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Channel 4's The Secret Millions to give away £10m from Big Lottery Fund

Channel 4's The Secret Millions to give away £10m from Big Lottery Fund

and the are to grant £10 million to help charities implement radical ideas to tackle issues such as youth unemployment, social housing, and families with disabled children. This is the largest sum given away via a series.

The Secret Millions, a five-part series that airs this month, comes from the producers of The Secret Millionaire. It will follow five Channel 4 presenters as they work with charities that they have an "emotional connection" to in order to develop new projects. The charities don't know that they are also secretly trying to help secure £2 million of Lottery to turn the ideas into reality: The Big Lottery Fund staff are assessing whether to award .

The Channel 4 team consists of Gok Wan, Katie Piper, Jimmy Doherty, Dave Fishwick and George Clarke.

Participating charities

The five charities involved are:

  • The Foyer Federation, with Dave Fishwick
  • Kids Company, with Gok Wan
  • Papworth Trust, with Jimmy Doherty
  • Acumen Development Trust, with Katie Piper
  • London Youth, with George Clarke

Dave Fishwick on Channel 4's The Secret Millions

Dave Fishwick on The Secret Millions

Channel 4 and The Big Lottery

The series grew out of a survey in 2011 by Channel 4 and the Big Lottery Fund in which the public was asked to decide which five themes should be given priority in the current financial climate. The results were used by the Fund to decide which projects should share the £10 million of funding.

This is the first time the Big Lottery Fund has asked the public to help design and develop a grant programme from choosing the programme themes to the types of projects and beneficiaries they want funded.

The Secret Millions

Each week, The Secret Millions will follow a working with a charity to test out a bold idea dealing with major social issues. The Channel 4 presenters will help the charities set up a trial run of the innovative project which is, in fact, part of the secret bid to win the Lottery funding.

Peter Wanless, Chief Executive of the Big Lottery Fund, said: "The Secret Millions is one of the most exciting projects we have ever been involved in. Offering possible access to considerable sums of our good causes cash as part of Channel 4's largest ever TV giveaway, knowing the huge difference that it could make on issues the public prioritised, has been an excellent experience."

He added: "I hope The Secret Millions experience will lead to a greater public awareness of such good causes and the opportunities there are for everyone to get involved."

The Secret Millions will begin on Sunday 17 March at 8pm on Channel 4.


Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world's first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp.

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