Press release

Red Nose Day marks 10 years of UK aid and Comic Relief partnership

UK aid will match £2 million of public donations to Comic Relief support mental health programmes across Sub-Saharan Africa

Lenny Henry in Cape Town

Today (Friday 15 March) Lenny Henry announced during the live Comic Relief celebrations that UK aid will match £2 million of public donations to support mental health programmes across Sub-Saharan Africa.  

The news comes as UK aid and Comic Relief mark 10 years of successful partnership, making sure that the generous donations from the great British public to Comic Relief are used to directly support those most in need and continue to achieve the Global Goals. 

To date, working in partnership with the British public, UK aid and Comic Relief have helped to improve the lives of more than 7.5 million people across 27 countries in the past decade. 

This UK Aid Match funding will support UK aid and Comic Relief projects working with people with mental health conditions across Sub-Saharan Africa, to make sure they have access to the support they need and are empowered to live free from stigma and discrimination. 

International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said:

For many of the British public their insight and interest into aid has been achieved by Comic Relief’s fundraising.  

By joining forces Comic Relief, UK aid, and the generous British public have changed the world for the better over the past 10 years by empowering people and their communities in ways that will benefit generations to come. 

And this year for every pound the great British public donate to Comic Relief, up to £2 million will be doubled by the UK government, meaning their generosity will go twice as far.

Globally, one in four people will develop a mental health condition in their lifetime, it is one of the leading causes of disability, ill-health and loss of economic output.

In some communities around the world people with mental health conditions still have their human rights violated and do not have access to the right services and care that they need.  

Liz Warner, CEO of Comic Relief, said:

Incredible things happen when Comic Relief and UK aid focus their energies together, and the partnership has made huge progress in empowering people and their communities.

Thanks to UK aid matching £2 million of public donations tonight, it’s wonderful that together we can continue to make a real difference to the lives of people in Africa

Comic Relief and UK aid have been a leaders in raising the profile of mental health and this continued partnership, through UK Aid Match, will make sure this is no longer a neglected area in international development, putting people with lived experiences of mental health at the heart of that change.

Notes to Editors

  • UK aid has a current portfolio of £110.5 million with Comic Relief across 5 matched appeal programmes and the Common Ground Initiative Programme. 

Information about UK Aid Match: 

  • For every £1 given by the public to a UK Aid Match charity appeal, the government adds £1 from the UK’s international development budget. 

  • Over the last five years 42 organisations from across the UK have run UK Aid Match projects in 27 developing countries, helping around 25 million people. 

  • UK Aid Match gives everyone in the UK a say in how the UK’s aid money is spent. It boosts the impact of high quality projects that improve the lives of poor people in developing countries. 

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Published 15 March 2019