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£40 Million Lottery Boost To Nation's Health

18th March 2013

National Lottery contribution to health tops £1 billion in last five years

Lack of time and money are biggest obstacles to being healthy

The Big Lottery Fund is announcing today a £40 million health injection. This brings the total contribution to health and wellbeing from The National Lottery to over £1 billion in the last five years. The new ‘Well-being’ funding will support initiatives that increase physical activity, improve eating habits and tackle mental health. It will target areas, groups and people experiencing the starkest health inequalities.

The investment comes after a 20-year study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME)* reveals that the UK compares poorly with other European countries in terms of sickness and healthy life expectancy, and urges “additional concerted action”, including improved early intervention and treatment activities for major diseases and cancers.

Research by The National Lottery Good Causes, also published today, showed that many of us say that lack of time and money are the biggest obstacles to doing more to look after our health and wellbeing:

  • 45% of people in the UK said they didn’t have time to look after their health and wellbeing;
  • 38% cited lack of money as a barrier; and
  • 17% of 18-24 year olds and 18% of 55+ year olds said they don't do anything to support their health and wellbeing

Psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos, said: “Looking after our health and wellbeing doesn’t need to take time or be costly. It could just be going for a walk in a local park, or going on a day out with family and friends, taking up exercise or an art class. The National Lottery has funded thousands of projects, venues and charities that support people's health and wellbeing - many of them are free or low cost. With an average of 20 Lottery-funded projects for each postcode, there are accessible opportunities for everyone out there. We need to get over the psychological barriers to taking care of our health, develop better self-care skills and take responsibility for our well-being.”

Big Lottery Fund England Chair Nat Sloane, said: “Improving well-being and tackling health inequalities is a priority for us all; the evidence, including the recent IHME report, points to a growing problem. The more difficult question is how we can curb this trend and encourage a downward trajectory.

“We have found that the greatest impact can be achieved by adopting a holistic approach – ensuring interventions cover a number of well-being aspects, including mental health, physical activity and healthy eating.

“Our £40 million comes at a crucial time as recent research highlights cost is a barrier for many people when it comes to looking after their health and well-being. It will build on a range of free initiatives that we have funded in the last five years which target people in deprived communities and have been proven to work well. It will directly help hundreds of thousands to lead a healthier lifestyle and become more active.”

Health and well-being projects funded by The National Lottery over the past five years include working with children and their families to improve healthy eating during and after school and reduce obesity; programmes for over 50s including those with serious illness to improve fitness and well-being; investment into restoring our parks and open spaces and encouraging people in disadvantaged areas to adopt healthier lifestyles and improve their knowledge through community-based health projects.

Evaluation of these interventions have shown significant success including:

· 28 per cent increase in the number of primary school children reporting eating five portions of fruit or vegetables a day**

· The Travel Actively Consortium - of which leading, walking, cycling and health charities are a part of - has engaged 2 million people into being more physically active in just 4 years***

· Over 74 per cent (76,000) of people taking part in a Stockport community healthy living scheme experiencing a measurable impact on their physical or mental health****

For further information on Lottery-funded projects in your area visit For full details of the Big Lottery Fund programmes and grant awards visit

· All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,132 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 6 – 8 March 2013. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

Notes to editors

For more information or interviews please contact: Michael Thompson, National Lottery Good Causes on 020 7211 3894/07734 295745 or Big Lottery Fund Press Office on: 020 7211 1888

Notes to Editors:

  • Since launching in 1994, The National Lottery has raised over £29 billion for Good Causes across the UK in seven areas of funding Arts; Sport; Heritage; Environment; Health; Education and Voluntary/Charity

· Every week National Lottery players raise £30 million to help change people's lives across the UK

· Various examples in BIG’s well-being evaluation: