Skip to content

How National Lottery players help grassroots sport

More than 30 organisations have written an open letter highlighting the impact National Lottery funding has on sport and physical activity

8th November 2019

Three of England's netball team took part in the video.

Major sports organisations and charities from across England have joined a nationwide campaign to thank National Lottery players for helping to fund grassroots sport.

Since it was launched in 1994, the National Lottery has invested more than £5.7 billion into community sport and helped people live active lives.

Representatives from organisations such as the Football Association, the England and Wales Cricket Board and England Netball, as well as our own chief executive Tim Hollingsworth, have signed an open letter to National Lottery players highlighting some of the things that wouldn't have been possible without the investment.

Over the last 25 years, the funding has been used to build facilities, maintain playing fields and increase opportunities for millions of people.

  • Read the letter

    Click read more to expand

    Dear National Lottery Players,

    Millions of people all over the UK are able to enrich their lives through grassroot sports, all because you play The National Lottery.

    This month, The National Lottery celebrates its 25th Birthday and over that quarter of a century, you’ve helped provide £5.7 billion of funding to over 100,000 grassroots sport projects, creating opportunities for millions of people in the UK to get active.

    On behalf of the wide range of organisations, charities and sports bodies who’ve received this funding throughout the last 25 years - whether for refurbishing football and rugby changing rooms, establishing Zumba, yoga and dance classes, walking and running groups, swimming classes and netball coaching, building or improving thousands of new facilities and leisure centres in local communities, physical activity classes for older people, revamping BMX centres for young children, dance classes and thousands of other examples - thank you.

    Because you play The National Lottery, British Cycling has influenced 8.86 million people to cycle, the ECB have trained 2,000 female volunteers, who can now become coaches and role models in their communities, and Mencap have offered 45,000 hours of sport to those with learning disabilities in England helping them to be more active. Because you play, England Athletics can support 1,400 affiliated clubs (covering track and field, road running, fell, hill, trail and cross country clubs), allowing 181,000 registered athletes and 400 affiliated organisations to prosper.

    Thank you for creating more involved, happier and healthier communities.

    Thank you for inspiring confidence in people through sport, for tackling loneliness and for having a positive impact on the mental and physical health of the nation.

    Because you play, over 7,000 schools in the UK now take part in The Daily Mile running programme, keeping 1.7-million children in the UK active.

    Without you, Northern Ireland Netball couldn’t have increased the number of clubs by 50% and the Welsh FA wouldn’t have made such huge strides in youth participation with over 51,000 boys and girls playing every week.

    The best part of any game and activity is the opportunity to play, and grassroots sport is one of the things we feel most passionate about in the UK. It is an essential part of our national life, of our children’s lives, and of our future as a country.

    Because you play, there has been a 40% increase in participation in young people at school and universities playing wheelchair basketball in the UK and over 160 aquatics clubs in Scotland have been able to be supported and developed allowing thousands to be active in the water.

    Because you play The National Lottery, you’ve positively impacted millions of people’s physical and mental health, helping them to define and push their limits.

    Because you play, grassroots sport is changing lives across the UK.

    Thank you, 

    Andrew McKinlay,
    CEO of Scottish Golf

    Anne Adams-King,
    CEO of Welsh Cycling

    Antoinette McKeown
    CEO of Sport Northern Ireland

    Beverley Smith,
    Interim Chair of Welsh Gymnastics

    Brian McAvoy,
    Provincial Secretary and CEO of Ulster GAA

    Chris Jones,
    CEO of England Athletics

    Dominic McKay,
    COO of Scottish Rugby

    Douglas Bryce,
    CEO of Judo Scotland

    Elaine Wyllie MBE,
    Founder of The Daily Mile

    Euan Lowe,
    CEO of Scottish Swimming

    Fergul Carruth,
    CEO of Irish Athletic Boxing Association

    Fergus Feeney,
    CEO of Swim Wales

    Fiona Reid,
    CEO of Disability Sport Wales

    Gethin Jenkins,
    CEO of England Boxing

    Jane Nickerson,
    CEO of Swim England

    Julie Harrington,
    CEO of British Cycling

    Kevin O’Neill,
    CEO of Disability Sport NI

    Lisa Pearce,
    CEO of British Wheelchair Basketball

    Marcus Kingwell,
    CEO of Exercise, movement and dance partnership

    Mark Munro,
    CEO of Scottish Athletics

    Martyn Phillips,
    Group CEO of Welsh Rugby Union

    Matt Newman,
    Chief Executive of Welsh Athletics

    Mark Bullingham,
    CEO of The Football Association

    England Netball

    Neil Ward
    CEO of FAW Trust

    Oonagh Smyth,
    Executive Director of Mencap

    Paul Farmer,
    Chief Executive of Mind

    Sarah Powell,
    CEO of Sport Wales

    Stewart Harris,
    CEO of sportscotland

    Stuart Younie,
    CEO of Mountaineering Scotland

    Tim Hollingsworth, 
    CEO of Sport England

    Tom Harrison,
    CEO of The England and Wales Cricket Board

    Read less

A short film, entitled “Because You Play”, reiterates this link as high-profile sports stars, amateur participants and volunteers explain how the money has helped change lives.  

Max Whitlock, Great Britain’s most successful gymnast who features in the video, said a lot of things wouldn't have been possible without the general public buying National Lottery tickets.

“It’s so important to invest in grassroots sport, and help people get active and get fit,” he said. “There are so many benefits to taking part in sporting activities, and National Lottery players are making it possible.”

Winter Olympic champion Lizzy Yarnold, Lioness Fran Kirby, England’s Men’s Cricket World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan and Commonwealth and European swimming champion Duncan Scott also feature.

The video shows how funding from the National Lottery has been crucial for grassroots sport across the UK, with athletes and participants showing their thanks for everything that's been achieved, including improved facilities and more opportunities to play.

The film and letter are part of a season of events to celebrate the National Lottery’s 25th birthday. The events reflect the legacy, celebrating projects and people who've benefitted from National Lottery funding over the last quarter of a century.

You can discover the positive impact playing the National Lottery has had on your community over the past 25 years by visiting and get involved by using the 25th hashtag: #NationalLottery25

Sign up to our newsletter

You can find out exactly how we'll look after your personal data, but rest assured we’ll only use it to make sure you receive our newsletter, to understand how you interact with our newsletter, and to provide administrative information about our newsletter.