The National Lottery is celebrating its official 25th birthday this month (19 November). Since the first National Lottery draw took place on 19 November 1994, more than £40 billion has been raised for good causes in the areas of arts, sport, heritage and community.
Many millionaires have been made in the last 25 years, but the National Lottery’s primary purpose is giving to good causes - over 565,000 individual grants have been awarded across the UK, that’s the equivalent of 200 life-changing projects in every UK postcode district.
An Oxfordshire-based project that has greatly benefitted from lottery funding is the Rose Hill regeneration project which aims to provide activities and support for children and young people; and to encourage involvement of adults in the community with mentoring, training and work placements.
A long-term project of housing association GreenSquare, it began in 2011 to tackle the historically deprived area, and has received significant funding over the years from the National Lottery Community Fund (formerly the Big Lottery Fund). The most recent being a four-year grant received in 2017.
Fran Gardner, GreenSquare’s community worker for Rose Hill, said: “I’d like to wish the National Lottery a very Happy Birthday! The celebrations are a great opportunity to highlight all the amazing projects and good causes across the UK that have benefitted from funding in the last 25 years.
“With the help of National Lottery funding we have been able to grow our Rose Hill project over the last eight years into a successful and engaging venture that has made a huge difference to the neighbourhood.”
One of the project’s major impacts is the development of the Rose Hill Junior Youth Club which provides a range of activities and support to children and young people, often with complex social, emotional and behavioural needs. It is a place for children to enjoy a range of activities, have fun with friends and enjoy good food.
The club attracts growing numbers of children (aged 5-11) and in a normal week will support over 85 children at a session.
Fran continues: “Our enrichment trips with children referred to us from the local primary school continue to be a great success. We took two groups of children on weekly outings to Willowbrook Farm in Kidlington earlier in the year and the children enjoyed a range of experiences from picking vegetables and cooking lunch to feeding the animals. Being able to offer trips like this gives the children the opportunity to improve their confidence, communication and engagement.”
Disadvantaged adults in the community have also benefited from the support of the Rose Hill project through training in volunteering and vocational skills and opportunities to take on community volunteer/leadership roles. At the end of last month the first of a series of new enrichment trips took place, these will be on offer to parents, local groups and other Rose Hill adults.