Belfast Telegraph

How the National Lottery has helped us over the years

By Nevin Farrell

It has made numerous millionaires since it was launched 20 years ago – and a couple of sporting stars too.

But Northern Ireland itself is better off to the tune of £1bn since the National Lottery first started handing out cash in 1994.

Golfer Rory McIlroy and Paralympic gold medallist Kelly Gallagher are among those to benefit from the bumper good causes funding which, it was announced today, has now officially reached a total of £1,040,289,567.

Almost 20,000 projects in Northern Ireland have received Lottery support in the 20 years since it started.

Landmark attractions such as the SS Nomadic and Lyric Theatre in Belfast, the Giant's Causeway visitor centre and Londonderry's Millennium Forum were all beneficiaries of National Lottery grants.

Indeed, almost every town and village has been touched by the cash cascade which is distributed by the Arts Council Northern Ireland, the Big Lottery Fund, the Heritage Lottery Fund and Sport Northern Ireland.

Famous faces such as McIlroy, Gallagher, poet Dr Sinead Morrissey and pianist Barry Douglas's Camerata Ireland have also been supported by National Lottery distributors.

In 2005, the year Rory McIlroy turned 16, he was awarded £9,000 of National Lottery funding, via Sport Northern Ireland, to the Golfing Union of Ireland to aid his development as a promising player.

Out of the billion pound pot, more than £350m has been given to charities and projects working to improve health, education and the environment throughout the community.

Joanne McDowell, of the Northern Ireland National Lottery Forum and the Big Lottery Fund NI director, said: "Northern Ireland's social, economic, cultural and physical landscape has changed immeasurably since 1994.

"We are proud to have played our part by investing more than £1bn to improve communities, change lives and fund a better future.

"The National Lottery has helped ensure there is something relevant and local to everyone in the ever lengthening list of Lottery-funded projects.

"The scale and depth of our involvement and investment in Northern Ireland is now interwoven in the fabric of life here – in sport, in the arts, in heritage and in the community.

"Change continues to be the motivator of progress and for the last 20 years National Lottery players can be proud of the role they have played in making a real difference in Northern Ireland."

What a lotto we got

National Lottery players have raised £1,040,289,567 for 19,990 projects in Northern Ireland since 1994.

The largest single award in Northern Ireland was £45m for the Odyssey in 1997.

Other notable grant awards include:

  • £5.2m towards the building of the Millennium Forum in Derry in 1997 from the Millennium Commission.
  • More than £24m towards the building and running of the Sports Institute Northern Ireland.
  • £9,000 to the Golfing Union of Ireland in 2005 from Sport Northern Ireland for Rory McIlroy.
  • £23.5m for the development of the Connswater Community Greenway in Belfast in 2007.
  • £3,000 to the Ulster Provincial Council of the Irish Amateur Boxing Association from Sport NI for Carl Frampton in 2008.
  • £3m to the National Trust in 2008 for the development of the Giant's Causeway Visitor Centre from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
  • £3.25m towards the restoration of the SS Nomadic in 2010 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Go to: www.lotterygood causes.org.uk

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