How Halifax project is benefiting from £1 billion of National Lottery funding during the pandemic

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As the first anniversary of lockdown approaches, new figures revealed today show that over £1.2 billion of good causes funding has been awarded by The National Lottery in the UK during the last year, providing a much-needed boost for the arts, heritage, sport and community/charity sector.

The funding has helped protect the future for thousands of organisations across the UK.

The Basement Recovery Project, based in Halifax and spearheaded by Bacup resident Stuart Honor, uses Sport England funding to provide crucial support for recovering substance misusers.

And its National Lottery funding through lockdown came via Sport England’s innovative Tackling Inequalities Fund, an initiative set up to reduce the negative impact of coronavirus and the widening of inequalities in sport and physical activity.

The project has continued to change the lives of the people it works with and Stuart, Director and Founder, admits he couldn’t be more grateful to National Lottery players.

The 44-year-old, who enjoyed a promising football career as a teenager, said: “National Lottery funding gives us an opportunity to explore avenues with individuals that we wouldn’t normally be able to.

“[The funding] is giving people the opportunity of a life they’ve never previously had.

“It’s been really useful – we didn’t know if we’d be eligible, but we got some equipment to turn some of the space we have into a small gym area.

“We have been able to trial new ways of working, and that’s invaluable.”

The Basement Recovery Project is one of thousands of projects nationwide to have benefited from the £30 million raised by National Lottery players every week.

The £1.2 billion awarded by the National Lottery in the last year has gone towards thousands of initiatives and programmes designed to tackle loneliness and isolation, provide support for the elderly and vulnerable young people, and those promoting physical and mental health in the community.

Stuart lives in Bacup with his wife and four children and is determined to break down the stigma surrounding alcoholism and substance misuse.

Many of Stuart’s staff have suffered from previous addictions to substances and the Wigan-born founder, who set up the initiative in 2008, thinks that helps them sympathise with the people they work with.

National Lottery funding is helping the Basement Recovery Project combat perceptions and Stuart believes it functions as a vital force for change.

“What we’re really trying to do is break down stigma, and get those guys to join in activities in the wider community,” he added.

“When people think of substance misusers, they don’t think of them as the most deserving, but what we see on a day-to-day basis is people who’ve had quite severe trauma.

“A lot of people are now experiencing sporting activities which they never experienced before – and that’s really interesting.”