More than £5 Million was awarded to good causes last night at the 2016 People's Postcode Lottery Charity Gala, held in Edinburgh's Assembly Rooms. Among those receiving massive cheques were the winners of the 2016 Dream Fund.
The Dream Fund is a grants programme that encourages charities and community groups across Britain to work together and apply to finance their dream project – something they have always wanted to deliver, but never had the opportunity to bring to life. This year, three incredible projects were awarded more than £1.5 Million. The winning projects comprised 'Building Our Dreams', 'New Plastics Economy – Mobilisation' and 'Heritage Heroes'.
This year's first prize winner is Building Our Dreams, a joint project between Valleys Kids and Down to Earth Project. The project will receive an incredible£583,000. The project will engage with the most vulnerable and disadvantaged young people in South Wales to, quite literally, build their own landmark residential centre using both locally sourced materials and the most sustainable building methods available.
This year's two other winners are equally impressive. Receiving £500,000, New Plastics Economy – Mobilisation is a joint project between the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the Plymouth Marine Laboratory. They have been awarded funds to develop a Global Plastics Protocol that will become an industry standard for producing sustainable plastics across Great Britain and the world.
2016's final winner is Heritage Heroes, a collaboration between Canal & River Trust and Help For Heroes. 'Heritage Heroes' will use its £500,000 in funding to deliver a programme of major restoration, career recovery and conservation volunteering, which will rebuild the lives of retired military veterans.
The Gala event featured First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon MSP as its guest of honour. The First Minister was on hand to present sport and dance-based charity Street League with a £200,000 cheque, thanks to players of the People's Postcode Lottery.
Street League, which runs centres across the UK, including in the First Minister's home town of Irvine, Ayrshire, plans to use the funding to continue supporting 2,000 unemployed 16-24 year olds into work, training or education by 2017.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said, "Street League is making a difference to young people across Scotland and the rest of the UK. Using sport as a route to provide young people with the skills to turn their lives around is a fantastic venture. Everyone at Street league works so hard to give thousands of people a helping hand to improve their life. They deserve enormous praise and I congratulate them on this award."
People's Postcode Lottery has just celebrated its 10-year anniversary. Since 2005, players have raised £99.6 Million for charities and good causes across Great Britain and internationally.