The team at Your Hospice Lottery definitely have that ‘Friday Feeling’ today (Friday 31st July), having just completed the 1,000th draw since it all began nineteen years ago.
The milestone draw generated 176 prize winners, with the top prize of £1,000 going to a lucky St Helena supporter.
The very first draw took place on 8th June 2001, when it was still the St Helena Hospice Lottery. A small but dedicated team at St Helena Hospice in Colchester was responsible for running and administering the draw, providing the charity with a much needed regular income. Fast forward ten years to 2011 and the forward thinking team took the opportunity to take the lottery to the next level and extend their services into Cambridgeshire in partnership with Arthur Rank Hospice Charity. In a bid to keep costs down and increase the amount of funds that can be given back to hospice care; Your Hospice Lottery was born, with a fantastic model for managing the lottery operation for other hospices on a national level. Thirteen hospices are now part of Your Hospice Lottery, benefitting from this weekly draw, each encouraging their local community to play in support of their respective local hospice.
Thanks to the committed support of thousands of players pledging £1 a week to support their chosen hospice, more than £13 million has been raised for hospices to continue to offer expert palliative care. The money raised so far could pay for 520,000 visits by a community nurse to patients’ homes, over 400,000 counselling sessions or 26,000 days of inpatient care per patient.
Over the past 19 years the lottery has generated over 55,000 winners, including over 765 claiming the top prize of £1,000 and 13 people winning a rollover prize greater than £1,000, equating to over £1.5 million in prize money. The two biggest rollover prizes claimed to date were won this year, with the first draw of 2020 kicking things off with a £19,000 rollover win. More recently, the rollover was won again in June with the lucky player bagging a bank balance boosting £12,500. The 1,000th draw did not generate a rollover winner, so the jackpot currently stands at £3,000 and if it continues to roll over each week it could reach the maximum of £25,000!
The team at Your Hospice Lottery has been on quite a journey over the years with some notable milestones including; the rollover jackpot reaching the then maximum amount of £10,000 for the first time on 1st December 2017 where a winner was guaranteed. In July 2018, the team were recognised on a national level for their lottery services by winning a National Fundraising Award in the category for Most Innovative Fundraising Campaign. The award celebrates their outstanding achievements in fundraising for St Helena, specifically through the innovative extension of their lottery services to the charity sector for the first time through the launch of make a smile lottery. A year later, thanks to more people playing in the draw than ever before in support of their local hospice, the prize fund was increased to include a more enticing rollover jackpot of £500 up to a new maximum of £25,000 with an additional 40 guaranteed £10 cash prizes, therefore increasing the odds of a lucky win each week. This year, St Helena has been named as a Top 100 Social Enterprise for 2020 in the NatWest SE100 Index. This is specifically for the innovative income generation work operating lotteries on behalf of other charities across England and Wales. The lottery team at St Helena currently run two lotteries for over 20 other charities and last year raised £1.5m in total for all these other good causes as well as providing an important income stream for the hospice.
Gemma Zweck, Lottery Business Manager, said: “We could not have reached this landmark 1,000th draw without the valued support of our loyal players who have contributed to the lottery over the last 19 years. Even in these uncertain times we have been amazed by the generosity of players contributing even more to their chosen hospice by adding another play or simply staying with us through sheer dedication. The beauty of the lottery is that it has been the one form of income that our partner hospices could rely on during Covid-19 when shops were closed and fundraising events postponed. Thank you to every one of our players, past and present, by pledging £1 per play every week you make every moment count for patients and their families.”
The lottery is a fun and easy way to raise vital funds, giving players the chance of winning one of 176 guaranteed cash prizes every week ranging from £10 to £1,000 and a rollover jackpot up to £25,000!