uklogoSeven inspirational environment projects are battling it out to be named the UK’s favourite National Lottery funded environment project.

The National Lottery Awards reward and recognise the inspirational work of National Lottery funded projects across all sections of society. National Lottery players raise more than £35 million for good causes every week.

Over 900 good causes from across the UK entered this year’s Awards. A panel of judges had the unenviable task of whittling those down to a shortlist of seven in each of the seven categories reflecting the different areas of National Lottery funding: arts, sport, heritage, health, environment, education and voluntary/charity.

The 49 good causes are now competing for public votes. The seven winners will take their place at a glittering awards ceremony in September which will be broadcast on BBC One. Winners will not only pick up a coveted National Lottery Awards trophy but also a £2,000 cash prize[1] to spend on their project.

The finalists in the Best Environment Project category are:

Sustrans’ Connect2 has brought the National Cycle Network deep into the heart of communities across the UK, enabling many more people to get about on foot and by bike.

Arkwright Meadows Community Gardens is a unique community-led green space in Nottingham where local people grow and sell organic produce and world foods reflecting the diversity of the local community.

The Woodland Communities Project encourages people in Warrington and Runcorn to take ownership and clean up their local woods, and use them as places to exercise, enjoy nature and relax with family and friends.

Stepping Up is a recycling project in Mansfield which aims to improve the self-confidence and employability of people affected by long-term unemployment.

Foyle Women’s Aid: The Secret Garden is a tranquil haven for mothers and children who are victims of domestic abuse in Northern Ireland.

The rich natural and industrial heritage of Lightshaw Meadows in Wigan has been explored by hundreds of visitors, local people and school children.

Once run-down, St James’ Park in Southampton has been transformed into a welcoming place for the whole community to enjoy.

TV star and actor John Barrowman, presenter of The National Lottery Awards, said: “National Lottery funding helps transform communities and changes lives for the better. National Lottery players should be proud that their contribution to good causes makes such a positive difference to environment groups across the UK.

“I would urge everyone now to get behind their favourite project and do their bit to ensure they get national recognition for their invaluable contribution to society.”

Jackie O’Sullivan of National Lottery Good Causes added: “We have been overwhelmed by the number and standard of entries for this year’s National Lottery Awards. Each week National Lottery players raise over £35 million for good causes. The impact of National Lottery funding at the heart of communities cannot be over-estimated.

“The good causes competing for public votes are just a snapshot of the life-changing influence of National Lottery funding. Now for the hard part, every one of the nominees is a winner in their own right but it is up to you, the public, to get behind your favourite good cause and make sure it picks up one of the top prizes.”

Voting for The National Lottery Awards started at 9am on Wednesday 19 June and ends at midnight on Wednesday 24 July. You can vote at www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/awards and follow us on twitter: hashtag #NLAwards

Calls cost no more than 5p from a BT landline. Calls from other networks may vary, calls from mobiles could cost considerably more. Callers are advised to check with their telephone network provider to be certain of the cost. No profit will be made from the cost of the phone vote by The National Lottery

All voting will be independently adjudicated and verified by Electoral Reform Services

[1] NB: This is not a National Lottery grant. All projects have already received Lottery funding and this cash prize is in addition to the National Lottery money they have already been awarded

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