Threat to Big Lottery Fund
It started with a whisper, grew into a rumour and then a full blown anonymous campaign – Save the Big Lottery Fund – which claims that the government is going to raid the Big Lottery Fund (BLF), in order to divert £320m into arts, heritage and sport to help out the Dept of Culture, Media and Sport.
Both the NCVO (National Council for Voluntary Organisations) and Acevo (Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations) have reported that a quick round of calls established that there was indeed something of this nature in the offing, though they are still not able to confirm precise figures.
The NCVO and Acevo have both written letters to senior government ministers warning of the profound impact that any reduction in funding for the BLF could have on the voluntary sector. Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the NCVO, went so far as to warn the government that rumoured changes to the distribution of lottery money could mean the Big Lottery Fund “all but closes its doors to new funding applications”.
More and more voluntary and community groups are struggling to get funding, especially grant funding. Advice to small, often volunteer-led, groups to gear up and bid for contracts is like throwing them to the wolves. Therefore, a raid on such a scale would be really bad news, on top of any more cuts likely to be announced in the Spending Review tomorrow. The BLF is the largest single funder of charities in the UK. It hands out a huge number of small grants (90% of BLF grants are smaller than £10,000) to local charities that add enormous value to communities throughout the country.
The Lottery has always been about bringing additional funding to the table, mainly for good causes. It is not supposed to be used to replace public funding.
Action Hampshire has written to our local MP urging him to take our concerns to government.