Boost for youth in lottery revamp

A £200 million fund for young people is among the new measures to be announced by Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell in the Government's lottery White Paper tomorrow.

A draft of the paper, which has been leaked to Third Sector, includes details of the new fund that will last for three years and make 'government-directed' grants for health, exercise and play for disadvantaged children.

The document confirms the merger of the Community Fund and New Opportunities Fund but adds that the new distributor will include some of the powers of the Millennium Commission for large-scale regeneration projects.

The Millennium Commission, the £100 million endowment which is due to be wound up in 2005/6, funded projects such as the Dome and inner-city regeneration schemes.

The White Paper also includes plans for new lottery micro-grants of less than £500 and expansion of the Community Fund's small grants scheme, Awards for All, to an upper limit of £10,000.

The special Olympic lottery fund, announced by the Government earlier this year to raise money for London's 2012 bid, is also included in the document.

The announcement of so many new schemes at a time when the lottery pot is dwindling with declining ticket sales will prompt questions about where the money will come from.

A lottery insider said: "Although the White Paper guarantees the new distributor and existing distributors the same share of money as before until 2009, it is difficult to see how all the new plans are to be financed - in truth they may have to rob Peter to pay Paul.

"However, this White Paper will be welcomed by many as a breath of fresh air. It introduces many common-sense proposals that the public has wanted for a long time."

Other measures expected in the paper include a lottery forum, a joint committee of all lottery board chief executives which will be administered by the newly merged New Opportunities Fund and Community Fund to encourage joint working.

The new body will also act as a single point of entry for applications to all distributors, although applicants will still be able to approach them individually.

There will also be a pre-application support process.

Luke FitzHerbert, researcher at the Directory of Social Change, said: "If the upper limit of Awards for All is to be raised to £10,000, we would warmly welcome that because it has been one of the most successful lottery grants programmes."

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