Fund merger prompts voluntary sector income concerns

A merger of the New Opportunities Fund and the Community
Fund has been confirmed, despite concerns from within the voluntary
sector that it could affect its income, writes Sally

Announcing the move, culture secretary Tessa Jowell described it
as an opportunity to “create a new Lottery good cause distributor
which will build on the strengths of both organisations”.

Baroness Jill Pitkeathley, chairperson of the New Opportunities
Fund, said: “We regard the new merger as an exciting challenge.
Increased benefits for the communities will be the acid test.

“Partnership, tackling disadvantage, improving community
services and local priority setting must be the key themes of the
new body.”

Pitkeathley added that the NOF was “already a very substantial
funder of the voluntary sector”, and had committed around 40 per
cent of its £1.62 billion to projects in the sector.

But there are fears that the merger will result in less money
going to charities whose activities do not relate to government
objectives, but who have in the past been given grants by the
independent Community Fund.

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