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Bicester Athletic Club scoop Thames Valley public TV vote and Lottery cash

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South East England
The Peoples Millions
Release date:
30 11 2007
Bicester Athletic Club in Oxfordshire are the toast of the town today after winning an £71,263 slice of good cause cash from the Big Lottery Fund’s regional People’s Millions contest.

ITV Thames Valley viewers voted for the project to win the award after a nail biting head-to-head contest for community votes screened on Thursday’s ITV regional evening news.

The Bicester Athletic Club won the hearts – and a bigger slice of the public vote – after viewers tuned in to find out about the project. The group will now be able to make their long, high and triple jumps, discus and javelin run-up areas into all weather surfaces at Bicester Community College sports field. This new facility would be available to all the children at the college, their feeder schools and Athletic Club members.

Celebrations are also underway for the 22nd Oxford Sea Scouts in Oxford which originally missed out on an award on Wednesday. However the group received the fifth highest number of votes in the region, and as the best runner-up winner, pocketed a £33,605 Big Lottery Fund award. They will now be able to replace their leaking roof so a range of community groups can use the building. With around 1,000 people benefiting, they hope to see their headquarters used more frequently once it is fixed.

This year saw five grants awarded to community organisations in the region totalling £302,000 with over 39,800 ITV Thames Valley viewers casting their vote

The third year of the regional People’s Millions has now finished, and after an exciting week of head to head competitions, 90 grants worth over £6.42 million have been awarded to projects UK-wide with over 550,000 votes registered by the public.

Each night this week two local projects were showcased on ITV regional news in a head-to-head battle to secure public votes and a Big Lottery Fund award. This year awards were not only dished out to each night’s winning projects, but an additional bonus prize went to the runner up in each ITV region* that chalked up the most public votes.

Sir Clive Booth, Chair of the Big Lottery Fund, said: “’With all the votes now counted, 90 good cause groups and their respective communities across the United Kingdom are benefiting immensely from this exciting competition. Over the last 3 years,  £13.6 million of Lottery funding has been granted, with over 1.1 million people across the UK deciding where this money was spent.“

Michael Grade, ITV Chief Executive said: “One of ITV’s greatest strengths is our ability as a broadcaster to connect with local people about community issues. This year our ground-breaking regional news programmes have given the public the chance to decide on which local community project gets Lottery support which will have a lasting impact on communities across the UK.”

Next week Monday 3 - 7 December will see the People’s £50 million Lottery Giveaway aired on ITV1 where four projects of national significance will compete for the public vote to win a massive £50 million award from BIG. This is the first time the public has voted on a grant of this size.  The four projects facing the public vote are: Eden Project: The Edge; Sustrans’ Connect2; Sherwood: The Living Legend and Black Country Urban Park

Phone voting lines will open on Friday 7th December at 9am.  People can vote online now at www.thepeoples50million.org.uk

Further information

Big Lottery Fund Press Office: 020 7211 1888
Out of Hours contact: 07867 500 572
ITV Press Contact: Melissa Loughran on 0113 222 7117
Full details of Big Lottery Fund programmes and grant awards are available at www.biglotteryfund.org.uk

Notes to Editors

  • The aim of the People’s Millions contest, which launched in 2005, has been to fund projects that improve the quality of life of local communities through transforming the local environment.
  • Calls to the voting numbers will be charged at the standard national rate. Call charges from a BT landline will cost less than 10 pence, calls from other providers and from mobiles will vary, and could be higher. Callers are advised to check with their provider to be certain of the cost. No profit will be made from the phone-in by either ITV or Big Lottery Fund.
  • Voting lines will open from 9.00am on the morning of broadcast until midnight the same day. The telephone numbers for each project will be placed on the Big Lottery Fund website www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/peoplesmillions from 9.00 am on the day of broadcast when voting lines open.
  • The Big Lottery Fund rolls out close to £2 million in Lottery good cause money every 24 hours, which together with other Lottery distributors means that across the UK most people are within a few miles of a Lottery-funded project.
  • Telephone voting numbers – As with previous years, ITV and the Big Lottery Fund will use a low cost non-premium rate telephone number. ITV and BIG do not make a profit from the voting telephone numbers.
  • The Big Lottery Fund, the largest of the National Lottery good cause distributors, has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK since its inception in June 2004.
  • On 1 December 2006 the Big Lottery Fund was officially established by Parliament and at the same time assumed the residual responsibilities of the dissolved National Lottery Charities Board (Community Fund) the New Opportunities Fund, and the Millennium Commission. The Fund is building on the experience and best practice of the merged bodies to simplify funding in those areas where they overlap and to ensure Lottery funding provides the best possible value for money.