichards.co.uk

Dawn McCarthy, Commercial Operations Manager at Age Concern Birmingham, said: “Our café has become a real part of the community and we wanted to get people together to celebrate this. It’s a space open to everyone, young or old, to socialise and meet new people. A group of veterans, who loved the event, gather here weekly and they’ve become a really close knit group of friends. Our 1940s style tea dance was the first of event if its kind we’ve held in the café and we’ve continued to expand our offering and hold special gatherings like this since.”

It is hoped that the fund will boost community spirit across the UK and appeal to individuals who might not previously considered applying for National Lottery funding.

A National Lottery survey reveals that being part of a community makes people feel happier (84%), less lonely (81%) and mentally healthier (75%).

  • The survey of 2,000 UK adults also showed that community spirit remains alive and well in our neighbourhoods, with results showing that in the West Midlands:
  • Almost half of people (45%) say there was strong community spirit in their local area.
  • 41% of people said they would like improvements to be made in their local area, but only 1 in 4 believe they could make a difference to their local community themselves.
  • Around 1 in 3 of people said that lack of funding was a reason for not being able to make a positive difference in their community.

Nicola Thurbon, Senior Head of Regional Funding for the Midlands at The National Lottery Community Fund, responsible for distributing around £12m a week to good causes, said: “For 25 years The National Lottery has been helping communities to thrive in every corner of the UK – from inner cities to rural villages, and everywhere in between. That’s why the fund, #CelebrateNationalLottery25, is to say happy birthday and to empower anyone and everyone to make their idea for their community a reality.”

Academy Award winners Aardman teamed up with The National Lottery to release a film to celebrate the fund. Known for their unique animation techniques, the creators of Wallace and Gromit have designed a range of diverse and inclusive characters representing people and communities that reflect the modern UK, with a surprise cameo from stand-up comedian James Acaster who voices one of the characters.

The animation shows what four people would do if they had £1,000 to use in their community. The script was informed by qualitative research from members of the public across the UK, featuring young people hosting a party to bring neighbours of all generations together, and older people hiring a café to fill with memorabilia to help stimulate memories for those living with dementia.

#CelebrateNationalLottery25 opens to applications from Saturday 23 November at 8am until Friday 6 December. Whether it’s a wheelchair lift for a dial-a-ride minivan, a set of events at your local library or even a llama visit to a primary school, The National Lottery wants to hear your great ideas.

Everyone who submits an application will be entered into the lottery draw, which will take place after the deadline closes at 2pm on Friday 6 December 2019. Applications will go through a checking process to ensure that the idea being funded is eligible and that the money will be used as intended.

A further £5.5 million will be released to grassroots community groups next year through The National Lottery Community Fund’s popular Awards For All scheme.

Go to: www.CelebrateNationalLottery25.com