Big Lottery Fund
The Big Lottery Fund is a grant-making non-departmental public body
Non-departmental public body
In the United Kingdom, a non-departmental public body —often referred to as a quango—is a classification applied by the Cabinet Office, Treasury, Scottish Government and Northern Ireland Executive to certain types of public bodies...

 in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 created by the Government to administer the funding of "good causes" following the creation of the National Lottery
National Lottery (United Kingdom)
The National Lottery is the state-franchised national lottery in the United Kingdom and the Isle of Man.It is operated by Camelot Group, to whom the licence was granted in 1994, 2001 and again in 2007. The lottery is regulated by the National Lottery Commission, and was established by the then...

. It has an annual expenditure of £630 million . There has been considerable criticism about the diversion of lottery money away from genuine good causes towards ministerial targets, and party political targets for the Labour Party which should be funded by taxation.

The Conservative Party has reportedly promised to introduce a National Lottery Independence Bill to ensure in future all funds went on voluntary and community projects.


BIG has an income of approximately £630 million a year as of February 2007, which comes from the weekly Lottery draw and other games run by the National Lottery and represents roughly half the total amount of funds raised for "good causes". BIG’s budget also makes it the largest of all the Lottery funders.


BIG was unofficially created on 1 June 2004 by a merger of two UK Lottery distributors: the National Lottery Charities Board (trading as Community Fund) and the New Opportunities Fund.

BIG's official creation occurred on 1 December 2006 by an administrative merger of Community Fund and New Opportunities Fund and was further established by the National Lottery Act 2006
National Lottery Act 2006
The National Lottery Act 2006 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It implemented those decisions contained in the National Lottery Licensing and Regulation and National Lottery Funding Decision Documents published on 3 July 2003, and in the Review Decision Document published on 26...

 which incorporated the Millennium Commission.

The Big Lottery Fund is now a single body with single set of rules, intended to make it easier for potential applicants to access Lottery money. The Act also allowed for increased public involvement in the Lottery, with distributors given the powers to consult and take account of public views in making distribution decisions.

The aim is to support projects which bring real improvements to communities and the lives of people most in need, and one third of the Fund’s money is distributed through a broad funding stream focusing on local community needs.

The People's £50 Million

In December 2007, a competition called The People's £50 Million took place in which a public vote, using telephone and internet voting, was held to select one of a short-list of four worthy projects to receive a grant of £50 million. This was the largest sum of money to be awarded by a public vote in TV history.

The winner was Sustrans
Sustrans is a British charity to promote sustainable transport. The charity is currently working on a number of practical projects to encourage people to walk, cycle and use public transport, to give people the choice of "travelling in ways that benefit their health and the environment"...

' Connect2
Connect2 is a project run by Sustrans to develop new walking and cycle routes in 79 communities around the UK.- Project :Connect2 is a five year project run by Sustrans. It involves the creation of new cycle and walking routes, bridges and other facilities in 79 locations around the UK...

 project. Other finalists were the Eden Project
Eden Project
The Eden Project is a visitor attraction in Cornwall in the United Kingdom, including the world's largest greenhouse. Inside the artificial biomes are plants that are collected from all around the world....

 and their Edge (a desert biome dome for people to come together in tackle the environmental and social problems of the planet), a Black Country Urban Park
Black Country Urban Park
The Black Country Urban Park is an ambitious proposal to transform the environment of the Black Country through positive action at an unprecedented scale....

 (environmental transformation benefiting over a million people in one of the most deprived parts of the UK) and Sherwood Forest: the Living Legend (restoring the forest
Sherwood Forest
Sherwood Forest is a Royal Forest in Nottinghamshire, England, that is famous through its historical association with the legend of Robin Hood. Continuously forested since the end of the Ice Age, Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve today encompasses 423 hectares surrounding the village of...

 and developing visitor facilities).

Programmes funded

  • Demand-led programmes, which provide funding for voluntary and community organisations for work they have identified as needed (similar to the previous Community Fund programmes).
  • Strategic programmes on specific needs and activities, based on needs described by communities across the UK and linking to the work of Government (similar to the previous New Opportunities Fund programmes).
  • Transformational programmes, which provide funding for major projects of national significance.

As with previous National Lottery schemes, BIG (through predecessor funders) has funded both popular and not so popular projects.

BIG has launched a whole range of programmes across the four countries it covers – England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – and includes broad programmes supporting skills, communities and enterprise as well as targeted work on advice provision, community building and research.

In 2010 The Big Lottery Fund allocated £1.5 million to be spent over 5 years to be spent by its Delegated Partner The Manx Lottery Trust independently on good causes on the Isle of Man
Isle of Man
The Isle of Man , otherwise known simply as Mann , is a self-governing British Crown Dependency, located in the Irish Sea between the islands of Great Britain and Ireland, within the British Isles. The head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, who holds the title of Lord of Mann. The Lord of Mann is...


External links

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