The National Lottery Fund has supported Just Like Us with a new generous donation.

On 13 September, the largest community funder in the UK announced that they would be giving the LGBTQIA+ organisation £435,250 to help with its Pride Groups programme.

The inclusive initiative – which has been implemented in secondary schools across England and Wales – is a national network of lunchtime or after-school clubs that provide safe places for LGBTQIA+ and ally young people to socialise, learn and receive support.

Pride Groups also provide expert training and immersive resources for staff and student leaders to support their local LGBTQIA+ student body.

According to a press release, the large donation will be distributed over three years.

With this new grant, Just Like Us plans to transform and expand the Pride Groups programme into “an initiative that will support approximately 16,000 LGBT+ young people and allies across 1,600 secondary schools in England and Wales.”

In a statement, Laura Mackay – Chief Executive of Just Like Us – expressed her excitement over The National Lottery Fund’s support.

“With the support of The National Lottery Community Fund, Just Like Us will be able transform our Pride Groups programme, helping more pupils than ever before to become better allies, to feel connected to the LGBT+ community and to make positive changes in their schools and local communities,” she said.


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“All young people deserve to feel that school is a safe place where they are supported to be themselves, and I cannot thank National Lottery players enough for helping to make this a reality for LGBT+ pupils across England and Wales.”

Deputy Director of UK Portfolio at The National Lottery Community Fund, Melissa Eaglesfield, echoed similar sentiments before expressing the importance of community outreach.

“Our ambition is to invest most in places, people and communities experiencing poverty, disadvantage and discrimination. I’m delighted that our funding is being used to create safe environments where communities can come together and be themselves,” she explained.

Lastly, the exciting donation has also been praised by Phil East, an English teacher at Park Hall Academy in the West Midlands, who used the Pride Groups programme for his students in 2022.

“Running Pride Groups at Park Hall last year alongside other staff was one of the most fulfilling and rewarding aspects of my 20-year teaching career,” he said.

“It’s so important to provide a safe space for LGBT+ students to socialise, learn about the history of the community and meet other students and allies. We ran a stand in the school reception area during School Diversity Week which was a great success.”

The National Lottery Fund and Just Like Us’ recent partnership is part of the former’s “it starts with community” strategy.

The initiative aims to support community unity, enact environmental sustainability and help children/young people achieve healthier lives.

With this new strategy in place, The National Lottery Fund aims to distribute at least £4 billion of National Lottery funding by 2030.

For more information about Just Like Us’ Pride Groups programme click here.