‘Strictly’ star Neil Jones highlights National Lottery support for homeless
Strictly Come Dancing star Neil Jones experienced homelessness as a teenager. Now the dancer and choreographer is highlighting the incredible support National Lottery-funded projects have provided to homeless people across the UK in the past 10 years.
Neil, 31, is a regular fixture on TV screens across the country. But a few years ago he was in a very different position and, for a brief time, found himself sleeping on the streets.
In the run up to Christmas, he is helping highlight the extensive funding and support of homelessness projects made possible by National Lottery players.
Since 2010, more than £576Million of National Lottery funding has been awarded to more than 3,000 projects that involve or support homeless people or help tackle homelessness throughout the UK. The support is particularly important this year as charities have warned that the “double threat” of coronavirus and cold weather is likely to prove fatal for some homeless people this winter.
Neil said, “With winter upon us and Christmas just around the corner, now is the perfect time of year to spare a thought for those who don’t have a home to go to or have somewhere safe, comfortable and warm to sleep over the festive period.
“It’s tough to think about the difficult things they’re going through at this time of year because it’s such a time of joy for most of us, but it’s important to recognise that there are so many people out there who really do need our help.
“Thankfully, there are countless incredible charities and organisations doing some really incredible work supporting homeless people across the UK with National Lottery funding.
“Having experienced homelessness, myself, I know just how crucial that kind of support is. I’m incredibly thankful to have made it through that dark period in my life, but this Christmas I hope people will take a moment to think about those who are still experiencing such challenges.”
David Knott, Chief Executive of The National Lottery Community Fund, said, “Thanks to National Lottery players, we are able to provide much-needed funding to incredible organisations that are making an important difference to people experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness. Whether supporting people experiencing homelessness to improve prospects for employment, supporting mental health or providing a safe place where people can build their confidence and self-esteem, dedicated groups and their volunteers are working tirelessly with the homeless community, so that they are better able to overcome challenges and hopefully go on to prosper and thrive.”
Streetwise Opera is an arts organisation working with the homeless sector to inspire change and empower people to realise their own creative potential. The project engages world-class artists to collaborate with people affected by homelessness to create powerful works of art, and to positively impact how society views homelessness.
Streetwise Opera’s head of marketing and communications, Rey Trombetta, said, “The National Lottery funding was absolutely vital. That money was core funding for us, and we can’t have the planning or full time staff committed to the work that we do without them. Whenever a funder like the National Lottery gives us money, that allows us to operate and the ability to plan these projects.”
23rd December 2021
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