Today, Spirit of 2012 celebrates its fifth birthday. On 26 November 2013 the Big Lottery Fund set out the Trust Deed that endowed Spirit of 2012 with £47 million to fund events and projects that captured – and continued – the spark that lit up the London Games. Since then, we have awarded almost £25 million to arts, sports and volunteering programmes that have brought together people across the UK, and have left behind sustainable social legacies.

To date, more than 2.8 million people have taken part in an event or a project we have funded – including an army of 40,000 volunteers – and research shows that we’re having a significant effect on wellbeing and happiness.

We have established a reputation as a funder of quality and rigour. We are not faceless; we stay close to our projects, and we’re proud to share what we learn with them, and learn from them in turn.

We’re delighted to welcome three new Board members to the Spirit family as part of our fifth anniversary celebrations.

Tim Elwell-Sutton, James Dacre and Raj Jethwa all took their seats on our Board this month. Tim is an honorary lecturer in Public Health at the University of East Anglia and a Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health, and he brings extensive expertise in mobilising action to address the social determinants of health.

“I’m interested in how we can improve the quality as well as the quantity of life people experience in this country,” he says. “Physical activity and a sense of community are both vital for this. That’s why I think Spirit’s work is important and I’m proud to be part of it.

James Dacre join us from the arts world, where he works as Artistic Director of Royal & Derngate Theatres in Northampton. James is also a Trustee of Britain’s primary Black-led theatre company, Talawa, and believes passionately that arts, and culture are for everyone.

“I have been so inspired to see first-hand how Spirit has helped create pathways into the cultural and creative industries for people from all backgrounds,” he says. “Six years after the stirring optimism of the Olympics, Britain is a very different place and Spirit of 2012’s remarkable commitment to proving how arts, sport and culture can be used to improve personal empowerment, social cohesion and community wellbeing is needed now more than ever.”

Raj Jethwa is Director of Policy at the British Medical Association (BMA), leading the BMA’s policy development, representative activities and national negotiations. His previous roles include working for the Police Federation of England and Wales, playing a key role in negotiations around pay and pensions.

Raj says: “It is an immense privilege to join Spirit’s board. The health and wellbeing of our communities are shaped by a range of economic and social influences and I passionately share Spirit’s aims of tackling social isolation and empowering those with the fewest opportunities.”

We welcome all three, and look forward to blowing out our birthday cake candles with them later today!