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Lottery Good Causes

The National Lottery's Good Causes Fund receives 28p from every £1 played on Lotto, EuroMillions, Thunderball, Set For Life, Lotto HotPicks, EuroMillions HotPicks and instant games. From there it is distributed to charitable projects across the UK in four broad fields.

National Lottery players raise around £30 million every week for the schemes supported by the fund, with £40 billion having been distributed to over half a million good causes since the lottery began in November 1994.

The fund also benefits from prizes, and the interest accrued on them, that remain unclaimed 180 days after the winning draw. Millions of pounds worth of unclaimed National Lottery prizes build up each year, which are then transferred to the Good Causes Fund in their entirety.

The Good Causes Fund also receives some of the interest accrued from prizes before they are claimed. This interest is first used to fund trustee fees, audit fees, bank charges and tax, before the remainder is given to Good Causes. Prizes are held in trust before they are paid out so they are separate from Camelot's bank accounts, with PricewaterhouseCoopers conducting audits every month.

How is the Good Causes Fund Distributed?

The National Lottery Distribution Fund divides the funds into the following four main categories.

There are 12 independent distributing bodies working across the four different fields, each possessing an in depth knowledge of their subject, ensuring they can share out the funds fairly to projects in all corners of the country. Here are some of the schemes that National Lottery players have helped support:

Health, Education, Environment and Charitable Causes

The Headsmart campaign was launched to help try and reduce the time it takes to diagnose brain tumours in children and young people. Brain tumours kill more children and teenagers than any other cancer and more awareness of the symptoms is essential. Over £100,000 of National Lottery funding has allowed valuable research to be carried out and the average diagnosis time has already come down from 14.4 weeks to 6.9 weeks.


Utilising funds from the National Lottery, the largest mechanical puppet ever to be built in Britain was designed and constructed to celebrate the Cornish Mining Landscape’s World Heritage status. Known as the Man Engine, the movable structure is 11.2m tall and ‘transforms’ when enough people are gathered to sing to him. The project ran an educational programme featuring an initial 30 school workshops, with the Man Engine now set to tour other parts of the country.


The Love to Move programme, run by the British Gymnastics Foundation, received £499,991 in National Lottery funding in October 2017. The goal is to reduce the number of inactive older adults via a chair-based gymnastics exercise programme. It is hoped that the initiative will be of particular benefit to people living with dementia, as research has shown that activity can help them to regain functions which were thought to be lost.


The biggest National Lottery-funded project in Derby was announced in the autumn of 2017, with £9.4 million to be invested in a new museum. The existing Silk Mill will be redeveloped as the ‘Museum of Making’ in time for 2020, celebrating the city’s history of manufacturing and construction, as well as showcasing locally significant collections.