Voluntary sector fears lottery merger

The voluntary sector has raised concerns over government proposals
to merge lottery money distributors, the Community Fund and the New
Opportunities Fund.

Membership bodies for the sector are opposing the move, arguing
that it could lead to less cash going to smaller community groups.
The Community Fund is a major funding source for small groups,
while the NOF is used for projects related to government

The merger, which is being considered as a result of the
government’s review of the lottery, would have implications for the
future funding of the sector.

A spokesperson for the National Association of Councils for
Voluntary Service, described the plan as a “bad idea”.

“The Community Fund has a wealth of experience of dealing with the
sector and it is also independent. A merger could mean that both of
these things are lost,” he said.

“The fund provides smaller groups with a real pot of money without
any strings attached. It allows organisations to operate without
becoming involved in the government’s agenda.”

Chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary
Organisations, Stuart Etherington said: “NCVO will be seeking
assurances from the government that lottery funds will continue to
be distributed free from interference by politicians.”

He added that it should not become a fund for “essential services
or government-inspired programmes”.

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