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Public has BIG ideas to move Millennium forward

1 November 2011

The public has told the BIG Lottery Fund where it should be investing its £10 million Millennium Now funding.

In a poll conducted by Ipsos MORI and Channel 4’s Big Decision website thousands of people across the UK have set out their views on what is needed right now to make lives better for the future. In response the BIG Lottery Fund is today opening its nationwide search for five creative and inspirational projects.

More than 350 comments were submitted and combined with the results of an Ipsos MORI poll, conducted with 2,000 people from across the nation, to help decide the five distinct project types Millennium Now will fund.

Among the main concerns that featured high on the public’s agenda were improving health and nutrition, more education opportunities and improving employment prospects. ‘Susie ok’ suggested: “Spend it on educating people to eat healthily and to tie up the link between food choice and ill health,” while ‘Alison Card’ thought that: “More money should be put into resources for training for our current young people to create jobs, they are our future.”

Chair of the Big Lottery Fund, Peter Ainsworth, said: “While this programme builds on BIG’s long standing commitment to public involvement in grant making, it is unlike anything that BIG has delivered before. This is the first time that we asked the general public to help us design and develop a grant programme by choosing the themes that best represent the needs and aspirations of today.

“We’re really pleased with the level of participation by the public and we’d like to thank those who took part in helping us to shape this programme. We are now looking forward to making those aspirations a reality and working with Channel 4 to capture the growth of this exciting programme from beginning to end.”

Millennium Now will make five grants, one under each project type, of between £1,500,000 and £2,000,000 for projects running over two years.

The journeys of the five projects that receive funding will be filmed by Channel 4 for a new television series due to air in late 2012. Organisations that are thinking of applying will need to show willingness to be filmed throughout the development of their project as this is a key requirement of the programme.

About the Millennium Now programme:

• Applications must specifically address one of the Millennium Now project types and meet all three of the following outcomes:

o Creating stronger connections between people and communities
o Developing creative projects that have UK-wide relevance
o Communities are involved in designing and delivering projects

The five Millennium Now project types are:

1. Helping disadvantaged families to be healthy and live well.
BIG is looking for projects that focus on enabling parents to help their families make more informed lifestyle choices, through practical learning about food, nutrition, play and exercise. This will improve their parenting skills and the health and well being of their children.

2. Helping different generations to share their skills with each other
BIG is interested in projects that will create new or stronger links between older and younger people, by providing opportunities for them to share their skills, knowledge and experience. This will enable both groups to develop a wider range of interests, which may lead to reduced isolation, improved social lives and better employment opportunities.

3. Getting communities volunteering to address environmental issues 
BIG would like to support environmental projects that will help reduce the isolation experienced by people with disabilities, special educational needs or mental health problems. By taking part in green activities such as recycling, growing or conservation work, these people will have more opportunities to be involved in the wider community.

4. Bringing communities together to tackle local issues
BIG wants to fund projects that will bring together different cultural groups through new activities that help to break down barriers and tackle issues or problems that affect them. This will lead to stronger and more active communities with shared interests and greater understanding.

5. Helping disadvantaged young people to learn new career-based skills
BIG is looking for projects that will help 16-25 year olds who have had problems in their lives gain work, training or education opportunities. Young people who have experienced homelessness, gang involvement, substance abuse, physical or mental trauma, will be supported by local businesses to improve their life chances.

• Projects must attend a briefing event in order to apply.

For full programme information and how to apply visit:

About Channel 4 series The Big Decision:

• The Big Decision (w/t) TX 2012
If you could change the world you live in what would you do? How would you spend £10million pounds of Lottery money? In a major new five-part series, The Big Decision reveals what people care about most – and the impact that substantial grants have on the charities that do the work.

From asking the public where they think the money should go through to the distribution of funds, this series gets to the heart of what people really care about and what that means for our society.

One Comment leave one →
  1. John Smith permalink
    3 November 2011 2:53 pm

    Thanks for the post. It was an innovative idea by BIG to ask public help in deciding the causes the lottery fund should support. And no surprises that health care came out on top. Health care, particularly for the elderly is a real concern today. Incidentally, if you play health lottery, you contribute to worthy health causes.

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