In the 10 years the National Lottery has been running it has provided more than £29million for good causes in Croydon only £1million more than Camelot, the lottery's operator, paid for a relaunch two years ago after sales fell by £500million.

But Croydon compares favourably to the neighbouring boroughs of Bromley and Sutton in terms of the money it has received towards its good causes.

Bromley received around £26million while Sutton was awarded little more than £15million to support community groups and charitable projects since the lottery's formation.

So where's all this money gone?

One of the most recent projects to benefit from lottery funding was Thornton Heath's much-celebrated leisure centre which opened in May.

Costing £8million, the state-of-the-art facility with a sports hall, dance hall and two pools, was built with £2.8million of lottery money from Sport England.

In August 2000 a grant of £275,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund was used to build new railings around South Norwood Lake and improve the grounds with purpose-built fishing platforms.

And the Together in Waddon community project, set up in 1989, was awarded £48,900 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to trace the history of the estate.

Pam Martin, who helped arrange the funding for Together in Waddon, encouraged other groups to apply to the National Lottery saying while it is hard work it is worthwhile.

She said: "What it did for us was enable us to work on a much wider basis with schools and the community.

"The only criticism I would make, and it would be a gentle criticism, is they need to make it easier for community groups to apply for funding."