Refugee Choir in running for prestigious national lottery award

A choir project which supports young refugees and asylum seekers living in Leicestershire and across England is appealing for votes after reaching the finals of the 25th Birthday National Lottery Awards - the search for the UK’s favourite ever National Lottery-funded projects.  


The European Youth Music Refugee Choir (EYMRC), which regularly performs and rehearses in Leicester, and has many participants from the area, is competing in the Best Culture, Arts and Film Project category.  They beat off stiff competition from more than 700 organisations to reach the public voting stage in this year’s National Lottery Awards, which celebrate the inspirational people and projects who do extraordinary things with the help of National Lottery funding.


The project with the most votes will be crowned the winner and receive a £10,000 cash prize, an iconic National Lottery Awards trophy and attend a star-studded glittering awards ceremony to be broadcast on BBC One in November.



The European Youth Music Refugee Choir (EYMRC) brings together young refugees and asylum seekers living in England, enabling them to meet new people in a fun way whilst developing crucial skills needed to continue living in a new country. The choir rehearses in Leicester, Birmingham and Bristol regularly with plans to expand across the country.


Sarah Pickstone, the Director of Marketing and Fundraising for European Youth Music, says: “We were so happy to be told that the European Youth Music Refugee Choir had been shortlisted as a finalist in the 25th Birthday National Lottery Awards.


We run choirs across England for young refugees and asylum seekers with the aim of making them feel more welcome in the community and to provide them with new experiences, chances to develop new skills and make new friends.


We’re hoping that everyone gets behind us. We would love to spread the word further afield so that more people know and understand what we do and so that we can help more asylum seekers and refugees.”


Jonathan Tuchner, from the National Lottery, added: “It’s thanks to National Lottery players, who raise more than £30 million each week for good causes, that brilliant projects like those in the finals of the National Lottery Awards are possible. 


“The European Youth Music Refugee Choir is doing an incredible job and the work they do is hugely impressive. They thoroughly deserve to be in the finals of the 25th Birthday National Lottery Awards and with your support they could be a winner.”


To vote for EYMRC go to lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/awards OR use the hashtag #NLARefugeeChoir on twitter.


You can also follow the campaign on Twitter: hashtag #NLAwards. Voting runs from 9am on 24 July until midnight on 21 August.  


The award categories reflect the main areas of National Lottery funding: heritage, sport, arts, culture and film, community and charity, sporting legend which will be decided by a public vote alongside lifetime achievement, young hero, special recognition, and twelve local legend awards, which will be selected by a panel made up of representatives from the National Lottery family.


The first National Lottery draw took place on 19 November 1994.  The 25th birthday is a moment to celebrate the extraordinary impact The National Lottery has had on the UK and, most importantly, to say thank you to National Lottery players for contributing tens of millions of pounds every week to good causes.


Whilst The National Lottery is all about winning – with more than 5,100 millionaires created since 1994 – its primary purpose is all about giving.


National Lottery players have raised more than £40 billion for good causes in the areas of arts, sport, heritage and community over the past 25 years. More than 565,000 National Lottery grants have been awarded since 1994, the equivalent of around 200 life-changing projects in every UK postcode district helping to strengthen communities, deliver sporting success, protect the environment, unleash local creative talent and look after the elderly and those at risk.


Pictures Credit EYMRC