Big Lottery Fund launches new £11m fund for 'inspirational projects'

Call issued for the public to suggest five projects Millennium Now should be used for

Big Lottery Fund
Big Lottery Fund

The Big Lottery Fund has launched an £11m funding programme to invest in five UK projects that the public will help to choose.

The Millennium Now fund was announced yesterday by Peter Wanless, chief executive of the Big Lottery Fund, who said the BLF wanted the public to have its say on where the money should go.

"We want to know what epitomises the needs and desires of this generation and this decade," he said. "We will be asking the nation to tell us what really matters to them, which beneficiary groups they feel most deserve our funding and what that funding should be used for."

A spokeswoman for the BLF said no further details about how the fund would be distributed were yet available. She said people who wanted to join the discussion should visit the project's website.

"The Millennium Now programme will allow the public to decide the themes that best represent their priorities for lottery funding in the current climate and will help to find five inspirational projects across the UK, each to receive a multi-million Big Lottery Fund cash injection," she said.

The new fund was launched as the BLF published a report assessing the impact of projects supported by the Millennium Commission, such as the Eden Project and Tate Modern.

The report found the programmes had a wide impact in and outside the UK, including the creation of almost 7,000 permanent jobs and almost as many short-term ones, the regeneration of neglected and derelict parts of UK cities and countryside, and the education of "a generation of children".
It said three projects had failed by 2010, but pointed out that the programme was a "risk-bearing enterprise".
"The high-risk, high-reward approach to funding taken by the Millennium Commission has resulted in projects that have made significant connections with the millions of visitors they have attracted between them," it said.

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