National Lottery players have supported over 57,000 World War 2 veterans

The funding process explained

We all dream about what we’d do if we won the lottery – and how it would change our lives. Maybe we’d help family and friends, travel the world, or even buy that dream home with a hot tub and a personal robot to bring us tea in bed. But robot or no robot, the reality is that every time you play a National Lottery game you are making a difference – to your community and life-changing projects across the UK. And here’s how….

It all begins with Play

When you play any of our games you give yourself a chance of becoming one of over six million weekly winnersincluding six millionaires – that are created in an average week. In fact, last year, our players shared a whopping £69m in winnings a week. But it goes further that that. Every game you play also helps raise money for National Lottery projects across the UK – making, on average, a staggering £33m a week. So go ahead – give yourself a pat on the back.

Where does the money go once you’ve played?

The money raised every week goes in to a central fund which is divided into four areas . The biggest share, 40 per cent, is allocated to education, health, the environment, community groups and charities across the UK. Twenty per cent goes to sport, mostly to grassroots projects but also to support our Olympians and Paralympians. Twenty per cent goes to the Arts – funding everyone from British filmmakers to local choirs. Then final 20 per cent goes to protecting and enriching the nation’s heritage, from public parks to the First World War centenary commemorations.

Who decides where it goes?

The government decides how the money is divided and has appointed 12 expert organisations to ensure Lottery funding is invested fairly and to the benefit of us all. The Big Lottery Fund is responsible for health, education, the environment and charity projects throughout the UK. Sport England, Sport Wales, Sport Northern Ireland and Sport Scotland look after grassroots sport funding, while UK Sport makes sure our elite athletes are primed for gold. Arts Council England, Creative Scotland, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the Arts Council of Wales use Lottery funding to enrich the UK through art, while the British Film Institute ensures our film industry is world class –and that we keep training the young talent needed to keep it that way. The Heritage Lottery Fund works hard to preserve and transform the nation’s rich heritage. If you want to find out more about any of these organisations just click on the links above.

There are also opportunities for you to get involved – for example ITV’s People’s Millions, run by the Big Lottery Fund –  allow the public to vote for the projects which they feel to be the most deserving.

How do people apply for funding?

It depends on what you want to fund. You’ll find details of how to apply for relevant funding on the websites of the organisations above, but if you’re not sure which area the grant you’re looking for falls into, click here and the Lottery funding finder will help you.  Or if you prefer, you can call the funding helpline on 0845 275 0000.  Lottery funding distributors are always on the look out for brilliant projects that help make the nation a better place – so get thinking!

How do they decide who gets funding?

As you might expect, this depends on what you would like funding for and the amount of money you require. If you’re looking for smaller amounts, the process is relatively simple, but, larger grants require a more detailed and rigorous application process. Not only that, but each year there are more requests for funding than Lottery distributors can hope to fulfil.  Obviously it’s a big responsibility, so it’s vital that the distributors have all the information they need to make the right decision and ensure value for money. What really matters is that whichever projects we fund, from the smallest (£35 for a trumpet for a community band) to the biggest, (the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games), all of our funded projects make a difference and help change the nation for the better.

And, with over 430,000 projects funded by the National Lottery since 1994, you can be sure everyone in the UK will continue to benefit.   Find out what’s been funded in your area here.