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Working on The National Lottery Awards, social media and with chickens!

8 September 2016

In the first of a series of blogs from this summer’s London Smart Futures’ work placements at the Big Lottery Fund we hear from eighteen year old Farzana Begum whose first day with us saw her mucking out sheep pens and avoiding chickens!


I am Farzana Begum from the Ernst & Young foundation Smart Futures programme doing a week’s work experience at the Big Lottery Fund (the Fund) and the National Lottery Promotions Unit (NLPU) who promote the good causes funded by the National Lottery.

Spitalfields City Farm – day one

three chickens in a barnOn the first day of my work experience I went on a project visit to Spitalfields City Farm in Whitechapel, East London. This is a Big Lottery Fund funded project and we were able to go and see first-hand how the farm uses their grant. It was incredible to see the impact that the grant has on the farm and also all the work that the farm does with the local community. The farm involves local primary school children by inviting them to come and do some gardening or help with feeding the animals. It also caters to the local community by having produce, fruit and vegetables that are suitable to buy by the local community which is mostly populated by Bengalis. They grow vegetables such as the ‘Kodu’ which originated from Bangladesh. This told me that the farm does think about their local community and provides for them.

Students and Big Lottery Fund staff standing in from of phone box

Work placements and staff, ready to muck out at Spitalfield’s City Farm!


Learning about the National Lottery Promotions Unit (NLPU) – day 2

Before I started at the NLPU, I had no idea how much work went into an awards show (the National Lottery Awards), and now seeing it, made me realise that it isn’t as easy as it looks. Also learning about how many charities that the Lottery funders help and how they are able to get coverage of a specific project in order to let the public know all the good things that National Lottery funding is doing was amazing.


Making a Vine – day 3

Two young women holding up bunting

Bunting ready to use!

The communications team at the Fund are working on promoting Celebrate funding. They want to involve the public by showing them different, yet simple ways in which they can celebrate, in this case making their own bunting. We did this by creating a Vine on bunting making, as Vines are quite easy for people to watch and learn from. I loved making the Vine as it was a new skill that I learned.



Youth engagement and meeting the interns – day 4

I spent most of my day speaking to some of the Fund’s interns, picking their brains on how they got to be interns and any advice they have for us. It was wonderful to speak to people who were in our shoes not that long ago and hear how they got through college and university. It allowed me to realise that you can always change your career path if you don’t want to do it anymore and how important it is to do something you love instead of just settling with a job. We also had a conversation with the interns as they wanted our thoughts and input on how the Fund can engage and attract youth to do more social actions. The fact that they wanted our views made us feel needed and more confident as they actually wanted our thoughts and ideas.


The National Lottery Awards on social media – day 5

I also assisted some of the Fund communications team with social media promotion of their Celebrate funding. I was able to make an Instagram story for the Big Lottery Fund Instagram which I had so much fun with as my creative side came out.

I got to see how the NLPU uses social media to get as much reach as possible for the National Lottery Awards. I learned many new skills whilst working at the NLPU & the Fund. Before this placement I had no idea how many charities in my local area the Lottery funders fund and how many well-known charities they fund, as well as funding so many of our Olympians and Paralympians!.

National Lottery Awards logo with Myleene Klass

So much work goes into an awards event!


It has been an amazing experience and I have learned many skills that I will use in the future. Throughout the whole week I spent a lot of my time networking, finding out what people do and how they got into their current jobs. As I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do at university and as a career, it was eye opening to get different views from different people about what they did and how it opened doors for them. Speaking to so many people allowed me to realise that there are many options and opportunities out there for me and it helped me a lot in the sense that I was able to calm down and not stress out about what I want to do in the future as there are many options for me.

I loved every bit of my placement from actually doing pieces of real work, networking and writing this blog. It has opened my eyes to all the different career paths that there are out there and I would urge anyone who is lucky enough to have the chance to do work experience to go right ahead and do it, as with the Fund and the NLPU it has been the best work experience I have done so far.


You can see the National Lottery Awards on BBC one, watch the trailer.

Smart Futures is run by the Ernst & Young Foundation.

Read more about the Celebrate fund!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. linda fowler permalink
    8 September 2016 1:58 pm

    Dear sir/madam I am a volunteer for the kingstanding food community and we are so saddened that we did not get the funding for our community kitchen and allotment we are doing a campaign to save our cafe and allotment it would be wonderful if we could carry on with this project as a lot of people have benifited from this project they have become more stonger more healthier they have had a great time with the workshop and would be verry saddened if we lose this project I hope you can help us we have got a lot of heart broken volunteers because of this and the community


    • Big Lottery Fund permalink*
      9 September 2016 2:04 pm

      Hi Linda,
      Someone from the team would be happy to speak to you. Please get in touch with the contact on the letter you received.
      Best wishes,


  1. Working on …Go-karts, windmills and Vines, oh my! | The Big Lottery Fund Blog

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