The National Lottery has announced a new £600 million fund to help projects hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
Charities and other organisations including arts groups and sports clubs will be aided by the fund, which seeks to support some of the vulnerable people in the country.
Other causes that will be boosted by the lottery money include programs that combat loneliness and isolation during the lockdown, provide support for the elderly and 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.
Up to £300 million from The National Lottery Community Fund over the next six months will be going to UK-wide to groups best placed to support people and communities amid the pandemic.
The National Lottery has announced a new £600 million fund to help organisations hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak (stock photo)
A £50 million Emergency Fund from The National Lottery Heritage Fund will address immediate pressures in the heritage sector over the next four months and provide increased investment in essential digital skills.
Sport England announced that £157 million of National Lottery funding would go towards a response package to support the sport and physical activity sector.
This includes organisations experiencing short term financial hardship or the ceasing of operations.
It has also 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.
Meanwhile, the Arts Council in England has announced £144 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 pandemic.
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.
This ranges from emergency funding for freelancers whose contracts were suddenly cancelled through to grants for audience facing venues which have unexpectedly had to close.
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 arts, community and charity, heritage, education, environment and sports sectors are among those to benefit from the funding.
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
In Scotland, Creative Scotland has repurposed over £10m National Lottery funds to keep funding flowing to those in most immediate because of 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 using £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.
And 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 figures highlighted today form the total funding package unveiled to date – with further funding announcements expected in the future.
Dawn Austwick, Chair of The National Lottery Forum, said: ‘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 si gnificance, 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.