Communities throughout UK gear up to celebrate the king’s coronation with National Lottery support

Hundreds of charities and organisations throughout the UK are gearing up to mark the Coronation of His Majesty The King this month by delivering a range of activities to bring people together and make a lasting positive impact in their communities.

Saturday May 6 will see King Charles III crowned in a ceremony at Westminster Abbey. Hundreds of charities throughout the UK have been putting National Lottery funding to good use in their communities to mark the historic occasion.

For months, organisations have been applying for National Lottery funding to help celebrate and mark the Coronation of His Majesty The King and Her Majesty The Queen Consort.

Encompassing areas of the environment, arts, education, community, heritage and sport, National Lottery funding is being used to deliver a weekend of special events or projects which will have a lasting positive impact in their communities beyond the Coronation.

From Coronation Big Lunches and street parties, which bring people together – delivering culture, art, and music festivals – to supporting projects that provide new opportunities for diverse younger people to engage with heritage or sport, there is truly something for everyone.  

The Coronation Big Lunch on May 7 – supported by The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK – will encourage communities to come together, celebrate their connections and get to know each other better.

There have been well over 1 million Big Lunch events since they started in 2009 and millions of people across the country are expected to get involved and join in the Coronation celebrations.

One of those projects is the Cherwell Collective in Oxfordshire, a Community Interest Company that uses the principles of a circular economy to empower local people to reduce their carbon footprint and support people struggling with the cost of living. Founder Emily Connally is thrilled that so many people will be brought together to celebrate the landmark occasion in a sustainable way again this year.

She said: “We did one for the Jubilee as well – and we’ll repurpose the decorations from the Jubilee, so another use for those items.

“We’re expecting around 500 people to attend, and inside it’ll be cream teas using china that was donated and turned into stands.

“We’ll seat around 200 people, and we’ll also have music. We have options to take the food into the greenspace outside the hall and the marquees out there. There will be a giant big picnic part as well.

“We wouldn’t have been able to do any of this without The National Lottery – it’s been incredible. We’re getting more people involved and we’re reducing waste – which is what we want to do.

“When people come, we help them reduce waste, but we keep them coming back which is a huge part of our project.”

The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s ambition for the Coronation is to provide new opportunities for younger people to engage with heritage and get actively involved with the UK’s natural environment and landscapes.

Following its success during the Platinum Jubilee, they are expanding their “New to Nature” programme in partnership with community charity, Groundwork. The programme is creating and delivering 25 extra paid work placements, targeted at diverse young people facing barriers to engaging with careers and opportunities in the natural environment.

“It all stems from the fact the environmental sector, the nature and landscape sector, has had a challenge it’s been grappling with for a few years with its own workforce,” said Groundwork Chief Executive Graham Duxbury.

“It’s an ageing workforce and it’s not very diverse. People from different backgrounds find it impenetrable and hard to get a foot on the career ladder in the nature and landscape sector, so what this programme is all about is facilitating roots into that work experience.

“Fundamentally, this wouldn’t happen without the support of The National Lottery. They particularly galvanised this through an additional strand of funding linked to the Queen’s Jubilee and they’ve recently provided more funding linked to the King’s Coronation. They’ve been the driving force behind making this happen.”

In this Coronation year, Sport England have been looking at two additional areas which reflect His Majesty The King’s personal passions. Via their Small Grants Programme, they have been funding projects that focus on sustainable activity while reducing the impact on the environment, and projects focusing on the development of skills in young people.

One of those projects is Dallaglio Rugbyworks, who are helping more children and young people in the North East develop physical and mental fitness, alongside career aspirations.

“Our programme is broken down into four cornerstones,” said Head of Delivery Phil Hannah.

“Cornerstone one is developing life skills, which we do through rugby-based active learning. Our second cornerstone, raising aspirations, is about helping young people into the world of work.

“The third and fourth cornerstone is mental and physical health and wellbeing. The physical is taken care of through rugby and signposting to other sports clubs in the areas, and we also deliver some mental wellbeing workshops to young people.

“This funding from The National Lottery is for an area outside where we usually work, and we’ve got a small pot of money to do some sessions in some schools up there.”

Arts Council England have been busy banging the drum for The Coronation Bandstands project. In celebration of the Coronation, the Bandstands project is providing inspirational opportunities for children and young people to take part in and watch performances in public park bandstands across the country.

The project is being delivered by Music for Youth, who are working with cultural organisations across the country to stage the events. A young composer from the Norfolk Music Hub has been commissioned as part of the project. His fanfare/piece will be performed at all bandstand events across England, including his own Bandstand at Gorleston-on-Sea.

Music For Youth, a nationwide arts organisation that helps young people across England achieve their musical potential by performing the music they love, are looking to make a difference this weekend.

Director of Programmes, Kate Gardner, said: “We’re working with local partners across England and there are going to be 15 events taking place on local bandstands, celebrating the local culture of each area, allowing the people to come and listen to young people make great music.

“The National Lottery funding is vital for this. We wouldn’t be able to bring this together without it and I think it’s been wonderful to see how that money has supported local communities coming together.”

Darren Henley, Chief Executive of Arts Council England, and Chair of the UK National Lottery Forum said: “Whether it’s through Big Lunches up and down the country, getting young people together to enjoy sport, art, and music, or paving the way to help them preserve our wonderful heritage and natural environment for future generations, the National Lottery is helping ensure as many people as possible can join in and celebrate this momentous occasion in our nation’s history.

“Thanks to National Lottery players, people across the UK will come together to build relationships and create a legacy beyond the Coronation weekend.”

National Lottery players raise more than £30 million a week for arts, education, environment, health, heritage, sport, and voluntary projects across the UK; see the difference it’s making near you at www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk

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