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28th April 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.

The Tool Shed van ready to deliver - credit CBSA

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.

CBSA Project Coordinator Vanessa Bolton ready to sew headbands - credit CBSA

The funding support announced to date in the UK 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 and launched Join the Movement, a National Lottery funded consumer campaign, backed by tv advertising to encourage people to stay active at home and share experiences on social media through #StayInWorkOut;

The Arts Council in England announced £143 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.

Together with the Welsh Government, the Arts Council of Wales have been able to put £5.1 million from National Lottery sources into a £7 million Arts Resilience Fund for Wales. The fund will provide support for arts funded individuals and organisations to help them through the Coronavirus crisis

Sport Wales have launched a Sport Resilience Fund, with £4.75 million from National Lottery sources to support sports clubs and their partner networks ensuring the nation is able to remain active.
Creative Scotland has repurposed over £10m National Lottery funds to keep funding flowing to those in most immediate need due to the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. Resources have also been redeployed to ensure those working across Scotland’s arts, screen and creative industries can maintain their practice during the coming months.

sportscotland is accelerating £16.4 million of investment across the sporting system (£8.2 million The National Lottery and £8.2 million Scottish Government) to support Scottish Governing Bodies (SGBs), local partners and clubs and community organisations. The funding will help protect the jobs of an estimated 1,600 members of staff working in the sector.

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has opened a £500,000 National Lottery funded Artists Emergency Programme for freelance artists, creative practitioners and performers. Grants of up to £5,000 each will be used to support the research, design and future presentation of arts event and performance, including resources to help artists develop their creative practices.

The National Lottery & Sport England's Stay in Work Out campaign

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.

Project Give

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.

The Tool Shed project managed by the Centre for Building Social Action (CBSA) in Carmarthenshire (Wales) is traditionally a tool lending library which makes DIY and repair more affordable for eligible working families throughout Carmarthenshire. Since the Coronavirus Outbreak, they have set up a Facebook page which provides tips on home DIY and they are also using their van (normally used to deliver tools) to deliver food parcels in the community and plants and seeds, such as tomato and rhubarb, for people who want to start growing at home. They have also designed and developed headbands for NHS workers and care staff to wear with their facemasks to prevent the elastic from cutting into their skin. Their volunteers are being tutored online on how to develop the masks.

Having received £10,000 in National Lottery funding to support its Covid-19 emergency response, Well Fed (Scotland) is working to alleviate the effects of Coronavirus in Glasgow's communities by ensuring access to healthy and nutritious meals for those who need it most. Inspiring positivity and resilience, Well Fed’s beneficiaries include people affected by homelessness, income deprivation, social isolation and those vulnerable due to age, disability or health conditions. The project is in regular contact with hundreds of individuals and families on a daily basis through social media and telephone conversations in order to respond efficiently to the crisis. With the help from a team of volunteers, Well Fed is currently providing 2,000 meals per day and the team are working hard to increase this to 3,000 meals per day imminently. As of the end of last week, the project has produced 51,640 meals and distributed 5,305 emergency food packs.

Streetwise Community Circus (Northern Ireland) has created a digital hub called Streetwise at Home, where children can learn circus skills from professional circus performers. While the Ulster Orchestra’s new digital platform #UOletsplayathome features one of their players or a performance every day at 1500 on their Facebook page.

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

National Lottery players are encouraged to play online at or by downloading the National Lottery app and only buy their tickets in retail as part of their essential shop.

For further information, case studies, images and interview opportunities, please contact: Maddie Watts 07714247160 or email

Notes to editors

  • Since The National Lottery’s first draw took place on 19 November 1994, more than £40 billion has been raised for good causes in the areas of arts, sport, heritage and community.
  • National Lottery players contribute around £30 million to good causes every week.
  • The National Lottery has made more than 5,500 millionaires but its primary purpose is giving to good causes - over 565,000 individual grants have been awarded across the UK, that’s the equivalent of 200 life-changing projects in every UK postcode district.