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UK National Lottery Good Causes

Government White Paper

On Monday 21st July 1997, the Government released a White Paper about reforms to the way National Lottery money is distributed. It targeted four main areas:
  1. A New Opportunities Fund for health, education and environmental projects. This is effectively a "sixth Good Cause" that would start in 1998 and divert £1 billion of lottery funding from midweek draws (leaving £200m less for each of the other five Good Causes...) to pay for after-school clubs, IT training for teachers and healthy living schemes.

  2. A review of the way Lottery cash is shared out, with greater accountability.

  3. A £1 billion National Endowment Fund for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA), which will be independent of the Government.

  4. A panel to assist Lottery watchdog Oflot, maximising cash for good causes and advising on the award of the lottery contract to a non-profit making organisation when Camelot's contract expires in September 2001. There are also tentative proposals to extend the powers of Oflot to fine operators who breach the lottery licence.

Original Good Causes Leaflet

The following text is reproduced without permission from The National Lottery Good Causes leaflet issued by the Department of National Heritage (known as the Department of Culture, Media and Sport from Monday 14th July 1997 onwards) and obtainable by phoning them on 0171 211 6200 (I left my name and address on an answerphone). Needless to say, the Internet was never mentioned and I've tracked down any links myself !

Everybody knows what the National Lottery is - how it is played, how big the prizes are - but not so many of us understand what it does.

The National Lottery was established by Parliament to raise money for worthwhile causes. The five good causes - arts, sports, charities, heritage and celebrating the millennium - were chosen by Parliament. There are eleven distributing bodies responsible for giving grants to these good causes. They are the Sports and Arts Councils of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the National Lottery Charities Board, the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Millennium Commission.

Out of every pound spent on the National Lottery, 28 pence goes to the five good causes. So each good cause gets 5.6 pence.

There is a pie-chart diagram describing the split:

Prizes              50%
Good Causes         28%
Lottery duty        13%
Retailer commission  5%
Operating costs      3%
Profit               1%

In all, it is estimated that around £9 billion will be raised for the good causes by 2001. By February 1997, £3 billion had been allocated to about 20,000 projects - many of these are community based schemes helping to improve the quality of live for everybody by building or strengthening communities.

Together, the good causes have already helped deprived groups, saved buildings and national treasures, enabled more people to enjoy sports and the arts and supported landmark projects to celebrate the new millennium.

The money doesn't just go to large prestige projects - over half the awards so far have been for less than £25,000. Small amounts of money that do a lot of good to a lot of people.

Also, the distribution rules have been changed by the Government to allow funds to be used to pay for people running the projects, people helping to make the schemes happen, as well as for capital projects - our buildings and our landscape.

The new rules means that Lottery funds will be invested in people, as well as in building projects. The Sports Council can now provide revenue funds for talented athletes and the Arts Council can give grants to increase access to and participation in the Arts, particularly for young people. The Millennium Commission operates a Millennium Awards bursary scheme, enabling individuals to contribute to the community.

Camelot Group plc won the licence to operate the National Lottery in a competitive tendering process. The company put forward the lowest bid and, as a result of its efficiency, has raised more money for the Government and the good causes within the period of its operation than any other lottery in the world.

The Office of the National Lottery (OFLOT) was established under the National Lottery Act 1993. It is headed by the Director General of the National Lottery, who regulates and licenses individual games. His duties are to protect players' interests, ensure that the Lottery is run properly; and maximise the proceeds to the good causes supported by the Lottery.

The Department of National Heritage was created to enrich the lives of people in this country. It is the Government department responsible for the National Lottery and its work covers all the areas supported by the good causes. It supports quality and diversity in creative activities, safeguards historic buildings and monuments, and promotes opportunities to enjoy leisure activities. The Department is also responsible for tourism, broadcasting and other activities which contribute to the nation's prosperity and prestige.

If you want to know more about applying for a grant, contact the bodies listed at the end of this leaflet.

What are the good causes ?


The Arts Councils aim to help people across the UK enjoy - and take part in - the broadcast possible range of arts activities.

Arts Lottery money is being spent on a wide range of capital projects, including the renovation and re-equipping of arts venues.

The Arts Council has launched a new scheme, Arts 4 Everyone, which will enable:

This new scheme will place a particular emphasis on young people and projects which support and develop their talents.


The National Lottery Charities Board gives grants to help those at greatest disadvantage and to improve the quality of live in the community. The first three grant programmes of the Charities Board were: Thousands more will benefit from the following grants programmes:


The Heritage Lottery Fund is here to preserve, restore or acquire the nation's most treasured heritage which makes up the fabric of our history and culture. We are able to help the many organisations and volunteers who care for our countryside, buildings, museums, industrial heritage, archives and parks.

We have been able to help:


Millennium projects enjoy public support and make a substantial contribution to the community. They will be seen by future generations as marking a significant moment in their history.

Millennium projects fall into three types:

In addition, there will be a nationwide programme of events, large and small, which will take place throughout the year 2000. The Millennium Commission believe that this will help communities together, while reflecting religious, ethnic and cultural diversity.


Sport is a good cause for distributing Lottery funds because it enriches the lives of millions of people of all ages in this country for many different reasons. The Lottery Sports Fund is distributed by the English Sports Council, Scottish Sports Council and the Sports Councils in Northern Ireland and Wales.

In 1997, more initiatives will be introduced. Coaching and Leadership, Talent Identification and Development programmes will introduce, encourage and enhance sport for all of us.

For information or Application Packs, please contact:


The Arts Council Of England              Tel: 0171 312 0123
The Scottish Arts Council                Tel: 0131 226 6051
The Arts Council of Northern Ireland     Tel: 01232 667 000
The Arts Council of Wales                Tel: 01222 388 288


National Lottery Charities Board         Tel: 0171 747 5200


Heritage Lottery Fund                    Tel: 0171 747 2033


The Millennium Commission                Tel: 0171 880 2001


The English Sports Council               Tel: 0345 649 649 (lo-call)
The Sports Council of Scotland           Tel: 0131 339 9000
The Sports Council of Northern Ireland   Tel: 01232 381 222
The Sports Council of Wales              Tel: 01222 300 500


National Lottery Head Office             Tel: 01923 425 000


The National Lottery Regulator           Tel: 0345 125 596 (lo-call)

Department of Culture, Media and Sports

Department of Culture, Media & Sports    Tel: 0171 211 6200
[formerly the Department of National Heritage]

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