It’s hard to believe that the National Lottery has been around for 25 years. Like most of us of a certain age, I’m sure you remember that first televised draw, convinced beyond any doubt that, ‘it would be me.’ Well, it wasn’t and hasn’t been since – I’m writing this from the office and not a sun-drenched beach in the Caribbean. Actually though, in a much more positive sense, we are all lottery winners. Each and every one of us who has invested our money with the chance to win, have actually scooped the really big prizes.

Okay, our banks accounts may not be bulging with cash, or the driveway scattered with an array of top end cars, but look around us and see the projects which have benefitted from the lottery funding. The projects that you and me have helped build.

The range or projects supported is vast and not just the huge things we can see everyday. It’s the smaller organisations that provide at grass roots level who really benefit from the lottery funds. For example……


It’s unfair to highlight a few as the list is so large. In fact, if you want to see who and what has benefitted, just go here. GRANTS

Here in South Wales, to celebrate 25 years of National Lottery funding, Wales Millennium Centre – which was part funded by the National Lottery – has released an image showing how Cardiff Bay’s skyline would look if the Centre didn’t exist. So lets show you it now and how it would have looked without lottery funding.

The National Lottery and the Arts Council of Wales is calling upon its projects to post images and captions on social media of what is iconic to them in their community that wouldn’t be here without that funding. From local galleries to painting clubs. If it’s iconic to a community, groups are being encouraged to post. 

Take a look at the video below. Illusionist Julius Dein has made the iconic Angel of the North ‘disappear’ to highlight how our landscapes would look if funding didn’t exist.

Julius Dein told us…..

“I am delighted to be working with The National Lottery for their 25th birthday in raising awareness for all the iconic and community art projects they have supported and funded over the last 25 years. Antony Gormley’s The Angel of the North is iconic and is the ephemeral symbol of the north which celebrates the roots of the people that live here. I have created this illusion with The National Lottery to raise awareness of how bare the UK’s art landscape would be without this funding, and we shouldn’t take that for granted.”

Julius Dein…

The images highlight some of the UK’s best-known arts buildings and projects, including Wales Millennium Centre, The Angel of the North, The Lowry, The Tate Modern and many more.

The National Lottery fund contributed £31.7 million towards the building of Wales Millennium Centre. Wales’s home for the arts, which celebrates its own 15th birthday next month, is one the most iconic buildings in Wales – attracting over 1.5 million people each year and contributing over £50 million a year to the Welsh economy.

The site covers a total area of 4.7 acres and comprises the 1,800 seat Donald Gordon theatre, the BBC Hoddinott Hall, two smaller performance spaces – the Weston Studio and Ffresh – and eight resident organisations including the National Orchestra of Wales, the Welsh National Opera and the Urdd.

On a personal note, the WMC is still one of the most iconic and spectacular buildings you’ll see. I’m not joking when I say we take pictures EVERY time we visit the Bay, and that’s a lot. You don’t always have to use it, you maybe don’t even go to the theatre very often, but the fact it is there has a massive, positive impact on the South Wales economy.

Nick Capaldi is Chair of The Wales National Lottery Forum and the Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Wales. He told us…..

“The National Lottery’s players have literally helped transform the arts landscape in Wales. Over the last 25 years, we have funded over 13,000 projects throughout Wales and distributed £287m of National Lottery funding. The money has helped to transform arts buildings in Wales, creating a network of landmark buildings the length and breadth of the nation. The funding has also been used – and continues to be used – to support artists and organisations to make new and exciting work for people across the country.”

Nick Capaldi…

Graeme Farrow is the Artistic Director of Wales Millennium Centre. He told us……

“Wales Millennium Centre has been a National Lottery success story and we are extremely grateful for their support. We hope that this campaign helps raise awareness that The National Lottery has a hugely positive impact on the arts, and that the cultural landscape of the nation is much richer thanks to lottery funding”.

Graeme Farrow…

The stunt comes as new research from The National Lottery showed that creativity forms a big part of lives across the UK. A third (34%) of those surveyed currently take part in creative activities in their spare time, with a further 43% saying they would like to do more. When asked how it made them feel, 57% said they felt happier after taking part in creative activities with over half (56%) claiming to feel more relaxed, and two in five (41%) saying that creative activity helped them feel mentally healthier.

Over £5 billion of National Lottery funding has been invested in theatre, music, dance, literature and visual arts projects since 1994. Around £6 million is awarded by The National Lottery to UK arts projects every week. Forty percent of the population visit museums and galleries, including 1,400 art galleries helped by National Lottery funding.

We should say, that if you have a project which you believe would benefit from funding, never be afraid to give it a go. They guide you through the process every step of the way. Just give it a go. FUNDING

As we’ve said already, Wales Millennium Centre is a landmark arts venue and a cultural destination that presents the best touring talent from across the globe, and creates its own, equally high-quality productions. The Centre is a charity whose aim is to Inspire our Nation, Impress the World.

On its 7.5-acre site in Cardiff Bay, the Centre has a 1,800-seat lyric theatre named after its founding patron Sir Donald Gordon, which is designed for opera, large-scale musicals, ballet and contemporary dance. Its other performance spaces include the 250-seat Weston Studio theatre, a 160-seat cabaret venue, a dance house, a 350-seat recital hall and a state-of-the-art recording facility – the BBC Hoddinott Hall.

