National Lottery has raised £29bn since its launch

Figures released on the 18th anniversary of the first draw show more than 390,000 grants have been awarded

The first National Lottery draw
The first National Lottery draw

The National Lottery has raised £29bn for UK good causes since its launch 18 years ago today, according to official figures from the National Lottery Promotions Unit.

More than 390,000 separate grants have been awarded to arts, charity, education, health, sports, heritage and environmental projects since the first draw on 19 November 1994.

Good cause money from the lottery is distributed through 13 organisations, including the Big Lottery Fund, the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England.

Almost £10bn has been given to support health, education, environment and other community projects, £5.1bn has been spent on heritage schemes and £4.4bn has been given to sport.

A further £2.2bn went to support the London 2012 Olympic Games, and £2.1bn was spent on supporting Millennium projects. The lottery raises £30m a week for good causes.

A total of 623 Olympic and Paralympic medals have been won since 1997 by Lottery-funded athletes, including the distance runner Mo Farah, who won two golds at the London Games earlier this year.

Peter Wanless, chair of the National Lottery Forum and chief executive of the Big Lottery Fund, said: "Most people know that lottery funding has catapulted our athletes to extraordinary medal success, but it has also made an important difference to so many areas of British life.

"National Lottery funding allows people to fulfil their potential, whether that’s in the arts or sport, and preserves our rich heritage for generations to come. It gives a helping hand to people who need extra support, including many of the most vulnerable in our society."

More than 70 per cent of all lottery grants are for £10,000 or less and go to helping small projects in local communities.

Funding has restored or rejuvenated 5,800 village halls around the country. The lottery has bought land nearly three times the size of the Isle of Wight to protect rare species.

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