As reported in Third Sector last week, the two programmes affected both cater exclusively to voluntary and community organisations. The Young People's Fund 2, which was expected to be launched in April this year, will now be launched in two separate tranches, one in December and another next April. The Research Programme will now be launched in October 2007.
In a statement, the BLF confirmed the delays, which were decided in a board meeting on 23 May. The fund said they did not constitute a cut in funding. "Provided lottery income flows as expected, we will be able to make the commitments in 2008/09 or shortly afterwards," the statement said.
The indications are that lottery revenue for good causes could fall by £77m a year as a result of players opting for new games set up to fund the Olympics directly.
Asked whether funding delays would cause third sector organisations to lose out, Stephen Dunmore, chief executive of the BLF, said: "Our grants are time-limited and not designed to be a continuing source of income. Although the fund is one of the largest sources of income for the sector in the UK, groups cannot rely solely on lottery funding for income."
Stephen Bubb, head of chief executives body Acevo, said: "We will want a clearer explanation from the fund as to why it will delay two crucial voluntary sector schemes when there is such a need for them. I will keep a watching brief on this issue."