Funds raised for good causes through the National Lottery rose by more than 10 per cent in the first six months of the financial year because of record ticket sales, the latest figures show.
Data from the lottery operator Camelot, published today, shows that between 1 April and 28 September the amount raised for good causes reached £876.8m, 10.5 per cent higher than during the same period last year.
Camelot said the lottery experienced record ticket sales during the first half of the financial year, with sales up by 13.5 per cent on the same period last year to £3.9bn.
The lottery is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. The latest results brought the total raised for good causes since 1994 to more than £40bn, 60 per cent more than the most optimistic government forecast at the time of the National Lottery’s launch, Camelot said.
It said National Lottery funding had been awarded to more than 565,000 individual projects, an average of 200 lottery grants in every UK postcode.
Of these, 70 per cent were for £10,000 or less and went to support small, grass-roots organisations.
Nigel Railton, chief executive of Camelot, said: "It’s 25 years to the day since we started selling tickets for that first Lotto draw, and our record half-year performance clearly shows that the National Lottery is in its best-ever shape.
"Our recent commercial successes – paired with the amazing difference that the National Lottery is continuing to make to communities across the UK, and the great coordinated programme of activity we’ve created with the wider National Lottery family for the 25th birthday – show what we can collectively achieve."
Camelot’s results for the year to the end of March 2019 had shown a slight fall in the amount raised for good causes, from £1.66bn in 2017/18 to £1.65bn.
But the value of ticket sales grew by £255.1m, or 3.7 per cent, to £7.2bn over the same period.
A spokeswoman for Camelot at the time said this was due to the popularity of the lottery’s instant-win games, which account for some of the growth in sales but offer smaller returns for charity than the live draws.
But she added that the firm had been making "important" improvements to its draw-based games, launching new games and introducing more draw days.
In 2017, Railton carried out a strategic review of the lottery in a bid to turn around flagging sales.
In the statement issued today, he said: "We’re continuing to make excellent progress on reinvigorating the National Lottery brand to make it more relevant and visible."