UK. Totland and Bournemouth projects win Meridian South tv vote for Big Lottery cash

Friday, 17 November 2006

A big cheer went up in Totland and Bournemouth yesterday as the West Wight Nursery and Bournemouth Borough Council both celebrate wins in the Big Lottery Fund and ITV's People's Millions contest.

ITV Meridian South viewers cast equal votes for the projects to win up to £50,000 in Lottery cash, after a nail biting head to head, screened on Wednesday's Meridian Tonight evening news. When the results came in, equal votes had been cast so the Big Lottery Fund awarded the cash to both groups.

The West Wight Nursery Nature's Playground Project won the hearts and minds of viewers across the region, with a pitch to spend the winning cash on turning a disused field into an area for people of the local community to enjoy.

Bournemouth Borough Council's Wheel Along The Stour Project also convinced the public to vote for them to win the award to create a pathway along a stretch of the River Stour with the addition of a fishing platform.

The groups are this week's third and fourth People's Millions winners in the ITV Meridian South region. A total of 84 UK awards and up to £4.2 million in Big Lottery funding is up for grabs in the competition where viewers decide who gets Lottery cash.

Each night two local projects are showcased on ITV regional news in a head-to-head battle to secure public votes and a Big Lottery Fund award. A total of 289,000 votes have been cast across the UK since the competition began on Monday.

There are no unsuccessful projects from last night's competition, but an additional bonus prize will still be awarded on Friday to the runner up in ITV Meridian South that chalks up the most public votes.

This is the second year the Big Lottery Fund and ITV have teamed up to bring UK viewers the People's Millions, giving the public a real say on where Lottery funding will go to benefit their community. Last year's contest was a huge success with viewers across the UK casting votes to give 53 projects a share of over £2.6 million to make a difference in their communities. Up to £15 million in grants will be given out by the Big Lottery Fund under the three year public involvement initiative.

Sir Clive Booth, Chair of the Big Lottery Fund said: "This was an exciting neck and neck competition in Meridian South, showing how difficult it is to choose between all these highly deserving projects. The voting public have already done their bit to ensure many excellent community projects can be brought to life by helping them secure the Lottery cash. A further two winning projects will be announced in this region tomorrow, including a bonus award for the region's best runner up."

John Cresswell, Acting Chief Executive of ITV said: "One of ITV's greatest strengths as a broadcaster is our ability to connect with local people through our ground breaking regional news and I'm delighted that ITV is playing such a key role both in the regions and nationally with initiatives such as the People's Millions. Once again we are inviting viewers to have a direct say on what they want their lottery good cause money spent on by tuning in to their local ITV news programme and voting for their favourite project."

The People's Million's competition continues tonight with the Bembridge Steyne Park Regeneration project in Bembridge, Isle of Wight, competing with the Southampton Society for the Blind Sensory Garden project.

If Bembridge Steyne Park Regeneration Group wins it will be removing outdated equipment and installing a modern challenging play area within a local park in an area where there is no other play provision available. But if Southampton's Society for the Blind gets the most votes the group will design and build a sensory garden in the centre of Southampton for everyone to enjoy. The garden will then be maintained by visually impaired people giving them a sense of involvement and achievement, as well as a place to relax and enjoy the environment.

Last Updated ( Friday, 17 November 2006 )