Fundraising News: Quakers condemn Lottery ethics

Joe Gill

A member of the Community Fund board has attacked the increasing use of National Lottery funds for public services in a new book marking the lottery's 10th anniversary.

Role Over? was written by Quakers who oppose the lottery on religious grounds, yet who also work in voluntary sector organisations that receive millions of pounds in lottery money.

Stephen Burkeman, the book's co-editor and a former trust secretary at the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, said: "Like it or not - and mostly we don't - Quakers are caught up in the National Lottery."

Some contributors to the book write about how they have had to resign from charitable positions as a matter of conscience, although Burkeman decided to stay in a role that laid him open to accusations of hypocrisy.

"I choose not to play, and do not support the idea of the lottery, but I cannot spurn the money raised for good causes as being the fruits of evil," he said.

Fellow author Paula Harvey said: "As Quakers we seek to work for the greater good of people in need through the funding of good causes. That dilemma is precisely why we have written the book."

The society said in a statement: "We are disturbed by the accelerating substitution of National Lottery funds for planned public funding of important social projects. We see the National Lottery as promoting the illusion of wealth as the ultimate fulfilment."

The Quakers also made submissions during the consultation for the draft Gambling Bill, which is now at report stage.

A joint parliamentary committee examining the Bill concluded in March that the new legislation "would increase the number of people in the UK with a gambling problem".

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