National Lottery Draw Show host and new mum, Jenni Falconer, is calling on people in Northern Ireland to nominate local Good Causes for the National Lottery Awards 2012 – the annual search to find the UK’s favourite Lottery-funded projects.
Last year three Northern Ireland groups were finalists beating hundreds of projects from across the UK to attend the gala Awards event. Hands That Talk from Dungiven and We Were Brothers: WW1 A Shared Heritage from Derry both picked up winners trophies live on TV.
Nearly £880 million of National Lottery funding has been awarded to groups across Northern Ireland since the National Lottery began. Jenni is encouraging any of the 17,000 organisations in Northern Ireland – big or small - that have received Lottery funding to enter the Awards.
Jenni says: “National Lottery players raise a staggering £30 million every week for Good Causes. An impressive variety of Lottery-funded projects have touched the lives of many in Northern Ireland, helping vulnerable children, improving participation levels in sport, transforming parks and iconic buildings and celebrating our shared heritage just to mention a few.
“The National Lottery Awards recognise the unsung heroes, selfless volunteers and dedicated workers improving lives with Lottery funding. There are literally thousands of Lottery-funded projects across the UK deserving of recognition. So if you know of a project that is making an outstanding impact in your community, we want to hear from you.”
The entrants that make it to the finals of The National Lottery Awards will receive national recognition at a star-studded event, broadcast on BBC One, later this year. They will also have a chance to win a £2000 cash prize.
Dorothy Hegarty, from Hands That Talk, picked up the Best Voluntary/Charity Project award last year and is joining Jenni in encouraging Lottery-funded projects to get involved. Dorothy says: “Taking part in The National Lottery Awards last year was a great experience. Receiving national recognition for our work gave all our staff, volunteers and local people a real boost – the buzz was amazing! We would definitely encourage other Lottery-funded organisations to get involved no matter how big or small they are. It’s a great opportunity to show the positive difference your project is making with Lottery funding.”
The National Lottery Awards have seven categories - each reflecting an area of Lottery funding: Arts, Education, Environment, Health, Heritage, Sport and Voluntary/Charity.
If you want to see a project from Northern Ireland celebrated in this year’s National Lottery Awards, or you are involved with a Lottery-funded project and want to nominate it, visit www.nationallotteryawards.org.uk to find out more. Entries must be received by 5pm on Monday 12th March 2012.
 The £2000 is a cash prize for winners to spend on their project; it is not a Lottery grant