Twenty years of changing lives

It’s hard to believe that 20 years ago today Noel Edmonds and Anthea Turner pushed the button starting the very first National Lottery draw. To mark the occasion and to celebrate the impact of Lottery funding in our communities, our Scotland Chair, Maureen McGinn was asked to speak on behalf of the National Lottery family at a celebratory event at The Helix in Falkirk.

Here’s some of what she had to say…

Ask most people today about The National Lottery and they will tell you what they’d do if they won.  It’s true, The National Lottery has created over 3,600 millionaires and changed the lives of ordinary people up and down the country.

But, of course, they aren’t the only winners.

Thanks to National Lottery players, over 52,000 sport, arts, heritage, environment, education, health and community projects have been made possible in Scotland.

The magnificent Kelpies, the centrepiece of the Helix project funded by the Big Lottery Fund

The National Lottery family in Scotland is made up of the Big Lottery Fund, Creative Scotland, the Heritage Lottery Fund, sportscotland, UK Sport, the BFI and Camelot, the operators of National Lottery games. Between us we aim to ensure money raised by Lottery players has the most meaningful impact as possible across the country.

Today we are in the heart of the Helix, a project made possible with a £25 million grant from the Big Lottery Fund – the largest we have ever awarded in Scotland.    We’re surrounded by 350 hectares of land that has been transformed into an environmental space for the whole community to enjoy.   It’s created multiple full-time jobs, a vast numbers of volunteer opportunities and numerous contracts for local trades and suppliers.

The magnificent centrepieces to the Helix are of course the Kelpies which have just topped a public vote of the favourite places funded by the National Lottery in Scotland over the last 20 years.  These amazing equine structures have quickly become a new cultural icon of Scotland, attracting international attention and drawing visitors from far and wide.

Further afield, National Lottery funding has positively impacted on Scotland’s diverse urban and rural communities.  It’s been a key driver in restoring and reinvigorating some of Scotland’s most famous landmarks such the National Museum of Scotland, the RRS Discovery and the Robert Burns Museum.

Both the Kelpies and Sir Chris Hoy have been voted national treasures in a recent National Lottery poll

The future of rural communities has also been secured through landmark buyouts such as that on the Isle of Gigha.

Creative ideas have been brought to life through funding to arts projects like Sistema Scotland which is transforming whole communities through music.

Investment in sport has not only improved access at a grassroots level but also helped produce world class talent.  We are honoured to be joined today by a true Olympic legend, Sir Chris Hoy, who topped the list of personalities in the National Lottery poll of people who have achieved incredible things with Lottery funding.

So it’s been an amazing 20 years. I don’t think anyone could have ever predicated the phenomenal impact The National Lottery has had. But rest assured our work does not end here.  The National Lottery will continue to bring real improvements to communities in Scotland and to the lives of those most in need by funding projects which bring about positive change.”


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