Lottery money must reach local groups

    The UK’s new lottery distributor, The Big Lottery Fund, must
    connect with the voluntary and community sector and ensure funds
    reach local organisations, the Urban Forum said this week.

    The umbrella body for community groups involved with urban and
    regional policy said the fund had to engage with the voluntary and
    community sector at a local level and, when involving local people,
    “protect so-called unpopular causes”.

    Urban Forum policy development officer spokesperson Caroline Gaunt
    said the organisation welcomed the Fund’s pledge to help
    disadvantaged communities and guarantee that the voluntary and
    community sector would receive as much funding as it did before the
    merger.

    But she warned the fund must not become dominated by public sector
    providers like health and education projects.

    The Big Lottery Fund was formed on 2 June from the merger of the
    New Opportunities Fund and the Community Fund.

    While the Community Fund was known for offering no-strings grant
    funding, the New Opportunities Fund was seen as being tied to
    projects close to government ministers’ hearts.

    The new fund has been holding nationwide consultations, which will
    end on 30 September, on what good causes it should fund and how.
    However, it is not seeking views on regional representation for the
    fund, despite this having been a useful feature of the Community
    Fund.

    News that a new type of weekly national lottery that allows players
    to choose which charity benefits from their bet is to be launched
    in the autumn could make the funding situation even more difficult
    for less popular causes.

    The Chariotlottery, which is being backed by City businessmen, will
    involve 52 charities and give people the choice of five separate
    games, each benefiting a different charity each week.

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