Charities and organisations throughout the UK supporting communities bearing the brunt of the cost-of-living pressures are being given access to vital support from The National Lottery – as new research announced this week shows people across the country are predicting mounting difficulties for local services due to the impact of the current economic pressures.
Thanks to National Lottery players, thousands of projects throughout the UK are being supported to keep vital local facilities and services running this winter, with the money helping some of the most vulnerable people impacted by the cost-of-living pressures in our communities.
National Lottery funding distributors (encompassing sports, arts, heritage, and community) collectively awarded over £1 billion pounds to support communities throughout the UK during the Coronavirus pandemic, to help them cope and recover. Now the £30 million raised each week by National Lottery players for good causes is at the forefront in supporting communities who need it the most during the cost-of-living pressures.
And new figures released this week through The National Lottery Community Fund’s latest **Community Research Index shows that over half of UK adults (55 per cent) believe that supporting people with the rising cost-of-living is most important for the wellbeing of their local community, with almost exactly one in two (49 per cent) intending to volunteer in 2023 with young people (18 to 24) leading the way (69 per cent).
Organisations throughout the UK facing increased demands, challenges, and hardships as a direct result of the crisis are being supported in various ways, as National Lottery funders have responded with new priorities to help communities with an approach that centres around flexibility and support.
Many existing funding programmes have been adapted or tailored by National Lottery funders to prioritise cost of living support. The National Lottery Community Fund alone is making an initial £75 million available UK wide to help those most in need – providing community groups with greater certainty at this critical time. All funding will be kept open and available, and ready to adapt, as part of its We’re Here for You commitment.
Whether it’s funding to improve the thermal efficiency of heritage sites, providing energy efficient floodlights for community sports clubs faced with the burden of increased costs, providing thousands of free hot meals and food parcels, warm places for the community to come together during the winter months, or supporting with money management and mental health initiatives – The National Lottery is making life that little bit easier by providing a wide array of support across sports, arts, community and charity, heritage, education, environment, and sports sectors during these challenging times.
One such project receiving much-needed support is Scottish charity Just Bee Productions, who have helped a former substance misuser from Dundee who lost custody of her daughter turn her life around.
Cheryl Ferguson thought she was a ‘rubbish mum’ after being separated from her child four years ago.
But after the game-changing support of Scottish National Lottery-funded charity Just Bee Productions, Ferguson is now back reunited with her daughter and has completed a remarkable full recovery.
Just Bee Productions use creative arts to enhance lives and provide opportunities for marginalised people, while also providing holistic support to people experiencing poverty. The charity was awarded £134,191 by The National Lottery Community Fund to continue providing thousands of hot meals and food parcels every year, in addition to activities for families such as creative writing support and production-based sessions.
Ferguson said: “I never had any self-worth. I didn’t believe in myself – I thought I was a rubbish mum.
“The support I’ve had has just been amazing. They’ve helped me build my confidence, helped me to be a mum, helped get my daughter back and helped me in every aspect of my life.
“My mental health has been in the best place it’s ever been in the last year.
“It shows that if I can change my life around, anybody could.”
One project to have benefited in England is Staffordshire North and Stoke-on-Trent Citizens’ Advice Bureau (SNSCAB), who have been able to continue delivering their Potteries Moneywise (PMW) financial capabilities project and support vulnerable communities in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Biddulph and Stoke-on-Trent with proactively managing finances and debt.
Further support from The National Lottery has helped the project reach survivors of domestic abuse, minority ethnic communities, young people and those with learning disabilities.
And a single mum from Staffordshire admits she has only been able to remain in her house with her daughter thanks to the crucial support.
The anonymous service user, who discovered the scheme via Facebook, said: “I did not have had any electric for when my little girl came home from school.
“Potteries Moneywise have shared some helpful information and I feel a lot less worried now.”
Be Safe Be Well, a charity in Northern Ireland, have also continued to support the Coleraine community thanks to National Lottery funding, with a retired train conductor who suffered severe depression now determined to make a difference to others around him.
Stephen O’Hara is back on his feet delivering food to those in the Coleraine community who are struggling to make ends meet, despite struggling to pay his own bills.
Be Safe Be Well runs Men’s Sheds across the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council area which improve the health and well-being of men aged over 25.
They are using a £500,000 grant over four years to continue to support existing Men’s Sheds across Coleraine, as well as set up a new shed in the Laurel Hill area.
And O’Hara, who runs a men’s group to help with depression and also drops food parcels for up to 100 people a week, believes projects like Be Safe Be Well are of the utmost importance to communities.
He said: “If I wasn’t doing what me and the project are doing with the food drops, there would a lot more people struggling.”
Struggling families across Carmarthenshire who are unable to pay their bills have also received vital support thanks to National Lottery-funded project Foothold Cymru, a social justice charity working to create strong communities where individuals can thrive and not just survive.
The National Lottery funding will continue to enable people to access low-cost food, as well as ensuring that people have access to practical facilities like kitchens, laundries and tools, warm clothes and school uniforms, career advice and experience and certified training in a variety of lifestyle subjects such as gardening and cookery.
Highlighting the importance of the support from The National Lottery, David Knott, the Chief Executive of The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “Thanks to National Lottery players, we are here to support communities through good times and bad. The money they raise provides much-needed funding to incredible organisations that are making an important difference to people’s lives. This now includes helping people in a range of ways as they deal with the impact of the rising cost of living.
“In these challenging times, National Lottery funding takes on even greater significance and our message to communities, groups and volunteers working tirelessly throughout the UK is that we are here for you, and we will continue to listen and be flexible and responsive to the challenges and pressures you are facing.”
The National Lottery Community Fund is the largest funder of community activity in the UK and supports people and communities to thrive.
National Lottery players raise more than £30 million a week for arts, education, environment, health, heritage, sport, and voluntary projects across the UK; see the difference it’s making near you at www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk
** NB: Research conducted on behalf of The National Lottery Community Fund by Savanta ComRes between 2nd and 28th November 2022, amongst 8,968 UK adults weighted to be representative of UK adults by gender, age, region, social grade and ethnicity. 8,059 UK adults were previously surveyed between 7th and 22nd September 2021 and 7,009 UK adults were interviewed between 27th November and 8th December 2020.