London Marathon urged to make gold bond system 'fairer'

Social entrepreneur Tim Campbell calls on race organisers to limit the number of runners' places available to each charity

The London Marathon should adopt a fairer system for distributing gold bonds to charities, according to Tim Campbell, social entrepreneur and the original winner of BBC1's The Apprentice.

Campbell spoke out after failing to secure any gold bonds for the charity he founded, the Bright Ideas Trust, which supports young Londoners who set up their own businesses.

Gold bonds cost £300 and entitle holders to five runners on a perpetually renewable five-year cycle. They are so popular that it is practically impossible for charities to secure them any more.

"More than 700 charities benefit from the gold bond scheme, but there are another 500 on the waiting list and many thousands more that will never get the chance to have people running," said Campbell.

He urged race organiser David Bedford to consider limiting the number of bonds available to each organisation and called on large charities with multiple bonds to give some up for smaller charities.

"I'm not criticising large charities that make tens of thousands of pounds out of the London Marathon," said Campbell. "But many of them already have large reserves of money, so they could afford to take a year out or give up a few of their places to other deserving charities.

"There are ways of redistributing the gold bonds so many smaller charities get the opportunity to take part. Some of the larger charities could opt out for a year, for example, or there could be a cap on the number of places for all charities, with the rest being redistributed via a ballot or lottery system."

Bedford declined to comment. This year's marathon takes place on 26 April.

John Plummer recommends

Bright Ideas Trust

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