Homosexual umbrella body investigates 'microscopic' funding

Indira Das-Gupta

The umbrella body for lesbian and gay voluntary groups is launching an inquiry into why funding to its members has fallen to "microscopic" levels.

According to Mark Reedman, chief executive at the Consortium of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) Voluntary and Community Organisations, even funding from the Big Lottery Fund, traditionally seen as a stalwart of gay causes, dropped to only £250,000 in 2004/05.

He claims that in the past 11 years the lottery has awarded about £9m to such causes, or just 0.05 per cent of the total funding to the voluntary sector. Reedman said: "The lottery has always invested in LGBT organisations, often in the face of media hostility. However, if we consider the Community Fund as an example, investment in LGBT organisations has declined significantly year on year from 1999, with the exception of a 'blip' in 2005.

"Finding out whether the drop is down to the decreasing funds available to the Big Lottery Fund, or is due to the inability of LGBT organisations to bid successfully, will be part of the research."

The BLF disputed Reedman's figures, saying funding to LBGT groups in 2004/05 was closer to £500,000.

Reedman added that the consortium was engaged in a battle with the Office for National Statistics to get sexuality included as a question for the 2011 census.

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