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National Lottery players raise £179 million Jackpot for the Nation

24th February 2016

Britain is going to get a lot more talent, thanks to The National Lottery’s record breaking month.

National Lottery players raised a staggering £179 million for arts, sports, heritage and community projects in January – the highest total ever raised by National Lottery players in a single month. This was a result of strong sales across all National Lottery games and, in particular, an unprecedented level of demand for Lotto tickets due to a hugely successful roll series that culminated in a record £66 million Lotto jackpot. An additional £85 million is being paid to the Government in Lottery Duty for the month of January.

John Whittingdale, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, said: “This is great news. The National Lottery's record-breaking month will make a huge difference to communities right across the UK. It will mean more investment in our culture and heritage sites, improved sporting facilities and greater support for voluntary organisations.”

Alesha Dixon, a judge on Britain’s Got Talent, celebrated the record breaking news at the Jimi Hendrix Museum in London, which has been restored and recently reopened to the public, thanks to £1.2 million in National Lottery funding from Heritage Lottery Fund.

Alesha Dixon said: “National Lottery players have just written a massive cheque for the nation. Everyone who plays The National Lottery should feel proud they are supporting so many people, of all ages, to develop their talents.”

Alesha was joined by a group of talented people from a diverse range of National Lottery funded projects including a young musician, a gymnast, a contemporary dancer, and a tai chi instructor who teaches older people.

12-year-old Nathan Dawkins has developed his love of guitar at World Heart Beat Music Academy in Wandsworth, which has received National Lottery funding to inspire young people to achieve excellence in music.

Nathan said: “Going to the World Heart Beat Academy is a big part of my life, which I really look forward to. Playing the guitar makes me feel great. I’ve also made friends with so many talented musicians and songwriters and learnt so much about music and life in general. Meeting Alesha and learning more about the work of Jimi Hendrix has made today very special for me.”

68-year-old Mary Callaghan, a tai chi instructor with Open Age, which champions an active life for older people, said: “Through funding from The National Lottery charities like Open Age are able to provide a variety of classes for older people. Attending an exercise class is far more than keeping fit, it increases a sense of well being, provides opportunities to form new friendships and enhances the rest of the week. Thanks to The National Lottery for helping to put smiles on so many faces."

Joining them was Gaius (Jay) Thompson, a 19-year-old gymnast from Basildon, one of 1,300 athletes funded by The National Lottery. He believes the £179 million provides a welcome cash boost for athletes ahead of the Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Jay said: “National Lottery funding gives us the best coaching, medical support and facilities. It has been a big part of my career success. Thanks to National Lottery players our athletes are in great shape to go for gold in Rio.”

Alesha also met 17-year-old Connor Scott, from Blyth in Northumberland, the winner of BBC Young Dancer 2015. Connor trained at the National Youth Dance Company (NYDC), which is hosted at Sadler’s Wells, in 2014-15. Both NYDC and Sadler’s Wells have received National Lottery funding.

Connor said: “National Lottery funding is vital to the success of the arts in this country. It funds dance, music and fantastic theatre spaces, allowing other dancers like me to develop ourselves as artists. Thank you to National Lottery players for providing the arts with such great opportunities."

Notes to editors

On average, National Lottery players raise £34 million for arts, sport, heritage and community projects across the UK every week.

The National Lottery has so far given away over £57 billion in prizes and created more than 4,000 millionaires or multi-millionaires since its launch in 1994.

Camelot UK Lotteries Limited is the licensed operator of The National Lottery. National Lottery games include Lotto, EuroMillions and the GameStore range of Scratchcards and online Instant Win Games.

Parliament has determined the money is awarded to the sectors in these percentages: arts, sport, heritage 20 percent each, and 40 percent to the voluntary sector.

Money raised by National Lottery players is distributed by 12 National Lottery distributors:

Arts Council England, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Arts Council of Wales, British Film Institute (BFI), The Big Lottery Fund, Creative Scotland, Heritage Lottery Fund, Sport England, Sport Northern Ireland, SportScotland, Sport Wales, UK Sport.

The World Heart Beat Music Academy has received over £160,000 from Arts Council England through five grants. Open Age has had more than £400,000 from the Big Lottery Fund. Sadler’s Wells has received over £47 million of funding from Arts Council England.

For more information on National Lottery funding please contact The National Lottery Promotions Unit on 020 7211 3894.

For more information on National Lottery sales, winners and games please contact Camelot on 0207 632 5711.