National Lottery 25th birthday celebrates £1.75 billion invested in over 50,000 incredibly good causes in Wales

The National Lottery celebrates its 25th Birthday today and charities and community groups throughout Wales are marking the incredible impact of the £1.75 billion awarded to more than 50,000 good causes in Wales over the last quarter of a century.

The National Lottery's first draw took place on 19 November 1994 and the 25th Birthday is a moment to celebrate the extraordinary impact the National Lottery has had on good causes in Wales - large and small - in the areas of arts, sport, heritage and community.

Whether it’s funding for large iconic projects and landmarks; small community projects which make a big difference; producing the most amazing films; or supporting grassroots sports clubs - it’s thanks to National Lottery players, who raise more than £6.4 million each month for good causes in Wales, that brilliant projects which support our communities and make a vital and sustained contribution to our national life are possible.

As part of the celebrations today, an unique map of Wales featuring 14 of the most iconic landmarks funded over the last 25 years will be unveiled. The map, created by Welsh artist Hannah Davies, will be on display at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff, which is one of the iconic locations featured, from November 19th – 25th. The home of the performing arts in Wales, which opened in 2004, wouldn’t have existed without the £31.7 million invested from the National Lottery.

Other notable projects featured on the map include:

  • The National Botanic Garden of Wales in Carmarthenshire which received £26 million to build the visitor attraction and conservation centre in Llanarthne;
  • The Geraint Thomas National Velodrome of Wales in Newport which was awarded £7.5 million for its construction;
  • The Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railway in Gwynedd which received £4.2 million to rebuild and re-open what is now the UK’s longest heritage railway;
  • The Tŷ Pawb cultural, performance and community resource hub in Wrexham which spent £2.5 million on breathing new life into the former underused indoor market building; and 
  • Aberystwyth Arts Centre which was awarded £2.5 million as part of a significant redevelopment.

The largest single grant awarded to a project in Wales was £46.4 million towards the construction of the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, which opened in 1999 to host the Rugby World Cup. The smallest is a grant of £17 to Rhymney Royal Bowls Club near Tredegar in 2007. One of the first grants to be distributed in Wales was a grant of £37,500 in March 1995 to help build a new rehearsal hall for the Pontarddulais Town Band. Formed in the late 19th century by workers in the tin, steel and coal industries, Pontarddulais Town Band is one of the most successful and dynamic brass bands in Britain and regularly perform across the UK, whilst remaining rooted in the community by playing a major role in local events.

In the last 25 years, more than £166 million of National Lottery funding has been invested to 17,300 grassroots sports projects in Wales - creating opportunities for everyone to get fit and improve their lives through sport. The National Lottery has also helped develop some of Wales’ most successful and recognisable Olympic and Paralympic athletes to thrive and achieve legendary status. Those who have reaped the rewards from the National Lottery funded World Class Programme from Wales over the years include:

  • Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson one of Great Britain’s most successful athletes;
  • Aled Siôn Davies - six-time World Champion and Double Paralympic Gold Medal Winner from Bridgend;
  • Jade Jones - Wales’ double Olympic Taekwondo Champion and World Champion from Flint; and
  • Geraint Thomas – the Tour de France winner and double Olympic Champion cyclist from Cardiff. 

70% of all National Lottery grants however have been for small amounts worth up to £10,000, bringing benefits to communities far and wide. These include:

  • £10,000 for Vic Music Recording Studios in Wrexham so that the social enterprise can run music workshops for young people;
  • £9,100 to Cymru Creations for the ‘Tredegar in the Trenches – A Welsh Town at War’ project in 2017; and
  • £1,500 for Llangefni Netball Club on Anglesey to upskill coaches and increase equipment.

Highlighting the impact of the National Lottery in Wales over the last 25 years, Nick Capaldi, Chair of the Wales National Lottery Forum and the Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Wales, said: “For 25 years, The National Lottery has been creating possibilities and making us proud of our communities whilst protecting the things we’re most passionate about in Wales. Without the funding, many of our most loved and iconic landmarks wouldn’t exist and many charities wouldn’t be changing lives to the scale they are now. The 25th Birthday is a time to recognise and reflect on the momentous and positive impact the National Lottery has had on the lives of people in communities throughout Wales.”
Discover the positive impact playing the National Lottery has had on your community over the past 25 years by visiting www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk and get involved by using hashtag: #NationalLottery25.

The numbers making amazing happen in Wales:

  • Over the past 25 years, over £1.75 billion has been invested into over 50,000 good causes in Wales, thanks to National Lottery players.
  • Every week, The National Lottery gives an average of £1.5 million to good causes in Wales, supporting more than 40 projects.
  • On average, The National Lottery has funded 1,250 projects in every local neighbourhood in Wales and each neighbourhood has received £43.7million of National Lottery funding over the past 25 years (based on constituency data)
  • £8.4 million of National Lottery funding for Ffilm Cymru Wales, the development agency for Welsh film, has led to 73 Welsh films being produced; 226 filmmakers supported; 2,000 job and trainee placements created in the film and tv industry; and an £81.4 million investment in productions.