Health Lottery raised half its target for good causes in first year

John Hume of the the People's Health Trust, which distributes Health Lottery funding, says 400 projects have benefited, with more to come

John Hume
John Hume

The Health Lottery, which sold its first ticket on 28 September last year, has raised about half its target for good causes in its first year of operation.

As the scheme prepares to celebrate the anniversary of its first draw on 8 October, figures show it has raised £24.2m for charities over the first 51 weeks. As of 22 September, it had sold about 119 million tickets and distributed £47.5m in prize money.

Before the lottery’s launch last year, John Hume, chief executive of People’s Health Trust, the charity set up principally to distribute charitable funds raised by the lottery, said its target was to sell £250m of tickets in the first year, which meant £50m would be available for grants.

Asked about the gap between the target and the ticket sales it had achieved, Dave Wall, chief operating officer of the Health Lottery, said: "When we launched the business a year ago, we didn’t know that we were going to be in a period of unprecedented austerity as a nation. That has hit retailers, businesses, wages and, of course, consumer spending, so the climate has been tougher than we thought.

"Did we come out of the blocks with a lot of ambition? Of course – but I am glad we did. Our ambition in our second year is to keep raising more money for charities and good causes – and that is what we will continue to do."

Wall said that what the lottery had achieved in the past 12 months was "pretty phenomenal". He said: "We’ve launched a brand that people recognise, we’ve given people a choice about what sort of lottery they want to play and we’ve built up a user base of people who really enjoy the game and are glad that they can help local health causes as a result."

Hume said the People's Health Trust had awarded funding to more than 400 projects in the UK, with more to come.

"We are delighted that more than £24m of new funding is going into the sector, which quite simply would not have been available for small charities and social enterprises at this time," he said. "The new funding is getting to local people in neighbourhoods to address some of the most deep-rooted health inequalities.

"It would be naive for anyone to dismiss more than £24m of extra funding going into the sector in these difficult economic conditions."

The Health Lottery, which was launched by the media owner Richard Desmond and gives 20p of every £1 to local health-related good causes, sold its first ticket in Barry, Wales, at 2.59pm on 28 September last year.

It will launch its first ‘Win Wednesday’ midweek draw on 17 October.

A spokeswoman for the National Lottery operator Camelot reiterated its claim that the Health Lottery had cost it £1m a week in sales. But she said National Lottery sales were £6.5bn in 2011/12, up from £5.8bn the year before. It raised £1.825bn for good causes in that period.

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