Coronavirus funding pushes National Lottery Community Fund's income over £1bn for the first time

The National Lottery Community Fund's annual income has topped £1bn for the first time.

According to the grant-maker’s latest accounts, for the year to the end of March 2021, it hit the funding milestone thanks to nearly £200m of Coronavirus Community Support Fund money it received from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport.

It awarded more than £188m of that funding to voluntary sector organisations to help them weather the pandemic, alongside £513m of grants from the NLCF itself.

Proceeds from the lottery increased by £15m on the previous year to more than £725m.

Operating costs for distributing lottery income fell to £42m, but total expenditure was still more than £822m.

The grant-maker ended the financial year with a £213m surplus before tax.

Total costs for the NLCF’s 815 staff was about £37m.

David Knott, who was appointed the grant-maker’s chief executive in October, said it awarded more than 20,000 grants during the past financial year – a record number.

“We know that National Lottery funding changes lives: each year, National Lottery-funded projects support around 5.2 million people across the country – including improving mental health and reducing social isolation through new ways to connect, which has been vital across the UK during the pandemic.

“Thanks to vital government funding we’ve been able to further support charities and community groups delivering frontline Covid-19 support.

“By continuing to target our funding to where it is needed most, and by using our resources carefully, we’ll ensure that National Lottery funding will still continue to achieve wide impact as communities continue to recover and rebuild into the future.”

In November, a government-commissioned inquiry into the grant-maker found that about one in three people at the NLCF had witnessed or personally experienced bullying, harassment or discrimination.

The report also highlighted perceptions among staff that senior managers were out of touch with the workforce and “more concerned with empire-building than with supporting the core work of the fund”.

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