Channel 4 and the Big Lottery Fund 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 Channel 4 TV 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 funding to turn the ideas into reality: The Big Lottery Fund staff are assessing whether to award funding.
The Channel 4 team consists of Gok Wan, Katie Piper, Jimmy Doherty, Dave Fishwick and George Clarke.
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 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 celebrity 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.