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Following on from six years of successful work in communities across the Western Isles, the Western Isles Lifestyle Lottery Team are winners of the Special Recognition Award 2023 from the Lotteries Council UK.

The Special Recognition Award is designed to honour individuals who have made a significant impact on their good cause or the industry as a whole. This could include unsung heroes or volunteers who have shown exceptional dedication and commitment. This award is an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the hard work and contributions of these individuals, who often go unnoticed but play an important role in the success of the industry.

Janet Paterson, founder of the Lottery explained, “We received notification in February that the nomination had been submitted but, really, although the nomination itself was an honour, we actually thought no more about it.

"Given that the Lotteries Council membership comprises almost 500 groups UK wide, including high profile charities, hospices and Local Authority Lottery operators, it just didn’t seem possible that we would have any chance of winning one of only two annual awards.  Surprisingly, I then got invited to attend the recent Lotteries Council Annual Conference and Gala Dinner in Warwick and simply assumed a budget had been set aside for each of nominees. I travelled south, looking forward to, at last, meeting some of the folk who make up the Gatherwell Team, our External Lottery Management Company who support us in everything we do. Never expecting it, and actually winning this prestigious award, is just unbelievable."

Inspiring the communities of the Western Isles to come together and raise funds sustainably year-round, the lottery was designed to support, rather than replace, ongoing community initiatives and help keep the pound local.

The local Team are extremely busy planning and organising their latest, and biggest, project – Tattoo Metagama & Grand Concert to be held in Lewis Sports Centre on 11 August and Lews Castle Green on 12 August. Their current Metagama Exhibition, mainly compiled by Tony Robson, is now on tour across the Islands and will return for the Metagama Week commencing 8 August in Stornoway. Information and tickets are available at

A historic, commemorative book will also be on sale shortly.

The tagline for the Western Isles Lifestyle Lottery is: “Where there’s a WILL, there’s a Way”. The lottery was designed so the people of the Western Isles, collectively and inclusively of all cultures, could help themselves, while also being frontrunners when it came to being proactive within their own community.

With £45,000 raised in the first year, almost £500,000 has been raised to date. When match funding from other organisations is taken into account, the figure totals well over £500,000 with another £250,000 shared out in weekly prize winnings.

Cash prizes are provided as an incentive, and the strategic approach is closely reviewed alongside Gatherwell, without whom, the Western Isles Lottery’s success would not have been possible.

"It’s incredible to see what can be achieved from the seed of an idea. Thanks to the forward-thinking initiative, Western Isles Lifestyle Lottery has had a tangible impact on communities up and down the islands.

"Dozens of community initiatives from across the islands have benefitted from the funds generated, from annual summer floral displays to Christmas lights, to funding for youth groups, community service groups and local events, not to mention the annual Lottery Birthday festivals that get the whole community involved."

Janet continued “We are a small, hard working and very organised committee with four sub-committees across the Islands. Special congratulations is paid to Tony Robson, Emma Henderson and Malcolm Paterson who have worked tirelessly over the last six and a half years 

The success of the Lottery simply wouldn’t be possible without the supporters who have thoroughly embraced it, and they can stand proud for being part of such a successful initiative which benefits everyone across the entire Western Isles.

To join in you can log onto or contact the Support Line on 0300 30 20 444 (local rate applies).

Pictures: Janet Paterson receiving Award; and Janet Paterson with committee members Tony Robson, Emma Henderson, Malcolm Paterson. Missing from the picture are the members of the current committee Charlie Nicolson, Jacqueline Jackson and Jemma Morrison.