Mike Peters (The Alarm)…

WMC is also home to eight other major cultural organisations, including Welsh National Opera, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, National Dance Company Wales, Literature Wales, Hijinx Theatre and the Touch Trust. Annually, the Centre receives over 1.5 million visitors making it Wales’s number one visitor attraction. To find out more about the centre and what is on right now, go here. WMC

As for The National Lottery’s Birthday celebrations, we’re going to hear a lot about them over the next few weeks. There are some incredible activities planned across the UK to celebrate the good causes that have been made possible thanks to National Lottery players over the last 25 years. In fact, more than £40 billion has been raised for good causes in the areas of arts, sport, heritage and community.

The 25th birthday is a moment to celebrate the extraordinary impact The National Lottery has had on the UK, and to say thank you to National Lottery players for contributing around £30 million to good causes every week.

To celebrate the anniversary, world-renowned artist, David Mach RA, has unveiled a new piece of modern art. ‘United By Numbers: The National Lottery at 25’ – features a mix of famous and lesser-known national treasures including people, places, projects and icons that have been part of the extraordinary things which have been made possible by players of The National Lottery.

From the Morecambe Brass Band, one of the first projects to ever receive National Lottery funding; to Idris Elba, one of the Governors for The National Lottery funded British Film Institute; to Tracey Emin, Rio Ferdinand, Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson, Betty Webb, a World War Two codebreaker from Bletchley Park and more.

How many can you identify? The answers are below…..

  1. The Kelpies – The world’s largest equine sculptures in Falkirk’s Helix Park were designed by Andy Scott and funded by The National Lottery.
  2. Katerina Johnson-Thompson and Dina Asher Smith – Gold medal winners as part of the Great Britain and N.I Team at 2019 World Athletics Championships, both are supported by National Lottery funding.
  3. Courtney Cooper – Courtney is from Monkstown Boxing Club in Northern Ireland whose #INYOURCORNER project helps improve the health, well-being and employability of young people in the area, with funding from The National Lottery
  4. Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson – One of the greatest athletes in history and winner of 11 Paralympic gold medals, received National Lottery funding during her career.
  5. Dementia Dogs Project – The National Lottery has supported the Dementia Dogs Project, which helps those caring for loved ones with early stage dementia by providing assistance dogs in Scotland.
  6. The Hendrix Flat – The legendary rock guitarist’s flat at 23 Brook Street, London was permanently restored thanks to a grant from The National Lottery in 2014.
  7. James Nesbitt – Star of the film Bloody Sunday, patron of WAVE Trauma, Action Cancer, and Big Telly Company; and Chancellor of Ulster University – all recipients of National Lottery funding.
  8. Sir Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton – Gold medal-winning Olympians whose careers culminated at London 2012; the Games that would not have been possible without National Lottery funding.
  9. Morecambe Brass Band – One of the first-ever projects to receive National Lottery funding back in 1994. Funding was secured by Bernard Vause and the band is still going strong to this day.
  10. Sir Tim Smit – Founder of the popular Eden Project and The Big Lunch, which were both made possible thanks to funding from The National Lottery.
  11. Giant’s Causeway – The National Lottery supported the building of a Visitor Centre at the Giant’s Causeway that provides a beautiful view of the North Coast landscape and facilities.
  12. Ray and Barbara Wragg – After winning £7.6M on The National Lottery, Ray and Barbara Wragg are some of the most generous winners after giving away £5.5M, mostly to charities in Sheffield.
  13. ‘We’re Here Because We’re Here’ soldiers (also far right) – This artwork, devised by Jeremy Deller and principally funded by The National Lottery, saw 1,400 volunteers dressed in First World War uniform appearing at locations across the UK on 1st July 2016 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.
  14. Tracey Emin – Tracey Emin’s artwork has been exhibited at National Lottery funded galleries across the country, including at The Turner Contemporary Art Gallery in her hometown of Margate.
  15. Gurinder Chadha – English film director whose film ‘Bend it Like Beckham’ has become one of the UK’s best loved films and is just one example of the films funded by The National Lottery.
  16. Jodrell Bank – Supported by The National Lottery, the First Light Project conserves the heritage of Jodrell Bank for future generations.
  17. Edna Smith – A volunteer for 15 years with the National Lottery funded charity Home-start. Edna has helped hundreds of families recover from post-natal depression.
  18. Ewan McGregor – Actor who featured in Trainspotting 2, one of the first productions to benefit from Creative Scotland’s Production Growth Fund, supported by The National Lottery.
  19. Rio Ferdinand – Pundit and former England footballer whose ‘Rio Ferdinand Foundation’, which exists to help tackle social issues, is part-funded by The National Lottery.
  20. Suffragettes – The National Lottery has supported projects across the country exploring the history of the suffragette movement, including the 2015 film, Suffragette; The Face of Suffrage artwork and the East End suffragettes project.
  21. Idris Elba – Award-winning actor, producer and governor for the BFI. With the help of National Lottery funding, he made his directorial debut in 2018 with Yardie.
  22. Betty Webb – Betty is a 96 year-old veteran of Bletchley Park. In 2011, The National Lottery helped restore the decaying huts in which Betty and other codebreakers worked.
  23. The Principality Stadium – Ahead of the 1999 Rugby World Cup, National Lottery funding was secured to build Cardiff’s iconic stadium.
  24. Paul Sinton-Hewitt – Founder of parkrun, the free weekly 5K runs open to all enjoyed by over 2 million people across the UK, National Lottery funding has supported parkrun to allow communities to benefit from free, weekly, social activity in open spaces.
  25. Krystal Lowe – Dancer for Ballet Cymru, which received funding from The National Lottery allowing them to expand its outreach work with local communities.

Incidentally, over 5,500 millionaires have been created by National Lottery games over the last 25 years. The National Lottery creates an average of seven millionaires every week across its games. Who knows, one day we could be writing this from our Caribbean beach.

To see what else The National Lottery is planning for the anniversary, go here. LOTTERY 25