Lottery fund likely to reduce programmes

Stephen Dunmore, the outgoing chief executive of the Big Lottery Fund, has indicated that the fund is likely to provide fewer, less specific programmes from 2009.

The prediction comes as the BLF prepares to divert funding to the 2012 Olympics from next year and consults stakeholders on future schemes.

Dunmore, who is stepping down at the end of this month, told Third Sector that the fund's current portfolio of 15 to 20 programmes was "over-complicated".

He said: "This makes things difficult for customers out there and in terms of us managing the huge number of different programmes. One of the questions we will be asking when we consult at the end of this year on schemes for 2009 is what the case is for having a simpler and more straightforward system of funding rather than a large number of specific programmes."

Dunmore said that the wide range of projects, designed in response to consultation with fund recipients, was due to the fund "trying to be all things to all people".

He said: "In retrospect, this is not the most intelligent funding approach."

Kevin Curley, chief executive of umbrella body Navca, welcomed the proposal. "We will be arguing that the fund designs open, demand-led programmes of the Reaching Communities type," he said. "The more open the programmes are, the more responsive they are to the third sector and the less likely it is that ministers can lobby for specific departmental priorities in areas such as health."

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