The figures were released yesterday by the National Lottery in the 2004-2005 Report on Lottery Good Causes, the first of its kind. The report also showed that a further £1.4bn was raised for future spending on good causes during the year.
The Big Lottery Fund gave £673m in grants, £300m more than the award made by the second biggest grant giver, the Heritage Lottery Fund. Of that £673m, £198m was awarded directly to voluntary sector bodies through the Community Fund.
Another £452m was awarded through the New Opportunities Fund, part of which went directly to charities and part to local education authorities and councils, some of which then distributed the money among voluntary sector groups.
One of the projects to benefit from lottery money was the Heroes Return Scheme, which was funded by the Big Lottery Fund and the Heritage Lottery Fund. Under the scheme, 34,000 veterans were able to travel to the places where they fought during the Second World War.
Laurie Symes, one of the veterans who took part in the project said: "This was really our last opportunity to pay our respects to our comrades who died on the front line, and it wouldn't have been possible without the help and support of the National Lottery."
For every pound of the £1.6bn awarded by the lottery, nearly one more pound was generated in partnership funding from public and private sector bodies for lottery projects that received funds during the year, making another £1.2bn.